Former Trek Bicycle executive Mary Burke has officially entered the race for governor.
Burke, a Democrat, made the announcement Monday morning. The Harvard-educated former business executive has also led the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and sits on the Madison School Board.
In her announcement, Burke said she believes Wisconsin workers can compete with anyone in the world.
“Wisconsin ranks 45th out of 50 states in projected job growth. We’re fifth from the bottom. I’m running for Governor because we can do better than that. A lot better. But to do it, we've got to make some real changes in Madison," she said.
The release states that during Burke’s tenure leading the Department of Commerce the state’s unemployment rate was 4.8 percent, representing 84,000 more jobs than there are in Wisconsin now.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin issued a release Monday morning stating Burke was part of an administration that left the state with a $3.6 billion deficit , higher taxes and job losses. The release also stated that Burke spent more than $100,000 of her own money on a school board race and will spend her own money on the gubernatorial race.
Burke is the daughter of Richard Burke, who founded Trek Bicycle in 1976 in Waterloo. She worked for the company in a variety of capacities, including as its director of European operations, helping to start and oversee companies in seven countries.
Burke left Trek in 2005, when then-Gov. Jim Doyle tapped her to serve as Commerce Department secretary. She held the post for two years.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker is seeking re-election in 2014 after winning the governor's office in 2010 and surviving a recall last year.