News – February 7, 2011

Poll Says Most Want Walker to Compromise


3/7/11 – A new poll says almost two-thirds of Wisconsinites want Governor Scott Walker to negotiate a compromise to end the current budget impasse. The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, a conservative think tank, surveyed 603 residents just before Walker unveiled his next state budget last Tuesday. And 65-percent said the Republican Walker should seek a compromise with Democrats and public employee unions on the bill that fixes the current budget. 33-percent said the governor should “stand strong” on his plan to virtually end bargaining privileges for all public unions except police-and-fire groups. U-W Madison professor Ken Goldstein conducted the poll, and he says people are not gravitating toward the middle like they do on a lot of issues. In his words, “Wisconsin residents are polarized.” The poll gives Walker a 43-percent approval rating, down slightly from 45-percent last November. But those rating him unfavorably grew from 35-percent last fall to 53-percent now. Fifty-one percent disapproved of the Senate Democrats’ decision to stay away from the Capitol to hold up a vote on the union provisions. 47-percent favored that.


Successful Recalls Expected


3/7/11 – Political operatives agree that at least some of the 16 Wisconsin senators targeted for recalls will lose their jobs in the next few months. On Mike Gousha’s statewide T-V show last night, State Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate said voters will send at least a few G-O-P senators packing. But Republican consultant Brian Fraley says voters will boot out senators from both parties over their actions on the budget repair bill that would end most public union bargaining powers. Petitions for recall elections have been sought against all 16 senators who are eligible to be recalled this year – eight Democrats and eight Republicans. State Democrats have been seeking campaign contributions to try-and-win the elections. They hope to gain at least three seats and win back control of the Senate now, without having to wait until the 2012 elections. Fraley says Democrats hope to slow down Governor Scott Walker’s conservative agenda, and try and give President Obama a better chance of winning again in 2012. State G-O-P director Mark Jefferson says we’ll see national money and a lot of effort on both sides. Petitioners have almost two months to get from 10-thousand to 21-thousand signatures to order recall elections, depending on how many people voted in the various Senate districts last fall.


Gas on the Rise


3/7/11 – The national gas crisis is being felt here as well.  The average price of a gallon of gas in Wisconsin has gone up nearly 12-cents in the past week to $3.49 yesterday.  Locally, gas in Beaver Dam could be had for $3.45 this morning.  On a national level gas was averaging $3.47 per gallon, nearly 13-cents higher than last week.


National Guard Troops Put on Alert


3/7/11 – About 160 Wisconsin National Guard troops might be heading to Kosovo next year. Units in Milwaukee and Oconomowoc were told during the weekend to prepare for a possible mobilization. The troops would take part in NATO’s international peace-keeping operations in Kosovo. Most of the affected Guard members are in Milwaukee’s 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, and the 32nd Military Police Company based in Oconomowoc. The 32nd police unit served in Iraq in 2009-and-2010. The Milwaukee brigade will make its first foreign mission – but it has members who were in Afghanistan in 2006.


Courtney Named State GOP Chair


3/7/11 – A former chairman of the State Republican Party is getting his old job back. Brad Courtney of Whitefish Bay has been chosen to replace Reince Priebus, who was picked in January to chair the Republican National Committee. Courtney chaired the Wisconsin G-O-P in 2006-and-’07 before Priebus took over. Courtney has also served on the state party’s executive committee since 1993.