Seeking to capitalize on momentum gained in recent months, Scott Walker is using the advantage of his position as governor to court conservative voters by pushing legislation important to the base of the Republican Party, including a bill signed Monday
eliminating a requirement on employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
"This legislation puts power back in the hands of Wisconsin workers, by allowing the freedom to choose whether they want to join a union and pay union dues," said the Wisconsin governor.
Not only did Walker get the benefit of signing legislation that is popular among Republicans and conservatives, he also earned a stern rebuke from President Barack Obama.
"So I'm deeply disappointed that a new anti-worker law in Wisconsin will weaken, rather than strengthen workers in the new economy. Wisconsin is a state built by labor, with a proud pro-worker past. So even as its governor claims victory over working Americans, I'd encourage him to try and score a victory for working Americans – by taking meaningful action to raise their wages and offer them the security of paid leave," Obama said in a statement
issued on Monday night.
Before the ink was dry on his signing statement, Walker's campaign sent out a fundraising email saying that the measure would have an "immediate positive effect" on the economy, reports The Los Angeles Times
"Labor bosses will never forgive me for taking away their power," he added and then requested donations so that he could "continue our conservative reforms."
As governor of the Badger State, Walker has been a vocal advocate of right-to-work laws and has not shied away from taking on labor unions, but on social issues he has been less outspoken – until now.
In a letter published a week ago in The Weekly Standard
, Walker publicly announced his support for any bill that proposed to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In his open letter, Walker wrote that if the Wisconsin Legislature passes a bill that provides "further protections for mother and child" in the "form of a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk and support similar legislation on the federal level.''
Walker, who is pro-life, took a public stance on measures moving through the Wisconsin Legislature after recent criticism for remarks he made during an appearance on Fox News.
During an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Walker responded to a question posed by host Chris Wallace's question about whether abortion is a woman's choice by asserting that "legally that's what it is under the guidelines provided by the Supreme Court."
When Wallace asked whether he would change the law, he replied, "That's not a change you can make."
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Pro-life groups were angered by his remarks and pressed the potential presidential candidate to state firmly his position, reports Breitbart News
Walker's Fox News appearance is reminiscent of comments he made last October during a meeting with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
In that interview, Walker avoided directly answering the question of whether he believed an unborn baby was a "citizen."
When pressed on whether he supported a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, he simply said it was something "we'd have to look at in a future session out there."
When pressed further on his views about birth control, Walker responded that voters tell him their concerns are about jobs and the economy, not social issues.
Walker added: "I think it's a human life, so that obviously raises some concerns for me."
He also has changed his position on immigration, which he admitted during the Fox News Sunday interview, and now supports a border-first approach and opposes any kind of amnesty for illegal immigrants, according to USA Today
Walker also is shifting his position on ethanol in order to gain the support of the coveted Iowa primary voter, reports Cleveland.com
During his visit to last weekend's Iowa Agricultural Summit, Walker reversed course on his previous opposition to renewable fuel standards (RFS), which require that ethanol and other renewable fuels be blended with transportation fuel, and now says he does not support ending the RFS.
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