MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker, fresh from becoming the nation's first governor to survive a recall election, wants to go about mending Wisconsin's political divide in an egalitarian way: over brats and beer.
Walker defeated Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Tuesday for the second time in year
and a half, turning back a recall effort that began with the collection of more than 900,000 signatures seeking his ouster. It was only the third gubernatorial recall in U.S. history.
Now the rising Republican star is focusing his message on what lies ahead. His term runs through 2014 in a state that is still bitterly divided over his move to end collective bargaining rights for most public employees.
"It's time to put our differences aside and find ways to work together to move Wisconsin forward," Walker said in an interview minutes after his victory. "I think it's important to fix things, but it's also important to make sure we talk about it and involve people in the process."
Walker planned to invite all members of the Legislature to meet as soon as next week over burgers, brats and "maybe a little bit of good Wisconsin beer."
"The first step is just bringing people together and figuring out some way if we can thaw the ice," he said.
Democrats, including Barrett, pledged to work together too. But the wounds are deep following the rancor of the recall, which was spurred by Walker's surprise proposal to go after public employee unions.