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.

Democrat Eric Prudent gets a second shot at Assembly District 98

Those who relish the complicated nature of Wisconsin politics will be pleased to learn that election season is not quite over in Waukesha County. Since Republican Paul Farrow ran for both Wisconsin Assembly and Senate simultaneously, and since he won his Senate race on Tuesday, he’ll be vacating his Assembly seat, giving Democrat Eric Prudent a second shot at AD 98.

You may remember Eric Prudent’s first run against Paul Farrow for Assembly District 98 or, in all the excitement surrounding the presidential election,  it may be just a blur.

Personally, I’m a big fan of Prudent, as he’s smart, progressive, and appears to be made of Teflon (click here to read my interview with Prudent).

I’m not Eric Prudent’s only supporter, though, not by a long shot, and now that things have slowed down here, Waukesha liberals are gearing up to invest their energies in Prudent’s next campaign (Eric Prudent confirmed to me his plans to run again, as did Jeff Christensen, Democratic Chair of the 5th CD).

It is uncertain when this special election will take place, as Governor Walker has not yet announced a date, but there is speculation that it could be next spring.

Prudent will face Republican Matt Morzy, who is, according to a post by WisPolitics, an ardent supporter of Governor Scott Walker and his policies. From today’s WisPolitics blog:

“I am a proud supporter of the fiscal common sense approach to leadership that Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans have shown in the last two years.”

Morzy also likes what Paul Farrow has done in AD 98 and will continue to implement similar policies if elected, according to the same post:

“Paul Farrow has done a wonderful job the last two years as the representative of the 98th Assembly District, and will continue to serve our state as our new State Senator in the 33rd District. I hope to continue to deliver the same great representation to the 98th Assembly district that he provided.”

So it looks like we in Assembly District 98 have a choice between an anti-union Republican who stands with Walker, and a pro-union Progressive Democrat.

The election rules that got us to this point may be complicated, but the difference between the two candidates is crystal clear.

For more information about Democrat Eric Prudent, or to donate/volunteer, check out his campaign website. He’s also on twitter and Facebook.

Photo-Eric Prudent for Assembly 98


Eric Prudent’s challenge to Republican incumbent Paul Farrow is not child’s play

Eric Prudent knows that as a twenty-four-year-old Democrat running in Wisconsin Assembly District 98, the deck is stacked against him. “How old are you?” is the number one question he is asked out on the campaign trail. Voters have told him to come back when he’s older, he’s been called “The Prom King” and more. But despite all this, and even though he is running in conservative Waukesha County against a Republican incumbent who won’t even respond to his repeated requests to debate, Eric Prudent remains undeterred.

“That’s okay,” Eric Prudent told me over coffee in downtown Waukesha on Sunday. “I don’t mind being underestimated. The less (my opponent) feels he has to work, the better the chance I have.” It’s that positive attitude that keeps Eric going. That, and the fact that he really wants the job and truly enjoys being a candidate.

“Win or lose in November, this is an experience that really makes me want to continue doing this,” said Prudent. “A lot of people want to do something, want to help, want to support what they believe in, but they don’t want to run for public office. That’s something I’ve realized that I want. I want to talk to people, I want to help people, I want to, especially here in Waukesha County, stand up for people that normally don’t get heard.”

While he agreed that ageism “is definitely a minor hurdle to overcome,” he said, “I think that if I talk to someone for more than ten seconds they understand that I am serious about this, that I’m passionate, and that I know what I’m talking about.”

But Prudent’s age has been, at times, a positive. One self-described moderate voter he met said that while he didn’t know who he would vote for, he told Prudent, “It’s so great to see young people like yourself getting involved,” and gave him $35.  And as a member of Gen Y, Prudent is comfortable with technology, understands the importance of social media, and uses that knowledge to his advantage.

“The easiest way to get my name out there is social media,” he said. His campaign bought an affordably-priced Facebook ad just last week, and Prudent has already gotten more “likes” than his opponent and has seen an uptick in donations.

Of course, running as a Democrat in Waukesha County presents another giant hurdle. Prudent, himself, is no stranger to Waukesha. “I grew up here, and it is my home,” he told me. He was raised in Waukesha, attended Waukesha North High School, and after getting his BS in Biochemistry at UW-Madison and working at a non-profit, he’s ready to return home full-time.

Prudent is also no stranger to politics. The son of two Progressives, he grew up in a “very political household.”  When he was seventeen years old, he began volunteering for Democratic campaigns and other organizations.

Growing up in Waukesha, “I wasn’t shy about letting people know I was a Democrat,” he said. Because he was often “forced to defend” his viewpoints, he said, “I’ve always tried to do research and find out what the opposition was saying. I had to know what I was talking about to survive.”

His upbringing gave him a unique perspective; understanding the viewpoints of others is very important to Prudent. “Being a Democrat in Waukesha I understand that even though I have my views, that I am going to have to be willing to listen and be willing to compromise.”

Prudent cited Paul Farrow’s voting record as a way to draw a clear distinction between himself and his Republican opponent. “Out of 769 votes, on all but one, Farrow voted strictly party lines,” he explained. “It’s not helpful to anyone if you’re not going to think for yourself and vote in the best interest of your district; that’s something I firmly believe in-keeping an open mind, listening to people, and finding common ground.”

What ultimately prompted Eric to actually run for public office was Governor Walker’s dissolution of collective bargaining rights, and the way in which Wisconsinites responded. “Seeing decades of progress become undone in a couple of days” was frustrating, “but seeing people come together like that was inspiring,” he explained. At the same time, Prudent realized that he could not let Republican incumbent Paul Farrow run unopposed.

The issue of education is really important to Eric Prudent. His parents moved to Wisconsin around the time of his birth largely because of Wisconsin’s strong educational system. He doesn’t want to see that eroded. “I’m extremely worried that with all of the cuts statewide to education that the quality of Waukesha and Wisconsin schools will be affected,” he said.

“There are so many things with our state’s current leadership that are ‘right now.’ Walker balanced the budget by pushing back payments, like reciprocity costs. It’s all about ‘right now,’ and it’s not looking at what’s going to happen 3, 4, 5, 10 years down the road at what kind of mess that’s going to leave us in.”

Health care is another issue that Eric Prudent is passionate about. “The notion that people can die of illnesses because they don’t have money is sickening. Knowing that that happens every day in the United State frustrates me.”

Prudent does not believe that empathy and fiscal responsibility are mutually exclusive. “I think that’s a responsibility to have both, and it’s not hard to do that,” he said. “Empathy can be cost-effective.”

For example, he explained, “I don’t think the Affordable Care Act is perfect, but there are so many fantastic things in there that do combine long-term fiscal responsibility with providing health care… Studies have shown time and time again that preventative care reduces costs in the long term,” he explained.

Prudent thinks it’s entirely possible to care about middle-class families and issues such as wasteful government spending. For example, he thinks the Las Vegas Loophole should be closed in order to cut down on corporate welfare. Eric Prudent is also pro-environment, pro-women’s rights, pro-choice, and pro-same sex marriage. He thinks that discriminating against gays and lesbians is “just silly.”

More detailed information on Prudent’s positions and plans can be found on his campaign website,, and in his recent interview with Wisconsin Eye. He’s also on twitter and Facebook.

Eric Prudent may not win in November, but political foes who would underestimate him do so at their own peril. This is just the beginning for Mr. Prudent.

Photo-Eric Prudent for Assembly 98