Barrett, Walker: Where They Stand on Key Issues in Recall Race

Here's a look at what the two gubernatorial candidates have said about top issues, including collective bargaining, education, jobs and more.

Before you head to the polls in Tuesday's gubernatorial recall election, take one last look at where Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, stand on the key issues facing Wisconsin.

Collective bargaining

The match that lit the fuse and sent this state into a seemingly never-ending political season that split Wisconsin in two, collective bargaining is what the .

In February 2011, Walker announced he would help tame and trim the state's $3.6 billion deficit by , including the state's teachers, he instantly became one of the most loved and hated men in the state.

Doing so made — and counter-protests — in Madison and across the state a regular occurrence. Many believe the recall initiative spawned from Walker's collective bargaining decision, one he has admitted he would have approached differently given the chance. But he stands by his decision to limit those rights in order to eliminate the state's debt.

Barrett says that as governor, he "will fight to restore full collective bargaining rights."

Three Democratic state senators who endorsed Barrett in the primary said he offered the "most realistic way" to restore collective bargaining and multiple strategies, including calling a special session of the Legislature and introducing a standlone bill.


Walker took a lot of heat when his budget-balancing measures hit public schools' pocketbooks in a big way, but this spring he announced his support for legislation designed to improve educational experiences for teachers, parents and students.

Three separate task forces that will be used as the foundation for the legislation are: Read to Lead, an initiative aimed at improving the rigor of and stress the importance of reading at a young age; Educator Effectiveness, which is aimed at fairly measuring teachers and principals; and School Accountability.

“Improving our schools, measuring student achieving growth, and increasing accountability and transparency in education will help our children succeed," Walker said in a news release on his state website.

Barrett said that during his time as mayor he has fought for reform to turn around failing schools, most notably a well-publicized attempt to put Milwaukee Public Schools under mayoral control.

Barrett said he supports State Superintendent Tony Evers' plan to fund Wisconsin schools.

During his time as mayor, Barrett launched the Youth Summer Jobs Program, which aims to place Milwaukee high school students in the workplace to give them real-world experience, according to his campaign website.


Job creation has moved to the forefront on the campaign trails for both Walker and Barrett.

Walker will likely fall well short of the 250,000 new jobs he campaigned on when running against Barrett in 2010 — Wisconsin's on pace for less than half that figure with Walker nearly one-and-half years into his four-year term.

But on recent stops throughout the state, the governor has been touting growth and believes once the recall is in the past, .

Just days before the election, Walker said he expected the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to confirm 23,608 new jobs in Wisconsin in 2011, a little more than month after the same agency said .

Barrett highlights his work co-founding the M-7 regional economic development group as well as job growth in the Menomonee Valley.

According to his website, the Menomonee Valley now supports nearly 4,000 jobs, with new factories opened by Helios (solar panels) and Ingeteam (windmills). Barrett said his leadership "played an important role in transforming the Menomonee Valley from an industrial wasteland to a thriving commercial sector."

Barrett criticized Walker for focusing on an "ideological agenda" instead of jobs, and in a news release pointed to job numbers from the Bureau of Labor statistics that showed Wisconsin lost 21,400 jobs over a 12-month span.


Walker's controversial budget kept local municipal governments and school districts from raising the tax levy, and in a recall debate May 31, Walker claimed, "We’ve seen property taxes go down for the first time in 12 years on a median valued home."

Politifact Wisconsin said that statement — taken verbatim — was mostly true, though it had some built-in loopholes.

In April, Walker told Newsradio 620 WTMJ that under former Gov. Jim Doyle's budget, those same property tax bills would have gone up $700.

Barrett has criticized spending cuts, particularly to education, under Walker's budget and said he will undo those cuts.

He says his "principles of responsible budgeting and good stewardship of the people's tax dollars" helped Milwaukee city government weather the storms brought upon by the national economic crisis, according to his campaign website. He pointed to a $30 million cut in spending that helped balance the city's book and not saddle future generations with debt.

Social issues

Walker is 100 percent pro-life, from conception to natural death, and not surprisingly, has been endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin. A new state law signed by Walker in April led Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin to halt administering abortion drugs to women in some cases because of fear of criminal prosecution, adding fuel to what critics have pegged as Walker's "war on women."

Barrett said that if elected, he will fight to protect women's reproductive rights, stand up for equal pay and encourage women-owned businesses, according to his campaign website.

In a recent Q&A with the Appleton Post Crescent, Walker said voters changed the state's "Constitution in 2006 to define marriage as being between one man and one woman" and that he will continue to uphold the Constitution.

Barrett said he supports marriage equality and opposes the gay marriage ban, according to the Associated Press.

Walker, a self-described avid hunter, is a strong proponent of the 2nd Amendment, or the right to bear arms, and during his tenure, Wisconsin became the second to last state in the union to pass a conceal carry law.

Barrett said that despite a commercial with the ending line, "Don't let Tom Barrett recall your gun rights," he believes people have the constitutional right to own guns "and that the government does not have the right to take them away," according to his website.

