A watershed moment has occurred today in Wisconsin. One million signatures have been collected in the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker. The magnitude of this accomplishment sends a simple message, loud and clear: Governor Walker’s ideological war on workers will be met with stiff resistance.
To successfully force a recall election, organizers needed to gather a little over 540,000 valid signatures, or 25 percent of all of the votes cast in the election that put Walker in office last January. By gathering over one million signatures, organizers have ensured that this threshold will be met and that a recall election will occur. Today’s triumph is a collective one. It belongs to the volunteer activists who battled through harsh weather conditions all winter to collect signatures; it belongs to UFCW members who have been active and present since the very beginning; it belongs to the working families of Wisconsin who will at last see Governor Walker face accountability for his actions.
But let’s back up a little. This recall effort is a long and ongoing process – one that arose when Governor Walker and anti-worker legislators in Wisconsin used a budget shortfall as an excuse to launch an ideological attack on the collective bargaining rights of teachers, nurses, social workers and other public employees. This budget plan was never discussed during Governor Walker’s gubernatorial campaign and displayed his willingness to sell out Wisconsin’s working families in order to please his corporate cronies. This lie ignited the masses and made Wisconsin residents realize they couldn’t stand by and wait until the Governor was up for reelection – they had to demand a recall immediately.
This recall effort isn’t just about a campaign lie. It’s also about Governor Walker’s inability to govern effectively. Since he took office 65,000 people have lost health care, workers have been stripped of their collective bargaining rights, and public education has faced the largest cuts in the state’s history. Wisconsin simply can’t continue down this perilous path.
If you needed any more proof that Governor Walker is woefully out of touch with the people of Wisconsin – here it is: Where is Governor Walker today, the day his constituents have risen up to hold him accountable for his anti-worker agenda? Not in Wisconsin creating jobs for those in need. Not in Wisconsin doing anything. Instead, he’s in New York fundraising from special interests groups so that he’ll be able to defend his own job. That pretty much says it all.