I’m a fiscally conservative, moderate Republican small-business owner. Late last year I decided to run for governor out of a sense of civic duty. I didn’t think Wisconsin could move on from years of exhausting hyperpartisan politics with hundreds of thousands of like-minded voters not represented in this critical election. (Note: You may not have heard of me because for some reason I was the only candidate whose name didn’t appear in any Wisconsin newspaper on June 2 when the ballots were announced).
I honestly believe I have the best platform of any candidate. Wisconsin is a beautiful state. We’re a destination state. We have a very important political history and a wealth of natural resources. I believe we should always be working together to make Wisconsin the best place it can possibly be for everyone. And that we do that by continually growing our uniquely diverse economy while always conserving our environment.
My belief in open and fair markets provides voters with an alternative to the incumbent’s public choice theory economics-based policies, which don’t represent the interests of the vast majority of the electorate. After seven-plus years, we’re $1 billion behind in our infrastructure and education investments. These are core assets that continually build wealth. They’re also elements of a common good that economist James Buchanan didn’t think ultra-wealthy extremist Libertarians should have to help pay for with their taxes. Public choice theory economics is why our roads and public education systems are falling into disrepair, while our waterways, lakes and aquifers are becoming sewers.
The governor turned down $1 billion in full Medicaid expansion while 11 Republican governors took the money. The state is in a severe farm crisis and we may be heading into a recession. Every citizen is personally on the hook for 20-plus years of substantial Foxconn subsidization. The incumbent literally doesn’t have a plan for economic growth, which will be essential to mediating our structural rural and urban economic challenges. Such fiscally irresponsible management and the enacting of more than 100 new state pre-emptive laws is antithetical to the Republican platform and credo. And we all know how badly the Democrats want to raise taxes!
Twenty years ago Wisconsin was a top education state but today we rank 34th (NAEP, 2017) and our achievement gaps are the worst in the U.S. The Department of Public Instruction's position, which defies any logic, is that our educators are incapable of closing these gaps and that we need to somehow mediate poverty instead. Our students and teachers deserve higher expectations, stronger leadership, and clear directions about what is working in the leading states. I support funding public education as sufficiently as possible, and I’ll scale vouchers back down to a level where they’ve been shown empirically to work — and allow them only in Milwaukee and Racine.
Fortunately, our economy is poised to grow in extremely opportune ways. We have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish Wisconsin as the leading tech leader in the entire Midwest. Achieving that, building out the I-94 corridor, and re-establishing our national leadership in hemp production will raise revenues, stimulate entrepreneurship, boost investor confidence and improve incomes for hundreds of thousands of under-employed people throughout the state.
Amazingly, I’m the only candidate addressing these issues, or asking, “Where are we going to be in four years?” Wisconsin can move forward again, but only by our addressing these challenges, and setting challenging objectives that we all have to work together to accomplish. My three decades of business development experience in multiple industries will enable me to lead our wonderful state back to prosperity.
Robert Meyer is a Republican candidate for Wisconsin 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.