Archive for Chris Larson

Wisconsin 14 press conference: "There is no turning back... This is Walker's war."

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The Wisconsin 14 is holding a press conference. I came in late, but here's the liveblog of what I caught. Some paraphrasing:

Apologies for not knowing the names of all of the Senators speaking:

"We're back to aid that movement... Right now, they're  [the GOP] walking the plank. They all walked the plank with the exception of Schultz. ... Alberta Darling:  got 24-27% of her signatures signed to recall her, they got more than a third needed for her recall. They are taking it to the streets, saying, "You did not hear us. Since you didn't change your minds, we'll change the faces.."

Another Senator:

"We have a job to do to repair the damage done to the confidence of citizens...  All of our conversations were about repairing the fabric... We'll see a continuing effort to repair the damage and restore rights. This is not a political, partisan movement, it is an American movement... This far surpasses the sixties... There is no turning back... the zeal to get their state back... President Obama is busy with Libya, etc. but recognizes the hope we believe in. We didn't plan for this moment, but we realize what is at stake. The loss of these rights is unAmerican. They are taking it on themselves to restore those rights, and would welcome Pres. Obama here in greater numbers than 2 years ago....

Walker said that day in and day out he was working to find a solution. Facts: For 18 days he had no communication with us at all. He must have had about 20 press conferences, 2 negotiation sessions. If he'd reversed that role, we'd have had an agreement a long time ago.

Many of us have had back channel convos w/ administration. We got a call a week ago Wed. asking if we'd like to meet w/ members of administration. A few of us did, at McDonald's. Next day, Walker was critical. Next day, I initiated another, a productive discussion... covered some positive ground... not near agreement, but committed to a good resolution to end impasse. The next day, Walker tried to drive a wedge, with Sen. Miller. We were going to go to the caucus to report progress, had SOME concessions from Walker's office... But conference didn't cover those concessions that we agreed to.

Remember when the governor called it a fiscal repair bill? ... Four days ago he said he has until April 15, so you'll see another bill doing the same thing he used as an excuse to gut collective bargaining.

He also held 1500 jobs hostage, took that back yesterday. Fraud. The sole intention was to destroy collective bargaining.

Another Senator:

At NO time were taxpayer dollars used for us in Illinois. Obama is welcome to come, he's watching, he still has time to come, there will be more demonstrations.

Tim Cullen:

Many oppose the bill, but many oppose abuse of power, demand fairness. The governor failed the fairness test, which is why the movement keeps growing.  It's the WAY they proceeded. We had conference committees that met to resolve differences, meeting for hours, days.  But for ten minutes?  They ran to the floor, we tried to come back to vote, speak against the bill, which is why they jammed it through in 30 minutes, after yelling at us for not being here. It's simple: Lack of fairness won't be tolerated in WI.

Lena Taylor:

We left because of a bill, we came back because of a movement. While we were gone, democracy was failed in so many ways. I'm excited to be back to join the people of WI who stood up.  I have no idea how anyone can govern, call themselves a leader, look at people of WI, and not be moved. I'm excited to be back to help that movement.

Jon Erpenbach:

In 2 1/2 months, lots of business tax breaks, we apparently have money to do that, but we're at each others throats. You can't conquer and divide... To 60-70% of the people, this makes no sense, balancing budget on the backs of those people. In the end, it's about fairness. What Gov. has done is not fair.  Process: What we did by leaving is to guarantee the process can sustain, although we didn't want to leave. What we did is to guarantee a debate. They did what they did, they have to explain to people of WI... saying an item was fiscal, then suddenly wasn't. We told them to take it out before we left. It was a charade.

This [leaving the state] came out of OUR pockets, we will ABSOLUTELY NOT ask for reimbursement.

Answering a Q: MSNBC has not contracted me, no.

Tim Cullen:

After negotiations on Sunday, we thought we made progress... they emailed back with less than we expected. They said if there was no deal by Tuesday, they'd explore all options, including nuclear. They said, deal by Tuesday or we move on. That's unfortunate, but we started from some very different places. They started with destroying unions, not even negotiating workplace safety... besides the union dues, contract, etc. We started with, this worked for 50 years, .... They said, we've talked long enough, to heck with you....

I've come back to an environment of an absence of moderates. If they're moderate, they're called Repubs In Name Only... They have nowhere to go but to follow their right wing or face a lot of consequences...  That's the way it is today. It's time for us to call the Senators we do have a relationship with and see if we still have it... I blocked out all the verbal shouts every day. All they do is disrupt the ability to negotiate or discuss in any serious way. What WE did was clearly legal, not clear if what they did is legal... It's not a good situation.

Erpenbach:

We did not violate any state law of any Senate rule. I want to be clear about that. Scott Fitzgerald did not have the authority to do ANYthing they did in those resolutions: Arrest us, fine us... that's not his job.  They don't have an answer, they can't defend or explain it. They are bankrupt when it comes to ideas to move us forward together. If they keep doing that kind of stuff, yeah, it'll be hard to work together. They're the majority, we have hundreds of issues to cover...

Lena:

It's our job to rise above the pettiness. When history tells the story of the pettiness of the choices of the Senate Majority Leader... those things will show where the shame really should lie. I stand proud, tall on the choice no different than Abe Lincoln who chose to jump out of a window... Fitzgerald will want a rewrite of what he said.  The Constitution says it, they can't do that. There are only certain mechanisms to be found in contempt... we didn't do that.  There would have to be some breaking of a law. We have not done that. We USED the law.

