Lieutenant Governor supports armed guards protecting mine site Submitted: 07/09/2013
RHINELANDER - The Gogebic Taconite company hired armed to protect land they want to mine in Ashland and Iron Counties. Two Democratic lawmakers think that's a huge overreach. But it sounds like Wisconsin's Lieutenant Governor supports the idea. Gogebic Taconite says they hired the guards because of protests over the mining project.

A spokesman says teams of mining opponents, "violently attacked" the company's drill site last month. Now, Democratic Senator Bob Jauch and Representative Janet Bewley call the company's choice to hire the high security guards "appalling." They want the guards removed immediately. Republican Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch was in Rhinelander Tuesday for a small business roundtable. I asked her if Jauch and Bewley's request was reasonable. "Well, I think we have a duty to make sure that those folks who are working to better that double-digit unemployment rate that we talk so much about are safe," she said. There's no indication Gogebic Taconite will remove the guards any time soon. The Lieutenant Governor's main mission in Rhinelander was meeting with people involved in small business. She talked about the challenge of keeping up the workforce in the Northwoods. "We don't have, nearby, very large city centers. You're looking at attracting a generation of millenials to an atypical location for millenials. That's a challenge we're going to have to overcome," she said. About two dozen business and community leaders met with Kleefisch.

Story By: Ben Meyer, Associated Press

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