News

GOTV - Volunteer TODAY!

As we reach the last week of the campaign, the office needs a lot of help to Get Out the Vote. We are going to need the phones full and doors knocked at all times.
I will also need the front desk monitored and volunteers fed at all times as well. If you can help or sign up for at least two shifts between now and June 5th in the office please contact Joe at 608-298-8441. Let's not wake up on June 6th regretting that we could have done a little more.

Thank You, Joe Leveratto
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Josef Leveratto Field Director
Republican Party of Wisconsin 6211 Durand Ave. Suite 203 Racine, WI 53406

Republican Party to Open Victory Center for Racine County

January 4, 2012 The State Republican Party will officially opened up the Racine County GOP Victory Center, 6211 Durand Ave on Saturday, January 7th.  The Victory Center will be the hub for all GOP candidates in 2012 and will begin to receive collateral material such as literature, signs, bumper stickers and other items immediately.

"Racine is central to ensuring a Republican victories in 2012 and the State Party has recognized that.  In 2010, 56% of Racine County voted for Governor Walker and Senator Johnson and 52% voted for State Senator Wanggaard," stated Racine County GOP Chairman, Bill Folk.  "Racine is ready to do it again in 2012."

The Victory Center will be staffed Monday through Saturday 9-9.

Grand Opening to be held Saturday, January 7th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Please join Senator Van Wanggaard and many other Racine County Elected Officials to learn how you can help keep Governor Walker, Lt. Governor Kleefisch and Senator Wanggaard in office

Phone: 262-864-1010

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RPW Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 13, 2011
Contact: Ciara Matthews
REPUBLICAN PARTY OF WISCONSIN, FRIENDS OF SCOTT WALKER ANNOUNCE VERIFICATION EFFORT
Voters Asked to Help Bring Fairness to the Recall Effort
Madison, Wis. – The Republican Party of Wisconsin and Friends of Scott Walker today announced the official launch of a joint recall signature verification effort at www.ScottWalker.org. The new landing page will be a resource for citizens who want to get involved in the forthcoming process of verifying signatures collected during the recall petition process.
This effort to verify signatures is in response to repeated allegations of individuals signing multiple recall petitions. The Government Accountability Board has ruled that the burden of verifying collected signatures will fall upon Governor Walker, and the Republican Party of Wisconsin. The Friends of Scott Walker campaign will be overseeing a massive statewide volunteer effort to ensure that the recall effort is not tainted by these repeated instances of fraud.
"As the only legal entities able to officially challenge duplicate signatures, the Republican Party of Wisconsin is proud to join Friends of Scott Walker in this joint effort to protect the recall process," said Stephan Thompson, Executive Director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin. "A majority of citizens have grown increasingly frustrated with the recall process, and this effort allows these people to get involved and protect their state from repeated fraudulent activity."
Ciara Matthews, communications director for Friends of Scott Walker also noted that help from the Governor’s supporters in this verification effort allows Governor Walker to continue to get his message out to voters.
"The Governor has spent his first year in office laying the foundation for a more successful Wisconsin,” Matthews explained. “It is important for him to continue talking with Wisconsinites about how his bold reforms are the first steps in putting state government back on the side of taxpayers.”
Citizens interested in volunteering for the signature verification effort are encouraged to visit http://scottwalker.org or contact Friends of Scott Walker at (608) 441-1640.
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Recall Integrity Center

Statewide, the Recall Integrity Center is the central location for documenting and investigating any cases of fraud, intimidation, or other shady tactics as the left attempts to recall Governor Walker.

Please submit videos, recordings, and incident reports documenting the strong armed tactics of big labor and the Democrats so we can ensure they are held accountable for their actions.

http://www.recallintegritycenter.com/

Kleefisch Calls For Legislature To Act On Train

Rebecca Kleefisch Lieutenant Governor 2010

Contact: Jeanne Tarantino Phone: 262-309-1415 jeannet@rebeccaforreal.com

Kleefisch Urges Legislators: Call Extraordinary Session To Stop High Speed Train Spending

(Oconomowoc) - Republican Lt. Governor candidate Rebecca Kleefisch is calling uponstate legislators to stop the high-speed spending on the Milwaukee-to-Madison medium-speed train by convening the state legislature in Madison in an extraordinary session to end the expenditures.

