State Superintendent Tony Evers struck an optimistic tone about the future of Wisconsin, especially for the state’s public schools, as he addressed a supportive crowd following his re-election victory.

“We have lots of problems in the state, but we can roll up our sleeves and solve them,” he said.

Speaking to a crowd of around 50 in downtown Madison, which included Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca and Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, Evers attributed his victory to “being the chief advocate” of public school kids.

He also credited “people at the local level” for supporting their schools via referendum vote in past elections. This time around, there were 65 referenda questions on the ballot.

Still, he addressed issues the state needs to solve to enhance the education environment for public school students, including better addressing mental health issues and allocating more money to districts, although he conceded the state’s in a good starting place with Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget.

Evers also likened running for re-election and heading the Department of Public Instruction as having “two jobs at the same time.”

“Running for election is not something I take lightly,” he said. “I work hard for it.”

He mentioned his challenger Lowell Holtz, former superintendent of Whitnall School District, only once and not by name, calling him instead “my opponent.” Evers said Holtz’s “view of the world is a lot different than mine,” adding “my view won.”

In an interview with later in the evening, Evers attributed the lack of big outside money flowing in to support Holtz’s campaign to the quality of Evers’ campaign.

“I think it’s because we had a good campaign and people didn’t want to invest in my opponent,” he said.

But he added he thinks people respect that he takes “difficult positions, even though they may not be popular,” he said, citing his stance on whether transgender kids should use the bathroom they identify with and guns in schools.

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