A video showing Gov. Scott Walker on the campaign trail claiming that he would be willing to negotiate with public employees if elected to office surfaced Friday, which his critics say proves he did not run on the idea of eliminating collective bargaining.
The video features Walker as a candidate in Oct. 26, 2010, sitting down with the editorial board The Oshkosh Northwestern.
During the interview, Walker discussed what he did as Milwaukee county executive to balance the budget and his plans to use a similar process for Wisconsin. A Northwestern editorial board member asked if collective bargaining was a factor in Walker’s plan to ask public employees to contribute “their fair share” of their pension plans and how such a proposal would be negotiable.
“Yes, you still have to negotiate it,” Walker answered. “I did that at the county as well.”
Walker has said in the past that he ran on the issue of eliminating collective bargaining. Wisconsin’s branch of Politifact, a fact-checking organization, also challenged Walker’s statement, rating the statement “false” in an analysis done in February of last year.
Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, who is running for the nomination to run against Walker in a potential recall election, said she believes the video exemplifies the deceit she said she believes Walker has created.
“It helps people understand what the governor truly said during his campaign and what he is doing now,” Vinehout said. “He challenged the press to find evidence and, now they have.”
Mike Mikalsen, spokesperson for Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said Nass believes the governor’s actions with the collective bargaining reform bill and budget plan are consistent with what he said he was going to do.
“The governor is still talking to unions,” Mikalsen said. “He has been consistent throughout his [tenure] in office with what he said he was going to do. He also said he was going to balance the budget; that’s done.”
Mikalsen added the state had a $3.2 billion deficit when the governor came into office, which he said is now down to $143 million over the next three years.
In a statement released in response to the video, Kathleen Falk, former Dane County executive and a Democratic recall candidate, called Walker’s statements a “smoking gun” to Walker’s secret plan to end the rights of public workers everywhere.
“It’s another indication of Gov. Walker not being honest with the people of Wisconsin,” Falk’s spokesperson Scot Ross said. “No amount of money that Walker raises around the country can buy back the trust of the people of Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin Education Association Council spokesperson Christina Brey said the union has known all along the governor never campaigned to do anything he has done in office.
“This is one more item of proof,” Brey said, “that what he has done and what he said he would do are two different things.”
Walker’s campaign and office did not return calls as of press time.