Endorsement: Mary Burke would move state forward

Joe Pruski, Opinion Editor

Gov. Scott Walker’s 2014 campaign slogan of “Moving Wisconsin Forward” should be changed. The phrase “Keeping Wisconsin Stagnant” or “A Mediocre Wisconsin” would be a more fitting representation of his time spent in office and his plans for the next four years.

In a time of great social change (profound changes to health care, gay marriage laws, environmental policy, etc.) and a turbulent financial period, Gov. Walker has chosen to use his office not to lead, but to make a name for himself. The office of Governor is one of great prestige, and should be treated as such. It should not be a soapbox used to promote Tea Party ideals.

His gubernatorial challenger, former Trek Bicycle CEO, Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce, and current Madison School Board member Mary Burke has a vision for the state that is not derived from corporate interest. It is one of common sense. If federal dollars were available (at no additional cost to the Wisconsin taxpayer) for Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act, why would we turn them down? When the expansion of school vouchers in the state has shown to create a wider achievement gap, why would Wisconsin continue to expand them? If a minimum wage of $7.25 perpetuates a cycle of poverty and limits upward mobility, why wouldn’t we increase it?

Burke would accept federal dollars to expand health coverage to Wisconsin citizens, roll back the voucher program, and support a plan to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over the next two years.
Contrarily, Walker recently told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he doesn’t believe the minimum wage “serves a purpose.” Politifact Wisconsin rated his claim that minimum wage jobs are “overwhelmingly” for young people as false. Not only does he not understand who struggles with these jobs, he simply does not care.
For these reasons the Clarion Editorial Board has endorsed Mary Burke for governor on Nov. 4.

The most condemning data puts Wisconsin last in the Midwest in terms of job growth, while the most favorable data shows Wisconsin in the middle of the pack. These are not numbers to hang your hat on. This state needs a full-time governor who is serious about the state and cares deeply about its direction.

Gov. Walker has yet to commit to serving a full term if re-elected, depending on his presidential aspirations. Wisconsin is not a pedestal or a stepping-stone. It is a state with serious issues that need serious leadership. On Nov. 4, vote for the serious candidate – Mary Burke.