• WisPolitics

Friday, June 06, 2014

 10:10 PM 

Burke promises new direction for state, accuses Walker of putting special interests ahead of families

Mary Burke promised Dem activists she would take the state in a new direction as guv, pledging to tell the truth, put common sense solutions ahead of politics and bring the state together.

In contrast, she derided Gov. Scott Walker for putting special interests ahead of working families and said he is “not working for us.”

“I will be a governor who works for you, but I can’t do it without you,” Burke said. “You know that we need a new direction. You know that our economy isn’t better until it’s better for everyone.”

Burke also assured delegates she is in the fight to win, warning it will be “an epic fight.” She said the other side will “throw at me every lie and dirty trick in the book." She said they already have with $2 million in TV ads that “haven’t even landed a punch.”

“And there will be more to come but they should know this,” Burke said. “The tougher they get, the tougher I get.”

Burke, the Madison School Board member and former Trek Bicycle executive, has been criticized by Republicans for refusing to take stands in the campaign. The GOP has also sought to portray Burke as a divisive figure among the party base.

But the convention hall was at its fullest for Burke’s speech, and speaker after speaker ahead of her sought to drive home a message that the party is united in her quest for the guv’s office.

Burke thanked the supporters she has met along the way -- putting 33,000 miles on her Ford Escape -- and gave a small nod to her bid to become the first woman to serve as Wisconsin guv. She noted she is someone who “doesn’t quite fit the mold and someone who certainly doesn’t look like any governor we’ve had before.” 

She knocked Walker’s promise to create 250,000 new jobs, saying you don’t make “a political promise to win an election without any plan to meet that promise.” At one point in the speech, she asked the crowd what the state has received in return for Walker’s jobs pledge.

“Nothing!” a woman yelled from the back of the room to applause and cheers.

Burke, whose father founded Trek, told delegates of the work ethic her parents instilled in her. She recalled the summer project when she was 10 her mother had for the Burke children build a stone walkway to their home in Hartland. She said they piled into the family Buick each day to gather stones at a quarry in Sussex and recalled how her arms ached from carrying the stone. She said the Burke children joke with their mother about the work, but she had a comeback that it built character.

Burke told the delegates her father liked to joke he hired his children at Trek because he could pay them half as much to work twice as long. 

“The problem was it wasn’t just a joke for him,” she said. “It’s what he did."

Burke also promised to changed the tone in Madison, putting an end to "the politics first approach."

"Finding common ground, negotiating in good faith, and putting the people of this state first; when I’m governor we will," she said.

-- By JR Ross


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