“The Doyle Administration’s plan is clear; they want to spend the $810 million in federal grant money for this rail project so fast that they think the next Governor will have no choice but to continue this crazy project. They think Wisconsin won’t be able to repay the federal government for what has been spent as the price of stopping it,” said Kleefisch. “That's why this high speed spending must be stopped now – and only the legislature can do it.”

 

In the last few weeks, the extraordinary arrogance of the high speed rail supporters has been on display. U. S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said nothing would stop the train during his recent visit. The Doyle Administration cut out the proposed Oconomowoc stop just because the community asked some appropriate questions about the cost and impact of the project. The Doyle administration is even leaping ahead to start spending $18 million on a train shed that many Amtrak passengers think is unnecessary.  All this while the state steps in to pay the taxes for the MilwaukeeIntermodel train station...to ward off foreclosure.

 

The state legislature has adjourned for the year but can be called back into session by the Governor, by their leadership or by a petition signed by a majority of the members of both houses.

 

“I urge every member of the legislature to petition the leadership to have the legislature called back into extraordinary session to stop this spending madness,” said Kleefisch.  “It should be clear that this project is a huge waste of money and legislators should return to Madison to stop this excessive spending.”

 

“If they don’t stop this excessive spending, then the voters should hold them accountable this fall,” said Kleefisch.  All it would take is a few sensible Democrats in each house to join with the Republicans to end this high speed spending spree.”

 

Under Joint Rule 99 (27m), the legislature can be called back into session by a simple majority of the members of each house signing a petition.  Kleefisch said she has been talking with legislators about leading this project.

 

Rebecca Kleefisch has been endorsed by Lt. Governor Margaret Farrow, State Senator Glenn Grothman, Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher, and a number of Waukesha County officials.

Grothman Endorses Rebecca Kleefisch

Friends for Grothman151 University Dr. #312 West Bend, WI 53095 262-689-8421

GROTHMAN ENDORSES KLEEFISCH FOR LT. GOVERNOR

For Immediate Release:

      State Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) announced today that he has endorsed Rebecca Kleefisch for Lieutenant Governor. "Too often in the past, Republicans have nominated candidates who confuse the electorate by becoming the big spending politicians who are responsible for the problems of our country and state.       I have met extensively with Rebecca and the people around her and am convinced that it is vital to elect her. She will be a solid conservative voice in a Republican administration. She will not be swayed by the inevitable pressures to use the power of government to help special interests."

Contact Senator Grothman: 262-689-8421

Joe The Plumber Endorses Rebecca Kleefisch

Rebecca Kleefisch Lieutenant Governor 2010

Contact: Jeanne Tarantino 262-309-1415 jeannet@rebeccaforreal.com www.rebeccaforreal.com

"Joe The Plumber" Endorses Kleefisch For Lieutenant Governor

National Political Figure to Campaign for Kleefisch inWisconsin

(New Berlin) - The Rebecca Kleefisch campaign is attracting more national attention. Just two weeks after appearing on "Fox & Friends," a national political news show, the Kleefisch campaign is proud to announce the endorsement of "Joe the Plumber."

Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as "Joe the Plumber," ascended to the national political scene after questioning then-candidate Barack Obama about his small business tax policy. Today, Wurzelbacher is a frequent motivational speaker and commentator.

"I don't take endorsing candidates lightly," Wurzelbacher said. "Rebecca Kleefisch has a strong command of what Wisconsin, and this nation, need right now in the form of bold economic development policy and tax reform. Because she comes from the private sector, she understands that the private sector - and not government - creates jobs."

Kleefisch, a former news anchor, owns her own media and marketing company.

"Rebecca Kleefisch has the common sense approach that Wisconsin needs right now: less taxes, less regulation and more accountability are the only things that will help a state encourage job growth," Wurzelbacher said. "Rebecca Kleefisch is the principled conservative I'd vote for."

Wurzelbacher intends to campaign for Kleefisch in Wisconsin before the September 14th primary. Details will be announced shortly.

Kleefisch Announces Grand Opening Of Campaign Headquarters

Rebecca Kleefisch Lieutenant Governor 2010

Contact Jeanne Tarantino jeannet@rebeccaforreal.com 262-309-1415

Rebecca Kleefisch Announces Grand Opening of Campaign Headquarters

Republican Candidate for Lieutenant Governor Kleefisch Announces An Open House at the Grand Opening of Her Campaign Headquarters at 16680 W. Cleveland Avenue in New Berlin on Sunday, August 8th from 2-4 pm

(New Berlin) -- Rebecca Kleefisch, Republican candidate forWisconsin Lieutenant Governor will have an Open House at the Grand Opening of her campaign headquarters on Sunday, August 8th, from 2:00 until 4:00 PM.  

