Tuesday, April 19, 2011

State Senators headed towards recall elections

Recall elections are in store for three (or four) GOP lawmakers

Writing to you live from Orange Beach, Alabama...

It seems that there will be at least three recall elections in the state, possibly a fourth one, forcing Republican State Senators to explain why they deserve another chance to keep their jobs.

Luther Olsen, Randy Hopper, and Dan Kapanke will all officially face a recall election, with each recall campaign receiving around 150 percent of the signatures needed to start the process (the extra names on the recall petition ensures that any contested signatures won't result in the recall being rescinded). A fourth Republican, Sheila Harsdorf, is also close to being recalled, with her recall campaign stating it has more than 110 percent of the signatures needed.

This is extraordinary news for the state of Wisconsin. If three of the four Republicans can be removed from office -- a feat that would be unprecedented for our state -- the state senate will flip Democratic, ensuring that any bill the Walker administration would try to pass would require bipartisan cooperation. In other words, if the recalls succeed, you're not going to see anymore crazy bills that remove workers' rights from the people, raise taxes on the poor, remove municipal rights to extend sick days for workers, or even attempt to rid the state of recycling requirements (though even Republicans, it seems, couldn't get behind Walker on that).

A divided government isn't always a good thing -- at the national level, we're seeing the terrible head such a beast can rear. But when it works against the complete dismantling of an entire class of people (those that are below the 5 percent of high-wage income earners in the state), a divided government can mean the world to thousands, perhaps millions, within Wisconsin.

The filing of recall petitions is just the beginning. The recall elections, set to start sometime in the near future, will be interesting to watch, if just to see how on earth these Republicans can defend their records against the people of our state.

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