The ceremonial pomp and circumstance of the gubernatorial oath was finished and Scott Walker pulled two bills from his jacket pocket. One will be forwarded to the state senate, the other to the assembly – in an effort to “open Wisconsin for business.”
Walker repeated his election day battle cry three times during in his inaugural remarks to state officials and citizens, and emphasized it by selecting Liza Mauer, CEO of Tool Service Corporation of Wauwatosa to be the Mistress of Ceremonies for the event.
The receptive audience and polite political opposition cheered as Walker said he would improve the state’s education system to make our student competitive in the global marketplace: protect our natural resources; restore economic vitality to the state; honor the foundational role family plays in society; and get government out of the way of small businesses that will create 250,000 jobs in the next four years.
He firmly stated he will not raise taxes to fill the $3.3 billion gap coming with the 2011-12 budget and he will trim state services that are not considered essential.
“Increasing taxes is off the table as it will counter our efforts to have economic growth.”
That statement elicited shouts of “No” and “How” from one loud vocal protester in the capitol rotunda.
Walker was not deterred, referencing the state constitution,our forefathers and Ronald Reagan as the inspiration for his plans.
“Our constitution is of the people, for the people and by the people. When it was approved in 1848, they envisioned a brighter future for themselves and their children. It begins simply and speaks to the source of our liberties – the creator, not the government.”
He added that the blessings of freedom depend on the adherence to the constitution and the reaffirmation of the values our state was founded on – justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue.
“These are the values on which we we were formed and on which our state will travel forward,” Walker said. “Under our administration, state government will do only what is necessary – no more, no less.”
And Reagan’s observation that as “government grows, liberty contracts,” is where Walker pulls his belief that government must be stopped from reaching into our pockets and lives
“I will call a special session today, where we will present a bold set of reforms aimed at helping businesses create jobs. This is our blueprint to spur our business environment,” he said, waving the bills in the air. “Unite and pass these reforms into law and create more jobs for our citizens. Pass our plan by the end of February to get Wisconsin working again.”
Walker described the bill’s contents as relief from taxes, regulations and litigation for small businesses, policy reforms to allow small businesses to offer health care and changing the Department of Commerce from a regulatory body to an über-state Chamber of Commerce.
“We will send a clear message to business owners. Now is the time to invest, stay here, grow here and if you’re out of state, bring your jobs here. We have the most talented workers in the world.”
Prior to Walker’s remarks, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson explained that our government must operate on cooperation. But in a reference to protesters outside the capital and opposing politicians inside, she added that “once a lawsuit is filed, cooperation goes out the window.”
The ceremony included the swearing in of Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefish, General Attorney J. B. VanHollen and State Treasurer Kurt Schuller. Secretary of State Douglas J. LaFollette was sworn in prior to the ceremony and was not present due to a family vacation.
Former governors Martin Schreiber, Anthony Earl, Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum also watched the swearing in of Walker as the state’s 4th governor. Phillip LaFollette held the office twice, during non-consecutive terms.