Today, organizers of the will present hundreds of thousands of signatures to the state Government Accountability Board.
Patch has four editors in Madison, providing up-to-the-minute coverage on recall happenings, including the turning in of signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker. We will post updates here on the major news of the day.
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Signed petitions in the effort to recall majority leader Sen. Scott Fitzgerald have arrived at the Government Accountability Board offices in Madison. Fox 6 reports the petitions contain 20,600 signatures and represent 123 percent of the signatures needed.
@WisconsinReport posted that the press conference slated to begin after the Fitzgerald petitions were turned in was delayed by a suspicious package, and that what appeared to be a bomb-sniffing dog was brought in. Police wouldn't confirm anything, though.
Mary Spicuzza of the Wisconsin State Journal tweeted that police said purported suspicious package was a garment bag with food and other items, "no threat at at all."
Patch editors are currently in a United Wisconsin news briefing on the signatures collected. From Caledonia Patch Local Editor Denise Lockwood, who is in Madison:
"The collection of more than one million signatures represents a crystal-clear indication of how strong the appetite is to stop the damage and turmoil that Scott Walker had brought to Wisconsin," said Ryan Lawler, board member for United Wisconsin.
"Scott Walker and his supporters tried to demean and intimidate recall circulators, but in Wisconsin winter, an army of more that 30,000 Wisconsin born-and-bred recall volunteers took to street corners, malls, places of worship, dinner tables and sidewalks to take their state back."
Collection of a million signatures represents nearly half, 46 percent, of the electorate -- and is just shy of the number of votes Walker received in 2010 election.
Patch is also hearing that the number of signatures collected to recall Racine State Sen. Van Wanggaard is 24,000, which is equal to 156 percent of the threshold.
Wanggaard Statement on Petition Submission
Wanggaard to Continue Focus on Job Creation, Improving Education
“As union bosses have threatened for a year, today they start the do-over of their loss in the November 2010 elections. Their message is simple – put their anti-taxpayer, anti-job growth agenda back into power.
“The people of Racine and Wisconsin are tired of being divided, angry at the political fighting and frustrated with Madison. That is part of the reason I ran for the State Senate 15 months ago, and after being in the Capitol for a year, I still join them in their disappointment and frustration. That’s why I’ve worked across the aisle to pass legislation that improves the jobs climate in the state, expands educational opportunities and protects southeastern Wisconsin’s most needy individuals.
“Wisconsin must work together to grow our economy and bring jobs back. Recalls and further division do nothing to show job creators that Wisconsin has a stable business environment and continues to poison the well of politics.
“My number one job today is the same as it was last week, last month and last year – putting people back to work and growing our economy. While others have been focusing on politics and trying to overturn elections, I have been trying to grow our economy and fulfilling my campaign promises. “When the people of Racine look to our accomplishments, my record, and the facts instead of the rhetoric, lies and half-truths, Racinians will see a Senator they can be proud of. The budget is balanced without raising taxes. Racine’s unemployment rate is almost 2 points lower than a year ago. But it’s still too high – there is more work to be done.
“This recall election will be about choices. If the recallers are upset about paying a small portion of their healthcare and pension – less than private sector employees - they should say which teacher, which police officer and which fire fighter they would lay off. That was the budget solution in New York and California – and in Milwaukee and Kenosha schools. If they are upset about spending cuts they should say which tax they would increase by $1 billion. That was the budget solution in Illinois and the Democrats solution in Wisconsin last session.
“The union bosses are playing into the politics of negativity and fear of the unknown. No matter their attacks, lies and name-calling, I will continue to focus on my efforts to help Wisconsin create and retain good-paying jobs and the politics of moving Wisconsin forward.”
Van Wanggaard was elected to Wisconsin’s 21stState Senate District in November of 2010. The 21stSenate District is comprised of all of Racine County with the exception of Waterford and Burlington. Visit Van Wanggaard’s campaign website atwww.voteforvan.com
Petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Van Wanggaard have been turned in at the Government Accountability Board offices in Madison. There are crowds of supporters on the streets outside, and many members of the media inside watching things unfold.
We're waiting for news from the 3:45 p.m. press conference at the GAB.
From Denise Konkol, one of the Patch editors in Madison:
Here's a bit from Starbucks in the shadow of the capitol where many that are part of the recall effort are gathered to take a break warm up and head back out to Monona Terrace.
Jim Brownlow of Muskego was with a group of friends, including Lenore Lee of Milwaukee, and Keith Schmitz of Shorewood.
"I felt pretty confident we'd make the 720,000 goal, but I didn't imagine we'd reach one million," Brownlow said. "I'm just really proud of what we've accomplished."
The mood is one of celebration and solidarity, if that term isn't too overused yet. Call it a brotherhood, identified by red stickers that proclaimed, "I signed" or a button on a lapel that used one of many slogans, some simple, others too 'coarse' for general consumption. Overheard often across tables and over lattes is 'I can't believe the number,' and speculation of what the year will bring.
It's been a snowy, slushy day, that gave way to bitter temps, but the crowds came dressed for the weather as well as the spirit of the event. Whether it's debatable what democracy looks like, it seems easy to spot what democrats look like today.