MADISON -- Jobs will likely be one of the top issues in the upcoming gubernatorial recall election. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says Gov. Scott Walker didn't have a serious jobs plan in 2010 and recent jobs numbers are proof.
Barrett says if you want to understand why Wisconsin leads the nation in job loss, you first have to understand a key moment from the 2010 campaign for governor. Barrett released a detailed 67-page jobs plan, and days later, Scott Walker unveiled his.
"They had a five-page plan that they increased the font size so that it would stretch to 68 pages to belittle my 67-page plan. I don't think that joke seems very funny right now," Barrett said.
The first page of Walker's plan said: "One of the keys to the..." Another page said "Of all the reasons a business may have for not..."
Barrett says the plan wasn't serious. "The humor he found in that -- to belittle a very serious jobs plan, and now we're faced with the worst jobs record in the country, underscores that he never took that seriously. It was a joke to him in 2010 and it's a very sad joke on the people of this state right now," Barrett said.
Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs from March of 2011 to March of 2012. The most recent jobs report shows the state lost 4,500 jobs in March 2012 - almost all of them from the metro-Milwaukee region.
"Am I frustrated by it? You bet I'm frustrated by it. But I'm frustrated because I do not have a partner. I did not have a partner as county executive when he was county executive, and I do not have a partner now as governor of the state who wants to create jobs," Barrett said.
The Walker campaign says the Milwaukee area is dragging down the state's job numbers - a point Walker is hammering home in a new TV ad. "If you look at the preliminary report Wisconsin lost 4,500 jobs. 4,400 of them were from Milwaukee, so we want to focus in on Milwaukee. As Milwaukee goes, so will the state of Wisconsin go," Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson said.
In Milwaukee Thursday, April 26th, Newson touted Gov. Walker's record, saying Walker's budget reforms are taking root, and restoring confidence. "Businesses feel very good about the direction the state is going in," Newson said.
The campaign is increasingly becoming a duel between Barrett and Walker, but the Democratic primary is 11 days away, and Kathleen Falk continues her fight for the nomination. Thursday, Falk held a press conference to underscore she is still in the race.
"Governor Walker failed so miserably to produce jobs and was so successful at harming healthcare, harming the environment and harming education," Falk said.