Dear Wisconsin Recall Fighters

Dear Wisconsin Recall Fighters,
I swear to God you are the coolest, most awesome people on earth, and I count myself incredibly privileged and honored to be among you. Despite formidable and even vicious opposition, you have more than risen to the challenge. You have consistently refused take Walker’s “no” for an answer.

You marched and chanted in all kinds of weather. You camped out in the capitol. You doggedly and cheerfully collected a million signatures. No matter how loudly you have been shouted at, you have outsung the opposition every time.

When they put up ginormous signs paid for by gazillionaires, you made your own, some of them with little twinkly lights that shine in the dark on overpasses all over the state, some of them in your lawns and gardens.

Some of you have run or are running for office, while others of you are working your butts off for the recall candidates’ campaigns. In huge ways and small, you’ve transformed your lives for the sake of Wisconsin. Your passion and devotion are breathtaking.

The opposition can’t hold a candle to your Overpass Light Brigades. Their astroturf has none of the life and vibrancy of your luscious grass roots. You are incredibly creative, talented, innovative, and courageous. You are all heart and then some.

I know you’re working your asses off this weekend to get out the vote, and I thank you with all my heart. Together we can liberate this beleaguered Fitzwalkerstan and reclaim Wisconsin.

My husband, who understands and even likes statistics, wants you to think about this: In the May 8 recall primary, 54,000 more votes were cast statewide for the recall candidates (Barrett, Falk, Vinehout, Kohl-Riggs, and Lafollette) than for Walker and his “Democratic” ally, Huber. Counties preferring recall polled 189,000 more pro-recall votes than pro-Walker votes. The pro-recall counties were led by Dane, with 80,000 more votes for recall than for Walker, and Milwaukee County, with 61,000 more votes for recall.

On the other hand, pro-Walker counties polled 135,000 more votes for Walker + Huber than for the recall candidates. They were led by Waukesha County, with 44,000 more votes for Walker + Huber than for recall, and by Washington County, with 18,000 more votes for Walker + Huber.

In Madison alone, there were approximately 97,000 registered voters who did not vote on May 8. That’s about three out of five registered Madison voters who did not vote on May 8. And who even knows about eligible but unregistered voters? Turnout in Madison was about 41 percent on May 8. With over 165,000 registered voters in Madison, fewer than 68,000 voted. Of those who did, 86 percent voted for recall. If that percentage holds fairly steady with a big increase in voter turnout, we’ll win this. Fitzwalkerstan will be no more. We will have reclaimed Wisconsin.

To say that there’s a lot riding on this election is a gross understatement. It’s entirely possible that there will be no election in our lifetimes as important as this one. This is the populace versus big money, human beings versus corporations, democracy versus plutocracy. In spite of the Democratic Party’s chronic myopia, this is where We the People begin taking our country back from the corporate thugs who thought they could buy it out from under us.

Now is the time to pull out all of the stops. Even introverts like me need to crawl out of our hidey holes and engage. I found myself on Thursday saying to the cashier in the checkout, “Be sure you vote on Tuesday!” I went to two Solidarity Sing Alongs in one day and made phone calls to potential canvassers in between. I tweeted my way through Thursday night’s debate. Never in my wildest introverted dreams did I ever think I would do such things. But if not me, then who? If not now, when? I just wish I could do more, and I’m grateful beyond words for all of you who are doing so much.

What we do in the next few days matters a whole lot. What we do right here in Madison matters a whole lot. This is our chance to show the world what Wisconsin democracy looks like. This is where the recall meets the road.

Vote responsibly: bring a friend.

# # #Statistics lovingly parsed by Tom Worley and provided by the Government Accountability Board and the Madison City Clerk. Sun Prairie sign brigade photo by Heather DuBois Bourenane. Rotunda heart balloon photo by Jenna Pope. Liberate Fitzwalkerstan made just for me by the inimitable Michael Martin. June 5 vote photo by Michael Matheson. It All Comes Down to One Day video by We Are Wisconsin PAC. Vote As If Your Life Depends On It photo by Peter Patau.

Own Your Vote Rally Appleton, WI

About 40 people came to the early voting rally in Appleton, WI that started at City Park. Rep. Penny Bernard-Schaber was on hand and gave a rousing speech. She reminded us of how important it was for us to get Wisconsin moving in the right direction again and put it on a much better path. Ryan Griffin spoke briefly after that. We then marched to City Hall to cast our votes. A good time was had by all. There were spontaneous chants of “show me what democracy looks like”, “this is what democracy looks like”, “Wisconsin needs Barreett” and “Wisconsin needs Mitchel” as we walked to city hall. Quite a few people honked in support.

We need everyone to get out and vote Walker out of office. Vote as if your democracy depends on it, because it does.

Below are some pictures and short videos from the rally:

You’ve Protested at the Capital, Signed the Recall Papers, Now Get Out There and Vote

Recall Walker day, June 5th is rapidly approaching. On this day people in Wisconsin can collectively stand up and put a stop to Walker’s anti-worker, anti-woman, anti-union, anti-environment agenda. We can show the state and country that people in Wisconsin still believe in the “Wisconsin way” of fair play, open government and progressive values. People from all over the country and world are watching what happens in our fair state with great interest and anticipation. They believe the outcome here will influence the political environment all over the country. I agree with them. Wisconsin is leading the way on this one. We can show everyone that we believe in the power of the people and that we put “people over profits”.

I remember hearing about the first protests after Walker dropped “the bomb” last February. The people of Wisconsin united against Walker and his horribly damaging agenda. We came together as a united force and showed the world “this is what democracy looks like”. We protested in the streets, in the capital and in song. We pushed for and succeeded in getting recall elections against six Republican state senators last summer. We have done so many things that the “talking heads” didn’t think was possible that I’m awed every time I think of it.

Now we have to do the most important thing of all. We all need to get to a polling place and vote Walker out of office. Let’s hit him where it really hurts, vote for Barrett. Protesting Walker wherever he goes can be fun. It’s been incredible knowing that he gets protested in every state he goes to, not just Wisconsin. Yelling “shame” at him is a great stress reliever, but doesn’t really mean anything unless you follow up your words with the direct action of voting. Each of us has a stake in the outcome of this election. Make sure everyone you know votes, too.

