Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker may have got a little more than in bargained for when he took the “Soapbox” stage at the Iowa State Fair on Monday morning, but he handled the challenge with aplomb.
In the large crowd were “cheesehead” wearing protesters shipped in from neighboring Wisconsin, seeking to disrupt the presidential candidate’s speech. The busload of fifty were booing and holding up signs, which read: “WARNING: DON’T LET SCOTT WALKER DO TO AMERICA WHAT HE DID TO WISCONSIN.”
A person with one of those signs actually positioned himself in the front row, immediately in front of the governor, and began waving it.
“I am not intimidated by you sir or anyone out there,” Walker said to one heckler. “This is what happened in Wisconsin. We will not back down, we will do what is necessary.”
Scott Walker confronts protestor in front row at Soapbox pic.twitter.com/tgSMg1PeYN
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) August 17, 2015
The governor’s reference was to the protests that surrounded the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill of 2011. The legislation required state workers to make co-payments with their health insurance, limited collective bargaining rights only to pay increases (not to exceed the rate of inflation without voter referendum approval), and stopped unions from automatically deducting dues from state workers’ paychecks.
These reforms prompted tens of thousands of union-backed protesters to converge on and occupy the state capitol. However, the changes implemented helped the state to go from a $3.6 billion deficit when Walker took office in 2011 to a $750 million surplus in two years.
Asked by CNN after his speech Monday how he could possibly bring the country together if his mere presence causes protest, the governor responded that crossing people who benefit from keeping things the way they are is the cost of real reform.
“I think you’ll see the same thing in America. Early on if you’re going to push real reform, if you’re going to challenge the status quo, there are always going to be people in both parties who don’t like people who challenge the status quo,” Walker said. “If given the chance to be President of the United States I want not just to talk about fighting, I’ll fight to challenge the status quo in Washington, I will win that fight, we will get results and we’ll do it ultimately without compromise.”
“Scott stands up and talks like an American, not like a wimp,’’ Dean Scheffert, a retiree from Indianola, Iowa, told the New York Times after the speech.
“After the fair Walker will make two more stops in Iowa, a part of his effort to complete a ‘full Grassley’ and visit all 99 counties in the state, a reference to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley,” NBC News reports.
The latest CNN/ORC poll has Walker in third place in Iowa with 9 percent, trailing Ben Carson (14 percent) and Donald Trump (22 percent).
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth