Protesters march in Wis.As cars passed the capitol building in Madison, Wis., on Saturday, they honked their horns in rhythm. “This is what democracy looks like,” chanted the protestors on the streets in response to the cars.
By: By Anna Holmquist, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
MADISON, Wis. — As cars passed the capitol building in Madison, Wis., on Saturday, they honked their horns in rhythm.
“This is what democracy looks like,” chanted the protestors on the streets in response to the cars.
Masses of protestors thronged the capitol and the surrounding area to show their disapproval for Governor Scott Walker’s bill that limits collective bargaining power. Walker signed the bill into law on Friday after the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly approved it.
Once again, teachers and workers from all over the state drove to take part in the action at the capitol. Residents from New Richmond, Hudson and River Falls were all part of the crowd, with many arriving by buses organized by unions.
“We couldn’t miss this,” said Scott Herron, a New Richmond High School teacher. Herron, who teaches social studies, attended the protest in Madison with his wife and two children. “This is the battle front,” he said.
Herron has attended protests in Hudson and River Falls. He also helped to organize a rally in New Richmond to petition for the recall of State Senator Sheila Harsdorf.
Herron said that the last few weeks have been a nightmare for him and his fellow teachers.
“We’re kind of walking around in this daze,” he said.
Herron said that Wisconsin has been divided by this issue when it needs to unite. He believes that all of the senators who voted to pass Walker’s bill should be recalled.
“I think the governor has used a crisis to push an agenda,” he said.
Kerry Kittel, also a New Richmond High School teacher, traveled down to Madison to attend the protest on Saturday as well.
“I really just wanted to see the response to what happened Wednesday night,” he said. The Senate stunned union backers by quickly approving a sclaed-down version of the budget repair bill.
Kittel said that Walker “showed his true colors,” when he split the budget repair bill to pass the collective bargaining measure.
Kittel thinks that the next step should be to recall the senators who voted yes to the bill.
“I think that’s the only course out there,” he said.
Kittel has been helping to gather signatures on a petition for the recall of Senator Harsdorf. He said that in three days, they have collected over 500 signatures in New Richmond alone. A total of 15,744 signatures are needed within Harsdorf’s senate district to force a recall election.
“It’s apparent that a lot of people who supported Walker never intended for this to happen,” he said.
Kittel was impressed by the crowd and the energy of the people at the protest.
“It was a great day for workers in Wisconsin,” he said.
The 14 Wisconsin Democrats who left the state returned to the capitol and spoke at the protests on Saturday. Other speakers included Jesse Jackson and actor Tony Shalhoub.
Anna Holmquist is a reporter at the New Richmond (Wis.) News, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.