Nov. 2, 1967: Scott Walker is born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to mother Patricia, a bookkeeper, and father Llew Walker, a Baptist minister.

1977: Family moves from Plainfield, Iowa, to Delavan, where Walker’s father continues to work as a preacher.

1985: Attends Badger Boys State summer leadership program and is selected to attend Boys Nation in Washington, D.C., when Ronald Reagan was president.

1986: Graduates from Delavan-Darien High School and begins college studies at Marquette University.

February 1988: Runs as a conservative for student body president at Marquette but loses to a liberal, John Quigley.


February 1990: Takes a job with the American Red Cross; months later drops out of Marquette.

November 1990: At age 22, runs in first election for state Assembly. Gets the GOP nomination but loses in the general election.

1993: Marries Tonette Tarantino, whom he met over karaoke and ribs at Milwaukee barbecue joint Saz’s, where he also proposed to her and took her on their wedding night.

June 1, 1993: At age 25, wins a five-way GOP race for the state Assembly in a special election.

Feb. 28, 1995: The Assembly passes Walker’s campaign finance reform bill, which sought to limit the activities of special interest groups that finance elections separately from candidates.

May 6, 1997: Co-sponsors a “truth-in-sentencing” bill that abolishes early release from prison on parole. The measure is later adopted into law.

June 1999: Sponsors a budget measure prohibiting public employees and facilities from being used to “promote or engage in abortion or abortion-related activities.”

Feb. 6, 2001: Withdraws his name for consideration for lieutenant governor under Republican Gov. Scott McCallum.

March 1, 2001: Proposes a “conscience clause” bill to allow pharmacists to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions if doing so violates their moral or ethical beliefs.

April 30, 2002: Easily defeats Hales Corners village president Jim Ryan in an election for Milwaukee County executive. At age 34, becomes the youngest person, and first Republican, elected to the job.

Aug. 25, 2003: To close a midyear budget deficit, announces plans to lay off half of Milwaukee County’s front-line parks employees and eliminate dozens of social workers, caseworkers, corrections officers, building maintenance workers, health workers and others.

April 6, 2004: Elected to his first full, four-year term as county executive.

Jan. 23, 2005: Announces he will seek the Republican nomination for governor, in a bid to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle. Pledges to advocate for limiting future property tax increases, legally defining marriage as between one man and one woman, requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls and letting some adults carry concealed weapons.

March 24, 2006: Drops out of gubernatorial race and urges the party to unite behind eventual nominee U.S. Rep. Mark Green of Green Bay. Acknowledges his campaign failed to meet fundraising goals.

April 28, 2009: Announces he will run for governor in 2010.


Feb. 23: Pledges as governor to help state businesses create 250,000 jobs by 2015, which his Republican primary opponent, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, labels “borderline ridiculous.”

June 17: Says if elected would propose all state workers be required to pay a portion of their pension benefits.

Sept. 14: Easily defeats Neumann in Republican primary.

Nov. 2: Celebrates his 43rd birthday by beating Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Pledges that Wisconsin is “open for business.”

Dec. 7: Calls for state workers to contribute 5 percent to their pension fund and for additional increases in employee contributions to their health care coverage.

Dec. 21: Proposes giving the governor the power to approve or reject any state rule or regulation and limiting state agencies’ ability to create rules.

Dec. 28: Announces plans to replace the state Commerce Department with a new public-private agency called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Says the new agency will be more nimble and better able to help businesses grow jobs.


Feb. 11: Unveils a sweeping series of changes to public labor law, eliminating most collective bargaining rights of state and local public workers, setting off months of protest.

Feb. 23: A recording surfaces in which Walker, believing he’s having a phone conversation with billionaire campaign contributor David Koch, says he considered planting troublemakers among protesters at the state Capitol. The recording turns out to be a prank orchestrated by the Buffalo Beast website, with the website’s editor, Ian Murphy, posing as Koch.

March 1: In his first budget address to the Legislature, declares “Wisconsin is broke” and lays out a proposal for steep spending cuts to balance a budget deficit of more than $3 billion, including slashing funding for local governments, schools, colleges and universities.

March 9: Senate Republicans adopt an amended version of the labor bill, which only requires a simple majority vote and gets around a Democratic boycott. Over the shouts of protesters and Democrats, Assembly Republicans pass the measure the next day.

