MADISON, Wis. — State Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald took less than 24 hours to break the promise Republicans made to Wisconsin to focus on job creation – telling three media outlets the first bill the state will tackle is restricting the right to vote.
“It took less than a day for Republicans to starting breaking promises they made to the people of Wisconsin to be different this time,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Scott Fitzgerald’s admission that his top priority is voter ID shows how utterly clueless about the needs of working families the new Republican leadership remains.”
In three different media outlets in the hours following the election, Fitzgerald, speaking for the new Republican legislative majority, indicated the first bill Republicans will tackle is the so-called Voter ID bill – the Jim Crow-era legislation that could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of eligible Wisconsin voters. [Wisconsin State Journal, 11/4/10; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/4/10; Watertown Daily Times, 11/3/10]
Fitzgerald’s about-face contradicts hundreds of times in which Republicans told Wisconsin voters that if Republicans were in charge, special interest legislation and partisan maneuvering would be off the table until they could prove they created 250,000 jobs to make good on Gov.-Elect Scott Walker’s repeated promises to do so.
Walker himself made these kinds of promises repeatedly, saying late last week:
I’ve said repeatedly my priority is going to be focused on two areas, ‘What will this do to help retain or grow jobs for existing companies here in Wisconsin?’ Or, ‘What will this do to bring new companies into Wisconsin that aren’t currently here?’ If it’s not one of those two things, it’s not going to be a priority for me. [WISC-TV, 10/27/10]
On the campaign trail, Republicans up and down the ticket promised they would focus like a laser beam on job creation. Republicans and their corporate allies spent several hundred million dollars criticizing actions like the federal Recovery Act, which prevented a second Great Depression and created up to 3 million jobs across the nation.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Jim Doyle and the Democratic-controlled legislature created and saved tens of thousands of jobs, protected education, guaranteed 98 percent of Wisconsinites had access to health care coverage and ensured police and fire fighters protected communities without massive property tax hikes.
“Republicans told Wisconsin that job creation was job one, but now they’ve decided rigging elections is more important,” said Ross. “Sadly, this may be just the first of an avalanche of broken promises coming from the Republican leadership.”
One Wisconsin Now said it will continue to aggressively hold elected official, accountable for policies that fail to move the state towards a Wisconsin with equal economic opportunity for all.