Governor Scott Walker was elected in 2010 on a wave of Tea Party momentum. His promises to balance the budget without raising taxes and to create a business friendly environment were well-received by the Wisconsin electorate as he handily beat his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
Unlike most politicians, Governor Walker hit the ground running as he entered office in January 2011. Much to the dismay of Wisconsin’s liberal fringe, he immediately tackled Wisconsin’s $3.6 billon budget shortfall. As he promised to the voters of Wisconsin, Walker balanced the budget without raising taxes or massive layoffs. By limiting healthcare monopolies imposed by labor union tyranny, state entities were able to engage the free market to find competitive prices for health insurance. The astronomical costs tied to the sweetheart agreements between union bosses and insurers disappeared, and these state entities were able to save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
More importantly, Walker gave small businesses the flexibility and confidence to add jobs and help grow the economy. In the first six months of his governance, Wisconsin added nearly 40,000 new jobs – single handedly taking his state from the bottom to the top in economic growth. However, these pro-growth conservative reforms were not passed without objection.
Sensing that their long-standing power was being threatened, labor unions from around the state and the country descended on Madison with millions of dollars to help organize and attack Gov. Walker and the conservative legislators helping to pass the critical legislation. Democratic State Senators fled Wisconsin in an attempt to impede the legislative process. History will not remember these months as fruitful and substantive policy debates, but as the union-organized protests that compared Gov. Walker to Hitler, Stalin, and other violent dictators. The union bosses did not engage in factual debate, but instead smeared the good intentions of every opponent.
Though Gov. Walker was successful in passing his budget legislation, it served as a catalyst to a nationally organized recall effort to remove conservative State representatives from office. In the summer of 2011, six Republican State Senators were recalled in an attempt to take back the majority. Tea Party Express, after calls from Tea Party activists across the nation, entered the battle by hosting a statewide bus tour with nine rallies. Our efforts were successful, but it did not come easy. At many rallies we faced intimidation and heckles from hundreds of union protestors. The business owners who hosted our rallies were bullied; some even were forced to withdraw their invitation to host the rallies after threats from the unions.
Now, months later, Gov. Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Sen. Terry Moulton, Sen. Pam Galloway, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, Sen. Van Wanggaard, all face the same recall battle. These recalls are waged even though these legislators did what most politicians fail at doing: staying true to their word and doing what is in the best interest of their constituents. Their strength has become their curse as labor union power is derived from the complacency of weak politicians willing to sacrifice the well-being of their constituency for the benefit of a select few.
Wisconsin has become ground zero in the fight against labor union tyranny, and this battle is one we must win if we want to preserve our American Dream. 2012 is a decisive year for our nation’s future, and the momentum from these recalls in Wisconsin will be carried into Election Day in November. This is our chance to stand side-by-side with true conservative leaders and push back against the liberal agenda that threatens the America we know and love.