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SCHULTZ: Joining me now are Democratic members of the Wisconsin state assembly. Joining us here on THE ED SHOW, the man that was just up there, State Representative Peter Barca, who is the minority leader in the assembly.
Mr. Barca, how confident are you that this was an illegal move? And what is your course of action at this point?
BARCA: Well, we"re very confident, Ed. The law is very clear, and in fact, our current Republican attorney general, Van Hollen, just in August of 2010 issued a memo defining it.
We will be seeking legal recourse as early as tomorrow morning. And we are looking at every single option.
SCHULTZ: Well, it is true that the attorney general in the state of Wisconsin is--
BARCA: But this law cannot stand.
SCHULTZ: Go ahead, speak, sir. I"m sorry for the delay tonight.
We"ve got an interesting technical setup.
Let me ask this question, and you respond to it. The attorney general in Wisconsin is a Republican. Do you think you"ll get legal cooperation from him?
BARCA: Well, we"ll find out tomorrow morning. I would hope so. He"s taken an oath of office to uphold the law, regardless of whether it"s Democrat or Republican.
It"s the people of Wisconsin"s interests that are at stake here. Wisconsin has a long tradition of clean and open government, and we all take an oath of office to uphold the Constitution and uphold that law. So, I"m hoping that he will take his responsibilities seriously tomorrow.
But if he does not, he is not the only person authorized to challenge the Open Meetings Law. And we will be prepared if he"s not willing to carry forward his responsibilities.
SCHULTZ: State Representative Cory Mason--did the Republicans by doing this in the Senate give you all the support you"re going to need to rally the Wisconsin folk behind you? Do you clearly win because of this heavy-handed move in the arena of public opinion? What do you think?
STATE REP. CORY MASON (D), WISCONSIN: I think what they"re doing is a clear demonstration of how desperate they are to attack workers" rights. And the public hasn"t been with them since the get-go of this. But to finally reveal themselves of what they are, and to strip the financial pieces out of the bill and just move forward on taking away workers" rights clearly reveals them for what they are, which is a group of extreme Republican right-wing legislators who will stop at nothing to strip workers of their rights.
And I can tell you that the citizens of Wisconsin, if you try to take away their rights, they are going to rise up--they"re going to rise up peacefully and they"re going to be at that building there tomorrow demanding that their voices are heard. And we"re going to be standing with them.
SCHULTZ: Mark Pocan, what does this do--State Representative Mark Pocan, what does this do to the recall effort on your opinion? How will your neighbors respond to this?
STATE REP. MARK POCAN (D), WISCONSIN: Well, I think the move tonight, and what"s happened in the culmination of the last three weeks has guaranteed that the Senate is going to flip to Democratic. I have no question that these recalls are going to happen. They"re going to be successful. And when you treat state government like a third world junta, and that"s what the governor and Republicans have done, then you"re going to have the people coming back and I think you"re going to see a lot of the senators getting recalled and we"re going to have a Democratic Senate to finally provide a check and balance.
SCHULTZ: But before all of that happens, gentlemen, it appears that stripping collective bargaining rights away from Wisconsin workers is now on the fast track, because of the Republicans.
Mr. Barca, what recourse is there? Do you think that the state workers will turn around and do something drastic as it was suggested earlier that maybe they would strike? The passion of the people, where is it?
BARCA: Well, people are clearly outraged. Tonight, the citizens of Wisconsin were cheated out of their democracy. There was a clear violation of the law. And we believe that it will not stand.
But we will be there tomorrow to fulfill our responsibilities, and we will be battling this. And this fight will continue.
But your promo to this show was perfect because the charade has now been exposed. From day one, they intended to take away the rights of workers, and they"ve proved tonight that it had nothing to do with the fiscal policy of the state because they took out the keystone of that bill which was a bonding that the governor said he needed in order to not lay off workers.
So, the charade is up. The people of Wisconsin were cheated. The people in Wisconsin believe in the Wisconsin way of clean and open government, of rolling up our sleeves and solving our problems together.
But, unfortunately, the governor has never--has divided this state like we"ve never been divided before. And there will be recourse on every single level. That I can assure you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Wisconsin State Representatives Peter Barca, Mark Pocan, and Cory Mason--thanks for your time tonight. Thanks for joining us.
When we come back, John Nichols of "The Nation" magazine joins us with the latest on the ground in Madison, Wisconsin. Stay with us.
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