Forum Center, 6/12

What are the Consequences of Recall Election in Wisconsin?

Last Tuesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) prevailed in an unusual campaign seeking his recall. Along with his Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Scott emerged as the victor in a heated fight over state budgets and collective bargaining rights. In this recall election that has captured national attention, Walker defeated Democratic challenger Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee. This is only the third time in American history that a governor has faced a recall election and the only time the sitting governor has turned back the challenge.

The roots of the recall challenge began as a result of a legislative fight initiated by Walker with the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill soon after he was sworn in as governor in January 2011.  This controversial bill stripped public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights in addition to impacting compensation, retirement, health insurance and more.  The legislative initiative led to mass demonstrations at the state capital in Madison for weeks leading up to the final vote by the public service unions and their supporters. Once the governor signed the legislation into law and it became effective as of June 29 2011, it set the stage for the historic recall election that began with the collection of more than 900,000 signatures seeking his ouster.

Last week Walker won with 53 percent of the vote while Barrett received 46 percent, a slightly larger margin than when the two ran against one another in 2010.

Supporters of Walker believe that he prevailed over the recall because he showed the courage to stand up against the public service unions and because he initiated sound fiscal policies that appear to have begun to turn the Wisconsin economy around.

Opponents of Walker argue that his tactics against the public service unions of Wisconsin were “bully-like” and were actually an assault against the middle class. They further argue that his massive spending advantage from millions of out-of-state contributors played a huge roll in his victory.

Forum Question of the Week:

How will Governor Walker’s recent Wisconsin recall election victory affect the rest of the nation and especially Ohio? 

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