Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Walker on the tour

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker formally launched his campaign for governor today in a five-stop tour. Gilligan and Mary Ann could not be reached for comment.

Owen Robinson has an interview with Walker and the announcement speech. An excerpt from the speech:

I believe in Wisconsin.

I believe in a state that places the education of its children above the needs of the special interests and a state where parental involvement in a child’s education is celebrated.

I want to build a Wisconsin where students are given affordable options for learning beyond high school.

I want to live in a state where hardworking families can access quality and affordable healthcare – not through big government bureaucracy – but through market-based solutions like competition, transparency, and tax incentives.

I see a state that attracts hard working people and new entrepreneurs – instead of going back to the days when Wisconsin was a magnet for welfare migration and a haven for frivolous lawsuits.

It is not enough to tinker around the edges of failed public policies that drive jobs, qualified workers and retirees from our state.

I believe in change that will take our state in a new direction, change that is founded on the principles of limited government, economic growth and personal freedom.

These are simple principles - simple, but not easy. There have been countless times during my tenure as County Executive, when it might have been easier to abandon these principles in favor of a more politically expedient solution, but I campaigned on a pledge to spend the taxpayers’ money as if it were my own. I kept that pledge and I will do it again if given the chance to serve as your Governor.

In the interview, Robinson asked Walker about the likely primary challenge from former Congressman Mark Neumann:

Owen: What are your thoughts on reports that Mark Neumann is planning on running?

Scott Walker: I think that a primary can have value. Certainly if it’s a primary where we each talk about why we’re not satisfied with Jim Doyle and we’d like to do to turn the state around. I think it could provide us a great platform if we can have that kind of a positive, issues-oriented primary that allows each of us to get our issues out. I think it’s great because it would give us a broader platform to tell the people of this state not only what’s wrong with Wisconsin, but how we can make this a state to believe in again.

I think in our case, the thing that it good to get out in a primary is also a good thing to get out in a general election and that it, I’m not just talking. I’ve delivered. I’ve been in the trenches and getting the job done. When you talk about things like taxing and spending, I was elected in 2002. Jim Doyle was elected in 2002. Since then, I’ve done seven straight budgets without a tax levy increase. Jim Doyle has repeatedly raised taxes even though he said he wasn’t going to. Jim Doyle has the largest budget deficit in state history and one of the largest in the country. We just finished off 2008 with a surplus. Jim Doyle talked about reducing the size of the state workforce by 10,000 people and he’s going to be nowhere near that. I’ve cut more than 20% of my workforce since we got started. Jim Doyle’s debt is through the roof and his bond rating has gone down. I’ve cut our debt by 10% and improved the county’s bond rating. All these things are the mechanics of being a chief executive. We both made promises – even under the most remarkably difficult circumstances. While we’re not perfect here, nobody is, we have a proven track record that we get the job done and I think that’s a compelling message in November and I think it’s an equally compelling message in September.