This state official-related article is in the process of being updated.
|November 2, 1967|
|45th Governor of Wisconsin|
| Assumed office|
January 3, 2011
|Milwaukee County Executive|
| In office|
May 10, 2002-December 28, 2010
|Preceded by||Jim Doyle|
|Website||Office of the Governor of Wisconsin|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Policy Positions
- 3 Gubernatorial
- 4 Elections
- 5 See also
- 6 External links
- 7 References
Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado to Pat and Llewlyn Walker, Scott Walker first moved to Plainfield, Iowa before his settling in small town Delevan, Wisconsin in 1977. Growing up, Scott was an active Boy Scout and ultimately earned the Eagle Scout rank. Walker continues to be involved with scouting. Through the American Legion, he also went to Ripon, Wisconsin for Badger Boys State and then on Washington, D.C. for Boys Nation. Walker has credited that experience with sparking his political interest.
He left Marquette University in his senior year to join the Red Cross in a marketing position. He also worked briefly for IBM while he was a student at Marquette. Having never returned to finished his degree, Walker is now the first Governor of Wisconsin in over 64 years not to hold a college degree.
Walker ran for Milwaukee County Executive in 2002 and won a special election that year after former County Executive Tom Ament resigned during a pension scandal that affected the county. He was re-elected as County Executive for Wisconsin's largest county in 2004 and 2008. In his 2008 re-election bid, Walker won over 57 percent of the vote. Walker officially stepped down as County Executive on December 28, 2010 shortly after being elected the 45th Governor of Wisconsin.
He previously ran for Governor in 2006 but ended his candidacy over fund-raising concerns. In April of 2009, he announced his second run for Governor.
Walker has been married to his wife Tonnette for 17 years and have two high school age sons. The Walkers reside in Wauwatosa.
- Marquette University (Attended 1986 to 1990)
- Delevan-Darien High School, 1986
- Governor of Wisconsin, 2011 - Present
- County Executive of Milwaukee, 2002 - 2010
- Member of the Wisconsin State Legislature for District 17, 1993 - 2002
During four terms as a state legislator, Walker earned a reputation as a supporter of cracking down on crime and curtailing welfare programs, as well as a staunch pro-life advocate on abortion issues. His positions on the last issue was later to earn him multiple important endorsements from right to life groups during his gubernatorial run.
Walker's signature legislative work came on the Committees on Correctional Facilities, and Corrections and the Courts. While building experience in criminal justice legislature, Walker authored one bill, aimed at 'truth in sentencing' that effectively ended the practice of shaving time off prisoners' sentences for good behavior.
First elected in a special election to replace a County Executive who had left office under the cloud of a pension fund scandal, Walker went on to win re-election twice, with 57% with 2004 and 59% in 2008. While in office, Walker returned substantial portions of his own salary - half of what he earned in most years. While in office, Walker also cut payroll and debt in Milwaukee County.
Toward the end of his time as a County Executive, the collapse of a public parking garage in Milwaukee, a tragedy that killed a 14 year old boy, became a rapidly politicized campaign point. Walker's opponent and his critics in general blamed him for being part a shoddy oversight that allowed the garage to be so poorly maintained as to be unsafe for use at the time of the collapse. Walker maintained, and investigations showed, that original construction, before he joined the County Executive's office, was partly responsible.
Walker campaigned for both his party's nomination and during the general election on a program of cutting spending, reversing taxes, and reducing salary and benefits for public sector union employees. He specifically promised to decline a proposed $800 million federal grant to build a rail line between Madison and Milwaukee, saying the annual upkeep would dwarf federal government aid and be too expensive to make the project worthwhile. After his victory, the grant was rescinded and the money given to other states.
One of Walker's early proposals, Wisconsin Assembly Bill 11, the "Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill", is aimed at saving Wisconsin citizens money by reducing the ability of government employee unions to engage in collective bargaining. Under the plan, only emergency responders would retain that privilege. The proposal also called for unions members to make contributions to their own medical insurance and retirement savings, of 12.6% and 5.8% respectively.
