MILWAUKEE — From collective bargaining to jobs and unemployment, Governor Scott Walker and Tom Barrett finally went head to head on the topics dominating their campaigns.
On Friday night, Walker and Barrett wrapped up the first of two debates leading up to the historic recall election on June 5th.
The candidates first gave their takes on why the recall is happening.
“To answer your question, I think it's about reforms, at least that's the way it started out,” said Walker. “We don't hear a lot about it largely because our reforms are working. You look at the last year and a half, and we've documented more than a billion dollars worth of savings because of our reforms."
"He has divided the state unlike anything we've ever seen, and as a result of that, what we've seen in this state is we saw hundreds of thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people in this democracy, who decided that they wanted a change,” said Barrett.
The debate also addressed the candidates views on the changes were made to collective bargaining for the state's public employees.
"Looking back without a doubt I'd change how we did things,” said Walker. “I think in the end, the results, and people say this all over the state, they like the results, they just wish we done it differently."
"You decided to use a budget crisis to try to divide and conquer this state,” said Barrett. “That's what happened. That's what led to all of this and you succeeded.”
The debate also provided Barrett an opportunity to question Walker about the John Doe investigation.
“In his executive office, 25 feet, about the distance we are from each other, where there was a secret computer system that did fundraising, did campaigning and when he found out about it, did he order an investigation? No,” said Barrett.
“The facts clearly show that any time it was brought to our attention that someone violated our very strong policy against using taxpayer resources for political purposes, we took swift action,” said Walker.
Walker and Barrett will debate one more time, next Thursday, May 31st, in Milwaukee.
The recall election is a week from next Tuesday, on June 5th.
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