Saturday, March 23, 2013

Payback- Walker heads to contributors' businesses

I've seen three stories in the last week that involved our Governor making photo-ops at various businesses around Wisconsin, as part of what they're calling the "Forward Manufacturing" tour, trying to continue the false hope of "It's Working." (memo to Walker's staff, it's still not working) The visits made me flash back to this story I wrote last year, noting that Walker tended to show up at businesses that made campaign contributions to him and the Wisconsin GOP. So I wanted to see if this hypothesis held for these appearances, and dialed up the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's donation database to see if these visits were a bit of campaign finance payback.

First up was Walker's trip to MEGTEC Systems in De Pere, where CEO Mohit Uberoi has given $250 to Walker is each of the last 2 elections. That's not exactly a difference-making donation, but it sure makes you wonder if there's a "more is on the way" promise made in exchange for the attention Walker gives this company for showing up. It also allowed Walker to promote a policy that would track 12-year-old children into career paths.
One way Walker proposes advancing the industry is through career assessment programs for sixth-grade students.

“Young people need to think, ‘What are my interests, and talents?’ and they should start thinking about it early in school, not three months before they graduate,” Walker said.

Those career assessments will give students direction before they apply to higher education institutions, Walker said, whether it be a trade school or four-year college. Such guidance will help develop skilled workers.
Yes, because when you're 12, you won't change and discover new talents about yourself between then and when you turn 18....or 22. And of course, it requires no additional investment into these workers by MEGTEC or other companies. Very stupid policy.

Also on Walker's tour this week was Skana Aluminum in Manitowoc, which has Thomas Testwuide as its CEO. A quick check of the WDC's database shows Testwuide has given over $1,000 to Walker's campaigns, and thousands more to other GOP legislators in the Sheboygan and Manitowoc areas over the last several years. There's also a whole lot of other Testwuides that have given big dollars to WisGOP candidates, and I somehow don't find Walker's visit to be coincidental.

Lastly, Walker headed to Super Steel in Milwaukee on Friday. Super Steel's CEO is Fred Luber, who has given literally hundreds of donations over the years to GOP candidates, including more than $20,000 to Scott Walker. He also openly criticized Governor Jim Doyle and Mayor Tom Barrett is 2010 after Talgo chose not to work with the company in building trains related to the proposed Milwaukee-Madison and Twin Cities rail line. It's almost like he, Scotty and the WisGOP spokespersons on AM radio were coordinating messages when it came to that subject, wasn't it? The real question is who was driving the train (pun!) on that criticism- Luber's cash, or Walker?

By the way, those train bullders were back in the news on Friday. Our media seems to have missed this one (either intentionally, or just through oversight). Looks like the $800 million in trains for high-speed rail will be built in Rochelle, Illinois, and not in Milwaukee.
The new locomotives to be bought through a competitive-bidding process will be paired with 130 bilevel rail cars being built at the Nippon-Sharyo plant that opened last year in Rochelle in northwestern Illinois.

The federal government has allocated $808 million to build the locomotives and passenger coaches, officials said.

Twenty-one of the locomotives and 88 of the rail cars will operate on routes in the Midwest, IDOT spokesman Mike Claffey said.

Delivery of the passenger cars is expected to begin in mid-2015 for testing, Claffey said. "Multiple deliveries per month will start in early 2016," he said.
Ah, Walker's turning down of the rail line just is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to the level of FAIL.

It's not like having these photo-ops at contributors' businesses is a new development, you may remember last August, when a major GOP contributor forced his Ohio coal mine workers to attend and pose with Mitt Romney at such a photo op, and Romney later used pictures from the photo op in "job-creator"-type TV ads.

Don't be surprised if you see some similar pictures from the taxpayer-funded "Forward Manufacturing" tour in a Walker ad next year, as Scotty will desperately try to show things are "turning around" from his earlier failures in creating jobs in Wisconsin.

This is sickening cynicism by the Walker Administration. It's obvious that instead of doing things such as working to improve wages and worker protections to encourage a higher level of applicant (which are the real cause of any "manufacturing skills gap"), or trying to improve education in Wisconsin, Scott Walker is more interested in making appearances with campaign contributors and make their employees a captive audience to his campaign propaganda. Not that this should surprise you, but it is another illustration that when it comes to Walker World, it's the appearances and politics that matter, and not the results.

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