Conservatives launch Jauch recall

MADISON -- Individuals upset over State Sen. Robert Jauch's opposition to Assembly-approved mining legislation said Monday they would begin gathering signatures on petitions to recall the longtime senator from Douglas County.

Jauch recall
Shirl LaBarre of Hayward registers the Recall Bob Jauch Committee at the Government Accountability Board on Monday. (Kevin Murphy/For the Superior Telegram)

MADISON -- Individuals upset over State Sen. Robert Jauch's opposition to Assembly-approved mining legislation said Monday they would begin gathering signatures on petitions to recall the longtime senator from Douglas County.

"Sen. Jauch did not listen to the majority of his constituents and frankly, we've had it," Shirl LaBarre of Hayward, told reporters at the Government Accountability Board offices where she registered the Recall Bob Jauch Committee.

LaBarre has until May 18 to collect 15,270 valid signatures to force a recall of Jauch, who has represented northwest Wisconsin in the senate since 1986.

LaBarre said Jauch's opposition helped kill a bill that would streamline the mining permit process and resulted in Gogebic Taconite ending its interest in mining iron ore in Ashland and Iron counties. The Florida-based company had said it would create hundreds of jobs in an area in need of an economic boost.

While Jauch, D-Poplar, said he was for responsible mining he wants no mining that doesn't please extreme environmentalists, and also doesn't want to create jobs that would be credited to Gov. Scott Walker, LaBarre said.


In an area of relative high unemployment and low per capita income, the Gogebic Taconite mine was viewed as an economic godsend only to be snatched away, said John Sendra, of Mercer, who accompanied LaBarre to GAB offices.

"Sen. Jauch flushed our opportunity for mining and good paying jobs quickly without thinking about his constituents. Instead he listens to political interest groups and that's it... The senator said he wanted responsible mining law but we need a senator responsive to our needs," said LaBarre.

Mining isn't the only issue in the recall but it's "the key issue," said LaBarre.

LaBarre said she won't be running against Jauch if enough recall signatures are accepted by the GAB because the redistricting that will take effect this fall puts her outside of Jauch's 25th Senate District. LaBarre has unsuccessfully run for the Assembly before and said she plans another run in the future.

She has talked to individuals interested in running against Jauch but said they would have to announce that when they are ready.

"This is about the recall of Bob Jauch, this isn't about a candidate," she said.

Instead of going door-to-door or standing on street corners, LaBarre said the campaign will use social media and events to collect signatures. A Facebook page now has more than 300 "friends" and is growing daily, she said.

"I've had people contact day after day since I filed the exploratory (committee paperwork). I think Senator Jauch will be shocked at the number of people wanting to sign the petition," she said.


No signature-gathering events had been scheduled yet, LaBarre said.

Citizens for Responsible Government which works to elect conservatives is aiding the recalls of Jauch and State Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, both who opposed the mining bill backed by state Republicans.

LaBarre said CRG will help the Jauch recall effort, LaBarre said there are hundreds of residents within the senator's district who have asked her for petitions to circulate to remove him from office.

In a statement released Monday, Jauch condemned CRP as a "Milwaukee fringe group ... more interested in political conquest than working for the common good."

"They don't care about jobs or responsible mining policy. The only contact they have had with my office has been harassing, costly and time-consuming open record requests. They just want to send a message that they will threaten to recall a public official who happens to dare to disagree with them. They don't care about the north. They just want to make sure they own the politics and control the person who represents the north. They certainly don't care about the truth. "

In a phone interview Monday, Jauch said he wrote Gov. Walker urging him to continue to work with the Legislature to pass a bipartisan bill that creates jobs and protects the environment. Jauch said a shared sense of compromise is needed for any bill to be passed if the Legislature is called back into Special Session.

"Senator Schultz and I offered alternative compromise legislation but there has to be compromise on the other side and to date there hasn't been a desire to do that," he said.

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