Patti Wenzel
Recall 5Q

Tom Barrett

By - Apr 30th, 2012 04:00 am
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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

With only six weeks to go before one of the nation’s most historic state elections, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is in a strong position among Democratic candidates hoping to knock Governor Scott Walker from office. But first he has to win the primary.

On May 8, Barrett faces former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, WI Secretary of State Douglas LaFollette and State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) in a four-way primary. The winner takes the Republican candidate on June 5. Walker also faces a primary challenge against Arthur Kohl-Riggs.

Barrett has run for governor twice before. In 1992, he lost in the Democrat primary to Gov. Jim Doyle and lost in 2010 to Walker himself.

This time around, Barrett says he knows he has a real chance at winning, citing the Republicans’ pegging him as the front-runner even before he announced his candidacy on March 30.

“All the negative ads are aimed at me,” Barrett said. “The Republicans don’t want me to be the candidate. I am by far the strongest, and the party needs its strongest.”

ThirdCoast Digest sat down with Barrett as he began the final week of the primary campaign for our time-tested Five Questions.

Q1: What motivated you to run in this recall election?

Barrett says is he running because “we need to focus on creating jobs in Wisconsin rather than on an ideological civil war.

“It was telling that the day after the Super Bowl in 2011, the governor said he was going to ‘Drop the bomb,'” Barrett says. “He changed political history in this state, ending 50 years of collective workers’ rights. He divided this state, divided families and declared a war whose victims are jobs.”

Q2: What is the most important issue facing Wisconsin right now?

“This election is a referendum on Gov. Walker and his policies,” Barrett said. “Are people satisfied that Wisconsin lost more jobs that any other state in the past year? No. Do people want the divisive war to end in Wisconsin? Yes.”

Q3: What distinguishes you from the other Democrats running in the primary? 

“I hit the ground running,” he says. “I’ve been in the executive branch, I’ve done budgets, I’ve created jobs.”

Barrett is also proud of the fact that Sen. Herb Kohl has endorsed his candidacy for governor. Kohl has only given one endorsement during his entire political career – to his nephew, Dan Kohl, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the state assembly in 2008. Former Rep. David Obey (D-Wausau) has also endorsed Barrett in this race.

“They recognize that I am the strongest candidate who can win, and will win,” Barrett says.

Q4: Are you seeking support or taking money from unions and out-of-state PACs? Why or why not?

“I do have some union support,” Barrett says, adding that he has focused on grass roots support in Wisconsin, not on out-of-state funding. While he hasn’t secured the support of the state’s largest employee or teachers unions, Barrett is proud to have the endorsement of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association and the Iron Workers Union.

Q5: If elected, what is your first act as governor on June 6? 

“I can tell you what I won’t do,” Barrett tells ThirdCoast Digest. “I won’t do a public speaking tour around the country to attack collective bargaining. Instead, I will be here to focus on the creation of jobs, not raising money from the Koch Brothers.”

Barrett says he plans to start his term as governor by reaching out to the people of the state to heal the divisive civil war raging in Wisconsin.

The gubernatorial recall primary is Tuesday, May 8. As per a ruling by the state appealate court, Voter photo ID will not be needed to vote in this contest.

Categories: News & Views, Politics

0 thoughts on “Recall 5Q: Tom Barrett”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Apparently Barrett doesn’t realize that this so called civil war was started by the 14 criminals that are called democratic senators that fled the state holding the legislative process hostage for a month and inciting violence and the mob take over of Madison. The unions…and teachers and out of state lefties created chaos and the divisive behavior…and people like Barrett edged them on.

    The privileges were taken away and the public union employees brought into the 21st century where communities with limited budgets make the decisions about their pay and benefits.

    Barrett has lost thousands of jobs…4400 last month out of 4600 state wide. Milwaukee is ranked 3-4th worst city in the U.S., Barrett has raised taxes every year but two…not something to be proud of and it is quite clear he’s never had any idea on how to create jobs…perhaps he waives a magic wand?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Alan —

    It’s simple – Walker and his co-conspirators and co-partisans abridged the Wisconsin Constitution.

