Tag Archives: recall election

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hints at run for a third term

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hinted Wednesday that he might run for a third term.

Walker hasn’t said yet whether he plans to run again after his current term ends in 2018. But in a speech to the state chamber of commerce, one of his biggest backers, he seemed to open the door wider than he had before.

The governor’s political future came up when he talked about an initiative he planned to unveil in next month’s State of the State address. Walker said he wants to gather input from Wisconsin residents about the future of the state to determine what people’s shared values and goals are.

He compared the state to the growth of a tree.

“For us, we want a state that grows upward, that grows out full, that includes everyone, that lifts everyone up with freedom and prosperity, not just for today but for generations to come,” Walker said. “I’m certainly committed to that through the remainder of my term or whatever terms I’m blessed to serve thereafter.”

In September, after his failed presidential run, Walker said he had not decided whether he was going to run for a third term.

“I haven’t ruled anything out in that regard,” he said then. “I enjoy being governor. I’ll be focused on being governor the next three years and sometime between now and November of 2018, I’ll make a decision as to whether or not to seek a third term.”

Walker’s spokeswoman did not immediately return an email asking whether he had now made up his mind.

The governor has some work to do over the next three years if he hopes to be elected again. His approval ratings fell to record lows during his short-lived presidential campaign, and they haven’t rebounded much since he dropped out on Sept. 21. The latest Marquette University Law School poll released on Nov. 19 showed Walker with just 38 percent approval.

Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Brandon Weathersby pointed to the poll numbers as evidence there’s no interest in a third term for Walker.

“The voters know it wouldn’t be a blessing to see Scott Walker as governor for another four years — that’s why his approval rating continues to sink to lower and lower,” Weathersby said.

During Walker’s tenure, Wisconsin has become the most politically divided state in the nation, the middle class has shrunk more than in any other state and Wisconsin has lagged near the bottom for job growth during much of his term. Walker came nowhere near his signature promise to create 250,000 jobs during his first term, and he slashed education funding more than any other governor.

Wisconsin incomes have fallen from 2009 to 2014.

Walker was out of the state for the first few months of his second term campaigning for president, after promising that he wouldn’t run for president during his re-election campaign last year.

After his presidential campaign imploded from a lack of fundraising and lackluster poll numbers in early voting states, Walker recommitted himself to spending time in Wisconsin. He also got behind divisive measures in the Legislature, signing into law a bill that does away with secret John Doe investigations into public misconduct.

He said he intends to sign a bill next week that passed without Democratic support to do away with the state’s nonpartisan elections board, replacing it with a pair of commissions that include partisan appointees.

He tried to get rid of the state’s open records law and is likely to do so again. Next week, his Republican legislative leaders plan to go after the Legislative Audit Bureau, which predicts the cost of bills, among other duties.

Walker also plans to sign a Republican-backed measure that will rewrite the state’s campaign finance laws to allow for coordination between candidates and independent advocacy groups, double candidate contribution limits and do away with a requirement that donors disclose who they work for.

The governor also plans to get rid of the state’s civil service bill, which was adopted a century ago to rid cronyism and corruption from the process of hiring and keeping state workers.

Walker became the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall election in 2012. That recall was spurred by anger over his proposal that effectively eliminated collective bargaining for most state workers, a measure that roiled the state and brought weeks of protests as large as 100,000 people to the Capitol.

But in his speech Wednesday to the right-wing Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, which has supported the governor with massive campaign donations, Walker talked more about bringing people together than the numerous contentious measures that have been the hallmark of his tenure as governor.

“Together we need to work on saying what are our goals for the next five, 10, 15, 20, 25 years beyond,” Walker said Wednesday. “What is our goal for the state of Wisconsin? What are our multiple goals for the kind of state we want to be?”

Louis Weisberg contributed to this report.


Former intern who rushed to Giffords’ rescue target of anti-gay political campaign

Opponents seeking to unseat Daniel Hernandez Jr. from a local school board in Arizona are using anti-gay material in their campaign.

One flyer says, “Put a REAL man on the Sunnyside Board,” states that Hernandez is “LGBT” and asserts “We need someone who will support Sports and cares about our kids. We don’t need someone who HATES our values.”

A second flyer says Hernandez only cares about taking away guns from people.

