With an enthusiastic crowd inside Weldall Manufacturing., Inc. in Waukesha, and a crowd of protesters across the street, Governor Scott Walker and his running mate Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch formally announced Sunday they were running for re-election.
“I’m pleased, I’m thrilled on behalf of our outstanding Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and I to announce today that Rebecca and I are asking for four more years to serve as your governor and lieutenant governor,” Walker said, before a chant of four more years began.
The theme of the campaign is that, despite the successes of the last seven years, there is still work to be done to move Wisconsin forward.
“Today there are more people working than ever before, property and income taxes will be lower in 2018 than they were in 2010, and we’re making historic investments in our classrooms,” Walker said. “We’ve come a long way together in the fight for hard-working families, but there’s more to be done and I’m ready to keep moving Wisconsin forward with more bold reform.”
Walker was introduced by First Lady Tonette Walker. “With four more years, there’s no limit to where Scott’s leadership can take Wisconsin,” the first lady said. “I’m ready, and I know he’s ready, too.”
Before Tonette Walker spoke, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch addressed the crowd saying after seven years, it was appropriate to bring the crowd some “gifts.” After discarding the idea of bringing flowers for everyone, Kleefisch turned to Walker policies.
“The right thing is that we brought you tax reform,” Kleefisch said. “It feels good to keep more of your own money, doesn’t it?”
Kleefisch also mentioned more spending on K-12 education and job growth, and so hit the three themes that voters will expect to hear over and over again during the election: lower taxes, low unemployment and more investment in school.
Governor Walker’s speech focused on moving the state “forward.”
“We now have more people employed in the state than we ever had in the history of the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said. “We are moving Wisconsin forward.”
Walker also talked about the state’s high graduation rates and ACT scores before talking about the increase in state education spending in the current state budget.
“We’re going to invest more actual dollars in the K through 12 education than ever before,” Walker said. “For our students, we are moving Wisconsin forward.”
Since taking office, Walker told the audience that his administration has reduced taxes by $8 billion, including the elimination of the state property tax. He also touted his tuition freeze, Wisconsin’s top ranking for health care and his plan to drug test welfare recipients.
Walker faces a field of Democrats that are largely considered to be second-tier candidates: state Schools Superintendent Tony Evers, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout of Alma, state Rep. Dana Wachs of Eau Claire, Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, former state Democratic Party Chairman Matt Flynn, and leftwing gadfly Mike McCabe. In addition, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is expected to announce after the first of the year.
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball Report from the University of Virginia Center for Politics currently rates Wisconsin’s 2018 gubernatorial election as “leans Republican.”
Across the street from MetalTek, Voces de la Frontera bused in 300-400 protesters to Waukesha.The group was protesting immigration policy, something governors have very little influence over.