The Washington Times - January 26, 2013, 02:46PM

Despite taking their lumps in the November election, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Saturday that Republicans should be “optimistic” about the future because the conservative movement is thriving on the state level.

Mr. Walker told the crowd gathered here for a National Review Institute summit in Washington that Republicans now control the governorships in 30 of the 50 states and nearly half of the state legislatures — putting them in a position to make “bold” moves on tax, entitlement and education policy.

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“The conservative moment, more often than not, has come from the states and from the local government, not from Washington,” Mr. Walker said, adding that former President Ronald Reagan said in an inaugural address that “it is important to remember that the states inform the country, not the other way around.”

Mr. Walker rose to national prominence leading a successful — and controversial — effort to strip many collective-bargaining rights from teachers and other government employees in his state, as part of a broader effort that aimed at putting the state on a firmer fiscal footing.

The push landed him in the crosshairs of unions, which led an effort to recall Mr. Walker. The 45-year-old beat back the effort.