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A few minutes with gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker



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May 12, 2010 | 07:21 AM
Republican candidate for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was in Lake Geneva Friday and made a stop at the Regional News office.

Walker originally is from Delavan and currently is the Milwaukee County Executive. He is one of three relatively well-known candidates in the governor's race along with fellow Republican Mark Neumann and Democrat Tom Barrett, the current mayor of Milwaukee.

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, the primary race between Walker and Neumann is close, while a general election possible matchup between Walker and Barrett is neck and neck also.

We hope for an opportunity to speak with Neumann and Barrett at some point during this race to get a feel for those candidates as well. The following are questions of local interest posed to the candidate and his responses. Several other questions about the state's economic health and Walker's other priorities if he were elected governor also were asked. Those responses may be published as we move closer to the primary or general election later this year if we have an opportunity to talk with Neumann or Barrett.

Q: Should Wisconsin follow Arizona's lead in enforcing illegal immigration at the state level?

Walker: I don't think Wisconsin should pass a separate law. And the reason I say this is not because immigration isn't important, because I think it is. But, I think clearly immigration is a federal issue. A lot of what's going on in Arizona is for years people like me and others have complained the federal government is encroaching on state's rights — health care is a good example. If not spelled out in the Constitution in the 10th Amendment, then it's the state's rights. To me it's hard to justify arguing that the federal government takes on too many of the state's rights and then turn around on an issue, which is adherently a federal issue, and say we're going to pass our own law and enforce it there. It's important and the federal government has to deal with it. I want federal candidates and the congress and senate that are going to commit to securing our borders and dealing with immigration. But it doesn't make sense for the state to do it if it is a federal issue. I think it's a slippery slope. Hard to argue on one hand, get out of our responsibility and in the same breath, we are going to take on something that's yours. It is a dangerous precedent to argue state's rights and then on a federal issue try to take that away from the federal government.

Q: Is illegal immigration an issue in Wisconsin?

Walker: I think it is across the country. Also, I think the federal government has to deal with it by securing the borders and improving the immigration process and policy at the forefront. If the federal government enforced legal status on employers (there would be no jobs and no reason to come here). I have no problem with immigration. One of our problems is the system is so screwed up for anybody, it is very difficult to get in. We would do better to help people find a legal path. We are state and country filled with immigrants.

Q: We have a local school named Big Foot High School. What do you think of Gov. Doyle's signing the Indian mascot bill (which allows the state superintendent to ban American Indian mascots, nicknames and logos if a complaint is made)?

Walker: I looked at that and thought how many more important issues there are. When we have an economic crisis, why, well I know why because they can't deal with the things that really drive economic impact so they bring up things like this. That distracts from the important issues out there. I think local school districts can deal with this on their own. My kids go to Wauwatosa East High School and they adjusted on their own, they didn't have someone dictate to them. From that standpoint, I think they are losing focus on issues they should be worrying about, like the economy. This is just another distraction. I would have said let the school districts deal with it. The last thing we need are more state mandates on schools for anything.

Seiser is the editor of the Regional News.

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