Governor Scott Walker says his office was not aware of the troubled past of a welder who appeared at the podium during the State of the State and, had they know, he would not have been there.
Chris Barber, a welder from Two Rivers, was one of several workers the governor brought out during his speech as an example of people who have found a job since he took office. Walker says he did not know until after the speech about Barber’s prior felony convictions, three drunk driving arrests, and that he was a registered sex offender. The governor says “it’s frustrating” that Barber was not fully checked out before his last minute addition to the speech.
AUDIO: Gov. Scott Walker (1:13)
Walker says Barber was recommended by his employer, the Ariens Company, and his office assumed a background check had been done. He says it appears that, because Barber was a seasonal worker who moved up to full time employment, a full-scale background check was never done.
Speaking to reporters in Madison on Thursday, Walker was quick to point out that the individuals who appeared during his speech were not workers he hired directly, but just a handful of the thousands who have found jobs over the last three years.