Both are encouraging support for the recall of Hernandez from the Tucson-area school board. To hold a recall, petitioners need to collect about 1,300 signatures by mid-December.

Hernandez gained some national notice in politics in 2011. He’s the openly gay former intern who rushed to care for Gabriele Giffords after a shooting outside a supermarket where she was holding a congressional meet-and-greet.

RightWingWatch, a campaign affiliated with the liberal People for the American Way group, reported that four Sunnyside Unified School District members are targeted in one recall effort, launched over the members’ support of a school superintendent. Another recall effort has been launched against two members who opposed the superintendent, including Hernandez.

“But the tactics being used against Hernandez are unusual,” RightWingWatch said, referring to the flyers.

Anti-gay Michigan mayor faces recall

The Michigan mayor who in 2011 disparaged gays on her Facebook page is facing a recall election.

The Oakland County Elections Division certified that Troy Mayor Janice Daniels, elected less than a year ago, will be in a recall election on Nov. 6.

The elections office certified that the recall petitions exceeded the required number of valid signatures by more than 100. Daniels had contested the petitions, hoping to block the vote.

She was elected last November and soon after became embroiled in controversies.

An anti-gay post she had made to Facebook months earlier, in June 2011, went viral on the Web and prompted calls for her resignation. The post, in reference to New York state legalizing gay marriage, read, “I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there.”

Daniels, to quiet the fury, apologized for the post and told the press that she did not get rid of the bag.

Still, a real estate company dismissed Daniels, saying that it could not employ someone who was intolerant of a group of people.

And a December 2011 poll by the Detroit News found that 41.4 percent of Troy’s citizens had an unfavorable view of Daniels, 44.7 percent said they would vote for a recall and 37 percent said she should resign.

Daniels also has been criticized for her vote against a new public transportation center and a speech critical of former city manager John Szerlag.

“The recall campaign looks forward to the November ballot, when responsible leadership will be restored to the city of Troy,” said petitioners from the group Recall Janice Daniels in a statement on July 16.

Pasch to take on Darling in recall election

State Rep. Sandy Pasch decided to run for public office several years ago while listening to a public radio report about what was happening at the Capitol. The big topics on the legislative agenda of the day were enacting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and deciding whether to call the Christmas tree at the Capitol a “holiday tree.”

Pasch, a psychiatric nurse concerned about education, healthcare and the environment, said she was enraged that lawmakers in Madison were focusing on divisive, mean-spirited and irrelevant issues when she saw so many problems around her that needed to be addressed.

As the mother of a gay teen, she was particularly disturbed that elected officials sought to limit her family’s freedom. “This was my son that they were talking about,” she said. “They were taking away his rights. That was a moment for me.”

Pasch, a Democrat from Whitefish Bay, won election to the Assembly in 2008 and re-election in November 2010. Now she’s jumping into one of the highest-profile state races in the country, challenging right-wing Republican state Sen. Alberta Darling in a recall election in the 8th Senate District. The election is expected to be held on July 12.

“People approached me about entering the race, and the more I thought about it the more I realized we’ve got to save Wisconsin,” Pasch said. “That sounds so melodramatic, but I really feel like Wisconsin is headed down a dangerous road, the road of the extreme right-wing agenda.”

Since January, Pasch said she and her fellow Democrats in Madison have watched as Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP majority has stripped away worker’s rights, slashed funding for education and healthcare, eliminated environmental and consumer protections, and hobbled the ability of local governments to serve their citizens.  At the same time, they’ve cut corporate taxes and engaged in a political power grab unlike anything the state has ever seen.

“We’ve got to get control of at least one of the houses and stop this nonsense,” Pasch said. “All our values are being threatened. Everything that makes us great is being undermined. Take education. How do you grow the state and grow jobs when you decimate the public school system? Meanwhile, (Republicans are) blaming the most vulnerable people in the state for our financial problems. We’re talking about people with disabilities and seniors. The family care system that allows people our parents’ age to stay in their homes with assistance is even under attack.”

The 8th Senate District, which includes the affluent communities of River Hills, Fox Point, Mequon, Whitefish Bay and Shorewood, boasts some of the state’s best public schools. In fact, that’s what draws many families to the area.

“The key message in this race is education,” Pasch said. “Alberta Darling is gutting public education. It’s a quality issue in this district.”

