By State Representative, Leon D. Young
The Wisconsin electorate has spoken, at least in the Partisan Primary Election that was held last Tuesday. Tony Evers proved successful in navigating his way through a crowded eight-way Democratic primary, setting up a November showdown between the state’s education chief and the incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker. With Donald Trump in the White House spewing forth his bigoted, divisive public policy, Democrats now view Walker (a Trump disciple) as vulnerable. And, they truly believe that they can exploit these apparent political weaknesses.
For instance, when Walker ran for governor in 2010, he promptly declared that Wisconsin was now open for business and pledged to create 250,000 new jobs. Walker has failed miserably in delivering on this promise. In fact, Wisconsin has routinely been ranked dead last in the Midwest in new job creation and 34th in the nation in private-sector job growth, since Walker took office.
Moreover, let’s not forget that one of Walker’s initial acts as governor was going after the teacher’s union (WEAC), which he deemed to be an impediment to his political agenda and, more important, a reliable deep pocket money source for Democratic opponents. With a helping hand from the Republican controlled Legislature, he succeeded in enacting Act 10, the 2011 law that all but eliminated collective bargaining for public workers, which included teachers.
There is no denying the fact that Wisconsin’s roadways are in dire need of repair. Walker has been adamant in his opposition to increasing the state gas tax to pay for road improvements. And, Walker and Republican lawmakers have failed miserably in devising a transportation strategy to address this crumbling infrastructure problem.
Surely, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention how Scott Walker has repeatedly shortchanged funding for public education. Since taking office in 2011, Walker has siphoned well over $1 billion from public schools, to the detriment of students statewide.
On yet another front, Walker refused to accept federal funding to expand Obamacare, which cost the state millions of dollars and countless jobs. Not to mention the fact that Walker let politics and personal ambition drive his decision to turn down federal funding (approximately $900 million) for a high-speed rail project. This project alone would have provided employment opportunities for numerous residents and, more important, would have been a major catalyst in promoting economic development for the entire state.
To say that Scott Walker is vulnerable would be an understatement. During his watch, he has gutted our natural resources, under-funded our public schools, given billions away to Foxconn and other business types, and failed to maintain our dilapidated infrastructure, to cite just a few instances of failed leadership. The only question is: Whether Tony Evers and Wisconsin voters will hold him accountable at long last?