Gov. Tony Evers shrugged off his reputation as “boring” as he addressed Dem activists Saturday night and threw some shade at Republicans in their ongoing budget standoff.
Evers opened his speech saying it was about time the convention had a keynote speaker who was a Dem guv as he became the first one in eight years to do so.
He also recounted the dig some sent his way ahead of last year’s election that he was boring before telling delegates his reaction: “to hell with it.”
Evers then dove into a list of his budget priorities, saying there was nothing boring about protecting the Affordable Care Act, filing “those Scott-holes and fixing the damn roads,” and making sure women make their own health care decisions.
Since introducing his budget in late February, Evers has watched GOP lawmakers pull out key plans such as expanding Medicaid under Obamacare or pumping $606 million more into special education.
He reminded activists he stands before them with one of the most powerful veto pens in the country before laying down a challenge to GOP lawmakers as they rework his budget.
“To them I say, ‘Who is boring now?’” Evers said.
Evers also argued that a crowded primary for president isn’t a bad thing — so long as the party comes together after it’s over and the candidates remain focused on the issues.
Evers recounted his own win in August 2018 in a primary that featured 10 candidates. He joked about the size of the field, telling activists, “It seemed most of you were running.” But he also argued the process made him a better candidate.
Still, he cautioned against allowing the primary to “devolve into divisiveness,” telling activists they need to make sure when they disagree that they don’t become disagreeable.
“That means that even when Republicans want to get in the mud, when they disparage people who they believe are different, when they want to wage a war of ideology, we can’t let them bait us,” Evers said.
Early in this speech, Evers noted that U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore had been the only person who’d ever beaten Scott Walker — in a 1990 Assembly race — until now.
“Gwen, now there are two of us,” he said.
The guv also noted the rumors of Walker running for office again in 2022 or U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, either seeking re-election or running for guv.
“If we can do these things we just talked about, I don’t care which office they’re running for, we’re going to work hard and we’re going to send them packing once and for all,” Evers said.