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Friday, January 18, 2013

Mailbag: Wisconsin Wave: The Protest Begins

We want to be sure you saw the news from last Thursday's rally. On that day the first day of the new state legislative session, over 100 Wisconsinites gathered outside the State Capitol building for a rally organized by the Wisconsin Wave. At the rally speakers made clear that the "majority party" in the legislature has no democratic authority to govern because the fall general election was rigged via unprecedented, hyper-partisan gerrymandering. Said rally MC Sarah Manski, “The Republicans lost the statewide popular vote in the Assembly by over 167,000 votes, yet they retain a 60-39 majority." “They also lost the statewide popular vote in the Senate by more than 100,000, yet now enjoy an 18-15 majority there” she added.“This is the most egregious level of gerrymandering in Wisconsin history, yet the majority party is planning on again forcing through an anti-worker, anti-child, anti-environment agenda that Wisconsin did not vote for. That's not democracy in any sense of the word, that's tyranny!” Andy Heidt, President of AFSCME Local 1871, addressed the next steps the people of Wisconsin need to take to restore democracy to their state, saying that, “We must join together and rise up with even greater strength than we did two years ago. The stakes are just as high, and only a mass movement targeting the power behind this anti-democratic agenda will stop it.” Madison Teachers Inc (MTI) President Kerry Motoviloff spoke next about the ongoing assault on K-12 education. “It is the moral responsibility of every leader to ensure that our educational system is adequately funded. Until that happens we will continue to be here at the Capitol representing the majority of Wisconsinites who voted to fully fund our public schools” she said. Environmental activist Carl Sack with the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice spoke out against the mining rules changes currently being considered by the legislature. “We all need clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and living wage jobs to support our families” Sack said. “The proposed iron mine in the Penokee hills would give us none of those things, desecrating northern Wisconsin's environment while funneling the wealth of our communities to out-of-state interests.” Eleni Schirmer of the Teaching Assistants' Association called for unity among individuals and organizations across the state in fighting back against the ongoing attacks on the Wisconsin way of life. “We're only going to win this fight by moving forward together” she said. The rally was covered by the Wisconsin Gazette, WORT 89.9FM, CBS News, and few other media outlets. This was the first of a series of pro-democracy protests planned by the Wave in the coming weeks. We will keep you informed with as much advance notice as possible so that you can effectively plan ahead. On Wisconsin!

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