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.

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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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