Gov. Scott Walker delivered his annual State of the State address Wednesday to mixed reactions.
Republicans largely celebrated Walker’s address and the agenda he outlined, while Democrats expressed their opposition to his past policies and future plans for the state.
In a statement, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said Walker’s agenda will continue to advance the “prosperity” he believes the state has enjoyed under his governorship.
“The state of the state is undeniably great,” Vos said in the statement. “We have a strong economy, a growing budget surplus, excellent schools and one of the best health care systems in the country.”
Reactions to the annual address were particularly strong this year given Walker’s candidacy for reelection in the 2018 gubernatorial election.
Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said in a statement Thursday Walker’s address was an attempt to improve his approval ratings in an election year after two terms of “failed” policies.
“Seven years of failed Republican budgets are felt every time we drive over a pothole, or cast a ballot for a school referendum,” Shilling said in the statement. “We feel it in our pocketbooks as our wages remain stagnant, while 47 millionaires receive a new tax break.”
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Despite the mixed reactions Walker’s address received along largely partisan lines, nonpartisan fact-checking organization PolitiFact found the speech to be mostly true.
In his address, Walker claimed responsibility for $8 billion in tax cuts, historically high employment rates, a highly rated health care system and lower property taxes than in 2010. The organization found all of these statements to be true.
Walker also claimed everyone living in poverty in Wisconsin is insured under BadgerCare, a public health insurance program for low-income Wisconsinites. While PolitiFact found this to be true, the organization pointed to a key Obamacare provision as being largely responsible for this.
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In a tweet Wednesday, Randy Bryce, a Democratic candidate for Wisconsin’s first U.S. Congressional district and challenger to House Speaker Paul Ryan said Walker’s sudden support for Obamacare — a program which Walker has publicly opposed in previous years — was a “shameless” attempt to win reelection.
.@ScottWalker's newfound support today for Obamacare is a shamelessly transparent attempt to improve his reelection odds. Walker knows WI voters support the Affordable Care Act, and @SpeakerRyan, that's really bad news for you. #SayAnythingScotthttps://t.co/6bqaKOz3wv
— Randy Bryce (@IronStache) January 24, 2018
Finally, Walker’s claim that his administration has invested the largest amount of money in K-12 education in the state’s history was found to be true only in terms of raw dollars. When inflation was taken into account, this statement was determined to be false.
Should Walker lose reelection this year, this will be his final State of the State address as Governor.