Walker Supporters Turn Out For Rally

More than 1,000 people gathered Saturday at a Wauwatosa park to rally in support of Gov. Scott Walker, who’s facing a mounting recall effort.

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and first lady Tonette Walker spoke in support of the governor. Published reports indicated the crowd may have grown to nearly 2,500 people in Wauwatosa’s Hart Park.

The speakers blasted the smaller crowd of protesters gathered outside the park and energized Walker’s supporters days after opponents had revealed the more than 1 million signatures collected against him.

“They thought it ended with a bunch of signatures,” Kleefisch told the crowd. “It doesn’t end until we are celebrating on Election Night again.”

Kleefisch urged supporters to donate to the Republicans’ re-election funds, perhaps using the money they had saved on property taxes, she said.

Tonette Walker, speaking on behalf of her husband, told the crowd they shouldn’t be angry at Democrats for forcing a recall.

“If we make it about anger, we are feeding into the Democrats’ hand,” Tonette Walker said. “That’s not what we’re here for.”

Lisa Myer and two friends traveled from McFarland to see the event. It was important to show support, Myer said.

“The governor has turned our state around in a way that needed to be done. We were on an unsustainable path,” she said. “He gave me more faith in the state of Wisconsin being able to continue on a solid path.”

About 100 protesters gathered just outside the park’s entrance, and there were several instances of shouting between the two sides when they came in contact.

Don Collins, of Beloit, was one of those holding anti-Walker signs and chanting, “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Scott Walker has got to go.”

“I’m really mad at our governor right now, and I want him recalled,” said the unionized steelworker, who said he was most frustrated with Walker’s move to strip collective bargaining rights from most public employees. “When one union person’s hurt, all union people are hurt.”

One protester disrupted the event by yelling in front of the stage. Police escorted him out of the park.

Thompson gave a fiery speech toward the end of the rally, telling the crowd Walker “stood up to the union bosses, turned the state around and created opportunity.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also reported Thompson told them Walker would fulfill a promise to create 250,000 jobs in his first term if he holds on to his job.

Walker opponents on Tuesday said they turned in more than 1.9 million signatures to recall Walker, Kleefisch and four Republican state senators.