Principle over party is not just a slogan for Mike, it’s a way of life. He belongs to no political party. For decades as a nonpartisan government watchdog, he called out Democrats and Republicans whenever he saw wrongdoing or unethical behavior. As governor he’ll do what he’s always done and put principle before party.
Mike believes governors should be servants and not masters. To him, that puts a governor under the people, not above them. That’s why if he’s elected Mike won’t accept the full governor’s salary. He’ll be paid one dollar less than the average worker in Wisconsin makes. And he won’t live in the 20,000-square-foot Governor’s Mansion, he’ll continue to live in the 1,400-square-foot home he shares with his wife and teenage son.
Candidates running for governor are allowed to take donations as large as $86,000 from a political action committee and as much as $20,000 from a single individual. Mike has fought the influence of big money in politics for most of his adult life, and has said for years that these massive donations amount to legal bribes. He cannot in good conscience accept those kinds of contributions now that he is running. This campaign will have to be people-powered and crowd-funded. Mike will not accept any single donation of more than $200.
Mike believes Wisconsin can do so much better than our state is doing right now. But becoming what Wisconsin has the potential to be won’t happen without a new politics and a different kind of leadership.
This is Mike’s vision for making Wisconsin better than ever.
A government working for all of us and not just a privileged few, devoted to making the wishes of the people the law of the land, free of the grip of big money influence, and free of cronyism so state workers get hired based on what they know and not who they know.
A whole new approach to building a sturdy economy that benefits everyone and not just the wealthiest. Mike calls it geyser economics. Economic prosperity gushes up, it does not trickle down. Put more in the pockets of workers and concentrate on empowering more than 5 million people in Wisconsin instead of relying on feed-the-rich policies that shower tax breaks and state subsidies on a few thousand with the hope that some of what they get might trickle down to the rest of the population.
A living wage for every worker, producing an economy where if you work you won’t be poor. That means substantially boosting the minimum wage and then adjusting it every year for inflation so earnings keep pace with the cost of living.
Affordable, debt-free education and job training. Wisconsin needs to commit to making education as affordable for our kids and grandkids as it was for past generations. No one should be buried under a mountain of debt trying to find a path to the American Dream.
Bring 21st Century necessities to every household. Access to high-speed Internet and mobile phone service must reach every part of the state. Wisconsin can’t reach its potential and the people of our state can’t compete in a global economy or fully participate in modern American life with the state ranked 49th in the nation in Internet speed.
Health care for all. Everyone in Wisconsin should be able to buy into the state’s BadgerCare program. BadgerCare should be there for all Badgers.
Fair taxes. When all the state and local taxes we pay in Wisconsin are counted up, the wealthiest 1% pay the lowest overall tax rate. That has to change. We don’t need any new taxes, but we absolutely do need to make sure everyone pays their fair share.
Protect water quality. No one anywhere in the state should be allowed to hog water to the point of drying up lakes and streams. And no one anywhere in Wisconsin should turn on a water faucet and be afraid to drink what comes out. Alarming numbers of private wells are contaminated in rural Wisconsin and public water systems in every part of the state put residents at risk of illness and leave communities facing a public health crisis. These are unacceptable conditions.
Better roads. Wisconsin used to have some of the best roads in the country, and now we have some of the worst. Some towns are tearing up pavement and replacing it with gravel because they can’t afford to fill the potholes. No more.
Make Wisconsin the nation’s clean energy capital. It should be Wisconsin’s goal to be the first state in the nation to be fully powered by renewable energy.
Local control. Communities should be able to decide what’s best for them. More than 120 laws have been made since 2011 taking away local decision-making authority. Repeal ‘em all.
A simple rule for government. If a program works, keep it and fund it. If it doesn’t work get rid of it. By that standard, the state’s corporate welfare office should be shut down. Wisconsin has been dead last in the nation in new business start-ups for three years running. And taxpayer-subsidized private schooling should be ended. For more than a quarter century, the program has failed to deliver the promised improvements in student achievement and school performance.
Invest more in success and pay less for failure. More of Wisconsin’s state budget goes to pay for prisons than for the whole university system. These spending priorities need to be flipped. Doing so means making education affordable for more people and changing ineffective, counterproductive and racially discriminatory drug laws that fill jail cells without improving public health or safety, starting with legalizing marijuana.