How can we mend Wisconsin's political divide? - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

How can we mend Wisconsin's political divide?

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -- It's been nine months since the collective bargaining debate sparked protests around the state, but Wisconsin politics are still hot.

"I can't go back in time, all I can do is continue to move the state forward," said Gov. Scott Walker, whose policies many blame for causing the divide. Now, a recall effort targeting him is underway.

Union representative John Spiegelhoff says people felt "a lot of shock about this rapid agenda that was being advanced that, again, was really anti-worker agenda."

Walker admits he did make some mistakes and should have explained his positions better. But the governor says his reforms were necessary to save the state money.

Still, that hasn't stopped the push for a recall.

Eric Giordano, UWMC political science professor, says he thinks a recall election will happen. But he hopes it will help Wisconsin heal—no matter who wins.

"What I hope we see after this is a little bit more calm in our political daily lives," said Giordano.

But is another recall election enough to stop the fighting? A recall would likely be very expensive. This summer, the nine legislative recall contests cost almost $44 million. And the 2010 governor's race alone wasn't far behind at $37 million.

"I think most people in the state are tired of year-round elections," said Walker.

Still, a recall election appears likely. But Giordano says, for the good of the state, recall elections have to end.

"It's a really difficult way to govern a state," said Giordano. "We need some continuity."

What else can be done to mend the divide? We asked our Newsline 9 Facebook friends.

Chris Leslie says it starts by respecting the fact that, "We each have a legitimate interest in the well being of Wisconsin."

Janet Skortz adds, "Everyone in this state must understand that we are broke."

Paula Hersant-Yarie put it bluntly, "Turn off Fox News."

Giordano says Wisconsin needs to learn how to compromise again.

"Compromise is not a dirty word. In fact, it really is a necessity in politics," said Giordano.

Governor Walker says he believes most people in Wisconsin have bigger problems than politics, and that moving forward will help.

"Are they worried about, am I going to have a job? Or is my sister-in-law who's out of work going to be able to find something to work at?" said Walker. "Those are the real worries out there. And I think to the extent that we work together, to try and help address those needs, that's how you bring the state together."

But that may be easier said than done as Wisconsin looks to gear up for more campaigning, continuing a wild political year.

Online Reporter: Daniel Woodruff

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