Press Releases for 2011-2012
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Inside view on protestors’ gall, public incivility - BY JEFF SNOW
Source: Badger Herald (link)
Many of us will never forget the political chaos that overtook our State Capitol early last year. As an intern in Governor Walker’s Office, I had the unique experience of working at the Capitol while the protests erupted. While the protesters had every right to make their voices heard, I have never witnessed such a level of incivility, hate and disrespect in my life.
Our Capitol was defaced, littered and taken over by thousands of angry protesters who would constantly yell, blow on vuvuzela horns and bang on drums. Public officials and their families were threatened. Staff members and interns were told to leave through back-room doors and dress down to avoid harm. Fourteen Democratic state senators abandoned their constitutional duties to represent the people of Wisconsin while they took orders from union bosses in Illinois for three weeks.
Despite all the demagogic rhetoric and chaos in the Capitol, I was inspired by the overwhelming amount of people across the state that called the governor’s office to voice their support. These were hardworking Wisconsinites who did not have time to come to Madison to chant catchy phrases and sleep over at the Capitol. These were the silent majority of people who elected Governor Walker to end the days of large deficits, tax increases, raided funds and a bad business climate.
Because of Governor Walker’s budget reforms, Wisconsin is projecting a surplus for the first time in over 15 years. Collective bargaining reform for the public employee unions has allowed local municipalities and school districts across the state to save over $903,517,079 to date. Teachers can now be hired, fired and given raises based on merit and are no longer mandated to join a union. School district tax levies have decreased by an average of 1 percent this year as opposed to a 5.5 percent increase in the past five years.
These reforms have businesses realizing that Wisconsin is on the right track. In fact, a recent Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce survey shows that 94 percent of job creators believe we are on the right track, as opposed to 10 percent when the Democrats were in power. This is a good sign for college students looking for jobs in Wisconsin upon graduating.
Governor Walker did what few politicians do: Solve the problems at hand with structural reforms that will leave the next generation better off than the current one. In the upcoming recall election, the College Republicans look forward to fighting for Governor Walker because he has fought so hard for us.
Jeff Snow (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a sophomore majoring in marketing. He is the chairman of the College Republicans.
Featuring your 2011 Chairman Johnny Koremenos:
Source: UW-Madison Political Science Department (link)
UW Honors 9/11 Victims
by Selby Rodriguez
Source: Badger Herald (link)
"Sunday commemorated the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, quietly bringing the Madison community together to remember the lives that were lost and reflect on the repercussions of that fateful day.
For many in the Madison community, 9/11 is a day embedded in memory even with the majority of current University of Wisconsin students not having completed elementary or middle school at the time of the attacks.
“I was in fifth grade at the time, at home and getting ready for school,” UW College Republicans Chair Johnny Koremenos said. “I remember my dad called me into the living room.”
“He said, ‘Take a look at this. This is something that’s going to define history.’ After the second tower was hit, we knew it wasn’t an accident,” he said.
To commemorate 9/11, Koremenos and the UW College Republicans teamed up with the UW College Democrats to plant nearly 3,000 miniature American flags on the lower portion of Bascom Hill at 8 a.m. Sunday morning to represent the lives lost.
Koremenos said the aim was to keep the event a “low-key” reminder for students walking to classes.
He also said he has seen a shift in the country’s reaction to the event.
“Within the first year or so after the attacks happened, 9/11 brought the country together. Over time, it’s become a more contentious issue with how the wars unfolded. It almost became polarizing in a way,” Koremenos said.
This, Koremenos said, is important today when considering the 9/11 attacks."
Challengers test field as early campaigning begins:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry among GOP slated against Obama
by Matt Hupert
Source: The Badger Herald (link)
"Following months of polarizing political turmoil, Republicans and Democrats are gearing up for what both parties see as a chance to regain the nation’s attention for the 2012 presidential elections.
While President Barack Obama can rely heavily on his campaigning skills, University of Wisconsin political science professor Donald Downs said his low approval ratings do not bode well for the possibility of reelection.
Obama’s low approval ratings are directly correlated to the poor condition of the economy, said Downs, who is an adviser to The Badger Herald.
Obama is scheduled to give a speech Sept. 8 where he is expected to unveil his plan for job improvement and growth.
Whether or not the economy drastically changes for the better before the election on Nov. 6, 2012 may greatly contribute to Obama staying in office, he said.
“It’s a dangerous time for President Obama,” Downs said. “Historically, presidents with his current approval rating have not done particularly well in the election.”
Chairman of UW College Republicans Johnny Koremenos said undecided voters, especially students who will be entering the job market in the next few years, should question whether their ability to find and keep a job has increased during Obama’s first term.
Koremenos said both parties are to blame for the high unemployment and large federal debt of the last three years based on their reluctance to cut spending and entitlement programs.
“There’s a lot of optimism for the 2012 election,” Koremenos said. “[Republicans] are becoming more and more confident what happened at the state and federal level last fall was not a coincidence.”
Erin Goulding, spokesperson for UW College Democrats, said the cause of the weakened state of the economy is more complex than spending. She said the continuation of former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts and corporate irresponsibility are just some of the many factors which contributed to the stagnant financial situation.
The financial burden caused by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have also caused much of the country’s debt accumulation over the past decade, Goulding said. Obama should be given more time to solve the problems he inherited, she added.
Goulding said she is hoping for a growth in jobs and broad economic improvement to help the president’s chances of reelection.
