Walker drops out of the 2016 presidential race, and urged some of his rivals to do the same so the party can unite against the leading candidate, Donald Trump.
Today I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately. I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same, so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner.
The candidates for the GOP Presidential debate are announced: Trump, Bush, Walker, Huckabee, Carson, Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Christie and Kasich will appear on stage on Aug 6 in Cleveland, OH. RNC chairman Priebus:
Our field is the biggest and most diverse of any party in history and I am glad to see that every one of those extremely qualified candidates will have the opportunity to participate on Thursday evening. Republicans across the country will be able to choose which candidate has earned their support after hearing them talk through the issues.
Walker signs bill into law that bans abortion beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy. The law applies to non-emergency abortions only. No exceptions apply for those pregnancies that result from incest or rape. Abortions may be performed beyond the 20 week period if the mother is likely to die or suffer irreversible injury within 24 hours. A violation of the law constitutes a felony and may result in a fine up to $10,000 and 3 1/2 years in prison. Civil suits and penalties are also possible.
For people, regardless of where they might stand, when an unborn child can feel pain I think most people feel it’s appropriate to protect that child.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court orders a special state prosecutor to shut down an investigation into Walker’s political fundraising and permanently destroy all the evidence it has collected:
To be clear, this conclusion ends the…investigation because the special prosecutor’s legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law.
Walker declares his candidacy for President, portraying himself as a man who gets things done, who got a conservative agenda passed in a state that normally supports Democrats, and who has curtailed the power of labor unions.
In the Republican field, there are some who are good fighters, but they haven’t won those battles. And there are others who’ve won elections, but haven’t consistently taken on the big fights. We showed you can do both. I am running for president to fight and win for the American people.
Walker says he may not compete in Florida’s March 15 primary to gain an financial advantage.
If we chose to get in, I don’t think there’s a state out there we wouldn’t play in…I mean, other than maybe Florida, where Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are at least in some of the polls essentially tied….They’re going to eat up a good amount of that financial advantage that Governor Bush is going to have. A good chunk of that will be gone after the Florida primary.
Walker says that the next president must shrink federal government for it to succeed in an interview to the Breitbart News.
Right now, at the federal level, we have a federal government that’s too big to fail. We need a government that’s small enough to succeed. One of the most important ways we can do that is by taking chunks of it and sending it back to the states.
He also says that he is moving closer to making a decision on running for president and would disclose it by July.
My state budget is done at the end of June, and so obviously my number one responsibility over that period is to complete a state budget—and so I’ve said in state and publicly that I won’t make any declaration about my intentions until after that…It will be shortly thereafter, not too far after the first of July.
Walker gives an interview to Schieffer on Face the Nation. Walker blames Clinton for creating a foreign policy mess and promises that his foreign policy would be a complete contrast to that of Clinton.
If I choose to get in this race, [foreign policy is] something I’m going to lay out a very clear plan for what we should do going forward, and how we should address the issues we face here in America and the issues we face around the world. I think there’s a wide open door to lay out a very clear doctrine. And I do think that if foreign policy plays an important role, the contrast would be clear.
Walker criticizes Obama’s foreign policy and calls for an aggressive stance against terrorism.
Obama’s foreign policy has been to draw a red line in the sand and allow people to cross it…. United States should deal with terrorism head on and take the fight to them.
Walker makes a trip to Israel. On the trip he meets Israeli PM Netanyahu. He also visits major historical and religious site.
Walker denies that he has flip-flopped on issues related immigration.
It’s just a narrative from the other campaigns in response to the fact that we have a strong reputation for keeping our word…This is one that we listened to the people all across the country-particularly the board of governors-and saw how this president messed that up and that’s an issue where I think people want leaders who are willing to listen to people.
Walker talks about the possibility of putting U.S. boots on the ground to fight ISIS in Syria in an interview to ABC’s This Week.
We have to be – go beyond just aggressive air strikes. We have to look at other surgical methods. And ultimately, we have to be prepared to put boots on the ground if that’s what it takes…I don’t think that’s an immediate plan…I wouldn’t rule anything out. I think when you have the lives of Americans at stake and our freedom loving allies anywhere in the world, we have to be prepared to do things that don’t allow those measures, those attacks, those abuses to come to our shores.
Walker wins the recall election against Tom Barrett by about 7%.
Tonight we tell Wisconsin, we tell our country, and we tell people all across the globe that voters really do want leaders that stand up and make the tough decisions.
