Governor Walker is officially in re-election mode.
On Tuesday, Walker kicked off his bid for a second term in Madison and ended the day with a rally at State Fair Park in West Allis.
He told the crowd of around 150 or so people that four years ago, Wisconsin was on a downward spiral.
“We had a state where we lost more than 130,000 jobs in the four years that Jim Doyle served in his last term," Walker says. "Back four years ago, we had a budget deficit that literally was over $3 billion. And back this time four years ago, particularly thinking about a day like today, taxes were going up."
But he says after four years of tough, but fiscally responsible decisions, the state is back on track.
“Today we celebrate a nearly $1 billion budget surplus," Walker says. "How about that for a turn around? On top of that, we’ve got a state now where taxes are going down instead of going up. We wanted to reduce the burden on you, the hard working taxpayers of this state, so that you could put more of that money back into the economy as consumers and employers in this state."
Walker also touted the fact that he put a four year freeze on tuition within the UW System.
When it comes to his campaign promise of 250,000 jobs, Walker says that while his administration wasn’t able to meet that goal, but 100,000 jobs were created.
And he says that’s no small feat.
“Last year alone, we saw the largest private sector job growth we’ve seen since well, the 1990s," Walker says. "You know what, that’s great and we’re excited about where we’re headed, but we’re definitely not done yet."
Democrats, on the other hand, are trying to hammer home the point that the Walker administration didn’t do as promised.
They released an ad on Tuesday featuring Gov. Walker saying he wanted to be held accountable on his promise to create 250,000 jobs.
“By the end of my first term we will create 250,000 new jobs in the state. Is this a campaign promise something you want to be held to? Absolutely," Walker says. The ad continues with, "This week, a new report reveals that the state of Wisconsin lost more jobs than any other state in the country from March 2011 to March 2012.”
Now to be fair, depending on the study you’re looking at, Wisconsin ranks fairly high in job creation or really low.
One other issue that’s been controversial is the governor’s decision to allow the federal government to set up the health care exchange here and rejecting federal money to expand Medicaid.
Walker told the crowd that his plan has enabled everyone living in poverty in Wisconsin access to health care through Medicaid for the first time in history.
Democrats argue that the tens of thousands of people who need health care here were pushed off programs like BadgerCare and forced onto the exchange market where they may not be able to afford insurance.
On Tuesday, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin responded to Walkers bid for re-election by calling it “his campaign of absolute failure.” Chairman Mike Tate says the governor’s trickle down approach of tax breaks for the rich hasn’t worked.
Gov. Walker is expected to face Democrat Mary Burke.