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All Eyes on WI State Government

February 7, 2011

MADISON, Wis. - This Thursday morning at 10, in front of the bust of "Fighting Bob" LaFollette in the state Capitol's first floor rotunda, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (WDC) will launch a "Citizen Vigil for the Greater Good" to keep an eye on the legislature and the governor.

WDC executive director Mike McCabe says there's too much special interest money involved in elections and in creating laws in Wisconsin.

"There are over 800 lobbyists prowling the halls of the state Capitol on behalf of those wealthy interests, and those lobbyists are there every day, so citizens are going to have to be there every day."

McCabe says they'll sign up volunteers to continue the vigil every day the Legislature is in session. The citizen volunteers will be right in the middle of the action, at the Legislative chambers and in front of Governor Scott Walker's office.

"And it's the right of citizens to come and petition their government, and we're going to take advantage of that right, and we're going to be there and try and create that permanent presence, so they're going to see us."

McCabe says less than one percent of the population pays for all the election campaigning by Wisconsin politicians, and once elected, those politicians are too beholden to special interests. He says Wisconsin needs a government that works for everybody, not just special interests, and that visibility is a key to success for the Citizen Vigil.

"It depends on citizen reaction to this, and a willingness to participate and a willingness to take a day out of your busy schedule and come and participate in the vigil; and then some fellow citizens need to do it the next day, and some other folks need to do it the day after that."

After Thursday's launch, the Citizen Vigil aims to carry on the action beginning on the next day the legislature is in session - Tuesday, February 22 - and to continue every time the legislature meets during the 2011-2012 session.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI