Yesterday, after learning about Scott Walker’s political machine challenging Andy Gronik’s nomination papers and 1,770 signatures collected in Milwaukee, residents Bianca Shaw, Cheryl Meeks and Torre Johnson joined Andy Gronik’s press conference at Coffee Makes You Black to share their very personal perspectives about Walker excluding Black voices from the electoral process.
This week, the Republican Party of Wisconsin filed an offensive and blatantly racist challenge to nomination papers filed by Andy Gronik’s campaign committee. The challenge is just the latest in a long history of efforts on the part of Scott Walker and the Republican Party to disenfranchise communities of color in Milwaukee — including imposing restrictive voter ID laws and ending early voting. Most offensive is Walker’s attacks on black and brown people with felony convictions, who have served their debt to society, and the suggestion that Gronik’s judgment should be questioned for hiring them.
“I do not believe that every sentence should be a life sentence,” Gronik said. “It’s absurd that Walker’s Republican Party would suggest my judgment is impaired for hiring people just trying to get on with their lives. I guess Walker plans to keep black people locked up both in and out of prison. Well, that’s not okay with me. I’m not a politician. When I tell people what my values are it’s not just a bunch of political talk. I walk the walk, and that’s one of the many reasons why I’m going to be sending Walker home in November. People in Wisconsin are ready for a governor who will do what they say they will do.”
The Walker machine’s attacks on Gronik’s nomination signatures were surgical strikes. The Republican Party focused their complaint to the election commission on signatures gathered from Milwaukee neighborhoods that are the most segregated in the nation and from a zip code that is the most incarcerated in the country.
Torre Johnson was one of the people who collected signatures for Gronik and was attacked by the Walker election machine’s disgusting legal challenge. This, despite the fact that Torre is a registered voter in Wisconsin. Torre spoke out about how it feels to have Scott Walker working against him and his efforts to live a normal life as a productive member of society.
“It’s not just about the importance having your voting rights back – it’s about human rights – we should have all our rights back,” said Torre Johnson on Wednesday. “I had a job to do, and I did it. And, I must have done a good job well. I love being challenged because I not only fight for myself, but I fight for the other people who are incarcerated or were incarcerated. We are human beings not just felons.”
“Scott Walker is the governor,” Gronik said. “All he had to do is check voting records to see that Torre’s voting rights were restored. In fact, Torre just voted again in April! Torre has every right to engage as a voter and as an elector, and Scott Walker knew that. But, rather than support Torre and his life success after being released from prison, Walker chooses to smack him down. Well, standing up and fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves is a big reason why I’m here running for governor. I’m here to fight for everyone in our state.”
Walker and the Republican Party are making it strikingly clear that they don’t want Gronik in the race and are afraid of facing him in the all. They’ve attacked Gronik since before he was a candidate, filed other bogus legal complaints that were immediately dismissed, launched mailers and websites trashing him, and send trackers to follow him all over the state.
“If you think about it, Walker’s attacks on me are playbook and logical. The last person he wants on that debate stage in fall is me. Walker knows his ‘Open for Business’ BS is not going to fly with me and so do his supporters. I’ve been there and done that. Getting me out of the race is a priority for him.”
The elections commission will rule on Walker’s offensive complaint on Monday, June 11th. The Gronik campaign is confident the matter will be dismissed. Meanwhile, the election commission determined the ballot order yesterday, and Andy Gronik is #1 – a sign of things to come.