Governor Scott Walker received a boost from the party faithful as the Republican Party of Wisconsin held its annual convention in Milwaukee over the weekend. The convention also saw delegates reject a couple of controversial amendments put forward by tea party activists, and a call for party unity from a retiring member of Congress.
Walker used his convention speech to focus on his upcoming effort to seek reelection in November, focusing on his efforts to cut taxes and revitalize the state’s economy.
“Don’t let others tell you there are other issues out there that are more important, Wisconsin is better off today than it was four years ago, and with your help that’s exactly what it’s going to be four years from now,” he said.
“Our vision for the future is simple,” said Walker, who along with Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch received the party’s nomination. “We believe in less government, less dependence on government, and more dependence on hard work and personal pride. Right?”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was pleased that a resolution supporting Wisconsin’s right to secede from the Union failed. “It’s definitely a distraction from the message that we want to focus on, which is that Wisconsin is growing again, creating jobs, reducing taxes, giving families more opportunities,” said Vos, noting that a majority of his Assembly members signed on to a letter urging delegates to reject the amendment. “I’m proud to be the party of Lincoln who fought to keep the union together, so I think that having us go back on that would not only be an embarrassment to Wisconsin but it would be certainly turning our back on our principles.” Another resolution that failed would have declared Obamacare null and void in Wisconsin, and threatened criminal action against any federal employee who tried to enforce it.
Republican party history was also referenced by Congressman Tom Petri, who called for GOP unity as he addressed the delegates for the last time as the Representative from Wisconsin’s 6th District.
Petri touched on the founding of the Republican Party in Ripon, Wisconsin, on the eve of the Civil War, and said the disparate views represented in the early party have their echoes in the 21st century. “This is not a conservative party convention, or the libertarian party convention, or the moderate party convention. This is the Republican Party convention,” said Petri. “We have individuals from all parts of the political spectrum here as Republicans.”
There was plenty of criticism of Democratic policies too, with the Common Core educational standards taking a particular hit. Assembly Speaker Vos said the state needs to do better, although Republicans failed to advance tougher standards during the last legislative session. “We don’t need Common Core, because Wisconsin expects higher standards. We can do better, and we must do better for our kids,” said Vos. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner’s assessment of the standards for math and language arts were even harsher. Sensenbrenner said the educational standards take away local school control. “Not only should Common Core go into the wastebasket, it should go into the paper shredder, and be used as confetti when we turn that issue around,” he said.