OTR Interviews

'Wisconsin 14' Heading Home ... with a Long-Term Goal of Recalling Gov. Walker?

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

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, they're coming back. The return of the "Wisconsin 14" is under way. Democratic State Senator Jim Holperin spent nearly three weeks on the run but is back home in Wisconsin tonight. And now that Senate Republicans have pulled the rug out from underneath the Democrats, what will senate Democrats do next? Wisconsin State Senator Jim Holperin joins us on the phone from Wisconsin. First of all, welcome home, sir.

STATE SEN. JIM HOLPERIN, D-WIS. (Via Telephone): Well, thank you, Greta. Good to be here.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to talk to you, sir. All right, so what is your plan? The bill is going to be signed by the governor, severing the collective bargainings and limiting the collective bargainings rights significantly. What is your next step?

HOLPERIN: Well, it's quite clear that the quick passage last night by the senate, equally quick passage by the assembly today and signature by the governor immediately following that, indicates the Republicans' agenda here to eliminate workers' rights in Wisconsin. There's nothing we can do immediately about that. It was a legislative decision, gubernatorial decision. And all we can do now is go to alternative means to bring this issue to some sort of conclusion through recalls, through court action and through, we hope, the persuasive power of the voters in Wisconsin.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you mentioned recall. Under the Wisconsin law, as I understand it, you -- for instance, the governor can't be recalled until he's been in office a year, so you're going to have to wait about a year. Do you intend to seek recall -- let's start at the top -- of Governor Scott Walker when it's appropriate?

HOLPERIN: Well, that's not my decision to make. All of the senate members who are eligible to be recalled have had petitions started against them, including me. And so I think that will be the immediate focus. Everyone understands that the governor can't be -- no attempt can be made against the governor for at least a year.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would you support or encourage a recall of the governor when the time comes?

HOLPERIN: Well, I will -- I don't know if I'll encourage it because I think a recall need to only be undertaken in very extraordinary circumstances. But I'll support people whose goal it is to have someone in office who supports worker rights. And clearly, Governor Walker does not.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. The governor has said that by signing this -- by passing this statute and his signing it, that he has saved 1,500 jobs. Do you believe, number one, that 1,500 jobs would have been lost if it hadn't been signed? And do you believe, number two, that having been signed, 1,500 jobs will be preserved?

HOLPERIN: I believe those jobs would have been lost. I believe they still may be lost because of language in the governor's regular budget bill. But the reason those jobs were not lost is because public employees around the state conceded to the governor's demand to pay more for their pensions and their health insurance. So it was only by the sacrifice of public workers in Wisconsin that those 1,500 jobs were saved.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you see this as a bigger issue beyond Wisconsin? I mean, has it taken on sort of a national dynamic?

HOLPERIN: Greta, I wouldn't be on your program tonight from Eagle River, Wisconsin, if this weren't a national issue and if the struggle in Wisconsin didn't have broader implications than just for public employees here.

VAN SUSTEREN: Boy, you had a long way to go from Illinois to get up to Eagle River.

HOLPERIN: It's about a five-hour drive.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, we'll be watching the story. By the way, I take it -- have you gotten any death threats, by any chance?

HOLPERIN: No. No. There are always people in circumstances like this, where very divisive issues are considered, who want to exploit the issue and get whatever, I guess, satisfaction comes from throwing bombs and making threats. But no, I have not. But I take the possibility of such threats seriously.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir.

HOLPERIN: You're very welcome.