Gov. Scott Walker urged attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington, D.C., to keep pressing forward with reforms in the face of protests.
The Republican guv and chair of the RGA Thursday recounted the protests surrounding Act 10 in Wisconsin in 2011, comparing them to the current round of demonstrations targeting the GOP.
He singled out an incident roughly two weeks ago in which protesters in DC tried to block Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from entering a public school.
During the battle over Act 10, Walker said protesters glued the doors shut to an elementary school where he was to read to the children. That drew gasps from the crowd.
“Now, the good news is, that school was not to be deterred; They actually took the doors off the hinges and we were able to read to the kids,” he said to applause.
He said he called DeVos about the DC incident and told her, “Been there, done that.”
But, Walker added, “It was a vivid reminder about what we learned in Wisconsin, and that is to do what you said you were going to do — to go big, to go bold, to actually follow through on the promises you made throughout the campaign.”
Walker noted the GOP’s electoral success in Wisconsin since Act 10.
“It’s because common sense conservative reforms work,” Walker said. “They actually work, and the people responded to them.”
Walker pointed to improvements in the state’s economy and finances since he took office, and said as a result the state now has a “reform dividend” allowing it to cut taxes and to freeze and cut tuition in the UW System.
“I want to make a challenge to each of you here today, to keep moving forward,” Walker said. “Don’t stand still. Keep moving forward.”
Walker said he told a reporter during the Act 10 protests that people had a right to demonstrate, but that “I wasn’t going to let the noise of the protesters drown out the voices of the majority of people who had elected us to do the things that we were going to do.”
Walker said in Washington “it is common practice to ignore the will of the voters.”
“My plea to you today is to not get caught up in Washington,” Walker said, “to not forget the voters, to not ignore the people who live in reality all across this country every single day.”