As I looked out from the stage on the faces of thousands of folks at the "Stand With Walker" rally in Madison, Wisconsin today a young 7 or 8 year-old girl atop her dad's shoulders stood out. She was waving a "Fight Back Wisconsin" sign and cheering happily. Before the rally her dad had told me they gave up her basketball game today to come to the rally because "It's time to stand tall." Next to them in his hard hat was Mansfield, a tall, wiry gentleman who runs a small brick laying business near Madison. These two individuals symbolize what's at stake.
It's a decisive moment in Wisconsin and a watershed moment for our nation, and we urge you to join the fight at www.StandWithWalker.com.
On our side Governor Scott Walker, a newly-elected GOP-controlled legislature and tens of thousands of tea party and AFP activists are working to balance the state budget by finally cutting spending and reining in sweetheart pensions and benefits enjoyed by government employees unions.
On the other side are a privileged class of liberal politicians and government unions demanding higher taxes and even more spending for themselves and their ideology - all while private sector unemployment still runs high.
It looked and felt like the government workers marches in Athens, Greece throughout the week as the Wisconsin government unions, augmented by union activists from around the nation and President Obama's Organizing for America, marched, chanted, banged drums, and jeered at anyone daring to support Governor Walker's policies.
Here's what Governor Walker's Budget Repair Bill that they're so angry about actually does:
- Ask government workers to pay half the cost of their pensions - still less than private employees pay for their pensions
- Ask government workers to pay 12% of their own health insurance premiums - the national average for the private sector is over 20%
- End collective bargaining for government unions for pensions and benefits. Allow bargaining only for raises that are less than inflation.
- End forced union dues, collected by the state. Union dues would become voluntary.
- Union members get to vote yearly on whether to keep their union.
To stop these sensible reforms, the unions and their Democratic allies are pulling out all the stops. President Obama has even weighed in attacking Governor Walker. (As I told the crowd today, President Obama should stop worrying about Wisconsin and get to work on Washington's out-of-control federal budget.)
Democratic state senators are so desperate they have actually fled the state to stall a vote -- and are hiding out at a resort in Illinois. Can you imagine elected legislators being so beholden to special interest unions that they would flee the state? Have they no shame? (Wisconsin, by the way, has citizen recall of elected officials and I've heard petitions are already being circulated to kick the senators who have fled the state out of office.)
Much is at stake because every other governor and every other legislature is watching what happens in Wisconsin. We have to win. Please stand with Scott Walker by signing our petition at www.StandWithWalker.com.
Know that we're on the ground here in Wisconsin. AFP and our allies are going all out to victory. We're pouring emails into the legislature, running radio ads and we're helping with rallies like the one today. We're going to win.
P. S. We're going to win, but we need your help. Please share www.StandWithWalker.com with your friends, family, neighbors, Facebook friends, and Twitter followers. The stakes are too high to think this is someone else's fight. We need to send a strong message to the unions by winning in Wisconsin and taking these common sense reforms to every other state and the federal government. Today, we are all Wisconsinites. Please help spread the word about www.StandWithWalker.com.