Two Wisconsin state senators are now facing the prospect of a recall election, thanks to the work of a rightwing group called Citizens for Responsible Government.
On Monday, the group announced that it was going after Democratic State Senator Bob Jauch and Republican State Senator Dale Schultz. In the legislation session that just ended, the two state senators had been trying to broker a meaningful compromise on a mining bill. But the Republican leadership took a hard line and rejected it, and when Jauch and Schultz stood their ground, the bill died.
So now this group wants to make these longtime legislators pay.
Jauch, who represents the area in northern Wisconsin where a mine had been proposed, denounced Citizens for Responsible Government as a “fringe group” with an “extreme rightwing agenda.”
“They don’t care about jobs or responsible mining policy,” he said. “They just want to send a message that they will threaten to recall a public official who happens to dare to disagree with them. They don’t care about the north. They just want to make sure they own the politics and control the person who represents the north.”
Jauch said the group’s “intimidating tactics will not deter me.” And he said by going against both him and Republican Dale Schultz, the group demonstrated that it is “resentful of the actions of lawmakers who work across party lines to develop shared ideas and shared solutions to tough problems.”
Senator Schultz, in an interview with The Progressive, said the group’s name is “kind of an oxymoron.” It is intent, he said, on spending “an inordinate amount of time in other people’s pastures.”
He waxed philosophical about the challenge. “There’s nothing I can do about it,” he said. “I believe good government is the best politics. That’s what I’ve done for thirty years. There are a lot of progressives and conservatives in my district who appreciate independent thought. They know me, and they like that. It’s not something I’m worried about. There’s plenty to be done. Our state is hurting; our families are hurting. I believe I can make a difference, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Anne Sayers, the program director of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, praised both senators for resisting the pressure to sign off on a destructive mining bill.
“Senators Jauch and Schultz are to be commended for standing up for the values of their constituents who asked them to oppose a measure that could poison their water with arsenic, lead, and mercury,” Sayers told The Progressive. “Those initiating the recall will quickly learn that the voters stand solidly with the senators and against the actions of knee-jerk, special interests.”
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “After Southern Primaries, Romney Flounders, Santorum Praises God."
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