- Associated Press - Sunday, February 23, 2014
Searching Walker emails is the rage in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Political operatives from across the spectrum are scouring the thousands of emails exchanged by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign staff and those who worked for him when he was Milwaukee County executive, trying to find items they can use to attack or defend the state’s most polarizing figure.

Liberals and conservatives alike have been hunting through the 28,000 pages of documents for their names, as well as the names of political friends and enemies.

Democratic strategist Chris Lehane said it was “like winning the lottery” for people doing opposition research on Walker.

American Bridge 21st Century, a political action committee funded by liberal billionaire George Soros, said it assembled a team of researchers to pore over the emails and post what it finds on a specially created website.

Joe Fadness, executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party and one of those named in the emails, criticized American Bridge while refusing to say whether the GOP was undertaking its own review of the documents.

American Bridge is a desperate attack group funded by billionaire George Soros with the single goal of misleading voters,” Fadness said. “While they focus their time on distorted attacks, Republicans under Governor Scott Walker will continue moving Wisconsin forward.”

The emails were collected during a criminal investigation into whether Walker’s aides were illegally doing campaign work for the 2010 election while being paid as county employees.


Growing Wis. economy renews demand for apprentices

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The growing need for skilled manufacturing workers is leading to a revival in apprenticeships in Madison, Milwaukee and the Fox Valley area, but companies in other regions are struggling to find enough qualified people.

The state’s construction industry has started to rebound, creating demand for skilled workers across all construction trades, the Wisconsin State Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1h2kT6Chttp://bit.ly/1h2kT6C ) in a story published Sunday. And when construction companies need workers, they often turn to the state’s apprenticeship program to fill the void.

The issue is, the economic downturn has taken its toll on the system. As construction projects dried up, established journeyman workers went elsewhere, and there was no one to replace them.

Now that the economy is turning around, firms are finding a smaller pool of workers to choose from.

“The problem the last several years has been a shortage of work for contractors in the construction industry. Now, it’s a shortage of workers,” said Wayne Belanger of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin.

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