“Did we get off to a rocky start? Sure, they didn’t call me in, in mid-December and say ‘hey Tony, by the way we’re going to be taking away some of your authority,’ they just did it,” Evers said in a year-end interview.
Evers in turn proposed a state budget that Republican legislative leaders couldn’t support. “We were able to kind of block the kind of hyper-partisanship that Governor Evers injected into the system,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. “He had all kinds of proposals to basically undo the last eight years.”
The governor ended up signing the budget after Republicans reworked it, but the relationship between Evers and GOP leaders remains strained. “I’m just frustrated I think, in that I had hoped there would be a better rapport with the administration, and that there were topics we could kind of work together on,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
Both Republican leaders said face-to-face meeting with the governor have been infrequent, something that’s marked departure from his predecessor. Vos said Republican leaders met almost weekly with Republican Governor Scott Walker – and that Democrats often met with him as well. “I’m still open to having a regular weekly meeting where you talk about issues, bring up frustrations and throw in ideas,” he said. “But I guess I’m wating for the other side to say that that’s important to them, too.”
“I think we can always have better working relationships. But I also understand that they’re legislators and I’m not,” said Evers, who next month will deliver his State of the State address to the legislature.