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Darling Says Re-election Will Not Be Easy

River Hills Republican fields questions about education cuts, Planned Parenthood and the high-stakes campaign for her 8th Senate District seat.

Despite her more than 20 years in the state Legislature, Republican Sen. Alberta Darling said Tuesday she is facing an uphill battle to re-election in the .

In an appearance before a media panel at the Milwaukee Press Club, Darling was asked whether she was confident about winning the re-election.

“I’m not sure. It’s going to be about turnout. It’s about turnout,” she replied. “Is this tense for me? Yes. Do I think I’m going to win? I’m giving it my best shot.”

The recall election was brought upon Darling after more than 30,000 signatures were gathered in her 8th Senate District. While the recall effort coincided with the uproar over collective bargaining changes, her opponent, Democratic state Rep. Sandy Pasch, is campaigning on Darling’s overall influence on shaping Gov. Scott Walker’s budget as a co-chair of the powerful Joint Finance Committee.

Darling said the union-limiting budget repair bill at the center of the controversy has drawn in a lot of outside money for third-party advertisements and canvassing efforts.

“The real reason I’m being recalled is because I took on the special-interest groups,” she said. “It was very clear we were making decisions to make these major reforms for Wisconsin, and if we did what we were going to do, that there would be a lot of angry unions from all over the country that would come into Wisconsin and invest against us.

"A target is on my back because I stood up for the taxpayer and said, 'We will not be beholden to anyone but you.' ”

Darling’s appearance at the press club’s Newsmakers Luncheon comes the day after Pasch to the group. The group invited both Darling and Pasch to debate in the same setting, but Darling declined the offer.

One panel member questioned why the state’s technical schools took a disproportionate cut in the 2011-13 budget, even though Darling touted the benefits of trade schools in growing a skilled manufacturing workforce.

Darling said the technical schools also receive money from tuition and property taxes, so she thought the cut was a tough choice that needed to be made to close a $3.6 billion budget deficit.

Darling said she was elected as an advocate of education, and she remains an advocate for education, despite a more than $800 million cut in aid to school districts across the state.

She said most school districts were able to survive the cuts without cutting teachers, with the help of the budget repair bill, which eliminated most collective bargaining rights. She pointed to the Mequon-Thiensville School District, which she said saved $2.5 million as a result of Walker’s reforms.

“You don’t hear a lot about this, but a lot of the school boards asked us to make the mediation/arbitration changes we did,” she said.

When questioned why she, as a former member of the Planned Parenthood Board of Directors, would deny federal funding for the organization and cause offices across the state to close, Darling said she left the organization 25 or 30 years ago when it "shifted its focus to abortion."

"The Planned Parenthood budget that was in the budget this year, we turned those into health block grants in family planning," she said. "We preserved 90 percent of the money for women health issues but not through the Planned Parenthood organization because many legislators were considered about the funding for abortion."

Tass Kandle August 05, 2011 at 08:24 PM
"Those armed gaurds you refer to as goons and jackbooted thugs were policemen- some came from all over the State to work the OT. Most of them are Union Police, and you called them Goons and Thugs." True, for the first week most of the posted guards were honest policemen. However once these police went to Madison it was found that in between shifts they were protesting. So they would guard the entrances, go back to the hotel and change into a "COPS for labor" shirts and protest. Once this was discovered Walker replaced them with State Troopers and private mercenaries from Wackenhut and DCI. The goon in charge of the State Troopers is Steve Fitzgerald, the father of the Fitzgerald boys. He couldn't get a job as sheriff so Walker hired him as his top goon. Walker knew he would order the ST to break whatever law he wanted them to. No loyalty to the law, only to their corporate billionaire owners. DCI is a private security (hired goon) firm out of California. Look them up. The private DCI is not to be confused with the WI DCI, totally different entities. Wackenhut is another rent-a-goon firm Walker has used before. You can search Walker Wackenhut. These armed rent-a-goons have been caught on tape identifying themselves as police but refused to identify themselves. They also wore lapel pins from Wisconsin LEOs but were not from these agencies. This is all fact and you can look it up. I know republicans don't like facts or research but go ahead, look it up.
Craig August 06, 2011 at 04:01 AM
Ass Kandie: You are nothing but a steaming pile of crap. I know them cops who were at the capitol- none were quick change artists -after a 12 hour shift they drove home. They didn't work day after day allowing themselves free time during the off shift. Having a firearm in the trunk of your car is not being armed -as you portrayed the tea baggers looking into hotel rooms while armed. Please get yourself spayed or neutered- stupidity at the extreem that you suffer from should be eliminated from the gene pool. And for God's sake- don't excersize your right to carry- you are far too ignorant to have anything on your person that isn't made from foam rubber.
Morninmist Same August 06, 2011 at 05:25 PM
Thanks for that poll results.
Kiernan August 06, 2011 at 06:48 PM
I think you'll find those numbers also reflect the public's disapproval of Governor Walker's Joint Finance Committee Stooge, Sen. Darling.
Kiernan August 06, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Total lie. Ask anyone who isn't on the GOP payroll and they will tell you our schools etc. are going to suffer immensely. " Careful, Tass, they'll show you an Alberta Darling press release that gutting public education was actually good for schools! As a teacher, you can take it from me that public education, the teaching profession, and our state's young learners ARE going to suffer immensely. The irony of it all is this. In a few years these same whack jobs will be the ones moaning that public education in Wisconsin sucks, and that their kids pass a college entrance exam or land a job because they didn't get a quality education.

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