Thanks Northern Wisconsin

Paul Whyte

On Tuesday, June 5, 2012, it was a sunny afternoon in Superior, Wisc. as people shuffled in and out of the Salvation Army building on Hughitt Ave. and Broadway St.  Registered voters were lined up at tables where they could get their number, get their ballot, and then vote either for or against a recall of Gov. Scott Walker. A number of other non-registered voters sat in folding chairs lined up against the walls and diligently filled out their information in order to vote. The number of new voters indicated that this recall was certainly something that people were taking seriously regardless of political views. Scott Walker would have been the third governor ever to be recalled by his constituents in the United States, but by 9 p.m. on this Tuesday evening it was pretty clear that he had pulled through and would continue as Wisconsin’s Governor.
Despite a massive turn out of demonstrators standing in solidarity for public worker’s rights back in February of 2011, a turn out that  far overshadowed the presence of Tea Party and Walker supporters, and that 900,000 signatures were gained earlier this year which triggered the recall, Walker took approximately 55% of the votes while Democrat and Milwaukee Mayor, Tom Barrett, stood at around 45%.
One is left to wonder exactly how this could happen. According to campaign reports released on May 29, Walker raised $30.5 million and according to the watchdog group, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, $21.5 million of that was from out of state contributors.  Barrett, on the other hand, raised $4 million and around a quarter of that was from out of state. We live in a day and age where money can be used to influence media and people. Walker was allowed unlimited funds in this recall election, while Barrett was allowed the standard $10,000 per person.
It is interesting to see some of the people who contributed and how much they put into Walker’s campaign. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wonder how I’m going to pay my car insurance while “Diane Hendricks, Wisconsin’s richest businesswoman and a member of Charles and David Koch’s ‘million-dollar club’” donated $510,000 to Walker’s campaign, according to Many of the contributors are indeed tied in with the Koch brothers.  Doesn’t it seem odd that the Koch brothers would invest so much in Walker remaining as Governor? The imbalance of money raised in this campaign and where it was coming from might be concerning. Of course I might be needlessly paranoid that a bunch of people who don’t give a crap about Wisconsin or it’s middle or lower classes are investing millions of dollars in order to control it.
It seems almost certain that those who have a whole bunch of money are interested in sharing it and wish to create jobs in this lovely state, right? That’s probably why between March 2011 and March 2012, Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wisconsin has the worst job creation out of any state in the country as of late.
Although Diane Hendricks is a woman, she probably doesn’t rely on Planned Parenthood and other women’s health services since she’s worth around $2.8 billion according to For the rest of women in Wisconsin, Walker has basically denied care and attacked their rights continuously throughout his term.  Planned Parenthood offers screenings for cervical and other cancers, provides HIV testing, birth control and annual exams for thousands of women in Wisconsin and Walker has placed that on the chopping block. This isn’t to mention a $140 million cut to Badger Care which will alienate 60,000 patients or a $500 million cut to Mediaid according to, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.
I’ll say that as Second Amendment rights advocate and advocate of the Constitution in general, I didn’t have a problem with concealed carry in Wisconsin. A simple explanation is that if someone tries to eat your face off, or if you see someone’s face being eaten off, you might not have to wait around for law enforcement to show up in order to stop it.
On the other side of things, according to Wisconsin Citizens Media Co-op, Walker has hired a “deer czar” from Texas named James Kroll. The plan is sell off public lands to the highest bidder then charge people to hunt on those lands. If anyone doesn’t own property or know someone well enough to hunt on their property, they will have to face this new threat of privatization of hunting lands.
So Walker raised a bunch of money and managed to keep his job.  It’s hard to say what that will mean for Wisconsin, but as you can see I’ve scratched the surface of what might await. This might be old news to some of you who have been closely watching this from the beginning or maybe the realization that Walker is attacking workers, women, education, healthcare, the middle class, the lower class and Wisconsin in general is just hitting you now as you read this. What’s done is done. All we can do as citizens of this Country is to be vigilant in staying informed about these developments which will impact our lives.
The main thing I feel happy about is the people of Northern Wisconsin, the people who reside by the Lake, showed that they somehow understand what I’ve mentioned in this column. Other than Dane County, (Madison), and Menominee County, which pulled in the highest percentage of votes for Barrett at 73%, Douglas, Bayfield and Ashland Counties all recorded over 60% for Barrett.
60% of you know good jobs are scarce in the Northland, paying fuel prices to heat your home or drive your vehicle isn’t getting cheaper and that the good jobs that are here are often supported by unions.  Whether you’re a teacher, fireman, police officer or even a grocery store clerk, you know that unions are set up to protect you as a worker. I just have a bad feeling that that protection is rapidly slipping away along with a lot of things that make the State of Wisconsin and America great.


Paul Whyte

A South Shore native and University of Wisconsin-Superior journalism graduate. Lifelong musician, and former open mic host. Passionate about the music scene and politics.

View more of Paul Whyte's work »