The grand opening of Kleefisch's campaign headquarters is the latest development in a successful six-month period of campaign activities. Kleefisch is the only candidate in the race for Lt. Governor to open a campaign headquarters, another indication in the growing strength of her candidacy.  Kleefisch has crisscrossed the state speaking to Wisconsin voters and signed up hundreds of campaign volunteers. The campaign has also earned momentum from the latest campaign finance report, which has Kleefisch raising more money in the first six months of this year than all of her opponents combined. 

"In the next several weeks, I expect to do more of the same. I want more and more voters to get better acquainted with me, my credentials and my conservative vision for Wisconsin," said Kleefisch.  "Voters in Wisconsin want new leadership, common sense ideas, and strength of character to make the tough decisions to lead our state back to greatness. I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the taxpayers of our state and am outraged by the out of touch attitude of career politicians who operate in an alternate reality in Madison completely removed from the rest of our state."

"People expect our elected officials to prioritize correctly just like families are forced to do every day, it's just kitchen table common sense," said Kleefisch.   "While unemployment, home foreclosures, and business failures continue to mount, time stands still in Madison.  Big government is not the answer and we need to take our government back from these big spenders."

Campaign yard signs, literature, bumper stickers and tee shirts will be available at the headquarters to help promote Kleefisch's candidacy in the upcoming primary on September 14th.  All Wisconsin citizens are  invited to attend and bring friends and neighbors who would like to get involved in the conservative movement.  Complimentary appetizers will be served by Gyros West of Waukesha and music will be provided by Regardless, a local band from Waukesha County, to celebrate the grand opening.

Rebecca Kleefisch's campaign headquarters is located at 16680 W. Cleveland Avenue, New Berlin, Wisconsin.  The campaign website is www.RebeccaForReal.com and the campaign telephone number is262.563.2010.

Kleefisch To Deliver Stop The Train Petitions

Rebecca Kleefisch Lieutenant Governor 2010

Contact: Jeanne Tarantino 262-309-1415 jeannet@rebeccaforreal.com

Kleefisch To Deliver Stop The Train Petitions

Lt. Governor Candidate Calls For Return To Common Sense

(Oconomowoc)- Lt. Governor Candidate Rebecca Kleefisch will deliver more than 1,800 signatures to Governor Doyle demanding that he stop the train boondoggle.

The signatures represent concerned citizens in Wisconsin who are asking for the immediate end to this wasteful government subsidy.

"The public has a right to be heard on this important issue and we are sending a strong message that we want Governor Doyle to do what is right, not easy," said Kleefisch, "I have heard the concerns of many people as I campaign across our great state wanting to know what they can do. That's why I launched this petition drive."

Kleefisch earlier today decried the visit of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to Watertown today. LaHood is visiting to celebrate the wasteful spending of hundreds of millions on a medium-speed train from Milwaukee to Madison.

The DOT Secretary joined Governor Jim Doyle to visit to the site of the proposed rail corridor between Milwaukee and Madison. The federal government is giving Wisconsin $810 million for the line, a move Kleefisch says defies common sense and fiscal logic.

The state has received more stimulus money to help build a high-speed rail line between Madison and Milwaukee, and according to a member of President Obama's cabinet, no opposition at the state level can stop the rail line from becoming reality.

"I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the taxpayers of our state and am outraged by the out of touch attitude of this imperial President," said Kleefisch, "Secretary La Hood's comments today – that no one can do anything about this because it is federal money – shows that Washington DC operates in an alternate reality completely removed from the rest of the country.

"People expect our elected and government officials to prioritize correctly just like families are forced to do every day. It's just kitchen table common sense. While mounting unemployment, home foreclosures, and business failure continue to mount, time stands still inWashington and Madison. Big government is not the answer and we need to take our government back from these big spenders."

Rebecca Stands Against Obama And Doyle

Rebecca Kleefisch Lieutenant Governor 2010

Contact: Jeanne Tarantino 262-309-1415 jeannet@rebeccaforreal.com

Kleefisch Stands Against Doyle/Obama Train

Lt. Governor Candidate Calls Wasteful Spending "Insane"

Oconomowoc)-  Lt. Governor Candidate and Oconomowoc resident Rebecca Kleefisch is decrying the visit of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to Watertown today.  LaHood is visiting to celebrate the wasteful spending of hundreds of millions on a medium-speed train from Milwaukee to Madison.

