Governor, Republican leaders outline next term

Governor, Republican leaders outline next term

Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers are mapping out their second term together.

Walker met with his cabinet Wednesday and told agency heads he plans to be even more aggressive in pursuing his agenda with an even larger Republican majority. The governor said he doesn’t want to simply continue what agencies have been doing, but use his re-election as a golden opportunity to do something different.

Walker was welcomed into his conference room by huge applause and a round of hugs, then led the cabinet meeting with wife Tonette Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch at his sides.

He told his top brass that he wanted them to start fresh.

“Let’s take this time over the next two months as we prepare to be sworn in again as your governor and lieutenant governor, let’s take the time to look agency by agency, division by division, employee by employee and really say what do we do well, what do we need to keep doing and what do we need to do better and what do we not need to be doing at all,” Walker said. “I think this is a tremendous opportunity to look closely at that to provide more effective, more efficient and more accountable government for the people of this great state.”

Republican leaders in the Assembly also met with the press Wednesday to talk about a likely new 63-seat majority in that house, which is the largest GOP advantage since 1957. They said they intend on working quickly on a school accountability bill, reform of the Government Accountability Board and changing Common Core standards.

“It’s an exciting time to be a conservative Republican because we get the chance to showcase again why Wisconsin has chosen correctly and we are going to do what we promised, which is to focus on creating jobs and reforming government,” Assembly Speaker Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said.

“In the case of this agenda the speaker has outlined, I have criss-crossed the state the last few months and talked to each of our candidates in great detail,” Assembly Minority Leader Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said. “Nary one of the issues were ever mentioned. No citizen has brought up when I knocked on doors that we need to reform the GAB.”

Barca pinned the loss of new seats in his house to independent expenditures by voucher school groups.

Both houses of the legislature will now move forward with leadership elections next week. Barca may get a challenge for minority leader from Milwaukee, Democrat Evan Goyke. There’s a three-way race right now for GOP majority leader between Reps. Jim Steineke, Andre Jacque and Joan Ballweg. There are also indications Sen. Jennifer Schilling of La Crosse may challenge Sen. Chris Larson Milwaukee for minority leader in the senate.