Craig Thompson, Gov. Tony Evers’ pick to lead the Department of Transportation, downplayed opposition to his nomination in an interview that aired Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“I’ve been meeting with senators, and it’s been really good,” Thompson said. “A lot of Republican senators, and I think people agree that I’m qualified for the job.”

When his nomination was announced, Republican Sens. Scott Fitzgerald and Duey Stroebel expressed displeasure. Some Republicans were unhappy with Thompson’s role in the “Just Fix It” campaign when he was with the Transportation Development Association. The condition of the state’s roads and bridges became an issue in the campaign for governor.

But Thompson pointed out that “Just Fix It” was never critical of any elected official, and he said both parties “strongly feel” that the state needs to do something about transportation.

The most recent Marquette University Law School Poll showed a majority of voters oppose raising the state’s gas tax or registration fees to pay for road and bridge repairs. But Thompson said he was actually encouraged by the results. He said taxpayers need to see what they would get in return for any increase.

Thompson said Wisconsin’s roads are the worst in the Midwest “by a gaping margin.”

In another segment, Madison-area Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan said the five-week partial government shutdown was “an incredible waste of time and energy.”

The shutdown ended Friday when President Trump and congressional leaders agreed to reopen the government for three weeks while they continue to negotiate over border security and money for Trump’s wall on the southern border.

Gousha asked Pocan if he thought another shutdown was possible in three weeks.

“Unfortunately, it’s very possible,” Pocan said.

Green Bay-area Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher called the shutdown fight “absurd” and “political theater,” and said it shows that Congress is “broken.”

“We can solve this very easily,” Gallagher said of the border security funding fight. The interview with Gallagher was recorded before the deal to temporarily reopen the government was announced Friday afternoon.

See more from the show: https://www.wisn.com/upfront

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