Help get out the vote in your community. We Are Wisconsin has many field offices. Click here for opportunities in your area. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin also has quite a few field offices. Click here for the full list. Consider donating items to the recall offices if you don’t feel comfortable with canvassing and/or phone banking. Volunteering is hungry and thirty work. Snacks and beverages for the volunteers are always welcome.

We can get Walker out of office if we all pull together. We need to get Wisconsin back to its progressive roots. It’s not going to be easy and can’t be done overnight, but getting Walker out of office will be a step in the right direction.

Get out there and vote as if you mean it. Vote as if your life and democracy depend on it because they do. Let’s take our fine state FORWARD!!!

Polls Shmolls: We Can Win This!

Yesterday for most of the day I felt pretty much like I’d been kicked in the gut, owing to a combination of not enough sleep, the DNC’s milquetoast support for the recall, the DNR’s noxious inaction in the Sewergate horror, Walker talking about his jobs record using Kathy Nicholaus’s new new math, and the effing poll numbers. I just couldn’t shake the visceral feeling of dread that kept creeping over me. Every time I opened my mouth, I sounded like Eeyore when he lost his tail:

Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, “Why?” and sometimes he thought, “Wherefore?” and sometimes he thought, “Inasmuch as which?”—and sometimes he didn’t quite know what he was thinking about.

Yes, that. Eeyore’s gloom prevents him from seeing anything clearly. Having ascertained that he has, in fact, lost his tail, Eeyore attributes monumental significance to it.

“That Accounts for a Good Deal,” said Eeyore gloomily. “It Explains Everything. No Wonder.”

This is also the problem with polls, especially when coupled with too little sleep. They’re just somebody’s idea of what maybe might be occurring at a given moment before an election, give or take a few thousands. Even well-conducted polls amount to a more or less educated guess. Who knows what will influence fence-sitting voters? When they themselves don’t really know just what they’re going to do, the people making predictions are blowing a certain amount of smoke.

And that smoke can cloud your vision. Those who appear to be ahead, even by a negligible margin, rejoice, while an impending sense of doom spreads over those who appear to be behind, even by a sliver. Any change from an earlier poll, however minuscule, may be taken as a trend. The effect of the poll is to say, more or less, that the race is over, it’s a done deal, and here are the results. But it’s not over. A lot can happen in just a few weeks, and the results are as yet undetermined.

Regarding the illustrious Marquette poll for May, some regard it as valid, and others caution us not to start counting the Republican chickens, recognizing that the unprecedented nature of this election means that all bets are off. The polls are trying to predict politics as usual. The parties are doing their best to maintain politics as usual. But given all that we’ve done to organize and mobilize and make this election happen, this is anything but politics as usual.

We do know that the race is likely to be close, so every small thing we do has the potential to significantly affect the outcome. We’ve no time to tromp about looking for the donkey’s tail. We have invested too much of ourselves in this race to take the spin and drivel of polls and right-wing media to heart.

We have already accomplished so much more than anyone would have thought possible just a year and a half ago. Now is the time for courage, good humor, plenty of sleep, action, and solidarity. We are fighting for justice, truth, freedom—all the biggies. We are on the side of the angels. The order of the day is to keep our eyes on the prize and keep working our butts off. Heather DuBois Bourenane over at Monologues of Dissent has some excellent suggestions for boots-on-the-ground action in these last few weeks.

When Chistopher Robin had nailed it on in its right place again, Eeyore frisked about the forest, waving his tail so happily that Winnie-the-Pooh came over all funny, and had to hurry home for a little snack of something to sustain him.

Embrace the blue donkey, tail and all, and repeat after me: We can win this!

Wisconsin Recall: Hope Remains While the Company Is True

A few weeks ago I went with a friend to Miller Park a couple of hours before the start of a Brewers game to gather signatures to help Kathleen Vinehout get her name on the ballot for the May 8 recall primary. Being a dyed-in-the-wool introvert, I had never done anything like this before. It was like a brief, intense peek into a microcosm of Wisconsin. Unsurprisingly, most were drinking beer, eating brats and cheese, and generally in quite the festive, boisterous mood.

It was heartening to hear many ask specifically about Vinehout’s support for teachers. They perceived Walker’s attack on teachers as a serious affront and were only interested in helping candidates who would strongly support public education and teachers. Of course, there were a couple who had to yell “Support Walker” at the top of their lungs, but mostly people were quite pleasant.

I approached one young woman who said, “I’m a Walker supporter.”
Me: “No problem. Thanks anyway.”
She (seeming surprised): “Thanks for being so polite about it.”
Me (smiling): “Thanks for thanking me.”
Then we both giggled, almost conspiratorially, like we were doing something slightly subversive by being so painfully, explicitly polite. I can’t help but think that had we more time we could have had a good conversation about what was happening to our state. As it was, it was like catching a brief glimpse of an actual human being, beating heart and all, on the other side of a vast chasm.

This past week we were given a different kind of glimpse, this one into the chasm of Walker’s dark heart, not unlike his revealing and excruciatingly embarrassing tape-recorded phone call with blogger Ian Murphy posing as billionaire radical-right-winger David Koch, in which he talked about dropping the bomb on Wisconsin. On Thursday, another telling recorded conversation surfaced, this one from January 2011 with an actual billionaire donor, Diane Hendricks, who, it transpires, is Walker’s most generous backer to date (having donated $510,000 to Walker’s campaign so far) and owns the ABC Supply Company in Beloit, which paid not a dime in state corporate income tax from 2005 to 2008. This time Walker spoke of using a “divide and conquer” tactic. Alas, that “divide and conquer” thingy has been tried before, to disastrous effect.

A 1947 “Don’t Be a Sucker” film put out by the U.S. War Department warns against falling for the divide-and-conquer tactic: “In this country we have no ‘other people.’ We are American people. … Remember that when you hear this kind of talk. Somebody’s going to get something out of it, and it isn’t going to be you.

Very prescient. Clearly Walker’s billionaire backers get something out of all this bombing and dividing and conquering. And what are the people of Wisconsin getting? The worst job performance of any state in the nation. Slashed education funding. Drastically cut healthcare. And a severely divided state.

Not long after his conversation with Hendricks, Walker dropped his bomb on the state, blithely claiming that it was all to balance the budget. Check out the clear disconnect between what he told Hendricks and what he told us:

Walker has divided Wisconsin all right. To say he’s a “polarizing personality” is understatement. According to Jessica Van Egeren of the Cap Times,

His popularity among voters has hovered around 50 percent for months, suggesting his supporters will view the admission caught on the video without consternation while his detractors will see it as confirmation of everything they already oppose about him. Thus, it seems the video, while described as ‘shocking’ by Barrett’s campaign, will do little to sway most voters.

