Walker Unclear On Right-To-Work Support

Dec 4, 2014

Gov. Walker at the Northern Wisconsin Economic Development Summit
Credit WXPR news

Governor Walker gave the opening address to a two-day Northern Wisconsin Economic Development Summit in Minocqua.

Walker says the state is in the midst of an economic turnaround, saying there are nearly 80,000 jobs on the state job site. He says it isn't a matter of jobs, but of training a workforce to meet the needs of those jobs.
Speaking to reporters,  Walker deflected whether he will sign potential right-to-work legislation, saying he wanted to focus on other priorities...

"....I supported(right-to-work) when I was in the legislature, so that is not any shock. I haven't flipped my position. I just pointed out that right-to-work and reopening Act 10 to make adjustments to that would take, whether there are protests or not, would take a lot of time and energy away from larger reforms that are needed to grow the economy...."

Walker said he's going to take as long as necessary and gather as much information here and from Washington before making a decision to allow the construction of a disputed casino in Kenosha proposed by the Menominee nation...

"....for the compacts that (former Governor) Jim Doyle forced upon the state of Wisconsin, there are certain things we have to do that to logical people wouldn't make sense but they're conditions that were in those compacts. We're fearful that without significant changes the state could be on the hook for $100 million dollars or more...."

Walker says he has to wait until the Bureau of Indian Affairs reports to him, and that could take up to 45 days. The deadline for a decision is Feburary 19.

 When asked about the recent deaths being investigated in U.S. cities involving law enforcement officers, Walker says Wisconsin has a new law that mandates an outside agency investigate incidents involving law enforcement officers...

".....if law enforcement officials are doing what they should be doing, following the proper procedure and training and something tragic happens an independent review will exonerate them. If not, it brings justice to those families that raise concerns. Either way, I think an independent review is good for everyone...."

Walker says he will look at State Schools Superintendent Tony Evers request for $613 million dollars over the next biennium, that included more money for rural schools. But Walker didn't commit to the proposal. He says they increased the transportation money in the last budget and might do so again, especially for rural districts...

".....but for districts that have high value farmland, or state or federal forests for that matter, there's obviously a huge cost barrier, many of which are in northern Wisconsin of those districts that go far beyond the cost of educating the students in terms of transportation costs......."

Walker's cabinet and department heads will give a number of presentations on a wide range of topics, including forest products and broadband.