Fox News called the Wisconsin Gubernatorial recall election for Governor Scott Walker. Currently with 56% precincts reporting in Walker has a commanding lead over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett with 57% (705,864) to 42% (518,751).
Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch also survived her recall challenge defeating Mahlon Mitchell 57% to 43%. Not only that but every single Wisconsin State Senate recall election has the GOP incumbent in the lead currently (Update: It looks like there is one GOP incumbent may lose his race – Van Wangaard in State Senate District 21 trails John Lehman 49% to 51% with 779 votes separating the two. It hasn’t been called yet so there may be absentee ballots to count still). This is a voter endorsement of Governor Walker’s efforts to curb state spending.
In 1959 Wisconsin became the first state to allow collective bargaining by government employees. The projected cost of supporting Baby Boomer union retirees now threatens to bankrupt the state, as it does many others. Scott Walker ran for office promising change. The fiscal medicine he is administering may be bitter, but it looks like it is starting to work. The state budget has been balanced. The unemployment rate has been dropping and is now below the national average. Property taxes are down. Fraudulent sick leave policies—which allowed employees to call in sick and then work the next shift for overtime pay—have been ended. The government has stopped forcibly collecting union dues from workers’ paychecks.
Best of all, the myth that union bosses represent their members’ interests has been exposed as a lie. Now that union dues are voluntary, tens of thousands of union members have stopped paying them. Membership in the Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME) has dropped by half. Membership in the stat’s American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is down by over a third. Given unions’ influential role in most elections, the national implications of this trend are staggering.
Walker’s message is clear: The key to bringing balance back to public sector labor relations and balance state budgets is to break the iron triangle of closed-shop mandatory unionization, compulsory dues collection, and oversized campaign donations to politicians that promise to do the unions’ bidding. If other governors take his cue and take up the cause, that giant sucking sound you hear will be the air coming out of union bosses’ bloated political action budgets.
So great news out of Wisconsin!
Congratulations to the people of Wisconsin for standing by strong leaders who made tough decisions in dire circumstances that have begun to turn their great state back to prosperity. Leadership is doing what is right, not what is popular. Both Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch are shining examples of this ideal. Elected leaders must do what we elect them to do – lead! – not follow polls or focus on only re-election. A special congratulations to Lt. Gov. Kleefisch who overcame much personal adversity, stood by her governor, and embraced her Tea Party roots.
I congratulate Scott Walker on his victory in Wisconsin. Governor Walker has demonstrated over the past year what sound fiscal policies can do to turn an economy around, and I believe that in November voters across the country will demonstrate that they want the same in Washington, D.C. Tonight’s results will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin. Governor Walker has shown that citizens and taxpayers can fight back – and prevail – against the runaway government costs imposed by labor bosses. Tonight voters said ‘no’ to the tired, liberal ideas of yesterday, and ‘yes’ to fiscal responsibility and a new direction. I look forward to working with Governor Walker to help build a better, brighter future for all Americans.
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