Wisconsin State Capitol

The Wisconsin Capitol building in Madison

Tonette and I are proud that our two sons — Matt and Alex — are living and working here in Wisconsin. Like many parents, our American Dream is not about owning a company or even a house. It’s seeing our children do well and — ideally — living close to home.That’s why Tonette and I are thrilled that our sons live and have careers close to us. We want that for other families, too.

My mom and dad live here in Wisconsin. For a while, they actually lived in our home in Wauwatosa. Now, they live close to my brother and his family. Watching them age, I am happy to live in a state that is ranked No. 1 for quality in health care. And I am happy they are close to family and friends.

Looking ahead, we have a plan to make Wisconsin one of the best states for millennials and for retirees and everyone in between. We call it “Wisconsin Wins the 21st Century.”

Currently, we rank No. 6 for millennials, according to WalletHub, and AARP reports we rank No. 12 for retirees. Over the next four years, I’d like Wisconsin to move up on both lists to be one of the best places for both groups.

With record-low unemployment at 2.8 percent and more people employed than ever before, we need to get more people into the workforce. Our current state budget puts more actual dollars into schools than ever before — an extra $200 per student this school year, and an additional $204 per student on top of that in the fall. We already have one of the best high school graduation rates in the nation, but I want Wisconsin to be No. 1 in the country.

We want to enable all those who are able to be in the workforce. That means increasing the percentage of people working in Wisconsin. Today, we are at 68.9 percent, which is in the top five states in America. Moving forward, we need to equip people with the skills needed to succeed. In addition to education and training, we will require every able-bodied, working-age adult to work — and be able to pass a drug test — to get public assistance.

Because Washington has failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, we will lead. Our bipartisan plan will help lower health care premiums and increase choice in the marketplace for coverage. Our plan calls for covering preexisting conditions so no one with cancer or any other serious disease or ailment is without coverage. And we will seek to make SeniorCare — the program to help make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors — a permanent program so people like my parents don’t have to worry.

Further, our plan calls for comprehensive action so Wisconsin can have one of the largest reductions in opioid and illegal drug addiction of any state in the country. No person or family should have to go through the devastation of addiction. We want to help those suffering in our state and get them healthy again.

And to aid more families across Wisconsin, our plan calls for lowering the tax burden on middle-class taxpayers. That’s on top of our $8 billion in tax relief through the end of this budget — lower property and income taxes in 2018 than in 2010.

These are the things that will help us move Wisconsin forward over the next four years — and help Wisconsin win the 21st century. We are telling voters what we are for while our opponents seem to focus on what they are against. Maybe they don’t want voters to remember what things were like before we were in office.

The last time Democrats controlled state government, the unemployment rate peaked at 9.3 percent. Today, it is at a record low of 2.8 percent.

Eight years ago, the Democrats’ budget cut aid to schools and local governments and did not give us the tools to deal with it. Today, our current budget includes the largest actual dollar investment for schools, and they have the tools to manage these resources well.

Eight years ago, Wisconsin had a waiting list for people living in poverty to obtain health care through BadgerCare (Medicaid). Today, everyone living in poverty is covered — for the first time ever.

Eight years ago, we inherited a $3.6 billion budget deficit. Today, we’ve had a surplus every year we’ve been in office, and the rainy day fund is 168 times larger than when we first took office.

We don’t want to go backward. Instead, we want to keep moving Wisconsin forward. We have a plan, and we are ready to help Wisconsin win the 21st century.

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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Gov. Walker, a Republican, is seeking a third four-year term in the November election: walker.wi.gov.