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Pictured, clockwise from upper left, are Tom Barrett, Kathleen Falk, Kethleen Vinehout and Doug La Follette.

May 8 primary will select Democrat for June recall election

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May 8 primary will select Democrat for June recall election
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Five candidates will be on the primary ballot next week to choose a Democrat to face Gov. Scott Walker in the June recall election. Two names are on the Republican ballot.


Facing off in the May 8 primary are Democrats Tom Barrett, Milwaukee; Kathleen Falk, Madison; Doug La Follette, Madison; and Kathleen Vinehout, Alma; and "fake Democrat" Gladys Huber, Mequon.

On the GOP ticket, activist Arthur Kohl-Riggs, Madison, has filed as a Republican to oppose Walker on the primary ballot.

These are the Democratic candidates:

Tom Barrett

Barrett was just re-elected mayor of Milwaukee, a position he has held since 2004. He ran for governor in November 2010, losing to Walker by a margin of 52% to 47%.

Barrett served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003. He was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1984 and served in the State Senate from 1989 to 1993.

Barrett has been outspoken in criticizing Walker's cuts to public schools, local governments and health coverage for the poor. He has talked about rolling back some of Walker's corporate tax breaks.

Barrett said nobody knows how much will be needed to restore funding. He said he will focus on creating jobs to create more tax revenues and then work to undo the cuts in the next budget.

"Wisconsin was promised 250,000 jobs by Gov. Walker when he ran for office, yet our state led the nation in job losses last year. Instead of focusing on jobs as he promised, Gov. Walker has pursued an ideological civil war that has torn our state apart," said Barrett. "As governor, I'll focus on job creation, not ideological pursuits. We need a governor who will heal this state and create an economy that works for everybody."

For more about Barrett, go to his website:

Kathleen Falk

Falk began her career as an environmental attorney. She was elected Dane County's first woman county executive in 1997 and was re-elected three more times.

As the county executive for nearly half a million people, she says she balanced the budget every year. Her website says Falk "controlled property taxes by setting priorities, reinventing government and making it more efficient."

Falk said, "Gov. Walker's way continues to fail us on jobs, while my county had the highest job growth in the state over my 14 years as county executive."

She said a study by the Department of Instruction shows 73% of school districts lost teachers after Walker's funding cuts.

"Gov. Walker made the biggest cuts to public education in our state's history to finance billions of dollars in new tax breaks for the few and it is hurting our students, who are losing both dedicated, experienced teachers and the resources so they can succeed," said Falk. "As governor, education will be my top priority. I believe you grow the economy and create jobs by investing in education, by investing in our children's futures."

Falk has said that if she is elected governor, she will veto the next state budget if it doesn't restore public union rights.

For more, go to Falk's website:

Doug La Follette

La Follette, a nationally recognized environmental advocate, was a key organizer of the first Earth Day. He has been secretary of state since 1982.

During an April 19 forum in Stevens Point, he criticized Walker for what La Follette figures is a $1.6 billion cut to education that he said has resulted in big losses in teachers and an increase in class sizes all across the state.

"A cut to education funding of this magnitude is deplorable. It is plain that the results are larger class sizes, fewer subject offerings, and a reduction in quality of education in our public schools," said La Follette.

He said he would support a proposal by the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools to increase funding for public schools and state universities by adding 1% to the state sales tax.

La Follette said he has always been proud that Wisconsin is "a progressive state."

"When this past year, for the first time, people started asking me, 'What is wrong with Wisconsin? What happened?' I couldn't sit back and let it just happen," said La Follette. "This is all about people politics...taking back democracy for the people over powerful money and corporations."

He promised to take no out-of-state PAC money for his campaign.

For more information about La Follette, go to

Kathleen Vinehout

Vinehout, whose district now encompasses most of Pierce County, has represented District 31 in the Wisconsin Senate since January 2007.

She earned a Ph.D. in health services research and directed the graduate and undergraduate programs in health administration at the University of Illinois for 10 years before turning to dairy farming for the next decade.

In mid-April Vinehout unveiled a plan to review the state's tax structure, restore funding for schools and revive rail service.

During a news conference, she didn't say how much her plan would cost, but admitted it would take years to restore the $1.1 billion in state funding cut from public schools and universities in the last budget.

Vinehout wants to see public-union rights restored in legislation separate from the state budget. Restoring funding to education is vital, she said.

"If we want to bring jobs back to Wisconsin, we need a completely different game plan," said Vinehout. "Investment in our human potential is key to Wisconsin growth. Education is the primary driver of economic prosperity. Incomes climb with educational achievement.

"In the last year we have seen nearly the largest cuts in the nation to education, and we have lost more jobs than any other state. There is a connection."

For more about her candidacy, go to Vinehout's website:

Gladys Huber

The fifth candidate on the Democratic primary ballot is Gladys R. Huber, Mequon, an 80-year-old lifelong Republican. She also ran as a Democrat in the recall attempt to unseat Republican Senator Alberta Darling last year.

"The people have spoken! I hereby concede to Sandy Pasch and wish her defeat in the recall election. Go Alberta Darling and Gov. Walker," tweeted Huber after the July 12, 2011, recall primary.

Her website,, hasn't been updated since the Senate election.

On the GOP side

Although it's attracted less attention, there will also be -- at least on paper -- a Republican gubernatorial primary.

Arthur Kohl-Riggs, a 23-year-old protestor from Madison, collected enough signatures to get his name on the primary ballot, running against Walker.

Kohl-Riggs said he's not a "fake Republican" in the same way some other candidates are false Democrats.

He said he has never identified with either of the two parties but wants "to take the party back to its roots. The Republican Party was founded in Wisconsin as a pro-labor, abolitionist party, and I plan to run on that platform."

His campaign page is

Besides Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch faces a recall challenge as do Republican Senators Scott Fitzgerald (District 13), Van Wanggaard (District 21) and Terry Moulton (District 23). Sen. Pam Galloway (District 29) stepped down before she could face a recall. Assemblyman Jerry Petrowski of Marathon is running in her place.