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He is Colorado-born, Iowa-taught (until age 10) and Wisconsin-made. Scott Walker did not graduate from college but he started winning elections at age 26 and he has not lost since. A two-term governor with three statewide victories (including a recall vote), Walker is also a Harley-Davidson aficionado, Batman fan and a preacher’s son. Here is where Scott Walker stands on ten key issues.
Climate Change: Unclear whether climate change is real or manmade. Stop EPA emissions regulation.
In 2013, Walker signed a pledge with the group Americans for Prosperity, promising to oppose any tax or fee increases aimed at fighting climate change. The Wisconsin governor has added his state to a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency limits on carbon emissions from power plants. Walker has not specifically said whether he thinks climate change is real or manmade.
Debt/Fiscal Management: Privatize some government services. Delay debt payments to balance the state budget.
A longtime critic of the national debt, Walker is for reducing the size of government. While serving as Milwaukee County administrator in 2009, Walker turned down the possibility of federal stimulus dollars, saying the spending would ultimately bring budget problems. In that position, Walker privatized some services, including mental health care. As governor, he decided to push off $100 million in scheduled payments on the Wisconsin’s debt in order to balance the state’s budget.
Education: Increase school choice. Repeal Common Core.
Walker opposes the Common Core education standards, writing in the Des Moines Register that the state-initiated program takes too much power away from local school systems. In 2011 and 2012, Walker supported Common Core, Politifact found. The governor now proposes that each school district in his state chose several alternative tests to measure student progress.
In his proposed state budget for 2015-2017, Walker calls for vouchers for an unlimited number of students to attend private schools and supports using money allocated for public schools to pay for the program. As part of his push to reduce the size of government, Walker has cut education funding, reducing K-12 spending per student by 6.2 percent in his first year according to Politifact. His budget proposes a tuition freeze and a $300 million cut to state universities and colleges.
Immigration: Secure the border. No path to citizenship. Deportation is not the solution.
Walker told Fox News in March that he wants much stronger border security and opposes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States. In that interview, the Wisconsin governor called his position a change in view. In 2013, Walker told the Waukesha Daily Herald he could envision a path to citizenship and did not see increased border security as the ideal solution. (Note: The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Walker told a private group in New Hampshire that he does support a path to citizenship. Walker’s campaign insists he is opposed.) It is unclear if Walker is open to any legal status for the undocumented. He told ABC’s Martha Raddatz in February that he is not advocating deportation of all people in the country illegally.
Social Issues: Ban nearly all abortion after 20 weeks. Pass a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Supreme Court on gay marriage.
Gov. Walker supports legislation to ban abortions after 20 weeks, with exceptions only if the life of the mother is in danger, not for incest or rape. The Wisconsin Republican signed a bill sharply limiting abortion clinics in the state and requiring ultrasounds for any woman seeking an abortion in the state.
In a 2014 letter to a conservative group, Walker defined marriage as between “one man and one woman.” He called the June Supreme Court decision a “grave mistake” and has said he wants a Constitutional amendment to overturn it.
Taxes: Cut tax rates. Consider abolishing income tax.
As Wisconsin governor since 2011, Walker has cut more than $2 billion in taxes for Badger State residents and businesses. The total package reduced taxes by about 4.4 percent per person, according to Forbes. He did this by cutting spending elsewhere (see “Education”). Walker would cut corporate tax rates nationally and told a crowd in New Hampshire he likes the idea of eliminating income taxes, especially in states. In 2010, Walker signed an Americans for Tax Reform pledge to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.”
Unions and workers: Limit union organizing. Establish “right to work” laws.
Sparking national headlines in 2011, Walker won a battle to pass Wisconsin Act 10, limiting the ability of government workers, including teachers, to collectively bargain. The Wisconsin governor believes that unions inhibit other facets of the economy and public life. In 2015, he pushed for and signed Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, banning any workplace from requiring union dues.
Welfare and entitlements: Reduce government assistance. Require drug tests and job training in exchange for benefits.
Walker strongly supports cutting back on government welfare programs and increasing requirements to qualify for them. Through his workforce readiness plan, the Midwest governor proposes drug testing for several programs, including unemployment insurance, job training and transitional job programs. During his gubernatorial reelection campaign, Walker made a similar drug testing proposal for Wisconsin residents using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps.
Iran and Israel: Reject any deal coming from current nuclear talks. Increase support to Israel.
Walker says he would reject any nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran on Day 1 in the Oval Office. After returning from a trip to Israel in May, Walker wrote that current outlines of a deal would empower Iran to create a nuclear weapon someday and that the United States should give Israel more support.
Islamic State and Iraq: Go beyond airstrikes. Consider sending ground troops.
As commander-in-chief, Walker told ABC’s “This Week,” that he would move beyond aggressive airstrikes against Islamic State and is open to sending U.S. combat troops to the region. He considers ISIS to be the greatest foreign threat to the U.S.
Lisa Desjardins is a correspondent for PBS NewsHour, where she covers news from the U.S. Capitol while also traveling across the country to report on how decisions in Washington affect people where they live and work.
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