The bill was introduced into the Assembly by the Committee on Assembly Organization, at the request of Governor Walker, on February 15, 2011. It was then referred, successively, to the Joint Committee on Finance and the Joint Survey Committee on Retirement Systems. The Republican controlled Assembly and the Senate were in favor of the bill; not surprisingly, their Democratic colleagues took the opposite view. Lacking the numbers to vote the bill down, the entire Wisconsin Senate Democratic contingent simply refused to vote. Senate Republicans are one short of the 20 members needed to call a quorum and vote on spending bills, meaning the Democrats were able to halt a vote on the bill.
Governor Walker ordered Wisconsin law enforcement to find the Senators and compel them to return to the Capitol for the vote, causing the Democratic Senate delegation to decamp to a resort across the border in Rockford, Illinois. In a February 17th press conference, Walker pressed lawmakers to return to the state and take a vote. Asked if he thought he had any legal authority to cross state lines and compel Senate Democrats to return to Madison, he told reporters, "That's a really big question for us."
The response from unions became a national story; schools were closed for days as unionized teachers called in 'sick' and camped out inside the Capitol rotunda. Republicans adjourned until Friday, February 18, 2011, still indicating a vote could go forward. Holding 19 seats in the Senate and requiring 20 for a vote, the GOP only needs one additional member to show up. While the DNC, President Obama, and national union heads weighed in against Walker's plan, one local paper editorialized that Democrats needed to "get over their snits and get back to work".
Union leaders and Democrats contrasted their actions as making a final stand to prevent similar bills from being introduced in other states. Both President Obama and union heads described the bill as an 'assault'.
As the first week of protests ended, with Madison and Milwaukee schools having been closed three days, schools sought a temporary restraining order banning teachers from attending protests and thus forcing teachers to report to their jobs, something the courts denied on Friday, February 18th. Meanwhile, union members from other states began streaming into Wisconsin to join the protests and some allies of Governor Walker reported being picketed at their own homes.
Republicans did not get their vote on Friday and protests continued through the weekend and the President's Day holiday, by which time the story was an international headline and other GOP governors were fashioning versions of the bill for their own states. By this point, protests from organized labor had spread to Indiana and Ohio, with pro-union crowds thronging those state capitols.
Governor Walker and his party-mates steadfastly refused to back down on cutting collective bargaining rights, with Walker telling media outlets that he was doing exactly what he had promised during his campaign. On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, Wisconsin's Assembly Speaker, Jeff Fitzgerald, who also chairs the Assembly Committee that first saw the bill, spoke publicly before beginning the day,s session; he vowed to pass the bill intact and echoed Walker's stance that Republicans were doing exactly what they has promised to do if elected.
The start of the second week also brought an ultimatum from the Governor, who warned public employees that he would commence layoffs if his bill continued to be stalled. With Senate Democrats still out of Walker's reach, their Assembly counterparts spent the morning session pushing for more than 100 amendments. Both the Senate and the Governor worked under heavy guard from state patrol officers with the roar of protesters audible throughout the Capitol.
Tuesday morning also brought the first indications that Senate Republicans might have found a way to end collective bargaining without Democratic cooperation. While the Wisconsin Senate must have a quorum to pass spending and fiscal bills, they could theoretically sever the collective bargaining from the spending cuts and pass the former item in its own bill. Freshman Senate Leah Vukmir indicated the idea had been considered but that the GOP was not yet sure it wanted to take that route.
In effect after Supreme Court ruling
On June 14, 2011, the state Supreme Court overturned a lower court, ruling that Gov. Walker’s collective bargaining law is in effect.
“We’ve been saying since day one that Republicans passed the budget repair bill correctly, so frankly this isn’t much of a surprise,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said in a joint statement. “We followed the law when the bill was passed, simple as that.”
In its ruling, the state Supreme Court said because the Dane County Circuit Court “invaded the legislature’s constitutional powers...under the Wisconsin Constitution” when Sumi issued a temporary restraining order preventing the law from going into effect.
Dane County District Judge Maryann Sumi ruled in May 2011 that lawmakers violated Wisconsin's open meetings law in passing the collective bargaining legislation in spring 2011, and therefore, the bill would be null and void. Gov. Walker had signed the bill into law, but the ruling overruled it.
