Wisconsin's governor looks ahead

  • Article by: SCOTT GILLESPIE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 13, 2012 - 9:45 PM

Gov. Scott Walker met with the Editorial Board on Thursday.


Scott Gillespie, left, talks with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who met with the Star Tribune Editorial Board on Dec. 13, 2012

Photo: Susan Hogan, Star Tribune

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker brought his "Talk with Walker" road show to the Twin Cities on Thursday, and in his first-ever session with the Star Tribune Editorial Board, he talked at length about past mistakes and future opportunities.

The first-term Republican governor acknowledged, as he has previously, that he could have done a better job preparing Wisconsinites for the dramatic changes in collective bargaining that set off a labor firestorm and recall movement in 2011.

"My problem was I just went out and fixed it -- I didn't talk about it," he recalled.

But he said the cost-cutting moves enabled his state to balance its budget and enter 2013 with nearly $500 million in reserve.

With budget deficits behind him, Walker said he's focused on job growth, workforce development, education, government reform and infrastructure. (Sound familiar, Minnesotans?)

Walker said there's a place in the workforce for immigrants with skills in high-tech fields.

"I want makers, not takers," he said, adding that federal immigration reform is needed. If an immigrant earns a degree in such a field from a U.S. university, he said, "We should staple a green card on your diploma."

Reacting to this week's news from Michigan, Walker said he has no appetite for a battle over a right-to-work law, although he stopped short of saying he would veto such a bill if it's passed by Wisconsin's Republican Legislature.

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Scott Gillespie is the Star Tribune's editorial page editor.

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