After a roughly 30-minute speech in which he touted the progress Democrats have made and potentially stand to make through the rest of his term, Gov. Jim Doyle signaled tonight that he may run for another term in 2010.
"And at the end of these four years of working together, who knows, we may need four more," Doyle said to rousing applause and cheers.
Much of Doyle's speech focused on the state budget battle and bread and butter issues of jobs, education and healthcare.
While the state Senate's universal health insurance plan has won applause when mentioned tonight, Doyle urged members to support his BadgerCare Plus plan, which aims to provide 98 percent of Wisconsinites with access to health care.
"We're going to have an important debate in this state - a debate we should have - about how we ensure every single person in this state has health insurance," Doyle said.
But he urged Democrats to back something "we should all agree on" - providing health care to children and low-income adults, even if they do not have children.
"Let's all agree, and let's get this done this year," Doyle said.
Doyle bashed "extremists" in the Republican-controlled Assembly for threatening to delay action on the budget, calling for them to "get it done now."
"They would delay a budget that funds education, makes health care affordable, and cuts taxes on real people, all because they don't like that my budget holds oil companies accountable and makes them pay their fair share," Doyle said.
Doyle held up the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling against using race as a factor in admitting children into schools to add diversity as a case that highlights the importance of winning elections.
"Can you believe what we woke up and read about in the paper today?" Doyle said, adding the decision "practically overturned Brown versus the Board of Education" that desegregated schools.
Doyle said that wouldn't have happened had George W. Bush had not been in office to nominate justices who influenced the decision.
"This is the difference that elections make," Doyle said-- By David Wise