Topic: Tom Barrett
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May 31, 2012 at 10:09 PM
We were at Thursday’s debate between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his Democratic challenger, Tom Barrett. It was a case study in face-to-face verbal combat that sets the tone for the final five days before Tuesday’s recall election.
MILWAUKEE — Marquette University political science professor John McAdams saw it coming: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s internal polling shows a tighter race than the Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday that has Walker up 52% to 45% over Democratic challenger Tom Barrett heading toward Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall election.
If that’s true, McAdams said, Walker would go hard after Barrett in Thursday evening’s debate.
Last Friday in a debate across town, Barrett assailed Walker without much push back. Would things be different Thursday?
May 31, 2012 at 1:15 PM
It has been 25 years since Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker sought the student body presidency of a large private university. Just days before what could become only the third successful gubernatorial recall in U.S. history, UW Election Eye wondered whether polarizing perceptions of Walker were as prevalent back then as they are now.
MILWAUKEE — Polite. Dishonest. Respectful. Conniving.
Depending on whom you ask, the embattled Tea Party hero fighting for his political life was either an average, well-intentioned student at Marquette University — or a disillusioned, narcissistic buffoon devoid of any moral compass as he walked over friend and foe alike in repeated failed efforts to become student body president.
May 30, 2012 at 7:00 AM
In the Wisconsin recall election, people on both sides have found creative ways to communicate their views. Here is a story of one way that politics becomes social — using old-school technology.
MILWAUKEE – Forty people stood on the Interstate 43 pedestrian overpass in the northern part of this city, clutching three-foot tall, wooden signs dotted with Christmas light lettering. In the receding daylight, all that could be seen was their message. That was the goal.
“Vote Barrett June 5″ spelled out the lighted letters. And then in smaller letters a few feet away: “Recall.”
Self-dubbed the Overpass Light Brigade, these protestors, co-founded by Milwaukee couple Lane Hall and Lisa Moline, were registering their positions for the state’s upcoming vote on whether to recall Governor Scott Walker and replace him with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
Among the crew that night of May 26 were Greg Davis and his 14-year-old son Ben. Ben held a “B” while his father held an “R.”
“We’re just regular folks,” Davis said. “Not the people you’d see protesting at anything and everything.”
May 28, 2012 at 2:00 PM
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.
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.”
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.”
May 28, 2012 at 11:00 AM
The UW Election Eye team of Kirsten Johnson, Thor Tolo and Will Mari headed to the southern border town of Beloit, Wisconsin for its Memorial Day parade.
BELOIT, Wisc. — Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett seems to have a strong foothold in this home to several manufacturing firms, including Regal-Beloit.
At the sun-stained intersection of Grand Avenue and State Street, LouRaye Kramer and her friend, Marge Hilgart, are watching the Memorial Day parade. Both are fans of Barrett, and stand when he walks by, proudly slapping on stickers bearing his name.
“Did you notice how quiet it got when the Republican float went by?” asked Hilgart, a retired Beloit high-school teacher, a few minutes later. Kramer, whose daughter also works as a high-school teacher in town, nods.
They’re here to watch their fellow teachers and their students march. But between rounds of applause for the honor guards of various veteran groups, they both say they’re motivated to vote because of their worries about what will happen to the state’s K-12 education in a rejuvenated Walker administration.
“He’s just a weasel,” Hilgard said, frowning. “He’s just not a nice man.” She said that she won’t shop at stores that have signs supporting Walker.
“It’s just … it’s just been bitter,” she said, in regards to how recall politics have divided neighbors.
Still, Kramer, who moved to Beloit eight years ago from the city of Wisconsin Dells, is happy to see people out politicking.
You have “to get out there to get the vote,” she said, smiling, waving, and watching as kids dashed in and out of the parade line for candy and tossed bags of chips.
“This is Barrett country,” said Janice Smith, whose 21-year-old cousin died in the Vietnam War. People like to participate in politics in Beloit, she said, and “a lot of people are involved in this election.”
Bridget and Nick Aldridge were on hand to watch their son march in one of the local high-school bands.
“Beloit is mostly blue collar, [and] it’s very diverse economically and racially,” said Bridget.
She’s said that it’s sad to see folks split over the recall.
