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The political fight is over. The Republicans lost.
Joining us now is that Wisconsin assemblyman you have seen in that tape, Democrat Nick Milroy. He"s at a rally in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, tonight, which is about five hours north of the capitol.
Representative Milroy, thanks for being here. Really appreciate it.
MILROY: Hi, Rachel. Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Are you able to go to work now? Are you and your staff able to get to your office and get work done there?
MILROY: Yes. I was able to get in this morning, no problem, walked right through the front door.
MADDOW: You can understand why people might be surprised that it wasn"t a problem, given that we saw that tape. I mean, one of the things that is so powerful about that video of you essentially getting tackled last night is you can sense how emotional and upset and frustrated things were in that moment.
What"s the atmosphere like in the building there?
MILROY: You know, it"s tremendously emotional for all kinds of people. It"s emotional even for the officers that are doing their best down there. I don"t hold any animosity against the officer that put me on the ground.
You know, this is--this is Scott Walker"s leadership in Wisconsin and it"s reprehensible.
MADDOW: Tell me about the folks who you are with right now. I imagine you are in your constituency or with folks who are expressing some feelings, expressing their sense of this fight. What are people telling you up at Rice Lake and as you traveled around the state?
MILROY: Well, right now, I"m in small town Wisconsin. This is Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Population: less than 10,000 people.
We just had the business owner of this fine restaurant here tell us how this affects everybody in the community and it"s going to affect small businesses. We just can"t have a governor that"s going to strip the rights of working people and undermine their ability to live a decent quality of life. That"s not the Wisconsin way.
MADDOW: I know you--
MADDOW: I know that you were one of the few Democrats that held office hours outside in the cold this week, so your constituents could get to you. How was that experience?
MILROY: Well, you know, the governor put the capitol on lockdown. It is like he has his palace guards there. And it"s impossible for constituents to get in the capitol until after the court decision here. So, I was so fed up and I didn"t feel like I wanted--I felt like I was enabling the governor by sitting inside the capitol without having constituents come in, so myself and a couple of my colleagues said, let"s bring it outside. And it was a really great experience.
MADDOW: There has been some confusion. You mention that court decision. There has been some confusion over the judge"s ruling in Wisconsin yesterday. People were cleared out of the capitol last night. They weren"t allowed to stay overnight, but they apparently will be allowed in--allowed back in next week.
What do you understand about what sort of access people are going to have to the capitol from now on?
MILROY: My understanding is that they should have the same access that they"ve had to their state capitol since before all of this started. Unfortunately, this--unfortunately, this morning, that"s not what we saw. It is still like trying to get through TSA security and that to me is unconstitutional. I mean, if there"s a public safety concern, fine, so be it.
But, right now, all I have seen is peaceful protests in the state capitol, and the people just want their voices to be heard.
MADDOW: Do you think that this fight in Wisconsin is changing the politics of the state? I mean, it wasn"t that long ago that Governor Walker was elected. We saw some new polling data today that showed that his approval ratings are just tanking far below what they would need to be for him to, for example, win re-election if he were back up for it today.
Do you think people are just changing in partisan terms or in ideological terms in the state because of this?
MILROY: You know, I don"t think people are necessarily changing ideology, but, you know, people don"t like when rights are taken away, people don"t like leaders that aren"t willing to compromise.
I"ve heard from so many moderates and conservatives that say they can"t believe that our governor won"t sit down with people who have already said they are willing to make the concessions that he"s asking for. There"s no compromising with this guy and he"s losing his base. He"s losing his support.
MADDOW: The governor is still saying he"s not going to compromise, not going to talk about, not going to negotiate on the main issue, which is, of course, union rights, about collective bargaining. He is getting a little wobbly on some of the other things. He said today that forcing annual re-certifications of unions, which is plainly a way to just make unions go away, he admits now that that won"t actually help with the deficit, that that has no fiscal impact.
Seeing him change his mind or at least some make admissions on something like that, does it imply to you that maybe there might be some talking to be done here, that you guys might be close to negotiating something?
MILROY: Well, I think that would be good for Wisconsin. I think the governor needs to step up, show the leadership to help bring our state back together. We can"t continue to tear each other apart.
MADDOW: Wisconsin Democratic Assemblyman Nick Milroy joining us from a very happy crowd in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Hi, guys. Thanks for being on THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW. Thanks to you, too, sir.
MILROY: Thank you, Rachel.
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