PEWAUKEE -- Gov. Scott Walker has embarked on a statewide tour seeking input on the state's 2013 budget. Democrats say there's one problem: the public isn't invited to speak.
On his "Talk With Walker Tour," Gov. Walker discusses his budget priorities directly with members of Wisconsin's workforce.
On Thursday, December 6th, Gov. Walker took questions and concerns from workers at Midwest Engineering Systems in Pewaukee. Gov. Walker listened for over an hour to the kinds of kitchen table concerns that most Wisconsin families face.
"One of the big things I feel middle class families get hit with is gas prices and food prices. What are we doing in Wisconsin to try to lower those costs?" one worker asked.
Meanwhile, the state Democratic Party says if Gov. Walker is really open to feedback, the forums should be open to the public. A top Democrat called in political theater.
"It's a dog and pony show. There's no sincerity behind it. It's a total charade. Average Wisconsinites can't get in. It's Scott Walker preaching to the choir, listening to the choir when his party has been introducing some pretty extreme Tea Party stuff," Graeme Zielinski said.
"Political theater is when you hold a public hearing and you bus in hundreds of people on either side of the spectrum," Gov. Walker said.
Gov. Walker says he understands that most Wisconsinites are much more concerned with economic issues than political wedge issues.
"That's part of the reason we hold sessions like this to draw those five priorities and get away from some of the other things other Republicans are talking about," Gov. Walker said.
Jason Edwards is a blue collar worker who says he felt he could have asked Gov. Walker a critical question, but said he thinks it is time to put politics aside.
"You just hear so much of it, it's just nice to have a casual kind of conversation. I agree with some of the stuff he's done and I disagree with some of the stuff he's done," Edwards said.
Gov. Walker will continue his tour, meeting with business owners and factory workers across Wisconsin through January.