Barrett re-elected, eyes on Walker recall

By Cassandra Lans

Tom Barrett

Last week the Government Accountability Board (GAB) certified the recall election against Scott Walker, and following that announcement Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced that he would again run against Walker. On Tuesday, April 3, 2012 Barrett was re-elected as Mayor and Common Council president Willie Hines, Jr. was re-elected as Alderman for the 15th District.

This leaves Milwaukee with the following road map if Barrett defeats Walker, Hines will have an opportunity to sit in the mayor’s seat as Common Council president moves to that position.

Barrett stated in his announcement for governor the following, that deciding to run against Walker was not a decision made lightly. He also said that he love this state and that is why he ran in 2010. Despite a strong and energetic campaign he said that he believes the Tea Party wave was successful in taking him and Russ Feingold out.

Barrett says in reference to Scott Walker as governor, “He ‘dropped the bomb,’ as he said, and ended 50 years of labor peace and worker protections — something he never said he’d do during the 2010 campaign. I know, because I was there. As governor, I will fight to restore collective bargaining rights, because it’s the right thing to do, and it’s necessary to heal Wisconsin.”

And in the further aftermath of Governor Walker, Milwaukee is still feeling the pain. On Wednesday, the day after the election, Mayor Barrett and Congresswoman Gwen Moore found themselves going to meet with Talgo workers to express concern and repeat calls for the State of Wisconsin to reconsider its decision that will lead to job losses at the Milwaukee operation.

This week, Talgo began the required legal process of officially notifying its workers and the State of its planned layoffs. The notice was prompted by the impending completion of the manufacturing work on new trains for Wisconsin and Oregon. The company had anticipated building additional trains at the Century City facility for Wisconsin, but Governor Walker halted that work and returned the funding for the new trains to the federal government.

Maintenance work will continue on the trains Talgo will deliver to Wisconsin, but the future of that work has been called into question following actions by the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee and Governor Walker to stop the financing for the maintenance operation.

Mayor Barrett believes the State Department of Transportation submitted inflated cost numbers to legislators that led the policy makers to mistakenly conclude that deploying the new trains was not economically justified. If the maintenance work stops in Milwaukee, future trains built by Talgo in the United States are unlikely to be manufactured in Milwaukee.

Mayor Barrett has also asked that Democratic candidates who are also running against Walker must not engage in civil war themselves. The ultimate goal is to get Walker out, he has done enough to cause a civil war in the state, and that should be enough. Barrett has gone as far as to propose that all Democrats running in the recall election sign a clean campaign pledge. This pledge seeks to have each candidate take responsibility for any negative attacks in the primary campaign – as well as negative attacks by any independent third party campaign organizations supporting their candidacies. He said, “Democrats are entitled to a campaign about Wisconsin’s future, and that’s why candidates must be willing to be held accountable for their ads — and ads run by those groups that who support them.”