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MSNBC "Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript


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MADDOW: Joining us now is that man who stood in front of that tank, Democratic State Representative Peter Barca of Wisconsin, who serves as the assembly minority leader in that state"s legislature.

Representative Barca, thanks very much for your time.

BARCA: Rachel, great to be on your show. And we appreciate all the great coverage you"ve had of Wisconsin. Just by shedding some light on this radical agenda that they"ve been pushing over the last couple months has helped enormously.

MADDOW: Let me ask you about that national spotlight. I mean, the reason Wisconsin has had so much national attention for me and other people this year is not just because of how surprising and aggressive the Republican agenda has been in Wisconsin, but because the backlash in Wisconsin against it has been so strong. You are right in the middle of it.

Do you feel like Wisconsin has a lesson for the country in terms of Republican overreach and the reaction you"ve had there?

BARCA: Well, there"s no question, Rachel. I mean, we have had 30 budget hearings around the state. And people have come out droves. They are extremely upset at this radical agency.

Of course, poll after poll, even by right wing organizations, show 2/3 of the people are against having their rights to collective bargaining removed. But now, you"ve got radical proposals and in each case, they come up with the most extreme laws.

Today alone, we had on the bill on the docket to pass the most extreme bill to basically end wind energy in Wisconsin, a state that has a heritage for clean environmental practices. They had another bill to no longer require municipalities to have clean water. Then they had a bill which you mentioned earlier in your segment regarding the school voucher program.

And once again, they take the most extreme measures to take off the lid completely and allow the taxpayers to pay for wealthy people, to send their children to private schools not even in the same community they live in.

It"s just been remarkable to see their overreach and people are reacting strongly. You mentioned the 94th assembly district which has been held by 16 years by the governor"s top aide that we won by a significant margin, 54-46. Three county executive races, and the governor home county, Milwaukee County, went big for the Democrat against one of the governor"s top allies in the legislature. Republican Outagamie County elected a Democrat as county executive for the first time ever.

And then you have the Supreme Court race that we still don"t fully know the outcome with JoAnne Kloppenburg 30 points behind with four weeks to go, that it comes within a whisker of a vote.

So, people are catching on. And as you indicated, Rachel, they hear the foot steps so they are rushing through this legislation with little public notice, with sloppily putting together amendments, changing it from day to day. People don"t even know what bills we"re considering they change them so rapidly.

MADDOW: What do you think is going to happen in terms of recall elections in your state? When do you think those will be and what do you think the results will be?

BARCA: Well, it looks pretty clearly like they"ll be in mid-July and we feel very confident based on the last couple election cycles, we"ve been through, including the special election. People are upset. They are--feel as though the middle class is under attack, and they"re standing up strongly. They"re coming out in droves.

We hear constantly from people who have never been involved in politics before that they"re now fully engaged. It"s been remarkable to watch.

MADDOW: Democratic State Representative Peter Barca of Wisconsin, thank you very much for your time tonight, sir. I really appreciate it.

BARCA: Well, Rachel, we appreciate your coverage.

MADDOW: Thank you.


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