By Benjamin Yount for The Center Square
Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says his new job will help conservatives in two ways. One, Walker has the appeal and donor connections to turn the Young America’s Foundation into a force for millennials. And two, by taking the job, Walker is getting out of the way for other Wisconsin Republicans in 2022.
Walker announced earlier this week that he will take over the Young America’s Foundation starting in 2021. The group is focused on finding and engaging young voters.
“When I looked at a recent poll that showed that less than a quarter of all the adults under 30 were exceptionally proud to be Americans, I realized the education system in K-12 has failed us, higher education has failed us, and the mass media had failed us,” Walker told a Madison radio station Tuesday. “We’ve got to step it up and reach even more young people.”
Walker said his four-year commitment to the new job will preclude him from running for office in Wisconsin in the next statewide election.
The former governor added to that thought on Wednesday.
He told News Talk 1130 WISN’s Jay Weber that announcing his intention not to run now gives other Republicans in Wisconsin a chance to make their plans well ahead of the election cycle.
“Whoever runs, be it Rebecca Kleefisch or anybody else out there, it’s important for them to think about the team they’ll have in place. Not just for raising money, but for grassroots,” Walker said Wednesday. “Grassroots is really, I think, the way we’re going to win the 2020 presidential race in Wisconsin. And it’s going to be critical to the races in 2022.”
Walker had been talked about as a potential candidate for governor in 2022. He won three elections for governor, one in 2010, then the recall election in 2012, and finally a second term in office in 2014. Walker lost to Gov. Tony Evers in 2018 by about 30,000 votes.
Walker was also talked about as a possible candidate for U.S. Senate. Republican Ron Johnson currently holds the seat, and had promised to serve just two terms. Some Republicans were looking for a swap, with Johnson to run for governor and Walker to run for Senate.
But on Wednesday, Walker hinted that may have been nothing more than political talk from other people.
“Every friend of mine who’s in the Senate who is a former governor tells me of their disdain and frustration,” Walker told Weber. “God bless the people who are there who are trying to do good. But when you’re a chief executive you like to get things done.”
The job with YAF is not Walker’s only new gig. President Donald Trump on Wednesday appointed Walker to a six-year term on the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in the Smithsonian Institute.Interview with former Gov. Scott Walker starts at 32:00.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.