The Wisconsin Democratic Party has launched a campaign to recall key Republican senators who have aligned themselves with Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill.
The bill would strip the right of public employees to collectively bargaining for benefits and has ignited massive protests that have lasted for over three weeks.
“This morning citizens from around the state took the first steps by filing recall papers against key Republican Senators who have stood with Scott Walker and pushed his partisan power grab that will strip thousands of middle class teachers, nurses, librarians and other workers of their right to collective bargaining,” the Wisconsin Democratic Party said in an email.
“In 60 days you can take Wisconsin back by recalling the Republican Senators who have decided to push Scott Walker’s divisive attack on the rights of workers and his assault on schools, universities and local communities,” the email continued.
Under Wisconsin law, any elected official who has served at least one year of their current term can be recalled from office. Eight Republican senators are currently eligible to be recalled. Gov. Walker, who was inaugurated last January, will not be eligible for a recall until 2012.
Republicans currently have a 19 to 14 majority in the Wisconsin Senate.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and other pro-union groups involved in the protests have backed the recall campaign.
“We have learned that today people have begun filing recall petitions in an effort to take Wisconsin back,” Bryan Kennedy, President of AFT Wisconsin, said in a statement. “We are now going to focus our organizing attention on these efforts and all across the state we will immediately join these efforts and begin collecting signatures, knocking on doors, making phone calls and talking to our friends and family. Starting today, day by day, one by one, we will begin taking our state back before Governor Walker is able to take it backwards.”
In response to the campaign, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) has vowed to defend the state senators.
“You can expect to see some aggressive radio, TV and mail campaigns from us,” RSLC president Chris Jankowski said.