On the opposing side, the Republican nomination appears to have three front runners, Downs said, but recently one appears to be edging ahead of his opponents. Texas Gov. Rick Perry seems to have taken a considerable lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, he said.
Perry’s popularity among evangelical Christians and other groups who generally vote for strictly fiscal and social conservative candidates was expected, Downs said. However, the substantial lead Perry has gained from more moderate Republicans is surprising.
Downs said nothing is certain this early in the campaign, and Perry’s current popularity could fade during the primary race. However, Downs said Perry’s broad appeal among conservatives considerably helps his chances of winning the nomination.
Some of the GOP front runners have come out swinging with their own job improvement plans — former Utah governor Jon Huntsman released his job improvement plan which would include changes to corporate tax rates, and Romney is expected to release his plan in the near future.
Former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is expected to make an announcement regarding her decision to run for the presidency soon. "
Badger Herald Letter to the Editor:
College Republicans dispute ASM e-mail
Monday morning, the Associated Students of Madison sent an e-mail to the student body attacking Gov. Scott Walker's ideas to solve the budget crisis. The message claimed to be informative and representative of the stance that is supposedly in the best interest of the students. "Most importantly, you should know that this attack on the people who make the UW work is an attack on the entire UW community." This statement found in the e-mail essentially rejects anyone who disagrees with the ASM stance on Gov. Walker's budget. The facts that ASM list in their e-mail are presented without including information about current benefits for university graduate students and faculty and also fail to include what will happen when the budget is implemented. The e-mail sent to students contains fiery, divisive rhetoric, with nothing to substantiate or validate the personal opinions of its senders. ASM is funded through segregated fees that all students, a diverse population of over 42,000, pay along with their tuition. This semester, $41,790.48 of funding will be allocated to ASM tuition stipends for 14 leadership positions. This is in addition to the $20 per meeting stipend SSFC members receive. Students do not pay the leaders of our student government to take a political, and partisan, position. An ASM Representative gave this statement: "I don't agree with the role that ASM is playing in their attempt to represent the student body. By abusing their list-serve for political purposes they have effectively done the equivalent of endorsing a candidate in an election. This is an overreach and exploitation of power and is completely uncalled for." Students rely on ASM to be a nonpartisan and objective group, not representing one opinion as explicitly stated in their constitution. ASM "establishes a student government that will selflessly pursue the ideals of all without denying the ideals of one." Clearly, their agenda is now political and they no longer remain a student government that we can trust to represent us all. Adam Reiersgaard (email@example.com) is a sophomore majoring in atmospheric science and the field director of UW-Madison's College Republicans. Neil Isono (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a junior majoring in business management and the treasurer of UW-Madison's College Republicans.
Letter to the Student Body: Walker's Plan Good for State, University
Fellow students, Over the past few days, you have probably received several e-mails from ASM and other groups across campus regarding Governor Walker's recently introduced budget repair bill. Unfortunately, these e-mails have failed to properly reflect the true effects of the bill and the difficulties facing our state. Wisconsin faces great challenges. After years of failed leadership and reckless spending, our state must confront a budget deficit in excess of $3.6 billion. The previous administration has maxed out our state's credit card, and bill collectors are waiting at the door of the State Capitol. Failing to take actions to reduce the current fiscal year's deficit will have devastating effects. Critical programs such as BadgerCare could go unfunded, causing thousands of children to lose health coverage. Wisconsin needs bold leadership to restore fiscal responsibility, revive our economy, and bring 250,000 new jobs to the hardworking people of our great state. The proposed benefit reforms are far from unreasonable. Governor Walker's plan would simply require public workers to contribute the national average to their pension programs, and half the national average to their healthcare plans. Additionally, while many like to misrepresent the legislation's effect on collective bargaining, the fact remains that unions will retain the rights to negotiate, but on a year-to-year basis. Individuals within collective bargaining units are afforded more power by voting annually to maintain certification as a union or by having the right to opt-out of unions. No one wants to make these cuts, but our state's situation is dire. In reality, these cuts pale in comparison to the spending decreases Democratic governors in New York and California are making. Governor Jerry Brown of California plans to cut aid to universities by 20 percent. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York just proposed slashing $1 billion from state education aid while laying off 10,000 workers. Governor Walker's proposal balances the budget without layoffs or painful cuts to education. In fact, it will prevent the layoffs of 5,500 state workers and over 5,000 local school teachers. Walker is not targeting state employees, especially not our professors and other vital university staff. He recognizes how critical a strong University of Wisconsin is to the future growth and prosperity of our great state. Balancing Wisconsin's budget will not be an easy task. Difficult decisions will come before our leaders in the days ahead, and we all will be forced to share in necessary sacrifices. But through an honest assessment of our fiscal situation, and taking the necessary actions to rectify it, we can ensure the future prosperity of our great University that will be so vital to keeping Wisconsin competitive in the years to come. Although the e-mails sent to many students so far have promoted ways to assist one cause or viewpoint, there have been many requests from students on ways they can stand in support of Governor Walker's plan for a stronger and more sustainable Wisconsin budget and University of Wisconsin. Please contact your elected official today by clicking here or call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472 and tell them that you support this difficult, but necessary proposal, for a stronger Wisconsin. Additionally, if you would like to learn more about this issue in the coming weeks, please join the University of Wisconsin College Republicans' mailing list by clicking here.