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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

 5:21 PM 

As Falk gets WEAC nod, candidate mum on challengers

Wisconsin Education Association Council announced it would back Kathleen Falk for governor, while Falk promised she would veto a state budget that did not restore collective bargaining rights for state workers.

Falk made it clear that she would veto any budget bill that did not include collective bargaining rights and said that "I've been saying that regularly and often over the last year."

"And I regularly get asked, 'Kathleen, what can we do to undo his damage?' And I've said the way you undo his damage is the same vehicle by which he did the damage. He abolished 50 years of collective bargaining rights in a budget repair bill, the way you restore them is in a budget bill."

Falk dismissed criticism from opponents who say that she'd be taking her calls from public unions, saying that her track record as Dane County executive proves that would not be the case.

Falk also had nothing to say about any of her declared or potential challengers in the race. When asked what set her apart from Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, who announced today, Falk responded "We're all friends." She said that regardless of who the nominee is, Democrats and independents will unite behind the recall of Scott Walker. She said that her background will prepare her to be that candidate to replace him.

"I've spent 14 years leading the state's second largest county, balancing a budget year in and year out, far longer than Gov. Walker," Falk said "And I did it through shared sacrifice, not on the backs of any one person or people. And that's what a leader needs to do."

Bell said Falk cared deeply about education issues and would resotre "balance and transparency" to Wisconsin government. Bell said that WEAC chose Falk in a Democratic process with "members and member leaders across the state."

When asked after the conference whether they would support the Democratic nominee if it's not Falk, Bell said: "Recall of Scott Walker is a priority."

The first half of the press conference was focused entirely on Walker. Four teachers spoke about the need to remove Walker from office and the effect of his budget and policies on their schools.

Listen to the press conference:
http://wispolitics.com/1006/Falk.mp3

-- By Jason Smathers

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