Alberta Darling: I Don’t Listen to People at Hearings on Walker Budget

Apr 11, 2011

Darling Also Says She Knowingly Scheduled Meetings When Working Families Couldn’t Attend

MADISON – It’s shocking in its candor, but Joint Finance Committee Chairwoman Alberta Darling, whose committee is now holding a series of hearings and public meetings around the state of Wisconsin, is now acknowledging she has no interest in the voices of those who show up to testify at her public hearings. Just last night, hundreds were turned away in West Allis, as Darling and other legislators scurried away from the crowd still waiting to testify on Walker’s budget.

Shamefully, Darling admits she believes the voices at her hearings have no meaning because the verdict on Scott Walker’s budget was pre-judged last November by a “silent majority”:

[Sen. Alberta Darling] “a committee co-chairwoman, said most people express their budget preferences at the ballot box, rather than by coming to committee hearings. ‘There is a silent majority,’ Darling said.”

Except that Scott Walker’s extreme and dangerous agenda for Wisconsin – reflected both in his budget repair bill and his draconian cuts to critical state services – was explicitly not discussed during the last election. Nevertheless, Darling has said she’d “absolutely” vote for Scott Walker’s budget repair bill again, despite hundreds of thousands who have voiced opposition and are now pushing to recall her over that very vote to assault workers’ rights.

Even more disturbing, Darling now admits she knowingly scheduled her hearings at times that exclude ordinary working Wisconsinites from showing up to testify, even after considering that as a factor:

[Darling] said many regular taxpayers could not come to Thursday’s hearings or three others scheduled in the days ahead because they are working. She said legislators discussed holding the hearings on weekends or after work hours but decided against the idea.

“Alberta Darling continues to stand in lockstep with Scott Walker, blindly following his extreme and dangerous agenda that attacks working families and threatens to devastate all of Wisconsin,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Tuesday. “Just like Scott Walker, Alberta Darling is shamelessly attempting to silence the voices of ordinary working families who oppose the Walker-Darling agenda – and in fact has scheduled her public meetings in a way she freely admits excludes the voices of Wisconsinites who want and deserve to be heard.”