Tony Evers talks governor campaign issues
JANESVILLE—Tony Evers believes Gov. Scott Walker has "drawn a line in the sand" on many issues, preventing discussion between Republicans and Democrats and slowing the state's progress.
The division is something he said he wants to change if elected governor.
Evers, D-Plymouth, spoke to an audience of about 15 people at Hilltop International Pub in Janesville on Monday . He shared what issues are important to him in his bid for state governor.
As the state superintendent of public instruction, education is important to Evers. But other topics Evers said he's passionate about included the state's natural resources, having a solid middle class by raising the minimum wage and fixing roads.
If elected, Evers said a priority would be to make an independent board responsible for appointing the Department of Natural Resources secretary rather than have the governor appoint someone to the position.
He said the department doesn't value science and has lost its scientists, which is an issue Evers said needs to be addressed.
"We have to bring some sanity to the work of the Department of Natural Resources," Evers said.
There are parts of the state where families, including children, have access to only contaminated tap water like that found in Flint, Michigan, Evers said. The water affects children's development, he said.
"We've done virtually nothing about that as a state," he said.
When it comes to roads, Walker has said the state won't raise taxes. Instead, the government is pulling from the general fund or borrowing to fund road work, which isn't ideal, Evers said.
"My 3-year-old grandson is going to be paying for roads that are being fixed now," he said.
Addressing these issues might convince millennials to stay in the state. Right now, Wisconsin loses tens of thousands millennials a year, Evers said.
Finding common ground is important to Evers, something he doesn't believe Walker prioritizes.
"I wouldn't be running if I thought he (Walker) had a good record at all," Evers said.
"All I know is drawing a line in the sand never lets us talk. It doesn't solve the problems," he said.
The gubernatorial election is in November 2018. Evers, who's confident he'll win the Democratic primary, said it's important to campaign early. There are six other declared Democrats, including Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout of Alma and state Rep. Dana Wachs of Eau Claire.