Governor Delivers a Roadmap For The Future in His Address
On Tuesday, January 12, 2021, Governor Evers delivered his third State of the State address. This State of the State was unlike any other in our state’s history, as it was virtual with no live audience. Like most of his predecessors, the Governor covered his past successes and victories such as increases in Education spending, particularly Special Education. But the focus tonight was on addressing the once in a lifetime crisis we face due to COVID-19 and setting his agenda for our state going forward.
In his speech, Governor Evers laid out his priorities for investment in our state:
- He is declaring 2021 the Year of Broadband and will provide $200 million over the biennium in his 2021-23 budget proposal to fund broadband expansion in Wisconsin.
- He will call a Special Session of the Legislature to take up a plan to modernize the unemployment system in Wisconsin.
- He will include provisions in his 2021-23 budget proposal that will require the Legislature to hold public meetings for the map-drawing process of redistricting.
Governor Evers, as well as WEAC, view Broadband access as a modern-day equity issue, with the poor urban and rural communities suffering from a lack of high-speed internet access. This is no longer a luxury item, especially in virtual and hybrid learning environments. In August, the state estimated about 45,000 students lacked access to broadband coverage. In rural communities, more than 430,000 Wisconsin residents were without High-Speed internet access. This disparity in access is untenable, and the Governor’s budget intends to address that head-on by increasing our state’s investment fourfold over the next two years.
The Governor also made clear, in no uncertain times, that it is time for Wisconsin to have fair maps. The people of the State of Wisconsin should be able to choose their elected officials and not the other way around. The Governor will use the budget to help make redistricting more transparent, bringing this process that is meant to be for the people to the people. The Governor wants the people of Wisconsin to have a say in this process with public hearings and a seat at the table during the drafting process.
Governor Evers State of the State was brief but ambitious. With the right support, the Evers administration can make a difference for Wisconsin families, especially Wisconsin’s educators.
To read the speech, click here: The Speech.