Our UW Election Eye crew -- a collection of two dozen U of Washington faculty and students writing a blog about politics with the Seattle Times -- made its way into mining country in Wisconsin and came away with some unvarnished despising of Scott Walker. Much more than we were expecting in the Northwest corner of the state.
This is a piece by a student we call the Thorpedo for his ability to get people to talk to him in candid terms. The opening excerpt:
MELLEN, Wisc. — In a scene ripped straight out of a script from the Andy Griffith Show in Mayberry, a dusty dinged-up pickup truck pulled up and parked along the shoulder of State Highway 13 in this tiny blue-collar town half an hour south of Lake Superior.Full story is right here. More below the fold
Out stepped the longest serving mayor in Wisconsin, Joe Barabe, holding his favorite fishing pole and looking resigned to a recall election victory this Tuesday by the man he called “an entirely worthless clown.”
Nobody worked harder than Barabe to defeat Scott Walker in his first governor’s race against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett two years ago.
This 24-year serving mayor is furious over Walker’s attempt to strong-arm a mining bill he calls an “embarrassing act by a disgraceful governor.”
And another excerpt:
“We knew this bill was going to rape our land,” Barabe said. “When Walker refused to meet with me or give me five minutes on the phone to talk about his strip mining bill, I said ‘The hell with it.’”Full story here.
“Dealing with a disgrace like [Walker], it makes me want to move to Canada,” he added, pointing to the southeast where the proposed mining site is 10 minutes’ drive away.
More than eager to give me a Saturday tour of the mine’s proposed 4,000-acre Phase One site was Pete Rasmussen, a carpenter and environmental activist for 20 years. Rasmussen is a repository of knowledge about the geography and history of this pristine site stretching 20 miles from eastern Ashland into western Iron Counties.
Rasmussen is a soft-spoken sort, “more determined than angry,” he told me while gently removing three turtles from the gravel roads we traveled for more than an hour. “I’m not opposed to new jobs. I’m opposed to a mine company owner being able to afford another $46 million boat called Mine Games.”
This refers to mine owner Chris Cline’s 164-foot yacht that critics say is arrogantly named, given Cline’s history of firing mine workers and then rehiring them at lower wages.
As an fyi, I'm a prof at U of Washington and these are my students. We've done several pieces on Wisconsin -- on the OLB, on unions, on teachers, on religion and politics. It's been an incredible experience. Our pieces have a range of perspectives. Thought y'all might find this one interesting.