Wisconsin Wave, activists rally at Capitol

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Hundreds of Wisconsinites on Jan. 10 gathered outside the state Capitol with the Wisconsin Wave, organizers of the "Rally to Reject This Puppet Legislature."

Speakers and demonstrators delivered to lawmakers their message that the majority party – the GOP – has no democratic authority to govern "because the fall general election was rigged via unprecedented, hyper-partisan gerrymandering," according to a news release.

"The Republicans lost the statewide popular vote in the Assembly by over 167,000 votes, yet they retain a 60-39 majority,” said Sarah Manski of the Wisconsin Wave. "They also lost the statewide popular vote in the Senate by more than 100,000, yet now enjoy an 18-15 majority there."

Manski continued, "This is the most egregious level of gerrymandering in Wisconsin history, yet the majority party is planning on again forcing through an anti-worker, anti-child, anti-environment agenda that Wisconsin did not vote for. That's not democracy in any sense of the word, that's tyranny! We call on the Legislature to resign, and for new elections to be held following a non-partisan redistricting process."

Rally speakers included Andy Heidt of AFSCME Local 1871, Kerry Motoviloff of Madison Teachers Inc., environmentalist Carl Sack of the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice and Eleni Schirmer of the Teaching Assistants' Association, who urged unity in fighting to protect the Wisconsin way of life.

"We're only going to win this fight by moving forward together," Schirmer said.

Heidt said, "We must join together and rise up with even greater strength than we did two years ago. The stakes are just as high, and only a mass movement targeting the power behind this anti-democratic agenda will stop it."

Motoviloff said Wisconsin's K-12 education system was under assault. "It is the moral responsibility of every leader to ensure that our educational system is adequately funded. Until that happens we will continue to be here at the Capitol representing the majority of Wisconsinites who support fully funding our public schools."

Sack spoke about possible mining rules changes in Wisconsin: "We all need clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and living wage jobs to support our families. The proposed iron mine in the Penokee hills would give us none of those things, desecrating northern Wisconsin's environment while funneling the wealth of our communities to out-of-state interests."