Republicans ready to “drop the bomb” on private sector unions (VIDEO)

According to a press release issued yesterday by Democratic State Sens. Julie Lassa and Chris Larson and State Rep. Sandy Pasch, Republican legislators Paul Farrow and Ed Brooks are prepared to “drop the bomb” on private sector unions in the form of legislation that would allow employers to reduce the hours of their union-represented employees without the union’s approval.

According to Lassa, Larson, and Pasch, the measure to allow employers to reduce the hours of their union-represented employees without union approval could very well be the first blow in an effort to scale back private sector employee bargaining rights.

“Republicans began their war on bargaining rights with Act 10, and with this bill they have now turned their attention to private sector unions,” Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) said. “This bill is a clear opening shot at undermining private sector unions.”

“This is the beginning of ‘divide and conquer’ part two,” said State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point). “The Farrow-Brooks bill says that private sector unions shouldn’t be able to negotiate for their members. It’s one more step toward their goal of ending the right of Wisconsin citizens to have their voice heard in the workplace.”

Senate Bill 26 and its companion, Assembly Bill 15, were introduced on Friday and could come up for committee votes as soon as Thursday.

Keep in mind that while Republicans may deny these bills are part of a larger effort to weaken private sector unions, it was Gov. Scott Walker himself who said he wanted to make Wisconsin a “right to work” state by working to “divide and conquer” unions, starting with removing collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin.

Could the fight to protect collective bargaining rights be coming to an end?

The “Wisconsin 14” – the 14 Democratic State Senators who fled Wisconsin in order to slow down passage of the budget “repair” bill proposed by Gov. Scott Walker and supported by legislative Republicans – still haven’t returned to Wisconsin, but according to Democratic State Senator Julie Lassa, an agreement could soon be reached between the 14 Democratic State Senators and some of their Republican counterparts:

Lassa said Friday that she and fellow Senate Democrats recently have been in discussions with Senate Republicans who also have concerns with elements of the bill, and stated those discussions soon could lead to an agreement.

“We have had some good developments. The lines of communication are clearly open. We have told Senate Republicans that if they strip out some of the policy items, such as the collective bargaining (item) and the changes to SeniorCare and BadgerCare … we could be there within hours,” she said. “Things are at a really critical point in time, and I am really hopeful that we will have a breakthrough within the next few days.”

While this is certainly an encouraging development, I’ll believe that there’s a compromise between Democrats and Republicans when I see it.

Sean Duffy Takes an Ax!

The New York Times published a blog that shows two Sean Duffy ads. The one Zach published earlier this week and a counter ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

From the blog:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, meanwhile, is trying to use Mr. Duffy’s television fame against him in an ad released Wednesday. Mr. Duffy is also a contributor to ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games. The narrator refers to Mr. Duffy as “out of touch” with regular voters and criticizes his support for “a plan to privatize social security.”

“Duffy lives large, but the Hollywood lifestyle and powerful D.C. friends mean Sean Duffy’s out of touch with Wisconsin,” the ad warns, as images of a stylist applying TV make-up to a younger Mr. Duffy flash by. “Sean Duffy may not be worried about his retirement security, but the rest of us are.”


Julie Lassa has a new ad up

I haven’t spent a lot of time talking about Democratic State Senator Julie Lassa, who’s vying for the 7th Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Dave Obey, but she’s got her first ad up, and I figured it was worth taking a look at.

Here’s the ad, titled “Two Skills,” which highlights Lassa’s background growing up on a dairy farm.

Notes from the DPW Convention

6:51 p.m. Jeff Hall just finished speaking….talked about how Tom Barrett has the right message for Wisconsin. Lots of fired up delegates here in the convention hall. Next up is State Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass.

6:55 p.m. Dawn Marie Sass speaking now; she’s touting her record. Set a record for giving back money three consecutive years. Processed over 74,000 claim forms….this year her office has processed over 50,000 claims and given back over $13 million.

