Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took a trip to Washington, D.C. on Friday to call out government special interests for encroaching on state’s rights.
“In many ways there’s a big difference between Washington and the rest of the country, so today part of what I want to talk about is that contrast,” Walker said to reporters at the American Action Forum. “Not just between Washington and Wisconsin but I think Washington and the rest of America.”
“For a lot of folks here in our nation’s capital, Washington, there’s kind of a dome,” Walker explained. “I like to call it 68 square miles surrounded by reality.”
Walker argues that though there is an important role for the federal government, it has become too big and has taken on duties that are best left to the states and local leaders. This dynamic — pushed by power hungry special interests groups, Walker concludes — has caused problems on the local level throughout the country.
Walker continued, “What I see from the states and people of this country outside of Washington is a craving for something new, something fresh, something dynamic that says instead of a top down government-knows-best approach that we’ve seen too long in Washington, we want something that’s built up by big bold ideas, from not only states, but also local communities all across this country.”
“I think the people of this country want a more effective, more efficient, a more accountable government and they’ll get that when more of that power is transferred from Washington up to the states,” he said.
Walker points to national labor unions as a primary example of these sorts of special interest groups. During his first term, Walker became a target for many national unions when he worked with the state’s Republican legislature to pass a labor reform initiative, known as Act 10. The act significantly changed the collective bargaining process for most public employees within the state.
“We took on, over the past four years, the big-government special interests, many of whom are based right here in our nation’s capital,” Walker said. “Four years ago, at about this point you saw many of the leaders of the AFL-CIO, the NEA, AFSCME and other organizations on the left come to our state to try to intimidate us to do what they want to have done here in Washington, not what the people in Wisconsin elected us to do, and we won.”
Unions tried defeating Walker in a recall election and the 2014 midterm elections. Walker, however, was able to defeat his critics each time. At the time unions warned that Act 10 would have profoundly negative consequences for Wisconsin but as Walker pointed out in his speech, the state has greatly improved economically and even in areas like education under his leadership.
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