Gov. Tony Evers today will call for “generational, transformative improvements” in how the state provides aid to local communities as he is sworn in for a second four-year term.
Ahead of today’s inauguration ceremony, Evers’ office released his prepared remarks, which provide a hint of his priorities for the budget he will deliver next month.
The priorities include: attracting more workers, especially in health care; expanding affordable housing and job training; and investing in public transit and transportation alternatives.
Evers also will argue the state has to end the state’s 1849 abortion ban to attract workers and businesses so the calculus for those looking to relocate here “doesn’t include themselves, their loved ones, or their workers being stripped of their reproductive freedom just for moving here.”
“We must restore the freedoms that Wisconsinites had until June 23, 2022, the day before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. And I believe that together we will,” Evers will say.
The guv has already announced plans to increase shared revenue by 4 percent in each of the next two years as part of his upcoming budget, which he will deliver Feb. 15.
In his inaugural address, Evers will say improving investments in local communities will ensure they “can respond to basic and unique needs alike.”
Evers also will call for investing in roads and infrastructure, schools, and health care. The guv will urge the state to address PFAS, lead and nitrates in Wisconsin waters and to close the “digital divide” by expanding affordable, reliable high-speed internet. Evers last month announced nearly $6 million in federal grants to help the state create a roadmap to expanding broadband, both through infrastructure and in making it more affordable.
He also will call for making quality childcare and early education more affordable, capping the cost of insulin and legalizing marijuana.
“Our state and our country’s histories are punctuated by moments just like this one — moments where we have the chance to do the right thing — not for ourselves — but for each other,” Evers will say. “There’s no question that the work we must do to build the future we want for our kids, our grandkids, and our state is only possible if we’re willing to do it together. And I believe that together we will.”
Evers and AG Josh Kaul are both being sworn in for their second terms during a ceremony that begins late this morning in the Capitol.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Sarah Rodriguez and State Treasurer John Leiber are both taking the oath for the first time.
And Secretary of State Doug La Follette will be sworn in for a 12th term. He is the longest serving state constitutional officer in the country.
Both houses of the Legislature will convene this afternoon for inaugural ceremonies.
Twenty-four new members will be sworn into the Assembly, including 16 Republicans and eight Dems. In the Senate, there are six new members, five of them Republicans and one Dem.
With the new members sworn in, Republicans will control the Assembly 64-35 and the Senate 21-11 with one vacancy.