draws contrast with federal government in speech
Jan. 6, 2015
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker acknowledges the crowd after
being inaugurated for his second term.
MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker argued during his
inaugural address kicking off his second term in office on
Monday that his record in Wisconsin stands in contrast to
that of the federal government, an increasingly common theme
of his as he eyes a run for the White House next year.
"We've shown why the founders of this great nation looked to
the states — and not the federal government — as the source
of hope for this exceptional country," the Republican Walker
said after being sworn in. "We will not let them down."
Walker's potential presidential run has brought national
scrutiny to his record as governor and plans for this year's
legislative session — attention that few would have expected
four years ago when Walker first took office.
He said during his first term, he took power away from "big
government special interests" — a reference to the law known
as Act 10 that effectively ended collective bargaining for
most public workers and that thrust Walker into the national
spotlight due to massive protests. The measure spurred a
recall election that Walker won in 2012, further raising his
national profile as the first governor to survive such an
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, left, reacts as
her daughters, Violet and Ella, give an invocation
during an inauguration ceremony, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015,
at the Capitol in Madison, Wis. Gov. Scott Walker was
inaugurated for his second term.
Walker used his second-term inaugural speech Monday to
note that Wisconsin's unemployment rate is lower than it was
four years ago and that the state's pension system is among
the best in the country.
"In contrast to the politicians along the Potomac, we get
things done here in the Badger State," Walker said. "There
is a clear contrast between Washington and Wisconsin."
For his second term, Walker promised to reduce the size and
scope of government, merge state agencies, combat waste,
fraud and abuse, lower taxes and build a transportation
infrastructure to help the economy.
Sen. Jennifer Shilling, the Democratic minority leader in
the Senate, said she expected Walker to be more cautious
this year as he considers the presidential bid.
Llewellyn Scott Walker, right, gives the benediction for
his son, Gov. Scott Walker, left, after the governor's
inauguration at the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, in
Madison, Wis. Pictured next to the governor is his son
"Suddenly we have the eyes of the nation that will be
upon this state," she said. "I think he's going to be very
careful, very scripted, very disciplined about what he wants
Walker and the Legislature's biggest challenge will be
dealing with a projected $2.2 billion budget shortfall, but
numerous other hot-button issues are looming including a
debate over right-to-work legislation. Fiercely opposed by
unions, such a law would bar private-sector unions from
requiring workers to join or pay union dues as a condition
Walker will be working with a Republican-controlled
Legislature, as he did in his first term. Both the Senate
and Assembly were holding ceremonies Monday afternoon to
swear in those who were elected in November.
Republicans hold a 63-36 majority in the Assembly and an
18-14 majority in the Senate, with one seat vacant. A
special election to fill that seat, which is in a heavily
Republican district, is set for April 7.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker addresses the crowd after
being inaugurated for his
second term at the Capitol.
Twenty-five new Assembly members, including 18
Republicans and seven Democrats, and seven new senators,
including five Republicans and two Democrats, were set to
take the oath for the first time.
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Republican Attorney General Brad
Schimel and state Treasurer Matt Adamczyk were also sworn in
on Monday. The only Democrat elected to statewide office,
Secretary of State Doug La Follette, skipped the
inauguration to attend a meeting of land commissioners in
La Follette, who was sworn-in privately last month, said he
wasn't trying to send a political message with his decision
to skip the ceremony.
"It's a historic event every four years, but there's no
substance you miss," he said.
Former governors Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum, both
Republicans, also attended the ceremony.
The ceremony was a family affair. Walker's two sons who are
in college, Matt and Alex, served as masters of ceremony.
His wife, Tonette, introduced Walker and several other
extended family members were there. Walker's father and
Baptist minister, Llewellyn Walker, delivered a prayer to
close the program.
says he hopes Walker runs for president
MADISON, Wis. — Former Gov. Tommy Thompson says now is
the time for Gov. Scott Walker to run for president, and if
he intends to run he needs to get in the race soon.
Thompson said Monday after Walker's inauguration ceremony
that he told Walker to be bold and make a difference in his
second term. Thompson says Walker smiled and told him he
would do that.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson waves to the crowd
during an inauguration ceremony for Gov. Scott Walker.
Thompson ran for president briefly after
he left public office in 2007, but dropped out after just
four months when a straw poll showed him in sixth place.
Thompson says he should have run for president during his
second term as governor in 1992. Thompson says, "I waited
He says the sooner Walker gets in, the better his chances
Wisconsin Assembly members
MADISON, Wis.— The Wisconsin Assembly's 99 members are
taking the oath of office for the 2015-17 legislative
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser swore in the
members en masse on Monday afternoon. The representatives,
wearing boutonnieres, then took turns signing the oath of
office book. The book has been used on every inauguration
day since 1877.
Prosser swore in Republican Rep. Robin Vos individually as
Assembly speaker to a standing ovation. Vos served as
speaker during the last session as well. He delivered a
speech calling on representatives to shrink government by
consolidating agencies and curb spending.
Republicans control the chamber 63-36. They control the
Senate 18-14 and Scott Walker holds the governor's office,
giving the GOP complete control of state government for a
third straight session.
Wisconsin Senate welcomes 17 senators, 7 who are new
MADISON, Wis. — Seventeen Wisconsin state senators have
taken the oath of office for a four-year term.
The senators, including seven who are new to the Senate,
were sworn into office Monday by Wisconsin Supreme Court
Justice Annette Ziegler. A similar ceremony was held in the
Assembly. Gov. Scott Walker and constitutional officers were
sworn in earlier Monday.
Republicans hold an 18-14 majority in the Senate with one
vacant seat in a Republican district. There are seven new
senators this session. Five of them are Republicans and two
Sen. Mary Lazich is beginning her term as president of the
Senate, marking the first time that a woman has held the
position presiding over the daily session.
Sen. Scott Fitzgerald returns as Republican majority leader.
Sen. Jennifer Shilling is the Democratic leader.
Democratic leader expects scripted governor
Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling says she
expects Republican Gov. Scott Walker will play things very
cautiously in his second term.
Shilling, a La
Crosse Democrat, told reporters during a news conference ahead
of Walker's second-term inauguration Monday that the last four
years with Walker at the helm and Republicans in complete
control of the Legislature were difficult.
She says Walker
knows the eyes of the nation are on him as he mulls a
presidential bid. She expects him to be quote "very
careful, very scripted, very disciplined" about his agenda.
Before the news
conference began a television cameraman asked Shilling to move a
roll of paper towels on the table in front of her. Shilling
joked she might need them to mop up Republican messes.
Schimel sworn in as Wisconsin attorney general
Republican Brad Schimel says he is putting drug smugglers and
dealers on notice that they are "public enemy No. 1"
as he begins his tenure as Wisconsin attorney general.
sworn in as attorney general on Monday. Schimel won election in
November, taking over for fellow Republican J.B. Van Hollen who
decided not to seek a third term.
former Waukesha County district attorney, says he spent the past
25 years as a prosecutor fighting crimes and the toughest
challenge he's encountered is heroin and prescription drug
says he is making a "solemn promise" to put aside
politics in his role as attorney general leading the state
Department of Justice.