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Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011

Issue of the Week: Walker's Failed Jobs Promise

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On the campaign trail last year, then-candidate Scott Walker promised to create 250,000 jobs in his first term as governor. Many voters believed he could do it.

One year later, it's plain to see that Walker has failed Wisconsin.

His assault on middle-class families—whether they're employed in the public or private sector—isn't encouraging "job creators" to hire more workers. Instead, Wisconsin is shedding jobs while employment is picking up in other states. Walker has derided Illinois since becoming governor, but that state added 30,000 jobs in October. When Walker took over as governor, Wisconsin's unemployment rate was 7.4%. Now, that number is 7.7%—and the state lost 9,700 jobs in October, the fourth straight month of jobs losses.

It's easy to see why "job creators" are giving up on Wisconsin.

Walker has slashed funding for public education at all levels, and if there's one thing employers look for, it's a highly educated, highly skilled workforce. Employers appear to think that Wisconsin students aren't a good bet in the long run. While Walker has shown unstinting support for his road-builder donors, his opposition to mass transit—whether it's the Milwaukee County Transit System or the $800 million high-speed rail line that would have connected the state to the rest of the Midwest—will hinder the transportation of goods, workers and tourists for decades to come. And Walker's failure to support health care reform—true health care reform that reduces the cost for everyone—isn't going to help anybody but the for-profit insurance industry. Slashing BadgerCare funding so low-income families have to pay more for health care isn't going to encourage employers to create even one new job.

Walker and the Koch-brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity and the MacIver Institute have been frantically spinning the governor's "reforms" as "working." But more than 300,000 recall petition signers—and potential "job creators"—know the real story. Wisconsin will not work until Walker is out of office.

Heroes of the Week: Volunteers Being Creative to Help the Homeless

After the city of Cudahy rejected a proposal from a group led by Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church to operate a temporary shelter for the homeless last winter, an interfaith association of South Side parishes decided to instead offer "All Night Prayer Vigils," where the homeless could seek refuge from the cold. The Rev. Karen Hagen of Tippecanoe Church said that over the course of 110 nights, more than 1,000 volunteers from 15 community groups provided help and potluck dinners to area residents in need.

Beginning this Thursday, Dec. 1, Tippecanoe Church (125 W. Saveland Ave.) will again be offering the all-night prayer vigils to shelter and feed the homeless, with additional hosting by Unity Evangelical Lutheran Church (1025 E. Oklahoma Ave.).

Readers wishing to donate cash or needed items such as coffee, winter clothing, bus tickets, toilet paper or facial tissue are encouraged to call the Tippecanoe offices at 414-481-4680. For more information, visit www.tippechurch.org.