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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

May 28, 2012 at 2:00 PM

As much politics as patriotism in small Wisconsin town Memorial parade

The UW Election Eye team of Kirsten Johnson, Will Mari and Thor Tolo blanketed the Memorial Day parade in Beloit, Wisconsin. We found a few avid supporters of Gov. Scott Walker amidst a sea of blue Tom Barrett signs and stickers along the parade route.

Rick Rath with Zoey

Lifelong Beloit resident Rick Rath welcomed the challenge of feeding his granddaughter, Zoey, and articulating his support for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker during the Memorial Day parade in Beloit. (Photo by Thor Tolo/UW Election Eye)

BELOIT, Wisc. – No sooner had Gov. Walker’s recall challenger, Tom Barrett, turned the corner onto Grand Avenue for the homestretch of today’s annual parade than a heckler hollered, “Go back to ruining Milwaukee!”

You might say Milwaukee’s mayor was forced to just grin and Barrett.

Not far from one of the few Barrett hecklers stood Rick Rath, who has lived every one of his 62 years in this southern Wisconsin border town of 36,000.

“Look, what Walker has done for Wisconsin is control spending, build up a surplus of over $120 million, and do everything he promised he was going to do during the campaign,” said Rath, whose year-old granddaughter was reaching for another orange otter pop. “But the biggest reason I support Governor Walker is because he was duly elected the first time.”

Rath rattled off all the fiscal and social issues that matter most to him. “What I care about most is erasing the deficit, supporting pro-life, and understanding marriage as between one man and one woman, period,” he said. “Walker is not your typical politician. He refused to compromise any of his promises after he got elected. It’s not courageous to do what you say.”

Leonard family

One of Molly Leonard's four sisters, Brianna, entertained her nephew, Jaxen, and niece, Brecken, while their parents shared their support for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker this morning in Beloit. (Photo by Thor Tolo/UW Election Eye)

Directly across the parade route near the corner of Grand Avenue and Pleasant Street was a vintage Midwestern combination of conservative husband, moderately conservative wife, and two cute babies.

“All Walker is trying to do in not raising our taxes is keep this state out of debt, which is great by me,” said Chris Leonard, whose wife Molly is a proud member of the Wisconsin Realtors Association. “That’s our number one thing. We support [Walker] because he’s keeping his promises.”

Comments | More in National | Topics: Beloit, control spending, deficit

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