Scott Kevin Walker (born November 2, 1967) is an American Republican politician, serving as the 45th Governor of Wisconsin, since January 3, 2011. He won the office in the general election on November 2, 2010, defeating Democratic candidate Tom Barrett, 52 percent to 47 percent. Previously, Walker was the County Executive of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin from 2002 to 2010, and a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1993 to 2002.
Walker was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Llew Walker, a Baptist minister, and Pat (Fitch) Walker, a bookkeeper. The family moved to Plainfield, Iowa, and when Scott was ten years old, to Delavan, Wisconsin, a town of about 8,000, where his father became a prominent preacher. While in high school, he attended two weeks of American Legion-sponsored training in leadership and government; Badger Boys State held in Wisconsin, and the selective Boys Nation held in Washington, D.C. He has credited the experience with solidifying his interest in public service and giving him the "political bug".
While in Washington, he met Ronald Reagan, who became his inspiration and model. He attained the highest rank, Eagle Scout, in the Boy Scouts of America, and graduated from Delavan-Darien High School in 1986. He enrolled at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1986. During his sophomore year, he ran for president of the student government, but lost to a write-in candidate after he was cited for campaign rules violations. He attended college for four years, working part-time for IBM selling warranties and earning a grade point average in the C's. He did not complete a degree, later explaining that once he had a good job, family took precedence over getting a degree. His IBM job led to a full-time position in marketing and fundraising at the American Red Cross from 1990 to 1994.
Wisconsin State Assembly
Scott Walker made his first try for government office in 1990, gaining the Republican nomination for Milwaukee's 7th District seat in the Wisconsin State Assembly, but losing in the general election to incumbent Democrat Gwen Moore. While in the State Assembly, Walker took a special interest in criminal justice matters, and chaired the Committees on Correctional Facilities, and Corrections and the Courts. Over the years, he served on a number of other committees, including Health, Census and Redistricting, Financial Institutions, and Housing. In 1999 he took the lead in passing a truth-in-sentencing bill that ended the practice of taking time off prisoners' sentences for good behavior.
In 2001, he was the lead sponsor of a bill to prevent pharmacists from being disciplined for refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception. He was also a strong supporter of a bill to require voters to show photo id at the polls.
Milwaukee County executive
Walker became Milwaukee county executive in a special election called in April 2002, after the former county executive, Tom Ament, resigned in the wake of a county pension fund scandal. He was elected to a four year term in 2004 gaining 57 percent of the vote to defeat former state budget director, David Riemer. He won another four year term in 2008, defeating State Senator Lena Taylor with 59% of the vote. Scott Walker won the office on a platform of fiscal conservatism, promising, among other things, to give back part of his own salary, and criticizing the salaries of other county workers as excessive.
He said his voluntary give-back gave him the moral authority to make cuts in the county budget.
Campaign for Governor 2006
During his time as county executive, he entered the 2006 race for Wisconsin governor; becoming a candidate 21 months before the election, but dropping out after 14 months of campaigning, citing fund-raising difficulties. He threw his support to fellow Republican Mark Andrew Green, who ultimately lost the election to the incumbent Democrat, Jim Doyle.
Campaign for Governor 2010
Scott Walker became an early favorite for the 2010 Republican Party endorsement for Wisconsin governor, winning straw polls of Wisconsin GOP convention attendees in 2007 and 2008. He announced his candidacy in late April 2009 after several months of previewing his campaign themes of reduced taxes and reduced spending to Republican audiences around the state. He also criticized the 2009–11 Wisconsin state budget as too large for the slow economy. He won the Wisconsin GOP convention endorsement on May 22, 2010, receiving 91 percent of the votes cast by the delegates.
Walker won the Republican nomination in the primary election of September 14, 2010, receiving 59 percent of the popular vote, while former U.S. Representative Mark Neumann garnered 39 percent. On November 2, 2010, Scott Walker won the general election with 52 percent of total votes cast, with his closest opponent, Democrat Tom Barrett, garnering 46 percent. His running mate, now Lieutenant Governor, was Rebecca Kleefisch, a former television news reporter in Milwaukee.
Governor of Wisconsin
Scott Walker took the oath of office to become the 45th Governor of Wisconsin on January 3, 2011. On January 25, 2011, the state legislature passed a series of Walker-backed bills, the largest of which would cut taxes for businesses at "a two-year cost of $67 million," according to the Associated Press. Walker proposed a budget repair bill on February 11, 2011 that would save the state an estimated $30 million in the current fiscal year, and $300 million over the next two years. Demonstrators began protesting against the proposed bill on February 15, 2011. During the sixth day of the protests, leaders of the two largest unions said publicly they were willing to accept the financial concessions in the bill, but would not agree to the loss of collective bargaining rights. Walker has not negotiated with unions or the Democratic legislators, saying that the state is broke, and he has nothing to offer in negotiations. On February 28, the largest public union filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the state labor relations board, claiming that Walker had a duty to negotiate, but had refused.
2012–2013 budget proposal
Wisconsin faces an anticipated deficit of more than three billion dollars at the end of the 2012–2013 budget cycle that must be balanced, according to state law. Walker was planning in mid-February 2011 to propose a budget bill but was delayed by the protests, the Democrats' stalling on the budget repair bill, and the absence of the 14 state senators. He is to announce the details of the budget on March 1, and has confirmed in advance that he will be asking for a 9 percent, $900 million cut in state aid to education. A revenue limit that would reduce the property tax authority by $500 per pupil will also be proposed. The state school superintendent has objected in advance to the budget, saying, "whole parts of what we value in our schools are gone".
Scott Walker is married to Tonette, and they have two children. The family attends a non-denominational evangelical Christian church in Wauwatosa. During the summers of 2004 through 2009, Walker led a motorcycle tour called the "Executive's Ride" through Wisconsin and parts of neighboring states. The ride was organized to attract tourists to Milwaukee County, with the 2009 ride costing county taxpayers approximately $2,800, mainly for reimbursing hotel rooms and meals for Walker and his staffers.
13 March 2011