WASHINGTON, D.C. — Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, fresh off his victory in last week's recall election, predicted that labor's role in elections and governance will cease to be very influential in the future at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters in Washington on Thursday morning.
"I've read a lot of commentary on our victory that overstated either direction," Walker said in response to BuzzFeed's question. "I think there are people on the left who say this had no impact, it was all about the money, and I think that's completely wrong. And I think there are people on the right who think that this means every Republican is going to win and you can apply this to every state and every jurisdiction, but I think the truth is somewhere in between."
"Many of the big government union leaders thought that no one would ever dare to make the kind of changes we made," Walker said. "And if they did, they were so quick to say they'd punish us that they thought they'd send a message out: dont every consider this, don't mess with any of these changes."
Walker said the unions' "tradtional tactics," like unions busing in workers from out-of-state, didn't work against him.
"I think we opened the door not just in the election but more importantly for both state and local government leaders to say yeah, maybe we can consider making some of these sort of changes and realize that if we do, the groups that everybody thought were going to take you out didn't do it," Walker said.
"My main interest is in governing, so I don't think they'll have the same kind of influence because the kind of bullying tactics used before aren't going to work," Walker said, noting that in Wisconsin, many teachers opted out of joining the union.
Walker predicted that more governors and local government leaders would try the kind of changes he made in Wisconsin.
"I think prudent executives at both the state and local level, Republican and Democrat alike are going to look at this and say, you can make those changes, you can make the tough changes that are good not just for now but for the next generation," Walker said.
"Every state's a little different but in our state, you couldn't make those changes unless you reformed collective bargaining."
Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.
Contact Rosie Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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