Last month’s employment report from the Department of Labor offered more dismal news about the U.S. economy. And while many areas of the country continue to struggle, there are a few bright spots. Gov. Scott Walker happens to be presiding over one in Wisconsin, which added a net of 9,500 new jobs in June — more than half the 18,000 created nationwide.
Wisconsin’s resurgence comes after three years of job losses — more than 150,000 jobs were lost in the three years before Walker became governor. Since he took office in January, the state has added 39,300 private-sector jobs. That puts Walker on pace to exceed his goal of 250,000 new jobs in four years.
Walker spoke to Heritage about his pro-growth policies and how a friendly competition over job creation has emerged with fellow governors Rick Perry of Texas and Bob McDonnell of Virginia.
Despite the progress, Walker’s policies are under assault. Six Republican state senators face recall elections next week and control of the chamber is at stake. Walker himself is a target of a potential recall election next year.
It all stems from a controversial budget repair bill considered by the legislature earlier this year. Walker spoke to Heritage in February about the measure. Six months later, it appears to be having the opposite effect of what union leaders warned. The Weekly Standard recently reported the bill saved teachers’ jobs by shoring up money for school districts to avoid layoffs and reduce class sizes.
Walker said the challenge is communicating this message in Wisconsin. With activists from President Obama’s Organizing for America on the ground in the Badger State, Walker acknowledged the stakes are high.