Conservative group hits the road in Wisconsin
May 17th, 2012
05:03 PM ET
10 years ago

Conservative group hits the road in Wisconsin

(CNN) – The conservative group Americans for Prosperity said Thursday they were embarking on a bus tour of Wisconsin ahead of the state's gubernatorial recall election on June 5.

The intention of the tour is to highlight "budget reforms passed and signed into law last session" – exactly the sticking point for Wisconsin Democrats, who petitioned to have Republican Gov. Scott Walker recalled after he cut collective bargaining rights for union workers last winter.

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"The 2011 legislative session was historic in Wisconsin and will provide the building blocks for future reforms," Luke Hilgemann, state director of AFP's Wisconsin chapter, said in a statement. "Wisconsin was able to see what happens when we have strong leaders who stand up for economic freedom. This tour will be a great way for us to reach out to folks across the state and educate them on exactly what got passed in the last session."

Walker, who was elected governor in 2010, set off a firestorm when he proposed measures curtailing the collective bargaining rights of most Wisconsin state employees.

With GOP majorities in both houses of the state legislature, Walker and his allies voted to limit raises for public employees except police and firefighters to the rate of inflation, bar unions from deducting dues from workers' paychecks and force them to hold a new certification vote every year. That bill was signed into law in March, following weeks of protests at the state capitol building in Madison.

Republicans insisted the provisions were necessary to control the skyrocketing costs of public employee benefits and close the budget shortfall. Democrats argued it was an attempt to gut public-sector labor unions, one of their core constituencies.

According to a Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday, 50% of people likely to vote in Wisconsin's June 5 election say they back Walker, with 44% saying they support Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat who won his party's primary last week,

AFP said as part of their tour, 70 staff members would be recruiting volunteers to call voters and canvass neighborhoods to promote Walker's achievements over the past two years. In a release, the group said they would launch similar efforts in other states later this year.

More needs to be done but this tour is a chance to celebrate what has already been accomplished and show that Wisconsin is ready for more," Hilgemann said in his statement.

Also on Thursday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent an email to supporters asking for donations to support their efforts in Wisconsin.

"If Republicans are going to launch an assault on worker's rights and the middle class, we're going to stand up and fight them every step of the way from Wisconsin to Washington, D.C. We already have field organizers on the ground in key districts - but we have to get going quickly," DCCC Field Director Brynne Craig wrote in the email.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Also see:

Obama campaign focuses on military families

Senate's all-day budget debate dominated by politics

Bain back-and-forth continues

Big spending and close polls in Wisconsin recall battle

Filed under: Wisconsin
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. w l jones

    All those people running around the country do not have jobs. No wonder the middle class tired of working for these welfare cheaters.

    May 17, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  2. Jane

    I'd be interested to know the ratio breakdown of out-of-state, laundered money from Rove, Koch Bros etc. versus donations from people who actually live and work in Wisconsin. I'm thinking 90%-10%.

    May 17, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    Shouldn't the money for that tour bus be better spent in better to pay for teachers, firefighters and policemen?
    You can't complain about what others are doing then you go waste money.

    May 18, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  4. tony

    Republicans are not christians they are a satanic cult.

    May 18, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  5. joyce

    Hopefull the prople voting will know what a joke he is.

    May 18, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
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