The Marquette poll [released last week] found only a small percentage of state voters, around 4 percent, remain undecided in the June election.

Phil Walzak, a Barrett spokesman, believes it’s those voters who the Walker video could potentially impact. And for them, he says, it won’t be because the video touches on Walker’s views on collective bargaining but rather because it provides a glimpse into Walker’s style.

“Even if this small percentage of voters isn’t moved by collective bargaining issues, they are moved by issues of trust,” Walzak says. “Walker tells us one thing, and billionaire donors another. I think that is a turnoff to voters who are undecided and in the middle right now. Something like this could be really big for them.” (emphasis added)

We are indeed severely divided. And by all accounts it’s going to be a perilously close race. Who knows who those 4 percent are and where they are? They could be anyone, anywhere. Now is not the time to politely avoid talk of politics. Now is the time to ask friends and neighbors and coworkers where they stand in the great divide. When the answer you hear sounds like it comes from one of the 4 percent, listen carefully. Have a real conversation. Those are the moments that could make or break this election.

I’m reminded of Galadriel’s words to the fellowship in The Lord of the Rings: “The Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains, while the company is true.”

Photos courtesy of the Overpass Light Brigade, Raj Shukla, and John Pope. Video courtesy of Arthur Kohl-Riggs. Many thanks to all of you!

The blue cheddar F.A.Q. for Wisconsin Recall Primaries of May 8, 2012


These are actual questions I’ve seen on twitter and facebook. I expect to add some more info here as the day progresses.

When are the polls open?
7AM – 8PM Central Time.

Where do I vote?
Visit and do the “Address Search”.

How can I see a copy of the ballot?
Once you’ve done the Address Search, look lower on the screen to select the address. Then the next screen that pops up will have your polling place plus links that go to a sample ballot, your local clerk contact information, and information on your district from the 2010 and 2012 census.

Can I vote for both a Republican and a Democrat in the May 8th recall primary?
Yes. This is an unusual circumstance of this recall primary. Usually you can only vote for candidates in only 1 party in a Wisconsin primary. However today, for example, a voter in Watertown could vote for the Republican Arthur Kohl-Riggs for Governor, vote for the Democrat Mahlon Mitchell for Lieutenant Governor, and vote for the Democrat Lori Compas for Senator on his/her local ballot.

Can I vote for both a Republican and a Democrat for Governor?
No. You may only vote for 1 person for each seat.

Do I have to be a registered Republican or a registered Democrat?

Do I have to bring my photo ID?
No. There are other provisions of voting law that change but the provision that requires you to bring a photographic ID was blocked in court.

When is the general election?
June 5

Why isn’t Rebecca Kleefisch on the ballot?
Because this is a primary. A primary is necessary when more than 1 person in the same political party are competing for the same seat. If somebody had submitted nomination papers and a sufficient number of signatures to run as a Republican for the seat of Lieutenant Governor in Wisconsin, then Rebecca Kleefisch would be on the ballot today.

Can I vote at the polls today if I voted absentee already?

Will the State Senate recalls use the old maps or the new redistricted maps?
From GAB, “State Senate recalls are held in the districts used for the past decade, not the new districts that take effect in November 2012”.

I’m not registered to vote. What do I need to do?
You can still register at the polls. Bring proof of residence and your Wisconsin driver’s license number or number from your Wisconsin ID card or the last 4 digits of your social security number.
To prove your residence you can bring one of the following: a current lease, a recent utility bill, an official document issued by a government agendy with your name and current address on it. Also, a current college or technical school ID is OK if your school has provided the polls with a list of students who live in housing and if the housing list also includes citizenship information.

Can I wear my “Recall Walker” shirt?
Be prepared to be asked to cover your messages or be escorted off of the poll site property if you wear or carry in anything that looks like it is campaigning for a candidate.

What is my recourse if I see tampering or fraud at the polls?
There will be a poll chief overseeing activities and possibly an election observer to speak with at the site. You can call local law enforcement to report a crime. You can also contact the Wisconsin Government Accountability office at 608-261-2028 or if you are unsure of the legality of a practice you witness at a voting place. G.A.B. will be open 6AM – 11PM today to assist the public.

I’m a college student and I want to vote in the recall election June 5th. What do I need to know?

Answer: Voting in summer elections as a college student.
If you are registered to vote but have left with the intention of returning, you may vote from the address at which you are registered to vote in. When requesting an absentee ballot, be sure to give the Clerk’s Office the address to which the ballot should be sent, in addition to the address at which you are registered to vote. You may not register to vote at a temporary address.

If you are registered to vote but have left with no intention of returning, you will need to register and vote in your new municipality once you have been there long enough to establish residency. – from United Wisconsin

United Wisconsin Recall FAQ

From G.A.B.: What Wisconsin Voters Need to Know for Recall Primaries

The following links were lifted wholesale from another site. I’ll be double-checking the veracity of all information and links below following publication.

Candidates for office include:



Democratic Party:

Tom Barrett

Kathleen Falk

Kathleen Vinehout

Doug La Follette

Gladys Huber (spoiler candidate)

Republican Party:

Scott Walker (incumbent)

Arthur Kohl-Riggs (running as a progressive Republican)


Hari Trivedi


Lieutenant Governor

Democratic Party:

Mahlon Mitchell

Ira Robins

Isaac Weix (spoiler candidate)

Republican Party:
Rebecca Kleefisch (recalled incumbent)


State Senate District 13 (Beaver Dam area)

Democratic Party:

Lori Compas

Gary Ellerman (spoiler candidate)

Republican Party:

Scott Fitzgerald (incumbent)


State Senate District 21 (Racine area)

Democratic Party:

John Lehman

Tamra Varebrook (spoiler candidate)

Republican Party:

Van Wangaard (recalled incumbent)


State Senate District 23 (Eau Claire area)

Democratic Party:

Kristen Dexter

James Engel (spoiler candidate)

Republican Party:

Terry Moulton (recalled incumbent)


State Senate District 29 – Open Seat (Wausau area)

Democratic Party:

Donna Seidel

Jim Buckley (spoiler candidate)

Republican Primary

Jerry Petrowski

Marquette Recall Poll: Barrett has big lead, 19% of Dems undecided, expect crossover voting May 8th

Judging by the Marquette U. poll, it looks as if Tom Barrett is coming into the May 8th recall primary very strong despite sneaking into the race at the last moment.

