Janesville68.3°

Billboard near shuttered GM plant causes stir

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
January 12, 2012
— One of the most prominent symbols of job losses in Wisconsin is Janesville’s vacant General Motors plant.

That’s why people grinned or groaned over the past couple of days to see a new billboard ad in front of the plant.


“Governor Scott Walker,” the sign read. “Creating Jobs for Wisconsin.”


The sign’s small print encouraged people to call the governor and tell him, “Thanks.” It listed the main number for the governor’s office at the state Capitol.


A joke? A clever bit of anti-Walker advertising by the recall-the-governor campaign? Apparently not.


The sign is one of several that a pro-business, Walker-supporting organization plans to put all over the state.


Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce chose Rock County to start the campaign because business people here suggested it, said James Buchen, WMC’s vice president for government relations.


“We’re trying to help people appreciate the good things the governor’s done,” he said.


Buchen said he had not heard of the odd placement until a Gazette reporter called him Wednesday.


“Yeah, I would say that probably would be ironic,” he said with a laugh.


Photos of the billboard quickly made the rounds on social media websites Tuesday and Wednesday.


The ad was gone by 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, when two workers were seen putting the finishing touches on a Mercy Health System ad.


Officials at Babcock Signs were not available for comment.


Buchen said he had not asked for the sign to be removed.


“I have no idea what went on here,” Buchen said. “Maybe somebody pointed it out to the company, and they (removed it) on their own.”


He would not comment on how much the billboard campaign cost.



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