Wisconsin lawmakers react to Governor Evers first State of the State Address

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- Several local lawmakers have issued statements in response to Governor Evers first State of the State Address.

Representative David Crowley (D-Milwaukee) issued the following statement in response to Governor Evers’ first State of the State Address:

“For the first time in a long time, I am encouraged by our state’s executive branch. Governor Evers made a promise to the people of Wisconsin in his inaugural address two weeks ago: he would get to work. And he has done so.

“He has already begun improving the state of healthcare in Wisconsin, taking steps to ensure coverage for all Wisconsinites. He has enacted protections for state workers, ensuring that all employees are treated respectfully and fairly. And he has appointed the most diverse cabinet that our state’s executive branch has ever seen.

“There is much more to be done, though. As Gov. Evers said, we must continue working together to make sure there is bright future for all children in in the state, and increase funding in our public schools. We must fight to expand Medicaid, and make sure there is affordable healthcare available to all who need it. And we must work together: there is never a more important time to put aside partisan bickering than in a divided government.

“I was especially pleased by Governor Evers’ recognition of the issues unique to people of color in our state. For too long, we have had one of the largest racial discrepancies in the nation. I am eager to take on the task of addressing these issues with a far more willing participant in the Office of the Governor than we have seen in some time. In my capacity as Chair of the Milwaukee Delegation, I have already requested a meeting to begin this important work.

“The people of Wisconsin have spoken, and they will not find a better listener than Governor Evers. We must find ways to make our state work for everyone, and make the most of this fresh start for Wisconsin. I am confident that the Governor will do so, and I am hopeful that the state of the state will be even stronger in years to come.”

Madison- State Representative Tyler Vorpagel (R-Plymouth) issued the following after Governor Evers’ first State of the State Address:

“I am happy to say that the state of our state is still strong today. In 2010 Republicans took over with a $3.6 billion deficit and 8.1% unemployment. Today we are projected to end our 2017-19 budget with a surplus of $588.5 million and have had 3% or below unemployment for 11 months. Property taxes were lower in 2018 than they were in 2010 on the average Wisconsin home, and the tax burden hasn’t been this low in 50 years. We did all of this while growing our rainy day fund to the largest in the history of the State of Wisconsin.

“Over the past eight years, Republicans have cut taxes by more than $8 billion by responsible budgeting. We agree with Governor Evers that it’s time for a middle-class tax cut. Last week we unveiled our Middle Class Tax Cut proposal. We want to work with the Governor to provide tax relief and give people their money back.

“Because of our decisions in past budgets, we are able to continue to put money into our K-12 schools. Last session we increased state aid by over $634 million, and I look forward to continue investing in our students.

“While our new Governor and I may disagree on some things, I believe our job creation, budget surpluses, lower property taxes, investment in K-12 education and low unemployment rates are strong indicators that Wisconsin’s economy is in great shape.”

Rep. Lakeshia Myers (D-MILWAUKEE) released the following statement on the Governor’s speech:

“Tonight Governor Evers listed his plans for Wisconsin that will bring great change to our state. Diversity in all state agencies should be included in ‘finding common ground so we can make our state work for everyone’ as the Governor stated. Representation in all levels of government in Wisconsin is crucial.

I agree with the Governor, Wisconsin should come together as one and it should have an economy that works for all of us. The example the Governor gave of workers that in our state that do not make enough to stay out of poverty and the children who will go to school hungry tomorrow is the reason why I decided to run for public office. The people in my district face these challenges and I intend to introduce and support legislation that will help change their circumstances.

As a former educator, I believe in repairing Wisconsin’s educational system and Governor Evers’ putting more investment into children and schools is a great decision. Full funding services for special education is also a step in the right direction. I am thankful that Wisconsin has a governor who is willing to invest in the future of our state. Governor Evers stating that he will ‘close the achievement gap for low-income students and students of color’ and expanding early childhood education in the state’s highest need districts is a promise that I am particularly looking forward to. No longer will Wisconsin’s children be an afterthought and the governor’s budget proves this.

Like Governor Evers, I too believe in preserving the highest possible protections for people with pre-existing conditions and I will continue to support bills that expand Medicaid and give citizens access to affordable healthcare.

In Wisconsin, we face many challenges ahead but the focus can now shift back to what matters: the people. Under Governor Evers’ leadership, the priority of the state continuously be the people, not politics.”