“Tom Barrett leading Kathleen Falk 38 percent to 21 percent, with 8 percent for Doug La Follette and 6 percent for Kathleen Vinehout”

I know some readers doubt the pollster Charles Franklin’s work and some call him a conservative [and I welcome your detailed statistical analysis of his work–I’m no statistician]. If Franklin were a conservative trying to game our primary then he’s doing a poor job of it. He should have deflated the blue dog and pumped up another candidate.

The Marquette U. survey by Charles Franklin shows Barrett leading Walker by 1 percentage point (47-46) in the June general election assuming voters are registered. However if voters are termed “likely” then Walker leads by 1 percentage point, 48-47.

Falk does not come close enough to catch Walker within this poll: “Walker leads former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk 49 percent to 42 percent among registered voters and 49 percent to 43 percent among likely voters.”

The high number of undecided voters is going to give fans of our progressive dark horse candidates hope.: “A significant number of Democratic primary voters are still undecided, 19 percent in the latest poll, up slightly from 17 percent in March. Undecided voters were asked which candidate they lean towards. Including those leaning voters, the primary results become Barrett at 45 percent, Falk at 23 percent, La Follette at 8 percent and Vinehout at 8 percent, with 9 percent still saying they are undecided.”

I’ve heard in person and online lots of “I’ll vote for whoever if it means Walker’s out”. You see that sentiment in the 2nd issue important to Democratic Party voters: “defeating Scott Walker” which comes after the number 1 issue of jobs.

Can I haz crossover? Yes.
We could see a lot of Republican and Democratic Party crossover voting on May 8th. Wisconsin has open primaries. The poll states that of the people that voted in the GOP primary on April 3rd, 17% were Democrats, 42% were Republicans, and 39% were independents. (I voted for Santorum.)

“Those saying they will vote in the May 8 Democratic recall primary are a virtual mirror image of that: 17 percent Republicans, 44 percent Democrats, and 36 percent independents.”

I don’t see the Republican candidate Arthur Kohl-Riggs mentioned anywhere in the survey which is a huge shortcoming.

One mission of the Republican candidate Arthur Kohl-Riggs was and is to reduce the number of GOP-folks who cross over to vote for the fake Democrat Gladys Huber or another Dem candidate. He’s succeeding in getting his name out there but I think a lot of Republicans still have no idea that Walker is in a primary and that he can get voted out. I first saw signs on April 25th at the I Stand with Scott Walker facebook page that Republican organizers are telling their loyals to vote May 8th AND that they have to vote for Scott Walker for Governor instead of for Falk (a few conservative pundits were promoting a Falk vote earlier). Oddly enough, I’ve seen no chat about voting for Huber. It’s possible that Democratic Party loyals can vote for Kohl-Riggs but they also need to get the message that they CAN and they need to know why they would want to. Judging by the online comments I see, confusion abounds on both sides as to how these unique recall primaries work (that’s the topic of my next post).

The folks at Marquette marvel a bit in their summary at the fact that 50% of their survey respondents have discussed why a person should/shouldn’t vote for a candidate. I’m a little more taken with this tidbit:
“Thirty-eight percent said they had signed a recall petition over the past sixteen months, including last summer’s state senate recalls and those this year for senate, governor, or lieutenant governor.”

This doesn’t surprise:
“Twenty-nine percent say there is someone they’ve stopped talking to about politics due to disagreements over the recall or the governor.”

There’s also a remarkable stat. on use of a special session to restore collective bargaining rights – remarkable because it suggests that people actually think that a special session will do anything: “Fifty-two percent said they favored calling a special session of the legislature to restore collective bargaining rights”.*

My last note: Obama leads Romney by 9 points “The presidential race remains competitive in Wisconsin, with Obama holding a 51 percent to 42 percent lead over Romney”

That ranking is great news for Obama in our battleground state. But he’s still on the edge nationally. Gallup puts Obama’s approval rating at 49% nationwide as of April 23rd. As stated in New York Times’ The Caucus, “Historically, the best predictor of a president’s re-election chances has been approval rating. Since World War II, every president with an approval rating at least a few points above 50 percent has won re-election. Every president with a rating clearly below 50 percent has lost.”

Read the Marquette U. survey summary in full here where you can also find the questionnaire, etc.
The poll interviewed 705 registered Wisconsin voters by both landline and cell phone April 26-29, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 3.8 percentage points for the full sample. For the 451 respondents who said they would vote in the Democratic recall primary, the margin of error is +/- 4.7 percentage points. As for results for “likely voters,” those who said they were certain to vote, the sample for the June recall is 561 respondents with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points. There were 399 likely voters in the May 8 Democratic primary, with a margin of error of +/- 5.0 percentage points.

*Calling a special session is Tom Barrett’s proposed solution to restoration of the collective bargaining rights lost in Wisconsin Act 10. For Barrett’s plan to work, Wisconsin also needs a willing state Assembly and Senate. Tea Party obstructionists have only very rarely honored even a Democratic amendment to their legislative agenda. Perhaps Barrett is planning on using something else such as the rule-making powers of Act 21 to deliver collective bargaining rights again?

Occupy the GOP: Art for Gov May 8

Endorsements for candidates in posts here do not represent the opinions of all regular contributers, blue cheddar, or the blog’s many guest writers.

As I wrote earlier, of the four Democratic candidates vying to face Walker in the June 5 Wisconsin Recall election, my pick is Kathleen Vinehout, who has said this on more than one occasion: “If you don’t like big money in politics, vote for the candidate with the least money. If you don’t like politics as usual, vote for the unusual candidate.”

So I’m following her advice, and on May 8 I’m voting for Arthur Kohl-Riggs, who is running as a Lincoln/La Follette progressive Republican. I love the idea of a progressive running as a Republican. This is taking the fight right to Walker himself, to his territory, his own party. This is taking the offensive position. It is nothing less than an occupation of the Republican party.

The Republican party began right here in Wisconsin, in the city of Ripon in 1854, as an abolitionist force opposed to the expansion of slavery into the western territories. The first Republican president was none other than Abraham Lincoln himself, to whom Art bears more than a passing resemblance. Obviously the party has strayed far—very far—from its noble beginnings.

