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Gov. Walker focuses on job creation in third State of the State addressSubmitted: 01/15/2013

Lane Kimble
Assistant News Director
lkimble@wjfw.com


MADISON - You get the impression Governor Walker knows exactly what his priority is in 2013: finding ways to get people back to work.

The Governor delivered his third State of the State speech at the Capitol building Tuesday night.

(NOTE: 10pm video coverage: play attached video via 'Play Video' option near photo. For Rep. Mandy Wright's reaction video, please follow link below full story text)

Last year, Walker faced a somewhat disruptive crowd. We saw several noisy protestors get thrown out during his speech.

That wasn't the case this time around. A mainly supportive group of lawmakers, family, friends and observers greeted Walker in the Assembly chambers.

His overall tone was positive too. The Governor didn't waste much time in getting to his main point, that we need to get aggressive in creating jobs.

He says one big way to do that: pass mining legislation that failed last year.

"Start with the legislation that was approved in the Joint Finance Committee last session," Governor Walker said. "Include some reasonable modifications. Send me a bill to sign into law early this year."

The Governor shook up the status quo this year by using props. He brought miners on stage here to hammer home his point about safe and productive mining.

Later, Travel Wisconsin reps joined him on stage to emphasize the Department of Tourism's role. That's an industry that the Governor noted brings in $16 billion a year and is a big draw for the Northwoods.

"Several years ago the previous governor closed Welcome Centers," Walker said. "As a candidate, I highlighted the importance of the tourism industry and pleged to open these centers. Tonight, I'm happy to report there are now eight Travel Wisconsin Welcome Centers staffed with people that direct visitors to all the attractions across our great state."

Walker also pointed to education reforms and new programs like last summer's online degree program as tools that can help the economy grow.

It's jobs where the governor began and where he ended Tuesday, giving his goal of creating 250,000 of them by the end of his term a personal spin.

"Our focus of creating 250,000 jobs by 2015 is much more than just a campaign promise," Walker said. "Simply put, it's about helping improve the lives of 250,000 more families in Wisconsin."

Walker also touched on his plans to lower income tax rates on all middle class families. He'll give his details on how that will work in his next budget, which comes out next month.

Newswatch 12 had a chance to get a response from Democratic state representative Mandy Wright from Wausau after the Governor's speech. Wright was happy with the tone of the night, but is cautiously optimistic about this session.

"I think it's really important, the tone that's set at the beginning of any gathering, especially something like this where we know we will be together long-term," Wright said. "I think it's really important we found a way to compromise on our first bill.

I'm sure we will have our differences, but I hope we find ways to respectfully disagree and really focus on things we can agree on, again, creating jobs, keeping our education system strong, so that we can more forward and do the work of the people that we were hired to do."

Wright touched on mining too, saying, "If [the Governor] is just going to skim over that and not acknowledge the problems with the bill from last session, I think there will be a lot of problems again," Wright said.

"On the other hand, I do think there really are ways that we can find a compromise so that we make sure the environment is clean for future generations and we have clean water and air and clean land. And that we create good, family-supporting jobs that will be sustainable and help our communities into the future."

Related Weblinks:
Democratic Rep. Mandy Wright's reaction to State of the State Address

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 03/23/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll take you live to Schofield and bring you the latest information on the shooting in that area Wednesday that took the life of a police officer and 3 other people and put several places in the Wausau area on lockdown.

We'll show you how the Merrill Fire Department is honoring the officer who was killed in the shooting incident, and we'll talk to the Oneida County Sheriff about how the county's Special Response Team feels about being able to assist the officers on the scene.

And today was day 9 of the trial for Kristopher Torgerson, the Wausau man who is accused of killing Stephanie Low and burying her body in Forest County. We'll bring you the details of the hearing.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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SCHOFIELD - Update: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has extended his condolences to the families of the four people who were killed in a series of shootings in the area around Wausau.

In a statement Thursday, Walker also extended his sympathies to the Everest Metropolitan Police Department, which lost an officer in the attacks, and to the communities where the Wednesday shootings happened, Rothschild, Schofield and Weston.

The shootings took place at a bank, a law firm and an apartment building. Authorities have a suspect in custody but haven't released the names of the suspect or victims.

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MADISON - Cheese may become Wisconsin's official dairy product.

Wisconsin lawmakers want to give cheese the honor after encouragement from some fourth-graders at Mineral Point Elementary School.

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RHINELANDER - Northwoods students competed in a financial version of March Madness.

Three high schools came together to compete In the Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl today at Nicolet College.

This was the fifth annual Rhinelander Northwoods Regional Tournament.

The goal of the competition was to increase financial literacy around the state.

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ROTHSCHILD -
UPDATE: Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks confirmed one of his officers died and three other people were killed after a shooting with a suspect near Wausau on Wednesday.

Police wouldn't share any of the victims' names or ages, but said the suspect is in custody and no one else is in danger.

The state Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation has been called in to assist local police.  Officers did not take any questions at a brief news conference Wednesday night.  A DCI spokesman said there would be another media briefing either Thursday morning or afternoon.





At least two people were hurt in what police think was a domestic situation in the Wausau area Wednesday afternoon.  That includes a police officer, but Wausau police haven't said yet which department that officer is from or who they are.

The Rothschild Police Department said in a press release that officers were called to the Marathon Savings Bank on E. Grand Avenue around 12:30 p.m.

Officers responding to the scene found two people who had apparently been shot.  The suspect left the scene before police got there.  That led to three total scenes, including a response to what appeared to be a standoff at an apartment complex on Aspen Street and Ross Avenue in Weston.

"This is a complex, ongoing investigation involving three crime scenes and multiple victims of shootings at those locations," Wausau Police Captain Todd Baeten said during an afternoon press conference.

Several police departments from Marathon County responded to the scene.  The Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation has been called in for assistance.

This story will be updated.



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WABENO - In school classrooms in Wabeno and in the community, the upcoming April 4 referendum is on the mind.

"There is an energy. There is an excitement," said Caroline Lampereur of the Wabeno Home and School Association, which supports the referendum.

Wabeno will ask taxpayers for $1.6 million for each of the next five years to keep its school operating as is.

"We want to maintain all of our operational programs and opportunities that we have for our students, as well as our extracurricular activities," said Wabeno Superintendent Jennifer Vogler.

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LAND O' LAKES - Picasso, Van Gough, and even Andy Warhol all had to start somewhere.

This month Land O' Lakes Arts displays local students' artwork in a gallery in honor of Youth Art Month. The gallery holds 112 different art pieces from students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade.

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