Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Walker’s brat summit gets bipartisan boycotts

-By Patrick Marley

June 11, 2012- Gov. Scott Walker's call for a bipartisan "brat summit" is being met with its first boycotts.

State Rep. Steve Nass, one of Walker's fellow Republicans from Whitewater, said he would not show up at Tuesday's event at the governor's mansion because he didn't like recent comments from two prominent Democrats.

“Despite the voters of Wisconsin clearly signaling support for balancing the state budget without tax increases and controlling government expenditures, Democratic leaders continue their offensive comments and threats of legislative chaos," Nass said in a statement Monday. "We encourage our children to stand up to bullies. That’s exactly what must happen in the Legislature."

Walker called for lawmakers from both parties to get together at his house after he won last week's recall election. It was meant to foster better relationships after a year and a half of deep divisions in the state.

But Nass said he was not attending the event because Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said at his party's convention over the weekend that "Scott Walker will see the inside of a jail cell before he sees the inside of another term." Nass also criticized weekend comments by Democratic Sen. Fred Risser of Madison about Walker.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) said in a tweet he won't be attending either.

"I'm passing on 'Brat Summit' photo op. We need cooperation & compromise from Gov., not brats & beer," tweeted Pocan, who is running for Congress.

In a statement, he said he wasn’t attending because Walker in the past had talked about bipartisanship publicly, but then ignored Democrats and refused to meet with them.

“I refuse to be involved in what appears to be a media stunt — true bipartisanship will only occur through concrete action made by Gov. Walker,” his statement said. “Those actions take real conversation in the state Capitol where we have been rebuffed over and over again.”

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said that no media would be allowed at the event in an effort to lower the partisanship around it.

"In an effort to provide a relaxed environment for lawmakers to socialize with each other and with the governor, the event will not be open to the media," Werwie said.

Werwie said the governor is committed to getting the two sides to work together.


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