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    Posted May 7, 2012 by
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    Election 2012: Your stories

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    Politician Challenges Gov. Walker in Historic WI Recall Primary


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     mediaman sat down with Arthur Kohl-Riggs, a young Republican who carries the values of President Abraham Lincoln and even looks quite a bit like him. Kohl-Riggs, 23, is running against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the recall election, which is tomorrow. He decided to join the race to educate the public. 'Mainstream media's investigative laziness has rendered them unwitting accomplices to Scott Walker's extreme corporate agenda,' Kohl-Riggs told mediaman in an interview on May 3.

    From the reporting mediaman has done, he says Kohl-Riggs is here to stay. 'Students like what he is saying, and even the liberal leaning blogs and Twitter feeds have created a good deal of chatter about him running as a Republican.'
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    In what has turned out to be a historic political year for Wisconsin, it only seems fitting the memory of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, is providing some context for the state’s historic recall election. A young politician from Madison, Arthur Kohl-Riggs, is running against Gov. Scott Walker to use his candidacy, as he puts it, “to highlight how, by traditional Republican standards,” that the Governor by his “policies and actions do not reflect the values of the Party of Lincoln.”

    While the casual observer may see Kohl-Riggs as a political “no name or side-show,” on closer examination he does have an impressive portfolio of work to show how serious he is to illustrate “Governor Walker’s divisive politics to separate our citizens and create conflict.” He has been covered by a wide variety of press and has posted over 150 YouTube videos, graphically documenting much of the political upheaval in the state.

    During an interview in La Crosse, Kohl-Riggs pointed out that Gov. Walker is using “millions of dollars of intentionally misleading and divisive advertising to perpetrate false arguments.” At last count, Walker has brought in over $25 million for his campaign, with approximately a reported two-thirds coming from outside the state according to the Milwaukee Journal. The closest Democratic challenger, Tom Barrett, has brought in approximately $1 million.

    The Kohls-Riggs campaign has a balance of about $2,000 for his bid for Governor. Arthur pointed out that he limits his campaign contributions to $100 per individual adding, “Too many politicians in our system are beholden to corporate interests. At 23, Arthur Kohl-Riggs is relatively new to the political scene. He was previously co-chair of the Campus Progressives at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and also worked for Greenpeace.

    For Arthur, the protests in Madison “made a huge impact on him” as he explained in a feature for the Progressive Magazine. He has been the subject of several arrests, one for allegedly filming and having a camera in the Wisconsin Assembly gallery. In February of 2011, he captured Rep. Joel Kleefisch [R] from Oconomowoc in a YouTube video, voting for absent members of the Assembly on a controversial voter ID law. Later, a law was passed prohibiting the public from filming the proceedings in the Capitol. Months later, Wisconsin passed a concealed weapons law. Wisconsin Representative Robin Vos [R] was quoted by the Milwaukee Journal as saying; he did not see a contradiction in allowing guns in the galleries while banning the use of cameras. He said people could bring both guns and cameras into the galleries, but couldn't use either. "You can have a gun in the gallery, but you can't shoot," he said. Kohl-Riggs feels that “if the public were adequately educated about Governor Walker’s intentions, the opposition to his candidacy would be even greater than it is. He said, “People should listen to my message because it’s genuine. One thing I have been confident about all along is that when it is finished, Scott Walker will not be our Governor.”

    And with that Arthur donned his Abe Lincoln hat and black vest, and headed to his next speaking event in Sparta, WI thirty minutes away. As he posed for a few photos in front of UW-La Crosse’s Maurice Graff Main Hall, you can sense this candidate’s conviction to tell the truth as Lincoln would. A black and white image of Arthur in front of the building’s cornerstone of 1909, with his signature top hat brought back images of Lincoln, and what he may have said about Wisconsin’s recall today. As Arthur walked with his small entourage across campus at sunset, he provided one last quote, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts." This quote was not Arthur’s but of Abraham Lincoln. If Lincoln was here today, he likely would be proud of this candidate, a Republican from long ago.
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