Walker reports that his policies of limiting public employees’ collective bargaining rights have saved state and local governments more than $1 billion.
It’s not just about saving money and balancing the budget. It’s about new ways to provide services.
According to Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue, for the first time in twelve years property taxes have decreased on average throughout the state due to Walker’s reforms, limiting collective bargaining rights and cutting state funding to public schools.
Our reforms have reversed a decade of property tax increases from previous administrations. For the first time in over ten years, the average property taxpayer will have more money in his or her pocket than the year before.
Walker signs a bill repealing the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act which allowed workers to sue employers for wage discrimination in the cheaper and more accessible state courts rather than in federal court. Senator Grothman argues the act was hurting businesses who had to defend themselves from false accusations of discrimination:
It’s an underreported problem, but a huge number of discrimination claims are baseless. Most of them are filed by fired employees, and really today almost anybody is a protected class. As a result many companies are forced to pay fired employees to go away [and it has] raised the cost of doing business in the state to intolerable levels.
Senator Sinicki, who co-authored the act, opposes its repeal:
This whole session has been anti-woman and anti-middle class, and this fits right in with that agenda.
The Government Accountability Board certifies 900,939 signatures clearing the way for a recall election against Walker which will take place June 5. A Democratic Party spokesman:
This was the greatest petition campaign in American history for a reason – Scott Walker’s radical overreach and abuse of power.
It gives us a great opportunity to tell our story, to tell that we’re turning things around, how we’re heading in the right direction, how we’re moving Wisconsin forward. But we’ve got a lot more to do.
Walker greets Obama on the Milwaukee airport tarmac and presents him with a Milwaukee Brewer’s baseball jersey that has Obama’s name and the number 1 written on the back. Obama is visiting the Master Lock Company to highlight the Midwest’s manufacturing sector. Obama:
What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries.
The bottom line is we’re one of the biggest, most dependent on manufacturing of any state in the country. We appreciate the fact that the president’s focusing on manufacturing.
Democrats file more than one million signatures for the recall effort against Walker. Vice-chairman of United Wisconsin:
It is beyond legal challenge. The collection of more than one million signatures represents a crystal-clear indication of how strong the appetite is to stop the damage and turmoil that Scott Walker has brought to Wisconsin.
Limbaugh interviews Walker by telephone. They talk about the recall campaign, the unions and collective bargaining and how Walker’s reforms are working: changing a $3.6 billion deficit into a projected $300 million surplus without raising taxes or layoffs, the schools are the same or better, school taxes decreased, net gain in jobs, protecting core services, and saving city governments millions of dollars.
We took on our problems head on, we took them on. We thought more about our kids and our grandkids’ future than we did our own political futures. And, in the end, I believe I still have faith in the American voter and the voter in Wisconsin, I believe, if given the truth, the majority of people in our state will say, ‘You know what, we want leaders who do what they say they’re gonna do. We want leaders who think about the future, not just about being worried about what group may run ads against them.’
Shulfer, a Walker supporter, releases a song to show support for Walker during the recall campaign.
When we faced an uphill climb, with a future not too bright. There was one man for the time, who was promising to fight. He would stand up for us all, when he tamed the status quo. And now he’s standing ten-feet tall, from Ashland to Monroe. We will stand with Governor Walker.
United Wisconsin files a petition to recall Walker and begins their campaign of collecting the 540,208 signatures necessary to trigger the election recall. Walker:
We’re going to be judged, whether it’s in 2012 or 2014, on what we’re doing on jobs and reform. I don’t think it changes what I focus on day to day.
Walker puts out a press release referring to the evergreen tree in the capitol as the Christmas tree instead of the holiday tree:
As the holiday season comes, I am excited to announce that the Christmas tree displayed in our State Capitol will have homemade ornaments created by Wisconsin’s youth.
The president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation considers the change rude and insensitive to non-Christians:
The reason that it was turned into a holiday tree was to avoid this connotation that the governor chooses one religion over another. It’s essentially a discourtesy by the governor to announce that. He intends that to be a slight and a snub to non-Christians, otherwise he would not do it.
After losing four out of six recall elections against Republican senators, Democrats turn their eyes to recall Walker. Mike Tate, chairman of the state Democratic Party:
We will not stop, we will not rest … until we recall Scott Walker.
Walker says the public is tired of recalls:
Whether it’s a gubernatorial recall, or any other recall, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of enthusiasm for having a whole ‘nother wave of ads and money come into the state of Wisconsin.