“Amazing, the things that happen in your own backyard,” Kleefisch said. “Watertown is only miles down the road from my house, but today it seems like good sense is a million miles away with the promotion of the Obama/Doyle runaway spending agenda.” 

The DOT Secretary is joining Governor Jim Doyle to visit to the site of the proposed rail corridor between Milwaukee and Madison. The federal government is giving Wisconsin $810 million for the line, a move Kleefisch says defies common sense and fiscal logic.

“We already know that it takes 23 cents per passenger mile to drive from Milwaukee to Madison in our cars. The rail system may seem like a good idea when you consider that it takes the same amount, 23 cents, to get from one city to the next in out-of-pocket costs.  But the place where it doesn’t add up is in taxpayers’ contributions to this beauty: it takes only 1 cent per passenger mile in taxpayer subsidies for us to drive from Milwaukee to Madison, but it will cost the hard-working families of Wisconsin $1.50 per passenger mile in subsidies for this train! That’s insane in the middle of the deepest recession in generations!”

Kleefisch cites figures delivered by internationally renowned transportation expert, Randal O’Toole. 

“This rail system isn’t even ‘high-speed’ as the proponents love to claim,” Kleefisch said, “it’s expected to go 58 miles per hour, only 6 miles per hour faster than the privately-owned and already existing Badger Bus system.  It might get you there 10 minutes faster…at the cost of about $8 million in yearly subsidies…in perpetuity.”

Kleefisch is also concerned about ridership of the pricey 1930’s-eratransportation network.   

“Planners say that 361,400 passengers are going to ride this.  But the train would cost $330 per week if you were to take it back and forth each day.  That’s far more expensive than driving or taking the bus.  Who’s going to afford this?  Especially right now?  We need to invest in our existing infrastructure,” Kleefisch said.  “Let’s make sure our roads and bridges are taken care of. We know that people use those."

Kleefisch Scheduled to Appear on National Fox News Program

Rebecca Kleefisch Lieutenant Governor 2010 Contact: Jeanne Tarantino 262 – 309 – 1415 jeannet@rebeccaforreal.com www.rebeccaforreal.com

Kleefisch To Appear on National News Program, Fox & Friends

Oconomowoc---Rebecca Kleefisch, Republican Candidate for Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor, is scheduled to appear on a national television news program, Fox and Friends, this Sunday, July 25, 2010.   The segment will air at 8:45 AM CST.
Kleefisch will be a panelist with CeCe Hall, a candidate running for Congress in Tennessee and Julie Parrish, a candidate running for State Representative in Oregon.  They are scheduled to discuss the rising popularity of conservative women running for office and the electoral success of Sarah Palin's "Mama Grizzlies".
'Fox & Friends' is the morning news show on the Fox News Network.

Kleefisch has been endorsed by former Wisconsin Lt. GovernorMargaret Farrow as well as by Wisconsin Right To Life, Wisconsin Family PAC and Pro LIfe Wisconsin Victory Fund PAC.

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Kleefisch Earns Another Social Conservative Endorsement

Rebecca Kleefisch Lieutenant Governor 2010

Contact: Jean Tarantino 262 – 309 – 1415 jeannet@rebeccaforreal.com www.rebeccaforreal.com

Kleefisch Endorsed By Pro-LifeWisconsin

Candidate Leads With Pro-Life, Pro-Family Message

Oconomowoc  Rebecca Kleefisch, Republican Candidate for Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor, issued the following statement after receiving the endorsement of Pro-LIfe Wisconsin:

“I am honored to receive this endorsement and take it seriously. I will do all I can to protect the sanctity of life now and when I am in office. I stand with the majority of Americans who believe that it is our duty to stand for the most vulnerable."

Pro-Life Wisconsin is the latest pro-family, pro-life entity to endorse Kleefisch, joining Wisconsin Right To Life,  Wisconsin Family PAC, and former Wisconsin Lt. Governor Margaret Farrow in endorsing Kleefisch for Lieutenant Governor in 2010.

Pro-Life Wisconsin Victory Fund supports candidates for public office who demonstrate a commitment to protect each and every innocent human life – in all circumstances and at all stages of development. To be “100% pro-life” is to know that a human life begins at fertilization and that there may never be a legal exception to an innocent child’s inalienable right to life.

