Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker characterized his message of scaling back collective bargaining rights among other measures to correct his state’s fiscal course as one of courage to more than 600 members of the Friday in Lincolnshire.
Not everyone in the room agreed with all aspects of Walker’s medicine for his state, but he got a loud and lengthy standing ovation when he finished his remarks as the keynote speaker of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Federation.
“These moves are about the next generation, not the next election,” Walker said. “This is about who runs our state. Is it the union bosses or the hard working taxpayers? I put my faith in the hardworking taxpayers.”
The next election is coming more than two years sooner than Walker had hoped when he was chosen Wisconsin’s governor in November, 2010. He faces a recall election June 5 after a petition drive he says was driven by union leadership from outside his state.
“They are looking down the road in Springfield and don’t want that to happen,” Walker said.
The significance of the recall election on Walker’s moves was not lost on , who was one of the guests in the room. “The referendum (on the policies) will likely be resolved by the people of Wisconsin,” Dold said. “It will be decided shortly.”
Walker explained the depth of his ideas which go far beyond changes to collective bargaining for public sector Wisconsin employees. He spoke with pride of the improved economy in the state.
Walker Touts His Reforms
“We gave tax breaks to the job creators,” Walker said. “We passed the most aggressive tort reform in the country. After the recall you’ll see the system really start to work,” he added referring to the hesitation by business before June 5. “They want certainty. The recall is uncertainty.”
One of the people clapping after the governor’s remarks was of Lake Forest. “He was very inspiring,” Shaw said. “He gave us a lot to think about and is impressive in his viewpoint.”
Another person who came away from the evening feeling good about the message was , the Republican candidate trying to replace retiring .
“It's uplifting to hear that government can be reinvented in a way that protects the jobs and retirements of public employees, increases spending on actual education, decrease taxes, and dramatically improves a state's job-creation environment,” Friedman said.
Friedman also thinks Walker’s actions toward unions in Wisconsin are the medicine necessary in Illinois. He is critical of campaign donations from organized labor going to politicians like Gov. Patrick Quinn when he is charged with trying to get the best deal he can from them for the state.
“The need to re-balance the relationship between public employee unions and government has become a bipartisan necessity in Illinois,” Friedman said. “The losers have been Illinois families.”
Dold Differs on Collective Bargaining
Dold takes a different view on collective bargaining. He wants the right preserved. “It is important for unions to be able to collectively bargain for their members,” he said.
of Lake Forest takes more of a middle ground. “I’m not sure I’m in full agreement there,” he said of Walker’s position on organiazed labor. “Many of my family members growing up were union members.”