He’s had eight years of big wins and defeats, but Governor Jim Doyle says there’s much to be proud of during his two terms serving as the chief executive of Wisconsin.
Doyle will step down from office on January 3rd, when Governor-elect Scott Walker is sworn in. He took some time this week to sit down with WRN at the Executive Residence in Madison and reflect on his time in office.
At the top of his list of accomplishments, the Governor puts expanded access to health care as one of his proudest and most successful efforts. Under Doyle’s watch, Wisconsin has added to the rolls of those who can apply for BadgerCare, made sure all children can obtain coverage, and made it so low-income adults without children can also get care. He says 98-percent of Wisconsinites now have access to affordable health care, making the Badger State second in the nation for the number of adults with coverage.
Doyle also hopes his record on improving education will be something history remembers about him. Despite economic problems plaguing the state in recent years, he says the push has continued to expand four-year-old kindergarten, keep the focus on small class sizes, and increase access to affordable tuition for college students.
The Governor also hopes the Wisconsin Covenant will continue going strong, now that almost 17,000 eighth-graders a year are signing up for the program each year. The agreement with students sign guarantees them access to a UW school and tuition assistance programs, if they graduate high school and maintain a B average.
Critics of the Governor have constantly accused him for raising the burden on taxpayers in the state. However, Doyle hopes history will reflect that was not the case and that he actually met his goal of getting Wisconsin out of the top ten highest taxed states in the nation. The Governor says he accomplished that without the massive fee increases many other states have used to lower their tax burdens.
The Madison Democrat says he’s proud of his overall record as a two term Governor of Wisconsin. He says there are some areas where he would have liked to have done more, such as creating a state exchange for health care or further reforming Milwaukee Public Schools. However, Doyle says he has no regrets about his decision not to seek a third term in office.