Politics

Oct 12, 2012 9:12 AM by Marnee Banks, Tara Oster - MTN News

WI governor spurs emotions during campaign stop for Rick Hill

KALISPELL- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker made a campaign stop for Montana Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill on Thursday, taking part in a private fundraising event was held at the fairgrounds in Kalispell.

Walker says Montana is a critical battleground state, pointing out there are 11 gubernatorial races in America and four of those states are toss ups, Including the one between Hill and Democrat Steve Bullock.

Walker claims states that are run by Republicans are better off.

"So, we want to change America, we want to transform this country, the best way to do it is by putting good leaders in as governors. Rick Hill could be one of those leaders. He'll help not only Montana, but it'll help to take back the country," Walker told us in an interview.

"People believe in what we believe in, and I'm convinced that we're going...to sail to victory in November," Hill predicted.

Bullock's campaign pointed out Walker's controversial record. Walker faced a recall election after slashing Wisconsin's budget and changing collective bargaining laws for state workers.

"Congressman Hill thinks that Scott Walker's Wisconsin is a great model for Montana. But the truth is that Wisconsin has cut 1.6 billion [dollars] from education, has unemployment a full point higher ours in Montana," Bullock campaign spokesman Kevin O'Brien said.

The race between Hill and Bullock is neck-and-neck, with the latest polling numbers coming within the margin of error.

Not everyone was excited about Walker joining Hill for the fundraiser, as hundreds of protestors held signs saying "not in Montana" - referring to Walker's take on labor unions.

Protestors say they don't want their labor unions threatened and say Walker has a "right to work for less" stance that isn't good for Montanans.

"I was talking to some old labor leaders, and they told me that they have not seen a political action by organized labor in the city of Kalispell in the last 30 years that is comparable to this," Al Ekblad, Executive Secretary of the Montana State AFL-CIO said.

"We just don't think Scott Walker belongs here. You know, my comment would be, 'Welcome to Montana, now go home'," AFSCME Executive Director Timm Twardoski added.

The people holding the signs on Thursday evening belong to various labor unions, and lined both sides of Meridian Road near the Flathead County Fairgrounds prior to, and during, the fundraiser.

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