July 22, 2014

Boycotts and apologies to Arizona

The Ozaukee County Board Wednesday approved sending an apology to Arizona for the Milwaukee Area Technical College’s economic boycott of that state. In May, in response to Arizona’s recent law cracking down on illegal immigrants, the MATC board voted to boycott goods from the border state and cease sending employees there for meetings and conferences.

County Supervisors cleared the apology resolution 16-5 with not every board member voting. The measure was introduced by Supervisor Robert T. Walerstein of Mequon who contacted his lawmaker, State Senator Glenn Grothman, on how to best word such a resolution. It calls the boycott “divisive and intolerant.”

Grothman told WRN would be a good thing for all communities in MATC’s district to make it clear not all of Wisconsin wants to declare, “economic war” on Arizona, which he says is wrong to do to other Americans especially during a recession.

“What may happen is you may wind up having people in Arizona lose their jobs and their jobs end up going to China or Mexico or Vietnam. Can you imagine anything more ridiculous,” said the West Bend Republican.

Among advocates in favor of the MATC boycott is Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera, who after it’s passage said in a statement, “I felt it was a moment of great pride to see such resolute and principled leadership affirming the values of equality and diversity in our public schools.”

A Milwaukee County Board committee and the Milwaukee School Board have also called for a boycott.

AUDIO: Excerpt of interview with Sen. Grothman (:29)