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Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson booed at Juneteenth Day event
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Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson booed at Juneteenth Day event

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MILWAUKEE — U.S. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson from Wisconsin joined in a Juneteenth Day celebration in his home state only to see his speech drowned out by a chorus of boos.

Johnson made an appearance Saturday at a Republican Party booth in Milwaukee, where he drew a growing crowd once people recognized him. Some people swore at him and said, “We don't want you here.”

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Last year Johnson blocked legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Earlier in the week he relented while saying “it still seems strange" that taxpayers should fund time off for federal employees to celebrate the end of slavery. The bill was quickly passed and signed by President Joe Biden.

When asked what he thought of the boos Saturday, Johnson said: “This is unusual for Wisconsin. Most people in Wisconsin say, ‘You are in our prayers; we are praying for you.’ ... But you got some people here that are just sort of nasty at some points.”

One attendee, Robert Agnew, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he thought the reason for the taunting was because “Ron Johnson’s politics are not for us."

Looking back a decade later, 10 stories about Act 10

The most seismic political story of the last decade in Wisconsin began on Feb. 7, 2011, when Republican Gov. Scott Walker informed a gathering of cabinet members of plans to unilaterally roll back the power of public sector unions in the state. He "dropped the bomb," as Walker would describe it afterward, four days later.

The audacious proposal, to be known forever after as Act 10, required public employees to pay more for pension and health insurance benefits, but also banned most subjects of collective bargaining and placed obstacles to maintaining union membership.

The proposal laid bare the state's deep, at times intensely personal, political divisions as tens of thousands of protesters descended on the Capitol. The month-long, round-the-clock occupation drew international attention, but failed to stop the bill.

A decade later, the aftershocks of one of the biggest political earthquakes in Wisconsin history continue to be felt. Taxes have been held in check, and state finances have improved. But public unions are vastly diminished and the state is more politically divided than ever.

Here are 10 stories from people who experienced the historic events firsthand.

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As it became evident that Republicans in the Legislature planned to rush through passage of Act 10, Democratic lawmakers, who held minorities …

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Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the architect of Act 10, may have been defeated by Democrat Tony Evers in 2018, but his successor hasn’t …

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Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees motivated Susan Cohen, a Madison middle school scienc…

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Former Sen. Dale Schultz described the Act 10 saga as a major component of the end of bipartisanship in the state Legislature — a rift that st…

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As the longest-serving labor leader in Wisconsin at the time of Act 10, Madison Teachers Inc. executive director John Matthews kept a close ey…

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Ten years after the introduction of Act 10 led to hundreds of thousands of protesters to descend on the state Capitol, protests and civil unre…

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For Ian’s Pizza, a staple of Madison’s food scene that now has locations in Milwaukee, Denver and Seattle, feeding Act 10 protesters helped pl…

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Looking back on the passage of Act 10 a decade ago, Sen. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, said one of her most vivid memories is the tens of thousand…

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When the news about Act 10 broke, Madison middle school teacher Michele Ritt went to the Capitol, where a few hundred or so people had begun t…

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As a Capitol reporter with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in early 2011, Jason Stein had a front row seat to the politics and protests surroun…

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