Seeking to reboot his struggling Republican presidential campaign, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says he'd weaken the power of federal employee unions, just as he did with the public-sector ones in his home state.
In a speech on Thursday at the alma mater of his political hero, Ronald Reagan, Walker said he would prohibit paycheck deduction for union dues for political activity on his first day in the White House.
“On Day One, I'm going to stop the government from taking money out of the paychecks of federal employees for political union dues because I don't think any worker in this country should be required to put money into a political fund that doesn't support candidates that they don't support,” Walker said.
Walker gained national attention in 2011 when he successfully reduced the clout of most public-sector unions in Wisconsin, a battle that drew up to 100,000 protesters to the capitol in Madison and made him a champion to the right.
His move to highlight his signature issue comes as Walker has seen his standing in early state and national polls drop significantly and he has been tripped up by his own words on several issues.
Walker spoke at Eureka College in central Illinois, where Reagan attended from 1928 to 1932. Walker offered few specifics on his plan, instead saying he'll say more on the topic Monday during a visit to Las Vegas and lay out more policy proposals on a weekly basis.
“We've had those battles in Wisconsin and we're capable of having them in Washington,” he said. “But to wreak havoc in Washington it takes a leader who's got real solutions.”
(Correction: An earlier version of this story should have specified that Walker is proposing ending paycheck deductions for unions' political activity, not all deductions.)