As he gets ready to take the oath of office later today at the Capitol, Governor Scott Walker says he’s “absolutely” ready to tackle another four years as Wisconsin’s chief executive.
Walker will be sworn in later this morning during a ceremony in the Capitol rotunda, after winning a tough reelection battle this past November against Democratic challenger Mary Burke. Despite a first term that saw massive protests and a recall election against him, Walker says he’s looking forward to getting his second term started. “It’s kind of nice,” he said in an interview with WRN, “because this time we’ll get a real chance to have a full term and not have an election in the middle of it.”
Walker first took office as governor in January of 2011. Just months into his first term, he introduced highly controversial legislation that would strip most public employees of their collective bargaining powers. The push to pass the bill sparked weeks of protests at the Capitol, prompted state Senate Democrats to flee the state to Illinois to prevent a vote, and was the catalyst for a massive effort to recall him and several other state lawmakers from office. Walker was able to overcome that recall attempt in 2012.
Walker says there are real issues facing the state that lawmakers need to focus on, such as reforming the state’s education system and a state budget that will require “big decisions.” More distractions could be looming on the horizon though. Republicans in the state Legislature have already indicated they plan to push for passage of a right-to-work bill, which would prohibit making union membership a condition of employment. Union leaders says they will work to oppose the bill, which could include more protests, while Walker himself has argued that pursuing the legislation would take the focus away from more important issues on his agenda.
There’s also the looming questions of whether or not Walker will enter the fray and consider a run for President in 2016. The governor has so far only said that a decision is months away, but he has already showing some signs, such as reaching out to potential donors and arranging possible speaking engagements across the border in Iowa. Despite those moves, he has repeatedly insisted that his focus right now is on the upcoming state budget he will present to lawmakers next month.