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Scott Walker Only Listens To What He Wants To Hear PDF Print E-mail
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Friday, 15 July 2016 11:04

scott_walkerScott Walker has shown again he has no interest in what everyday Wisconsinites have to say, stacking closed door listening sessions with friendly Republicans and his donors.

MADISON, WI - Just a day after it was revealed Scott Walker's WEDC was trying to insulate their Board of Directors from public scrutiny by prohibiting them from interacting with the press, a Cap Times report shows Scott Walker has been stacking his closed door listening tour sessions with Republicans and donors. Walker has tried to portray himself as transparent and accessible, but it is clear he has no interest in hearing what all Wisconsinites have to say.

"Wisconsinites expect and deserve elected officials to be open, transparent and listen to all sides of an issue before making their decisions. Scott Walker has shown again he has no interest in what everyday Wisconsinites have to say, stacking these closed door listening sessions with friendly Republicans and his donors," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning said on Friday. "Democrats know if we really want to serve the people of Wisconsin, we have to listen to everybody, not just those who will pat us on the back and tell us what we want to hear."

If Scott Walker were truly listening to all Wisconsinites, he would know that our public education system is severely underfunded and schools are hardly able to keep the lights on; he would know that our infrastructure is in terrible disrepair and Wisconsinites and businesses alike don't feel safe traveling across the state; and he would know that hard working Wisconsinites deserve a raise. It's time Scott Walker did the job he was elected to and properly represent the people of Wisconsin by listening and responding to their needs.

Read excerpts from the article below:

Gov. Scott Walker's office has asked legislators, lobbyists, state agency heads and local economic development agencies to help select attendees for the governor's invite-only listening sessions throughout the state, records show.

The records provided to the Cap Times offer insight into the selection process for participants in the governor's marquee effort to reacquaint himself with Wisconsin voters after his failed presidential bid


"I call it our 2020 Vision Project," Walker said in the address. "The idea is to bring together a diverse mix of people in small group settings all across the state. I want to hear from you about what makes Wisconsin great, where we want our state to be in the next two decades and how we should measure success."


Sessions are only open to those invited, and while they are closed to media, Walker has met with local reporters for interviews in some locations.

Walker has cited the feedback he receives from the listening sessions when asked by reporters about his flagging poll numbers, arguing there's a disconnect between the numbers and what he hears on the road.

The governor placed blame on the media for focusing on the negatives during a call with reporters last month, adding that "headlines are always negative and bad things."

A Marquette University Law School poll released shortly before the call showed that 46 percent of the state's voters believed the state is heading in the right direction, while 50 percent said it's on the wrong track. Thirty-nine percent said they approve of the governor's job performance, down from 43 percent in March.


Why the disconnect? Critics of the governor's administration say it's because the listening sessions are composed of overwhelmingly friendly audiences and, in general, people more involved in politics than the average citizen.


Attendees who donated have made about 3,800 total donations totaling about $1.1 million, according to state campaign finance data. Those donations overwhelmingly — at more than 80 percent — favored conservative and Republican candidates and causes.

"Instead of hearing about what's really on the minds of Wisconsinites who overwhelmingly disapprove of the job he's doing, Gov. Walker is tooling around the state on our dime hearing from an exclusive audience recruited to tell him what he wants to hear," said Mike Browne, deputy director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now.


Browne and One Wisconsin Now raised questions about the selection process — particularly about the influence of lobbyists and agency heads on the make-up of the audiences.

For instance, Browne noted, childcare workers rely on the state Department of Children and Families to do business. He questioned whether someone recommended by the agency would feel comfortable sharing negative feedback at a listening session.

He also questioned the appropriateness of lobbyists supplying the governor with an audience, noting one exchange in which a lobbyist, asked for names, responded that he also needed to speak with the governor's office about an administrative rule.

"Gov. Walker's office used special interest lobbyists with business before them to find attendees, state agencies were directed to 'invite' people who rely on state government to do business and fellow Republican legislators turned over their lists of local political insiders," Browne said.


Democrats have been critical of the sessions' exclusivity, arguing they should be open to anyone who wants to attend.

"Politicians hold town hall meetings all the time, all over the state that are open to the general public without having lobbyists and state regulatory agencies hand picking the the audience," Browne said. "But Gov. Walker is so concerned with the campaign optics of these events that he's unwilling to hear from the general public about what they really think about his failed agenda."


"Because of the importance of this discussion and the many people who would want to be included, she recommends that the event be open to the public," a Shilling staffer wrote in an email to the governor's office.


You can read the full article here.

Walker's WEDC Proposes Gag Order On Board Members PDF Print E-mail
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Thursday, 14 July 2016 14:03

walker-wedcAfter years of failure, Scott Walker and WEDC have come up with a solution - hide.

MADISON - Yesterday, it was reported that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is considering imposing a gag order on its board members that would deter them from releasing documents or talking to the press by threatening disciplinary consequences if they do.

Within hours of the report being released, WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark Morgan pulled the proposal from the agenda the board was set to discuss after backlash from Democrats and Republicans, both citing the lack of transparency that would result from the proposal.

Nine of the thirteen board members were hand-picked by Scott Walker to do his bidding, and after years of controversies, scandals, and failure to deliver jobs to Wisconsin, Walker and his WEDC cronies are trying to hide their misguided actions and agenda from the public. This just adds to the long list of Scott Walker's attempts to sweep the failures of his administration under the rug.

Despite the objections we see from Walker and his colleagues as they continue to try and hide their actions and treat WEDC like their own personal piggy bank, Wisconsinites deserve to know the actions and intent of publicly funded agencies like WEDC.

martha-laning"WEDC is a taxpayer-funded organization, and Wisconsinites have a right to know how their money is spent, that's why Democrats have called for more oversight of WEDC - not less." Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning said on Wednesday. "Multiple audits have shown that Gov. Walker's flagship job-creation agency is riddled with incompetence and mismanagement."

News reports have brought to light how WEDC has funneled taxpayer dollars to donors who fill their campaign coffers and corporations that ship jobs overseas. After years of controversy coupled with poor jobs numbers, it isn't surprising that the Governor would want to sweep his failures under the rug.

"Wisconsinites deserve to know the truth and anything short of that is wrong for the taxpayers and wrong for Wisconsin," concludes Laning.

WEDC Gag Order Proposed PDF Print E-mail
Written by GBP Staff   
Wednesday, 13 July 2016 14:33

capitol-night-wiscThe Board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is set to consider Thursday a policy that would bar them from talking to reporters and releasing information about the agency’s operations. Instead of more secrecy, the public needs more transparency.

Democrats Come Together on Anniversary of 2015-2017 Education Budget Cuts PDF Print E-mail
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Tuesday, 12 July 2016 10:14

2015-budgetMADISON – This week marks the anniversary of the 2015-2017 education budget cuts passed by Governor Walker and Wisconsin Republicans. Democrats are coming together to highlight the effects of these cuts, as well as the other two budgets passed by Scott Walker that have gutted public K-12 and public higher education funding.

Today, on the anniversary of the Wisconsin State Budget and the ramifications and effects on Wisconsin's public K-12 and higher education, Democrats held a statewide conference call to cast light on the issue.

dave-hansenParticipants included:

State Senate candidate Diane Odeen

State Representative Dana Wachs

State Senator Dave Hansen

UW College Student Claire Steven

Please contact Deputy Communications Director Philip Shulman at 301-873-2013 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.


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