Arthur is serious in his determination to defeat Walker. By running against him as a Republican, he’s showing himself to be a clever, resourceful young man capable of thinking outside the box. And he is young—23 years young. In our struggle against the corporate takeover of our state, most of us thought we had no choice but to rely on the often disappointing Democratic party, but very often Democratic candidates are beholden to the same corporate forces we are fighting against and are only slightly less repugnant than their GOP counterparts.

In a way, Art’s running as a Republican brings us around full circle, creates a simultaneously new and old, authentic and innovative space in which to carry on our fight. Voting as a Democrat in the primary means choosing among four candidates—all of them good, none of them perfect, none of them eliciting the fervor of the day-after-day winter protests of February and March 2011 nor the dogged determination of the campaign to collect recall signatures.

To my mind, right now, voting against Walker is paramount. And Arthur is giving us a chance to do just that, quite emphatically, on May 8 as well as on June 5. And given that my positive feelings about the four Democratic contenders aren’t anywhere near as strong as my negative feelings toward Walker, what I really, really want is to vote vehemently, adamantly against Walker.

Arthur has developed what he calls a living platform—living, because it will grow and take shape as he responds to the concerns of the people. The one thing that has incensed me most about Walker has been his refusal to listen to the people of Wisconsin. He and his cronies in the legislature have treated us with utter contempt. The people of Wisconsin need a governor who will listen to us and identify with us, who will bear in mind and heart the present and future well-being of the people of Wisconsin.

John Nichols writes:

Arthur Kohl-Riggs runs in the Wisconsin Republican tradition, a radical tradition that embraces labor rights, human rights and democracy. That’s what Wisconsin Republicans believed in for far longer than they have embraced the boilerplate language of contemporary conservatism—as espoused by Scott Walker.

“I am a Lincoln-La Follette Republican, a real Wisconsin Republican,” says Kohl-Riggs. “Scott Walker is the fake Republican.”

Arthur wrote a great piece for the Cap Times this week in which he says, “I love Wisconsin for what our state has historically valued and for how tirelessly we will fight against those who do not have the people’s best interests at heart.”

You can see Art’s interview with Wisconsin Eye here and his interview with Channel 3 News here.

Arthur’s campaign is fun. Think of it—fun! The tag line at the top of Art’s web page says “Art for Gov: Not currently the subject of an ongoing John Doe investigation!” A couple of the homegrown, grassroots campaign posters I’ve seen show Arthur dressed in top hat and bow tie, clearly evoking a young Abe Lincoln, literally running, with a tag line that says “Arthur Kohl-Riggs ‘Running’ For Gov.” It’s not that he’s not serious. He is in earnest. But the wise know it’s best in a sustained fight against evil to nurture a healthy sense of humor, which requires perspective and humility, guards against discouragement, and keeps enthusiasm and optimism fresh and vigorous.

I’m delighted that Arthur has stepped up to challenge Walker directly on his own political turf. At worst, he may help us to keep Republicans from “messing around” with the Democratic primary. At best, we give Walker the boot a month early.

For my part, I’m completely fed up with the corporate takeover of our state. I’ve had enough of big money in politics, and politics as usual makes me utterly ill. The thought of voting in the Democratic primary on May 8 smells a lot like politics as usual to me. Whereas every time I think about voting for Art on May 8, I smile.

$$ Voting Made Easy: Empowering the 99%

I’m about to buy a lawn mower, but I don’t want my money used to attack Wisconsin workers and families.

There are several lists of companies to avoid when making purchasing decisions, such as companies led by people who gave big donations directly to the Walker campaign. Buying local is usually a wise decision, but even that is problematic when most Wisconsin businesses support the Chamber of Commerce (national or local), or other organizations hostile to Wisconsin’s workers and families.

For example, Wisconsin-based Ariens is out because they belong to WMC. Illinois-based John Deere is even worse, because they not only belong to WMC, they also belong to ALEC.

It can be difficult to find a non-evil company to reward with my consumer spending, but it’s worth the effort. At the moment, I’m considering buying a Husqvarna mower. Husqvarna is apparently a Swiss company, although I’m not sure the where the mowers are actually manufactured.

Boycott lists are a good start, but aren’t enough. We need better ways to help each other identify and support companies that believe strong and prosperous families are good for the economy.

For starters, I need your suggestions on what mower to buy, and where to buy it.

Wisconsin Recall: Vinehout’s the Real Deal

Endorsements for candidates in posts here do not represent the opinions of all regular contributers, blue cheddar, or the blog’s many guest writers.

I spent most of Wednesday afternoon reading up on Kathleen Vinehout, in part because she’s the Democratic gubernatorial challenger I find most compelling, in part because a blogger I very much respect has come out solidly in her favor, and in part because that evening I would have the opportunity to ask her any questions that arose in the course of my reading.

I find Vinehout compelling because I believe she’s the candidate who has demonstrated the most support for the Wisconsin movement and has most strongly stood up to the Fitzwalkers. And she has a lot of respect and enthusiasm for what she calls the renaissance of democracy that is transforming the political landscape of the state. She has broad appeal because of her strong connections with rural and small-town Wisconsin. No one can call her a Madison or a Milwaukee Democrat.

Vinehout’s credibility is enhanced by her having been one of the Fighting Fourteen who left the state last year to slow Walker’s railroading of the Wisconsin people. If the senators hadn’t responded so quickly, the Wisconsin movement might not have been able to gain the momentum that it did. Their leaving was pivotal in galvanizing the people to stand up and make themselves heard. The senators’ bold action bolstered us, because we knew we had strong advocates in the legislature.

Vinehout, Fighting Bob Fest 2009
Vinehout spoke at the Fighting Bob Fest in Baraboo in 2009, and I remember that she was stirring and articulate and really got my progressive blood pumping. So I went to hear her speak at Wednesday night’s Drinking Liberally meeting at the Brink Lounge in Madison knowing I was going to hear a dynamic and persuasive speaker, and she did not disappoint. She exuded energy and optimism and was friendly and approachable.

She began with the story of how the fourteen senators were able to leave the state. Senate minority leader Mark Miller called the senate clerk at 11pm on Feb. 16 to verify the number of votes needed for a quorum on a budget bill. After confirming that twenty senators were needed, the clerk told Miller that on the following day a state trooper would be assigned to each one of the Democratic state senators, presumably to make sure they didn’t attempt to leave the building before the vote. Talk about heavy handed! Miller called Vinehout and the other senators first thing the next morning, thus enabling them to get away before Papa Fitzgerald’s state troopers had them hemmed in.

