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Lawmaker Calls Off Meetings Over Vandalism, Death Threats

by
Wisconsin State Senator Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse).
Wisconsin State Senator Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse).

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WTAQ) - Wisconsin Senate Republican Dan Kapanke has called off public meetings in his La Crosse area district, after his property was vandalized and had death threats.

His chief of staff Rose Smyrski tells the La Crosse Tribune that Kapanke’s car window was broken in Madison. And nails were scattered in the driveway of his house on La Crosse’s French Island.

Kapanke is one of the 8 Republican senators targeted for recall, for his vote in favor of the bill that virtually ends collective bargaining for most public employee unions.

The state Justice Department is investigating e-mail threats against Governor Scott Walker and the 8 targeted senators. One message said in part, “If you and your goonies feel that it’s necessary to strip the rights of 300,000 people and ruin their lives, we will get rid of the eight of you.”

Smyrski also said Kapanke received his own unique threat that was, “un-nerving.” She says Kapanke is limiting his public appearances to larger groups for now. A listening session in Ontario is off for Friday – and so are office hours in West Salem on Monday.

Kapanke says he remains committed to meeting one-on-one with constituents but he’s, “balancing his availability to the public and his safety.”

A political opponent of Kapanke’s stood by him Friday. Assembly Democrat Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse denounced the death threats and vandalism, and she called again called for the debate to be peaceful.

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