The Americans for Prosperity "Stand Against Spending, Stand With Walker" bus tour across Wisconsin stopped at the in Hudson on Saturday, March 5, 2011. The group held an event inside the hotel in support of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his budget repair bill while protesters gathered outside.
Inside the hotel, Americans for Prosperity put on its event in the St. Croix Room as the standing-room crowd spilled out of the 100-person capacity space into the hallway.
Outside the hotel, at least 300 protesters waved signs, recited chants and signed forms to start the recall procedure for local and statewide Republican lawmakers.
Matt Seaholm, the Wisconsin state director for Americans for Prosperity, said he expected the large pro-union turnout.
"I don't think it's a surprise to anybody that the unions organize well. That's what they do," Seaholm said. "One thing about everybody in this room is nobody was told to be here; they were asked to be here."
Protesters outside the hotel waved signs that said "Tax the Rich," "Recall Walker" and many pro-union and pro-teacher messages. Many who oppose Walker's bill say they are willing to contribute more to their health and retirement benefits, but strongly oppose how the bill proposes to limit collective bargaining.
"I don't blame them for fighting for additional benefits and against some sort of cuts that they might take," Seaholm said. "The fact of the matter is that the private sector has been dealing with this for years. We just think it's time that the public-sector unions pay their fair share."
Hudson was just one of 10 stops for the tour. The bus was scheduled to stop in LaCrosse later on Saturday and finish the tour on Sunday in Madison. Those interested in supporting Walker can go to StandWithWalker.com to read and sign the Americans for Prosperity petition.
Those on the other side of the issue may be interested in helping the Wisconsin Democratic Party organize a recall of state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf. The Democrats are asking supporters to meet at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 6, at to get instructions, forms and maps to canvass the community for signatures. Keep up with the effort at RecallTheRepublican8.com.