ThinkProgress asks Damon if he supports efforts to recall Walker because of his school budget cuts:
among other things, yeah.
Walker signs a bill allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons after going through training, passing a background check and obtaining a permit. The bill also bans guns from certain locations and allows private businesses to ban guns on their premises.
By signing concealed carry into law today we are making Wisconsin safer for all responsible, law abiding citizens.
Walker signs a two-year $66 billion budget that cuts almost $800 million from public schools, expands taxpayer support for private voucher schools, cuts taxes for businesses, and keeps property taxes the same, helping to eliminate a $3 billion deficit without raising taxes. It is estimated the state’s main account will have a $300 million surplus by June 2013. Walker uses his power to veto fifty items in the budget.
Our balanced budget makes tough choices while also providing a path to prosperity for our state and our people. Through honest budgeting, we are providing an alternative to the reckless tricks and gimmicks of the past. To move forward together, we are acknowledging that we have to make sacrifices to protect the next generation by decreasing the serious debt that they would otherwise inherit.
Assembly Minority Leader Barca criticizes Walker’s budget and vetoes as helping businesses but hurting the poor and middle class.
His vetoes don’t change the fact that his budget serves corporate special interests at the expense of Wisconsin’s small businesses and middle class. Time and again, Gov. Walker has gone out of his way to limit public scrutiny of his extreme agenda and it comes as no surprise that the governor used many of his vetoes to take away public accountability and further consolidate power in his administration.
Walker signs a bill requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls.
To me, something as important as a vote is important whether it’s one case, one hundred cases or one hundred thousand cases. Making sure we have legislation that protects the integrity for an open, fair and honest election in every single case is important.
Walker asks a judge to allow the state to stop defending a lawsuit brought by Wisconsin Family Action against a 2009 law that allows same-sex couples to form domestic partnerships so they may have some of the rights of married couples. Wisconsin Family action asserts that the 2009 law violates a 2006 amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage or any similar arrangement. Walker’s chief counsel:
Governor Walker, in deference to the legal opinion of the attorney general that the domestic partner registry…is unconstitutional, does not believe the public interest requires a continued defense of this law.
Walker signs a bill voiding Milwaukee’s paid sick leave ordinance which was passed by a popular referendum. The ordinance required large businesses to provide nine days and small businesses five days of paid sick leave per year. The ordinance has been challenged in the courts and has never gone into effect.
This law removes another barrier in the road to creating 250,000 private sector jobs by 2015. Patchwork government mandates stifle job creation and economic opportunity. This law gives employers the flexibility they need to put people back to work and that makes Wisconsin a more attractive place to do business.
Walker appears before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in a hearing titled “State and Municipal Debt: Tough Choices Ahead,” arguing that his decision to take away collective bargaining rights helps governments balance budgets:
For us, we’re giving state and local governments the tools they need not just to balance the budget for the next two years but for generations to come.
Chairman Issa approves of Walker’s actions:
[His] bold reforms seem reasonable to those of us in Washington who understand that our retirement and health care system at the federal level is not subject to collective bargaining.
Committee Member Cummings disagrees:
I strongly oppose efforts to falsely blame middle-class American workers for these current economic problems. He went much further by attempting to strip government employees of their collective bargaining rights. He demanded numerous provisions that had nothing to do with the state’s budget, had no fiscal impact.
When asked how much money the state saved by taking away certain provisions in collective bargaining rights, Walker responds that it doesn’t.
Walker requests at least $150 million in federal funds to upgrade the Milwaukee-Chicago train lines after turning down $810 million in federal funds to build a high speed rail between Milwaukee and Madison citing a waste of taxpayer money. He sees the main difference being that the demand on the Milwaukee-Chicago line is established and growing:
You’ve got a proven commodity here, and we’re making it better.
Milwaukee Alderman Bauman criticizes Walker for requesting funds he earlier rejected:
Now here we’re applying for the same federal stimulus money, the exact same source of money, and somehow this is wonderful and good and this is going to promote the economic fortunes of southeastern Wisconsin.
Walker signs a bill to take away most of the union’s collective bargaining rights. The State Assembly stripped the budget repair bill of its spending language so they were not required to have a quorum of members present since the Democratic senators still refuse to return to the Senate.
What we’re doing here, I think, is progressive. It’s innovative. It’s reform that leads the country, and we’re showing there’s a better way by sharing in that sacrifice with all of us in government.
