Scott Walker was raised with a heart for public service, patriotism, and hard work. Born in Colorado, he moved to Iowa as a young child. Eventually, he and his family moved to the small town of Delavan, Wisconsin when he was in third grade. There, his father was a minister and his mother worked part time as a bookkeeper and secretary. Scott was active in school, sports, church, and Scouts where he earned the rank of Eagle.
While still in high school, Scott was selected to attend the American Legion’s Badger Boys State program in Ripon and Boys Nation in Washington, D.C. The veterans and educators on staff taught him about importance of patriotism and public service. He returned to volunteer for both programs.
Scott learned the importance of hard work at an early age. His first job was washing dishes at the Countryside Restaurant in Darien, Wisconsin. Later, he worked at McDonald’s in high school to save up money for college. He attended Marquette University and worked a variety of jobs including selling warranty agreements for IBM to pay for school.
In his senior year, Scott received an offer to work for the American Red Cross and left college early to pursue his career. Years later, he was elected to the State Assembly in June, 1993. As a lawmaker, he helped lead the way on welfare reform, public safety, and educational opportunities.
In 2002, Scott was elected to serve as the Milwaukee County Executive and went to work reforming the scandal-ridden county government. He was the first Republican to hold that office. Over the next eight years, Scott faithfully kept his promise to spend taxpayer money as if it were his own. He cut the debt by 30 percent, reduced the workforce by more than 25 percent, and introduced nine consecutive budgets without increasing the property tax levy from the previous year. In 2008, he won re-election with nearly 60 percent of the vote, in a county where President Obama carried more than 60 percent of the vote.
On November 2, 2010, Scott was elected as the 45th Governor of Wisconsin. He was sworn into office on January 3, 2011, and immediately set the state on a path toward economic revival, fiscal order, and government reform. He inherited a projected $3.6 billion budget deficit, $800 million worth of unpaid bills, and the loss of more than 133,000 jobs from the previous administration.
Under his leadership, Wisconsin has had a budget surplus each year, paid its bills, and helped turn around the economy. In 2016, more people are employed in Wisconsin than ever before in state history. The unemployment rate is at its lowest rate in 15 years, and the percentage of people working is one of the highest in the nation.
Wisconsin’s rainy day fund is 165 times bigger than when Scott first took office. Borrowing in the last budget was the lowest in 20 years. Wisconsin is one of only two states with a pension system that is fully funded, and the state’s outstanding obligations are the fourth lowest (best) in the country.
Property and income taxes are both lower than before Scott took office. Unemployment insurance costs and taxes are down, too. Tuition at the University of Wisconsin has been frozen four years in a row while the rankings of the UW campuses continue to improve. Our K-12 schools are some of the best in the country.
Scott became the only governor in American history to survive a recall election on June 5, 2012. He was re-elected in 2014 and sworn into a second term on January 5, 2015. His goals in the second term are simple: tax relief for working families and seniors, transitioning people from government dependence to true independence, improving the workforce through better education and training, and ensuring government is more efficient, more effective, and more accountable to the people.
Scott and his wife, Tonette have two sons who they raised in Wauwatosa. Matt graduated from Marquette University and is working in digital communications. Alex is a senior at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. They continue to volunteer throughout their state, support their church, and seek to follow God’s will each day.
Scott loves to ride his 2003 Harley Davidson Road King, run each day to get more steps on his Fitbit, enjoy Wisconsin supper clubs with Tonette and their friends, and participate as a fan with Wisconsin’s many excellent sports teams. Tonette works for the American Lung Association in Wisconsin. She holds “Walk with Walker” events in our beautiful state parks and tourist attractions, leads her Fostering Futures initiative to help children and families in need, and volunteers with numerous organizations, including Teen Challenge Wisconsin.
Watch the RGA’s American Comeback feature on Governor Walker: