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VIDEO REPORT: Wisconsin Governor Mans Grill At Bipartisan Picnic

UPDATED Tuesday, June 12, 2012--9:25p.m.
It's hard to find a Wisconsinite that doesn't like beer and brats, which may be why nearly 100 state lawmakers could be found chumming it up at the governor's mansion today. "Talking about our kids and our grand kids, it was a very nice time, I'm very glad I came," said Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville.

The governor invited Democrats and Republicans to this brat summit--and some said it's a good first step towards working together in the future. "It was the process of, you know, having fun, relaxing, talking to each other," said Rep. Evan Wynn, R-Whitewater. "But the whole point of this was to get us back to being statesmen, back to a point where we can treat each other with civility, dignity and respect."

As for what actually got done today, it sounds like things stayed mostly superficial. "In terms of talking issues, we didn't talk issues because frankly I'm so adamant about my position on issues, as are they, that we decided we would just enjoy the day together and talk about family and things other than politics," said Rep. Gary Alan Hebl, D-Sun Prairie.

We spoke with Rep.Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, as he was leaving. He said he's hoping a special session can be called sometime in the next couple of months and said he spoke with the governor about it today. "So I'm hoping that that will happen," said Rep. Barca. "He indicated that he'll be following it up very shortly with a meeting with Sen. Miller and myself and perhaps, you know, the Fitzgeralds and so hopefully that will occur."

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UPDATED Tuesday, June 12, 2012 --- 5:40 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker donned a white apron to man the grill at a bipartisan picnic he is hosting just a week after winning a recall election.

A bipartisan group of nearly 100 state lawmakers attended the Tuesday cookout at the governor's mansion. Walker dubbed it a brat summit after the type of sausages popular in Wisconsin that were being served.

Republicans and Democrats who attended the event say it was a positive first step to begin to heal some of the wounds of the past 18 months, when a fight over union rights culminated in Walker's recall.

But Democrats also say they are waiting to see more substantive signs that Walker is serious about working across party lines.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, June 12, 2012 --- 3:20 p.m.

The beer and brat cookout at the Governor's mansion is now underway.

Governor Walker pledged to hold the event the evening he won the recall election as a way to bring Republicans and Democrats together.

The event is closed to the media.

Several protesters have gathered outside the gate.

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UPDATED Tuesday, June 12, 2012 --- 1:35 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's plans to serve beer at a cookout for state lawmakers has upset the leader of the group that successfully lobbied for Prohibition decades ago.

Woman's Christian Temperance Union president Rita Wert said Tuesday that serving beer at the so-called brat summit sets a bad example. She says the problems facing Wisconsin are serious and lawmakers' judgment should not be clouded by alcohol.

The menu calls for beer from four different breweries, including MillerCoors, formerly out of Milwaukee, and Titletown Brewery in Green Bay.

Root beer from Milwaukee-area brewer Sprecher also will be available.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie says the governor respectfully disagrees with the temperance union's position.

Wert says her group has about 5,000 members nationwide.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, June 12, 2012 --- 9:40 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- One week after Wisconsin's governor fought off a Democratic-led attempt to recall him from office, Scott Walker will try to mend some fences by hosting state lawmakers from both parties for a cookout.

Walker's tenure as governor has been marked by bitter partisanship, with all 14 Senate Democrats fleeing the state for three weeks last year in a futile attempt to stop Republicans from passing the governor's bill eliminating most public workers' collective bargaining rights.

Whether a brat, burger or beer will sooth that partisanship remains to be seen. But, Walker thinks it could help.

So far, 98 lawmakers, including 37 Democrats, 60 Republicans and one independent plan to attend the barbecue at the governor's mansion, as well as 236 staff. Walker says he'll be manning the grill.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, June 12, 2012 --- 9:20 a.m.

From WITI-TV in Milwaukee:

Gov. Scott Walker’s “Brat Summit” with lawmakers will be a private party. The event is planned for this afternoon.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said Monday, June 11th that Tuesday’s event at the governor’s residence will only be open to the lawmakers, spouses and staff invited, with no media access.

Walker pledged to hold the event the evening he won a recall election as a way to bring Republicans and Democrats together. The cookout is scheduled to take place exactly one week after Gov. Walker’s recall victory.

98 legislators (37 Democrats, 60 Republicans and one Independent) and 236 staff members are planning to attend.

In a statement, Gov. Walker said: “I’m looking forward to a great cookout. We’ve got some fantastic, authentic Wisconsin products that we will be sharing with legislators of both political parties and their staff. I am hopeful this get-together will forge relationships that will make it easier to work together to help create jobs.”

Gov. Walker will be grilling brats for legislators and their staff.

Despite Walker’s calls for bipartisanship, two prominent state lawmakers said Monday they will not attend.

Democrat Mark Pocan says he owes it to his constituents to find more meaningful results than sharing brats and beer. Republican Steve Nass says he won’t go because of comments made by Democrats over the weekend critical of Walker.

Some politicians say they aren’t sure the “Brat Summit” at the governor’s mansion is the fix for Wisconsin’s bitter divide.

Democratic State Representative Fred Kessler said Monday he’s undecided on whether he will attend, because Gov. Walker had been unclear about what will be discussed.

“In many ways I like the idea he’s reached out, but I wish we’d have more substance and not just the invitation to a party with without a subject,” Kessler said.

Republican State Senator Alberta Darling said she plans to attend. Darling says the “Brat Summit” isn’t about lawmakers grilling each other on the issues.

“I think it’s a great idea. I think it’s good to have a little down time, talk about our families. We don’t have to be issue-oriented at this point. I think it’s good to just develop relationships,” Darling said.