James R Hoffa June 05, 2012 at 10:06 PM
@Dark Star - "When the Governor tells you his secret strategy to divide and conquer your political foes" When did Walker ever say that? In fact, from the video presented, we don’t know exactly what the context of the Hendricks conversation was exactly, do we? 'Red state' is an awfully vague term. In fact, I believe she was referring to fiscal responsibility in government, as that is what new conservatism is all about first and foremost! Any other conclusions about the intent of that statement are based upon nothing more than unfounded conspiracy theories, as no where in the Republican Party platform, the numerous Tea Party platforms, or even in the ALEC agenda does it state that 'the goal and intentions of our organization is impose legislation that allows the wealthy to financially rape the poor and working middle class of everything they have,' and yet, that's exactly what your side would have us believe. Only a non-thinking IDIOT would buy into that crap! I prefer objective FACT to unfounded supposition, speculation, and assumption, but hey - to each their own, right? We're all entitled to our own opinions, but not our own objective FACTS.
James R Hoffa June 05, 2012 at 10:07 PM
This is why Walker responded with 'divide and conquer,' as he was clearly referring to matters of budgetary concern, of which the public sector union issue is a big one as far as allowing local municipalities and districts to balance their budgets, as has been FACTUALLY proven by the savings already experienced by those districts that utilized Walker's Act 10 tools, including Mayor Barrett's very own city of Milwaukee! This was necessary because of the reductions made in state aid to local level governments, the state imposed freeze on property taxes, and Walker's promise not to raise taxes in general. There is also the undisputed FACT that public sector union locals were wild catting and pushing contracts through local governmental entities that did not include the agreed to concessions, but instead gave their memberships increased compensation packages. Check out the AFSCME contract in Janesville, as just one example of many. The unions were not playing fair with Walker, and state level union leadership wouldn't take responsibility for the actions of their locals. What else was Walker to have done in such a situation when the unions are promising one thing and going out and doing the exact opposite? He did the right and fairest thing for everyone in the state. Sorry, but I don't drink koolaid - I analyze the hard OBJECTIVE FACTS!
Dark Star June 05, 2012 at 10:48 PM
JRH, I hope you do better in a courtroom than making stuff up and supporting it with a string of ad hominem, strawman and red herring arguments. Again it seems your shallow arguments are merely projections of your own argument's shortcomings and similarly, your conclusions are merely a collection of logical fallacies. Your take on women is particularly egregious and is a reflection of the recent Republican Party in general. You are actually the one who is calling women stupid by suggesting they are not smart enough to discern that the Dems are supposedly preying on them. I trust women to make their own decisions and figure it likely is none of my business to decide if they made the right one or the wrong one. Republicans however, are still discriminating against them by denying them equal pay for equal work, no matter how you spin it. When Republicans claim to be for small government at the same time they want government to dictate their reproductive rights and track their pregnancies to make sure they end the way they want them to, that is hypocrisy. Like anyone else, women are generally smart enough to see through the GOP spin and that is why there is a verifiable gender gap of the majority of women not supporting the GOP. The reason I left the GOP is that in social, financial and other issues, the current Republican party is like America's equivalent of the Taliban. Totally regressive and largely ignorant of what used to be considered right and wrong.
Dark Star June 06, 2012 at 03:01 AM
When the House Judiciary Committee was considering articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon in 1974, there were six Republican Congressmen who put allegiance to the law, the integrity of the office and the public’s well-being above allegiance to political party and blind partisan ideology. Those six voted for two of the three articles of impeachment, despite threats from their own party against their careers and persons. One of them was my Congressman M. Caldwell Butler. One of them was your Congressman, Harold Froehlich, R-Wisc. (One was also Rep William Cohen R-Maine, later to become Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Defense) Here is a good article on those important people, but there are many others. http://www.salon.com/2007/11/26/gop74/ I think you now have a Republican statesman in your State Senate in the person of Sen Schultz. As I type this the election projection is coming over the news channels and Walker has won by a wide margin. Congratulations to those who won. So, I’ll just let this be my last answer to any questions or accusations I didn’t have time to address. In my opinion, when partisans blindly support a party nominee who is widely seen to be dishonest or unethical in his actions and words, then government has failed and isn’t working. (Think Marion Barry, former corrupt Mayor of DC) When an out-of-state cartel of billionaires can determine an election with sheer wealth, then we have lost our Democracy.
Dark Star June 06, 2012 at 03:03 AM
I’m an independent, who until recently, leaned conservative. I have become alarmed at the extent anonymous money and powerful financial interests have taken control of our polity and politics. After the Citizen’s United decision our elections are now for sale, and the purchasers of the election don’t even have to reveal their names. I believe certain billionaires and banksters bled the economy into near collapse and may be on the cusp of controlling the US government, primarily for their benefit. I think they are using their money in an Orwellian fashion and that they are too far removed from the average person to run government for the people’s freedom and wellbeing. I think they just bought Wisconsin today and will now try to exterminate their opposition for good. We’ll now see whether Walker will do as he said and unite Wisconsin and others that have been torn asunder by his actions. Hopefully he will have learned a lesson, try to do as he said and reverse the Machiavellian strategies and tactics he has employed so far. Hopefully he will now govern fairly and most people will prosper. I just fear that he and some of the other Republicans will over-reach, as they seem recently inclined to do. See Ya! Over and Out.


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