Education, jobs, mining and lingering tension over Act 10 dominated a listening session held Tuesday in La Crosse by Democratic lawmakers.

The session was part of a series of statewide town-hall style meetings touted as a “middle class values tour.” Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson of Milwaukee contrasted the meeting’s style with Gov. Scott Walker’s recent “Talk with Walker” tour, in which the governor met with workers and other guests at manufacturing sites around the state.

“No one here is excluded,” Larson said. “We want to make sure we’re hearing from everyone.”

Besides elected Democrats, the meeting was attended by about 40 members of the public.

Lawmakers’ initial pitches focused the typical Democrat talking points of this year’s legislative session. But as the public began to speak, it quickly became clear that Act 10 — the GOP-backed law that stripped most public workers of collective bargaining rights — is still a major public concern.

“We took from education and we balanced (the budget) on the back of our children and the backs of our public employees,” said Crayton Hause, a corrections worker. “I don’t think those are Wisconsin values.”

Margaret Wood, a retired teacher, expressed concern over a proposed mining bill that Democrats say would weaken environmental protections.

“Those kinds of jobs are not sustainable; at some point they’re all going to end” she said, arguing that the proposed mine would “desecrate our land.”

David Langer, another retired teacher, agreed.

“The idea that you can build wetlands somewhere else is just ludicrous,” he said, referring to proposed changes that may weaken wetland protection.

Langer also expressed education concerns.

“It seems that education became a little political ball to toss around,” he said, citing controversy over voucher schools, Act 10, and plummeting per-pupil spending.

Slow economic recovery and job growth was the primary issue for Andy Compton.

“We’ve got to get back to making things here (in the U.S),” he said.

Compton also argued for a higher minimum wage, saying that low-paying jobs don’t stimulate economic growth.

Bipartisanship was another common theme.

Holmen High School student Briana Schwabenbauer advocated for changes to the redistricting process.

“That is one thing that causes such great partisanship within our state,” she said.

Reps. Steve Doyle of Onalaska and Jill Billings of La Crosse also attended. Democrats plan to have similar meetings across Wisconsin.

“We thought it is important to have these dialogues with community members to see if there’s common themes around the state,” Sen. Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse said.

(26) comments

Balancr
Balancr

Unions? What unions? I thought they were dismantled!

It's sad to see the Republican Party falling apart at the seams these days. talks of rigging elections. Perhaps Republicans will be able to stop their far right democrat bashing that's destroying them, perhaps they won't. I for one, hope thy do. Because we all need a strong Republican Party.

realitycheck
realitycheck

Isn't it funny how we voted to spend 95 million on buildings in La Crosse and I just read Cashton wants to burn up 12 million on buildings because it would be a good time to borrow money, yet union thugs say "on the backs of our children?" We seem to be investing in facilities anyway. It has been proven it was the union scheming on the backs of the taxpayer. Union crybabies, shame on you.

Balancr
Balancr

Lol yeah Brian. Republican are the great collaborators- known for their team play

BangorBrian
BangorBrian

What a bunch of hypocrites these politicians are, always saying they want collaboration, that both sides must work together, then why didn't they invite any Republicans to participate????
Typical Democrats....

Charlie
Charlie

What a great circle jerk with the biggest in the middle (Shilling). Glad to see no one was there except the still crying educators. Some old bitty doesn't want mining in Wisconsin but is fine with us blowing up foreign countries and destroying their economies. Disgusts me beyond belief. I wish they would go back to Illinois and stay there, that would include Ms Shilling as well.

TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls
TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls

Hockeydad

Did you know the cumulative rate of inflation for the last 10 years is 25 percent and the State of Wisconsin has increased its financial support of K12 education by 4.6 percent during the last 10 years?

I didn't think so.

Mr Peroni
Mr Peroni

Who brought the Kleenex for the dummycrat round table event?

superman
superman

At any time, Mr. Peroni, you could've gone to the meeting to be heard.

A big improvement compared to the town-hanger meetings, the republicans have been holding out at the airport.

GLORYDAYS
GLORYDAYS

Want to see our future? Look at LA, Chicago, DC, Detroit, CA, IL, Greece and Spain. All run by liberals for decades with their overpromising, overspending, UNIONS, failed schools, crazy taxes that push the successful to move out and take their money and jobs with them!

superman
superman

Republicans don't spend?? You can't be serious.

They're both guilty of pass the pot down to the younger generation.

pheasant
pheasant

Politicians Yes, Workers NO! I supposed we are to pretend that for decades public workers have given themselves bloated benefits on the bascks of their neighbors in Lacrosse by not filling those Boards/Committees with Brother WRS Recipients? The numbers are there Super. It has been a SCAM, definately not Negotiation. LOL!!!!!

Hockeydad
Hockeydad

Article today about the City of Baltimore on the verge of bankrupcy.

GLORYDAYS
GLORYDAYS

Public sector unions have pushed around the taxpayers with the help of the democraps for far too long. It is laughable these crooks then talk about sustainability and responsible spending! If only the successful would pay everyone else's bills and all the taxes, somehow that would be fair? I am sick of liberal lies- PROMISES on unemployment rate, deficit reduction, health care claims, Benghazi, Algeria, Eqypt, Syria, North Korea, Iran and saving the middle class and they are all broken promises=LIES! How much more of their rhetoric can YOU swallow?

pheasant
pheasant

A Room full of WRS Recipients! My oh my, Doyle could have brought his spouse along to add one more?

I love Comptons understanding of business. “We’ve got to get back to making things here (in the U.S),” he said. Then he wants to raise the minimum wage? Forget the market. As we lose more World Market share. Government intervention by amateurs, with no money of their own invested. Then they wonder why business is running for our borders? For goodness sakes Shilling or Billings cannot even get back to me. Must be the wrong side of the aisle?

Ruffled Grouse
Ruffled Grouse

"A Room full of WRS Recipients! My oh my"
You do realize that Walker, Heubsch and the Fitzgerald brothers are all WRS recipients too don't you??
This guy could not be the Mayor of Farmville.
Can you imagine how much Nestor's life must suck?

Did you pay your property taxes yet Craig or are you still a geriatric delinquent?

pheasant
pheasant

You are correct on the Polticians from both sides gaming the system. Sidestepping the deserved retirement adjustments because they are somehow special?

Every Day I Thank God for the life he has given me. I have had a wonderful life.

pheasant
pheasant

Funny, every time you scrutinize Steve Doyle you get Mildred (ruffed) to post? Hmmmmm

Ruffled Grouse
Ruffled Grouse

You can call me Mildred, I will call you Nancy.

superman
superman

Not sure why anyone would criticize Steve Doyle. He's very level headed and trying to work in a bi-partisan fashion to find common ground.

pheasant
pheasant

Now that is funny Super. Go ask the Judges Ex what she thinks of Stevie?

pheasant
pheasant

6 years, part-time work. $1700 per onth retirement. Where do the rest of us sign up? LOL!

superman
superman

You right about the minimum wage. Capitalism should dictate wages.

In regards to getting back to you, perhaps you should change your approach. Your message would have greater impact if you just dropped the hyper-confrontational act.

pheasant
pheasant

This is not a popularity contest, nor should it be.

superman
superman

?

Hockeydad
Hockeydad

If you can do it within our means, FINE. No more borrowing to spend. If you want to add Millions to education, then you need to cut millions somewhere else. It's about time our elected officials step up to the plate of fiscal responsibility.

superman
superman

I Agree 100%

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