Democrats and union leaders continue to oppose the Republican bill. Senate minority leader Miller:
Republicans may have achieved a short-term policy goal, but their radical agenda, the war on working families, has been exposed, and the people of Wisconsin and across the country are united against it as never before.
Walker issues notices to state unions of the possibility of laying off 1,500 state employees beginning early April if the Senate Democrats do not return to constitute a quorum to vote on the budget repair bill. He continues to refuse to compromise on his bill:
I can’t take any of that off the table. We cannot tear apart this budget. We cannot put this burden on local governments. But if there are other ways they are willing to work with us to find a pathway back, I think that’s what the people want.
Faced with a $3.6 billion deficit, Walker proposes his first State budget promising to fill in the gap without raising taxes. His budget reduces spending by $4.2 billion cutting more than $1.25 billion in aid to schools and local governments. He emphasizes that if the legislature passes his budget repair bill, then the aid will not be missed because governments will be able to cut contributions to employees’ health and pension plans. He is also cutting $500 million from Medicaid, $250 million from higher education, and eliminating 21,325 full-time state jobs.
We need a leaner and cleaner state government. As we decrease spending, we also increase flexibility so local government and state government have the tools to deal with reduced revenue.
In an interview with The Heritage Foundation, Walker discusses his reasons for reducing union employee benefits and abolishing their collective bargaining rights because governments are broke and can’t afford to continue subsidizing unions.
When the private sector is paying . . . twice what we’re talking about for health care . . . it’s realistic that at a tough time, when the private sector . . . has been making sacrifices to keep people working, we should expect the same from government. . . . I saw it first hand as a county official when I tried to do things like ask for a little more from pensions . . . or even tried to do a thirty-five hour work week, as in a way to avoid layoffs, the union leadership basically said, ‘forget it, go lay five, six hundred people off, we don’t care.’ They know the power of collective bargaining forces local governments not to be able to make those sorts of reasonable decisions.
Unions agree to concessions on their benefits if Walker agrees not to take away their collective bargaining rights. A union director:
We are prepared to implement the financial concessions proposed to help bring our state’s budget into balance, but we will not be denied our God-given right to join a real union . . . we will not – I repeat we will not – be denied our rights to collectively bargain.
Walker refuses to compromise because collective bargaining prevents the flexibility governments need to manage their budgets.
It doesn’t work. My goal all along has been to give all these folks – I asked for it in the past – the tools to control their own budgets . . . I know as a (former) local official, collective bargaining time and time again was the thing that stood in the way of local governments and school districts being able to manage their budgets. Let’s not kid ourselves. The reality is, it’s about the money.
Democratic senators flee to Illinois so the Senate does not have a quorum to vote on Walker’s budget repair bill saying they need more time to debate and understand the bill. Senate minority leader Miller:
This is a watershed moment unlike any that we have experienced in our political lifetimes. The people have shown that the government has gone too far. . . . We are prepared to do what is necessary to make sure that this bill gets the consideration it needs.
Walker tells the Democrats to return to the state and
do the job they’re paid to do. It’s either a matter of making reductions and making modest requests of our government employees or making massive layoffs at a time when we don’t need anyone else laid off.
Walker refuses to negotiate with unions over his plan to reduce their benefits which will cost the average employee 8% of his or her salary.
I don’t have anything to negotiate. We are broke in this state. We have been broke for years. People have ignored that for years, and it’s about time somebody stood up and told the truth. The truth is: We don’t have money to offer. We don’t have finances to offer. This is what we have to offer.
Walker plans to reduce the $137 million state deficit by requiring state employees to contribute 5.8% to their pensions and 12.6% to their health care, and forbidding them to negotiate for anything but their wages. If the budget isn’t cut then 6,000 state employees will be laid off and more than 200,000 children will be removed from the Medicaid program. Democrats and unions oppose the plan. A union director:
Even if you don’t like unions, surely we all can agree that anti-freedom attacks that deny public employees the right to negotiate a fair contract . . . are outrageous and wrong.
Walker looks at many different legal options to limit employee benefits cost and weaken unions in order to balance the budget. Options include decertifying unions, not allowing unions to negotiate with the state, modifying current laws, and limiting or abolishing union rights. He wants to require employees to contribute 5% to their pensions and 12% to their health costs. Currently they contribute nothing to their pensions and only 4%-6% of health costs.
The bottom line is that we are going to look at every legal means we have to try to put that balance more on the side of taxpayers and the people who care about services. . . . You are not going to hear me degrade state and local employees in the public sector. But we can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and the taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots.
