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Public Statements

MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

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And I want to start first, if I may, Senator Fred Risser.

Senator Risser, you have been around this process longer than anyone. Can you tell us tonight from your knowledge whether what the Republicans did today in the Senate is legal or not? And what the next move is going to be for the Wisconsin 14?

STATE SEN. FRED RISSER (D), WISCONSIN: I have never seen anything like this in my life. You know, the governor, instead of acting like a leader, and trying to negotiate with people, decided that he wanted to get this bill passed so bad, that he not only bent the rules, but he broke the rules. I think it"s disgusting. And I think the public will react accordingly.

SCHULTZ: Senator Mark Miller, minority leader for the Democrats--

STATE SEN. DAVE HANSEN (D), WISCONSIN: I just wanted to say as a former public employee, I really appreciated what labor organizations did for me. I drove a truck for the city of Green Bay sanitation before I became a state senator. And without that, we wouldn"t have had any pay or any benefits.

And that"s what they"re trying to do--they"re trying to remove any right to bargain and negotiate and remove collective bargaining that"s been in place for 50 years. It is a sad, sad day. And it"s ridiculous what those 18 Republican senators did today. And our governor should be ashamed of himself.

SCHULTZ: Senator Miller, can you tell us, what are you going to do? Are the Wisconsin 14 going to stay out of state or are you coming back tomorrow?

STATE SEN. MARK MILLER (D), WISCONSIN: Absolutely, we"re going to go back to Wisconsin.

It"s just the first of many battles. This is a battle that needs to be joined in any every way we can, to use every bit of our effort, every bit of our wisdom because this outrage cannot stand. It"s absolutely essential that we go back and fight this.

We join the citizens of Wisconsin who have been demonstrating and protesting and writing letters and doing everything they can to tell the governor that this cannot be--that this cannot be the future of Wisconsin. And we are going to be back there right shoulder to shoulder, arm to arm, to fight this battle right along with them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But not tomorrow.

MILLER: But not tomorrow.

SCHULTZ: And we want to hear from all of you tonight. You can just go ahead and pass the microphone.

Tell your Wisconsinite folks exactly how you feel about the situation right now.

STATE SEN. JULIE LASSA (D), WISCONSIN: Well, Ed, I think that it"s absolutely shameful what the Republicans have done in the state Senate, what they"re going to do in the state assembly tomorrow. You know, it really does take away from our Democratic process in Wisconsin.

This bill, they were so desperate to strip away 50 years of worker rights that they had to go and break the Open Meetings Law, according to the Republican attorney general. They voted on a bill that wasn"t even--they didn"t even have before them. And it wasn"t even available to the public anywhere.

So, in their desperation to strip away workers" rights, they broke the law, and they rammed through this bill that will have significant ramifications for, as you said--you know, well over 100,000 workers in the state of Wisconsin. But we are going to take this fight, and we are going to fight it out in every part of the state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That"s right.

LASSA: And we are going to get the Senate back. And we are going to make sure that Governor Walker and his radical agenda that he has set to work against working families and the middle class will not stand.

STATE SEN. KATHLEEN VINEHOUT (D), WISCONSIN: You know, Ed, people feel tonight angry and they feel betrayed. And they feel like they want to do something.

And I would appeal to all those people who have worked so hard to try and help their voice be heard, that the way to have their voice be heard is to now turn to the ballot box. If we can"t have the voices of the people heard, we"ve got to change the faces of those who represent the people. And it"s very important that everyone get involved in the recall elections, in any way that they can, because we need to make sure the people"s voice is heard, and it will be heard on election day.

STATE SEN. ROBERT WIRCH (D), WISCONSIN: This is a day of infamy for Wisconsin workers. Tomorrow, they"re second-class citizens, thanks to the Republicans who took that terrible vote tonight.

STATE SEN. JIM HOLPERIN (D), WISCONSIN: Ed, when the governor initially introduced this budget repair bill, he described these changes to our collective bargaining law as a modest change, a small amendment to Wisconsin law.

One reason we left the state was because we knew very differently. And I think that"s been demonstrated abundantly across the state over the last couple of weeks.

And I think when the governor talks now about our state budget bill and starts describing programs as merely slight reductions in spending, something people can easily absorb. We need to be very, very skeptical about what we hear out of this governor. I think his credibility has been severely damaged by the way that he"s described this action that the Senate took tonight.

And I think Wisconsin citizens will be properly--very doubtful about the way he characterizes his agenda, and the things he intends to do to this state, if he gets his way over the coming weeks and months.

STATE SEN. LENA TAYLOR (D), WISCONSIN: Ed, I think that Senator Holperin was kind. I think the truth is, our governor is a liar and he"s been shown to be that. And that the Republicans have been shown to be rubber stamp legislators.

They are not going to stand up to him. They are not going to do what is right. They are not going to keep the people"s interest over profit. They have shown that they"re not going to allow people to have access to government, to petition their government.

