Ballweg gets inside view of budget battle
Joan Ballweg

State Rep. Joan Ballweg recalls how, on the Wednesday afternoon before the state Senate tried to bring discussion of the Budget Repair Bill to the floor, the Capitol building felt upbeat.

The Markesan Republican was walking to the east side of the Capitol to attend a meeting Gov. Scott Walker would chair of the Wisconsin Building Commission.

The hallway leading to his office suite was packed with high school or college students.

“Funny thing is, at the end of this pathway ... they did this archway [with their arms] to duck under,” she said, comparing it to something that might occur at a wedding. “At this point, it was a more jovial mood.”

Twenty-four hours later? Not so much.

That evening the Joint Finance Committee passed the bill in a 12-4 party-line vote, prompting Senate Democrats to flee to Illinois on Thursday before action could occur on the Senate floor.

“The next day ... when the Democratic senators took off, it was a real different atmosphere,” Ballweg said. “It turned angry and aggressive.”

Cries of, “This is what democracy looks like,” rained down on elected officials.

Ballweg, whose 41st Assembly District includes Ripon, disagrees with that sentiment.

“This is not what democracy looks like,” she said. “Going through elections, taking votes, that’s what democracy looks like.”

Read the full story in the March 3, 2011 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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