Vinehout affirmed her support for public education and public school teachers, her determination to see collective bargaining reinstated for public employees, and her belief in the critical importance of affordable health care for all. When asked why we should support her candidacy, she cited the breadth of her experience as a public health nurse, college professor, and organic dairy farmer as well as her six years as a state senator.

She emphasized that “we must be the change we want to see in the world,” that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” and that it’s up to us to fix this horrible mess we’re in. She said that if you don’t like politics as usual, vote for the unusual candidate. And if you don’t like money in politics, vote for the candidate with the least money.

Questions have been raised about Vinehout’s bona fides in relation to safeguarding women’s reproductive freedom, and my reading suggested that perhaps those questions will be the ones that will dog her most during this short, intense primary season.

One woman asked Vinehout Wednesday night why she is against abortion. Vinehout confirmed, though, that she believes abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” and that her legislative record confirms that belief. When asked later what she meant by “rare,” she said that providing good health care for all women, access to birth control, and good sex education would have the effect of making abortion rare. I asked about her amendment to a 2008 bill (that didn’t pass) that would have permitted a pharmacist, on the basis of conscience, to refuse to fill a prescription for contraceptives “if the pharmacist ensures that the patient will have access to the contraceptive elsewhere.” I asked why a pharmacist’s conscience should trump my ability to procure my contraceptives without costing extra money (for transportation), delay, and inconvenience.

She responded that the Wisconsin constitution has a stronger conscience clause than the U.S. Constitution has, and she wanted to ensure that the bill did not violate the state constitution, which as a senator she is sworn to uphold. She also said that a year later a bill was passed that requires pharmacies to dispense contraceptives without delay, while allowing an individual pharmacist to decline to dispense contraceptives for reasons of conscience provided that another pharmacist at that location can fill the prescription immediately.

Video – Senator Vinehout clarifies her position on access to contraception in Wisconsin:

A few minutes after she was done with the question-and-answer portion of her presentation, Vinehout came over to our table to talk to me and another woman. I asked her then, “but what about that amendment?” Even though it ultimately didn’t become law, the wording still concerned me. She conceded that the amendment was problematic and that in fact she had borrowed the language from Illinois legislation that had been supported by Planned Parenthood of Illinois. (I haven’t verified this.) She added that she was involved in writing the legislation that did pass the following year and that she prefers its language. So the 2008 amendment was probably not her finest legislative moment, but I was satisfied that it didn’t indicate a desire to restrict women’s reproductive freedom or a lack of support for women’s right to control their own reproductive choices.

So I was—and am—satisfied with Vinehout’s answers to my questions. I believe that as governor she will be a strong advocate for women’s reproductive health and freedom and, most important, will be responsive to the will of the people. I arrived Wednesday night leaning in Vinehout’s favor, and I left feeling real enthusiasm for her candidacy. She’s not riding in on a white horse to save us, which is a good thing. She’d be the first to assert that it’s we the people who will save our state. But I think she can help us do that, and I believe she’s the real deal.

Walker Protested at VFW in Appleton

Yesterday the soon to be former governor visited the V.F.W. in Appleton to sign a bill that helps military veterans. Of course, he was met with a good sized “welcoming committee”. It’s heartwarming for this wonk to know that they could get a pretty good sized crowd together on such short notice. Some people in the group estimated there were between 40 and 45 protesters present. I’ll take their word on it as I didn’t do a head count.

According to the Appleton Post Crescent, about 100 veterans and supporters turned out to witness him signing the bill. Read the Post-Crescent article for more information on this bill.

Walker arrived in a car this time, not the usual black SUV. One protester stated that he’s the “100 meter dash governor”. That observation not only made me chuckle, it seemed to be a fair assessment of what we saw. Walker really moves fast when he’s trying to get away from protesters.

An important point to remember is that people were there to protest Walker and his failed policies. They were not there to protest military veterans, in fact, quite a few people thanked the veterans for their service.

From the Post-Crescent article:

“About 25 Walker protesters gathered on sidewalks, bearing posters and pins. They yelled “Shame, shame!” as Walker came and went.
However, many protesters said they support the veterans bills — several clapped and thanked the veterans who walked past them — but they just don’t back the governor.”

There are a couple of amusing anecdotes from the protest. One veteran who was attending the event told a protester something to the effect of “I’m here to hear what the c***sucker has to say for himself”.

Another incident involved a passerby trying to yell something at the protesters. Unfortunately his teeth fell out as he was speaking so he couldn’t finish his thought. This caused the group to break into spontaneous giggles. This laughter was captured in the video below. I didn’t personally see that happen, but did hear chanting turn into laughter. It’s not too often serious chanting turns into guffaws. I’m happy to have caught that moment. The protesters may never know for sure if he was a Walker supporter because he was “silenced” when his teeth fell out. In my humble opinion no one should be silenced because they lack denture adhesive.

Any day is a good day to protest Walker and yesterday was no exception. Here are some pictures from the event.

Videographer and protester Arthur Kohl-Riggs to primary Governor Scott Walker

Art for Gov Arthur Kohl-RiggsIf you’ve seen online videos about Wisconsin protest and politics, you’ve probably seen a video recorded by Arthur Kohl-Riggs. Perhaps his most viral video is the footage of Joel Kleefisch voting 3 times on the Assembly floor. He’s also known for his fight against Wisconsin State Assembly rules that contradict a state statute which guarantees our right to record government meetings.

He is one of the most impressive Wisconsinites I’ve met in the past year. I’ve admired his conviction, vigilance, and tirelessness and the fact that he has it all at half my age. I’m glad that at his young age he is confidant enough to take on this challenge and wise enough to understand why it must be done. I support his efforts 100%.

Please help him collect signatures by visiting this event on facebook:
Nomination Signature Collection for Arthur’s Recall Campaign He needs over 2,000 valid Wisconsin signatures.

Here is Arthur’s campaign announcement:
“It is a huge honor for me to announce my official candidacy for Governor of our great State of Wisconsin against Scott Walker in the Republican primary. The decision was not made lightly. I believe that challenging Walker in the Republican primary is the most effective way for me to help facilitate the conversations Wisconsinites need to have in order to move our state forward. I hope to bring clarity and honesty, along with some much needed humor, to the rhetoric-heavy and substance-light political atmosphere.

