Governor Tony Evers expressed optimism while addressing the challenges Wisconsin faces this year in his State of the State address last night.
Governor Tony Evers started off his State of the State address on a somber note as he acknowledged the more than 5,000 Wisconsinites would have died from COVID-19.
“They were firefighters, healthcare workers, nuns, educators, entrepreneurs, community pillars, students, veterans, volunteers, bird watchers, card players, and Packers, Brewers, and Bucks fans. They were moms and dads, brothers and sisters, friends, and coworkers, and they are loved and missed by many.”
Evers spoke on the struggles the state faced in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they will carry over into 2021.
But he also focused a lot the good things to come out of the year like the kindness of strangers that have gone out of their way to help people, the creativeness of businesses to help keep people safe, and the work done by healthcare workers.
“This past year asked a lot of us, and we’ve asked a lot of one another. But when we did, we found that the strength of our state is in what we are willing to face together—what we are willing to do for each other, especially when our neighbors need us the most.”
Governor Evers laid out several of his priorities for the coming year.
“It begins with broadband.”
Evers said the pandemic has underscored the need for reliable, high-speed internet throughout the state.
His version of the budget will invest 200-million dollars into broadband.
“It’s 2021, folks—having access to high-speed internet is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. Every Wisconsinite across our state should have access to reliable, high-speed internet. Period.”
Other priorities of the Governor include improving the state’s outdated unemployment system and creating a non-partisan map of congressional districts in the state that will be re-drawn this year.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos gave the Republican response to the State of the State.
He agreed the unemployment system needed improvement but put the blame on Evers for it and other failures.
“What’s even more concerning than the unemployment situation is the Governor’s COVID vaccine distribution plan or frankly, lack thereof.”
Vos is not address Evers broadband or congressional map plans in his response while he promised a conservative budget that wouldn’t raise taxes.
WXPR will keep you updated on the Wisconsin budget as lawmakers and the Governor debate and vote on plans.