A national Republican leader who is also a Wisconsinite praised the Republican Party of Wisconsin as a model for the national party after Gov. Scott Walker issued a call for further reform at the party’s 2013 Convention Saturday.
In audio of the speeches recorded by Wispolitics.com, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus said RPW was not only the best state party in the country but also had some of the strongest Republican leaders that he said the party needs, such as Walker and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, D-Janesville.
“We have an opportunity here in Wisconsin to show the country what a unified party looks like, what great candidates do and how a unified party rewards great candidates,” Priebus said. “We need to grow, and we’ll either succeed together or lose together. It’s our choice.”
Priebus said while in the midterm elections Republicans picked up seats in state legislatures and governorships, the party has not won a decisive presidential race in 24 years. The Republican Party is also planning on implementing a multi-year and multi-million dollar nationwide grassroots campaign to better market itself to and engage voters more.
Walker, who spoke before Priebus at the convention, said the state needed to expand the programs providing vouchers for private schools, to reform the tax code to bring more relief to property owners and to pursue entitlement reform to shift people from government dependence to independence.
He said Democrats measure the government’s success on how many people depend on it. However, Walker said success should be measured on how many fewer people depend on the government because they have good paying jobs in the private sector.
“It’s about time we stand up and not just be the party of austerity and tax relief,” Walker said. “We’re the party that has a higher moral calling, that’s about empowering people to control their own destiny. We’re the ones that care for the everyday people of this state and this country.”
However, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Executive Director Maggie Brickerman said in a statement to The Badger Herald Walker asked Wisconsinites to measure his success as governor based on his ability to create 250,000 new jobs, which she said he has “completely” failed to do by putting Wisconsin among the bottom in job creation.
“Walker’s plan to make it harder for struggling families to access health care and food assistance doesn’t show he ‘cares too much’ about Wisconsinites,” Brickerman said. “It shows he ‘cares too much’ about winning the approval of other right-wing extremists as he campaigns for president.”
Jay Heck, Common Cause in Wisconsin executive director, said while the state Republican party has enjoyed some political successes in the state, such as Walker prevailing over a recall attempt and a number of laws they have passed, it has succeeded in a way that has divided the state.
Heck said the party has also had a number of recent failures, such as Ryan failing to carry Wisconsin as a vice presidential candidate and former Gov. Tommy Thompson losing in the Senate race.
“The record certainly has been mixed in terms of success,” Heck said. “If Priebus claims it’s a national model, I think he’s probably overlooking the failures that occurred in November 2012. And they were considerable.”