Senator Chris Kapenga (R - Delafield) released the following statement following Governor Evers’ State of the State address Tuesday:

“Wisconsin is in great shape with the help of reforms that the Republican legislature and Governor Walker have made over the past eight years. Our state’s fiscal outlook is strong, our economy is thriving, and we continue to see record-low unemployment rates. It’s now our job to continue making wise fiscal decisions and remain a watchdog to provide the checks and balances to ensure our state continues on the right path.”

In 2018, Wisconsin’s unemployment was at or below 3.0% for an unprecedented 11 straight months. Under eight years of Republican-led reforms, the state has finished with a surplus, including a $588 million surplus in 2018, which legislative Republicans have recently proposed returning to the taxpayers.

“I was hopeful Governor Evers would come to his senses and work with the legislature to return this surplus to the hardworking taxpayers. However, after his address tonight, it’s pretty clear that he is more interested in returning to the failed tax and spend policies of the past.”

Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement in response to Gov. Evers’ State of the State address:

“For too long, we’ve seen misguided priorities under Republican control that favor the wealthy and well connected. This is a new era in our state, and it is refreshing to have a Governor that is committed to focusing on the people of Wisconsin rather than playing political games. Senate Democrats are eager to work with Gov. Evers on the issues impacting Wisconsin families every day. We will deliver on his plan to improve health care, strengthen schools, fix our roads and invest in pro-growth policies that build up the middle class.

“Democrats are committed to lowering property taxes, strengthening local schools and giving Wisconsin children the best possible education by restoring millions in state aid cut by Republicans. We are going to grow our economy from the ground up by raising wages, expanding access to paid sick leave and making child care more affordable for working families. We remain dedicated to jump-starting small business development, investing in 21st century infrastructure by fixing our crumbling roads and bridges and expanding high-speed broadband internet access.

“With Gov. Evers’ leadership, these goals are all within our reach, but we need to find new ways to work together, invest in our communities and expand opportunities for everyone – not just the wealthiest one percent.”

Pam Fendt, president of Milwaukee Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO

“An economy that works for all of us, healthier communities, more money for our kids and our schools, better roads and infrastructure--that is what the people of Wisconsin expect from us, and that is what the people of Wisconsin deserve.”
This refreshing statement from Governor Evers this evening bodes well for workers in Wisconsin.
We thank the Governor for sharing a message that communicates his understanding of what the working people of Wisconsin are experiencing. There is growth and employment taking place, but it is not evenly shared. Too many families are struggling to make ends meet.  We know unions help grow the middle class. We pledge to work with the new administration on policies and initiatives that help generate responsible growth; supporting economic development that creates meaningful employment and life-long careers. Success, as the Governor points out, will be measured by how well the residents of Wisconsin are "moving forward together."

Senator Larson released the following statement regarding Governor Evers’ First State of the State Address

“In his first State of the State Address, Governor Evers laid out a strong vision for a first term that has a foundation in working together for the benefit of all of our friends and neighbors, not just those who can afford an army of lobbyists. There are hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin families who have been left behind over the last eight years and are struggling to make ends meet. During that same time, some of our wealthiest corporations and citizens have done very well. Whether it is access to healthcare, a reasonable living wage, or funding our public education and infrastructure, Governor Evers recognizes the significant challenges facing our neighbors across Wisconsin.

“One of our cherished Wisconsin values is that we care about our neighbors. Governor Evers wants to restore that value and make sure that everyone in Wisconsin has the same access to opportunity.”

Representative Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa) released the following statement:

“Governor Tony Evers has made it clear that he wants to make our state work for everyone. He knows that the only way to get things done is to work together. I echo his call to find common ground so we can achieve these goals.”

“Gov. Evers has shown his willingness to work with both sides to find common sense solutions to the issues the people of Wisconsin face.”

“Gov. Evers knows the importance of expanding access to affordable and high quality healthcare, and that starts with ensuring protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”

“With Gov. Evers’ lifelong commitment to education, it’s clear that our kids will now have the opportunities that they deserve – that’s exciting.”

“Gov. Evers is ready to address Wisconsin’s transportation crisis. He realizes we must take care of our roads and bridges to ensure that Wisconsinites can safely and effectively live their lives.”

“Gov. Evers knows that our criminal justice system needs crucial reform so that the people of this state have a fair chance to rehabilitate while also guaranteeing the safety of our citizens.”

