“What you did, and what you have been doing over the past 60 days, by going out in all sorts of weather at all sorts of times, day and night, in Waukesha County, says a lot about your dedication,” Senator Erpenbach told the crowd on Friday night at the Waukesha Walker Recall Office. We were gathered to celebrate the role Waukesha County volunteers played in collecting enough signatures to trigger a recall election for Governor Walker. The party was a much-needed respite in what has been a brutal battle thus far. And the cake was delicious.






Before Senator Erpenbach had arrived, I caught up with Jim, a volunteer with whom I spoke when the Waukesha Walker Recall Office first opened back in November, to get his thoughts on the event. Jim was in great spirits as he explained,  “We worked very hard and we stood up against a pretty ferocious counter-campaign…but we stayed out on the streets and I’m sure we got enough signatures.” Jim said he didn’t have any regrets, although he joked that he “would never conduct a recall petition in winter again.” He remains “hopeful” that Walker will be recalled, despite inevitable court battles, and plans to stay politically involved, working to ensure those in our community are registered to vote.










When Senator Erpenbach took his place at the front of the room after mingling with attendees, the space was completely packed and the crowd fired up. Some in the group proudly displayed their “Fab 14” t-shirts.










Senator Erpenbach didn’t come to Waukesha to give a generic stump speech. Instead, he connected with our group by speaking about the state of our state with passion, humor, and sincerity. He talked about how much Wisconsin has changed over the course of just one short year, and the divisive tactics Walker employed to push through his radical agenda. He touched on many subjects like Voter ID and health care, but his words really resonated when he discussed the issue of collective bargaining.

He said,  “I am here to tell you that if you are a public employee, God bless you and it is not your fault, at all, by any means, that we are in the shape that we are in today. Governor Walker took it upon himself to point out to the private sector, who were losing benefits, who were putting their employees on Badger Care, like Wal-Mart, who weren’t doing what they should have been doing to take care of their employees, and he said, ‘Look at what the public employees have, and you don’t- let’s take that away.’ The question should be ‘Look at what the public employees have, why don’t you have that?’”

After those statements the entire room erupted in thunderous applause. Erpenbach continued, “We all chip in and help each other out in this state; that’s what we are all about. But that’s not what the governor is doing. What the governor is doing is he’s giving away the keys to the state to any corporation who is willing to pony up the money. What we’re seeing right now…is a hostile corporate takeover of Wisconsin. What the governor wants to do, is he wants to take the teachers’ jobs, the parole agents’ jobs, the correctional officers’ jobs-you name it- and he wants to privatize those jobs. He wants to take those jobs away and give them to the Koch brothers and other corporations who are going to pay $10/hour…without accountability.”

There were some sounds of disgust at the mention of the Koch brothers, but perhaps the loudest groans of frustration of the evening came when Senator Erpenbach mentioned Glenn Grothman’s name. He reflected on Grothman’s gross mischaracterization of those of us who had stormed the Capitol to defend the long-held right to collectively bargain last February. Erpenbach jokingly asked to see a show of hands of people who hadn’t showered in a week, had been bussed into Waukesha for the night’s event, or who were getting paid. (No hands were raised, but there was knowing laughter all around.)

As Senator Erpenbach’s speech started to wind down he took several questions from the volunteers. When asked if he thought we’d succeed in recalling Walker he said, “Make no mistake about it, he will have millions and millions of dollars, he is going to run to court to try and stop this…but he can’t run from the people of WI… what started here, is going to end here. It’s not going to spread, it’s going to end here.”

Erpenbach concluded his speech by thanking the volunteers. “Odds are, it’s probably a little more difficult to get signatures to recall Governor Walker in Waukesha County than it is in, say, Dane County,” and, referring to volunteers across the entire state of Wisconsin, “Bottom line is, none of this would have happened-none of it-if you didn’t do what you did… On behalf of the Wisconsin 14, plus two, I want to thank you for what you did.”

Thank you, Senator Erpenbach. Thank you.


9 Responses to Senator Erpenbach commends jubilant volunteers at Waukesha recall celebration

  1. Ed Heinzelman says:

    “The question should be ‘Look at what the public employees have, why don’t you have that?’”


    • forgotmyscreenname says:

      Answer: Because there aren’t enough taxpayers in the world! Where do you people think the money comes from?!

      • Ed Heinzelman says:

        We are talking about why private sector employees don’t demand what public sector employees have…why do you want to keep going against your own best interest?

        What? You think I don’t pay taxes? I pay plenty of them…

        • forgotmyscreenname says:

          Because there are limited resources in the real world of the private economy, without the bottomless pit of what taxpayers can “afford” to be burdened with. It’d be great if everyone got a pony, but then there’s a thing called reality.

          • forgotmyscreenname says:

            Also, I thought public employees argue that the private sector has it better than they do… sooooooo to follow that argument against your logic, why would the private sector employees want to demand the supposed downgrade that is public sector employment?

            • Ed Heinzelman says:

              Yes public employees do say that…but it’s your side of the aisle that keeps complaining about the public employees being the haves and the rest of us are the have nots…so if public employees have it so good shouldn’t the rest of us aspire to improved benefits instead of cutting down our friends and neighbors?

          • JCG says:

            You seem to forget or ignore there’s a gigantic sucking sound at the top of the private economy pyramid vacuuming up more of the resources than ever, making said resources only ostensibly more scarce.

            Interesting reality you live in.

        • Zach W says:

          Ed, keep in mind that forgot supports the race to the bottom that will result from weak labor unions.

          After all, how dare public employees try to give their kids a middle class upbringing while providing the citizens of Wisconsin with vital public services!

          How dare they!

  2. Eugene Barufkin says:

    Sen Erpenbach also responded to his possible candidacy for governor by noting that -“if I were lucky to be the candidate I would” – and mentioned action he would take. I read between lines, as I’m sure others do.
    Jon also noted as a response to a question – a prediction that we have between 800 & 900,000 signatures. And that our 3 county area was 20% over quota.
    I’m sure he does know. Backed-up this morning on 2 tv WI talk shows, the predictions are 900,000 and perhaps one million. WOW!!!!

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