"I'm 96 years old, and I'm not a Republican anymore. Thank you."

A Wisconsin grandmother speaks out 
against Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP 
and thanks the protesters for fighting for her rights.

The following letter was shared with me by my friend, Melissa Luther, who has been active in the Wisconsin protests since Governor Scott Walker first announced his intentions to "balance" our budget on the backs of the poor, the elderly and our children, while taking away workers' rights and granting exorbitant tax cuts to corporations. It is a powerful reminder that we are not alone, and our work is not in vain.  It is a thank you to all who have stood up to challenge these attacks on Wisconsin families. And it is a plea to those who think our struggle is all about partisan politics:  listen to what Katherine has to say.  Listen to her daughter. And ask yourself, "Who is on my side? Who is standing up for me and my family?" 
Melissa received this email from a woman named Shelly on Friday, July 23, 2011. Shelly had sent the letter to one of the phone bank organizers and asked that it be forwarded to every volunteer for the recall campaigns, and we're sharing it here so that everyone can hear this touching story of unexpected solidarity and thanks  to every person who is fighting against the blindly partisan power-grab of the GOP whether it be through volunteering, sharing information, protesting, organizing to support the  recall elections, helping the elderly procure voter id cards now that the poll tax has been enacted, etc.  Thanks to Melissa for sharing this with me, and especially to Shelly and Katherine for sharing their stories. Might want to grab a Kleenex.


My name is Shelly. My mother, Katherine, asked me to send this e-mail to you. She is 96 years old and unable to use a computer. I want to be clear that these are HER words, I am only her scribe.

Hello, my name is Katherine. I was born in West Virginia however I have lived in Wisconsin since 1973. That's when my husband Edward retired from serving in the Air Force. Edward passed away 6 years ago and let me tell you! It's not been easy surviving without him but I keep going everyday because I have a family that still needs me. We have 3 beautiful daughters and many grandkids. Edward and I have been Republicans all our lives but I knew him well enough to know that he'd roll over in his grave if he knew what Republicans are these days. 

I must say, I'm quite disappointed. I have been listening to the news and have been reading in the paper all the things that they are trying to do and I just don't understand it. They are trying to take away my insurance. They want to take my daughters rights away too. She's a teacher and a damn good one. It all just makes me angry. Really angry. Edward proudly served this country and risked his life and this is how they repay us? This is how they repay our family? Why are they doing this? Is it for money? Is it for power? I've seen a lot of things but I always thought we were safe here because of our government. Not that we'd need protection from them. Not in America. 

But now I'm hearing about all of the people who are out there working against them and all I know is that they're doing what's right. That's the reason for this letter. I am 96 and I can barely walk anymore. I have lost vision and hearing over the years as well. I would like to help, but I just can't. So what I want is to say thank you. To the people protesting. To the people calling my house. To the young man who knocked on my door to remind me about the election that I voted in last week. You are fighting for me because I can't fight for myself and everyday I pray that God blesses you and keeps you safe and healthy. Keep up the good work and don't stop until they can't do anything more to our state that will hurt us good citizens. 

I'm not a Republican anymore and won't be again until they get their act together. I hope that someday, in my lifetime, I see our government work in peace again.

God bless you,

And from me. My name is Shelly and I also want to thank each and every one of you. I teach 4th grade and am quite repulsed by the attack on my profession. I am also disgusted with our government on a federal level. The Republican Party has lost sight of true American values. Thank you for rising up against their attack. Thank you for volunteering your time and money into these recall efforts. Thank you for looking into the eyes of the ones who will be hurt by their despicable policies and defending them and reminding them that there is hope. You are all heroes and I'm proud to fight with you.

In solidarity,



  1. written by the same "in state" resident that also picketed at the state capitol?

  2. Oh look - a moron commenter spewing debunked talking points. It's almost as if the person were a liar, willfully ignorant, an am radio droolbucket or some combination of all three.

    /was there for many protests
    //people ~were~ bused in
    ///from up north, in state... you dips**t

  3. If you don't have the guts, and post as ANONYMOUS, why not keep your opinions to yourself. Do you really have a problem just respecting what a 96 year old woman has to say? I too am a former Republican and a TEACHER....Once in a while....you just have to LISTEN to what an innocent person has to say. Who could be more innocent that this?

  4. Does it really matter how old she is, or where she lives? Her story is not unique in Wisconsin.

    Why don't we just say, for the sake of argument, that this 96 year old wise woman speaks for ALL of the citizens of Wisconsin who are being marginalized and disenfranchised in some way.

    When your governor is hacking away at necessary and vital programs, I'd like to think he might consider what his grandmother would do in this woman's place.

  5. I am choosing "anonymous" because none of the other accounts offered are set up. I'm sure this 96 yr old woman is being as true to her heart as she can but I can tell that she's also being bamboozled by the media whom we know is decidedly liberal. She's probably seen that commercial with a man who looks like Paul Ryan push a lady in a wheel chair off a cliff. C'mon! Liberals are NOT being honest in their reporting. Grandma is getting filtered news and horror stories. She's not being told ALL of the news, only a liberal slant to everything. It's a travesty that liberals use old people as pawns to get what they want. Shame on you!

  6. Give me a break. Shame on you for thinking that just because she's 96 years old, Katherine is too feeble-minded and manipulable to filter the news for herself and reach a conclusion based on a lifetime of experience and political involvement. This woman asked her daughter to share her letter, so we shared it.

    As to anonymity, the coward's fortress: you don't need to create an account to post comments, you just need to create a user name. Please do.

  7. I appreciate the post. My parents were Republicans and I leaned that way most of my life, calling myself more independent. I voted for Governor Thompson. But the Republican party has become a foreign political force, alienating me and making me feel the same as "Grandma"...my deceased parents would roll over in their graves if they felt the negative impact that Republicans today are unleashing across the United States. In Wisconsin we can continue our part of the fight to restore the rights of the working class by recalling the "rising star of Republicans".