I am not a Scott Walker fan. Anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t have any respect for him or the decisions he has made as Wisconsin’s Governor. So the prospect of Wisconsin schools Superintendent Tony Evers running against Walker as a democrat in the upcoming election is exciting. We desperately need some change in Wisconsin, and perhaps Evers could provide some.
Walker, in his third term as Governor, has changed the way Wisconsin is seen by the whole country. He has turned our historically progressive state into a disaster, his critics calling it “Wis-issipi.” As a Wisconsin native I do not think I can really get behind that nickname, but I do see the change his governing has made. His anti-worker and anti-public education stances have earned him praise by his GOP counterparts; however, to the majority of Wisconsinite’s he does not deserve any such praise.
I was a sophomore in high school when his attacks on union rights began with Act 10 in 2011, where almost all collective bargaining rights of public employees to union representation were abolished. At my high school alone we lost more than a dozen teachers to layoffs, one being my journalism teacher. I vividly remember that day, hearing her tearfully tell us that she’d gotten an email with the news. I’ll move past the unprofessional manner by which she received that news for another time, but regardless, six years later, the repercussions of Walker’s bill is still being felt.
I have educators in my family and I have been taught by some of the best Wisconsin has to offer and to see them so blatantly disregarded by Walker angers me still. I marched with teachers and supporters around the capitol in Madison. Teachers are so crucial in our society, and yet they are so under-valued, and that day in Madison you could see that. You could see the tears in the retired teacher’s eyes, or the fear in the recently graduated’s. It is something that’s hard to move past.
So yeah, I’m not a fan of Walker. He has gone against his promises more times than I count, including signing the latest anti-union “right-to-work” bill. The bill will weaken bargaining power for private-sector unions more than it already is, and worse yet, the bill has racist roots.
He’s been in office for much too long, and it is time for a very real change. Mary Burke tried to rise to the challenge in 2014, however that didn’t work. So now Tony Evers has risen to the challenge, and I hope for the sake of my home state, he succeeds.
Evers has over 30 years of public education experience and has been Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction since April 2009. He started off as a teacher and principal in Tomah before becoming superintendent in Oakfield and Verona school districts, and then continuing to rise through the ranks.
He is vocally opposed the proposed cuts by President Trump and Education Secretary Besty DeVos. The massive cuts would end up eliminating after-school and other school-based programs, as well as teacher training grants. Evers has also faced criticism from Republicans for adopting Common Core State Standards.
In all reality, Evers would have to raise millions of dollars and be prepared to fight Walker, unfortunately, one of the most successful politicians Wisconsin has seen in a long time. And Evers may not be the answer that Wisconsin is looking for, as state democrats have not decided on a candidate yet. But the fact that he’s even a potential candidate says something.
I would love to see Walker fall short of another term, like his failed presidential campaign, but it might not be a reality if Evers can’t get a core support and enough money to take on the, sure to be, heinous attack ads that Walker will send out.
For so many of us Wisconsinites, the post-election shock and sadness hasn’t worn off yet, and the thought of a democratic governor could really turn the table, both mentally and also in the much larger government picture. Right now we just have someone who is willingly and openly praising Trump in all his glory, and continuing to create a Wisconsin that I’m not always proud to admit I’m from.
Whenever I’m out of Wisconsin and asked where I’m from, the majority of the reactions are “Oh, you have that Governor Walker huh?” Yes, I do. It’s a dirty badge that I haven’t shined in years, and it makes me sad to be associated with someone whose choices prompted my beloved journalism teacher leaving all those years ago, along with the countless others who have been effected by his decisions.
I would love a governor whose badge I could wear with pride, and to see Wisconsin rise again to its former glory. Perhaps Evers could be that governor, who knows?