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Miller: Has hopes for 'professional way' of coping with 'extreme politics'

Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans have complained the recalls are a waste of taxpayer money and a naked power grab.

Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona, says they have no one to blame but themselves.

“Massive recalls like this, I think, are a reflection of poor leadership on the part of Republicans,” Miller said in a new WisPolitics.com interview. “If Tommy Thomson had been governor or Lee Dreyfus or any Republican governors in the past had been confronted with the situation and the public uproar over their policies, they would have found a way to negotiate and find a way to find a compromise that would have been more acceptable.

“This governor felt the need, felt that he had sort of the divine right to do whatever he wanted and has proceeded accordingly and as a result has divided the state and left the door closed to any kind of compromise except through the recall process.”

Miller said the coming recalls will be a referendum on the various measures Walker and Republicans have implemented. Still, even if Walker survives, Miller said he wouldn't give up on restoring collective bargaining powers for public employees.

“I support the proposition that people have the right to assemble and collectively bargain for their mutual benefit,” he said. “That’s just part of the fundamental rights that I think people have.”

Committees have been collecting signatures to recall four GOP state senators, Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, Pam Galloway of Wausau, Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and Van Wanggaard of Racine.

Miller said those efforts weren't started by Senate Dems and any other decisions to attempt recalls of GOP senators would be made by activists, not the party. He also demurred when asked if he believed any other Republicans should be recalled.

“This session of extreme politics needs to come to an end,” he said. “The voters need to register an opinion and we need when that is completed to find a way to heal the wounds inflicted on our state.”

A group has already announced it’s looking into recalling state Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and some have mentioned Julie Lassa of Stevens Point and Kathleen Vinehout of Alma as possible targets.

Miller said he's encouraging his members to get in their districts and be active with town meetings and constituent services and “do what we always do.”

He also acknowledged the recalls have made it difficult to conduct legislative business, though “Both Sen. Fitzgerald and I are working to try to find a professional way of continuing to balance the session.”

Miller didn’t have high hopes that any Dem job creation bills would be treated as anything other than “window dressing and public relations” in the coming months, but he said his caucus is having a greater influence on what’s happening in the chamber because the GOP majority is down to 17-16.

He also said Dems were encouraged that Assembly Republicans appear to be dropping CAPCOs from venture capital legislation expected to come up this spring. He said Dems had other concerns about the bill, but it’s possible members would support the final bill.

“The CAPCO was the big thing because that’s just a rip off of the taxpayers,” he said.

Listen to the full interview here.

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