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Politics & Government

Gov. Walker Delivers Upbeat State of the State Address

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In his State of the State Address Tuesday, Gov. Walker touted Wisconsin's improving economy and reduced unemployment rate.

For 24 minutes, he spoke about how Wisconsin is better off than it was four years ago and he offered a few of the ideas he has in store for the upcoming budget cycle. WUWM tuned into the speech and sought reaction.

Gov. Walker used the State of the State to tout just how well he believes Wisconsin is doing. He told state leaders and members of the general public that if they question whether the state is actually better off than four years ago, all they need to do is check the stats.

“More people are working while fewer are unemployed. State government is more effective, more efficient and more accountable, and the state’s financial condition has improved. Budgets are set based on the public's ability to pay instead of the governments hunger to spend. School scores are up and more children are graduating, and we are helping more of our fellow citizens transition from government dependence to work. The Wisconsin comeback is working,” Walker says.

Walker says the strength of Wisconsin lies in its people.

When it comes to moving the state forward, Walker wants to combine the state’s two economic development agencies – the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

As for education, Walker asked lawmakers to pass legislation making it clear that no school district in Wisconsin must use Common Core standards.

While a lot has been made of a school accountability proposal to turn failing public schools into charters and cut off funding for failing voucher schools, Walker suggested a different route. He called on the state to provide objective information – such as test scores, for every school receiving public dollars.

“Provide the information and allow parents to make the choice. No need for bureaucrats or politicians to make that choice. I trust parents,” Walker says.

The Democrats’ response to Walker’s address came from Sen. Jennifer Shilling. She says Wisconsin can do better, than it has.

“The burden of rising student loan debt, the outsourcing of American jobs, and the ever increasing costs of health insurance and childcare are making it difficult for families to get ahead. Despite these challenges we know that there is a path to success and we don’t have to look far for solutions,” Shilling says.

Many political observers were wondering if Walker would try to balance his address, between speaking to Wisconsinites and to a national audience – as he’s apparently thinking of running for president.

Marquette University Professor Charles Franklin says he heard only one reference.

“Clearly the close, talking about the attacks in Paris in this last week. Are as he said an attack on freedom around the world. It’s very much the kind of thing that someone considering a national or international position might say,” Franklin says.

Franklin says he can’t wait until the Governor’s Budget Address on February 3, to find out what else Walker has in store.

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