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Republicans, Democrats React to Walker's Inauguration Speech


Gov. Scott Walker was sworn-in to a second term on Monday. He used his inaugural speech to tout his record in Wisconsin and lay the groundwork for heading forward. Hundreds gathered to be part of the inauguration.

Walker took the oath of office in the Capitol Rotunda. He says he’s proud of his accomplishments of the past four years.

“Since I last stood at this podium, our state has become more free and prosperous. We took the power away from the special interests and returned it to you, the hard working taxpayers. More people are working, fewer are unemployed, school scores have improved and more of our students are graduating from high school,” Walker says.

Yet, Walker says there’s more work to be done in coming years. In what may have been a reference to the potential $2 billion deficit the state faces, Walker signaled he will downsize state agencies.

“We will reduce the size and scope of government to match the will of the people. State agencies will be merged to make them more effective, more efficient and more accountable to the public. We will continue to weed out waste, fraud and abuse. Budgets will be set, based on the taxpayers’ ability to pay and not on the government’s ability to spend,” Walker says.

One person pleased with what she heard is Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir of Wauwatosa. She’s glad the governor hinted in his speech that he wants to expand the state’s school voucher program.

“I hope that he does. I’ve always been a strong supporter of that. I believe that every child should be put in a school where they can succeed,” Vukmir says.

A fellow senator says she hopes the state spares education from budget cuts; the same for health care. Democrat Jennifer Shilling is the newly-elected Senate Minority Leader.

“Certainly what we’re talking about is education, early childhood development so, 4K up through the technical schools and the university system, making sure health care is available and accessible for folks,” Schilling says.

Schilling says she noticed Gov. Walker made several references in his speech, to dysfunction in the federal government. She views those comments as another indication that Walker is considering a run for the White House.

A handful of protesters were on hand, both inside and outside the Capitol. Mark Kelderman held a sign reading “Greedy” and “Still a Liar."  Kelderman says he has multiple issues with the governor.

“We support public education and he doesn’t. We haven’t raised any jobs in this state. We haven’t passed a significant medical marijuana bill,” Kelderman says.

Kelderman says he also fears Wisconsin will become a right-to-work state during the governor’s second term. It would forbid unions and employers from forcing private sector workers to pay dues. Kelderman says he was one of thousands who protested for weeks in 2011 over Walker’s signature bill, Act 10. It dismantled most public unions in Wisconsin.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.