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Wisconsin: Candidates Boycott ‘Beer and Brats Summit’

Wisconsin Democratic Assembly members Mark Pocan and Kelda Helen Roys, candidates in the August primary to replace Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D), declined to attend Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s “Beer and Brats Summit” held Tuesday.

The legislators said that while they appreciate bipartisan efforts, they believed this particular event was frivolous and insincere.

“I think we should focus on passing public policy to help those struggling Wisconsinites,” Roys told Roll Call. She said that only after significant bipartisan policy efforts are made would she be willing to attend such an event.

Pocan raised similar doubts about Walker’s outreach.

“The public needs to know that the past rhetoric is truly over, and that means the Governor has to take honest, meaningful steps towards working together,” Pocan wrote in a statement. “But that takes meaningful action, real compromise and cooperation, not just brats and beer.”

Walker, who invited state legislators from both parties to his official residence, billed the summit as an effort to move beyond the partisanship and discord surrounding last week’s recall effort. Ninety-eight state legislators planned to attend, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Democratic insiders in Wisconsin have said that Pocan is the favorite in the district’s primary race but that Roys could easily manage a victory. The state’s second district, centered in Madison, votes heavily Democratic and will almost certainly remain in the party’s hands in November.

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