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'Looking forward to it': Governor Tony Evers to seek second term

Posted at 8:00 PM, Jun 05, 2021

Governor Tony Evers is in for 2022. Evers telling TMJ4's Charles Benson he will seek a second term.

Evers' decision comes as a battle looms with Republicans over the state budget and a post-pandemic economy.

During his first term, Governor Evers signed a state budget bill that increased school funding, renegotiated the Foxconn deal that greatly reduces taxpayer's liability and navigated the state through a pandemic.

But Evers says, there's unfinished business.

Benson: So, you want to do this again? You want to run?
Evers: I am going to run, absolutely, looking forward to it.

As Evers looks forward - he's also reflecting on his 30 months in office, much of it defined by the coronavirus crisis.

Benson: How would you assess your role during the pandemic, what worked, what do you think you wish you could have done better?
Evers: Certainly, a lot of things worked.

Republicans pushed back in courts on his Safer at Home order, questioned his mask mandates and criticized him for not moving fast enough to reopen all schools.

But the governor credits mask mandates and scaling up vaccinations with saving lives, plus getting federal Covid relief money back into the economy to help the state recover more quickly.

"We put it into small business people we put it into to our tourism industry so that they can stay alive," said Evers. "That's why today we have a 3.8% unemployment rate, that is still too high, absolutely."

Two points better than the national average in April and among the best in the upper Midwest, but Evers knows the state let down tens of thousands of workers trapped in a broken unemployment system.

"I will admit that did not work out well we had lots of people that waited a long time," said Evers. "But we, that system should have been fixed before I ever got in office."

Unfinished business for Evers includes gun reform to expand universal background checks and expanding Medicaid to take advantage of one billion dollars in additional federal funding.

All issues Republican lawmakers have resisted as they currently are rewriting Evers' state budget requests.

Evers: To say I'm disappointed in some areas, absolutely.
Benson: Any standout?
Evers: Yeah, Medicaid expansion, you know, how can you pass up not accepting a billion dollars?
Benson: Do you think that could change the budget landscape in so many different ways"
Evers: Absolutely, but most importantly it's going to change people's lives.

Evers beat Republican Scott Walker in 2018 by a little more than one percent - the slimmest margin of victory in 20 years for a governor's race.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin says: Evers has nothing to campaign on except a record of incompetence, absent leadership and four years of zero accomplishment," said Anna Kelly, Wisconsin Communications Director.

Possible Republican challengers include former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and former Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson.

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