7:00 p.m. Next up is Speaker of the State Assembly Mike Sheridan. First words out of his mouth? “We’re not going to back down!”

7:08 p.m. Sheridan: Republicans had 14 years to lead and they still couldn’t accomplish much.

7:11 p.m. Up next….State Sen. Pat Kreitlow.

7:17 p.m. State Sen. Kreitlow: “Our tax dollars have resulted in actual job creation.” he also noted, “Our state needs leaders focused on families, farmers, and small business owners.”

7:19 p.m. State Sen. Kreitlow also notes we’ve laid a great foundation that’s made Wisconsin stronger, healthier, and cleaner.

7:20 p.m. State Sen. Kreitlow ends his speech by noting Wisconsin Democrats will have a big win in November and a big win for the future.

7:47 p.m. Now speaking….White House official Mona Sutphen. “Back in 20008, we all did something. It really was a true movement towards change.” She mentions our nation was at a crossroads, and we inherited an economy that was completely off the rails.

8:31 p.m. Rep. Gwen Moore is FIRED UP!

8:34 p.m. Rep. Moore: “This Congress and this president have done more than anyone since the New Deal.”

8:38 p.m. DPW Chairman Mike Tate issues a correction: he believes it’s President Obama who’s bringing us out of the current economic mess, not that it was President Obama who got us into the mess. The mess is all George W. Bush’s fault, and Ron Johnson, Sean Duffy, and Scott Walker would put us right back into the mess.

8:41 p.m. State Sen. Julie Lassa speaking now…she’s highlighting her personal history (grew up on a farm that her mom and dad still work), and she’s highlighting her legislative accomplishments.

8:57 p.m. Rep. Steve Kagen needs our help to send Sen. Russ Feingold back to Washington to continue the work he’s started. Rep. Kagen talks about Democratic enthusiasm…”We can’t sit this one out!”

9:00 p.m. Rep. Kagen: “I voted no to bailouts; yes to jobs!”

9:02 DPW Chairman Mike Tate: “Dave Obey is on your side!” “Dave Obey has changed the face of America for the better!”

9:09 p.m. Rep. Obey: The same people who complain about deficit spending are the same people who erased the budget surplus created by President Bill Clinton.

9:14 p.m. Rep. Obey: “Republicans have had a lot of practice at being on the wrong side of history.”

9:32 p.m. Sen. Russ Feingold is speaking now….crowd is fired up! He notes his campaign has already knocked on 40,000 doors across Wisconsin. He’s gonna win the election one vote at a time, instead of buying the election by writing out a $15 million check.

9:39 p.m. Sen. Feingold: “Bush and Cheney left us with a gaping hole in our budget.”

9:41 p.m. Sen. Feingold: “I’m the #1 maverick in the entire United States Senate.” Why? “Because I vote against wasteful spending.”

9:47 p.m. Sen. Feingold is taking the fight right to Ron Johnson: “It’s as if Ron Johnson is offended at the sight of a non-millionaire in the U.S. Senate.”

9:49 p.m. Sen. Feingold notes that Ron Johnson says now’s not the time to beat up on the oil industry, but if now’s not the time, then when is?!?

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

At the risk of losing my “street cred” as a loyal Democrat, I chuckled when I read this press released issued by the Republican Party of Wisconsin:

According to a report from WisPolitics, Rick Fromberg is the frontrunner to become Julie Lassa’s new campaign manager in the race for Wisconsin’s 7th District.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin must be peeved.

According to a March 31, 2010 press release, they only want campaign managers from Wisconsin. DPW Chairman Mike Tate took a shot at a GOP campaign manager from outside Wisconsin, so clearly the DPW Chairman must be livid over the new developments in the 7th Congressional District.

Despite her own party leader’s wishes, Lassa is apparently considering an out-of-state campaign manager, one who has a history of working for Nevada Democrats, according to his Linked In profile.

