Sen. Rick Gudex Pledges Budget Vote to Education Privatization Cartel

Freshman State Senator Vows to Oppose Budget Unless the Special Interests That Elected Him Are Satisfied; Previously Had Scrubbed Campaign Website of Privatization Support

MADISON, Wis. — Newly-minted Republican State Senator Rick Gudex of Fond du Lac recently took an extraordinary vow, promising to vote against the entire state budget unless it contained a statewide expansion of the unaccountable private school voucher program. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that the massive spending of the education privatization cartel on behalf of his campaign, reported on the front-page story of today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, sheds light on Gudex’s pledge.

Ross commented, “Rick Gudex must be a fast learner, because he’s learned pay-to-play as quickly as Wisconsin has ever seen.”

According to the newspaper report, the pro-voucher American Federation for Children said they spent over $325,000 to boost Gudex in a race he won by just 600 votes. The special interest group touted Gudex’s election as critical for advancing their agenda. Gudex himself commented on the advertising run on his behalf saying, “I’m sure it didn’t hurt me.”

In attempting to defend his unseemly budget vote pledge, Gudex claims he was a longtime, public supporter of the unaccountable private school voucher program. Yet as his campaign for State Senate heated up in fall 2012, One Wisconsin Now uncovered that he had scrubbed his website to remove references to his support for the program.

One Wisconsin Now also recently issued a report exposing the propaganda campaign behind the push for education privatization in Wisconsin, and the massive funding it has received from the Milwaukee based Bradley Foundation, run by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair Michael Grebe. Since 2001, the Bradley Foundation has spent over $31 million on a comprehensive media and public relations campaign to try to shape public opinion and convince legislators to expand the private school voucher program that will have received at least $1.8 billion from taxpayers by 2014-15.

Ross concluded, “Vowing to oppose the budget unless the special interests that backed him are satisfied is sure giving the people an education about what kind of legislator Rick Gudex is. There’s no other way to see it other than the education privatization cartel has bought themselves a budget vote.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.