"It is not the court's duty to determine whether 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 is good public policy or bad public policy; that is the business of the legislature," according to the ruling. "It is this court's responsibility, however, to apply the rule of law to the facts before it."
Sumi ruled that lawmakers failed to give enough notice for the Joint Committee on Conference meeting held March 9, 2011, during which lawmakers settled on the final version of the collective bargaining bill. The bill requires most public union employees to contribute more to their health care and pension plans and limits their collective-bargaining powers to salary negotiations.
Legislative leaders have pledged to pass the legislation again as part of the biennial budget — and they're counting on the state Supreme Court to be the ultimate decider on this case.
“There’s still a much larger separation-of-powers issue: whether one Madison judge can stand in the way of the other two democratically elected branches of government," said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald in a statement. "The Supreme Court is going to have the ultimate ruling, and they’re still scheduled to hear the issue on June 6."
Commission on Waste, Fraud and Abuse
Gov. Walker called for the formation of a Commission on Waste, Fraud and Abuse. The seven-member committee assembled in January 2011 and in July 2011, it identified $266,555,737 in potential annual savings for state agencies. The commission found that if the agencies streamlined and improved current practices, the savings amount to more than $250 million.
In their report, commission members scolded state agencies for failing to control expenses the way Wisconsin residents have been forced to do in the wake of the recession.
“Wisconsin deserves a government that spends its financial resources just as carefully as the citizens of Wisconsin spend their own,” said Craig Rakowski, the commission’s chairman and president of James Craig Builders, in the report. “Everyone has been forced to take a closer look at how they spend their money. Our state government should be no different.”
In the summer of 2011, Wisconsin voters faced unique slate of recall elections which served to provide voters with a test run of needing to show photo identification when they arrived to vote at the polls. This all depended on a mid-May vote in the Senate and Gov. Walker's signature. The primary elections in spring 2012 would be the first voter ID primaries.
The Government Accountability Board, the state’s elections agency, began preparing to train local clerks and poll workers before the Senate vote.
GAB spokesman Reid Magney said the agency could try a “soft implementation” of voter ID during recall elections for nine Wisconsin state senators, slated for July 12 or Aug. 9, if a primary is required. Recall voters will be asked, but not required, to provide ID and will receive literature explaining the new requirements.
“We’ve begun the planning process for implementation, but at this point I think it’s too early to say that we’ll have it done by a certain day,” Magney said.
The State Assembly last week passed the voter ID proposal, AB 7, by a mostly party-line vote of 60 to 35, with all Republicans and a few Democrats in support.
State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the proposal will protect the integrity of elections.
“I think that there’s enough isolated incidents over the years that anyone who casts a vote has to have the full faith in the idea that their vote counts and it’s not going to be canceled out by some other person in another part of the state involved in some shenanigans,” he said.
Budget bill, 2011
The legislative process for creating and passing the budget the state budget included protestors and a lot of national attention. Late on June 16, 2011, the state Senate passed Gov. Scott Walker’s $66 billion budget on a party-line 19-14 vote after nine hours of debate.
The 2011 legislative session was sharply divided between Republican and Democratic lawmakers on nearly all of Walker’s proposed legislation. The earlier protests included two protesters who chained themselves to railings in the Senate chamber’s viewing gallery.
Once Gov. Walker signs the budget into law, it will take effect July 1.
One protester began shouting from the Senate chamber’s viewing gallery as Senate President Michael Ellis called for a vote. “I want my democracy back!” she screamed.
Republicans accused Democrats of being short-sighted and resisting measures that could bring jobs to Wisconsin, ultimately benefiting the state.
“You want to talk values? Let’s talk values,” said state Sen. Alberta Darling. “Frugality...having a job...that’s the mission we have.”
Democrats accused Republicans of ignoring the needs of children by slashing funding for education while introducing tax breaks for businesses, and of targeting low-income residents while refusing to raise taxes on the wealthy.
Walker faced Tom Barrett (D), James James (Common Sense), and Jim Langer (I) in the general election on November 2, 2010. Walker won the election with 52% of the vote. In the primaries, Walker easily defeated two GOP challengers. His general election battle with Tom Barrett was one of the most acrimonious of the 2010 cycle, becoming more fraught as Walker's poll number improved.
