The Mom Versus The Unions

No other race in the country better embodies the struggle between conservative and progressive ideals than the recall battle over Wisconsin's Lieutenant Governor.

The incumbent is former stay-at-home-mom and journalist Rebecca Kleefisch, whose ascent through the state party was a hard-won battle against the establishment, waged by a fed-up citizen. Kleefisch didn't just fight the GOP establishment and win by double-digits; during the primary she also fought and defeated colon cancer.

In contrast, Big Labor has put up its own candidate. Of the five Democrats who've filed, Mahlon Mitchell seems the most likely candidate to emerge for the June 5th showdown. Mitchell shares the same far-left ideology of the labor protesters who trashed the capitol and sent death threats to Republicans. Mitchell landed in hot water with the labor protesters when he got too friendly with Walker in exchange for some reform exemptions; later, when pressure grew, he joined in the marches and led chants against Walker and Kleefisch. (Apparently, he didn't condemn the appalling and criminal behavior of the protesters, either.)

Mitchell opposes the the very reforms of collective bargaining privileges that have brought Wisconsin voters the economic stability they desired. Democrats want to keep holding elections at the public's expense until they get the results they want. In the meantime, their far-left, out-of-state interests will pump somewhere around $80 million into the Wisconsin Democrat party--a chunk of that into Mitchell's campaign--in their assault on economic reform.

The reforms Kleefisch has helped to enact during her tenure as Lieutenant Governor have saved the state millions of dollars:

They ended the automatic collection of union dues by the state, causing an immediate drop in union income and the laying off of numerous union employees. They required that state employees kick in 5.8 percent of their salaries towards their own pensions and to pick up 12.6 percent of their health insurance premiums, bringing public employees more in line with private employee realities. Most important, it limited collective bargaining to salaries (and even that bargaining is limited by the rate of inflation).

For the first time in decades, school administrations are now actually able to administer their districts without union interference, and the savings have been huge. The MacIver Institute, a Wisconsin think tank, reports that of the 108 school districts that completed contracts with employees, 74 of them, with 319,000 students, have reported savings of no less than $162 million. If this is extrapolated out to all districts, it would amount to savings of nearly $448 million.

The biggest area of savings have been in health insurance. The teachers union insisted that districts use the union’s own health insurance company to provide coverage. No longer forced to use a monopoly provider, districts have either switched providers or used the threat of switching to force the union health insurance company to dramatically lower premiums. Savings have averaged $730,000 in districts that have switched providers or forced competitive bidding.

As a result of these dramatic savings, districts that have been able to benefit immediately from the reforms (some districts are locked into long-term contracts and cannot) have been able to avoid laying off teachers despite a significant drop in state aid and to avoid raising school taxes. Indeed, school tax bills that went out last December had an average increase of only 0.3 percent.

And they keep working:

... the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted that, under Walker’s plan to require greater health-care and pension contributions from government employees, the City of Milwaukee actually comes out $11 million ahead — contravening Mayor Tom Barrett’s March prediction that Walker’s budget “just makes our structural deficit explode.”

And working:

In suburban Milwaukee, the Brown Deer school district is implementing a plan to allow performance pay for its best teachers. “No Wisconsin public-school district has ever had the opportunity in any of our lifetimes to even think about these things,” said Brown Deer Public Schools finance director Emily Koczela in an interview with a local television station. “We’re looking at understanding what effective teaching is, how to measure it in the children’s point of view, and how to reward teachers that consistently turn in a performance that’s better than the norm,” added Koczela.

In Appleton, the collective-bargaining reforms allowed the school district there to save $3 million by bidding for health care on the open market. Previously, the district had been required to purchase health insurance from WEA Trust, which is affiliated with the state’s largest teachers’ union. When the Appleton School District put their health-insurance contract up for bid, WEA Trust magically lowered their rates, saying they would match any competitor’s price — a sign they had been fleecing local taxpayers for years.

And working:

For the first time in decades, school administrations are now actually able to administer their districts without union interference, and the savings have been huge. The MacIver Institute, a Wisconsin think tank, reports that of the 108 school districts that completed contracts with employees, 74 of them, with 319,000 students, have reported savings of no less than $162 million. If this is extrapolated out to all districts, it would amount to savings of nearly $448 million.

She and Walker have fulfilled what voters asked--and for this they and other Republicans across the state are being targeted, especially Kleefisch. 

Democrats are terrified of her because she's effective. They're terrified of her because she represents America: the working mom who's tired of the Democrat men running her children's future into the ground and the GOP establishment fighting while lying down; a woman so fed up she decides to put herself on the ballot, announcing via a webcam from the kitchen table, and winning against all the odds. 

She reminds me of Cedra Crenshaw, the woman who so terrified the Illinois Democrat party that they tried again and again to run her off the ballot. Those same forces are attempting to run another mom, this mom, out of the Wisconsin office into which voters elected her. 

Does any race better embody the struggle between the future of liberty and the iron fist of oppression and tyranny than that of a Wisconsin mom verses the machine? 

Make no mistake: a loss in Wisconsin will derail the first generation of reform governors. It will affect every other state, and give the President a singular victory from which to campaign as he slides his failed policies off the table. 

Not only that, but a loss for Kleefisch could discourage other women from running for office. Conservative women have been met with a barrage of abuse simply for being conservatives, and Kleefisch is no exception. If other potential female conservative candidates see what the left is capable of doing to one currently in office, don't expect to see them take on the heat of a campaign in the future. 

Kleefisch isn't a victim, though; her focus isn't on the "war on women" as much as it is the "war by women," the war the conservative women will wage on big government. Help her.


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