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    Posted January 4, 2012 by
    Onalaska, Wisconsin

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    WI Recall Effort Continues- Personal Stories Come to Light


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     mediaman shot these photos in Onalaska, WI, of the ongoing protest effort to recall Scott Walker, the state's Governor. 'The collection of signatures has slowed down, but the spirit of these people has been nothing short of remarkable,' he said. 'People on street corners, people collecting signatures during holiday gatherings, a group at the Rose Bowl, all with one purpose: Change through advocacy. As their chant goes, "This is what democracy looks like." I have never seen this in our state in the past 50 years.'
    - jmsaba, CNN iReport producer

    As the historic Wisconsin Governor recall effort continues, personal stories continue to surface which help to explain why the petition drive still has momentum. Petitioners throughout the state can be found on street corners, intersections, and going to door-to-door to collect the needed signatures. Democratic party chairman, Mike Tate was quoted in the Green Bay Gazette that the numbers of signatures “remain on track” but refuses to provide an exact number. On December 15th it was reported that over ½ million signatures had already been counted, which is approximately 40,000 short of the required number.


    In Onalaska, WI Carolyn Smith, a 22-year retired worker from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue stood in the snow and cold encouraging motorists to stop and sign the recall petition against Governor Walker. When asked why she was willing to stand in the cold and snowy weather she replied, “We have to remove this Governor for what he is doing to the state. I have heard from many people in South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa, and if they could sign the recall petition they would. People are standing in solidarity with us.”


    After a few minutes, a young single mother in a brilliant pink winter coat quickly parked and wanted to sign the recall petition. Aniya Cozy said that because of health issues, her main insurer only partially covers her medicines, and with the Governor’s plan to significantly cut Badger Care, she will be without thousands of dollars to pay her medical bills. “I don’t know what I am going to do,” she commented. In a passionate voice, Cozy said, “You don’t short people who work and pay taxes. Instead the (Governor) should be going after people who abuse the system.”


    A young student, Lauren Gaikowski, stood nearby to help obtain recall signatures. She is an intern for the local Democratic Party. When asked why she was supporting the recall effort she said,“I am sixteen and I want a better future. I want a decent education and I want the best teachers.” What is happening in the state may prevent both.


    With less than two weeks remaining, it is uncertain if the 720,000 petition threshold will be met, or if Governor Walker will eventually be recalled. One thing for sure is that Wisconsin citizens are still in full force in attempting to get more signatures. As a result, more personal stories will continue to surface. Perhaps it will be these personal stories which may help Wisconsin and the country understand what the issues are and how they affect the population. The storyline may actually be more than the elimination of collective bargaining of public employees. The real recall story may be how the Governor’s budget plan ultimately affects the pocketbooks and medical care of the state’s citizens.

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