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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Gov. Scott Walker, State Sen. Leah Vukmir visit campus to promote political involvement

Larson Seaver
Photo by Helen Dudley
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker talks during an event hosted by the College Republicans.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker visited Marquette’s campus Monday night to talk with students from the Marquette University College Republicans about how college students can be pivotal in elections through their votes and support. 

Walker touched on subjects including tax reform, K-12 education, the second amendment and the current political climate. The governor, who is up for re-election in November, also pushed his accomplishments over the past eight years to 40 attendees.

“People are finding not just jobs, but careers. The economy is doing well,” Walker said. “Heck, our health care systems are ranked number one in the nation for quality. Our colleges and universities are doing well. We’re transitioning people off of welfare. We’re doing all sorts of positive things for the people of the state of Wisconsin.”

State Sen. Leah Vukmir was also in attendance to promote her U.S. Senate campaign. Even though Walker’s wife, Tonette Walker, endorsed Vukmir in the Sun Prairie Star, the governor said he is not endorsing her until after the Republican primary.

“I’m neutral in this,” he said. “I know her obviously very well in all of this, but with my own race, I’ll end up supporting the Republican who wins the primary.”

Podcast by Ian Schrank

Walker was a student at Marquette from 1986 to spring 1990 before discontinuing his studies. He commented on the change in political activism on campus.

“(When College Republicans would run campaigns in the past) it was to get up and go help the campaign somewhere else in the metropolitan Milwaukee area,” he said. “You can make a difference right here on campus.”

He said the close number of votes in the 2012 governor election were among 18-24-year-olds, an age group which heavily affected the outcome.

“In the end, if you up the numbers a little bit in a close election statewide, you can make a difference,” Walker said.

He also pointed to college conservative groups as being a gateway to informing younger generations about the ideals of the Republican party.

We don’t always do a good job of telling you millennials this,” Walker said. “(Democrats) want to tell you how to live your life and what to do with it. (Republicans) actually think that you’re pretty good at doing that. As long as you’re not hurting the health or safety of others, go out and do that.”

Walker said in his speech that the key for Republican voters is to be optimistic and organized.

“The wake-up call is that we can’t assume that our friends and neighbors and classmates and others know about the positive things we’re doing for the people of Wisconsin,” he said. “To me, the way you counter the anger and hate of the left is not through more anger. You counter it with two simple things. I call it the two ‘O’s’: optimism and organization.”

Walker said Wisconsin is a state that gets things done. He said he understands why people are frustrated with Washington D.C. because policy and legislation are so slow moving, but he feels Wisconsin can lead the way. As an example, he pointed to his new school safety package, which rolled out last Thursday after an audience member asked if he was planning to “keep the Second Amendment intact or poke any holes in it.”

The governor said his $100 million plan would allocate about $115 per public school student. It would function as a grant and allow schools to implement safety changes where they feel are necessary, like adding public safety officers or making physical changes to the building. There is also series of other changes such as modifications in mandatory reporting for threats, bullying and revisions in basic training and safety and trauma-informed care.

U.S. Senate candidate Vukmir, who is running against Kevin Nicholson in the Republican primary this August to determine who will challenge Democrat incumbent Tammy Baldwin in November, took the floor in the basement of Cudahy Hall after Walker to share how and why she got involved in politics and what her platform is. The state senator spoke highly of Walker and shared the close relationship they have had throughout her political career, as she has held many of the same positions he used to.

She emphasized the importance for students to get involved in campaigns and to take advantage of the College of Republicans — something she never remembers being prevalent back when she was at Marquette from 1976-’80.

Vukmir said she does not think current Democratic Sen. Baldwin is a good fit for Wisconsin.

“I look at Tammy Baldwin, and Tammy Baldwin doesn’t represent the Wisconsinites,” Vukmir said. “She stands so far to the left she makes Chuck Schumer look like a moderate.”

She said she is “chomping at the bit” to debate Baldwin and “can’t wait to run circles around her.” Vukmir referenced Baldwin’s signing of the Bernie Sanders single-payer health care bill and the Tomah VA incident that involved an over-prescription of opioids.


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    PeterApr 17, 2018 at 11:38 am

    Dump Walker!
    Dump Vukmir!
    Legalize cannabis!