Governor Tony Evers delivered his fifth State of the State address Tuesday to the Wisconsin State Assembly.
Evers began his address by speaking of the state’s 175th birthday coming this May, then spoke about his administration’s achievements.
“In 175 years of statehood, Wisconsin has never been in a better fiscal position than it is today,” Evers said.
Evers said his administration has made great strides in infrastructure, schools and delivering high-speed internet to Wisconsin residents. The new Office of Environmental Justice has increased environmentalist efforts as well.
Evers announced increased funding toward energy, veterans and creating jobs, saying his energy plan is set to create 20,000 jobs by 2030.
The crowd cheered and applauded as Evers said he had vetoed every bill that restricted reproductive freedom to cross his desk.
Unemployment has hit a record low in Wisconsin, Evers said, and reserve funds and funds for several programs are the highest they have ever been. He aims to continue supporting progressive programs that forward infrastructure, schools, public safety and clean water.
“We have roads and bridges to fix, schools to fund, kids to support, communities to keep safe, water to keep clean and today we must invest in public education at every level,” Evers said.
Evers named 2023 “The Year of Mental Health,” specifically in regard to children returning to school after the pandemic. With increased mental health resources, Evers believes school attendance and performance will rise, and bullying will drop. He aims to increase funding for the healthcare system to allow for more psychiatrists in Wisconsin, as there is currently only one psychiatrist for every 440 people.
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Adults are also a focus in the Year of Mental Health, as opioid overdose deaths are at a high, Evers said.
“The state of mental health in Wisconsin is a quiet burgeoning crisis that I believe will have catastrophic consequences for generations if we don’t treat it with the effort it deserves,” Evers said.
Evers also wants to increase funding for childcare outside of mental health, as 54% of Wisconsinites live in “childcare deserts,” with affordability being a major issue.
Improving childcare would be part of a larger effort to deliver tax relief. This effort would also manifest in worker support and small business support, through the Main Street Bounceback Grant Program.
Evers made a call for the government to unify under the goal of clean water and eliminating PFAS.
“Wisconsin, we face much work ahead of us, but there is also much opportunity,” Evers said, finishing his address.
The UW Marching Band then played as the Assembly adjourned.