In the March 31, 2010 press release issued by the DPW, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate said, “Maybe Duffy’s next campaign manager can be from someplace closer to Wisconsin. Like Nevada.”

I won’t deny I’ve criticized Wisconsin candidates in the past for using out of state vendors/staff on their campaigns here in Wisconsin, and if Mike Tate’s going to may hay out of the fact that the Republican candidate for the 7th Congressional district is going to use out of state staff, then he ought to make sure Julie Lassa finds folks from Wisconsin to work on her campaign – otherwise he’ll open himself up to these kinds of attacks as a hypocrite.

Wait…..he’s a Democrat?!?!?

Joe Reasbeck is running as a Democrat for the seat currently held by Rep. Dave Obey in the 7th Congressional district. Reasbeck announced his decision to run earlier this week, and while I certainly think primaries are a great idea, I can’t help but wonder why Reasbeck is running as a Democrat, given the fact that he ran for Congress as a Republican in Texas in 2006. What’s more, despite his statements that he voted for President Barack Obama in 2008, Joe Reasbeck wasn’t even a member of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin until a few days before he announced his candidacy for the seat in the 7th Congressional district.

Needless to say, Reasbeck’s candidacy isn’t being taken seriously by most folks, including his opponent, State Sen. Julie Lassa, so it will be interesting to see if his candidacy gains any traction. Then again, given the fact that Reasbeck only got 89 votes the last time he ran for Congress, anything more than that will have to be seen as a moral victory.

A few election news & notes

  • State Rep. Annette Polly Williams, who has served in the Wisconsin State Assembly since 1980, has announced she won’t seek another term in office. I’m a firm believer that the Milwaukee delegation in the State Senate and State Assembly is in need of new leaders with fresh ideas, so hopefully Williams’ retirement will end up being a good thing for her constituents and Milwaukee as a whole.
  • To complete the coronation of State Sen. Julie Lassa as the anointed Democratic candidate to replace Rep. Dave Obey in the seventh Congressional district, State Rep. Louis Molepske Jr. announced he won’t run for the seat in the seventh CD, clearing the field for Lassa to be the Democratic candidate. Molepske was the last Democratic elected official said to be mulling a run for the seventh CD seat, so his unwillingness to run means the candidate hand-picked by Democratic insiders will now have smooth sailing right into the general election.
  • In his endorsement speech at the Republican Party of Wisconsin convention yesterday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker noted he defied critics in winning “not one, not two, but three terms” as Milwaukee County Executive, but I can’t help but wonder….didn’t Walker promise when he first ran for County Executive that he wouldn’t run for more than two terms?

Some thoughts on the 7th CD

Xoff over at Uppity Wisconsin and Mike H over at Letters in Bottles have excellent writeups on the race in the 7th Congressional district. As xoff notes, Democrats are trying hard to hand the Democratic nomination to State Sen. Julie Lassa, and he notes that while we’re not likely to see a contested Democratic primary, the Democratic Party, the voters, and the eventual nominee all would benefit from a real primary. Over at Letters in Bottles, Mike had Sen. Lassa pegged as a likely Democratic candidate even before she announced she was seeking the seat, and he also opined that he wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one local official or private citizen announce a run as well.

If I had to venture a guess on who’s likely to rain on Julie Lassa’s parade and oppose her in the Democratic primary, my guess would be former State Senator (and Lt. Governor candidate) Kevin Shibilski, who according to WisPolitics is reaching out to Democratic activists around the 7th district as he considers a bid for the Democratic nomination. As previously noted by xoff, Shibilski made a bundle of money after leaving public service, so his ability to self-fund a campaign, along with his background, would make him a formidable opponent for Sen. Lassa.

Personally, I’d love to see Shibilski – or someone else – run against Sen. Lassa, because the Democratic voters in the 7th Congressional district deserve to have a choice on who they want to serve them in the House of Representatives, instead of having a candidate forced down their throats by party bosses in Madison and Washington, D.C..