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“I just wish he would listen:” Menominee Tribe rallies at Capitol, ask for meeting with Gov. Walker

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MADISON (WITI) -- A demand, a denial and a demonstration as members of the Menominee Nation marched to the Capitol in Madison on Wednesday, February 18th -- where they asked for a meeting with Governor Scott Walker to discuss his decision to reject its proposal for a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Kenosha. Walker refused to take that meeting, and that led to a raucous rally in the Capitol Rotunda.

The Menominee Nation arrived in Madison for a rally, and it was the end of a very long march. Members of the tribe departed from Keshena last Friday, February 13th and began their 156-mile journey.

"The main purpose was to get the Governor to listen to us," Menominee Tribal member J.J. Corn said.

Inside the Capitol, throngs of protesters crowded the Rotunda. Their speeches mixed defiance with dejection and disdain.

"This is an incredible opportunity," Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said.

"This should have happened," Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem) said.

The Menominee Tribe wants an 11th-hour meeting with Governor Walker. This, after he rejected the $800 million Kenosha casino proposal in late January.

"That was our final decision. My decision -- the decision I made based on 14 months of review, the decision is the same today as it was then. Why meet about something that's been resolved?  It's kind of like having a meeting about a bill that's been signed into law," Governor Walker said.

"I just wish he would listen," Cori Altmann said.

In the crowd at the Capitol, some wore iconic Hard Rock T-shirts with a Kenosha dateline.

"We're hoping we can get this project moving forward," Jerome Tellar said.

Menominee Tribal Chairman Gary Besaw says the fight will continue.

"I don't believe it's over with a 'no' by him.  There are still legal options. There may be other options available for us also," Besaw said.

Though Governor Walker didn't take the meeting, he does have until Thursday, February 19th to finalize his decision. Officials with the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs have said they would give full consideration to a second review and determination from the Governor by that deadline.

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  • Gar Lester

    Scott Walker…to deny a meeting with Gary Besaw is the ultimate show of disrespect. You’ll never be president of you can’t show compassion. Well, after this job killing decision, you’ll never become president anyway.

  • robert

    you people do know that Scott Walker will not change his mind after what Sheldon Axelson did for him a few weeks ago.He gave him $450,000 toward his presidenttal campaign if he didn’t ok the casino.

  • KristinKB

    There is an underlying reason WHY they are fighting so hard to build this specifically in Wisconsin. Walker made the right choice.

  • chris

    Us taxpayers don’t want to be held liable for this casino. The Menominee promised to give 250 million to build a new arena yet they among the poorest in the state with 46% of the tribe living below the poverty line. Plus they have a casino on the reservation. So government kickbacks that walker supposedly got aside, how will this casino benefit the wi taxpayer? Build it in IL. Kenosha residents will still take the across the border job and us as taxpayers won’t be held financially obligated to Potowotomi. So fix your own problems 1st before you present us with a potential problem.

  • Truth B Told

    He did listen. He listened to the bribe offered from Potowotomi to decline the Kenosha casino. I heard they are providing in the range of $100 million for his presidential run. Shame that he has NO desire to be an effective governor

  • ILuvScooter

    He won’t listen to the Memominee, WI teachers, the WI university system, the poor, minorities, the middle class. He only listens to the special interests that funnel money to his campaigns.

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