- Posted November 22, 2011 by
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Wisconsin Winter Doesn’t Deter Historic Governor Recall Effort
- zdan, CNN iReport producer
La Crosse, WI- As the temperatures in Wisconsin begin to dip into the low 20’s, the efforts to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have begun to heat up. In Madison, on November 19th, crowds estimated at around 30,000 descended upon the capitol to kick off a petition drive to recall the governor. Organizers have until January 17th to collect more than 540,000 signatures to force the recall. Within four days, United Wisconsin, a coalition of recall efforts, announced that it had already collected over 105,000 signatures.
While much of the attention has been focused on Madison, numerous smaller efforts have extended throughout the state to collect signatures.
In La Crosse, College Democrats braved freezing temperatures and biting winds to collect student and staff signatures towards the petition drive. Chris Degnan, a political science major said he is working to collect signatures weekly because the Governor’s budget affects students in the University of Wisconsin System. He is also concerned about the confusion created by the new Wisconsin GOP law affecting student voting ID’s. “We have seen more students turned away then those who have voted on campus,” commented Degnan. He continued by saying that the new voting laws have created a great amount of confusion for student voters. The concern is that restrictive vote ID laws disenfranchise college students from voting which tend to favor the Democratic Party.
Bree Levine, a political science and communications major from Minnetonka, MN is concerned about how the Governor’s budget affects students in the UW System, and that the recall petition is a chance to give students a voice. Levine said, “I want to get the word out and give students the opportunity to express themselves.” As she handled out clipboards to students, hot chocolate was nearby to help take the chill out of the brisk cold Wisconsin wind.
On November 19th, the annual La Crosse Turkey Trot race brought thousands to the city. On various street corners, recall petitioners were ready with forms and pens in hand to encourage people to sign the recall papers for Governor Walker. One petitioner signer Sara Halvorson, a country social worker, signed the petition because she was fearful of what the future of public education for her kids would be in Wisconsin. Halvorson said, “It is really sad (the Governor) does not value what I do, or what public workers do.”
Recall events continued to be planned across the state for a myriad of events including Black Friday events, parades, deer registrations, holiday shopping and eating events, and Democratic canvassing events.
To counter the recall efforts, Governor Walker recently released a series of advertisements, starting with an estimated $300,000 television buy during the Green Bay Packer Monday night game against the Minnesota Vikings. Another pro-Walker ad paid for by two conservative groups, Americans for Prosperity and the MacIver Institute, was released to major Wisconsin markets for more than $500,000, according to FOX TV11 in Green Bay. The ad supports Walker’s plan of curbing collective bargaining rights for public workers.
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) reports the cost of conducting the recall may be over $600,000. Adding advertising for both parties, the costs attributed to Governor Walker recall will be in the millions. As the dollar totals climb upwards, Wisconsin’s cold temperatures will continue to plummet and the snow will begin the fly. The question will be if the energy created last February when the anti-Walker protests began, will have a sustained effect as the recall efforts continue to heat up. The success of the small grassroots efforts throughout Wisconsin may be the deciding factor.