I spent most of today involved with a Wisconsin public budget hearing of the 16 member Joint Finance Committee. The meeting was held in Superior, a port at the western tip of Lake Superior. I missed a few speakers but listened to almost all of the citizens who were given 2 minutes each to express themselves. The meeting was held in such a time and place that it was difficult for working people to attend.
Several hundred testified. Almost all in opposition to Walker's draconian cuts to services for people from cradle to grave in our state. Some had individual bones to pick with specific cuts and changes. Only two who testified were in full support of the budget and a few more liked specific budget items, such as money for promoting tourism.
If you have lots of extra time you can watch or listen Here
A sociology professor at the local UW system campus testified against the budget and evidently struck a nerve of Senator Glenn Grothman. Professor Marshall Johnson completed his testimony and began melting back into the crowd, Grothman left his spot on the stage and sought Professor Johnson out. The Senator demanded his name and information about his position with the University.
This from a senator who had previously appeared disinterested, playing on his iphone, reading and chatting much of the day. The only signs of real political life from Grothman before this point was when he was introduced and announced that his reason for attending was to hear citizens' ideas for more budget cuts ... he was evidently disappointed as none were offered during the day.
Marshall is a citizen and was testifying as such, not in any capacity as a university employee. It was inappropriate of Senator Grothman to harass a private citizen who was expressing himself in a public forum. Since Grothman has referred to protesters in Madison as "smelly" perhaps he was moving in for an intimate whiff. I wonder which politician might be demanding which professor's emails next?