MILWAUKEE -- On the morning after the recall primary election, Gov. Scott Walker pushed his message -- that he is the one who can move Wisconsin forward. He did so Wednesday, May 9th at a manufacturing conference in Milwaukee.
The gubernatorial recall race is a rematch between Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who faced off in the race for governor back in 2010.
During his appearance at the manufacturing conference Wednesday, Gov. Walker wasted no time drawing a contrast between his record and that of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Gov. Walker said his reforms have worked in other parts of the state, but that Barrett hasn't been a willing partner in Milwaukee.
Walker served as the Milwaukee County Executive for much of Barrett's tenure as Milwaukee's mayor, but Walker is making the case that Milwaukee, under Barrett's leadership, has been a drag on the state's economic recovery, while the rest of the state has flourished under Walker's reforms.
"In our case, we look at the benefits of the state as a whole. Elsewhere where they had effective leadership at the city level, we did better partnering with them. We have spent a more than a year putting together a transform Milwaukee plan because there's a lack of leadership. There is no plan for economic development in the city of Milwaukee," Walker said.
Milwaukee has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, trailing only Racine and Janesville. "In the city of Milwaukee we've seen the unemployment rate go up 28 percent over the last 8 years. In my 15 months in office, we've had a net gain of jobs and unemployment has gone down to 6.8 percent -- the lowest it's been since 2008. During the mayor's eight years it's gone up 28 percent," Walker said.
The governor is presenting the campaign as a simple choice -- going forward under his reforms -- or going backwards if Barrett is elected.
Barrett has repeatedly drawn attention to the Labor Bureau statistics that show from March of 2011 to March of 2012 Wisconsin lost more jobs than any other state in the country. Walker says those numbers are preliminary and could change when the final data is tallied.
The most recent Marquette University Law School poll shows jobs as the number one issue for voters in the recall.
Conservative voters turned out in large numbers for an uncompetitive primary Tuesday, May 8th. Gov. Walker sees that as a sign the momentum is on his side.
"It showed that there are a tremendous amount of voters in the state in a primary that seemingly didn't mean much were eager to cast a vote for us. I think is a good sign and that people are feeling positive about our leadership and the direction we've taken to move this state forward and people are equally concerned about not wanting to go backwards with the agenda we've heard from our opposition," Walker said.