Wisconsin politicians to play prominent role at RNC

Gov. Walker to speak at Republican National Convention

Wisconsin politicians will play a prominent role in this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

The convention was officially called into session Monday, but it quickly went into recess until Tuesday because of Tropical Storm Issac passing through.

The Wisconsin delegation started with a breakfast Monday, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, a Wisconsin native, received a standing ovation.

Priebus, along with Gov. Scott Walker and Paul Ryan, are putting Wisconsin politics front and center, and giving Wisconsin delegates some of the best seats in the house.

Priebus was followed by Walker, who emphasized the importance of Wisconsin in the November election. Walker is a featured speaker at the convention for Tuesday night.

For state delegates such as Bryan Steil of Janesville and former 2nd District Rep. Scott Klug, it’s a special week for the Badger State.

“Absolutely, it doesn’t hurt to have the chairman of the national party from the home state, and Paul Ryan from the home state as well,” Steil said. “We’ve seen a lot of changes in Wisconsin recently. We really made a statement in Wisconsin as to what we need to do fiscally, and I think we’re going to see that on the national level come November.”

“So there’s a sense of excitement and enthusiasm around Wisconsin that I’ve never seen at the convention before, and I think that’s what makes it fun for all of us from the state,” Klug said.

With Priebus running the show and Ryan one of its stars, Walker is set to give perhaps the biggest speech of his political career Tuesday night.

“It’s really going to be more of a conversation. Surprisingly, not a huge amount about Paul, a fair amount about putting Paul on the ticket. It says more about Mitt Romney than it does just about Paul Ryan,” Walker said.

Walker said he will talk about his last year and half in office at the Republican National Convention. When Walker took office in 2011, he faced a $3.6 billion shortfall and part of his solution included requiring state workers to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits, deep cuts to public education, local governments and state agency spending.

His budget also took away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most workers. It triggered the recall effort that he survived in June. He’s the first governor in history to survive a recall attempt.

In a conference call with reporters Monday from Tampa, he said he planned to keep his Tuesday night speech tight and also highlight one resident who benefited from his policies.

WISC-TV’s live team coverage of the Republican National Convention continues through Thursday. WISC-TV’s Jessica Arp will join Eric Franke in Tampa. WISC-TV will broadcast live reports from Tampa at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., and will air special extended newscasts at 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.