I plan on using my campaign as a platform to highlight the hypocrisy of Scott Walker’s rhetoric. Despite the label of “Republican,” Scott Walker and his administration have proven through their radical policies that Walker is way out of line with the values and ideals of the party of Lincoln. Wisconsin has a rich and inspirational Republican tradition, represented by role models like “Fighting” Bob La Follette. It is unfortunate that Scott Walker has chosen to ignore our traditions and instead perpetuate an atmosphere of animosity and division by drawing inspiration from the likes of Reagan and McCarthy.

I also see a practical and strategic reason for running in the Republican primary. By ensuring that Walker has an opponent on the primary ballot I am encouraging his supporters to cast their vote for him, rather than voting to disingenuously influence the Democratic nomination process.

If you are interested in getting involved please visit my website,, and “like” my facebook page Art For Gov. Any questions or concerns can be emailed to me at

Recall Walker,

Arthur Kohl-Riggs”

You can hear Sly of WTDY interviewing Art at this link.

Show Me What Solidarity Looks Like

Political life in the United States has become so noxious and hostile that extreme partisan polarization, name-calling, smears, and schoolyard taunts have become commonplace. Thanks in large part to our collective addiction to the miraculous medium of television, our attention spans rarely amount to more than a minute and a half. We expect every issue to have two very clear-cut equal-and-opposite sides, and only two. “You are either with us, or you are against us.” In other words, quit with your pesky questions and jump on the god-damned bandwagon. People on one side seldom speak to anyone on the other side in anything more than sound bites. Stark divisions make much more entertaining TV than reasoned discourse. Because commonality doesn’t sell, we have allowed ourselves to forget that there are things we hold in common. Important things.

It is within this toxic political context that we come to a pivotal moment in the course of the Wisconsin uprising. We have marched and protested; we have mobilized the grass roots; we have collected and submitted more than enough signatures. So now what?

The last thing we need is for Wisconsin’s upcoming recall election to fall into the dreadful, deadening pattern of politics as usual. The barroom brawl that now serves as our political “discourse” has already been dramatically altered by our civil, peaceful uprising. We have already accomplished so much. But we aren’t anywhere near finished yet. In fact, we’re really only just getting started.

Many of us are disappointed that neither Russ Feingold nor Peter Barca are running for governor. Jessica Vanegeren wrote in the Cap Times last week of a “palpable lack of enthusiasm among many voters for any of [Walker’s] potential opponents.”

It’s time to carefully examine the merits of those opponents: former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, who has garnered several union endorsements; state senator Kathleen Vinehout, who was one of the courageous Wisconsin 14 who fled the state to give the people time to understand and react to Walker’s budget bill bomb; secretary of state Doug La Follette, the longest-serving Wisconsin state official; and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, who ran a close race against Walker in 2010.

Maybe none of them is quite the hero we were hoping for, but maybe that’s a good thing. No one person or politician is going to fix this for us. No one is riding in on a white horse. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

It’s time once again to muster our courage and blaze a new trail, to renew our commitment to better governance for the people of Wisconsin: equal access to good education and good health care; renewed commitment to collective bargaining and workers’ rights; and transparent, open government that is responsive to the Wisconsin electorate. These are the the issues that stir our passions.

Those of us who have participated in the Wisconsin uprising are not going to agree on who is the best candidate. Not until after May 8 (the date of the primary), that is. After May 8, all of us must solidly get behind the candidate we have collectively chosen to replace Walker. Over the course of the next five weeks, there will be much that we do not agree on. But we do need to agree on how we’re going to conduct ourselves. Our-way-or-the-highway isn’t going to cut it. If you’re for Falk and I’m for LaFollette, that doesn’t mean that either of us is betraying the movement that we’re so deeply invested in. That’s not to say that valid criticism of any of the Democratic candidates is off limits. Of course it’s not. But rather than win-at-any-cost personal attacks, those criticisms should be civil, respectful, and substantive.

We also need to remember that, contrary to what the mainstream media are reporting, the push to recall Walker et al. hasn’t just come from liberals and progressives. Many who consider themselves conservatives have been deeply offended by the Fitzwalker assault on the state; some not only signed the recall petition but helped to gather signatures. Just because the mainstream media has ignored them doesn’t mean that we should too. This is their movement as well as ours.

In a column in today’s Cap Times, Ed Garvey rightly issues a stirring call for solidarity: “The success or failure of the uprising turns on solidarity in the ranks. After June 5, Scott Walker will be finished as a national leader of the right-wing tea party or he will become a hero to the Koch brothers. The stories told to your grandchildren decades from now will end on a high note or you will be forced to explain how we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”

But let’s be clear about what solidarity is and what it isn’t. Solidarity does not mean uniformity. What we need now is something virtually unheard of in today’s political climate: reasoned and respectful public discourse. We can—and must—raise questions and discuss our inevitable differences without attacking each other or questioning each other’s motives or commitment.

Let’s continue with the trailblazing and show the rest of the country what solidarity looks like. Let’s keep it classy and honest and renew our commitment to what binds us together: a deep and abiding love for the people of Wisconsin. We have come so far. We still have a long way to go. Let’s do this. And let’s do it right.

Barrett to Sykes on Walker union-busting: “No” to changes in rights, “Yes” to cuts in benefits

I honestly wasn’t paying close attention to Tom Barrett a year ago. By the recordings from the time, which you’ll soon hear, it sounds like he was trying very hard to distance himself from the Dem14 and look like a Wisconsin blue dog*. When you’re done with the post, let me know: Does this anger you? Or make him seem like *more* of a viable contender against Scott Walker?

I visited the Cognitive Dissidence blog and came across  this video and longer audio segment from a conversation candidate for Governor and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett had with conservative radio host Charlie Sykes when the 14 Democratic senators of Wisconin were still in Illinois over Walker’s “budget repair bill”, Wisconsin Act 10.

I don’t particularly like either recording BUT to be fair to Tom Barrett, you should listen to the longer recording. It lets you know that Barrett would not rubber stamp Walker’s bill.

If you listen to only the sampled YouTube recording, it’s not all there.

You’ll hear Barrett say that he would pass WI Act 10 – Walker’s so-called “Budget Repair Bill” – by *not* saying collective bargaining changes are fiscal. In so doing, he says, he would be able to get around needing a quorum of 20 state senators. Therefore the absence of the 14 Democratic senators would not keep the legislature at a standstill.

