Tony Evers gives a surprise visit to UW-Eau Claire

The Governor talks to UW-Eau Claire students in Q&A

Cade Fisher

More stories from Cade Fisher

December 7, 2023

Photo by Submitted

Governor Tony Evers visited the UW-Eau Claire campus and met with a small group of students on Oct. 27 in Centennial Hall. 

Gov. Evers is the current Governor of Wisconsin and has been in this position since Jan. 2019 according to the National Governors Association. He was born in Wisconsin and graduated from UW-Madison.

Before joining office, Gov. Evers was a teacher, a high school principal, the state superintendent and a member of the Board of Regents according to his personal website.

Gov. Evers met with students for a small question and answer section, after having flown to Eau Claire from Milwaukee, visiting multiple University of Wisconsin schools.

Matthew Lehner, a second-year political science student and the president of the UW-Eau Claire College Democrats, had been reached out to by the Gov.’s office for this event. They wanted to get a diverse group of students to ask Gov. Evers any questions they had.

“I sincerely hope that we as a student body, in these times of deep polarization and division, can come together regardless of our party or who we are as individuals, to have more discussions like the one with the Governor on the issues that we face today,” Lehner said.

Lehner was asked to get a group of diverse students from around campus to come to the event with questions to ask Gov. Evers. He reached out individually to students all across campus with a little over 30 students attending the event.

Those who were invited to the meeting came from different organizations and student organizations around campus. These included PRIDE, Multicultural Student Services, Student Senate, Racial Justice Organization and more.

During the discussion, students brought up a variety of topics for Gov. Evers to give his opinion on. 

These topics brought up by the UW-Eau Claire students included environmental protection, the protection of Critical Race Theory and LGBTQ topics, minimum wage and racism and its coverage in the media.

“Students lead us to a better tomorrow as they leave the UW system,” Evers said.

Gov. Evers was joined by Jeff Smith, the Wisconsin State Senator of the 31st district. He sat with Gov. Evers and answered questions the students asked, bouncing back and forth with the Governor.

“A lot of people are afraid to admit we have issues to solve,” Smith said.

Senator Smith was also elected into office in 2018,  born and growing up in Eau Claire. He was also elected into assembly from 2006 to 2008 according to the Wisconsin State Legislature.

During the event, Lehner moderated the room and guided students’ questions for Gov. Evers and Senator Smith.

“The students brought up good questions related to their lives and their studies,” Lehner said.

Gov. Evers and Senator Smith spoke to the group of students for 30 minutes. After this, Gov. Evers then took pictures with the participants and left to soon go to another University of Wisconsin school.

According to the Wisconsin Public Radio, Gov. Evers is planning on running for governorship again in November. 

“I’m really jazzed about the resiliency of the people in Wisconsin,” Evers said.

Fisher can be reached at [email protected].