Gov. Scott Walker: College degree not a ‘requirement’ for higher office
(CNN) — Gov. Scott Walker has suggested it’s not necessary for a presidential candidate to have a college degree — after all, he didn’t need one to become governor of Wisconsin.
Walker, who’s a possible 2016 Republican presidential contender, was asked at an event Wednesday if he thinks someone seeking the Oval Office should have a college degree.
“I got to be governor without it,” he said of not having a college degree. “So I don’t think it’s any base requirement out there.”
Walker made his comments to reporters after speaking with students at an elementary school in Middleton, Wisconsin, a suburb northwest of Madison.
He pointed to his rise through Wisconsin’s political ranks as evidence that voters judge officials based on their performance in office, not by whether they have a diploma.
“I don’t think I needed a college degree to be in the state assembly or to be county executive or to be governor. I don’t know about any other position,” he said. “But in the end I think most people, for example [as] governor, judge me based on performance and what we’re able to do.”
Walker attended Milwaukee’s Marquette University but left during his senior year to take a job with the American Red Cross. The Badger State executive has said recently that he’s considering going back to school through the University of Wisconsin school system’s “Flexible Options” program to finish his degree.
“For me it would not be for any requirement for example to be governor as much as it would be ultimately to send a message encouraging others,” he said.
Walker touted the university’s program as a viable option for non-traditional students to earn a degree, particularly adults like him, who dropped out of school to get a job, whether out of necessity or for an employment opportunity. The program provides online classes with more self-paced curriculums and flexible schedules.
Walker, first elected in 2010, gained national notoriety from conservatives after surviving a recall effort sparked by a budget-balancing initiative that stripped collective bargaining rights from most public unions. After a more than year-long battle within the state, Walker won the 2012 recall election, topping Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, 53% to 46% in a rematch of the 2010 contest.
Walker has repeatedly dodged questions about his plans for 2016, telling top GOP donors at a Las Vegas event last month that, “Any Republican who’s talking about anything other than 2014 is doing a disservice both to the party and to the country.”
And it makes sense that the incumbent governor isn’t getting too far ahead of himself. He’s up for re-election this year. Wisconsin surveys show Walker with a slight edge over his Democratic challenger, Mary Burke.
Still, Walker has refused to commit to serving out a full, four-year term as governor if reelected later this year.