New members of legislature weigh in on State of the State Address
MADISON – Following this weeks State of the State address, State Senator Nikiya Harris (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement:
In Governor Walker’s state of the state address, he highlighted the continued need to prioritize job growth. But the governor is 212,000 jobs short of his promise, and Wisconsin ranks 42nd in the nation for job creation. I want to work with him to help him keep his promise, but we can’t do it on the backs of our neighbors or our environment. Ensuring that every Wisconsinite has a family-supporting job is crucial. No matter what part of Wisconsin you’re from, we can all agree that if you work 40-hours a week, you deserve to earn enough to pay your bills and provide for your family.
I agree with the governor that Wisconsin needs good businesses to invest in us. But being a good business used to mean valuing all your employees enough to provide them with a decent standard of living. Now, it seems like the definition of “successful business” is one that focuses on making as much money as possible for themselves and their stockholders on the backs of the very employees who are doing the work. I want to see Wisconsin return to an environment where being a good business and valuing families go hand-in-hand.
Governor Walker also talked about improving our education system, but his last education reforms contributed to the crippling of our public schools. It pains me to think that we live in a state that would starve a struggling public system instead of working to fix it. As a product of public education, I know that public schools are part of the village it takes to raise children, and I hope that the governor will realize that taking away resources from a system that has a responsibility to educate our kids is wrong.
In spite of our differences, I look forward to working together with Governor Walker to improve the quality of life for Wisconsin families.
State Representative Mandela Barnes also released a response to the State of the State Address beginning with the statement “More of the same”. Barnes was in attendance on Tuesday night as Governor Scott Walker delivered his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the State Legislature. The Governor laid out his top five priorities for the state; “create jobs, develop the workforce, transform education, reform government, and invest in our infrastructure.”
“I appreciate all of the recent talk about bipartisanship, but it is one thing to talk about it, and another thing to put it into your actions and legislation. The Governor took the largest annual opportunity he had to talk about reaching out to the minority and working together, but instead outlined more barriers to progress. He called for transforming education, but what we’ve seen is attacks on public schools. He called for creating jobs, but what we’ve seen is proposed devastating mining legislation. It’s clear that Governor Walker will continue lambasting the minority in this building, and embracing only that which he and his counterparts see fit.”
Also weighing in was Senate Democratic Leader Chris Larson on Governor Walker’s State of the State address.
“Tonight we heard again a refusal to admit the most basic fact: Wisconsin is in a state of crisis. Put simply we need jobs and job training now.
“While the rest of the country is moving forward by adding jobs and increasing the pace of economic development, the Governor’s failing policies have left us floundering and unable to progress. Just last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed Wisconsin had the lowest job creation rate in the region, tied for 42nd lowest nationally. Wisconsin’s working families are depending on us to put immediate job creation efforts first.
“Creating more jobs in our state requires us to invest in our next generation of workers to ensure they have the necessary skills for the jobs available. Wisconsin currently has a skills gap, which has left 35,000 existing jobs unfilled despite high unemployment.
“It’s our challenge to fully restore the $1 billion in devastating cuts to education by investing those dollars in Superintendent Evers’ Fair Funding for Our Future proposal.
“Family, friends, and neighbors across Wisconsin are pinching pennies and re-evaluating their financial choices, and we must be prepared to do the same. From the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to the contract with Logisticare, it’s time to open the curtains and shine the light on government spending.
“Wisconsin Democrats are ready to do the work of the people this session and urge our Republican colleagues to join us in fighting for the middle class. From jobs to education to transparency and accountability, there are plenty of common sense solutions we can agree on to improve the lives of all Wisconsinites.”
And from the other side, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) released the following statement in reaction to Governor Scott Walker’s third State of the State address: “Over the last two years, we laid the groundwork for a brighter future for our children and grandchildren by taking on the tough issues. Now it’s our duty to continue the people’s work by investing in their priorities and building upon that solid foundation. I appreciate Governor Walker’s forward-thinking optimism and look forward to the work ahead.”