Union leaders say they will fight if the state tries to modify laws governing state unions. A union director:
It’s too bad Scott Walker wants to destroy a law that assures the uninterrupted delivery of high-quality public services and has kept labor peace for more than three decades. We certainly prefer negotiation to confrontation.
Walker becomes Wisconsin’s 45th governor on promises to bring jobs to the state, cut spending, lower taxes, and stop a federally funded passenger train from Madison to Milwaukee. With Republicans taking over both houses of the State legislature, it should be easy for him to pass his agenda.
You have given us a mandate for true reform, and I appreciate that. I will not let you down.
Walker refuses to ask for any federal money for county projects and programs even though Milwaukee County has large budget shortfalls including $300 million for park repairs, $43 million for transit and $300 million to rebuild its mental health complex. He feels that the county and country will be better off without federal money since it contributes to unbalanced budgets.
All we are asking for is ‘do no harm.’ I’m not asking for any new projects or things to be done here. . . . The last thing you want to do is put money in hands of government, if the goal is to pull the economy from recession.
Walker seeks another four-year term as Milwaukee County Executive so he can continue streamlining county services and cutting costs. He wants to reduce the county workforce further, expand public-private partnerships, contract out or privatize county services, and encourage faith based groups to work with delinquent youth to increase public safety.
I look at a number of areas and say there’s a whole lot more we can do. . . . We’ve got to get even more aggressive at being innovative.
Walker vetoes most of the budget changes made by the County Board restoring his original budget to cut $3 million for parks, $2.4 million for courts, $1.2 million for drug abuse programs, $200,000 for the County Athletic program, the 4% pay increase for county supervisors, and no tax increase. He does not veto an extra $3 million the board added for public transit. He wants to keep taxes down for residents:
I am battling against the reality that Milwaukee County finds itself in a fight to keep businesses and families from leaving because our taxes are too high.
A county supervisor is confident the board will override most of his vetoes:
It’s clear he’s counting on the board to do the responsible thing once again and override his vetoes. By cutting some funding for safety net programs, Walker shows he doesn’t understand the values and fibers of this community.
The Milwaukee County Board approves a 4% raise for county supervisors and an increase in property taxes. The pay raise is the first in seven years. They criticize Walker’s budget because it depends on state aid which does not materialize and unrealistic budget cuts. This forces the board to save essential program but also take the blame as spenders:
It seems like you are playing a game where you are counting on us to fix the budget holes but also blame the board for excessive spending.
Walker opposes the pay increase but promises that he will not veto it.
Milwaukee County supervisors vote to fund several programs cut in Walker’s budget: drug treatment programs, the Interim Disability Assistance Program, a telephone help line, and the county Youth Sports Authority. Although Walker is not against the county sports program, there is not enough money to fund everything. He wants to prioritize mandated programs that provide direct service to families. However, according to the director of a local agency that helps the homeless.
Walker’s cut was an attempt to take away money from the poorest of the poor.
Walker sends out a fund-raising letter to supporters criticizing Governor Doyle and his liberal allies:
Jim Doyle and his liberal allies in Madison don’t think you’re paying enough in taxes. Even though Wisconsin is one of the highest taxed states in the nation, Doyle and liberals in Madison and Milwaukee want to raise taxes by another $18 billion.
County Executive Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Barrett argue over how best to use $91.5 million in federal money for transit. Walker opposes using money for rails, instead wanting road vehicles including hybrid express buses in designated lanes. Barrett sees wisdom in road vehicles but is adamant about building a three-mile street car circuit. Walker also proposes that sales tax revenue from automobile sales be used for transit.
Walker touts his accomplishments in speeches that he is getting county government turned around. He has presented the board with five annual budgets without any tax increases, even though this year the county is projected to have a $40 million deficit, he has cut off overly generous pension benefits for new employees, cut the county workforce by almost 20%, and has returned $60,000 in his annual salary. He is pushing for a water park on the county’s north side, and approves of spending $300,000 to clean up lagoons in the parks. He has improved mental health services, encouraged heavier lakefront patrols, endorsed more than $300 million for development of the Park East freeway corridor, and negotiated a new labor agreement that included health insurance concessions. He has long term goals for the county. When asked about running for reelection:
It would be hard to imagine putting out a list of five-year plans without planning on being around in five years.
On the other hand, some criticize him for deterioration of county parks and facilities, rejecting some privatization ideas, and the county board having a strong record of overriding his vetoes.