Mary Burke defends record, promotes candidacy on Capitol City Sunday
MADISON (WKOW) -- Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Mary Burke said people are starting to hear her message that Wisconsin's economy is falling behind the rest of the Midwest in an interview she did for Capitol City Sunday that will air this weekend on WKOW 27.
Burke's campaign has hammered on Gov. Scott Walker's economic record, specifically the state's private sector job growth rate, which she says is "dead last in the Midwest."
"So the U.S. lost 8.7 million jobs during the great recession," said Burke. "Certainly we lost a lot of jobs here in Wisconsin as well. But in the U.S. overall, we have gotten back all of those jobs, whereas here in Wisconsin we are still well short of getting back to our peak employment."
In the first three years of Gov. Walker's administration (2011-13), Wisconsin created 91,813 private sector jobs, according to statistics provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.
In Burke's tenure as Wisconsin Commerce Secretary, which lasted nearly three years (2005-2007), Wisconsin only created 49,647 jobs.
"Those numbers really are comparing apples and oranges," said Burke. "And the fact is that when I was Commerce Secretary, we had nearly 50,000 more people employed than we do right now. The unemployment rate was 4.8 percent. When Governor Walker came into office, we had nowhere to go but up."
Wisconsin's unemployment rate was at 7.5 percent when Governor Scott Walker took office in January of 2011 and now stands at 5.8 percent.
Burke also addressed the wave of momentum that seems to be behind female candidates in the Democratic Party of Wisconsin this year. Not only did she win the party's gubernatorial nomination, but Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ is the party's nominee for Wisconsin Attorney General. Burke says that is not what the campaign is all about, but admits there seems to be a different type of enthusiasm.
"As I travel around the state, I meet more young women. I meet parents who come and they say 'my daughter, my little daughter would like to meet you, the next President of Wisconsin,' because they don't even know what Governor is, so they refer to it as the President of Wisconsin," said Burke. You can see Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann's full interview with Mary Burke this Sunday at 9:00 a.m. on WKOW 27.
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