His win was part of a midterm election night that overall favored Republicans. Aside from the governorship, Republicans gains in Wisconsin on Election Night 2010 included picking up both chambers of the state legislature.
Scott Walker won election to a third term as Milwaukee County Executive against State Senator Lena Taylor on April 1, 2008.
|2008 Milwaukee County Executive Election Results.|
NOTE: County Executive candidates are listed as non-partisan
- Official Website of Governor Scott Walker
- Scott Walker for Governor campaign website
- Project Vote Smart biography
- Scott Walker on Facebook
- Scott Walker on Twitter
- Scott Walker on YouTube
- Scott Walker on Flickr
- Scott Walker on LinkedIn
- Today's TMJ 4 "Walker Works Last Day as County Executive", December 27, 2010
- Scott Walker for Governor "Official Biography"
- Milwaukee County Election Commission "Spring 2008 General Election Results"
- Channel 3000 "Walker Expected To Announce Bid For Governor", 27 Apr. 2009
- WISN.com', "Walker Wins Race For Milwaukee County Executive", April 6, 2044
- Milwaukee County, "April 6, 2004 Election Results", accessed February 18, 2011
- Milwaukee County, "April 1, 2008 Election Results", accessed February 18, 2011
- The Daily Reporter, "Walker targets wages and benefits", November 13, 2009
- 'Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Walker says no thanks to federal stimulus dollars", January 6, 2009
- Wall Street Journal, "Union Fight Heats Up", February 17, 2011
- Wisconsin State Journal, "Highlights of Gov. Walker's budget repair bill", February 11, 2011
- Green Bay Press Gazette, "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says National Guard ready for any unrest over anti-union bill", February 11, 2011
- ABC News, "Wisconsin State Senator Mark Miller Calls Governor Scott Walker's Budget Tactics 'Insulting,' Asks for 'Respect'", February 18, 2011
- The Hill, "Wis. governor: GOP won't be 'bullied' by union bill protesters", February 18, 2011
- Fox 6, "Milwaukee Public Schools closed for Friday due to high number of absentee calls from teachers", February 18, 2011
- Green Bay Press Gazette, Wisconsin Democrats flee to Clock Tower Hotel in Rockford, Ill., to block anti-union bill, 17 Feb. 2011
- Bloomberg Businessweek, Senator: Missing Wis. lawmakers left the state, 17 Feb. 2011
- Journal-Sentinal Online, "The Dems' tantrum", February 17, 2011
- Washington Post, "Obama joins Wisconsin's budget battle, opposing Republican anti-union bill", February 18, 2011
- NBC 15, "UPDATE: Madison Schools Go To Court To Get Teachers Back", February 18, 2011
- The Journal Times, "Unions picket Wanggaard home over Walker’s overhaul proposal", February 15, 2011
- Wall Street Journal, "Political Fight Over Unions Escalates", February 22, 2011
- Yahoo News, "Wis. Assembly leader vows to pass anti-union bill", February 22, 2011
- Yahoo News, "Wisconsin governor warns of layoff notices", February 22, 2011
- The Daily Caller, "Wisconsin Senate can eliminate collective bargaining for teachers - even without Democrats who fled", February 21, 2011
- "High court overrules Sumi, says union reform law in effect," Wisconsin Reporter, June 14th, 2011
- "Judge: Collective bargaining bill violated open meetings law," Wisconsin Reporter, May 26, 2011
- "Walker’s commission finds $260 million in potential savings for taxpayers," Wisconsin Reporter, July 13th, 2011
- "Wisconsin elections board: ‘11 will be test for voter ID," Wisconsin Reporter on Statehouse News Online, May 16, 2011
- "Senate OKs budget above din of protesters, "Wisconsin Reporter", June 16th, 2011
- Milwaukee County Elections Commission "2008 Spring Election Results", April 1, 2008
|Governor of Wisconsin
| Succeeded by|
|Milwaukee County Executive
| Succeeded by|
|Wisconsin State Assembly District 14
| Succeeded by|
State of Wisconsin
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