Mike Tate is Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, which is leading the grassroots effort to defeat Scott Walker in the first election of 2012.
In the tumultuous year since Scott Walker dropped what he called "the bomb" on working Wisconsin families, Walker's extreme agenda has stripped workers of their rights, raised taxes on working families, and wrought economic disaster that has Wisconsin leading the nation in job loss.
Scott Walker has become a poster child for right-wing extremists and their powerful corporate allies like Charles and David Koch.
However, working families have made a historic stand and fought back. By boldly working together with more than 75 grassroots organizations, we turned in more than 1.9 million signatures to recall Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch, and four right-wing state Senators -- making this grassroots effort the most participated-in recall in the history of the United States.
Today, the Government Accountability Board certified our signatures and set June 5 as the recall election date. This election will be the first major battleground of the 2012 cycle, and what happens in Wisconsin has major implications for the direction of both Wisconsin and our great nation.
It is in Wisconsin where we will decide if the halls of power are to be forever hijacked by extreme Tea Party politicians and their powerful special interests or if our democracy is still open to ordinary, hardworking people.
How this question is decided will be crucial in the fight for the U.S Senate, the U.S. House, and the White House, as Politico noted on February 14th, "President Barack Obamaâs campaign has mapped out several paths to reelection -- some run through Florida, some through Pennsylvania, some through Ohio. All of them run through Wisconsin."
But Scott Walker and his allies aren't going down without a fight. Charles and David Koch have gone on record stating that they are committed to spending millions in support of Walker, and the entire national Republican machine is already on the ground in Wisconsin. They've invested heavily with television, staff, out-of-state volunteers and dirty tricks. They know the stakes and they're upping the ante.
Scott Walker himself has embarked on an unprecedented, out-of-state fundraising blitz to pay for television ads that mislead the public about his ruinous reign -- raising a record $12 million.
We expect Scott Walker and his right-wing billionaire allies, like David Koch and Bob Perry, to raise and spend more than $70 million before the general election on June 5.
Unlike Scott Walker, our campaign has been fueled by tens of thousands of small dollar donors. Since October 10, our online grassroots activists have joined together to raise nearly $1.2 million with an average donation of $23. In total, we've raised more than $2.2 million.
We don't have access to nearly unlimited sources of special interest cash like Scott Walker does, but money can't cast a ballot at the polling booth -- only people can.
Unfortunately for Scott Walker, the people of Wisconsin are standing united against him in astounding numbers. In addition to the more than 100,000 generous individuals who have made a donation, more than 263,000 people have signed up to join our campaign -- with more than 33,000 of them volunteering on the ground in more than 16 field offices across the state.
These numbers don't even include those in the database we've created of the more than 1.9 million signatures from Wisconsinites all across our state that volunteers collected to recall Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch, and four right-wing state Senators.
Throughout the last year, people like you have shown an incredible amount of strength and determination. You faced intimidation, name-calling, foul behavior, and even threats of violence. Scott Walker and his Koch-backed friends said you would fail. Walker himself belittled you. He even said our people-powered movement was nothing more than a "small minority."
But you persevered and kept your promise to the working families who are under an unprecedented assault by the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party. You made history. You recalled Scott Walker.
The only way I can properly thank the hundreds of thousands of people, who like you have united to stand up to Scott Walker, is to work with you to deliver the victory you deserve on June 5.
That's why I've put together our strategy documents from all of our departments and invited grassroots activists from all across Wisconsin and the United States to weigh in on our strategy as a part of our nationwide day of unity on April 4.
Please take a moment to review the documents, share them with your friends and chip in with a grassroots donation of $5 to defeat Scott Walker on June 5 by visiting www.wisdems.org/strategy.
I can't wait to hangout with all of you online on April 4 so we can discuss our strategic plan to defeat Scott Walker.
To receive information on how to join us for the live strategy session with special guests, please sign up for our email list on wisdems.org.