Erpenbach:

The question is, legally can he sign that document? You'll be surprised at the answer.

Cullen:

Sheriff made it clear I couldn't be arrested unless we committed a crime. We didn't commit a crime. He said if someone came to my door to compel me to return to Capitol, and they don't leave if asked, he'd arrest THEM for trespassing. They'd send a deputy to arrest THEM for disorderly conduct. They can't compel us to come back [that way].

Lena:

They knew that when they did it. I'm looking forward to the April 5th election.

Erpenbach:

The recall: It's clear. If you can't work out a deal with Tim Cullen, you can't work out a deal with anybody. Walker, Fitzgerald, there is no gray area because of what they've done. People will be forced to pick a side. This is Walker's war, nobody else's.

We didn't need the bill. Walker made the Budget Repair Bill up, to tear us apart. It wasn't needed. His proposals are NOT FAIR. There is no sharing the pain here, he's saying "too bad" to the middle class.

Lena:

The Koch brothers clearly got the bill before we did, because they ran ads [before we got it]. All the way to the clean-up, the bald faced lies... $7.5 million? The people have been awakened. Those who didn't vote in the election, they understand now. Now the big budget: $900 million taken from education. What will that do to the kids?

Q: Obama disappointing you?

Erpenbach:

No not at all, He was very supportive, a couple of different times, of public employees. He has a nation to sail through some rough waters right now. He was briefed 1-2 times a day, I don't doubt him at all. Had he come here, it would have been more chaotic. I'm glad he didn't come here.

Lena:

I agree. It would have been about him, instead of the workers of WI. It would've been politicized, it would have been about the 2012 election. He has time to come stand with the WI workers, real soon.

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WI Dem Senator Chris Larson: "I'm driving back to Wisconsin." He and 13 other Dems!

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Senator Larson is not alone:

The 14 Senate Dems who left the state in an attempt to stop a vote on the budget repair bill will be featured at tomorrow's Capitol rally, organizers have announced.

Via email:

This is Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson -- and today, I'm heading home to Wisconsin to join the fight in person.

The last three weeks have shown what progressive strength and worker solidarity look like.

My fellow senators and I know that thousands of PCCC members in Wisconsin and across the nation have been fighting right alongside us -- attending rallies, making phone calls, donating to some great TV ads, and telling your friends about the Republican war on workers.

I want to say thank you. I also want to let you know that the fight's not over.

Republicans need to learn what accountability feels like. It's time for Republican senators to be recalled from office.

The PCCC just opened up an official Recall Committee in Wisconsin -- which will mobilize volunteers and run new ads against vulnerable Republicans. Please chip in $3 to help fund this vital work.

Wisconsin Republicans brazenly stampeded over the will of the people as they engaged in their right-wing attack on workers.

They shut down the public hearings, they shut down the legislative hotline, they shut down debate in the Assembly in the middle of the night, and they tried to lock citizens out of the Capitol. And on Wednesday night, when they had their last chance at redemption, Republican senators chose to bend the rules and join Governor Walker's war on working families.

The citizens of Wisconsin are rising up and engaging in the democratic process like never before. Recalls of the Republicans are kicking into high gear as clipboards begin to replace protest signs in neighborhoods across the state.

Governor Walker and Republican senators refused to listen to the public -- but now the people will be heard all across the state at the ballot box.

Please help us win this fight by chipping in $3 to the PCCC's Recall Committee. Click here.

Thanks again for standing with us in solidarity, and for being a bold progressive.

-- Senator Chris Larson, Wisconsin's 7th District (Twitter.com/ChrisJLarson)


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WI Dem Sen. Chris Larson: "They just keep going, power grab after power grab. It's an outrage."

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WI Sen. Chris Larson is on The Thom Hartmann Show as we speak. Liveblogging, slightly paraphrased:

Larson: Today's a pretty bad day, yesterday was pretty shocking. This maneuver to shut out debate is pretty disgraceful. Driving corporate agenda. We're looking into new options... if they violated open meetings law.

They just keep going, power grab after power grab. It's an outrage. I'm not sure why they continue to shut out the public...

We left in order to allow the public have time with the bill, to wake up the middle class as to what is going on. They're doing opposite: Shut out debate, opinions they don't like.

Thom: Denying a quorum is essentially a filibuster. You're shining bright light on Koch brothers, who thought they could slip this by in dark of night... that people will have forgotten by next year. You're shining the light, which provoked them into having vote last night. Ohio, Maine governors are being called out. They're showing up at Boise, Idaho of all places. So they think they gotta put an end to this quick.

Larson: Could be. Walker never tells us what's in those "1000s" of emails he got. The facts are out there. 10s of 1000s of people are shut out. They'll move to the streets where the recalls are happening.

Thom: There are a lot of young faces out there... they came in for Obama, but this could galvanize a new generation.

Larson: Absolutely. Our capitol is right near the university. Students are very active in this... divide between the Dems for the workers, the GOP for the corporate interests. The number of people has set a new record, it's historic, we've never had this many people there. John Kerry with Springstein? Obama? This eclipsed that! These people will run for office, will continue to push for democracy.

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