October 31, 2014

President Obama stumps for Mary Burke in Wisconsin

President Obama rallies for Mary Burke in Milwaukee

President Obama rallies for Mary Burke in Milwaukee

President Barack Obama stumps in Milwaukee for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke in a very tight race. Both politicians repeatedly emphasize the importance of casting a ballot in this election.

AUDIO: Obama urges voters to take advantage of early in-person voting. :43

The president slams Republican Governor Scott Walker on several hot button issues — jobs, minimum wage, health insurance, and education — while calling Burke an “honest person … who cares about people.” But, he says, there are also “policy reasons” why the former Trek bicycle executive needs your vote.

Obama points out Republicans aren’t bad people. They love their country, he explains, just like Democrats. “But,” he says, “they’ve got some bad ideas.” Obama jokes he’s got family members with bad ideas. “They’re still part of the family,” he says, “but you don’t put ‘em in charge.”

The president’s appearance in Wisconsin is one of several campaign events in states with close races for governor.

Burke hopes to benefit from national politicians stumping in the Badger State in recent days, including President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and U.S. Senate Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

Governor Walker says the many visits from the president and similar high-profile politicians show Burke is “the candidate of Washington.”

Obama spoke at Milwaukee’s North Division High School in a majority Democratic district.

Burke and Walker are tied in the polls. Each campaign says turnout is the key to a win.  A final Marquette poll is scheduled to be released Wednesday, though both candidates have said the only poll that matters is at the voting booth. Election Day is Tuesday, November 4th.

After the Milwaukee rally Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin Joe Fadness released the following statement:

“Wisconsin can’t afford a governor who will walk lock-step with President Obama and his failed policies that have hurt our country and would take Wisconsin backward. As President Obama appears with Mary Burke, voters must remember that the president’s failed policies are on the ballot this November — policies that have raised taxes on the middle class and made it harder for small businesses to succeed.”

Group sues Governor Walker to act on minimum wage

(WRN file photo)

(WRN file photo)

Advocates for a higher minimum wage want to force the governor to increase the rate; they hope to draw attention to the issue before the election.

Wisconsin Jobs Now is taking legal action, because its members say the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage is not a “living wage,” as required by law.

Jennifer Epps-Addison is director of the group. “Underpaid workers are suing Governor Walker to demand that he follow the law. Walker broke state law by denying valid complaints from underpaid workers without the due diligence of even a cursory investigation.”

The group is suing the governor as well as Reggie Newson, in his role as secretary of the Department of Workforce Development.

The lawsuit comes just a week before Election Day. Epps-Addison denies the filing is a political stunt. She says they have been focused on increasing the minimum wage for quite some time. “For the last year and a half workers have been demanding a raise in the minimum wage — both by going out on strike and by talking directly to elected officials.” She says, “Governor Walker has refused to hear those claims.”

Epps-Addison says the legal action is in response to the state’s rejection of more than 100 worker complaints regarding the current minimum wage, saying it does not comply with Wisconsin’s living wage law. The group is also responding to news that there was no adequate investigation on whether $7.25 is high enough to make ends meet. Walker’s Democratic opponent Mary Burke favors a wage of $10.10 an hour.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday. According to a new report from the MacIver Institute, more than 91,000 Wisconsinites would lose their job under a $15 an hour minimum wage. The group’s president Brett Healy says, “An increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour would be devastating for Wisconsin families and young people looking to establish a positive work history because many would lose their jobs.”

Johnson hoping for a shakeup in the US Senate

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson speaks to GOP volunteers during a stop in Madison. (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson speaks to GOP volunteers during a stop in Madison. (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

While Wisconsin does not have a US Senate race on the ballot next month, the state’s two members of that chamber have been actively working to make sure their party is in control after November 4. US Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has been campaigning in key Senate races across the country, as has her Republican counterpart, US Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).

Johnson, who faces reelection in 2016, says it’s essential that the GOP take back control of the chamber from Democrats so the country can get back on the right track. Johnson says “we really have a one man party of no in Democrat Senator Harry Reid…he’s really destroyed the United State Senate as being a deliberative body. He does not respect the rights of the minority party.”

AUDIO: Sen. Ron Johnson (:13)

Reid is the current Senate majority leader, and Johnson says Republicans want to change the way the chamber does business if they are given control next year. He claims the GOP would work with the other side of the aisle and “return to regular order. We’ll have a full amendment and debate process in the Senate. I think that would be very healing.”

Bill Clinton stumps for Mary Burke in Milwaukee

Mary Burke rallies her supporters in Madison (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson, file)

Mary Burke rallies her supporters in Madison (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson, file)

Former President Bill Clinton speaks at a lunchtime campaign rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke at Milwaukee’s Hyatt Regency hotel.

Clinton says all eyes are on this race. “The whole country is watching this race because her opponent got a lot of headlines in the last four years all related to conflict.” He says, “She didn’t make so many headlines because in her business and in her public service she’s been about cooperation.”

Clinton tells the estimated 900 people that he would like an invitation to Burke’s inauguration. He references Burke’s experience as a business executive, saying it makes her a desirable candidate. “If I were a moderate Republican I’d vote for Mary Burke for governor … because I’d rather have somebody who knew what it would take to build a small business into a bigger one and hired people and took ‘em along for the ride on fair terms than somebody who thought we had to give more away to people who are already powerful whether they create jobs in our state or not.”

For her part, Burke again touts her Wisconsin roots, talks about raising the minimum wage, and criticizes Governor Scott Walker’s jobs record.

President Obama is expected to campaign for Burke in Milwaukee on Tuesday. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is due to return to the state to try and motivate the base for Governor Scott Walker. Polls still show the Burke-Walker contest as a dead heat.

After the rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin GOP Executive Director Joe Fadness says in a statement: “We can only hope that Bill Clinton spent part of his visit explaining that Burke should know better than to plagiarize her campaign documents and that it’s time for her to finally take responsibility for her actions.”

Grothman unfazed by lack of endorsement from Petri

Republican state Senator Glenn Grothman isn’t too concerned by the fact that Republican U.S. Representative Tom Petri won’t endorse him as he runs to succeed Petri. “I like Congressman Petri, a nice, soft-spoken individual, but right now we’re borrowing 20 percent of our budget, and I think I’m going to be a little bit more fiscally conservative than Congressman Petri,” Grothman told KFIZ.

“Why would I endorse a person who has said that if in two years people said he was ‘just like Petri’ he would be insulted?” Petri told the Fond du Lac Reporter this week. “I don’t want to smother him with love or anything like that.”

“I think what we have in that race is a situation where Grothman had challenged Petri earlier on to a primary, and that doesn’t usually sit well, challenging a sitting member of Congress in your own party,” said Lawrence University political science professor Arnold Shober. “Some things were said, and now Petri doesn’t feel the need to endorse him.”

Grothman may not have the endorsement of Petri, but that hasn’t seemed to temper his conservative talking points. “Right now we have a welfare system out of control . . . and I’m going to be much more aggressive than Congressman Petri in reigning in that welfare system,” he said.

Petri has even said Grothman’s Democratic opponent, Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, has done a good job, although Grothman says Petri has also made a donation to Grothman’s campaign.

“It’s not good for Grothman to not be able to claim that Petri has endorsed him,” Shober told WHBY. “That doesn’t mean it’s a death knell by any stretch. The district leans Republican. But Harris will be able to say ‘look, Grothman is not the kind of Republican that Petri was. Are you sure you really want that?'”