Why the Wisconsin recall fight matters to the nation
Wisconsin battle has implications for the rest of the nation.
On Tuesday, Wisconsin will conclude the most expensive battle for a governor's seat in that state's history. Nearly $64 million has been spent in the recall fight over Governor Scott Walker's seat. Governor Walker has been under fire since he successfully limited the power of big unions to obstruct progress in the state.
Governor Walker of Wisconsin has been under fire for fighting against special interests and labor unions.
The entire nation is watching. If Governor Walker is defeated, it could be a resounding blow to businesses and the struggling economy as unions sense and capitalize on public frustration with the lack of economic progress in the country.
Meanwhile, the lavish campaign spending, on both sides, is another result of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, which permitted unlimited contributions from unions and corporations, recognizing such contributions as protected political speech.
Both Governor Walker and his challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett have received support from out of state sources since the state became a battleground for unions seeking to overturn laws which limit the power of unions. Unions rely on collective bargaining and automatic dues, despite the fact that not everyone wishes to support union activity.
Governor Walker has repeated his vow to fight such coercion saying he would "stand up and take on the powerful special interests."
Walker became the center of a national debate when he led the effort to limit the power of Wisconsin's unions. The fight became especially bitter and resulted in a recall initiative. Since then, union money has flowed into the state from around the country. At least a quarter of the money spent by Barrett has come from outside sources including money from the National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), American Federation of Teachers, United Food and Commercial Workers, Teamsters, and the United Autoworkers (UAW).
In response to Barrett's massive union support, conservative and pro-business groups have also started to send money to the beleaguered Governor. In fact, the Governor has managed to raise more money than his challenger, something people hope is a sign of national will to keep unions from dominating political processes.
Still, despite the money raised for the campaign it will all come down to people and how they vote. The election will be close and will serve as a national referendum on the power of unions in state affairs.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Wisconsin, Walker, recall, Barrett, unions
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