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Walker refuses to back down on jobs promise (UPDATE)

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker isn’t expected to fulfill his 2010 campaign promise to add 250,000 private sector jobs by next year in Wisconsin, but he said Wednesday that he doesn’t think voters will hold it against him.

Walker’s detractors, including Democratic gubernatorial opponent Mary Burke, have been hammering Walker on the jobs promise, hoping that voters will keep that in mind this fall when he stands for re-election. About 100,000 private sector jobs have been added since Walker took office, but he promised there would be 250,000 by the time his first term ends this year.

Walker was asked Wednesday whether he would acknowledge not being able to fulfill the promise, but he refused to back down.

“We’re still aiming for that because for us … in the end people are not going to penalize us for aiming big,” Walker said.

Burke, a former state commerce secretary and Trek Bicycle Corp. executive, says Walker’s policies have failed. She notes that the state ranks 35th in job creation nationwide.

But Walker counters that voters will reward him for the job growth because it comes after the state lost 130,000 jobs during the national recession under his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.

“To me it’s not just some magic number that a clock goes off and balloons fall out,” Walker said. “It’s about real people. When I saw the number of people that lost jobs under Jim Doyle’s last term, I wanted to set a big, bold, aggressive goal not only to make up for those jobs and losses but to try and dream big about how many more people we could help find work.”

Like he did last year, Walker also refused to commit to serving a full four-year term if he is re-elected governor. Walker is considering running for president in 2016, a race that would fall in the middle of a second term if he is elected in November.

“I’m committed to running for governor,” Walker said. “What I’m going to stay focused on and committed to is telling the people of the state what I plan on doing in the next term. I want to be governor and that’s the only thing I’ve been focused on.”

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