Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for since last winter. We will be turning in enough signatures to trigger a recall election for not only Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch, but also for 4 republican senators, including senate majority Scott Fitzgerald. As long as they don’t pull too many dirty tricks (which they obviously enjoy doing), then there is no doubt that there will be enough signatures even after they throw out the “bad” ones.
This has truly been one crazy, intense, yet inspiring ride, and I have met many wonderful people in the process. I urge people to try to avoid getting caught up in the excitement of the recalls and forget about the people who they’ve been working side-by-side with over the past 2 months. I’m excited that many of the people I’ve worked on the recalls with around the state will all be in my city tomorrow to celebrate at the Monona Terrace. I could talk about all of these people and write an extremely long post, but instead I will just talk about 3 people: Lori Compas, Randy Bryce, and Lane Hall.
Although I’ve known who Lori Compas is for quite some time now, I didn’t get a chance to meet her in person until about 2 weeks ago when I first stepped into the Fitz recall headquarters, aka the living room of her house in Fort Atkinson. After spending time at her house and talking with her face-to-face, I was inspired to start working on the Fitz recall full-time. I remember sitting across her kitchen table from her the 2nd night in a row I was there, realizing that that was where I needed to be, and telling her that I was going to be there every day until the end of the recalls. Both of us were excited to work together, and over the course of the next couple of weeks we spent a lot of time together counting petitions, verifying signatures, and bouncing ideas off of each other. Lori and some other Fitz recall organizers went out with me in Fort Atkinson at midnight on my birthday this past weekend to celebrate with me, and I had a great time. We were also celebrating gathering enough signatures for the recall of Fitzgerald. I can’t wait to help her bring the petitions to the GAB tomorrow morning at 11am!
I first met Randy Bryce (Milwaukee Ironworkers) on November 17th while we were both involved in a shutdown of the North Ave, bridge over I43 in Milwaukee. We had interacted often on Facebook, so when we saw each other, we immediately knew who the other one was. I then ended up running into him the next couple of days, as well, at the Recall Pep Rally at the Barrymore on November 18th, and again at the Recall Rally on the 19th. Those three days were very crazy, so we didn’t really get a chance to chat much. We then collected signatures together for a couple of hours in Milwaukee near the beginning of the recalls during an organized mobilization of Milwaukee activists. Randy and I instantly hit it off, and it felt as though we’d known each other for years. I guess that’s what happens when you’re fighting side-by-side with someone during a period of what I consider to be “accelerated history.” He also drove to Oconomowoc to meet up with me and collect signatures on my birthday this past Saturday. We didn’t collect many signatures, but I still had a great time and we ended up going out for a birthday drink in downtown Oconomowoc.
Lane Hall is best known for his light up recall signs that have brought many people together while holding these signs on bridges during rush hour, which has been named the Overpass Light Brigade. I first met Lane a few weeks ago when he came to Madison for the 250th sing along. He needed people to help hold his signs on a footbridge over East Washington Ave. before the sing along, and of course I was down to help. I ended up spending 2 hours on a bridge with him and several other people out in the cold while cars rushed by below us. We also met up in Milwaukee (where Lane lives) to collect signatures a couple of times, and I also drove to Milwaukee once to help with the overpass light brigade again. As with Randy, I feel like I’ve known Lane for much longer than just a few weeks. I was honored when he asked me to help hold one of the recall signs at the event at the Monona Terrace tomorrow night. Lane has also asked Randy and Lori to each hold a sign, and I will stand proudly next to them.
All three of these people I have known for less than 2 months, yet I feel as though I’ve known them for years. I imagine there are many stories the same as the 3 I’ve just told from people who have been working side-by-side on the recall efforts together. If Walker has done anything positive since he’s been in office, it has been bringing people together all across the state of Wisconsin. I consider these people my family now, and I look forward to working with them for years to come. I’m hoping these 3 short stories remind you all of the stories you have with people you’ve met during the recalls. Let’s remember to spend time talking with these people today and enjoy this victory with them. Forward!