February 23, 2011- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose efforts to curtail the rights of public-employee unions have thrust him into the national spotlight, is pushing other new Republican governors to follow his lead.
He said he communicates regularly with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and has spoken with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. And Walker has suggested that his counterparts in Michigan and Florida seek to address their budget problems in part by demanding major concessions from public workers.
"There's a lot of us new governors that got elected to do something big," Walker said this week. "This is our moment."
His comments about his GOP brethren came in an unusual forum: a recorded telephone conversation with a liberal blogger purporting to be conservative financier David Koch.
Walker's standoff with unions in Wisconsin has also prompted tea party groups to put together an extensive schedule of national grass-roots organizing, with the goal of supporting governors and lawmakers who are pushing for pension reform, restrictions on public-sector collective bargaining and deep cuts in spending.
FreedomWorks, a Washington-based group led by former House majority leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.), said it will send paid workers to Tallahassee; Indianapolis; Harrisburg, Pa.; Columbus, Ohio; and Salt Lake City in coming weeks as part of the effort.