Walker Lights Christmas Tree Among Protesters

Even the annual lighting of Wisconsin’s Christmas tree couldn’t escape politics.

Protesters turned their backs as Gov. Scott Walker lighted the tree on Friday morning and one Democratic state senator complained that about the timing of the ceremony.

State Sen. Bob Jauch of Poplar said Walker purposefully held the lighting in the morning because he was afraid protesters would disrupt the noontime event.

A couple dozen protesters at the morning ceremony didn’t interrupt Walker or cause any disruptions.

About 200 people were at the lighting ceremony, but Jauch said there should be more than 1,000. He said Walker ruined a normally joyous occasion.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the lighting was done in the morning because the governor had other commitments and couldn’t attend over the noon hour.

Walker planned to dedicate it to Wisconsin’s veterans. Members from all branches of military services along with veterans were scheduled to be at the ceremony.

A second Friday ceremony will focus on the gift of the 36-foot-tall balsam fir from the Brule River State Forest in northwest Wisconsin.

Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp is scheduled to give a history of the tree, the area from which it came and brief overview of forestry in Wisconsin. The Maple school district high school chamber choir is scheduled to perform.