The Democratic candidate in the race for governor says the state needs a different approach to economic development.
Democrat Mary Burke claims the current setup of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is not working. If elected, she wants to create a position above the current CEO of the public-private partnership, to help promote job creation and coordinate efforts between multiple agencies. During a stop in Middleton Thursday, Burke said “You have to align entirely economic development and public policy around job creation, and so you have to involve workforce development, regulation, education.”
Republican Governor Scott Walker, who Burke is challenging in November, serves as the chair of the agency’s board, but Burke says a higher level of involvement is needed because it’s “not enough.”
The agency, which was created by Walker and Republicans to replace the state Department of Commerce. The agency has attracted a great deal of controversy in its early years, including an audit that found the agency had failed to track loans it was charged with overseeing. Governor Walker has repeatedly defended the agency and backed reforms to improve accountability.