Another issue that’s likely to emerge near the top of voter concerns in the 8th District is municipal services. The Republican budget, supported by Darling, slashes shared revenue for local communities and, at the same time, puts strict limits on what local governments can do to raise revenue. Although Walker stressed that his ban on collective bargaining by government workers would lower the cost of local government, he exempted police and fire workers from the ban – and their services represent the lion’s share of local expenses.

Pasch said the result of this budget is that residents in many areas will have to pay for services that local governments once provided. With property taxes already high in many 8th District communities, that scenario is not going over well with local officials, Pasch said.

“What I’ve been hearing from village managers and village trustees is that (residents) will either have to pay fees or receive fewer services,” Pasch said. “And fees aren’t deductible from federal taxes. (Officials are) very disheartened. They feel (Republicans) are taking away local control and telling them how much they can spend on local services and not allowing them to raise revenue. We elect local officials to manage our local communities, not Scott Walker or Alberta Darling.”

When Darling, who was once on the board of Planned Parenthood, won her first election to the Assembly in 1990, she positioned herself as a moderate. But as religious extremists and Tea Party radicals commandeered the state’s Republican Party, Darling has followed their orders and now “marches hand in hand with the right-wing rhetoric,” Pasch said.

Darling’s voting record backs up Pasch’s assertion. She’s received zero ratings from Fair Wisconsin and the ACLU of Wisconsin, while at the other end of the spectrum she’s received perfect scores from right-wing groups such as Wisconsin Right to Life, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Americans for Prosperity, a front group for the billionaire Koch brothers’ corporate-right agenda.

“She’s pretty extreme now,” Pasch said.

Despite widespread voter anger over Walker’s agenda, Pasch faces an uphill battle. Wealthy corporate players like the Koch brothers are expected to spend whatever it takes to keep this seat.  And Darling is a good campaigner. In 2008, which was a watershed year for Democrats, she still managed to beat Rep. Sheldon Wasserman by a slim margin.

Political observers expect this to be a close race, which means that a strong LGBT voter turnout for Pasch could make a critical difference.

Records show reason for recall

Only four months into the year, we already have witnessed our entire state government take a radical turn to the right. It started with an unprecedented attack on working families, but it is quickly extending beyond. No wonder an unprecedented number of recall efforts have been launched.

The enthusiasm to recall eligible Republican state senators has been demonstrated in many ways. In most cases the efforts have led to 40 to 50 percent more signatures being submitted for recall than were required by law. Six of the eight eligible Republicans could face recall elections this summer.

These Republicans are extremists who have all demonstrated hostility toward the LGBT community. Most of them repeatedly supported the discriminatory constitutional amendment in 2006 that banned marriage equality. They also voted against the historic domestic partnership registry that finally passed in the 2009 budget. Many of them voted against bullying legislation that was meant to better protect our children from harassment and violence.

The Republican senators’ dismissive attitude toward the LGBT community is not a recent phenomenon. During the budget process in 2007, Senate Democrats included domestic partner benefits for state workers and their families. Even though this would have been a huge benefit for LGBT families, Sen. Alberta Darling protested by saying it was “not a family friendly budget.” It is not precisely clear what kind of “family” she was referring to at the time, but given her record in recent years she probably was not thinking about gay and lesbian families.

It also has become clear that many of the Republican senators targeted for recall have a cozy relationship with the most homophobic forces in the state. For example, in 2009, Sen. Dan Kapanke shared a stage with Wisconsin’s leading anti-gay crusader, Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Action. That appearance, coupled with his votes against the LGBT community, tell us everything that we need to know about his position on equality.

Not all of the senate Republicans have always been so hostile to gay and lesbian families. In 1993, then-state Rep. Tammy Baldwin succeeded in getting a couple of her Republican colleagues to support President Bill Clinton’s efforts to end discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military. One of those colleagues, nearly 18 years ago, was a much more moderate Darling. Unfortunately, each ensuing year has seen her moderation wane. By 2004, according to votesmart.org, she earned a score of 0 from Fair Wisconsin. It is truly sad that she went from taking such a reasonable stand in 1993 to obstructing equality on a regular basis.

The bottom line is that there are many reasons to join the movement to recall senate Republicans this summer. Whether it is their attack on working Wisconsinites, on the LGBT community or a combination of both, one thing has become crystal clear: Their records of extremism are out of synch with the majority of fair-minded people in our state.