Fox News
March 10, 2011

Gov. Scott Walker Responds to Outrage Over Passing Wisconsin Union Bill

Guests: Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis.

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 10, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And this is a Fox News alert. After weeks of angry protests, the bill that has caused so much mayhem in Wisconsin is set to become law. Now, the Wisconsin state assembly passed the measure earlier today following yesterday's passage in the state Senate. Now the bill heads to Republican Governor Scott Walker for his signature, something he says will happen as soon as possible.

And by the way, Governor Walker will join me in just a moment with reaction to today's events and the outrageous behavior exhibited by left wing protesters.

Also, tonight we'll get Governor Sarah Palin's take, that's coming up in the next segment.

But, first, as the Wisconsin assembly worked to advance the bill earlier today, pro-union protesters continually disrupted their efforts. Authorities were forced to carry dozens of protesters out of the building and for a brief period time even had the capitol on lockdown.

Now last night, Republican lawmakers separated the portion of Governor Walker's bill that deals with collective bargaining and passed it on its own, a measure which allowed the bill to move forward today. Now the GOP did all of this without the 14 missing Democratic state senators.

And joining me now with reaction to all of the latest developments is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Governor, I guess in one phrase, it wasn't easy, but a win for you.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS.: Well, it was. And it ultimately goes for middle class taxpayers in the state of Wisconsin who benefit because this budget reform bill protects middle class jobs and equally if not of greater importance, it protects middle class taxpayers because in all of these other states where they're cutting, they are forcing massive lay-offs or massive property tax increases.

In our state, we're doing something better than that. We put through true reform that will make for better government and, ultimately, a better deal for our taxpayers.

HANNITY: You know, so I was looking to all that was happening -- I want your reaction to some of the video and some of the shenanigans. This has now gone on for weeks here. Wisconsin police are now dragging protesters away. You are being portrayed as -- and Republicans have been portrayed as using the nuclear option.

What did you make of all of this mayhem going on and that continues to go on, and Michael Moore and Jesse Jackson say will continue to go on?

WALKER: Well, I traveled the state today and I got asked that question about the process that was used yesterday and again today. And I said, the irony is, people should be upset at the dirty tricks being done by those 14 Senate Democrats because the fact of the matter is, now, for three weeks, they have abandoned their job, they abandoned the people they represent here in the state of Wisconsin and those 14 legislative districts, and they've really decided that somehow the minority can rule on this.

What we showed is we could move this bill forward. We reached out to some of the reasonable ones for the past two weeks. Their leader, Senator Mark Miller, showed they had no interest in doing anything but shutting this bill down.

HANNITY: Yes.

WALKER: And, thankfully, the legislature stood up to those sort of tactics, particularly tactics from out of state union bosses.

HANNITY: Now the state majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald, actually said that the situation at the capitol is unsafe. There were reports that many of the senators and others have been targeted for death threats. And they were even protesting, as I understand it, outside of your home.

Can you bring us up to speed on that?

WALKER: Well, they are. They've been protesting the weeks since this bill was introduced almost a month ago, where they've come in front of my home. And also they've come in front of lawmakers' homes.

In the end, though, you know, this is not how we do things in Wisconsin. We have plenty of passion about debates and that's good, and that's decent, and that's what America is all about. People should not be coming into the state trying to intimidate lawmakers, offer up threats or anything else, that's just not the way it's done, at least in the Midwest.

And, thankfully, again, our lawmakers stood up to those sort of thuggery attacks and we're not going to allow that here in the state of Wisconsin. We could have good, civil debate. The people -- the people who work for state and local government have been decent and I respect them throughout this process. But the people coming from other states that bring these sorts of tactics just don't belong here. And, hopefully, they'll move on to another state where they think those tactics might work because they don't work in Wisconsin.

HANNITY: State Senator Carpenter actually said that this was the Pearl Harbor of workers' rights, a sneak attack in the middle of the night.

Now, this all began on February 17th. And I went back and I did a little research, and our own Fox News was even reporting that Senate Democrats had acknowledged at that time that you could pass any item that doesn't spend state money in their absence.

So, in terms of the legality of all this, this was always available to you. Why did you wait three weeks?

WALKER: In fact, ironically, the person that ran against me for governor, the Mayor Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, suggested doing this just the other day on one of our local and state radio programs. The irony is, we waited to allow the process to work its way through.

