Wisconsin’s Choice Candidate Questionnaire
Name: Tony Evers
Previous experience: I’m a lifelong educator who has spent my entire career helping our kids. I’ve run a classroom, a school, a regional organization and now I run the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction which oversees the education of 860,000 public school kids and supervises 100,000 educators and support staff. I’ve won statewide three times, most recently earning 70% of the vote and winning 70 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. Simply put, I know how to run things and I’m the only candidate who can beat Scott Walker.
Hometown: Plymouth, WI
1. Environment and energy
Wisconsin is at a dangerous crossroads. Our lands and natural resources are being auctioned off to the highest bidder, our lakes and streams are disappearing, our drinking water is often unsafe - making our kids sick. We must restore balance and common sense to our natural resources management.
As Governor, I will:
Make sure Wisconsin families have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe
Ensure our kids learn the critical thinking skills to help them make informed, science-based decisions for our future
Return Wisconsin’s rich legacy of conservation by restoring independence to the DNR, so decisions are based on facts and public input
Invest in our natural resources to create new outdoor recreation opportunities
Pledge Wisconsin’s support of the Paris Climate Change Accords
We have a world-class research university right here in our backyard – we are missing a golden opportunity to develop new, innovative solutions that make the most of Wisconsin’s wind, air and water. Instead of funding these opportunities – Walker has cut funding from programs like the Wisconsin Energy Institute and the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative – I will invest in them.
Develop policies that encourage property owners to install solar panels, wind turbines and other renewable energy alternatives
Too few people have access to affordable health insurance and the cost of healthcare in Wisconsin continues to be too high. Period.
There’s only one reason that Minnesotans pay half the price Wisconsinites do when purchasing health insurance through the state exchanges – Minnesota accepted the Medicaid expansion dollars and properly created their exchanges and Wisconsin did not.
As Governor, I will:
Take immediate action to accept the federal Medicaid expansion dollars which would insure thousands more Wisconsinites who are struggling to find affordable health insurance
Support BadgerCare-for-All legislation
Do everything in my power to stabilize health insurance markets and bring down costs – including prescription drug prices
Invest in preventive health programs, especially for Wisconsin women, that have been defunded over the last seven years
Extend protections for Wisconsinites with pre-existing health conditions. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 2 Wisconsinites have some kind of pre-existing health condition.
Expand programs to increase diversity of our health providers and add high-need health providers in Wisconsin, especially in our rural communities
3. Education (all levels)
Our public schools are the heart and soul of so many Wisconsin communities but they also are essential to sustainable, innovative and long-term economic growth and workforce development. Furthermore, research shows that strong public schools are a leading factor in why millenials stay in Wisconsin, especially in our rural communities.
I believe what’s best for our kids is what’s best for our future.
As Governor, I will:
Increase investments in early childhood education and quality childcare, which also includes helping Wisconsin families with skyrocketing childcare costs
Increase funding for our public schools and restore respect and professionalism toward all our hardworking educators
Increase investments in both our technical schools and UW System
Support and reward research and innovation from student and faculty alike, and after graduation we must do everything we can to keep these kids in Wisconsin
Work to increase pay of all K-12/UW personnel
4. Voting rights and campaign finance
Over the last seven years, Scott Walker and the Republican legislature have changed our voting dates, attempted to kick hundreds of thousands off our voting rolls, implemented Voter ID, made it easier for voter intimidation at the polls and gerrymandered our legislative maps to secure their power.
We shouldn’t be making it harder for Wisconsinites to vote, we should be making it easier! Wisconsin should be following the lead of states like Oregon that have automatic voter registration for their residents. As Governor, I will work to make sure every single vote counts and increase opportunities for all Wisconsinites to participate in our democracy, including repealing many of these disastrous laws. I am strongly in favor of non-partisan redistricting reform.
From Waukesha to Osceola to Reedsburg, nearly 120 communities across Wisconsin have expressed their support for overturning Citizens United. Our elections should not be awarded to the highest bidder. It’s time we returned power to the people of Wisconsin. As Governor, I would support legislation overturning Citizens United and other commonsense campaign finance reform that would clean up Wisconsin’s elections.
5. Public safety, policing, and mass incarceration
According to The Sentencing Project, African Americans are more than five times more likely than whites to be in imprisoned. However, here in Wisconsin, that ratio is doubled (10:1). From education to health care to criminal justice – bold reforms must be made.
The fact Wisconsin spends more on Corrections than the entire UW System speaks volumes about our priorities as a state.
There are a number of policies that we as a state must change. As Governor, I will support:
Ending crimeless revocations
Banning the box
Eliminating mandatory minimums
Ending the use of solitary confinement (especially with juveniles)
Investing in drug courts, Treatment and Diversion (TAD) programs and restorative justice strategies
Increased transparency, accountability and communication with our communities in policing
Fixing our broken parole system which only contributes to our high incarceration levels while also keeping families apart
Increasing access to affordable housing, employment with good wages, and other needed support for a successful re-entry for those who have completed their sentence
6. Wages and workers rights
I support raising the minimum wage to $15/hour and indexing to inflation.
