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Gov. Scott Walker says Detroit would not be bankrupt and Chicago public schools would be flourishing if those cities were in Wisconsin and operating under the state's public union laws. / Press-Gazette Media, file

Gov. Scott Walker says he is open to limiting collective bargaining for police and firefighter unions, just as was done to other public sectors unions two years ago.

Walker’s comments made during a speech in Milwaukee on Monday drew swift and negative reactions on Tuesday.

Wisconsin Professional Police Association executive director Jim Palmer says Walker made a “serious misstep” and “disappointing that public safety now appears to be taking a back seat to partisan presidential politics.”

Walker is frequently mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for president in 2016.

Walker told the Governmental Research Association meeting that he exempted police and firefighters in 2011 out of concerns that public safety would be jeopardized if they went on strike or took other job actions.

Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com

Walker says his public union philosophy like FDR

Gov. Scott Walker says Detroit would not be bankrupt and Chicago public schools would be flourishing if those cities were in Wisconsin and operating under the state’s public union laws.

Days before he hosts the National Governors Association conference in Wisconsin, Walker previewed his speech to state leaders in an address to a government research conference in Milwaukee Monday.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/14xDtZX ) says Walker likened his public union philosophy to that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, saying the former president felt “that there wasn’t a need for collective bargaining in the public sector “because the government is the people.”

Walker says if Detroit were in Wisconsin, Detroit wouldn’t be declaring bankruptcy. And if Chicago were in Wisconsin, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel would be successful with his school reforms.

Contentious legislation passed in Wisconsin in 2011 repealed collective bargaining for most public employees.

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