Hundreds of people protest outside Republican Sen. Dan Kapanke's house

By: Martha Boehm Email
By: Martha Boehm Email

LA CROSSE, WI (WEAU)--Hundreds of people gathered in front of Republican Senator Dan Kapanke’s house on French Island today to tell him they’re not happy with his vote for collective bargaining reform.

“Coming outside the home might be viewed as a little intrusive, but how intrusive is it to take away this much money from my family or take away my collective bargaining rights?" said Jon Morschhauser, a teacher.

While protesters continued chanting outside his home, I sat down with Senator Kapanke to talk about the rally and the bargaining bill that Governor Walker signed into law today.

"This is a bill that obviously very controversial, but if I didn’t believe that Wisconsin would be better off down the road having passed this bill, I certainly would have voted no," Kapanke said.

Kapanke says the bill will give local leaders more power to deal with their employees.

“And I think that’s going to be better coming from the local level than it is from the state level and they’re still going to be members of the union," Kapanke said. "They can still have union representatives at the table when they’re talking about benefits package, health care."

But protesters say the bill is taking away some of their rights as union members, which is why they are working to recall Kapanke.

“We gave him opportunity to listen to us, to understand what our values were, to make sure he was looking out for the underprivileged, the underclass and those people who are working hard every day and he didn’t listen to us,” said Richelle Zimmerman, a county social worker.

“I respect the will of the people and if they get the signatures and then we’ll have a recall election," Kapanke said.

Senator Kapanke says he received death threats in an email on Wednesday, but he says he’s not concerned about the people who rally outside his home because they have been peacefully protesting.

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