Despite a very persistent movement across the state encouraging Rep. Peter Barca to run in the recall election for governor of Wisconsin, Rep. Barca has announced that he is not a candidate:
Let me thank you personally for all of your kind support and encouragement for me to run for governor the past month. After careful reflection, I have decided not to run for governor in the upcoming recall election. It was a very difficult decision, in no small part because I have been so moved by the emails, calls and requests from so many active, caring citizens like yourself who have been at the forefront of our movement to restore Wisconsin values to our state government. Your passion and compassion for the people of our state has been such an inspiration to me, and I believe all of the elected leaders in the Capitol, as we have been fighting for more than a year against the extreme, divisive agenda of Gov. Walker.
You have worked tirelessly to protect a democracy that prioritizes values of clean, open and transparent government. And you have given so much in our fight to return to representation that respects and listens to the opinions of our typical working Wisconsin families. You continue to inspire me.
However, in the final analysis, my decision came down to what is best for all of us who are working together as a broad front to win back Wisconsin. In order to stop the assault we have seen on middle-class families we need to win the recalls to take back the governor’s office and a win a majority in the state Senate, however equally important we must achieve a majority in the state Assembly in this fall’s elections. All three parts of state government are essential to truly undo the serious damage that has been done this past year to the values we hold dear in Wisconsin.
Together, we can do this. I know this because I had the honor this session to lead Assembly Democrats during our fight against taking away workers’ rights. I am so proud of what my Assembly colleagues accomplished as we kept a public hearing going for more than 124 hours so over 4,300 citizens could speak after the budget committee’s Republican chairpersons shut down an official hearing. And you were all with us in the Capitol – most of the time in person and always in spirit – as we stayed on the Assembly floor for a record 61 hours bringing scrutiny to the “bomb” Gov. Walker dropped on the people of Wisconsin. Together we used that time to inform all our citizens about Walker’s plan to take away workers’ rights, pack government with political cronies and sell off our power plants with no-bid contracts. You even met us on the Capitol lawn for office hours –when we had to move our desks in the snow – so we could talk after Republicans locked you out of the Capitol.
All of us, citizens and legislators alike were united, at times beyond exhaustion, but we stuck together and continued fighting against a budget that will cripple our great public schools while giving millions more in tax dollars to unaccountable voucher schools and add taxes to working people while giving special interests billions in breaks. We argued vehemently against socially extreme bills that did such things as doing away with equal pay protections for women and kicking vulnerable children off their health care.
These extreme measures, and our valiant but vain attempts to get Republicans to take up meaningful bills that create jobs now, required the full attention of me and my Assembly colleagues this spring. Worse even the last week of session we had over 100 bills, many very extreme that we had to battle – up to 31 hours straight in the final days. That attention, I believe, will pay dividends in the future but it did not allow me adequate time to fully prepare for a gubernatorial campaign.
Of course, to make a difference in an election one does not need to be the nominee, as so many of you have proven. I certainly will continue to make this recall a priority as I work for another goal that is also monumentally important: the Assembly elections this fall.
As many of you have continually reminded me, restoring our rights for workers and our democratic values can only happen if we also win back the Assembly. Therefore, I will focus most of my energy on that task and I hope many of you will help us in both these goals.
We must have a unified, broad front and work together to undo the damage Gov. Walker and the Republicans have done this past year in disregarding our traditions and trampling on our values. I pledge to you my friends and fellow citizens, who have done so much to support me, that I will be right there by your side as we rally together to win back Wisconsin and then work hard legislatively to move Wisconsin forward!
Actually Rep. Barca would make an excellent governor but certainly his leadership in the Assembly is sorely needed as well.