A good governor must have many qualities, but most important is the courage to do what is right. The governor must serve the interests of Wisconsin residents not the special interests, must respect the people’s demand for genuine results, fairness, and a system that empowers everyday citizens. That is my commitment. I made it 50 years ago and I make it today.
Eight years ago, Scott Walker signed a pledge to Grover Norquist, a Washington lobbyist who is on the boards of the National Rifle Association and American Conservative Union.
Look at the difference in performance.
I built one of the finest public transit systems in the country. Under Scott Walker, our Wisconsin roads are deteriorating, and transportation is grinding to a halt.
In Madison, we created community health centers and infant mortality dropped. Scott Walker refused to participate in the Affordable Health Care program, rejected federal Medicaid dollars, and marketplace insurance premiums increased.
Recently, a moderator at a candidates’ forum prefaced a question by saying, “The primary responsibility of the governor is economic development.” That is not my view.
The primary responsibility of the governor is to build great communities and families by focusing on five critical areas: affordable housing; transportation, roads and public transit; health care including nutrition, substance abuse and behavioral health; quality child care; and education with career development.
We can have success, statewide, in those five areas. I know because I’ve done it. A governor who commits to these five areas will create a state where economic development is available to all people, not just the wealthy and the privileged.
To defeat Scott Walker and make Wisconsin strong, we need a tough candidate, with proven accomplishments, and the political base and ability to carry the state.
Not only did I defeat an incumbent mayor, Bill Dyke, as reactionary as Scott Walker, but I have defeated three incumbents in my career. Those were hotly contested races demanding focus, stamina, and determination. No other candidate is so well tested.
There are three stages to solving a problem. First there is an accurate description of the problem, then comes the recommended solution, and finally comes implementation. Many politicians can describe the problem and almost as many can recommend the solution.
Implementation of the solution requires leadership. Public input and dialogue, often heated and divided. Finding the financial resources. Getting a majority to agree. It is a demanding and tedious process, not for the inexperienced or faint of heart.
No other candidate for governor has the record of accomplishment in building affordable housing, reducing violence, creating nationally recognized public spaces, or collaborating with school systems and community centers in creating opportunity for youth.
It is a serious and enormous obligation to face Scott Walker and all of his dark money in November. That is why I hired one of the finest researchers in the country to determine if I can defeat Scott Walker and the toadies who follow Donald Trump. We conducted a poll that duplicates the information voters have Election Day. We didn’t just test name recognition as other candidates have. In a statewide race, I convincingly defeat Scott Walker.
Wisconsin needs leadership that is rooted in the people of our state. Leadership that is accountable and provides genuine opportunity for all of us ordinary real people. We must have a governor who will stand up to, rather than spinelessly collaborate with, the treasonous, heartless, and destructive policies of Donald Trump. My life has been focused on standing up to evil, righting wrongs, and fighting for people and against injustice. That’s what I’ll do as Wisconsin’s next governor.
Paul Soglin is a Democratic candidate for governor.
Editor's note: The Capital Times invited all candidates for Wisconsin governor to write op/ed columns making their cases to voters. We are publishing one column daily beginning July 22 and will collect them in our Election Roundup prior to the Aug. 14 primary. The Democratic gubernatorial candidates' columns will also appear in our weekly print edition, half on July 25 and half on Aug. 1.