    Article One, Declaration of Rights, Right to assemble and petition. Section 4. “The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.”

    His co-conspirators and co-partisans in the Legislature and Supreme Court support him in his abridgment. Therefore, recall is the constitutional safety-valve. T

    That abridgment all alone is enough to justify Walker, Kleefisch, and the four Republican Senators’ recall.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just look at his record as Milwaukee Mayor, do you realy want this guy for Govenor. Just look at the Milwaukee schools. How can he be proud of that record?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, Bill —

    The reason Milwaukee Public Schools are having problems is first and foremost the failed policies of the Bradley Foundation and Jon Norquist that brought “school choice” of un-accountable vouchers, charters, and parochial schools supported with taxpayer money – just look at the lower test scores compared to our international competitors since this failed campaign started. Walker and his gang seek to destroy Milwaukee Public Schools, and have been, obviously, succeeding. The longer he is in office, the more problems Milwaukee Public Schools will have and the louder the cry will be to destroy Milwaukee Public Schools, the destroyers citing failures purposely caused by those who seek to destroy them. Dare we call it treason?

  5. Anonymous says:

    […] Read more from ThirdCoastDigest.com >> […]

  6. Anonymous says:

    I would have asked Barrett what his three main accomplishments have been as mayor. The silence as they say would have been deafening. Has he led Milwaukee to better schools, lower crime, more jobs? What has he done? Give Walker a break, let the guy do his job. Recalls should only be used in extreme circumstances, not when liberals have their little hissy fits

  7. Anonymous says:

    “Apparently Barrett doesn’t realize that this so called civil war was started by the 14 criminals that are called democratic senators that fled the state holding the legislative process hostage for a month and inciting violence and the mob take over of Madison.”

    Lets dig through the revisionist history here.

    1. Walker dropped a “bomb” he didn’t campaign on…. seems that started this.
    2. The Senators left after large numbers of people had opposed this bill-now that they heard about it-and most Republican legislators refused to do their jobs (listen to constituents).
    3. The Senators were clear why they left and attempted to compromise-only to be refused (Walker let emails leak that imply he was attempting to negotiate but the call from who he thought was David Koch revealed Walker was eager to trick the Senators.
    4. The protesters were largely peaceful and remarked as such by police there.

  8. Anonymous says:

    In my humble opinion, the demonstrators were not “largely peaceful,” they were outrageously misbehaved. They showed no decorum (continual drum beating); they damaged state property; they illegally accepted fake medical excuses; they made it virtually impossible to conduct business in the Capitol; they physically and verbally threatened counter demonstrators, and some even threatened the lives and safety of the governor and legislators, physically attacking them (beer). Leftist radio host Sly hurled sexual slurs at Lt. Gov. Kleefisch. In the face of this, Governor Walker never lost his patience or his cool. I was proud of my governor, and ashamed at the boorish beahvior of my fellow teachers.

  9. Anonymous says:

    @nate: Also, imho, the 2010 Walker campaign was clear on what he intended to do. Once G0overnor Walker was inaugurated, he saw that the fiscal mess left by Doyle required radical action, and he took it. The senators who left did so without legal basis; as far as I am concerned they should have all been arrested for dereliction of duty. It was their duty to stay in Madison and debate, they couldn’t take the heat and left the kitchen. (Plus, it is well-known that not all of the 14 fugitives agreed with the plan of their ringleaders. I would have been OK with a 3-day absence, but three weeks was out of line.) Now, you are accusing the Republican legislators of “not listening to their constituents” and I submit that they did in fact listen, to both sides, the noisy, boisterous, law-disabiding ones, and the ones who stayed home at their jobs paying their taxes. Finally, the second group spoke, and gave the Governor a greater margin of victory than he got in the 2010 election.

  10. Anonymous says:

    @gf bird: The problem with Milwaukee Public Schools (and other large urban school systems nationwide) is that it is largely filled with “students” that have no interest in learning and parents that are not engaged in the educational process. Even if such students and parents are not the majority, they make learning and education impossible for those that do care. Teachers are essentially powerless to fix this problem. No amount of money poured into teacher salaries and benefits will change this reality.

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