Democratic Response to Walker's State of the State Address
Cross-posted from Wispolitics.com
Hello, I’m Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca with the Democratic response to Gov. Walker’s State of the State Address.
This past year, the state of our state under Gov. Walker and Republican leaders has declined dramatically. Our state, previously recognized nationally as a leader in public education, healthcare and good government, is now polarized and broken.
We are now among the top in the nation for damaging cuts to public education and our university system. And we are the only state in the entire country that has lost jobs every month for the past six months.
Let me repeat that. Wisconsin has lost jobs every month since Gov. Walker's economic plan took effect – while every one of those months the nation as a whole has seen job growth.
Governor Walker says he has turned things around: Cuts to public education. Crowded classrooms. Job losses. Rising tuition. Families losing their health care.
He certainly has turned Wisconsin around and clearly he has us heading in the wrong direction.
Gov. Walker and the Republicans have undermined long-standing Wisconsin economic assets, such as public education and technical colleges, to serve a highly partisan national agenda and privileged special interests.
Unfortunately, our state's working families are paying the price.
Gov. Walker – it is NOT working!
- It is not working for unemployed workers who are growing in number each month
- It is not working for children in increasingly crowded classrooms
- It is not working for senior citizens who want to remain in their homes and saw their Homestead tax relief cut.
- It is not working for low-wage working families whose taxes you have raised
- It is not working for local communities that have to cut services like public safety
- It is not working for students struggling to pay tuition.
- It is not working for families who are losing their health care.
It comes down to this choice:
- It is not working for the middle class who are being asked to shoulder all the pain of cuts while $2.36 billion is given away to special interests over the next 10 years. And there is little hope this coming year will be any better, in fact it almost certainly will be worse.
Rather than facing this disaster head on, our governor turns to the people of our state and says, "It's Working."
I believe any governor seeing this picture of continued job loss, struggling schools and mounting legal and ethical challenges would be distressed and double their efforts to address these problems.
It is not working, Gov. Walker. You are taking this state in the wrong direction. On top of the out-of-touch priorities that are not working for the middle class in Wisconsin, this has been a year of blatant power grabs. Ethical problems plague the state.
Taxpayers are paying a fortune in legal bills because Republicans are ramming through the most extreme versions of legislation … sometimes ignoring the law, always in a rush to grab and maintain power.
But the governor seems unconcerned with preserving Wisconsin’s reputation for clean and open government and is ignoring these problems … just as he ignored hundreds of thousands of people who came to the Capitol asking to be heard. Just as he continues to ignore one million people who signed recall petitions to remove him from office. And just as he repeatedly ignores our middle-class values and the Wisconsin Way of working together.
In the face of overwhelming evidence, the governor maintains his agenda is working. Working for whom?
Maybe it is working for the special interests that Gov. Walker surrounds himself with as he travels the country raising money and doing right-wing national news shows and tightly controlled events.
If he were out talking to real people in Wisconsin communities, Gov. Walker would know that what he is doing is NOT working for the vast majority of Wisconsinites. It is time to change our direction. Gov. Walker, you are ignoring Wisconsin values. The middle class has seen the things we value most – education, healthcare, job training, public safety and local services – attacked. That is what the working people of Wisconsin are speaking out against. The state of our state is divided and broken. And it is time we reverse course, work together to develop real solutions and heal Wisconsin.