Gubernatorial candidate speaks with students

Democratic candidate Tony Evers visited UW-Eau Claire last Thursday to talk about the upcoming elections

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Photo by Kar Wei Cheng

Tony Evers, a democratic gubernatorial candidate, spoke of his stance on public education and other issues in an event organized by the UW-Eau Claire College Democrats.

Democratic candidate Tony Evers spoke last Thursday with UW-Eau Claire students about the upcoming gubernatorial election in an event produced by the Eau Claire College Democrats.

Evers is a native of Plymouth, Wis., and has served as the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Wisconsin since 2009.

Before his political career, Evers worked in education both as a science teacher and principal in Tomah, Wis. Evers said his background as a teacher is what has caused public education to be a central part of his platform.

“Under the present governor, the ability to provide funding for public schools has decreased,” Evers said. “People feel that education has been devalued in Wisconsin. If we strengthen education, we will strengthen the state.”

In addition to his duties as a superintendent of public instruction, Evers also serves on the Board of Regents for the UW System, which he said has allowed him to witness the cuts made to the state’s public universities under incumbent Governor Scott Walker.

In the wake of a controversial decision made by the Board of Regents regulating free speech on university campuses in October 2017, Evers said it’s crucial for students’ thoughts and opinions to be heard.

“As governor, I would ensure that students have a voice, and that more funding can be provided for university systems,” Evers said.

The preservation of natural resources is another top priority for Evers. Evers said that if he is elected, he will take measures to improve the quality of drinking water in the state, improve the economy through outdoor recreation and create green jobs.

Zoe Lavender, a first-year history education student, said she heard that Evers was coming to campus through the College Democrats. She said she decided to attend because she was interested to hear his views on the issues that are important to her.

“I was interested in hearing his views on education, and I liked how he focused on environmental issues as well,” Lavender said.

When asked if he would consider offering student loan forgiveness in order to encourage millennials to return or move to Wisconsin, Evers said he would instead prefer to reduce tuition for UW System schools as an incentive to stay in state.

“Millennials value strong public education, natural resources and good paying jobs,” Evers said. “The government needs to value these things as well in order to keep our millennials (in Wisconsin).”

In the past three elections for the role of state superintendent, Evers has won the position across Wisconsin. According to his website, in the 2017 election he won the vote in 70 out of 72 counties in the state. Evers said his track record gives him confidence in his ability to win in the fall elections.

“I encourage students to get out and vote in the primaries this August and in the elections this fall,” Evers said. “Government is important work, and we need to have people who know what they’re doing.”