Speakers during a Reclaim Wisconsin tour stop Monday said supporting recall efforts in Wisconsin means caring about education, health care and transportation for all state residents.
About 100 residents from around the area attended the rally at Monument Square in downtown Racine that featured several speakers, each of whom touched on a different reason for supporting the and (R-Racine).
Phil Neuenfeldt, president of Wisconsin AFL-CIO, kicked off the rally by saying Walker likes to air commercials saying everything in Wisconsin is OK and that we're living in a better world because of his initiatives.
"But we know better," he told the crowd. "It's time to reclaim our state, to honor justice, and to treat workers with dignity and respect."
He also urged supporters to continue the fight against Wanggaard, saying nothing less than our children's futures, health care for families, and quality transportation are at stake.
Next, Neuenfeldt introduced Mary Wilson who suffers from bipolar disorder and at some time in her life relied on subsidized housing and social services to help her get by. She said knows well the stigma of subsidized housing and living with mental illness, but this is the first time she can remember people being stigmatized for being hard-working.
"It's time for those who have more to help those who have less," she said. "We can't afford to wait three more years. The time to reclaim Wisconsin is now."
Pete Knotek, president of the Racine Education Association, talked about how funding cuts to education and technical colleges hurts job creation in the long term.
"Students who are career and college ready should be the goal," he said. "Smart choices would include protecting education and our most vulnerable students, but Scott Walker and Van Wanggaard made radical cuts to programs that help students in Racine by cutting categorical aids for children in poverty. We have to do something quick."
Trista Serrano, a 15-year veteran of the Department of Corrections, said she wants to see collective bargaining restored so workers have a voice in the work place.
"Act 10 has put a cloud over our heads with vague rules," she said. "Collective bargaining creates a happier, more efficient and fair work place."
Kelly Albrecht urged citizens to fight back because parents shouldn't have to choose between providing health care for their children or a roof over their heads. She recalled how her family relied on BadgerCare when her son needed to have his chest reconstructed, but now they can't afford health insurance and are no longer eligible for BadgerCare.
"Thank God we had BadgerCare, but you shouldn't have to be wealthy or lucky to have healthcare," she said. "If we don't stop Scott Walker now, he will destory Wisconsin. We must repeal the tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations and make them pay their fair share."
Maria Morales of Jobs Now, the final speaker, said she is tired of hearing about more and more cuts, and that it's time to stop lining the pockets of the super rich.
"BadgerCare helps take care of the elderly, our children, the disabled and the hard working, low-wage earners," she said. "Without preventative care, costs go up because then you don't go to the doctor until you're very sick. It's time to stand up and demand that we stop lining the pockets of the super rich. No more cuts!"
Neuenfeldt took the stage to offer a conclusion, saying the state needs a leader for the middle class who will will uphold democracy, share prosperity, and invest in order by investing in schools, roads and bridges.
But Wanggaard said initiatives in Madison are working.
"In the midst of job growth by DeltaHawk, Rudd Lighting and Racine Metal-Fab, John Lehman's special-interest allies came to Racine today to 'reclaim' Wisconsin with his record of 150,000 lost jobs, $5 billion in higher taxes and fees, and huge budget deficits," he said in a written statement.
He also challenged his critics to offer substantive alternatives.
"Despite their misrepresentations, hyperbole and unfounded scare tactics, I will continue to do what I said I would when the people elected me just over a year ago. I will continue to focus on bringing jobs to Racine and Wisconsin, balancing the budget through cutting spending, not raising taxes, and keeping our streets safe," Wanggaard continued. "I am happy to stand on my record in the state senate, and I look forward watching the verbal gymnastics my opponents will use to try to justify theirs."