Wisconsin’s 45th governor, Scott Walker, who turned his state’s economy around while repeatedly defying Democratic and labor union efforts to drive him from office, is bringing his talents and insights to The Washington Times.
The two-term Republican governor will be writing a weekly column Fridays for The Times, sharing his thoughts on politics, policies and the news of the day. It debuts today and will run Fridays exclusively in the newspaper and at WashingtonTimes.com.
In his two terms in Madison, Mr. Walker was a prominent member of a class of Republican governors who led a renaissance at the state level in the wake of the 2008 Great Recession. The former Milwaukee County executive — the first Republican to hold that post — came into office in January 2011 at a time when the state government faced a $3.6 billion deficit and after Wisconsin’s unemployment rate had peaked at 9.3 percent in 2010.
By the time he left office eight years later, the jobless rate fell below 3 percent (a record low), state taxes had been cut (more than $8 billion), investment in education was on the rise, and the state budget was in surplus every year of his tenure.
“Common-sense conservative ideas are making a comeback and they are turning our states around,” Mr. Walker said. “We have a great story to tell and I am excited to share it with the readers of The Washington Times!”
Mr. Walker famously faced down the state’s powerful public-sector unions, pushing through a law to limit collective bargaining for most state employees in the face of ferocious opposition from state Democrats.
That opposition coalesced into an effort to recall Mr. Walker from office in 2012. In a political clash that attracted national attention, Mr. Walker became the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall drive, actually winning more votes in the special election than he had received in the general election two years before.
A top target of national Democrats once again in the 2014 midterm elections, Mr. Walker defeated Democratic challenger Mary Burke with nearly 55 percent of the vote to win a second, four-year term.
“Gov. Walker’s experience on the front lines of policy and political battles will bring a unique, insightful perspective to our readers,” said Christopher Dolan, president and executive editor of The Times. “We are very pleased he chose to call The Times home.”
Mr. Walker launched a brief bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2015 before dropping out and eventually endorsing Donald Trump. Despite receiving 34,000 more votes than in 2014, he was defeated for a third term as governor in November.
Mr. Walker brings to his column the practical experience of governing a once-reliably blue state that is now fiercely contested between the two parties.
During his two terms in office, Wisconsin went from being ranked as one of the worst states to do business in to one of the most competitive, cited for its strong universities and health care system, sound government finances and varied tourism opportunities. His pro-market policies paid off in a big way when Taiwanese high-tech manufacturer Foxconn selected Racine County for a major new plant after an extensive national site search last year.
Mr. Walker attended Marquette University, is the proud owner of a 2003 Harley-Davidson Road King, and lives with his wife, Tonette, in Milwaukee close to their grown sons, Matt and Alex.