“As a former science teacher, Gov. Evers recognizes that we must protect our environment and our state’s precious natural resources, ensuring access to clean air and water for all to enjoy.”

“I look forward to working with Governor Evers to get things done for Wisconsin. Forward together.”

State Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement in response to Governor Evers’ State of the State address delivered this evening at the State Capitol:

“Tonight was another reminder of why I am proud to be a Democrat and have Tony Evers as Governor of Wisconsin.

Even before he took office, Governor Evers came to our community to listen. In his first week in office he came back. Tonight he has followed through by taking what he heard from the people and is working to find common ground to make Wisconsin work for everyone – urban and rural. I was proud to welcome the Governor to the 18th Assembly District last week and am excited to see him following through tonight on issues he discussed with my community.

As a member of the Joint Committee on Finance I look forward to working with Governor Evers on his budget request and advocating for its passage. I am also excited to be working with the Governor and my legislative colleagues on bi-partisan criminal justice reform legislation that will be transformational for citizens across Wisconsin.

I stand with Tony Evers. I stand ready to get to work.”

Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement regarding Governor Evers’ State of the State Address:

“After listening to Governor Evers’ vision for Wisconsin, I am optimistic that we can move past the regressive policies of the previous administration and address the inequality that has worsened over the last eight years.

“Tonight, the governor outlined a welcome agenda for the coming year, turning his attention to desperately needed improvements to healthcare, transportation, and public school funding. For all of this, I thank him.

“At the same time, it is my hope that Governor Evers will both continue and expand his work on criminal justice reform in Wisconsin, and give this important topic its proper due. Under the failed leadership of the past, over-incarceration, particularly of young men of color, became the name of the game in Wisconsin -- this must change. With Governor Evers in office, we finally have the opportunity to have these important discussions.

“I look forward to working with Governor Evers and my colleagues in the Legislature to advance this fresh and forward-thinking agenda.”

Dean Warsh, Business Manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 494, issued the following statement following Governor Evers first State of the State Address:

"Governor Evers was a breath of fresh air today. We applaud the governor on his vision of a brighter future for all working families. Thank you to Governor Evers for taking immediate action to lift up the middle class and those striving to get there. There is no doubt that Governor Evers is putting Wisconsin’s hard working families first."

Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, issued the following statement following Governor Tony Evers’ first State of the State Address:

“Gov. Evers’ first State of the State delivers for working families by laying out a vision to rebuild our middle class by prioritizing the health and well-being of working people,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. “After eight long years, it’s refreshing to hear a Governor put forth a plan to create jobs and help working people get ahead. By investing in our roads and infrastructure, our neighborhood schools and services, expanding Medicaid, and ensuring safe drinking water by funding the replacement of lead water services to keep our families safe -- much of which is done by skilled union trades men and women who care deeply about the health of our water systems -- we can get our state back on track.”

“We look forward to working with Gov. Evers as he continues the momentum for working families and builds on his Day 1 Executive Orders to treat every worker with dignity and respect while fostering a collaborative work environment. Wisconsin works best when unions are strong. By ensuring the freedom to collectively bargain together as a team, unions raise living standards, enhance workplace safety and build stronger, thriving communities.”

Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) issued the following statement in response to Governor Tony Evers State of the State address.

“I appreciated hearing Governor Evers speak on his vision for the State,” said Representative Hutton. “While we disagree philosophically on many issues, I look forward to working with him on ideas where we can find agreement. Issues like encouraging entrepreneurship, addressing the opioid epidemic, and streamlining government to ensure that taxpayers receive the best return for their tax dollars are issues that should continue to have bipartisan support. I will continue to advance the important reforms that Republicans have led on to put Wisconsin on its current strong economic path.”

Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement on Governor Tony Evers’ inaugural State of the State address:

“It was truly a breath of fresh air to hear Governor Evers speak tonight of a vision for Wisconsin that will consider the needs of our neighbors and communities over ransom-style demands for corporate welfare handouts and legislative favors paid to a handful of major Republican campaign donors. After the failed “leadership” our state saw over the past eight years, it was encouraging to hear plans that would expand and properly fund public services instead of carelessly cutting them without regard for where the pieces will land.

“Governor Evers made it clear that he will prioritize increasing access to affordable health care and returning us to the days of fully investing in our schools. His plan will strengthen the state of our state.

“I genuinely look forward to working with Governor Evers and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance a new pro-Wisconsin agenda. Finally, Wisconsin is open for the people.”

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