Compiled by Courier Staff
Eyes nationwide were zeroed in on the historic recall election held Tuesday, June 5 in Wisconsin. The past 16 months have been an experience that this state has never experienced before. A divided state, extreme changes in legislation where many legislators, mostly democrats have felt disrespected and overlooked. All of these facts and more lead to a recall effort that put Governor Scott Walker and other republican legislators jobs on the line.
Tuesday’s election results allowed Walker and all but one other republican legislator to keep their jobs. Senator Van Wanggaard (R) however was defeated by John Lehman (D), giving back a majority to the democrats in the state senate. There is a chance however that with such a slim margin win, Wanggaard could contest the results.
Sen. Wanggaard has refused to concede. A spokesman for him stated: “We owe it to all of Senator Wanggaard’s supporters and the voters of Wisconsin to thoroughly examine the election and its results and act accordingly once we have all of the information,” Justin Phillips reportedly told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett who ran against Walker urged his supporters to remain engaged in not only the political process, but also in working hard to reunite Wisconsin. He stated how proud he was of the campaign, its supporters and the everyday people that he encountered during this recall election process.
Barrett also praised the enthusiasm and momentum that was demonstrated during this race, and stated how important it was to keep it growing. He conceded the election on Tuesday night, once the numbers reflected 90 plus percentage election results. He said that he called and congratulated Walker, and stressed to him the importance to work together and reunite the state.
The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO released the following statement regarding the outcome of the election:
“Today the people of Wisconsin flipped the State Senate in support of working people and middle class families,’ said Wisconsin State AFL-CIO president, Phil Neuenfeldt.
“The Wisconsin Movement is just that, a movement, and it will continue to change, grow, and adapt to hold politicians accountable and continue the fight for working families all across Wisconsin.
The systematic dismantling of democracy by those who want to crush the working middle class will not stand.
Dark clouds of extremism may temporarily obscure the horizon, but the bright light of American values—equality, economic justice, country over self—will inevitably shine through. In the spirit of true patriotism, with every confidence in the people of Wisconsin and our nation, we fight on.”
“History will show that this recall attempt did not end in vain,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “We were outspent 8 to 1 and defied the odds amidst a flood of secret corporate dollars.
While out of state millionaires and billionaires may have bought this election for Gov. Walker, this is only the beginning of working people standing up and standing together to put a check on the ever-growing corporate control of politics. We take great pride in the unprecedented grassroots effort that mobilized hundreds of thousands of people across the state in defense of economic justice.
We look with hope toward a future in which the movement that we have created continues to resist the extremist agenda that Scott Walker and his billionaire ideologue backers want to force on Wisconsin and America.”
Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate released the following statement as well:
“The results Tuesday do not stop our firm opposition to the changes sought by Scott Walker. In fact, even as we congratulate Scott Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin on winning a hard-fought fight, we look for him to join us in changing the tenor and tone of the debate.
Because the debate must continue. Unions must be able to bargain collectively and provide workers with basic protections. The middle class must not be asked to give up protections built together over the years even while the richest among us sacrifice not at all. Our elected officials must speak with the public honestly and operate an open government, not flout our laws and our norms.
And finally, regardless of party, Wisconsin must be Wisconsin again, without the big money Tea Party influence that has colonized our state, turned neighbor-against-neighbor and created an idea dangerous to democracy, that our very government is up for sale.
This momentous season of recalls, and the outcome it has produced, will be analyzed and analyzed again. But there is no question that this is merely the beginning, not the end, of this conversation. As it continues, we must find common ground for Wisconsin to be Wisconsin again.”