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Walker’s State of the State long on jobs, short on construction

Protestors chant in the state Capitol rotunda during Gov. Scott Walker's address to a joint session of the Legislature on Wednesday in Madison. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Jobs, schools, taxes and protesters were all the rage – and there was rage – during Wednesday night’s State of the State speech from Gov. Scott Walker.

But construction was largely glossed over by the state’s leader during his annual address.

Walker entered to some boos, and a chorus of cheers, before delivering the 40-minute speech.

As was expected, the governor focused plenty on jobs, pointing out how the state’s unemployment rate has improved since he took office last year, and he reminded the crowd several times he inherited an economy that had lost 150,000 jobs during three previous years.

While he could boast about create jobs, thousands in fact, the governor is still a far cry from the 250,000 he pledged to create over his four-year term.

Walker trudged through a handful of disruptions from protesters shouting at the governor during his address. I counted at least five protesters who had to be removed due to the angry outbursts, and I’m sure the shouting came through on the television broadcast as well.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the microphones picked up the shouting from the dozens of protesters congregating in the Capitol’s rotunda during the address. Yelling, singing, banging on drums and a foghorn gave the media, legislators and audience background noise during the speech.

But since I write for a newspaper focused on the construction industry, Walker didn’t provide me with a ton of content in which to react (or write about).

The following is one of the few times he mentioned construction at all during the address, and it was merely looking back on the year prior, not how the governor wants to handle the topic in the year ahead:

“Employers also told us that they need a 21st century infrastructure system to drive economic development. After the previous administration raided more than a billion dollars out of the Transportation Fund, I took action to restore our commitment to good roads, freight rail and strong ports. We know that a strong transportation system helps manufacturers and farmers get product to and from market and it keeps good people on the job building that infrastructure.”

Also, Walker called on the Legislature to pass the controversial mining bill that looks to streamline the permit process to clear the way for a project in the Northwoods that would create 700 jobs.

But with one tumultuous year down for the governor, he has another in front of him, so there’s uncertainty how much legislative work can be accomplished by the spring before all the attention moves to the looming recall election.

With his second address behind us now, what did you think of what Walker had to say? Comment on this blog or send me an email at adam.wise@dailyreporter.com.

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