MADISON (WITI) -- State lawmakers are holding public hearings on the state budget proposal, but Governor Scott Walker has been out of the state for much of the last month. So is that a problem?
Republicans say they're constantly in touch with Governor Walker, but Democrats say he's out of touch with Wisconsin.
As Governor Walker criss-crosses the country -- from Iowa, to New Hampshire to South Carolina -- ahead of a possible 2016 presidential bid, is he leaving Wisconsin behind?
"I would say the Governor is just as accessible as he has always been. I think that Govenor Walker is engaged. I've seen him. We've talked about numerous topics. I don't feel the need to have Governor Walker telling us on a daily basis what he wants us to do. It's our job as a Legislature now. We're the ones who sit down and say 'what do we think about his ideas' and negotiate," Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said.
The Republican co-chairman of the Legislature's budget-writing committee says Governor Walker's job is to propose the budget, and the Legislature's job is to debate it.
"This is my third budget, and the Governor's never been in the room when we've been working on the budget," Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) said.
This week, Governor Walker was the subject of lengthy profiles in national publications, including the New York Times and Time Magazine. He is at or near the top of polls in early primary states, but his job approval rating in Wisconsin is falling -- with the majority of people now disapproving of his job performance. Nearly two-thirds of voters say they don't want him to run for president.
Governor Walker is peppering his out-of-state stump speech with references to how he continues to stay engaged at home.
"I was in my Capitol this morning. I've been there the last two days, much like Governor Haley, working on the budget, meeting with lawmakers and so forth," Governor Walker said.
"This is a similar pattern that we've seen with Scott Walker. He's done this extreme budget that is not realistic, and he's left it in the hands of the GOP and the Democrats to be able to fix the budget. Is it necessary for us to buckle down and do the right thing, regardless if the leader at the helm is there, or has abandoned ship, like the captain who abandoned ship with those people on those cruises -- that's what it feels like with this budget. This isn't my budget, but this is the budget of the person who has chosen presidential politics over the people of Wisconsin," Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) said.
Walker will be the headline speaker at a luncheon hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. He is scheduled to give remarks at the Wednesday, March 25th event in downtown Phoenix.
He has not yet officially announced he is running for president in 2016.