Register for more free articles
Stay logged in to skip the surveys

2011 (continued)

March 11: Walker signs Act 10 into law, cementing what will become the signature achievement of his first term.

May 26: Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi strikes down Act 10, ruling a legislative committee violated the state’s open meetings law when it hastily convened to amend the measure.

June 14: The Wisconsin Supreme Court reverses Sumi’s decision and finds the law was passed legally.

Sept. 14: An FBI raid is conducted on the home of longtime aide Cindy Archer as part of a secret John Doe investigation. A week later, documents are released showing nearly a dozen people, including a Walker spokesman and a Walker campaign fundraiser, were given immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony. Walker says he has not been contacted by investigators.


Jan. 17: Organizers file a petition with 901,000 signatures recalling Walker — well above the 540,208 required to trigger a recall election.

June 5: Walker becomes the first governor to win a recall election, beating Barrett for the second time.

Nov. 20: Emails made public show Walker, as Milwaukee County executive in 2010, and his gubernatorial campaign directed county staffers to take official actions to boost Walker’s candidacy. A day earlier, a former aide was sentenced to six months in jail for doing illegal campaign work out of the county executive’s office.


March 1: The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office announces it has concluded a criminal investigation that ensnared six former Walker aides and associates.

Nov. 19: Walker’s book, “Unintimidated,” hits the shelves. Walker pointedly declines to rule out the possibility of a presidential campaign in 2016.


Jan. 22: In his fourth State of the State address, lays out a tax cut plan under which the average Wisconsin family would save about $150 a year. It’s his third tax cut proposal in less than a year.

June 19: Newly released court documents in a new John Doe investigation show prosecutors accuse Walker of overseeing a “criminal scheme” to illegally coordinate fundraising and campaign activity among conservative groups in the recall elections of 2011 and 2012.

July 31: The Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of Act 10, reversing a lower court ruling that struck down several key provisions of the law.

Nov. 4: Walker wins his third governor’s race in four years, defeating Democrat Mary Burke, a Madison School Board member, by nearly 6 percentage points. Speculation about a presidential bid accelerates.


Jan. 24: Presidential stock soars with a breakout showing at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines focusing on the conservative measures he enacted as Wisconsin governor.

Jan. 27: Forms a tax-exempt committee, Our American Revival, that can accept unlimited political contributions.

Feb. 3: Unveils his 2015-17 budget proposal, which expands private-school vouchers, consolidates environmental controls, slashes funding for state colleges and universities and borrows heavily for road projects.

Feb. 4: Facing a major backlash, Walker’s office retreats from a budget proposal to wipe out language at the foundation of the “Wisconsin Idea,” the principle that the state’s public universities exist to seek truth and serve the people of the whole state.

Feb. 8: Embarks on a weeklong trade mission to the United Kingdom, where he visits Parliament, meets with Prime Minister David Cameron and “punts” on questions about foreign affairs and evolution.

Feb. 26: Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, says his showdown with protesters in 2011 prepared him to stand up to Islamic State terrorists. The remark is widely panned, including by many conservatives.

March 7: Shifts his stance on a federal renewable fuel standard — a key issue for politically influential farmers and businesses in Iowa.

March 9: Signs a bill making Wisconsin a right-to-work state, after repeatedly saying during the campaign that such legislation would not be a priority.

April 16: In a Marquette Law School Poll, Walker’s gubernatorial approval rating drops to 41 percent, the lowest point in three years.

May 17: A State Journal investigation reveals Walker’s signature job-creation agency, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., gave a $500,000 loan to a company that failed to repay the loan or create jobs, and was owned by a major donor to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign.

June 12: A spokesperson for the British Prime Minister disputes Walker’s characterization of Cameron criticizing President Obama’s global leadership.

June 17: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes official job numbers for 2014, affirming that Walker fell short by nearly half of his 250,000 jobs pledge.

July 2: Files paperwork with the Federal Election Commission establishing a campaign committee and declaring that he has raised $5,000 within the past 15 days, the official trigger of a presidential candidacy.

July 4: After a Legislative committee inserts a last-minute provision into the state budget gutting the state’s open records law, Walker joins top GOP lawmakers in pledging to scrap it.

July 7: Walker’s office acknowledges it was involved in the drafting of the open records measure, but later calls including it in the budget a mistake.

July 13: Scheduled to announce his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

Subscribe to our Politics email!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.