Gov. Tony Evers said he’s confident he will win over a good number of independent voters in November, touting the $2 billion in income tax cuts he signed as part of the Republican-written budget.

“We put tax cuts in the budget, too, and we’ll continue to do that,” Evers said on WISN’s “UpFront,” which is produced in partnership with “I never said they didn’t play a role in that. I played a role in that. They played a role in that.”

Evers acknowledged the race will be close between him and Republican Tim Michels ahead of a new Marquette University Law School poll scheduled for release Wednesday.

“It’ll be very close, always; that’s Wisconsin,” Evers said. “There was a poll last time from some renowned institution that had me up like seven points, and you just know that’s not true. You get a gut feeling, and my feeling is it’s going to be tight and we’re going to win.”

Evers, talking at a Janesville elementary school, backed his recent $90 million allocation to school districts statewide from federal pandemic relief funds and rejected Republican claims his administration’s COVID-19 policies led to greater problems.

“I say what to them – following the science as a problem I caused?” Evers said. “I didn’t bring this Coronavirus to the state of Wisconsin. We had to react to it. We followed the science and the idea that somehow I closed schools – you know in that initial time, yes, all across the country they were doing it – even Republican governors were doing it. Subsequent to that, those decisions were made locally.”

Reflecting on the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski said he’s unsure the country will ever see that type of unity again.

“It was everybody — civilians, firefighters, police officers, firefighters from different states, countries,” Lipski said.

In the weeks following the attacks, Lipski traveled to New York with the Milwaukee Fire Department Honor Guard to attend funeral and memorial services for first responders.

He’s now part of an effort locally to make sure the next generation of Wisconsinites doesn’t forget.

“I can best describe it as I was present for when the space shuttle blew up with Christa McAuliffe on it,” Lipski said. “I watched that on television. I was there. But I wasn’t present when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and JFK was assassinated and Pearl Harbor was hit. I wasn’t present for those things. I just learned about them. And I learned about those things and that they were, they were worthy of my awareness because of the impact it had on America and humanity in general. I want folks who weren’t alive for that, but who are now learning about it, I want them to treat it with the same respect and honor and deference.”

Brad Toll, CEO of Discover Green Bay, says hotel reservations for the Packers season have surpassed that of previous years, signaling a strong economic impact for the region despite inflation and high gas prices.

“Things are looking great,” Toll said. “Actually, when the schedule comes out, that’s kind of a holiday in Green Bay if you will, and I would say the bookings at our hotels in the excitement exceeded the level of many years in the past.”

Toll said every Packers home game generates about $15 million in economic impact and said the 2020 season during the height of the pandemic delivered a $150 million hit, the result of not having fans at Lambeau Field.

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