Walker and Burke square off in first debate

Highlighted differences in policy

Story by Glen Olson, Staff Writer

Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic candidate Mary Burke outlined their starkly contrasting views on major issues, including job creation and budget projections, at Friday night’s gubernatorial debate at the Mayo Auditorium in Eau Claire.

It will be followed by another debate in Milwaukee on Oct.17.

Burke emphasized her business background, and said that she would not be swayed by businesses or special interest groups.

Walker concentrated on job growth throughout the debate, and says he has shown that the state has been improving.

He promised 250,000 new jobs during his 2010 campaign, and in the debate, he said about 133,000 new jobs have been created and promised to continue the process that created those jobs.

He said Burke is using outdated data to claim that Wisconsin is lagging compared to the Midwest.

Both addressed questions pertaining to the November election, including the voter ID law ruling.

Burke said she hopes it is not pursued after the Supreme Court shut it down, and that it is a hindrance to voters.

“While it seems like a reasonable requirement, when you talk to folks about the hurdles it places in their lives in order to get that, I am very concerned that we are not doing the right thing and we are shutting down people’s voice,” Burke said.

Walker stood fast in his support for the plan, and said that the Supreme Court’s decision reflects the cases going back and forth in the courts, not actual problems with the voter ID law.

“I said it doesn’t matter if it’s one, a hundred or a thousand,” Walker said. “I ask who among us would like to have their vote canceled out by a vote that was cast illegally.”

Both were asked whether they would commit to four years in office and both said that they wanted to win to serve the full term.

Walker, considered a possible 2016 presidential candidate, restated his commitment to the office of governor.

The debates form was an unusual one, the candidates in a room addressing the moderator, panelists and select guests.

The subjects covered in the debate were largely what the candidates had spoken on up to the debate, touching on frac sand mining, abortion, jobs, Act 10 and minimum wage.

In a break from the traditional line of questioning, the candidates were asked to name one thing their opponent would bring to the office of governor.

Walker quickly responded that he respected Burke for her philanthropic efforts.

“She’s done some remarkable work, donated some great money and provided some great leadership there,” Walker said. “I give her hats off for that.”

Burke took longer to find an appropriate answer, but finally said that he has done some important community work and been a good example in the fight against domestic abuse.