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Act 10 debate returns in area Congressional race

Brad Williams

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The Act 10 fight from nearly a decade ago in Wisconsin has come up as a campaign issue this year in an area Congressional primary. 

Republican House candidate Derrick Van Orden is criticizing his primary opponent, Jessi Ebben, for signing a petition which led to the 2012 recall campaign against then-Gov. Scott Walker. 


Ebben will be on La Crosse Talk PM on Friday. The show begins at 5:07 p.m.


Walker survived a special election, forced by people who opposed his bill to change collective bargaining for public employees.

Ebben admits to signing the petition, because she was worried that parents, who were both teachers, might be fired if Act 10 was passed. 

“They were told … by the union that if that legislation went through, that they would be fired,” Ebben said earlier this week on on WIZM’s La Crosse Talk. “But, I saw truth come to light. I watched that legislation, that’s what woke me up, that’s what brought me into the Republican Party, because bad teachers were fired, not good teachers.”

Ebben added that she has spoken to Walker himself about her change, and he said many people turned Republican because of Act 10.    

On the other hand, Walker has endorsed Van Orden in the Aug. 11 GOP primary.

One Van Orden commercial suggests that Ebben is falsely claiming to be a conservative now, and says she joined the “liberal mob” that opposed Act 10 during demonstrations at the state capitol in 2011.

The commercial says “actions speak louder than words.”

Democratic Congressman Ron Kind is expected to win his primary next week, and would face either Van Orden or Ebben in November.                

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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