Even though Wisconsin trails the rest of the Midwest and most of the rest of the nation in private sector job growth under Scott Walker, the governor is succeeding in adding jobs in one niche market — political workers for his presidential campaign.
Just last week, Walker opened a campaign office in Iowa where he already has staff on the ground, and today the Associated Press is reporting that Walker has hired two more advisers for his campaign operations in New Hampshire. Today the state Senate Health Committee also approved the appointment of Andrew Hitt, who serves as treasurer for Walker’s presidential committee Our American Revival, to the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority Board.
Despite his flurry of political hires and a recent campaign trip to the United Kingdom disguised as official state business, Walker remains coy about his presidential ambitions, stating he won’t make any announcements until after his budget is signed early this summer. With Walker hiring more staff for his presidential campaign and taking more political trips, to include a fundraising trip to New York later this week, he’s looking like an official candidate for office, lending even more weight to a series of complaints from Wisconsin Democrats and the American Democracy Legal Fund that allege Walker is misusing state funds for personal gain and that his tax-exempt 527 political group Our American Revival is being used as a presidential exploratory committee and is thus subject to disclosure limits under the law.
But its not smooth sailing for Walker to pass his “Iowa Caucus Budget” and hit the campaign trail harder; even Wisconsin Republicans are fighting the governor on his plans to solve the state’s $2.3 billion budget deficit by gutting the world-class University of Wisconsin System by $300 million, delaying more than $100 million in state debt payments, and refusing to realize as much as $345 million in savings by accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid.
“If Scott Walker cared half as much about adding jobs in Wisconsin as he does about hiring staff for his presidential campaign our state might not have a crippling $2.3 billion budget deficit and an economy that’s gone from a leader to a laggard in the Midwest,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Wednesday. “For Scott Walker, his personal ambitions always come first and jobs for his political supporters come second.”