Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval

2011 will go down in Wisconsin's history as one of the most volatile years for the state's politics and economy. While facing a big state budget deficit, amid the national recession, Governor Scott Walker implemented massive spending cuts and limits to public workers' collective bargaining rights shortly after his inauguration. As Democrats attempted to delay votes, and thousands of citizens protested, Republican lawmakers approved the governor's policies.

The events sparked months of heated debate over the GOP agenda, as well as recalls of state senators and efforts to unseat the governor. Walker's supporters maintain that he is positioning Wisconsin for an economic rebound and fiscal stability. His critics insist the policies are harming the middle class, public education and the social safety net.

During December 2011, Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval explored the intersection of Wisconsin's volatile political and economic climate. WUWM News reporters and Lake Effect producers reflected on the year, examined the long-range impact of the new policies and looked into where the state may be headed.

Pages

Project Milwaukee
1:38 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

County Exec Weighs in on Impact of Gov. Walker's Policies

As part of Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval, we’re identifying winners and losers of the past year. But in the case of county government, it’s hard to tell where it falls. Chris Abele is the Milwaukee County Executive. He spoke with Mitch Teich.

Project Milwaukee
1:34 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Education - A Winner or Loser in 2011?

Credit Photos.com

Our conversation about the complicated nature of winners and losers in 2011 takes a look at education. Alan Borsuk is a senior fellow in law and public policy at Marquette University Law School, and writes education op-ed columns for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, for which he was a longtime reporter. He spoke with Mitch Teich as part of our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series.

Project Milwaukee
1:31 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Political Participation for the Win

Matt Seaholm of Americans for Prosperity - Wisconsin & Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now.
Credit Wisaflcio, Flickr

Political activism was definitely a winner in Wisconsin in 2011. We’ll talk with the directors of two policy organizations for our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series. Scot Ross is the executive director of the Madison-based progressive advocacy group One Wisconsin Now. Matt Seaholm is the state director for Americans for Prosperity - Wisconsin. They both spoke with Stephanie Lecci - you can find more of their conversation as supplemental audio below.

Read more
Project Milwaukee
1:27 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Labor Leader Says Unions Lost Rights, Gained Solidarity

Sheila Cochran

A local union leader weighs in on how organized labor came out of this historic political year. Sheila Cochran is the Chief Operating Officer and Secretary/Treasurer of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO. She spoke with Stephanie Lecci as part of our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series - you can hear much more of their conversation as supplemental audio below.

Read more
Project Milwaukee
1:23 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Is Wisconsin Any Better Off?

It was nearly a year ago that Gov. Walker proclaimed - Wisconsin is open for business. In order to re-enforce that message, his administration successfully advanced a number of tax breaks to encourage businesses to hire and even relocate to the state. There was some bipartisan support for the incentives, although Democrats labeled them marginal and later blasted the governor and Republican lawmakers for slashing money from things such as education. Still, Walker maintains Wisconsin is in a much better place with a balanced budget and improved business climate. Is that the case? WUWM’s LaToya Dennis posed the question to Abdur Chowdhury. He’s chair of Marquette University’s Department of Economics.

Project Milwaukee
1:20 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

GOP Pushes Conservative Social Agenda

Milwaukee Police Sgt. Kevin Eyre instructs students how to safely handle a gun.

We now continue “Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval.” All week, we’re examining the divisive year Wisconsin has experienced politically, with perhaps economic worries at the core. Last fall, for the first time in over a decade voters put Republicans in control of state government. New Gov. Scott Walker insisted he had the formula to erase the state’s massive deficit and create jobs.

Read more
Project Milwaukee
1:17 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

State of Business

Cree Ruud Lighting plans to hire around 470 people over the next four years.

From the beginning, Gov. Scott Walker said once he took office his focus would be on creating jobs. During the 2010 campaign, he vowed to create 250,000 private sector positions during his first term. To help, he converted the commerce department into a public-private entity called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and instructed it to focus exclusively on fostering business growth, rather than also regulating the private sector. Walker also instituted a number of tax breaks for companies that create jobs here. In this installment of Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval, WUWM’s LaToya Dennis explores the impact the changes are having on business growth. Things are bustling at Cree Ruud Lighting in Sturtevant. Until earlier this year, it had been just Ruud - a firm making commercial and energy efficient lighting. Then, Cree, a company based in North Carolina, specializing in LED lighting bought the Wisconsin operation for $525 million. Construction crews have since broken ground for a gigantic addition.

Read more
Project Milwaukee
1:13 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Media Reflect on a Turbulent Year

Our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series features a roundtable discussion with journalists of all political bents analyzing the past year’s political events. That panel includes: Bruce Murphy, editor of Milwaukee Magazine; Lynda Jones, editor of the Milwaukee Courier; Steve Jagler, executive editor of BizTimes Milwaukee; Mark Kass editor of the Business Journal of Milwaukee and David Haynes, editorial page editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Project Milwaukee
1:00 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

A Historical Precedent for an Unprecedented Year?

We try to figure out whether a seemingly unprecedented year in Wisconsin actually does have a historical precedent. Historian John Gurda is the author of nineteen books, including The Making of Milwaukee and Cream City Chronicles. He’s also a regular Lake Effect contributor, and he spoke with Stephanie Lecci as part of our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series.

Project Milwaukee
12:56 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Attorney & Blogger Tracks Gov. Walker's Rise

Rick Esenberg

Our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval coverage continues with Milwaukee attorney and conservative blogger Rick Esenberg, and his take on the meaning and the legacy of the past year.

Read more

Pages