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Burke campaigns in northern and western Wisconsin

RHINELANDER, Wis. (WXPR) -- The only declared Democrat running for Governor stopped in Rhinelander Tuesday to deliver the message that she can defeat the incumbent Republican Scott Walker.

Mary Burke is the former Commerce Secretary under then Governor Jim Doyle and was an executive with Trek Bicycle from Waterloo, a company founded by her father.

Burke outlined a number of stances including what she would have done differently to balance the state budget. "We did need changes made to balance the budget. I think it was fair to ask to have folks contribute to pension and health care expenses. But the way to go about it would be to bargain for those things and those options were on the table. I would have negotiated firmly, but fairly."

She says the state came out of the ACT 10 debate deeply divided. Burke says Walker's decision to not accept federal money for Medicaid hurt many people and made health care more expensive. "Our current Governor turned down that money and instead threw 77,000 people off from healthcare. These are hard working adults who just fall a little bit above the poverty level and don't qualify for BadgerCare."

Burke says the Walker Administration is not accurate in saying they're creating more jobs. "I left the Dept. of Commerce in 2007 and there were 84,000 more jobs than we have today."

The deepest part of the recession hit Wisconsin in 2008.

Burke has her own wealth but says the money Scott Walker can generate dwarfs her reserve. She says Democrats have been outspent in the last two elections. "I look specifically at Governor Walker and he raised over $30 million in the last election, a great share of it coming from out of state. It's going to be necessary to raise resources to get the message out."

She says the new mining bill enabling the Penokee Hills mine is not the approach she would have taken. "We had bi­partisan legislation on the table that Senator (Bob) Jauch, Senator (Tim) Cullen and Senator Dale Schultz pulled together that could have balanced those two, between the job creation while still protecting our environmental resources. That's the approach I would have taken."

State Senator Kathleen Vinehout is also rumored to want the Democratic nomination for Governor but has made no formal announcement.

Burke made stops in Wausau and Rhinelander, as well as Eau Claire during this campaign swing.

 

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