Jauch, Obey back Barrett to ‘end political war’Political heavyweights in Washington D.C. and Madison threw their support to Milwaukee’s mayor and gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett on Friday. After all, Barrett — Milwaukee’s newly re-elected mayor — said he couldn’t just sit back and watch the civil war Gov. Scott Walker launched when he “dropped the bomb” on Wisconsin.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Political heavyweights in Washington D.C. and Madison threw their support to Milwaukee’s mayor and gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett on Friday.
After all, Barrett — Milwaukee’s newly re-elected mayor — said he couldn’t just sit back and watch the civil war Gov. Scott Walker launched when he “dropped the bomb” on Wisconsin.
The day after the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl, with Wisconsinites celebrating the victory, Barrett said the governor was meeting with his cabinet and telling leaders of state agencies that he was getting ready to “drop the bomb.”
“I’m using his words here, not my words, his,” Barrett said Friday during a campaign stop in Superior.
Barrett is one of five Democratic challengers hoping to take on the governor in the June 5 recall election. The primary is May 8.
The bomb that was dropped reversed 50 years of labor law in Wisconsin, Barrett said.
The bomb was a budget repair bill that stripped public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights, launching massive protests in Madison and around the state.
“It’s a political civil war that has now lasted 15 months,” Barrett said. “There’s no question who started this war. He told his cabinet that he was going to ‘drop the bomb,’ in essence to start the political war that is unlike anything we have seen in this state.”
If elected governor, Barrett said he’ll end the war, restore collective bargaining rights and get Wisconsin back on track to create jobs.
Barrett brought that message to Superior on Friday as state Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and former Democratic Congressman Dave Obey announced their endorsement of the man defeated by Walker in November 2010, when Walker carried 52 percent of the vote to Barrett’s 47 percent.
“Then 37 percent of union households voted for Walker,” Obey said. “Let me repeat that — 37 percent of union households voted for Walker. That ain’t going to happen again.”
Obey threw his support to Barrett because he’s the candidate most capable of defeating Walker in the recall election, he said.
“Tom is the only one who has put together a budget under what Walker has done to the state,” Obey said, adding he’s the strongest candidate running because he will be able to deal with that “snake pit in Madison” and “restore a progressive laboratory.” During his political career, Barrett has demonstrated that he supports workers, Obey said.
It was “without hesitation” Jauch threw his support behind Barrett, he said.
Jauch served with Barrett in the Wisconsin Senate from 1989 to 1993, before Barrett started his 10-year tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was then elected mayor of Milwaukee, a post he has held since 2004. Barrett and Jauch also served together briefly in the Wisconsin Assembly from 1984 when Barrett was first elected to public office until Jauch was elected to serve in the senate in 1986.
“I cannot think of a person who is more capable, who has demonstrated as much integrity and decency in his years of public service,” Jauch said. “It is better suited to help bring Wisconsin back together.”
With only a little about three weeks left until Wisconsin’s recall primary, Barrett made several stops in northern Wisconsin late last week.
Barrett is one of Democrats who have declared their candidacy, according to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.
Others include former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Secretary of State Doug La Follette, Wisconsin Sen. Kathleen Vinehout of Alma, Wis., and Gladys Huber of Mequon, Wis.
Two Republican candidates, Arthur Kohl-Riggs of Madison and Michael Mangan of West Allis, have also declared their candidacy for the seat now held by Walker.
In 2011, Gov. Walker had the worst record on jobs in nation because he was focused on this ideological war, Barrett said.
It’s was war that has now been declared against women too after the governor signed legislation April 5 to repeal state pay equity measures for women and restricted women’s rights to get health insurance to cover abortions through the health exchange set to go into effect in 2014.
“I want to focus on what’s important to the people of this state,” Barrett said. “… Women of this state know what’s at stake here. Their right to support themselves and their families — their right to control their own lives without having the government in that medical examining room with them — that’s what this is all about, having a governor who respects the people of this state.”
Barrett said his goal is to end the bitter and divisive politics that is pitting neighbor against neighbor.
“I will end the civil war,” Barrett said. “I will restore our values. I will restore Wisconsin values. I will heal these divisions in the state, and I will do what Gov. Walker said he was going to do but didn’t … which is focus on creating jobs in this state.”