Review: Road to Recall for State Sen. Van Wanggaard
The first term State Senator is facing recall efforts against him, but says he remains focused on jobs for Racine County and state residents.
A few days before recall efforts kicked off against him, State Sen. Van Wanggaard said he wouldn't be distracted from focusing on bringing jobs to Racine County.
"I know I might be recalled, but I'm not focusing on that," he said at the time. "I have to be really serious about job creation."
Randolph Brandt, who filed the petitions against Wanggaard, said he was spurred to do so by only one reason: Wanggaard's support for Act 10 (Budget Repair Bill) even as he enjoys the benefits of collective bargaining from his years in law enforcement.
"Van Wanggaard has been a traitorous supporter of Governor Walker's assault on workers, especially public employees, when he continues to benefit from retirement plans he helped negotiate," Brandt told Patch last November.
Wanggaard responded by saying that his refusal to sign on to the Budget Repair Bill without certain protections for public works shows that he gets it.
"By making sure we had language that preserved the grievance process, disciplinary steps, worker safety and protection from unfair termination," he said. "It's about protecting the worker and we did that by keeping these measures intact."
Since then, organizers have mobilized hundreds of volunteers to collect signatures for Wanggaard's recall. Wanggaard has not addressed recall except when asked by the press, but he has amped up communication with his constituents by hosting a recent teletown hall call-in, with a growing Facebook presence, and by writing op-eds highlighting his legislative successes over the past year.
Who will run against Wanggaard remains up in the air. Brandt said in November that Racine Democrats will worry about that detail after they have the signatures. Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) said at one time he might consider a run for Wanggaard's seat in a recall election, but Mason is also contemplating a go at the Lietenant Governor's office should Rebecca Kleefisch face recall.
Elections are expected to begin sometime late this spring or early this summer barring any legal challenges. Government Accountability Board cost estimates put the pricetag between $9 and $20 million when local, county and GAB costs are added together.
Recall signatures will be delivered in Madison on Tues., Jan. 17, while the State Senate is in session. Wangaard will be in the Senate Chamber, but he has a campaign manager and the Racine County Republican Party recently opened a Victory Center on Durand Avenue in Mount Pleasant to support his staying in office.
Stay with Patch's coverage of all things recall from Madison and from here at home, too, as we get the view from recall organizers and from elected officials who might face a recall later this summer.