Jauch recall effort hits halfway markMADISON – Although she won’t give out specific numbers, the organizer of the Recall Bob Jauch Committee says “we’re on task” with getting enough signatures to hold an election.
By: By Kevin Murphy/For the Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
MADISON – Although she won’t give out specific numbers, the organizer of the Recall Bob Jauch Committee says “we’re on task” with getting enough signatures to hold an election.
“We’re not letting out a number , but things are going well…based on what’s coming in on petitions and the responses we’re getting,” in Jauch’s 25th Senate District, said Shirl LaBarre, of Hayward.
Last Wednesday, the recall effort reached the halfway point in the 60-day signature-gathering period and LaBarre has rallies scheduled Saturday in Superior, Ashland and Rice Lake to keep “on task” as she likes to say.
The recall committee will rally at noon Saturday at Barker’s Island amphitheater and at 2 p.m. in Ashland at the band shell on U.S. Highway 2. Speakers include a member of the Northwoods Patriots and an owner of 15 radio stations in northern Wisconsin.
A Party rally in Duluth helped generate many petition signatures, said LaBarre and despite a decidedly conservative appearance, the recall effort is not a Republican effort to remove a Democrat state senator from Poplar.
“I was at a non-partisan luncheon in Ashland and there was no party politics involved and that’s the key here. People want to work across the (party) lines,” she said.
While LaBarre didn’t mention any prominent Democrat favoring Jauch’s recall she said at least one trades union leader is backing the recall and will have his statement read at Saturday’s rallies.
Jauch says LaBarre has been an “ill-informed partisan hack” who has enlisted “right-wing extremists” in her effort to unseat him.
“It’s been a Who’s Who list of extremists lead by Citizens for Responsible Government, of Milwaukee, who couldn’t find their way to northwest Wisconsin without a road map,” Jauch said.
Jauch’s opposition to Republican-led mining legislation that failed to pass and the withdrawal of a Florida company’s interest in mining iron ore in Ashland and Iron counties prompted LaBarre to begin the recall. However, she said the broader issue of economic development is sustaining the campaign.
“The loss of 2,800 (mining-related jobs) was a blow. We’re having a hard time keeping the jobs we have. Businesses are closing and there’s no prospect of new jobs being created. What will Jauch do to bring revenue to the area? We’re in difficult times and we need someone who can bring in economic development,” she said.
Jauch defended this economic development record by pointing to his work with Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen in getting an employer to bring 600 aircraft-related jobs to the city. A $3 million loan from a program Jauch said he championed in the Legislature has resulted in creating jobs for an Iron County lumberyard, and he meets regularly with local officials to create more economic opportunities for area businesses.
“If anything Shirl LaBarre should be disappointed in the Republican legislature for failing to pass a venture capital bill that would have given capital to expanding business. I’m one of three Democrats who routinely sat in on the meetings to try and get that bill passed,” he said.
From early on LaBarre said she would not go door-to-door canvassing for signatures or stand on street corners with petition forms. Instead, she has found Facebook a good way to get out the message.
“You can have a luncheon with 25 people and maybe they’ll tell an additional 25 people, but one message on Facebook can reach thousands of people,” she said.
While Facebook is efficient, face-to-face contact remains indispensable in campaigning, LaBarre said. Many people she’s encountered don’t like the idea of recall but she uses in-person conversations to explain that it’s not just about one issue but Jauch’s “unethical” opposition to mining legislation in order to deny Gov. Scott Walker jobs he could count toward his 250,000 job goal.
Jauch denied LaBarre’s allegation saying a near majority of senators wanted a bill that was responsible to the environment of the area.
LaBarre’s committee has raised $3,500 in the past month, of which $3,000 was contributed by Citizens For Responsible Government. The committee has spent $125, according to a report filed with the Government Accountability Board. Jauch hasn’t raised or spent any, said GAB spokesman Reid Magney.
While LaBarre predicts she will get the 15,270 signatures necessary to force a recall, she won’t say who’s a likely candidate to oppose Jauch in a recall.
If the GAB determines LaBarre has filed a sufficient number of signatures, an election could take place in late July or early August, said Magney.