Let me start with my personal thanks to the DailyKos community and progressive blogosphere for your active support of our grassroots movement to restore workers' rights and reclaim Wisconsin.
You have been with us every step of the way in our fight to end Scott Walker's ideological civil war and your actions continue to inspire me. I am especially grateful for the kind words of encouragement many of you sent me in the last few months.
I ultimately decided not to run for governor, because in order to undo the harm caused by Gov. Walker's right-wing extremist agenda, we must also focus on winning back the state Assembly for Democrats in the fall. I remain deeply committed to doing everything we can to defeat Scott Walker and all his rubberstamp Republicans and take back Wisconsin.
Wisconsin has strayed far from our heritage and progressive values and therefore it is not the same state it was at the start of 2011. Our state now has the dubious distinction of making Wisconsin the worst state in the entire United States at creating jobs. Adding insult to injury, new research from my office shows that while Wisconsinites are working hard to provide for their families, Scott Walker is the only governor in more than 20 years who has sunk Wisconsin to the worst in the nation on jobs. We've never even been in the bottom 10 before now.
This record on jobs, education, and job training is unacceptable. Wisconsin simply must expect higher standards than Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican cronies have offered. For those reasons and so many others we must ensure this historic recall is successful and we must remain united in solidarity to deliver this a crucial victory for working families.
That's why I stood with Wisconsin law enforcement officers recently to join them in announcing my endorsement of Tom Barrett for governor.
There are a multitude of reasons I support Tom Barrett, but three things top my list.
First, under Scott Walker, the Wisconsin values of fairness, honesty, dialogue and openness have been cast aside. I have known Tom Barrett for many years and he is a man of great integrity -- always honest, always ethical and always willing to listen. He knows that being accountable and honest with the people we serve is the most important part of being a true public servant.
I know Tom Barrett will be able to heal our state so we can move forward.
Second, I have always been impressed with Tom's ability to bring people together to get things done. As Mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett transformed the Menomonee Valley from an industrial wasteland to a thriving eco-friendly commercial and recreation center that now supports nearly 4,000 jobs. And in 2011, while Scott Walker was busy ramming through his extreme, divisive agenda and killing good-paying rail jobs, Tom Barrett worked with major green energy manufacturers like Helios and Ingeteam to open new factories in the Menomonee Valley -- bringing hundreds of good-paying jobs to Wisconsin.
I know Tom Barrett will work tirelessly to undo the harm caused by the Walker agenda and focus on what really matters to Wisconsin -- jobs, public education and a stable, growing economy.
Third is a practical matter. It is clear to me that our very best shot at recalling Scott Walker is the candidacy of Tom Barrett. He is well known and well liked. And as we fought the extreme Walker agenda, he was with us in solidarity every step of the way. After Scott Walker's rubberstamps in the state legislature rammed through their union-busting legislation in violation of Wisconsin's open meetings law, Tom joined thousands of other concerned Wisconsinites, not as an elected official, but as a citizen of Wisconsin.
After Scott Walker eliminated workers' rights, Tom Barrett then waged a battle of principle to protect working families. Despite losing more than $15 million in state aid -- the largest cut in the state, Tom Barrett refused to let anyone lose their job and fought to preserve essential services.
He also fought to ensure that public employees continued to have a voice in the workplace by implementing "meet and confer" language to require labor/management discussion and by extending civil service protections to employees who lost their rights under ACT 10. To date, Tom Barrett is only one of a handful of Mayors across Wisconsin who took these actions to protect workers.
Tom Barrett has also been a consistent voice for working people. When Scott Walker announced that he was diverting $26 million of the $140 million in federal mortgage settlement funds to plug a hole in his own budget deficit, it was Tom Barrett who stood with foreclosure victims and called Scott Walker's plan "unconscionable."
During the summer recalls, I wrote on DailyKos on how "Solidarity isn't just forever -- it's how we win." With David Koch and the entire national right-wing machine coming into to Wisconsin to take Tom Barrett out with millions in negative ads and dirty tricks, fighting in solidarity now is more important than ever.
I fought with my fellow members for more than 62-hours straight on the floor of the Wisconsin State Assembly in an attempt to stop Scott Walker from attempting fund special-interest giveaways on the budget on the backs of working families.
You joined me then. Your support keeps all of us fighting for our vision for Wisconsin. And I hope that the DailyKos community joins me now in supporting Tom Barrett and our campaign to end Scott Walker's ideological civil war and bring Wisconsin together again.