We tried to work to find a reasonable path to bring those Senate Democrats back. They said they wanted more time. We gave them time. They said they wanted us to reach out, we reached out.

In the end, they were never interested in coming back or at least their leader was not interested in allowing them to come back or at least the unions that lead them weren't interested in bringing them back.

And we said enough is enough. Our people in the state want us to move forward. They want us to show that Wisconsin is open for business. They want us to get back to the business of helping the private sector create jobs. And that's exactly what we're going to do.

We got good news the other day -- 10,000 new private sector jobs in the first month of the year dropped down to 7.4 percent unemployment rate. But we've got to do more to help the private sector put people to work. And this is the first step in taking us forward.

HANNITY: Governor, why do you think they took the stand here? I have my own theory but I want to get yours. There are 26 states that have laws that grant collective bargaining privileges that prevented, basically, substantially, to all public employees.

WALKER: Yes.

HANNITY: So, this is not something unusual. For example -- and you pointed this out at one point that, you know, those public employees that work for Barack Obama, they would not be allowed --

WALKER: Right.

HANNITY: -- they don't have the collective bargaining rights that public employee unions have now after this bill is passed. But nobody is protesting in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Why do you think the motivation? Why did they pick your state? Why did they pick this as the hill they wanted to die on, do you think?

WALKER: Because we're -- because we are a swing state. You know, we are one of the most competitive states in presidential elections. Two years ago, we had an almost shift entirely to Democrats. Last November, we shifted almost entirely to Republicans up and down the ticket, and I think this was a critical stand for them.

That's why the president interjected his political team. It's why the national political bosses have come in from the unions from Washington, D.C., because they view this as political. And in end, it's really not about protecting their members and workers' rights, it was about keeping their money, keeping the money they get from union dues here. We give those workers the right to choose whether or not they want to be in a union, and the right to choose whether or not they want up to $1,000 out of their paycheck, to come out of their paycheck and instead of going back into their own pockets where they can pay for health care and pension and other contributions, make the same sorts of contributions that middle class taxpayers do all across the state.

They knew politically that this was one of those key battle ground states. And if we can do it in Wisconsin, I presumed they thought it could happen anywhere else. But, in the end, what we're doing, as you said, is modest. It's more generous than what they have for collective bargaining at the federal level.

HANNITY: Yes.

WALKER: And when it comes to health care even, what we're asking for is half of what the average federal employee pays for health insurance premiums. So, it's not about the facts because the facts are clearly on our side. It's about the politics. They want their hands on the money.

HANNITY: It's like they're having a nervous breakdown or a meltdown or, you know, they are throwing this temper tantrum that now has gone on for some period of time. But now that this has happened in Wisconsin, you got John Kasich with an $8 billion deficit in the state of Ohio. We've been watching Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels and other governors around the country. They are all dealing with deficits and they got to deal with, you know, unions in the future. So, I think this is a big part.

But do you think, at the end, that the real root cause of this is that unions take rank-and-file money -- hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle are taken from rank-and-file, give to the Democratic Party. And in essence, would you agree with me that this is sort of a kickback system? That they are rewarded with contracts that the public cannot afford and that you are taking a stand against that system? Is that -- do you think that has been exposed enough to the public?

WALKER: Absolutely. If you look back in time, this is what Franklin Delano Roosevelt talked about. It's what Mayor LaGuardia talked about. Certainly, two individuals who aren't conservatives out there, certainly not Republicans, yet, they made those same warnings years ago that you had to have this sort of system where it was separated out there. And in the end, this is not just good for middle class taxpayers, this is good for workers estate. They get a right to choose where they want their money to go.

I got thousands of e-mails out there from people saying, who worked for unions in the public sector say, I don't want my dollars going there, I want to have the right to choose.

In the same way, it's good for government reform because now, the teacher who performs well, who is the best and brightest, gets the chance to stay in the classroom when hiring and firing decisions are made by school districts instead of the seniority system that collective bargaining mandated. That's what we fixed in this bill.

HANNITY: All right. Governor, congratulations. You didn't -- you held line and proved successful. We're going to watch the fallout for this in the days to come. Thanks for being with us.

WALKER: Thank you, Sean.

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