Listening session

State Rep. Ed Brooks, R-Reedsburg (left), and state Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, held a listening session on the state budget in Mauston Friday.

MAUSTON - In an area that generally supported Scott Walker in his campaigns for governor, that enthusiasm was absent when two Walker supporters in the Wisconsin Legislature held a listening session in Mauston.

When Republican Rep. Ed Brooks of Reedsburg and Republican Sen. Howard Marklein of Spring Green met with citizens Friday at the Mauston Municipal Building, none of the dozen people at the session voiced agreement with the Republican governor’s budget proposals that had been announced a few days earlier.

The two legislators represent districts that cover two towns and on village in Monroe County and all of Juneau County.

There are pockets of Democratic support in Mauston, but Walker easily carried Juneau County, from which most of the participants at the listening session came. A few of the people who spoke came from Reedsburg and that city voted with a narrow majority for Walker. Still the opinions expressed at the Mauston listening session were opposed to what Walker proposed and were skeptical of the motives of the legislators who held the meeting.

“I don’t know if we’re seeing honesty or transparency,” said Donna Miller of Mauston. “We are nothing but feudal serfs,” she stated to the legislators

Retired teacher Dave Wester, who generally disagreed with what he described as a deterioration of politics under Walker, disliked the proposed expansion of the use of government vouchers to fund alternative private charter schools.

John Dietz was unhappy with what he saw as a failure of the governor to fulfill a promise to create a quarter million new jobs in Wisconsin.

Trish Henderson was upset with what she saw as a cut in assistance for senior citizens.

Dan Poulis, who traveled from Reedsburg, said he felt the governor’s budget proposal would make what he described as an already sick economy even worse.

Diane Mutes, who volunteers at a Mauston food pantry, didn’t like the proposal to require drug tests for some forms of public assistance and disagreed with the potential major cut in the money going to the University of Wisconsin system.

Through the extensive criticism, Brooks and Marklein sat quietly and took notes on what they heard. They said little in defense of Walker.


Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

(6) comments


How could they defend Walker ??


Where ever there is a Republican Governor we see the very same scenario We have it here in Mich, it is in Florida, Texas, etc. They will not bring in jobs, they are obliterating the public schools, trying to privatizing everything, drug testing welfare recipients, breaking unions, raising taxes on the middle class and the poor, raising their own wages and lowering everyone else's, attacking welfare for the poor, taxing retirements, not fixing our infrastructures, ignoring the vets, wanting to privatize our Social Security, it just goes on and on. In Michigan our debt has become momentous under snyder, while he gave his republican legislators 80% wage increases.He set up secret fund accounts with no transparency, when we called him on it wanting to know who was contributing to it, he dissolved it and wouldn't release the information. They are all detrimental to what the citizens want and need, they have hung us all out to dry. They are all following the same play book, it is destuctive


Well it is not a surprise, the big private ALEC funded retreats give out the pre-written proposals and budgets. By going and using these "playbooks" the GOP legislator receives a huge money dump and many private "issue driven" advertisements to support their election. As it seems most voters choose due to slick ad-agency produced commercials and sound bites, we have gotten the governance we deserve. It is not as if any of this is a deep secret. ALEC is secretive but hardly unknown.


I am amazed at how many people continue to vote against their own self-interest. There is not one thing that Walker has done that has been a benefit to the greater good of the people in Juneau County. Wake up people! They will be coming for your social security and pensions next!


dron they Are coming for us . sad


Due to the bait ans switch of Walker's campaign, these guys better start looking out for their own jobs, if they want to keep them, by doing what constituents want.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thanks for reading. Subscribe or log in to continue.

Already a subscriber?
Log in or Activate your account.