Several Wisconsin businesses donated items for this event, including Sprecher, Trig’s, Johnsonville, Brat Stop, Cheesers, Sardino Brothers Sausage, Northstar Bison, Sconnie Beer, Usinger’s, MillerCoors, Roundy’s Supermarkets, Sendik’s Food Markets, among others.

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UPDATED Monday, June 11, 2012 --- 10:00 p.m.

Governor Walker invites both sides of the aisle to Tuesday's "Brat Summit."

So far, 98 lawmakers -- 37 Democrats, 60 Republicans and one Independent -- and 236 staff plan to attend.

However, some already announced they won't be in attendance.

Kelda Helen Roys says she doesn't believe the governor is sincere in his effort for bipartisanship.

Mark Pocan, Steve Nass, Jon Erpenbach and Frank Lasee say they aren't going, either.

The cookout's menu includes brats from four Wisconsin companies: Trig's, Johnsonville, The Brat Stop and Usinger's.

Beer is coming from MillerCoors, along with the smaller Sconnie Beer, Potosi Beer and Titletown Brewing Co.

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UPDATED Monday, June 11, 2012 --- 7:17 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Plenty of Wisconsin food and beverages will be on the menu when Gov. Scott Walker hosts his so-called "brat summit" Tuesday.

The Republican governor has invited members from both political parties to join him at a cookout a week after he fought off a Democratic-led attempt to recall him from office. Walker is hoping the event will help him mend some fences.

The cookout's menu includes brats from four Wisconsin companies: Trig's, Johnsonville, The Brat Stop and Usinger's.

Beer is coming from MillerCoors, along with the smaller Sconnie Beer, Potosi Beer and Titletown Brewing Co.

And, there'll be a big cheese tray from Cheesers.

So far, 98 lawmakers -- 37 Democrats, 60 Republicans and one independent -- and 236 staff plan to attend. Walker will be grilling the brats.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Monday, June 11, 2012 --- 5:45 p.m.

Statement from the Governor's Office:

Madison—Tomorrow Governor Walker will be hosting a Beer and Brat Summit at the State of Wisconsin Executive Residence. Members of both political parties and their staff have been invited to attend. To date 98 legislators (37 Democrats, 60 Republicans and one Independent) and 236 staff are planning attend.

Today Governor Walker released the following statement:

I’m looking forward to a great cookout. We’ve got some fantastic, authentic Wisconsin products that we will be sharing with legislators of both political parties and their staff. I am hopeful this get-together will forge relationships that will make it easier to work together to help create jobs.

Governor Walker will be grilling brats for legislators and their staff.

Wisconsin employers made donations to the State of Wisconsin to ensure the event will be a success. Donations include:

· Sprecher Root Beer with specialized labels (see attachment)
· Brats from Trig’s
· Brats from Johnsonville
· Brats from Brat Stop
· Large cheese tray from Cheesers
· Italian sausage and cheddarwurst, and buns from Sardino Brothers Sausage
· Bison burgers, bison bratwurst – onion leek, and bison bratwurst – jalapeno cheddar from Northstar Bison
· Beer from Sconnie Beer
· Potosi Beer from Rep. Tranel
· Beer from Title Town Brewing Company
· Brats from Usinger’s
· Beer from MillerCoors
· Burgers from Roundy’s Supermarkets
· Brownies, cookies, veggie burgers, cheese from Sendik’s Food Markets
· Buns from Pan-O-Gold
· Plates, napkins, utensils, cups, condiments, potato & pasta salad, baked beans, pickles and candy from Lipari Foods
· Lettuce, tomato, onion, green salad w/ dressing, fruit from Russ Davis Wholesale
· Soft drinks and water from Coca Cola Refreshments
· Soft drinks and water from Pepsi of Madison
· Soft drinks and water from Dr. Pepper/Snapple
· Iced tea and juice from Kwik Trip
· Chips from Frito Lay
· Ice and a chiller truck/trailer from Arctic Glacier Ice
· Propane canisters from Tru-Gas

This event is not open to the media—below is a statement from Governor Walker’s spokesman, Cullen Werwie:

In an effort to provide a relaxed environment for lawmakers to socialize with each other and with the Governor, the event will not be open to the media.

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UPDATED Monday, June 11, 2012 --- 2:05 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Nothing brings people together in Wisconsin like the promise of beer and brats.

At least that's what Gov. Scott Walker hopes.

Exactly one week after the Republican fought off a Democratic-led attempt to recall him from office, Walker is trying to mend some fences by inviting state lawmakers from both parties over for a cookout Tuesday.

The idea isn't new. Democratic President Barack Obama invited a black scholar and the white police sergeant who arrested him to share a beer with him and talk about race relations at the White House in 2009.

In Walker's case, one lawmaker from each party said Monday they will not come to the picnic table.

But Democratic leaders say they'll be there and hope some good comes from the so-called "brat summit."

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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Posted Monday, June 11, 2012 --- 11:00 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker's brat summit with lawmakers will be a private party.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said Monday that Tuesday's event at the governor's residence will only be open to the lawmakers, spouses and staff invited with no media access.

Walker pledged to hold the event the evening he won a recall election as a way to bring Republicans and Democrats together. The cookout is scheduled to take place exactly one week after his victory.

Despite Walker's calls for bipartisanship, two prominent state lawmakers said Monday they will not attend.

Democrat Mark Pocan says he owes it to his constituents to find more meaningful results than sharing brats and beer. And Republican Steve Nass says he won't go because of comments made by Democrats over the weekend critical of Walker.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


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