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New assembly speaker: UW Madison should not have cancelled classes for Obama rally

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Barack Obama at a rally on the UW-Madison campus (photo: Wisconsin Radio Network)
Barack Obama at a rally on the UW-Madison campus (photo: Wisconsin Radio Network)

MADISON (WRN)  Some criticism has been leveled at officials with the University of Wisconsin, over the cancellation of some classes on the Madison campus when President Obama campaigned in the city. Assembly Speaker elect Robin Vos leveled the charges on Thursday.

“I think that they obviously are pretty tone-deaf, to say that if we think politics should trump having kids get a good education,” Vos told those attending a WisPolitics luncheon in Madison. “They made the mistake once, and then they had an opportunity to do it again, and they canceled classes a second time. I think that’s a clear indicator to me that the people at the university just don’t get it.”

The President campaigned on campus on October 4th, and held a rally in Madison the day before the election. “If Kevin Reilly was doing his job, he would have said to the campus, “you need to make sure that you have classes, so kids can go to school and not participate in a political event,” but he didn’t.” Vos suggested that UW officials will have a hard time in the next budget if they have that kind of attitude. “It’s not going to be a tit for tat. But when they come to us and ask us for more money, all of those things are considerations,” Vos said.

“Classes were not canceled at any time campus-wide,” said Dave Giroux, Executive Director for Communications with the UW System. “They were canceled in certain buildings that needed to be closed for security reasons. At this point I think it’s our responsibility to answer Speaker Vos’ questions. We’re going to make very effort to see that we do just that.”

 

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The state Assembly’s new leader is also willing to look at toll roads. Speaker-elect Robin Vos said Thursday that the state transportation fund faces a four to six billion dollar shortfall over the next decade, and borrowing and a gas tax hike are off the table. “We should at least ask the federal government if we could have the option to explore a tollway in parts of Wisconsin where we could generate money from out-of-state tourists, and do it in a way that would hopefully pay for our roads,” said Vos, who was a guest at the WisPolitics luncheon in Madison.

“I live in southeastern Wisconsin, where a lot of my constituents have an (Illinois Tollway) I-Pass,” said Voss. “It’s easy to use, it’s convenient. So I’d like to have it at least be a part of the conversation.” The federal government would have to grant Wisconsin a waiver to implement a toll system.

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