Governor Scott Walker continued his tradition of year-end interviews Wednesday. He skipped it last year, shortly after ending his run for president. Since then, a lot has changed.
Does he still have aspirations to be president?
"Someday maybe," he says. "Maybe 12 or 18 years from now. I'm actually more than 20 years younger than Donald Trump, so I could wait awhile. I wouldn't do it again as Governor. It's part of the reason why I wasn't a great candidate. I was too busy being Governor. One of the things I learned is that f you want to run, it's better to do it when your day-to-day duties are over."
Does that mean he wants to run for another term as Governor?
"I'll make an announcement sometime after the budget comes out, because I need to focus on that first," he says. "There's a real chance the federal government might give us an opportunity to do all the things we haven't been able to do for the past almost eight years. Six years that I've been governor. I'd love to have that chance. To do that, I would probably need one more term. If I ran this time, this would be it. I'd not run again."
Walker has more allies in Washington now. Vice President-elect Mike Pence is a very close friend.
"We talk on the phone probably two or three times a week," Walker says.
He also joked about coming up in Wisconsin's political scene with House Speaker Paul Ryan (from Janesville) and Donald Trump's soon-to-be Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus (from Kenosha).
"People often ask what was in the water back then," Walker jokes. "I say it was probably beer more than anything! We've known each other for years. So, there will be some good synergy and willingness to work together."
It seems Walker is warming up to the idea of Trump as president.
"It's no secret that Trump was not my first pick," he says. "Obviously I was my own first pick! But when I look at the totality of things, he was definitely the better of the two choices in the end, and I think he's going to surprise a lot of people. I'm excited about what he's able to do. One of the best things, that gave me respect for him, was the choice of Mike Pence as his running mate. I told them though, put up or shut up. They have to push major reform and they need to do it soon, within the first 100 days."
Here are some goals Walker is focusing on for Wisconsin, in 2017.
"We want to do drug testing on some of our welfare recipients," he says. "My number one priority in this budget is more money for K-12 public education. After that, we'll put more into the University of Wisconsin system and our Wisconsin Technical College system. Six years ago, it was all about jobs. Now, it's all about a skilled workforce."
He also spoke about the need to finish big road projects, and better screen Syrian refugees. He says Wisconsin's economy is growing, and that he'll release his proposed state budget in February.
Next month, Walker will be in our nation's capitol to watch Trump get sworn in as President. It will be the first inauguration he attends as Governor.
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