Barrett says, “You could vote on those tomorrow morning.”  

If you listen to the longer interview recording, you will hear Barrett say that he would not go all the way with what Walker wanted to do to unions. He says that he would alter health insurance and retirement benefits but he would vote “no on the changes in collective bargaining”.

Barrett: “The vast majority of the people in this state agree that public employees should pay more towards their healthcare and toward their pensions.”

Sykes: “Except they don’t”.

Barrett: “Except they don’t. But the bill will do that and and the bill will pass and the bill should pass.”

Sykes: “But the bill can’t bind local governments and the 100’s of local unions.”

Barrett: “But it can do a lot. Certainly with those who are in the Wisconsin Retirement System. Those are almost all public employees with the state with the exception of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County… ”

Barrett: “But again, if someone really wanted to end this stand-off the way you would end it is simply have a separate vote.”
Sykes: “Would you favor that?”
Barrett: “I would certainly favor that.”
Sykes: “Would you vote for that.”

Barrett: “I would vote for the changes in the healthcare and the pension. I would vote “no” on the changes in collective bargaining. But there’s the rub.”

Here’s the longer audio segmentsource: 620 WTMJ

Here’s the text that appears with the Sykes audio on the 620 web site: “Friday, Jan 20, 2012 During “Insight 2011″ back in March of last year, Mayor Tom Barrett discussed Governor Walker’s Act 10 which, at the time, had sent Democrat State Senators into hiding. This excerpt may be of particular interest to the new Kathleen Falk campaign.”

Image of a blue stuffed dog repeated 4 times. by mcbridejc creative commons license.*from the Blue Dog Coalition
“The Blue Dog Coalition was created in 1995 to represent the commonsense middle of the Democratic Party. Blue Dogs advocate for mainstream American values, a commitment to fiscal responsibility, and a strong national defense.

The name “Blue Dog” originates from the long-time tradition of referring to a strong Democratic Party supporter as being a “Yellow Dog Democrat,” who would, “vote for a yellow dog if it was listed on the ballot as a Democrat.” Leading up to the 1994 election the founding members of the Blue Dogs felt that they had been “choked blue” by the extremes of both political parties.

Currently, the Blue Dog Coalition is comprised of 25 conservative and moderate members who represent every corner of the country and continue to work to end the divisive and toxic nature of politics today. They work with members of both parties to find areas of compromise and to advance public policies that benefit the entire nation.

The Blue Dogs also have a number of policy task forces focused on the important issues facing our nation today, including: small business development, federal oversight and regulatory review, and energy independence.

Blue Dogs are not beholden to any political party leadership, but rather the constituents they represent.”

blue dog image is from mcbridejc

Rep. Peter Barca will not run for Gov. of Wisconsin. His letter to supporters.

A facebook note from Wisconsin Assembly Rep. Peter Barca dated 03/31/12

“This morning I sent this personal note below to my supporters who have urged me to run for governor. I am deeply grateful and humbled — and look forward to working together with all of you who want to take back our great state of Wisconsin!

Dear friends,
Let me thank you personally for all of your kind support and encouragement for me to run for governor the past month.

After careful reflection, I have decided not to run for governor in the upcoming recall election. It was a very difficult decision, in no small part because I have been so moved by the emails, calls and requests from so many active, caring citizens like yourself who have been at the forefront of our movement to restore Wisconsin values to our state government. Your passion and compassion for the people of our state has been such an inspiration to me, and I believe all of the elected leaders in the Capitol, as we have been fighting for more than a year against the extreme, divisive agenda of Gov. Walker.

You have worked tirelessly to protect a democracy that prioritizes values of clean, open and transparent government. And you have given so much in our fight to return to representation that respects and listens to the opinions of our typical working Wisconsin families. You continue to inspire me.

However, in the final analysis, my decision came down to what is best for all of us who are working together as a broad front to win back Wisconsin. In order to stop the assault we have seen on middle-class families we need to win the recalls to take back the governor’s office and a win a majority in the state Senate, however equally important we must achieve a majority in the state Assembly in this fall’s elections. All three parts of state government are essential to truly undo the serious damage that has been done this past year to the values we hold dear in Wisconsin.

Together, we can do this. I know this because I had the honor this session to lead Assembly Democrats during our fight against taking away workers’ rights. I am so proud of what my Assembly colleagues accomplished as we kept a public hearing going for more than 124 hours so over 4,300 citizens could speak after the budget committee’s Republican chairpersons shut down an official hearing. And you were all with us in the Capitol – most of the time in person and always in spirit – as we stayed on the Assembly floor for a record 61 hours bringing scrutiny to the “bomb” Gov. Walker dropped on the people of Wisconsin. Together we used that time to inform all our citizens about Walker’s plan to take away workers’ rights, pack government with political cronies and sell off our power plants with no-bid contracts. You even met us on the Capitol lawn for office hours –when we had to move our desks in the snow – so we could talk after Republicans locked you out of the Capitol.

All of us, citizens and legislators alike were united, at times beyond exhaustion, but we stuck together and continued fighting against a budget that will cripple our great public schools while giving millions more in tax dollars to unaccountable voucher schools and add taxes to working people while giving special interests billions in breaks. We argued vehemently against socially extreme bills that did such things as doing away with equal pay protections for women and kicking vulnerable children off their health care.

These extreme measures, and our valiant but vain attempts to get Republicans to take up meaningful bills that create jobs now, required the full attention of me and my Assembly colleagues this spring. Worse even the last week of session we had over 100 bills, many very extreme that we had to battle – up to 31 hours straight in the final days. That attention, I believe, will pay dividends in the future but it did not allow me adequate time to fully prepare for a gubernatorial campaign.

Of course, to make a difference in an election one does not need to be the nominee, as so many of you have proven. I certainly will continue to make this recall a priority as I work for another goal that is also monumentally important: the Assembly elections this fall.

As many of you have continually reminded me, restoring our rights for workers and our democratic values can only happen if we also win back the Assembly. Therefore, I will focus most of my energy on that task and I hope many of you will help us in both these goals.

We must have a unified, broad front and work together to undo the damage Gov. Walker and the Republicans have done this past year in disregarding our traditions and trampling on our values. I pledge to you my friends and fellow citizens, who have done so much to support me, that I will be right there by your side as we rally together to win back Wisconsin and then work hard legislatively to move Wisconsin forward!

With my deep thanks, respect and gratitude,

Peter Barca”