Walker urged not to sign Wis­con­sin GOP bills

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - By Scott Bauer

MADI­SON, Wis. — A bi­par­ti­san group of po­lit­i­cal fig­ures ap­pealed to Gov. Scott Walker to avoid stain­ing his legacy and be­hav­ing like a sore loser by sign­ing leg­is­la­tion that would weaken the pow­ers of the Demo­crat who de­feated him.

Rather than notch­ing an­other par­ti­san vic­tory in his fi­nal weeks in of­fice, they said, Walker should think big­ger. Think of your re­cently de­ceased fa­ther, they pleaded. Think of former Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush. Think of Christ.

“You can have a long, suc­cess­ful ca­reer ahead,” long­time Repub­li­can and ma­jor GOP donor Shel­don Lubar wrote to Walker in an email. “Don’t stain it by this per­sonal, poor-loser ac­tion. Ask your­self, what would my fa­ther say, what would the great­est man who ever lived, Je­sus Christ, say.”

Walker gave no signs Thurs­day of tip­ping his hand. A spokesman said only that he was re­view­ing the bills. He gen­er­ally has been sup­port­ive of the mea­sures in the past.

The choice is whether to sat­isfy fel­low Repub­li­cans, who passed the bills over ob­jec­tions from Democrats, or strike them down to let his suc­ces­sor, Tony Evers, take of­fice un­der the same rules in place when Walker was in charge.

“It just gets back to, what does he want to be re­mem­bered for,” Demo­cratic state Sen. Jon Er­pen­bach said. “It’s time to set aside your po­lit­i­cal be­liefs and do what’s best for your state.”

At 51, Walker is leav­ing of­fice at a young age. He might want to stay ac­tive in Walker Wis­con­sin pol­i­tics, per­haps to run for the U.S. Se­nate in 2022, though it’s not clear how his po­lit­i­cal prospects would be af­fected by sign­ing the leg­is­la­tion. Walker won three elec­tions pur­su­ing a strongly con­ser­va­tive agenda, and he nearly won re-elec­tion last month de­spite heavy Demo­cratic turnout.

It ac­tu­ally was Repub­li­can As­sem­bly Speaker Robin Vos, not Walker, who was the driv­ing force be­hind the bills. The mea­sures make it more dif­fi­cult for Evers to undo the legacy of Walker and Repub­li­cans, who have had full con­trol of Wis­con­sin’s gov­ern­ment for eight years.

The GOP power grab in Wis­con­sin comes as Michi­gan Repub­li­cans vote on tak­ing ac­tion be­fore a Demo­cratic gov­er­nor takes over in that state. North Carolina law­mak­ers took sim­i­lar steps two years ago.

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