Today marks a day in Wisconsin History like no other day in the state’s history. We had an election today, unlike any other election we’ve ever had. For the first time in the history of Wisconsin we had a recall election for governor. Wisconsin is not a rich nor powerful state, but for over a year now we have been ground zero in a national debate between worker’s rights and government control over those rights.
The central figure in this debate is Governor Scott Walker who is currently the national darling of the union busting conservative right. He is called upon to speak at political rallies across the country where he is greeted with enthusiastic pride and devotion, but here in Wisconsin he is greeted less enthusiastically.
Governor Walker touched off this debate when he rammed legislation through the state legislature to eliminate the collective bargaining rights of state workers. The votes for and against this legislation split along party lines with republicans supporting it and democrats against.
This touched off a series of protests by unionists and their supporters that numbered in the tens of thousands and created the usual national media circus along with. Wisconsin hasn’t seen protests like those since the anti-Vietnam War protests of the late sixties and early seventies.
This led to a recall movement against Governor Walker and many members of the state legislature, both republican and democrat. In a recall election a petition is sent around asking people to sign in support of the recall. If enough signatures are gathered then the recall election is scheduled. In this case more than a million signatures were gathered asking for a recall of Governor Walker.
Today was the primary election, which is just the first step in an American election. In the primary election we vote for the two candidates we want to appear on the ballot, which will feature one republican and one democrat. A month from now, in June, we will then decide on which of those two we want to be our governor.
So today marked a first in Wisconsin History with the first ever recall of a Wisconsin governor and I participated.