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Drive to recall Harsdorf starts

RIVER FALLS--A petition drive to force a recall election for State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, has already collected several hundred signatures, says a Hudson man who registered the recall committee.

"It's getting organized and gathering momentum," said Roy Sjoberg, an estate planning and probate attorney with the Woodbury, Minn., firm of Sjoberg and Tebelius.

Sjoberg said, while petitioners need 15,744 signatures from 10th Senate District voters to force a recall vote, they're aiming for 20,000, anticipating Republicans will challenge many signatures.

The group has 60 days to collect the signatures. The clock on that deadline started March 2, the date the recall committee registered its intent with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

"We're just trying to find out the best way of going about this," said Sjoberg. He said St. Croix and Pierce Democratic Party leaders were meeting Monday evening in Hudson to work on strategy. They want to be sure all those collecting signatures are properly trained in the process.

Sjoberg said the group hopes to "capture the energy we have seen in the streets" recently to generate enough signatures. They already have about 100 people circulating petitions.

"(The recall drives against Republicans are) a very organized effort by special interests to basically maintain the status quo," said Harsdorf Monday.

Last November, voters sent a clear message to lawmakers: Cut government spending, get the state's fiscal house in order and stop "using the credit card," she said, adding, "Special interests will go to any extent to try and stop what basically the voters have asked us to do."

Harsdorf said lawmakers were elected to make tough choices: "We knew it wouldn't be easy."

"The reason for the recall is there seems to be a complete breakdown in communications in Madison," said Sjoberg.

He said it appears Republicans are "overreaching" what needs to be done to correct the state's financial problems, and Harsdorf in particular is not interested in speaking with teachers and others directly affected by the budget-repair bill.

For more please read the March 9 print version of the Herald.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.