Kleefisch Leads Field In Fundraising

Rebecca Kleefisch Lieutenant Governor 2010 Contact: Jean Tarantino 262 – 309 – 1415 jeannet@rebeccaforreal.com www.rebeccaforreal.com

Kleefisch Tops Lieutenant Governor Candidates in Fundraising

Outperforms Nearest Competitor by 27%

Oconomowoc  Rebecca Kleefisch's campaign raised more money than any other Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor in the first six months of 2010, state filings reveal.  Kleefisch, who began her campaign on January 19th of this year, has raised $141,634.58 in the first six months.  This amount is 27% more than her nearest competitor. 

"I am truly humbled by the tremendous outpouring of financial support I have received from every corner of our great state," said Kleefisch. "I am not a professional politician, I am a parent and small business owner concerned about the direction of our state. I really appreciate the donations I have received from regular folks who have never been involved in a campaign before."  

"Families all across Wisconsin are responding to our message of bringing fiscal discipline and kitchen table common sense back to state government," said Kleefisch. "The response from our grassroots supporters has been overwhelming. We expect to have enough money to win this race in September."

An analysis of campaign finance reports filed before today's deadline shows that in the first six months of 2010 Kleefisch raised $141,634.58; Davis, $111,169.21; Ross, $13,809.41, and Lorge, $2006.90. Nick Voegeli has not yet filed his report.

Kleefisch has been endorsed by former Wisconsin Lt. GovernorMargaret Farrow as well as by Wisconsin Right To Life, Wisconsin Family PAC and Pro LIfe Wisconsin Victory Fund PAC.

A Second Open Letter To Tom Barrett

Rebecca Kleefisch Lieutenant Governor 2010

July 11, 2010

Dear Mr. Mayor, I have seen your television commercials promising to put Madison on a diet and to create jobs for Wisconsin so I decided to read the details of your plans.  It didn't take long for me to see that while you were promising to put Madison on a diet in one plan, your jobs plan actually would increase the size and scope of state government.   In fact, while your "diet plan" says it will save state government $1.127 billion dollars, your jobs plan increases state spending by about the same amount.   For example, on page 20 you suggest we create a Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Fund at a cost of $100 million a year for five years.  That's $500 million right there.  Then you go on to suggest we spend $60 million on a Biofuels Fund (pg 40) and $125 million on an Industrial Matching Loan Program (page 38) - and, of course, $810 million on a high speed train (page 37). These proposals alone will cost the taxpayers nearly $1.5 billion dollars.    While you admit to wanting to spend nearly $1.5 billion on new government programs, most of your ideas for getting the economy moving again involve more government but don't say how much they will cost.  In fact, there are more than two dozen new government programs listed in your jobs plan where you haven't even bothered to estimate the costs.  Just look at all of the new loan programs you have suggested in addition to the Industrial Matching Loan Program; you want to create loan programs for farmers, large animal veterinarians, aquaculture and anaerobic digesters.  You want to expand all sorts of existing government programs and then create a host of new ones. Your plan even suggests that we can create jobs in Wisconsin by reorganizing state government agencies.  Are you serious about that?  Do you really think that moving bureaucrats from one state agency to another will create private sector jobs in places like Neenah and Black River Falls?    I assume that in the weeks ahead you will issue plans in other issue areas and that these plans will also increase government spending. I am going to start keeping a tally on all of that spending and compare it to the savings you claimed in your plan to put Madison on a diet. It already looks to me like you think ordering a Diet Coke at the all-you-can-eat buffet counts as a diet. This year, candidates all over the state like you are promising that they will get the government to do more to create jobs.  I'm different. I am promising to work to get the government to do less so we can create jobs.   We don't need more government to create jobs. We need less. We don't need more taxes to create jobs.  We need less. We don't need more government regulations to create jobs.  We need less.  We don't need more government bailouts for industry.  We need less. We don't need more government spending.  We need less.  See you on the campaign trail. Rebecca

Kleefisch Garners Wisconsin Right To Life Endorsement

Rebecca Kleefisch Lieutenant Governor 2010

Contact: Jean Tarantino 262 – 309 – 1415 jeannet@rebeccaforreal.com www.rebeccaforreal.com

Kleefisch Garners Wisconsin Right To Life Endorsement

100% pro-life stance sets her apart from other candidates

-Oconomowoc Rebecca Kleefish, Republican Candidate for Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor, issued the following statement after receiving the endorsement of Wisconsin Right To Life:

“I take this endorsement seriously and will do all I can to protect the sanctity of life now and when I am in office. I stand with the majority of Americans who believe that it is our duty to stand for the most vulnerable."

