JOHNSON CREEK — Jefferson County’s conservatives turned out on a freezing evening Thursday for a cocktail party featuring guest speaker, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
Held at Hi-Way Harry’s restaurant and lounge on Interstate 94, the event was kept hush-hush in terms of pre-publicity by organizers from Scott Walker’s Jefferson County supporters, their concern being the event could be spoiled by protesters during this turbulent political time in state history.
Jessi Olson of Lake Mills, an event coordinator, said she was proud to introduce Kleefisch, whom she described as the Republicans’ “Momma Grizzly,” to the crowd of about 70 shortly before 7 p.m.
Among those in attendance were Regina Schaar, vice chairwoman of the 2nd Congressional District Republican Party, as well as Jim Braughler, head of the Jefferson County Republican Party and representative of District No. 5 in the city of Watertown on the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors.
With signs reading “Scott Walker — Believe in Wisconsin Again” displayed next to the fireplace backdrop for Kleefisch’s evangelical-style speech to the group, the lieutenant governor had a supportive crowd mesmerized by the close of her approximately 20-minute address.
Kleefisch energetically summarized what conservative Republicans have endured in the past year as they initiated their plans to revamp state government, as well as their expectations for surviving future recall elections.
“This is not going to be easy,” Kleefisch said of the Republican’s coming year in state government. “You’ve made the decision (on who will be governing the state) once in the fall of 2010. You’ve made decisions three times. Who’s ready to make it a fourth and final time? Let’s fight to put this decision to bed.”
Kleefisch said state government was facing one of the worst per-capita budget deficits in the nation when Gov. Scott Walker took office. She said that, through his team’s efforts, this deficit was turned into a surplus.
“Our state legislators stayed and did their jobs,” Kleefisch said, recounting protests that occurred at the state capitol, events which she said threatened the safety of Republican legislators, their families, “and anyone who wore a suit into the capitol building.”
She described protest groups at the capitol as “mobs” whose members spat on government officials and camped out in the capitol, making it difficult for government to function.
“There were some scary moments,” she said, adding that the lives of some government officials, as well as those of their children, were threatened.
“There were bullets left outside the capitol ... (protesters) slashed tires and that is not our Wisconsin. We need to get back to our Wisconsin of prosperity,” Kleefisch said. “The governor has put out a vision for prosperity, a vision that we are proud of ... Millions of dollars were saved through the initiatives that spawned the protests.”
Kleefisch said she and Walker, as well as their team, want to see the state of Wisconsin offering the most well-educated workforce possible, not just in the nation but the world.
“This is now a global economy,” she said, “and that is why the governor did what he did ... Under the failed policy of the past government, they didn’t realize it was time to cut up the state’s credit card.”
Kleefisch touted the Republicans’ recent success at achieving the public’s right to carry concealed firearms in the state, as well as its push for the requirement that those voting possess photo identification. She said Obamacare’s style of “socialized medicine” will not be coming to Wisconsin.
“We need your help again,” Kleefisch said to the crowd. “Some of you are weary, but we must rally the troops. Our kids’ future depends on all this right now. If we hadn’t done what we did last year we wouldn’t have been doing the will of the people ... In the fall of 2010 the people spoke and your will will not be ignored. We take your values to work every day.”