Doyle vetoes Ronald Reagan Highway

By Abby Peterson

State Editor

Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have renamed U.S. Highway 14 the Ronald Reagan Highway.

The highway, which runs from the border of Illinois up to Madison, would have been christened with signs bearing Reagan’s name, using private funds to do so.

In his veto address, Doyle argued that designating names for highways and bridges should be a tribute reserved only for Wisconsinites.

“This bill … violates the precedent that this honor be bestowed only on Wisconsin-born citizens or state residents,” Doyle said.

The bill’s author, however, state Sen. Bob Welch, R-Redgranite, said Wisconsin should join the tradition of other states in honoring the former Republican president and criticized Doyle’s decision as “partisan” and “petty,” according to The Capital Times.

Saying there is no reason why national leaders cannot be honored in the state, Welch argued he would support naming landmarks and roads after Democratic leaders.

Welch said Reagan should be honored for boosting the American economy and limiting government while president, as well as defeating communism.

Welch is currently campaigning in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate to run against Democrat incumbent Russ Feingold in November.

The bill originally stipulated that the entire highway should be renamed after the former president, but it was subsequently amended to keep the portion of the road running from Madison to Richland Center named after architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Reagan, who was inaugurated in 1980 and served two terms, currently suffers from the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. He resides in California with his wife, Nancy.