Unlike his Republican opponent in the race for governor, Tony Evers isn’t a smooth politician with ambition that extends far beyond Wisconsin.
Nor is Evers a partisan fighter who pretends the other side is always wrong, as some of Evers’ fellow Democrats do.
Wisconsin’s mild-mannered superintendent of schools is reasonable and respectful. He levels with people. He acknowledges some problems will be difficult to solve. He seeks consensus by listening to others.
In the era of Donald Trump — whose celebrity, insults and disregard for the truth dominate the public stage — Evers offers a refreshing alternative to the GOP president’s crude and chaotic attempt at public service. And when Trump attacks women, immigrants or a treasured Wisconsin company such as Harley-Davidson, Evers won’t acquiesce, as Gov. Scott Walker sometimes has.
Evers may lack polish and seem boring at times. But electing a lifelong educator instead of a professional politician should appeal to many voters tired of the bickering and partisan games at the state Capitol.
Change is needed at the top after eight years of Gov. Walker sowing division, undermining good-government protections, and skimping on basic services such as roads while running up debt.
Experience, knowledge and respect for good and open government were key factors
The State Journal endorses Evers for governor in the Nov. 6 election.
Evers offers voters important strengths and priorities that have been in short supply. The Plymouth native is serious about fixing problems in the sensible center of politics, and he can point to many accomplishments.
While some of his Democratic primary foes faulted Evers for working closely with conservative rural school boards, and for encouraging innovative charter schools, we credit Evers for putting politics aside for the good of school children. Even the governor has praised Evers for helping to build a fair accountability system for educators and school districts, which didn’t always please the teachers union.
In this week's political podcast, Milfred and Hands provide a preview of some of the State Journal's political endorsements this fall, while explaining the editorial board's process for interviewing and recommending dozens of candidates.
Walker’s main critique of Evers is that he will seek giant tax hikes, including a $1-per-gallon increase in the gas tax. But that’s a made-up scare tactic. Evers’ support for modest increases in user fees that haven’t been raised in more than a decade is the same position taken by business groups to fix our crumbling roads.
Evers will bring a more disciplined and home-grown approach to economic development that invests more in education while encouraging entrepreneurs and expanding high-speed rural internet. Gov. Walker has emphasized poaching businesses from neighboring states while going overboard in favoring manufacturers, who no longer pay state income taxes like the rest of us do.
Now the governor is showering billions in taxpayer subsidies on Foxconn, a foreign manufacturer, and he wants to similarly prop up the payroll of a Fox Valley paper company. His big-government approach to economic development is disappointing and hardly conservative.
But Evers isn’t going to try to cancel the Foxconn contract now that it’s signed. Instead, he plans to push Foxconn for better pollution controls. That’s a pragmatic approach he pledges to extend to other state issues.
After eight years of one-party rule, and with Republicans rigging voting district maps to their favor, electing Evers governor will provide some much-needed balance to state decisions.