Walkerville Survives the Storm, Can Wisconsin Survive Walker's Budget?

Day six of the Walkerville tent city protest has seen overwhelming support from Wisconsin workers, students and community members. Over the course of the week, thousands of Wisconsinites have gathered on the cement blocks lining the Capitol Square in order to call attention to Gov. Walker and his legislative allies' destructive budget proposals -- proposals which will cripple Wisconsin's schools, health care system and communities.

Many have said that they are surrounding the Capitol to bear witness to their elected officials' decisions and to let their Representatives know that the people of Wisconsin are preparing to take back their government back this summer.

"Walkerville is a way to focus the spotlight on Gov. Walker and Sen. Alberta Darling's budget that will devastate higher education, public education and Wisconsin as we know it," explained Michael Rosen, President of AFT Local 212, and professor at the Milwaukee Area Technical College. Rosen traveled to Walkerville on Wednesday to spend the night.

About 150 tents have sprung up around the Capitol since Saturday June 4, when Walkerville tent city was erected.

Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, brought her son, Nicholas to Walkerville. "We are here to tell Scott Walker that his attack on Wisconsin's unions, middle class, and communities will not stand. The people are coming together here in Walkerville to fight for a just budget and for an economy that works for all."

Each day in Walkerville has had a theme, complete with educational programs to inform citizens on the budget and how it will impact their everyday life. Public services, health care, education and higher education have all been a theme of the day. Many local musicians have taken to the stage on State Street to show their support for the protestors and entertain the family-friendly crowd.

"As Wisconsinites, we cannot standby in silence while our friends, family and neighbors suffer at the hand of Governor Walker's bad choices for our state," explained Dian Palmer, President of SEIU Health Care Wisconsin and a public health nurse from Milwaukee who has been spending multiple nights in Walkerville. "I am here because what I have heard from Governor Walker does not represent the Wisconsin that I believe in or that my fellow Wisconsinites believe in. And I am here to bear witness and ensure that our leaders do right by education, healthcare and programs for senior citizens."

On Health Care Day, nurses and home care patients took on a mock Scott Walker in the fight for quality health care in a play boxing match. Candice Owley, President of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, took to the ring in order to ensure quality care for all of Wisconsin. Read more about the boxing match here.

On Public Services Day, state and county employees held a mock town-hall listening session with characters of Gov. Walker, David Koch, Sen. Glen Grothman and Sara Palin. On Sunday, Wisconsin teachers held a citizen speak-out on why funding for public education is essential to quality education for our children.

Last Monday, fire fighters, farmers and cops lead a march of thousands to call for a fair and just budget. Read more about it here. For video of the march click here.

As the winds blew in last night Walkerville residence took refuge by patronizing local businesses as they waited out the storm. After the storm, Walkerville citizens returned to their tents, tucked-in for the night and continued to raise awareness of Gov. Walker's bad budget choices. Walkerville survived the storm, but can Wisconsin survive Walker's dangerous budget proposals?

AFL-CIO, Thurs Jun 9 2011

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