Walker’s recall starts now

Cory Liebmann

After 11 months of one extreme policy after the other, Wisconsinites finally get their opportunity to start the recall process against Gov. Scott Walker. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin, United Wisconsin and other grassroots groups officially launched the recall process on Nov. 15. The groups have fanned out across the entire state with recall petition stations in every county.

For the effort to successfully move forward, they need to obtain at least 540,000 valid signatures. But organizers have set their goal at 650,000 to 700,000, which would provide some padding if some of them are ruled invalid.   

This historic recall effort is every bit as necessary as it is unprecedented. Walker and his administration have forced just about every radical right wing idea through the Legislature since taking office. Their assault on the rights of working people through the elimination of collective bargaining rights garnered much of the attention earlier this year, but the list of their destructive policies goes much further. 

Wisconsin has always taken pride in its education system. Walker has cut what amounts to $1.6 billion from public education over the current biennium. He has cut more from education than any other governor in the country.

Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction recently published a survey showing that Walker’s drastic cuts forced public schools to lay off teachers and increase class size. The UW system has been cut by $250 million and technical colleges have lost $70 million in funding. How will Wisconsinites of the future compete for jobs in a growingly sophisticated international employment market without adequate educational preparation?

The Walker administration has also detailed a plan to cut Medicaid by over $500 million, which could throw 65,000 Wisconsinites off safety net healthcare programs. Over half of the losers will likely be children.  Walker, of course, has enjoyed taxpayer financed health coverage for most of his adult life.  

Walker vowed during the 2010 campaign to create 250,000 new jobs. But now even his own administration has admitted that he will fail to deliver on that promise. While he has been doling out tax cuts to the wealthy and his special interest supporters, Wisconsin has continued to lose jobs. In fact the state is in a continued downward cycle of job loss even while the nation has, albeit modestly, added jobs.

The reason is that Walker and his rubber-stamp Legislature have focused on just about everything but jobs. During their latest so-called special session on jobs, they failed to pass a single piece of related legislation.  Instead they wasted time on requiring abstinence education in schools, further attacking women’s right to choose and passing the legislative wish list of radical groups like the National Rifle Association.  The so-called special session focused on an extremist right wing social agenda rather than job creation.

Even though Walker has only been in office for 11 months, the list of damaging actions by his administration is far too long for one column. That’s why the unprecedented action of recalling him is not only justified but is absolutely necessary.

To successfully accomplish this critical goal, everyone’s participation is needed. You can find out where to sign a recall petition by visiting wisdems.org/recallhq or unitedwisconsin.com.  After you’ve signed the recall petition, please consider volunteering your time to collect more signatures.