Barca: Wisconsin is ready for you to show leadership now

MADISON – Day six of peaceful Rally for Rights continued at the State Capitol. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) commended all who gathered on both sides of the issue Saturday for taking part in their democracy and exercising their rights of free speech and peaceful assembly.

The counter-demonstrators echoed the message of Gov. Walker by scolding teachers for being at the Capitol and Senate Democrats for not being there.

“All of us who are fighting for people’s rights are working, each in the way we believe we can best serve democracy,” Barca said. “But I must point out that there is one individual whose job it is to end this stalemate: Governor Scott Walker.

“I have this to say to Gov. Walker: ‘Yesterday your employees gave a major concession on all the fiscal issues in a bill that is supposed to be repairing the current budget. They asked only that you leave them with their rights intact.

“This entire conflict began because you would not sit down and look your employees in the eye and talk to them. You found it easier to dictate from behind a closed door with talk of the National Guard being on alert.

“Assembly Democratic representatives visited your office Friday hoping to get through that door to meet with you, and your press secretary indicated you would get back to us. However it’s been 24 hours and this is an emergency. We left a letter with your press secretary offering to help you facilitate a discussion with your employees, however what we got back was your reply via the media that you won’t negotiate.

“Perhaps you would be willing to negotiate if you would come and listen to the public testimony. For days upon days of public testimony in the Capitol from your citizens, the taxpayers, and despite my invitation, you have not come to hear any of the thousands of people who came by and gave impassioned, touching testimony.

“I worked with Gov. Tommy Thompson and while we didn’t always agree, he would always sit down and listen to anyone and attempt to work out a problem – because that is what a governor does.

“You have the tools to end the impasse, Governor Walker. I hope you have the ability as well. Whenever you are ready to get to work leading all the citizens of this state, we stand ready to help.’”