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‘Wisconsin deserves better’
Dittrich, Republicans criticize Evers for State of the State address
MADISON — State Rep. Barbara Dittrich, ROconomowoc, released a statement Wednesday morning criticizing Gov. Tony Evers for his Tuesday State of the State speech, saying that Wisconsin deserves better than the Democrat governor.
“Tuesday’s State of the State was an opportunity for Governor Evers to unite a hurting state and commit to positive change going forward,” Dittrich said in her release. “Instead, he made a highly political speech filled with blame and divisiveness. It takes a true leader to accept responsibility when mistakes are made. The past year was riddled with those mistakes, yet, no contrition of any kind was shown on the governor’s part.”
Evers gave his speech virtually Tuesday night to avoid cramming people into the Legislature’s chambers.
Evers focused on the state’s unemployment problems, with a backlog of claims still impacting plenty of Wisconsinites.
He announced he was calling a special session for the Legislature to fix the beleaguered unemployment system, which was overwhelmed with record numbers of people filing claims when the pandemic hit.
Evers is trying to shift responsibility to the Republican- controlled
Legislature by forcing them into a special session to take up his plan for modernizing the system to speed the processing of claims.
However, Dittrich said while Evers is blaming the system used, neighboring states use the same system without a backlog.
“Additionally, a Legislative Audit Bureau investigation revealed that a mere 1% of phone calls had been answered and many adjudications with all of the needed information remained unprocessed,” Dittrich said. “This is simply a failure of leadership.”
State Rep. Scott Allen, RWaukesha, criticized Evers for continuing to blame the Legislature for the state’s problems.
“The Legislature passed an emergency bill last year which largely tracked the governor’s request,” Allen said. “The Governor, not Legislature, shut down businesses and schools during the pandemic, forcing an unprecedented spike in unemployment and an unprecedented backlog of unemployment claims processing.”
Allen said Wisconsin has problems that have no ideological divide. “Affordable workforce housing stock continues to decline,” Allen said. “Property taxes, particularly problematic for those on fixed incomes, continue to rise despite the Legislature’s best efforts.”
State Rep. Cindi Duchow, R-Delafield, also released a statement criticizing Evers for focusing on politics and placing blame.
“Wisconsin’s citizens, families, and small businesses have been demanding action, not political talking points,” Duchow said.
“We must not forget the past failings of this administration in dealing with unemployment claims.” Duchow also rebuked Evers for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and called it “unacceptable.”
“I remain hopeful that we can put politics aside and work to help Wisconsin recover from this pandemic,” Duchow said.
Dittrich did agree with Evers that Wisconsin needs broadband expansion, but believes spending taxpayer dollars to do so is “out of reach.”
“Wisconsin families would be better served if Gov. Evers followed the science and got our students back in school,” Dittrich said “Additionally, a public-private partnership proposed through regular legislation is a far better way to serve Wisconsin families when it comes to the broadband issue.”
Dittrich said she is pledging to continue her work on issues in the state such as the state budget, redistricting, workforce, health care and education.
“I know it is important to keep our state moving forward,” she said.
State Rep. Robyn Vining, D-Wauwatosa, said she echoes Evers’ call to address the unemployment system in Wisconsin.
“Legislative Democrats introduced legislation to make crucial changes to this system in July — the Legislature needs to revisit these proposals and work with the Department of Workforce Development on improving this system so Wisconsinites can all receive the support they deserve in a timely manner,” Vining said.
In addition, Vining said she applauds Evers’ commitment to Fair Maps — to help curb the effects of gerrymandering in Wisconsin.
“We know an overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites, and counties across the state support nonpartisan redistricting,” Vining said. “Legislators cannot draw the maps that insular them from providing fair representation.”
The Associated Press