News / USA

Drive Underway to Recall Wisconsin Governor

The governor of the U.S. state of Wisconsin faces a possible special election to remove him from office. Opponents are angry at Governor Scott Walker for backing legislation earlier this year that restricted the collective bargaining rights of public employees. They are now trying to gather enough signatures to force a recall vote.

On a cold morning in Madison, Wisconsin, a steady stream of vehicles pulls off to the side of the road, greeted by clipboard-armed volunteers like Ray.

“I’ve organized a group of about 80 people," said Ray. "Most of us are retired teachers and we’ve set up what is called a drive-through. It’s kind of like a McDonalds' drive through where people will drive in, and sign our petition to recall Governor Scott Walker.”

Ray didn’t want to use his last name for fear of retribution for participating in the recall effort.  but he says his drive-through petition is working.

“This is our seventh day, and we are at about 2,400 signatures right now," he said. "We are getting a little over 400 a day.”

A political action group called United Wisconsin is spearheading the effort to recall Governor Walker.  And the group's director, Meagan Mahaffey, says the more than 540,000 signatures needed to trigger the recall vote are within reach.

“The first 48 hours, over 50,000 people had signed the petition to recall Walker," she said. "In the first 96 hours, we were at over 105,000 petitions that had been in our office in our hands to recall Walker.  Over 20,000 people have gone online to download the petition and more and more do it every day.”

The uproar began last winter, when Walker, a Republican, moved to balance the state budget with legislation that curbed collective bargaining rights for state employees.  The bill passed after lengthy procedural roadblocks, and also requires public employees to contribute more towards their benefits.

“What this represents is a threat to the union movement within the state, and because the unions are so important to supporting Democrats, a threat to the Democratic Party as well," said Professor Charles Franklin.

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Political Science Professor Charles Franklin says the recent rejection of similar legislation in Ohio was a victory for the labor movement.  But he says there are stark differences between the two states.

“Ohio had a very clean vote, either for or against this specific bill that was passed," he said. "Here in Wisconsin it's not just about that bill, it’s about the governor as a person, it's about his other policies.”

Governor Walker is fighting back against his opponents, using TV ads that also appear on YouTube to send the message that his controversial legislation is working.

“I think this sets the theme," said Franklin. "That ad stresses how school districts have been able to deal with their budget cuts and issues because of the flexibility they’ve received with the changes in these union rules.”

Even if Walker's political opponents gather enough signatures to force a recall election, that does not necessarily mean he will be forced from office. Democrats also have to find a candidate who can beat the Republican incumbent in that special election.

Kane Farabaugh

Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs