A statement on the action on the Square yesterday, sent from Pilar Schiavo of National Nurses United:
Firefighters, Nurses, Farmers and community Close Capitol Square for “Public Safety” to stop Walker’s Reverse Robbin’ Hood budget and calls for budget for the public good.
Wisconsin’s Capitol Square and M&I bank were “Closed for the Public’s Safety” today by firefighters, nurses, farmers and community member – sending a clear message that there is no more business as usual until Walker and his corporate backers draft a budget that serves the public good.
More than 2,000 marchers descended on the capitol today at noon followed by tractors, a vintage fire truck, cabs and various RVs other vehicles to close all streets leading to the Capitol Square as an act of civil disobedience opposing the Walker budget and calling on legislators to go back to the table to ensure a budget that is not balanced on the states most vulnerable while giving massive tax giveaways to corporations and the super rich. The day kicked off with participants converged from three corners of the Capitol and shut down the Square in the interest of public safety. This was followed by the participants protesting M&I bank whose executives were major contributors to Walker’s campaign and now are reaping the benefits through his Reverse Robbin’ Hood policies – chanting “Banks got bailed out! We got Sold Out!” The march continued into the capitol where unfortunately Capitol police made a bad decision to arrest the media and media who was covering the days events.
As an act of solidarity Small Business Wisconsin members posted signs saying “You’ll never eat lunch in the town again. No ethics. No Compassion. No Service” telling Walker and Republican leaders that they are not welcome as long as their policies hurt small businesses and their customers.
Pilar Schiavo, National Nurses United: “This budget really is a public safety issue, people’s lives are on the line – people who need dialysis treatment, cancer treatments and other lifesaving treatments are no longer going to be able to get those treatments because of the cuts to BadgerCare and other Medicare programs. Nurses are natural advocates for their patients and advocate every day for our patients and for our community. We advocate in the hospitals, we march on the boss when hospitals protect their bottom line over patients lives, and we will be here in the streets while the public’s safety is at risk. That’s unacceptable and we need to do everything we can do to stop this budget that takes a half a billion dollars from healthcare and turns around and gives half a billion dollars in corporate tax breaks.”
Joe Conway, President – Firefighters Local 311: “People who are getting BadgerCare cut are less likely to go to the doctor or the hospital on their own. That means they’ll be calling fire and ambulances when their healthcare needs escalate. But with cuts to fire departments that means they’ll be waiting event longer because of the cuts in services. It’s not only the police and fire [affected by this budget]. It’s not just the nurses and the teachers, it’s our plow drivers, the people who work on the trucks here today from Rock County and the only thing that’s trickling down are cuts on the working class people, cuts on the poor, cuts on the students, cuts on the elderly. You can only cut so much. We need to start fighting and fight back now and this is the start of that today.”
John Peck, Family Farm Defenders: “Many farmers are depending on Badger Care. I got a call from a family farmer the other day who is being foreclosed on and whose wife has cancer and their only healthcare is BadgerCare. These lives are being ruined by Walker’s policies…We had farmers here today from Schultz’ district and farmers in the rural area are getting very agitated about what’s going on. They’re going after our rural schools. What’s not on the chopping block? Well, what’s not on the chopping block are corporate taxes and corporations paying their fair share. Walker just extended tax rebates for factory farms – but the family farmers I represent aren’t getting anything thanks to this administration. He even tried to kill the “Buy Local. Buy Wisconsin” bill. The wealthiest farms are feeding at the trough at the capitol and now they are going to sell of the Northwoods to multi-national mining companies. Our resources are not up for grabs. This governor should not be greasing the palms of every corporation that walks in his door. We need a real budget, a people’s budget that prioritizes the needs of the people of this state – not just a few wealthy people and a few corporations. Farmers, students, the elderly, the poor – they deserve more.”
Brad Werntz, Small Business Wisconsin owner of Boulders: “Scott Walker’s efforts are a bald-faced power-grab, using half-understood ideas and borrowed, twisted language to make them palatable. These are not “reforms,” this is NOT “Progressive,” and this is not “Open for Business.” This message – distilled – is: “Closed, for good.” Today we in small business say: Scott Walker does not speak for us. And, today, we say to Scott Walker, The Fitzgeralds, Robin Vos, Alberta Darling, Glenn Grothmann, and all of the others involved in this power-grab: “You Won’t Eat Lunch In This Town Again.” This reverse-boycott of sales and service is designed to make one thing plain: Scott Walker and company are making policies and a budget that hurts our customers, our communities, and our small businesses. Until these folks – all of them – stop balancing the budget on the backs of seniors, students, workers, small business, and the poor, they will never eat lunch in this town, again. We in small business stand beside public workers, teachers, firefighters, nurses, farmers, students, the poor, the elderly, and the rest of our customers, and we say – again – clearly: Scott Walker does not speak for us.”
Full statement from Brad Werntz: http://www.theshortmenu.com/2011/06/remarks-for-rally-at-capitol-june-6.html