MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin schools superintendent Tony Evers said Wednesday he has no regrets about signing a petition to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
Tony Evers' position as secretary of the Department of Public Instruction is officially nonpartisan, and he is seeking a second term. Walker said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that he is still weighing whether to endorse anyone in the race and his decision won't be affected by Evers signing the petition.
Evers is being challenged by Republican state Rep. Don Pridemore, but other candidates could get in between now and Jan. 2. The election is April 2.
Evers stood by his decision to be one of the more than 900,000 people who signed the petition seeking Walker's recall. The successful petition drive led to the June recall election with Walker easily survived against Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
"I signed it for personal reasons as a citizen of the state relative to budget cuts and other things," Evers said.
Evers was an outspoken critic of Walker's proposal in early 2011 that led to the recall drive. That measure effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers, including teachers, while also forcing them to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits.
Walker also cut funding for K-12 schools by about $800 million.
However, Walker and Evers have worked together on a number of other issues, including starting new early literacy screening for kindergarten students and creating a program that applies experience in the private sector toward college course credit.
"Our politics haven't always been aligned on certain issues but we've found a lot of ways to work together," Walker said. "The signing of that (recall petition) doesn't have an impact."
"It does not and clearly has not impacted my working relationship," Evers said. "I didn't play a role in the recall campaign; I didn't advocate for anybody. ... I have no regrets about either signing it or working with the governor after signing it. I think we can all walk and chew gum at the same time."
Evers said he had no opinion on whether Walker endorses anyone.
Pridemore said when he announced his challenge of Evers that Walker would have a friend in the office if he were elected, even though the post is nonpartisan. Pridemore did not immediately return messages seeking comment.