Labor leaders, workers protest appearance by former Wisconsin governor

Local News

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Hundreds of people from over fifty labor and activist groups protested former Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker ahead of his keynote address at a Vermont Republican Party fundraiser.

Walker, who left office earlier this year after losing his re-election bid, acknowledged the protestors during his address.

“I was forewarned not about the protestors, but I was warned about the ‘Killer B’s,” Walker said. “Phil’s told me about this before, it’s Bernie, Biden, Barrack and Ben and Jerry’s.”

On Thursday afternoon, Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott embraced the visit, while distancing himself from Walker’s political views.

“I didn’t invite the speaker, but I felt an obligation to make sure that we welcome Governor Walker here to our state,” Scott said. “We don’t align politically, but I thought it was an opportunity to just say thanks for coming and hope he comes back.”

Speakers at the protest criticized Walker’s positions on unions and abortion. 

“Scott Walker made a name for himself off the backs of Wisconsin public workers,” said Jill Charbonneau, president of the Vermont State Labor Council. “Condemning themselves to lose the benefit of a union contract. These workers were cheated out of their rightful benefits.”

Deb Snell, President of AFT Vermont, said Scott’s explanation for Walker’s appearance wasn’t enough for her.

“If he really truly believes that he doesn’t like this man’s policies, he should have denied his invitation,” Snell said. “It concerns me that the Vermont Republican Party that they thought this was a good person to put in front of Vermonters, that this was someone to perhaps look up to.”

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