The personal toll the bitter union fights took on Gov. Walker and his family
At the RedState gathering, I had an opportunity to sit down with Republican Presidential contender and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
Rather than focus on policy, I decided to talk to Governor Walker about his bitter battle with the Wisconsin unions and how those encounters affected him personally.
“Those are the sorts of battles, maybe not as high profile as it was then, but essentially that the president goes through all the time,” said Walker.
“Personally, the biggest challenge was they went after not just me, but my family. I remember one death threat I got was directed at my wife right before I went out for a press conference. The head of my detail comes in and shows me and it said:
Dear Tonette (that’s my wife),
There’s never been a Governor assassinated in Wisconsin, but if you don’t do something, that could change.
“And then it proceeded to say where she worked, where my children went to school, what door they went in at school, where my father-in-law lived, and right down the line. I think they thought they would get to me and intimidate me. Quite frankly, it just pissed me off.”
How did Governor Walker cope with the stress of such violently, strong opposition and did he have a support system he utilized?
“Personally for me, one of the best things I did was get out of the Capitol. You’re overwhelmed in the Capitol — both because it’s liberal and because it’s the Capitol. After the first week, I got out and flew around the state just about every day. I can’t tell you how helpful that was.”
“I would go to factories, farms and small businesses. I remember a big ol’ burly guy, covered in grease and stuff like that — I’m walking by him on a tour. He turns off his equipment, comes over to me and pokes me in the chest and I’m thinking, ok, here it comes. He said, “Governor, me and my wife and kids, we pray for you every single night.” It was just so powerful.”
“I met a mechanic at another place who wrote on a piece of paper, “Isaiah 54:17: No weapon cast against you shall prevail.””
“To me, it was a support system. It wasn’t just my family, it was God. Not that God necessarily said every step I took, but I felt enveloped in a sense of protection as though God was sending messages through angels saying, “you’re going to be fine. Do what you think is right. Stay on the right path, you’re going to be fine.””
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