Wisconsin Right To Life joins Wisconsin Family PAC, former Wisconsin Lt. Governor Margaret Farrow, Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel, Waukesha County Sheriff Dan Trawicki, former Waukesha County Executive and Milwaukee Public Museum President Dan Finley, former Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher, former state Rep. Sue Jeskewitz, and political and business leader Susan Dreyfus in endorsing Mrs. Kleefisch for Lieutenant Governor in 2010.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Mrs. Kleefisch, please contact Jeanne Tarantino at 262-309-1415,jeannet@rebeccaforreal.com, or speak with Rebecca directly at www.facebook.com/rebeccaforreal or www.twitter.com/rebeccaforreal

Kleefisch First Candidate For State-wide Office To File Nomination Papers

Rebecca Kleefisch Lieutenant Governor 2010

Kleefisch First Candidate For State-wide Office To File Nomination Papers

Lieutenant Governor Candidate Credits Growing Enthusiasm Among Conservative Activists

Madison ---  Thousands of grassroots conservatives inWisconsin have placed Rebecca Kleefisch in nomination today for the office of Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor. Kleefisch is the only candidate for statewide office to have filed nomination papers this early, indicating that conservative activists are more enthusiastic about voting this fall than in previous elections. 
 
Kleefisch filed nomination papers today with more than the 2,000 signatures. The papers officially place her name on the ballot for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor. Kleefisch is a fiscal and social conservative who has never voted for a tax increase of any kind.
 
"What we're seeing here in Wisconsin is a reflection of what's happening all across the country,"  Kleefisch said.  "People want to stop complaining and break the legacy of electingpolitical machine candidates who are interested in promoting their own careers above the interests of the people they are elected to serve.  This isn't about me, it's about fresh new leadership and a new approach."
 
"My grassroots campaign is about showing how common-sense conservative principles can change the political culture in Madison to reduce taxes and create jobs so we can believe in Wisconsin's future again."
 
Rebecca Kleefisch is an authentic conservative who vows to stand up to the Madison establishment.  Kleefish recently went to all the TEA Party Express tour stops in Wisconsin and spoke at a few rallies on the tour.  Everywhere she went, she listened to concerns and had the ear of the people. 
 
Conservative activists say Rebecca is the "real deal." They enthusiatically volunteered for her campaign, and voters around the state are doing the rest, placing her name first in nomination ahead of any other candidate for statewide office.
 
To be placed on the September 14 primary ballot,  candidates for statewide office must submit at least 2,000 signatures.  Kleefisch filed the papers at the Government Accountability Board in Madison.

An Open Letter To Tom Barrett

For Immediate Release                                              Contact: Jeanne Tarantino June 17, 2010                                                                              262.309.1415

www.RebeccaForReal.com

Lt. Governor Candidate Kleefisch Sends Open Letter to Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Barrett

Oconomowoc--- Wisconsin Republican Candidate for Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch sent the following open letter to Wisconsin Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Barrett on Thursday, June 17, 2010:

      Dear Mayor Barrett,

I had the chance to review your plan for "Putting Madison on a Diet." Your plan contains some good ideas for reducing the cost of state government and I hope the next administration adopts some of these initiatives.  

I noticed that the largest potential savings in your plan is found on page 5. It claims to save taxpayers $339 million by combining the purchasing power of state and local public employees to reduce the costs of providing them with health insurance. This seemed pretty impressive so I took a look in the footnotes of your plan to see how this estimate was generated.  

Your figure is based upon an assumption that there are 103,600 state employees and 287,200 local government employees receiving health insurance.  That seemed awfully high to me, so relying on the skills I honed as a journalist, I thought we should double check that assumption.  We called David Schmiedicke, the Budget Director for Governor Jim Doyle, and asked him how many state employees received health insurance. He said that there are only 64,000 health insurance contracts with state employees.  So, it appears that you have overestimated the savings for your proposal by 70% or $140.5 million dollars.  Still, if the rest of your numbers are right, and I am getting skeptical, your plan would still save about $200 million.

I am not writing to critique your math or diminish your efforts to find taxpayer savings. Instead, I am writing to offer a simple and fair idea that would save more money for the taxpayers than any proposal contained in your 23 page plan.  

I would propose that we have state employees pay the "employee share" of their pension contributions.  Presently, state employee pensions are funded with supposedly equal contributions from the employer and the employee. Over the years, public employee unions have convinced the state to pay both the employer and the employee contributions.  For folks in the private sector, that would be like having your employer pay for both your 401K contribution andtheir match of it.  

According to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the employee share of the pension contribution for 90% of state employees is about 5% of their salary.  For the other 10% of the state workforce, the employee share of the pension contribution is larger. Using the 5% figure, the state would save $175.8 million dollars a year (all funds)* if employees actually paid for the "employee share" of the state pension. Because the employee share is even higher for 10% of state employees, the actual number for the potential savings is probably closer to $200 million a year. 

Over the course of the next budget, this one simple and fair idea would save the taxpayers at least $351.6 million and perhaps as much as $400 million. So, as you can see, Mayor Barrett, the idea of having state employees rather than taxpayers pay for the employee share of the pension contribution would save more than any idea in your government diet plan.  In fact, if this idea were extended to all public employees, the savings just might approach $1 billion in the next biennium - if you are correct in assuming that the workforce of local government employees is about 2.5 times the size of the state government workforce.  

In reading your plan for putting government on a diet, I was surprised how little of the plan asked for any concessions from state employees. Can you imagine a business looking for ways to reduce its costs without examining ways to reduce its labor costs? When it comes to this subject you propose a future study and "negotiations" with the unions (page 23 of your plan). But, of course, it was poor negotiations with public employee unions that put the taxpayers on the hook for the employees' share of the pension contributions in the first place.  

In reality, your plan fails to propose any specific, serious reductions in state employee benefits. I am left to wonder if this is another case of special interest politics, the kind of politics that we the people have grown weary of and can no longer afford. It's time to bring all the players to the table and reduce their caloric intake, too!  

For too long, the public sector unions have had their fill at the expense of the Wisconsin taxpayers. I saw this firsthand as a journalist in the Milwaukee County Pension scandal. During the course of the last few years as hardworking taxpayers across the state have had to make all sorts of sacrifices, we have not asked the same of public employees.

Will you join me in proposing that state employees pay their fair share of their pension costs so that taxpayers across this state don't have to make even greater sacrifices to support Wisconsin's new privileged class?

Respectfully,

Rebecca Kleefisch

*The 175.8 million savings is for all funds. The figure for General Purpose Revenues is $71.6 million.

Lt Governor's Race Straw Poll

For Immediate Release: March 29, 2010

Contact: Jeanne Tarantino

262.309.1415

jeannetarantino@att.net

KLEEFISCH HOLDS COMMANDING LEAD IN NEW MEDIA “STRAW POLL

OCONOMOWOC – In an early sign of her strength in the race for Lt. Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch holds a commanding lead over her primary opponents in a new media “straw poll” of Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers, according to the Kleefisch campaign.

“I am thrilled by the overwhelming support our campaign is getting from people who follow politics online,” said Kleefisch. “In the past, political observers looked to see how well candidates performed in small straw polls of a few dozen people held at party events.  Now, they look to see how well candidates are being received online by thousands of people across the state. The early results of this new media “straw poll” show our campaign has a big lead online.

Both presidential candidate Barack Obama and senatorial candidate Scott Brown first demonstrated their political strength online by attracting a much larger number of fans and followers to their new media sites than their political opponents.  In Wisconsin’s race for Lt. Governor, Kleefisch has attracted more online supporters as of 9:00 pm Sunday than all of her primary opponents combined.

Candidate                        Facebook Fans       Twitter Followers

Rebecca Kleefisch                    2629                       2015

Brett Davis                              1139                        268

Dave Ross                                 412                          67

Ben Collins                                679                           180

“Scott Brown’s campaign for the United States Senate was successful because of his early support online from people who wanted to elect a common sense conservative,” said Kleefisch.  “I am excited that we are seeing the same sort of online response for our campaign here in Wisconsin.” 

Interested people can support Rebecca Kleefisch’s campaign for Lt. Governor at her Facebook    http://www.facebook.com/Rebeccaforreal?ref=nf  and twitterhttp://twitter.com/RebeccaforReal accounts. Both can be accessed through her website, www.Rebeccaforreal.com Rebecca Kleefisch is a former television anchor at WISN in Milwaukee ….. Kleefisch is running for the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor.  The primary will be held on September 14, 2010.

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