On Wednesday, February 15, hundreds braved the Western Wisconsin cold and gathered at Copeland Park in La Crosse to kick-off the Reclaim Wisconsin Tour.
With ice fishermen on the river in the background and building trades members cooking brats -- teachers, fire fighters, public employees, unemployed workers and students took to the podium to explain how Gov. Walker has negatively impacted the La Crosse community.
Mary Serwe, a 21 year old student, told the crowd that her friends are leaving Wisconsin because of the lack of quality jobs.
“Cutting over $1 billion dollars for education is not the way forward. We need a Governor who supports education and our children. The next generation depends on it.”
David Ruscher, a jobless worker from La Crosse, talked about the struggle unemployed workers face.
“Gov. Walker ran on a promise to create 250,000 new jobs for Wisconsin. I have to ask Gov. Walker one simple question, where are the jobs?”
Ed Ludwig, from the Coulee Regional Educators Association, explained that Gov. Walker’s extreme budget cuts are forcing local schools to make difficult decisions.
“As a teacher I have seen my peers deal with devastating cuts and I can tell you, as a teacher, that it is the kids who pay the price. Rural schools in Wisconsin are being forced to cut agricultural programs. This is Wisconsin, agriculture is a core component of our economy. Gov. Walker is compromising the next generation of farmers by forcing schools to choose between core classes and vocational tracks.”
Kate Mayer, an elementary school teacher from Onalaska, spoke to what kind of leader Gov. Walker is as a Governor.
“Teachers should not afraid to tell people what they do. This leader has robbed our educators of their dignity. This leader is hurtful. I may be 5” 2’ but I am standing tall against Gov. Walker’s attacks and am ready to recall. We have recalled people in this neck of the woods before and we will recall again.”
Jeff Murphy, Fire Fighter's Local 127, explained that Gov. Walker’s union-busting bill is spilling over and impacted police and fire fighters in Wisconsin.
“What we are seeing is less fire fighters in the city of La Crosse than we had a year ago. Young fire fighters and police are going to other states.”
The Reclaim Wisconsin Tour will be making stops in Wausau and Eau Claire next week. It will stop in Green Bay, Racine, Milwaukee and Madison before ending in a rally at the Capitol on Saturday, March 10 at 1:00 p.m. For Full Schedule click here.
For photos of the event click here.
• La Crosse Tribune, Unions rally to kick off Walker recall state tour
• WKBT News 8, CBS: Unions kick-off bus tour on anniversary of Capitol Protests
• WKOW, News 19, ABC: Recall Supporters, Opponents Gather at Copeland Park