Protesters disrupt Chicago speech by Wisconsin governor

CHICAGO Thu Nov 3, 2011 1:58pm EDT

Wisconsin State Governor Scott Walker speaks after signing the ceremonial bill, following an elimination of almost all collective bargaining for most public workers by the Republican controlled House and Senate, at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin March 11, 2011.  REUTERS/Darren Hauck

Wisconsin State Governor Scott Walker speaks after signing the ceremonial bill, following an elimination of almost all collective bargaining for most public workers by the Republican controlled House and Senate, at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin March 11, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Hauck

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Dozens of chanting protesters briefly interrupted a speech by first-term Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on Thursday in Chicago.

Shouting "union-busting is disgusting" and "we are the 99 percent," the demonstrators forced Walker to suspend his breakfast address to the Union League Club for about five minutes, than filed out of the room.

Walker, who pushed a number of controversial laws through the Wisconsin Legislature this year, including curbs on public worker union rights, went on to defend his record, saying his "tough but needed decisions" had already saved the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

He said his agenda, which included tort and regulatory changes and the creation of tax breaks for employers, had "helped us create a better business environment, which has led to more jobs in our state."

"No matter how loud you shout," Walker said, "the reforms work."

Walker contends the union curbs, and a related requirement public workers pay more for healthcare and pensions, were needed to help close a $3.6 billion state budget deficit.

Critics say his legislative priorities, which have also included a requirement that voters present photo identification at polling places, are designed to pressure Democratic Party finances and disenfranchise Democratic voters.

Walker's efforts to get those measures enacted, ultimately successful, thrust Wisconsin into the national spotlight, igniting massive pro-union protests at the state Capitol and triggering nine recall elections over the summer.

Although two Republicans who supported Walker on the union issue lost their seats in the recalls, the party retained control of the state Senate. It also controls the Assembly.

Walker himself is now the target of a campaign that could force him to defend his seat in a recall election next year.

During his speech, Walker acknowledged the recall campaign but said he was confident he would survive the effort.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher)

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Comments (3)
phuyayyay wrote:
Ah, yes, the enlightend left allowing others to express an opinion as long as it doesn’t conflict with theirs. if not, you are not allowed to give yours. Democrats are generally ignorant of financial matters and believe anybody with money should pay for their jobs and livelyhood. They gin up hatred for those with money and demand they be paid off regardless of consequences to others because to have money is evil – especially if others have it and they don’t. The greed of unions have bought many states to their needs, but this of no consequence to them as long as they get theirs others can pound sand as far as they are concerned

Nov 03, 2011 2:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
OZZ wrote:
This is the same attitude that is threatening the EU, envy and greed. It is amazing how journalists in this country, can be so enthralled by this movement still, after we have seen the damage it has done. Remember our President is actually stoking their fire, by vilifying “the rich”, on his campaign trail, on our dime.

Nov 04, 2011 10:55am EDT  --  Report as abuse
WIBroker wrote:
Democracy and free speech only exist for democrats and union. When a majority of voters elect Republicans and they enact laws, what are the results.

Screaming down opponents, leaving the state, intimidation. This is what the Nazi used to do. As an independent that has voted for the Democrats, I am done voting for the Democrats. They have forsaken civilized government and gone to mob rule.

Nov 04, 2011 12:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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