“It’s really divided the community. Even though manufacturing has been on the decline since the 80s there’s still a strong union foothold in the area,” and that has motivated people to come out and support Barrett,” she said.
“There’s a high rate of unemployment, but also a great sense of pride.”
But in the midst of recall politics, the crowd watching the parade remained focused on why they were standing on street corners, as the flags fluttered by.
“We should remember the freedom we got,” said Jim Hardt, “and the men who sacrificed in the military and died for freedom.”
May 24, 2012 at 3:00 PM
UW Election Eye is on the road for three weeks, covering politics in the heartland of America. One of our points of focus is Wisconsin’s historic gubernatorial recall election, set for June 5. For some, this election is particularly personal. One union organizer in Elkhorn, Wis., isn’t shy about putting forward her views — on the lawn in front of her own home.
ELKHORN, Wis. — Mary Burpee answered the door on a sunny Thursday morning, still dressed in her robe, talking into a headset.
She didn’t seem overly surprised to see a group of four student journalists standing on her stoop. Over the barking of her dogs, we explained through her screen door: We saw your yard signs, could we talk to you?
She laughed. “Oh, you saw my ‘non-confrontational’ signs?” she responded.
One was impossible to miss. It’s a homemade, painted wood sign resting against an old oak tree. It’s pretty confrontational, all right: “If you stand by Walker, you will fall for anything.”
It turns out that Burpee is a local organizer with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). She’s lived in her home in Elkhorn for more than 20 years, and said that the area is mostly conservative. She doesn’t know her neighbors well, but her signs frequently draw a vibrant response from supporters of Governor Scott Walker and his challenger for the June 5 recall election, Tom Barrett, mayor of Milwaukee.
“They don’t have any Barrett signs. Well, I guess I don’t blame them,” said a woman who walked by Burpee’s collection of anti-Walker signs.
Comments like that don’t faze Burpee, who said that union workers feel as though they’ve been slighted by the Act 10 budget repair bill, which was proposed by Governor Scott Walker and passed by the Wisconsin Legislature last March. Among other things, Act 10 cut down collective bargaining for most public, unionized workers and was met with fierce protests at the State Capitol. Act 10 is one of the hot-button issues in the recall election.
For some Act 10 is deeply personal. For Burpee, it hits home: she comes from a union family.
Her father was a carpenter who moved to the United States from Germany. The unions, she said, helped her family “build [their] own home and a middle class existence.”
“The changes that I see that are really harmful to people are the loss of a collective baragaining agreement and a contract to negotiate for your rights,” Burpee said. “They feel as though their voice on the job has been taken away.”
There is no such loss of voice in Burpee’s yard.
May 14, 2012 at 6:30 AM
Walker Caught on Tape
Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) is against Tom Barrett (D) — Milwaukee Mayor who handily won the Democratic primary last week — for his June 5 recall election. The recall has received heavy national attention and national funds — approximately 2/3 of Walker’s $25 million have come from outside of Wisconsin. UW Election Eye has reported on the election before and will be in Wisconsin leading up to the election.
Recently discovered video footage of Walker has him stating a “divide and conquer” strategy against unions. In the video, Walker is speaking with billionaire Diane Hendricks in January 2011, right before he proposed a bill that curtailed unions’ collective bargaining rights. Hendricks asked: “Any chance we’ll get to be a completely red state, and work on these unions, and become a right-to-work — what can we do to help you?” Walker replied, “Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is, we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer.”
Walker has said repeatedly that he is not trying to make Wisconsin a right-to-work state, however, some have noted that his response to Hendricks suggests the beginning stages of a plan toward that end. When asked about the video, Walker has replied in Alberto Gonzales fashion, commenting, “I don’t remember the particulars of that discussion.”
May 7, 2012 at 6:30 AM
May 8 = Decision Day
Tomorrow, May 8, voters in Wisconsin and North Carolina will take to the polls.
In Wisconsin, the ballot will include the next round of recall elections for four Republican state Senate seats and the gubernatorial Democratic primary. The recall elections stem from a larger campaign to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) and six Republican state Senate seats that began in 2011 over Gov. Walker’s efforts to curtail union’s collective bargaining rights. In 2011, two of the six Republican Senate seats were recalled, leaving the four up for tomorrow’s election.