Dear Mr. Senator and Mr. Representative:
I am the daughter of a public employee. My Dad worked his entire career in law enforcement. With only a two-year associates degree he was able to make a solidly middle class income and provide numerous opportunities for me and my sisters. While my parents weren’t able to pay for our entire college education, all three of us were able to graduate from college with minimal debt. He was a loyal employee, a dedicated public servant, and well into my adult years was able to help my husband and I as we bought and made renovations on our very first home. When I consider his life and all that he was able to accomplish both in his career and for our family, I am often struck how lucky his generation was. They were able to make better lives for themselves and hope the same for their families. If that’s not the quintessential American dream, I don’t know what is.
I’m sure, then, that I don’t have to explain to you how troubling Governor Walker’s announcement was today. Under the guise of balancing the state budget, Governor Walker is threatening the very future of my children. For the first time as a parent I wonder if we’ll ever be able to realize the same dream. I worry that my children will have fewer opportunities, let alone whether or not I’ll be able to help them in the way that my parents have helped me. Taking a page from private industry, Governor Walker isn’t just seeking reasonable, fair solutions to the issue at hand. Instead, he’s seeking revenge on his political foes. If he’s confident that his requests are reasonable (5% employee contribution to pensions, 12% contribution toward Health Care costs), why not go through the collective bargaining process that’s served the residents of the State of Wisconsin so well?
We’re in the race to the bottom and further weakening unions will make things worse. Governor Walker’s plan amounts to nothing more than an all out war on the last vestiges of the middle class. Demonizing public employees (who are themselves tax payers, let’s not forget) will certainly score points with his political allies, but how will that best serve the residents of the state? It’s pennywise, and pound foolish. I trust you’ll stand up for collective bargaining rights…and the future of my children.