With a potential election to recall Gov. Scott Walker on the horizon, another state senator, Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, has emerged as a potential candidate in the race.
While Vinehout has yet to announce her decision to run, Voters for Vinehout filed a campaign registration statement with the Government Accountability Board on Friday for Vinehout to run for governor.
After United Wisconsin and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin turned in more than one million signatures to trigger a recall election, the race for the governor’s seat will occur pending the Government Accountability Board’s verification of the signatures needed to rigger the election.
Currently, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, are running, and others, including Vinehout and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, are considering a run as well.
Falk said she is fairly confident that she will be elected as the next governor of Wisconsin, and when asked about her competition, specifically Vinehout, Falk seemed unfazed.
“So far, there are just two of us running, Tim Cullen and myself, and there are others talking about running but … they are not,” Falk said. “I’m out there and I’ve been working on this for the last year. I’ve been in every corner of every state, helping citizens in the recall, 24/7.”
Vinehout serves the 31st Senate District, a large rural district in western Wisconsin. She is serving her first four-year term and currently chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Higher Education.
Several recent statements released by Vinehout have criticized Walker on multiple topics.
Following Walker’s State of the State address last Wednesday, Vinehout released a statement calling for the governor to give neighboring states thanks for giving Wisconsinites work.
In the statement, Vinehout said although 21,000 more Wisconsinites found work this December than last December, Wisconsin created only 3,000 of those jobs.
“The rest of our people had to go out of state to find work,” Vinehout said. “The governors of our neighboring states were six times more successful than Governor Walker in creating jobs for Wisconsinites. We should thank them.”
In the statement, Vinehout also criticized Walker for taking credit for the unemployment rate coming down, when he doesn’t mention the unemployment rate over the past year came down twice as fast across the nation.
In a joint statement with Cullen released earlier this month, Vinehout criticized Walker for his decision to suspend plans for a statewide affordable insurance exchange.
Vinehout urged Walker in the statement to take a closer look at her bill, Senate Bill 273, which would help Wisconsin be compliant with federal requirement if the Affordable Care Act is upheld as constitutional in the Supreme Court this March.
“We appreciate your concerns about the case pending before the Supreme Court.” Vinehout said in the statement. “But we believe, regardless of the outcome of this case, a statewide exchange is a good policy for Wisconsin.”
The pending case Vinehout refers to is the Affordable Care Act, a law recently signed by President Obama that is scheduled for review by the Supreme Court in March.
Calls from Vinehout’s office were not returned.