It"s, as Julie said, they"re going to break the rules. I mean, they"re going to defy the Constitution. It is a shame.

And I always keep saying, that my favorite candy is Now and Later. They didn"t hear them now, but they will have to deal with the people later.

And Kathleen said it, we couldn"t change their minds, then it"s time to take your anger, people, Wisconsinites, take your anger and frustration, and it"s time to change their faces through recall.

HANSEN: I just wanted to say everything that went on in the last several weeks, that we"ve been gone, I"m so proud of the Wisconsin 14 for standing up for what we believe in. What the governor is doing was not fair. It was not balanced. It was not respectful.

And it certainly didn"t talk at all about what impact it"s going to have on our communities and it"s not positive at all. Stand together, believe in their dream, we can win this fight. And it is truly at the ballot box.

STATE SEN. TIM CARPENTER (D), WISCONSIN: Well, Ed, I guess the best way to describe this is this is our Pearl Harbor of workers" rights. The governor has really been out of bounds and this sneak attack in the middle of the night without any public notice, without any input for many--hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites that have expressed their views.

It"s a sad day for Wisconsin. I"m kind of ashamed that this has happened. And I don"t know what the governor will do next.

STATE SEN. CHRIS LARSON (D), WISCONSIN: Yes, Ed, I think this is--there"s people who are very disheartened right now. And have a lot of anger.

But I think that what comes of this, we may--they may have won this battle today, but I think that he just awoke a sleeping middle class that wasn"t sure if there was a difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. And now tonight, it"s never been clearer which party sides with the middle class, which party sides with the workers, which party will go and stay away from the state that they love for three weeks in order to stand up for rights.

And then which party is going to use anything they can in the books to try and undercut that. No low they will not go to to undercut the people. And which side will go for corporations, and public--against the public interest.

So, I think that as we are disheartened tonight, I think there"s going to be thousands of people who wake up tomorrow and grab clipboards in order to give the Republican recalls new life as we take back our democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amen.

LARSON: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Senator Mark Miller, I"d like to ask you this, if I could. OK. The recall process is probably going to get even more enthusiastic here in the coming days. But what recourse do the workers of Wisconsin have at this point? Is there anything else in your opinion that they can do outside of the recall, Senator Miller?

MILLER: The die"s been cast, Ed. The legislative agenda has been adopted. And their only recourse at this point is the ballot box.

You know, Ed, Wisconsin has a lot of great traditions, a lot of reformer traditions. We are the home of Fighting Bob La Follette.

And Fighting Bob La Follette was the one who inspired the people to stand up against the big-money interests of the 1910s and 1920s, to take back their government. Now, it"s time for there to be a new reform, a new taking back the government, a new commitment by the people of the state of Wisconsin that this government belongs to them, not to the big-money interests.

LASSA: I think, Ed, too--

SCHULTZ: That"s the case--Senator, I want to ask Senator Miller, I have to ask this question, Senator Miller.

There are several Wisconsinites who have told me via e-mail that they think it"s time to strike, that they think it"s time for the 175,000 state workers to stay home and force this governor to give back collective bargaining rights to the people. Is that possible in Wisconsin? Do you see that the passion of the people would be so strong that they would do something that drastic?

MILLER: Well, the passions are running very, very high, Ed. And I can"t rule out anything that might happen in the future by the decisions of people who feel they"ve been abused by their government.

But the point is, is that we need to change the faces of the people who turned their back on the folks who elected them. This is time to work at the ballot box, to stand up, and keep Wisconsin strong, with the traditions that we"ve had for generations and generations--respecting people, respecting their work, an honest day"s pay for an honest day"s work, good schools, clean air and clean water. These are the things that make Wisconsin great. We need to fight for them.

SCHULTZ: The members of the Wisconsin 14 with us--go ahead. Go ahead.

TAYLOR: Ed, there are two things. One, there is potential legal recourse that can be done, because of, frankly, the law that was broken in regards to open records--I mean, notice provided for the meetings that were done. And other items where they have broken the law.

So, there is some recourse that may be able to happen through the legal process. But there"s another piece in regards to the strike.

I know Walker well enough to know that part of what he wants to do is privatize. And so, I am somewhat concerned about if individuals choose to do that, whether or not it goes into his hand to privatize different pieces of Wisconsin. And so, I want to make sure that individuals strategically think about how they make their moves.

The most powerful place, the most power of the people is going to be in the ballot box. And it"s going to be through recalls. It"s going to be taking those clipboards and getting those names and doing what needs to be done so we can change the faces of the people that we could not change their opinions.

SCHULTZ: We would like to thank all of you--the members of the Wisconsin 14 collectively speaking up here tonight on THE ED SHOW. Thank you for joining us. And thank you for sharing your thoughts with our audience at this critical juncture of this battle for the middle class in Wisconsin.

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