WISCONSIN — The I-Team has been investigating the failures of the state's unemployment system for months. There are 26,000 individuals who are still waiting for benefits.
"Yeah, and I do apologize for that," said Governor Tony Evers. "Certainly, that is not that is not what we want wanted to happen."
Evers says the Department of Workforce Development will clear the backlog by the end of the year.
"We will, as part of our budget, we will be having a solution to that," said Evers. "That system is so chaotic and old. A lot of the work still has to be done by hand, which just doesn't work."
Healthcare workers in Wisconsin are already getting the COVID-19 vaccine - many more are waiting. The state received 35,000 Pfizer doses - about 15,000 fewer than expected. Another 100,000 doses coming from Moderna, some are here - more are on the way.
Benson: Are you confident you will get enough vaccines to address at least the healthcare workers and people in long term care facilities by next month?
Evers: I think the number of vaccines will be in place. It's a matter of getting them in people's arms and making sure that happens in a way that works for everybody. So yes, I'm confident.
Benson: How soon do you expect that you would get the vaccine.
Evers: Oh, I'm down towards the end of the line. I don't want, I don't want to jump in front of anybody.
Evers also facing big budget decisions in 2021. The state's two-year budget will largely be shaped by the financial toll of the pandemic.
For now, Governor Evers and Republican lawmakers can't find common ground on a COVID-19 relief bill to address testing, tracing and businesses still struggling.
Evers: I'm not opposed to continue talking, but we should be able to agree on the ones that we agree on and get them done.
Benson: But do you see anything getting done in 2021?
Evers: Well, certainly, there will have to be a budget.
The new year will mark the midpoint for Governor Evers' first term in office - one question is sure to come up.
Benson: Will you run in 2022?
Evers: Yeah, I've given it some minor thought, believe me, but we're busy working on budget, working on COVID. I'm not prepared to make that announcement or not make that announcement.
Benson: Do you feel though you'll have to make a signal on that in 2021 so that people know if you're in this for another term.
Evers: Well, my actions aren't going to be changed one way or the other. I'm going to do the best job I can.
A job that continues to be challenged by the pandemic and politics.