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Friday, June 07, 2013

 7:20 PM 

Mitchell calls austerity "epic failure"

Former lieutenant governor candidate Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, went after Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in his speech before delegates, saying the austerity measures they advanced left the people in Wisconsin struggling.

Mitchell said Walker’s austerity measures have left the state 44th in job growth and 49th in economic outlook, calling them an “epic failure in Wisconsin.”

“Right now Wisconsin is struggling more than any other state,” Mitchell said.

But he said Democrats should not take joy in that.

“People are hurting,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell criticized Walker’s budget, saying the notion that the budget was moderate must be viewed in light of the past budget measures he has taken.

He said the budget puts $150 more per pupil into public schools, but that has to be considered in the context of taking $1.6 billion from education in Walker's first budget. He knocked Walker for refusing the Medicaid expansion, saying it is putting the health of women and children at risk.

He also criticized Walker and Republicans for the proposed tax cuts, saying he would rather see his share go to public education, shared revenue and reducing student debt.

Throughout his speech, which ran over time by about 15 minutes, he motivated delegates with refrains of “are you fired up?” to which they replied “ready to go!”

He also called on delegates to stand up and work to win in the state in 2014

“We cannot wait for the optimism to come to us, we have to provide the optimism,” Mitchell said.

-- By David Wise

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