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Walker visits Hudson, looking at governorship

Scott Walker, considered the most likely Republican candidate to run for Wisconsin Governor in 2010, was in Hudson Sunday and Monday getting reaction to a possible gubernatorial run.

Republican Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker was in the Hudson area Sunday and Monday and it is expected that he will run for Governor in 2010.

Walker has not made a formal decision yet, but he is traveling around the state to get reaction from party officials and citizens - so far he likes what he is seeing.

"The reception so far has been tremendous," Walker said. "People are tired of the mess in Madison. Now that I'm out of state government, I see some of the folly that goes on - people are tired of it."

He said he probably will not make a formal decision until the State Republican Convention scheduled for the first weekend in May.

Walker has served a stint in the state legislator from 1993 to 2002 and was elected as the first Republican Milwaukee County Executive in a special election on April 30, 2002, after the former county executive Tom Ament was ousted in a pension-fund scandal. Walker is now serving his third term.

And, he has been successful in Milwaukee, cutting debt and show budget surpluses. In 2007 Milwaukee County had a $7.9 million surplus and, although the final numbers are not in, he expects a break-even budget for 2008 - maybe even a small surplus.

Walker, 41, is most concerned about the state's economy, including the expected $5.4 billion budget deficit.

"I know some of the problem is the economic meltdown, but the governor (Democrat James Doyle) has made it worse by deferring too much debt," Walker said. "Wisconsin's expected deficit is the fourth largest of all the states in the country - clearly we're not anywhere near the fourth biggest state economy."

He said he keeps hearing rumors out of Madison that the deficit will be dealt with by raising taxes.

"That's the wrong path," Walker said. "The last time we did that under Tony Earl in the 1980s it made the budget worse and led to an exodus from the state."

He said Earl raised the sales tax from 4 to 5 percent and put a 10 percent surcharge on income tax.

"The best way to get the economy rolling is to reduce taxes," Walker said "Even at the federal level - instead of bailouts and stimulus packages, the government could cut taxes and it would have an immediate impact on the economy. In fact, historically, after a tax cut, the amount of dollars that go back to the government actually increases."

The Wisconsin budget is due out in later February and Walker said he will study the numbers and make a decision about running for governor between then and the May convention.

Sunday Walker was the guest speaker at the St. Croix County Republican Lincoln Day dinner. On Sunday and Monday he spent much of his time meeting potential constituents and discussing economic strategies with business leaders.

Walker graduated from high school in Delavan and attended Marquette University. He was elected to the State Assembly in 1993, representing District 14, which comprised the City of Wauwatosa.

Walker and his wife, Tonette, live in Wauwatosa with their two sons, Matt and Alex.