MOUNT PLEASANT — Gov. Scott Walker on Saturday described Wisconsin Republicans as the party of jobs and a healthy economy, while painting his opponent Tony Evers’ Democrats as the party of high taxes that will drive businesses from the state.
After a final debate with Evers on Friday, Walker made a stop in Mount Pleasant Saturday morning at the Republican Party of Wisconsin Racine field office, 6021 Durand Ave. A group of about 30 supporters crowded into the small space, all donning “I Stand With Scott Walker” stickers and chanting, “four more years.”
During introductory remarks, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, had some harsh criticism of Evers’ performance in the debate.
Vos said that Evers, Wisconsin’s superintendent of public instruction since 2009, “had a hard time answering basic questions, stringing together a couple sentences.”
In contrast, Vos said that Walker, Wisconsin’s governor since 2011, has a clear vision for the future that includes reasonable taxes, low unemployment and more economic opportunity.
Walker has leaned heavily throughout his campaign on the health of Wisconsin’s economy. In 2010, the year before Walker took office, the state’s unemployment peaked at 9.3 percent. Now, it’s been at a record-low 3 percent or lower for eight months.
“Wisconsin is working; we can’t afford to turn back now,” Walker said. “That’s what at stake.”
Walker said that although his opponent has avoided specifics, Evers has said everything is on the table when it comes to taxes. Walker said this means that Evers will raise property, income and gas taxes. When taxes increase, Walker said, revenue and jobs decrease.
“Tony’s taxes are a recipe for returning to recession,” Walker said. “We don’t want to do that.”
Walker claimed that Evers’ promise to revisit the air-pollution permits for the Foxconn manufacturing campus, currently being constructed in Mount Pleasant, was made to appease those at the extreme left.
“The far, far left knows that they have to do everything they can to undermine Foxconn,” Walker said.
In Walker’s eyes, companies have decided to expand in, or move to, Wisconsin because Republicans turned the state’s economy around and created a business-friendly atmosphere.
“They cannot admit that we did something that amazing,” Walker said, referring to bringing the $10 billion Foxconn campus to the state.
The governor claimed that companies would avoid coming to Wisconsin if Evers is elected, especially if Foxconn’s permits are revoked after the fact.
Walker touted his plan to begin youth apprenticeships for middle-school students, to help connect them to future careers.
“We want that work experience early on so that every student can see their future,” Walker said.
He believes this will help ensure that kids stay in school. Walker added that he would offer a $5,000 tax credit to graduates of Wisconsin postsecondary education institutions if they agree to stay and work in the state for at least five years.
Walker claimed that health care premiums on the individual market increased 44 percent this year under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, due to a decrease in providers and declining enrollment.
He added that both Democrats and Republicans voted for the reinsurance program, which is expected to bring premiums down by 3.5 percent.
Walker said that his commitment to protecting those with pre-existing conditions was personal, as he has many family members with existing medical problems. He added that the government could protect those with pre-existing conditions without former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which Walker opposes.
“As long as I’m your governor, we will always cover people with pre-existing conditions,” he said.
Walker urged his supporters on Saturday to continue to campaign for him, right up until Election Day Nov. 6, which Vos reminded the crowd was 237 hours away.
“The other side is focused,” Walker said.
He mentioned that Obama was in the state Friday and former Vice President Joe Biden was coming Tuesday, which elicited “boos” from the crowd.
“You know why they’re sending in the big guns?” Walker asked. “Because they don’t like that we took the power out of the hands of the big government special interests and put it into your hands, the hands of the hardworking taxpayers of the state.”
Evers spokesman Britt Cudaback said “it’s no surprise that all Republicans have to say today is desperate, petty attacks and alarmist rhetoric.”
“Tony proved again (in Friday night’s gubernatorial debate) he is the only candidate with a positive vision and real solutions for protecting Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions, fixing our roads, cutting middle-class taxes, and ensuring every child has access to a quality public education, no matter the zip code,” Cudaback said.
“Tony’s taxes are a recipe for returning to recession. We don’t want to do that.” Gov. Scott Walker, referring to Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tony Evers