First Lady Tonette Walker

Tonette and Scott Walker take ice bucket challenge, pass it on to Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson, Reince Priebus

By Jessie Opoien | The Capital Times
Friday, August 15, 2014

What do Scott and Tonette Walker, Chris Christie, Cory Booker and Joe Kennedy have in common? They're all wet. No, that's not an insult. Those politicos, along with a slew of other elected officials and celebrities, have all participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge, which asks participants to dump a bucket of ice water on their heads to raise money and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. Wisconsin first lady Tonette Walker posted a video of herself and Gov. Walker being doused with ice water to her Facebook page on Thursday night. The couple was challenged by their son, Matt Walker, a student at Marquette University and chairman of the Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans. Walker posted another video — filmed in a higher quality — of the same challenge to his own Facebook page later that evening. The social media campaign challenges participants to dump a bucket of ice water on their head and nominate friends to do the same. Those who decline the challenge are asked to donate $100 to an ALS charity. "Reince Priebus, Ron Johnson and Paul Ryan: you're next up," a drenched Gov. Walker said, pointing to the camera, in the video. "Do you accept the challenge? You got 24 hours." Sen. Johnson was the first to accept, followed by Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee. Both acknowledged their acceptance on Twitter, but neither has posted a video of the challenge yet. So far, there's been no word from Rep. Ryan. The social media sensation has received its share of praise and criticism, debating everything from its origins to its effectiveness. But it's caught on among celebrities and politicians, and the ALS Association says the attention is helping. The organization’s national office has raised $5.5 million for ALS research since July 29, compared to $32,000 in the same period last year. Others who have braved the ice water include Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Ethel Kennedy, the 86-year-old widow of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, also participated, extending the challenge to President Barack Obama. The president has chosen to donate $100 to a charity that fights ALS instead of getting doused.