After dust from weeks of protests against the governor’s collective bargaining bill has started to settle, a figurehead of the Tea Party movement is coming to Madison to boost support for the conservative cause.
Matt Seaholm, the Wisconsin state director of Americans for Prosperity, said former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin will make an appearance at the annual Tax Day Rally and would celebrate recent conservative victories in the state.
He said Palin expressed interest in showing support for the movement in Wisconsin, a state that has emerged at the heart of many key Republican battles.
“The entire country has had an eye on Wisconsin during the last couple battles to balance the budget and have been of interest to prominent conservatives,” Seaholm said. “It’s also a chance to reeducate ourselves to so much of the public policies that also aren’t enacted yet.”
While the event garnered about 5,000 participants last year, he said the event was likely to draw even more people, with attendees converging on Madison from other states.
Meg Ellefson, a mother from Wausau, Wisc., helped recruit Palin for the event by sending the governor a description of her group of Tea Party “mama grizzlies” working to plan the rally.
While Ellefson said she considered the bid to bring Palin to Madison ambitious, she anticipates an inspiring atmosphere at the rally to keep supporters motivated.
“This is a movement that’s not going to go away, and people need to be in it for the long haul,” Ellefson said. “We’ve got to be resolute that we’re going to see prosperity again at some point.”
She added the message of the event will be about celebration and a call to remain engaged and involved, particularly in the midst of many important pieces of legislation up for debate.
Teaching Assistants’ Association Co-President Kevin Gibbons said supporters of collective bargaining rights for public employees will show up at the rally to continue to communicate discontent with legislators “who haven’t been listening.”
He said the event provides an optimal opportunity for people to demonstrate support for the issues union supporters have advocated for weeks.
“I don’t think Sarah Palin poses a threat to the momentum of the movement advocating for public services,” Gibbons said. “People will be watching, so it will give people a venue to continue to air their concerns.”