Wautoma resident Ann Meyer Schmidt’s first act of democratic activism began in the middle of a snowstorm.
As thick flakes of snow fell around her, Schmidt and about 100 others gathered Feb. 20 outside the Waushara County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day dinner in the small town of Wautoma, several days after Gov. Scott Walker had shocked the state and brought national attention to Wisconsin by introducing his union-busting budget repair bill.
The outstate gathering was an early indicator that people weren’t just riled up in protest-prone Madison. Another sign: By early March, eight Republican senators from across the state were facing recall efforts for siding with Walker, including Schmidt’s senator, Luther Olsen of Ripon.