Walker talks job growth and re-election in Janesville
JANESVILLE—As Terry McCann listened to Gov. Scott Walker announce his re-election campaign, he stood yards away from the house where he grew up.
McCann spent his childhood on a farm across the street from Mid-State Equipment on Highway 14 in Janesville, where the governor addressed more than 50 supporters at a rally Tuesday.
In his effort to “move Wisconsin forward,” Walker called on the crowd to join his grassroots volunteer movement for the 2018 election, which he admitted will not be easy to win.
He did not take questions from reporters.
Now a Beloit resident, McCann still owns the Janesville property but rents the land to another farmer. A former teacher at Beloit Memorial High School, he said he supports many of the governor's policies and thinks Walker is taking the state in the “right direction.”
McCann looks forward to Foxconn coming to Wisconsin, comparing it to Janesville's General Motors plant. He said the tech giant should have a major impact across the state, and he hopes it attracts other businesses.
Walker did not address progress or plans for Foxconn during his speech, but he described it as a major source of incoming jobs, alongside Haribo and Dollar General.
He said job creation is one of the highlights of his seven years as governor.
“We now have, in this state, more people employed than we ever had in the history of the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said.
Outside the rally, more than 20 protesters chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, low-wage Walker has to go.” They lined Mid-State Equipment's Highway 14 entrance, shouting their opposition to the governor's resistance to raising the minimum wage.
Susan Johnson of Janesville said she saw news of the protest on Facebook. She has owned an anti-Walker sign since the governor was first elected in 2010.
Johnson opposes Walker's anti-abortion stance, support of voter ID and education policies. She said she couldn't believe Walker decided to run for a third term.
Solo Littlejohn of Kenosha has followed the governor around the state to protest the minimum wage.
Littlejohn works at Wendy's in Kenosha. He said he enjoys his job but deserves a better wage and benefits. He said Walker broke his promise to create better paying-jobs across the state.
During his stop in Janesville, Walker said he wants taxpayers to keep more money via $8 billion in tax relief. He said 2018 will be the first time since 1931 that residents will not pay a state property tax.
McCann, Jerry Derr of Bristol and Jerry Tierney of Sun Prairie were pleasantly surprised to hear about a state property tax cut.
Tierney said he traveled to Janesville because he didn't want to miss an opportunity to see the governor speak.
He was excited to hear Walker address the opioid epidemic.
The governor said he plans to continue working to stem the rise in opioid abuse across the state. About two weeks ago, he announced a $7 million increase in state funding for outpatient mental health and substance abuse services, according to a news release.
Turning to education, Walker said the state was seeing record-high graduation rates and ACT scores.
At the university level, Walker said he will support a continued tuition freeze for in-state students in the UW System. The freeze has been in place for six years.
A lifelong Wisconsinite, McCann said he enjoys participating in politics and cares about Wisconsin's future.
“I hope he keeps Wisconsin moving forward,” McCann said. “It seems like we're going in the right direction."