In 2014, 13 Wisconsin counties and cities voted in support of raising Wisconsin’s minimum wage.
It’s time we started treating all Wisconsin workers – including our public employees – with respect and compassion.
I am committed to filling my appointments with people who actually have expertise and knowledge in their respective fields, not simply filling government with more political hacks who will rubber stamp policies. We must give our workers a seat at the table - listening to their concerns and hearing their ideas. We can do this on day one and don’t need to pass a bill to treat Wisconsinites with the dignity they deserve.
I vehemently oppose Act 10, Right-to-Work and changes made by the GOP to Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws.
A strong infrastructure is more than just patching potholes. It’s key for successful economic development – both in terms of drawing new businesses to Wisconsin, expanding existing businesses in Wisconsin and creating good-paying Wisconsin jobs.
As Governor, I will:
Work with both Democrats and Republicans alike to enact a sustainable, long- term fix for how we fund our roads
Invest more in local road maintenance
Increase funding for public transit
Ensure our highways and bridges are no longer a liability, but an asset for bringing new industries and businesses to Wisconsin
Repeal changes made to Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws that simply takes money out of Wisconsin worker's pockets
Make the investments necessary to expand broadband service statewide
A recent study shows that Wisconsin ranked nearly dead last in average download internet speeds. High speed internet should be available in every single home and business in Wisconsin. Statewide broadband is simply another asset for bringing new industries to Wisconsin, keeping millenials in Wisconsin and reducing costs for existing Wisconsin businesses.
Respect. Tolerance. Inclusivity. It starts with leading by example, which is something I have done over my career as an educator, principal and now as State Superintendent. It is time for Wisconsin to turn a new page.
Open lines of communication are critical – with both immigrant communities and local law enforcement. Miscommunication is all too often the root of problems and frankly a goal for those seeking to divide us. Combating false information, building trust and providing adequate community resources are important pieces of the solution if we are going to build our communities up instead of giving in to federal fear.
I would veto abhorrent legislation (like AB 190) meant to intimidate, scare and punish families in Wisconsin, simply based on the color of their skin.
I support in-state tuition for undocumented students and would support driver’s cards for undocumented workers. As Governor, I would direct the Attorney General to join the lawsuit challenging President Trump’s termination of the DACA program.
9. Jobs and the economy
Despite over a billion dollars in tax breaks for big corporations with the Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit (MAC), manufacturing jobs have decreased, manufacturing wages have gone down and, in 2017, western Wisconsin led the nation in farm bankruptcies. With MAC fully phased in, 11 multimillionaires, making over $35 million a year, received $22 million in tax breaks and didn’t have to create one single Wisconsin job. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work and neither do $4.5+ billion Hail Mary passes to foreign corporations like Foxconn.
As Governor, I will:
Disband WEDC and return the majority of economic development dollars to local communities and regional organizations. We should work within our communities to rebuild our main streets and grow our existing businesses.
Ensure access to high speed broadband in every Wisconsin home and business
Invest in our roads, bridges, ports and airports, which not only brings new businesses and industries to Wisconsin, but leads to more good paying Wisconsin jobs
Increase our investment in education which includes starting our kids off right with strong early childhood programs, fully funding our K-12 public schools which helps keep class sizes small and allows for the diversified curriculum our kids need for a well-rounded education.
Hold Foxconn’s feet to the fire. As the recipient of $4.5 billion in taxpayer funded assistance, we must require them to offer family-supporting wages, benefits and transportation for production workers living in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha.
Of the issues above, which three areas will you prioritize as governor of Wisconsin?
Public education, wages/job growth, infrastructure/broadband
In the best case scenario, what does good governance look like? Who should the governor of Wisconsin work alongside or in coalition with?
Everyone. Scott Walker has relied on “Divide and Conquer” and top-down decision making based on the interests of his campaign donors and special interest friends for far too long.
It’s time we said enough is enough. Instead of giving them a seat at the table, it’s time we returned that power to where it belongs: the people of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin has been a place of respect, commonsense and balance – we can get there again.
We are state with a long tradition of working together and advancing policies that help, not hurt Wisconsin families.
Unlike every other candidate in this race – I can hit the ground running on day one. I’ve run a school, a district and now a state agency. I lead by example and I know what management and mismanagement looks like. I won’t appoint political hacks who do what they’re told. I’ll appoint individuals with real-world experience and expertise in their issue areas. I’ll advocate for those who need a voice and listen to those who haven’t been heard. We can Wisconsin back on the right track but we can only do it if we work together.
What efforts is your campaign making to recruit and engage volunteers?
Volunteers are at the heart of our campaign. With nearly 20 college-aged interns – we work with our young kids to not only advance our policies and political goals, we work with them on developing their skills and political acumen. We’ve held meet and greet events in dozens of Wisconsin communities, many of which are hosted by volunteers, and have served as prime opportunities to cultivate a new base of volunteers. Furthermore, between our nomination signatures program, our phone banking program and our fundraising program, we have assembled a strong corps of volunteers that will carry us to victory on Primary Election Day.