MOUNT PLEASANT -- A keynote speaker encouraged a crowd to outwork and outvote opponents like those who had gathered outside to protest during a Republican fundraiser on Friday, the day a controversial law that has divided the state was published by the Legislative Reference Bureau.
Herman Cain, a radio talk-show host in Atlanta who has formed a presidential exploratory committee, commended the crowd at the Racine County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day fundraising dinner for "leading the nation." He referred to the legislation that Gov. Scott Walker had signed into law, which essentially eliminates collective-bargaining rights for most public employees.
He encouraged people to stay informed, involved and inspired despite "intimidation" from pro-union protesters since Walker introduced the bill in February.
Minutes before, a man had burst toward the stage where state Rep. Robin
Vos, R-Rochester, was acting as an auctioneer. The man threw a pink nightgown at Vos and yelled: "Here's your pink slip."
The man continued
across the room, saying: "You all should have been fired," and was subsequently handcuffed and escorted out of the hotel by police.
Miles E. Kristan, 25, of the 2100 block of LaSalle Street, was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting/obstructing officers, according to police.
Sheriff Chris Schmaling said Kristan had reportedly used fake press credentials to gain entry into the event, which cost $50 per person.
The pink slip was auctioned off at the audience's request for $100.
Other than that incident, Schmaling said, the group of approximately 600 to 700 protesters outside the Racine Marriott, 7111 Washington Ave., was peaceful.
Bill Folk, chairman of the Racine County Republican Party, said he knew of at least one person who did not attend the dinner because of the protesters. About 210 people attended the fundraiser.
State Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, talked of restoring "fiscal sanity," saying the next agenda is to create jobs and opportunities: "This cannot be a Democrat or a Republican issue. This has to be collaborative."
Cain shared a story of drinking from water fountains labeled
"white" and "colored" and finding the water tastes the same, saying slavery and segregation are part of history Americans need to remember.
"The greatest thing about this nation is we have the ability to change from those ways and we have," Cain said. "That's the greatest thing we should remember - America's ability to change."