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UW Board of Regents Evers

Gov.-elect Tony Evers addresses the UW System Board of Regents before its meeting Thursday at UW-La Crosse.

Gov.-elect Tony Evers on Thursday continued to rail against lame-duck Republicans for voting to weaken his powers, but added that he still hopes to work with them upon taking office in January.

“As I’ve said many times before, the entire package is a hot mess. The people of Wisconsin did not vote for these changes. The people of Wisconsin voted for the opportunity to elect a governor, and they elected me,” said Evers, who spoke with reporters after leaving a meeting of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents at UW-La Crosse.

“We have some big issues in the state of Wisconsin — whether it’s transportation, whether it’s funding for education, whether it’s making sure we have accessible and affordable health care,” he said. “We have to make sure we reach agreement and common ground on these issues, and I’ll continue to do that.”

In the wee hours on Wednesday, after hotly contested meetings behind closed doors, Republican lawmakers voted to strip the governorship of many of the powers Gov. Scott Walker’s administration has enjoyed over the past eight years.

The legislation would likely prevent Evers from fulfilling several of his campaign promises, including pulling Wisconsin from a multistate legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act and dissolving the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Walker’s controversial jobs agency.

It would also shrink the window for early voting in Madison and Milwaukee — this after record early voting totals helped Democrats win every statewide race in the November election.

Evers has requested a meeting with Walker, in hopes of persuading the current governor to veto the bill. On Thursday, Evers said no such meeting had been set.

“My staff is trying to work though that, to make that happen,” he said.

If signed by Walker, the bill figures to ignite a legal firestorm with Evers and Democrats fighting the legislation in court.

A law similar to the early voting measure was struck down by a federal judge in 2016.

While lamenting the possibility of a drawn-out legal battle to begin his term, Evers indicated that he does not expect this latest power struggle to cause irreparable damage between the two parties.

“It’s part of my DNA to look for common ground — regardless of what happens with this,” he said. “When I ran for this, my goal was to make sure I work for the people of Wisconsin to solve our problems.”

While some Republicans have framed the bill as a long-needed check on a governorship that has grown too powerful, Robin Vos, the speaker of the Assembly, suggested his motivations were largely partisan.

Without the legislation, he said, “we are going to have a very liberal governor who is going to enact policies that are in direct contrast to what many of us believe in.”

Evers underscored the perceived partisan nature of the lame-duck Legislature on Thursday, though it was not the common ground he had in mind.

“I’d bet my last dollar that if Gov. Walker had won, we would not be having this conversation,” he said.

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Kyle Farris can be reached at (608) 791-8234 or Follow him on Twitter at @Kyle_A_Farris.


Kyle Farris covers education for the La Crosse Tribune. Reach him at (608) 791-8234 or

(7) comments


How is getting rid of the electoral college going, Dems?


Yes Mr Walker is at a crossroads-make a deal with the devil or walk away from signing the bills. Tony can just Veto and Veto till Voss & Fitz come to their sense's -Meanwhile the GOP in Wisc needs to figure out how to "sell " this -I think the public are not buying it this time. Also it may be hard to eat a meal or just be out in public for some the state GOP - People need to call them out as cheat's and Big Donor lackey's as they truly are. This is really a SAD TIME IN WISCONSIN - cut a deal with the devil or walk away.It's your call Mr Walker .. History is watching ...

Uncle Harry

The word "coup" comes to mind.


This is funny, after Trump won the DemoRats were on a rampage to get rid of the electoral college, in other words, change the rules so they could win. Now that it’s happening to a Demorat, they’re bent out of shape. You can’t make stuff up like this.


Will you ever grow up?

Uncle Harry

Climatehoax - I read your comment, and couldn't help but laugh as I picture you, as a child, staring at a T.V. , desperately trying to understand what sesame street meant when they sang, "One of these things is not like the others...."


Both subvert the power of the voters, but now that the shoe is dropping on the Dems they whine, FOUL. If the Dems had their way the electoral college would be moot, so would the votes of everyone who doesn’t live on either coast. These are a lot closer than you will admit.

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