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Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI)
Announcement of Candidacy
Waukesha County Expo Center
Waukesha, WI
July 13, 2015

[Prepared Remarks  |  C-SPAN video]

I love America.

As kids, my brother David and I enjoyed going over to the home of a neighbor by the name of Claire Congdon.  In our small town, Mr. Congdon was something of a legend.  He served our country in both World War I and World War II.

Then, like so many other veterans, he returned home and continued to serve his community.  Mr. Congdon helped out with the concession stand at Legion baseball, he was active in our church and he was one of the leaders of my Boy Scout troop.

Each year before Memorial Day, he would organize all of us Scouts as we put flags on the graves of the fallen.  He loved America.  It was impossible to be around him and not share his love for God and Country.

Thirty years ago, Mr. Congdon's American Legion Post in our small town of Delavan, Wisconsin, helped me attend Badger Boys State.  This is where I learned about state and local government.  It was then my honor to be chosen to represent Wisconsin at a program called Boys Nation.

There I met a Vietnam veteran from Georgia by the name of Bob Turner.  Bob and the other veterans who helped run the program did more than teach us about the federal government and national elections, they shared their love for our country, and instilled within me the importance of public service as we seek to protect our freedom.

These veterans remind me that America is a can-do kind of country.  We just have a government in Washington that can't seem to get the job done.  Washington, or as I call it, 68 square miles surrounded by reality.

The good news is that there is still time left to turn things around.

To do this, we need new, fresh leadership; leadership with big, bold ideas from outside of Washington; the kind of leadership that can actually get things done - like we have here in Wisconsin.

Since I've been Governor, we took on the unions and won.

We reduced taxes by $2 billion and lowered taxes on individuals, employers and property.  In fact, property taxes are lower today than they were in 2010.  How many Governors can say that?

Since I've been Governor, we passed lawsuit reform and regulatory reform.  We defunded Planned Parenthood and enacted pro-life legislation.  We passed Castle Doctrine and concealed carry.  And we now require a photo ID to vote in the State of Wisconsin.

If our reforms can work in a blue state like Wisconsin, they can work anywhere in America.

Traveling the country, I've heard people say that they are tired of politicians who only tell them what they're against and why they should vote against someone.

Americans want to vote FOR something and FOR someone.

So let me tell you what I'm for:  I'm for Reform. Growth.  Safety.

I'm for transferring power from Washington to the hard-working taxpayers in states all across the country.  That's real reform.

I'm for building a better economy where everyone can live their piece of the American Dream.  That's pro-growth.

I'm for protecting our children and grandchildren from radical Islamic terrorism and other threats in the world.  That's true safety.

My record shows that I know how to fight and win.  Now, more than ever, we need a President who will fight and win for America.

Real Reform

First, we need to be for real reform in Washington.

Our big, bold reforms in Wisconsin took the power from the big government special interests and put it firmly into the hands of the hard-working taxpayers.

Today, people elected by local taxpayers actually get to run the schools.  Our reforms ended seniority and tenure.  Now we can hire and fire based on merit and pay based on performance.  We can put the best and the brightest in the classroom.

Four years later: our graduation rates are up, third grade reading scores are higher and Wisconsin's ACT scores are now second best in the country.

Government that is closest to the people is usually the best.  This is why we should move power and money out of Washington and send it back to our states and communities in key areas like Medicaid, transportation, workforce development and education.

Sadly though, Washington seems to measure success by how many people are dependent on the government.  Instead, we should measure it by just the opposite: by how many people are no longer dependent on the government.

We understand that true freedom and prosperity don't come from the mighty hand of the government, they come from empowering people to live their own lives and control their own destinies through the dignity that comes from work.

You see, my first job was washing dishes at the Countryside Restaurant.  Then, I moved up to the big times and started flipping hamburgers in high school at McDonald's to save up for college.

My dad was a small-town pastor and my mom worked as a part-time secretary and bookkeeper.  My grandparents were farmers who didn't have indoor plumbing until my mom went off to junior high school.  My dad's dad - my Grandpa Walker - was a machinist for 42 years at Barber-Coleman.

Looking back, I realize my brother David and I didn't inherit fame and fortune from our family.  What we got was the belief that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can do and be anything you want.  That's the American Dream.  And that is worth fighting for.

Helping adults who are able to work transition from government dependence to true independence will help more people live that dream.

In Wisconsin, we enacted a program that says that adults who are able to work must be enrolled in one of our job training programs before they can get a welfare check.  Now, as of the budget I just signed, we are also making sure they can take a drug test.

When I proposed this, the status quo defenders cried that we were making it harder to get government assistance.  My response?  No, we're making it easier to get a job.

Strong families help too.  We know that children who are raised in a household where both parents are involved are more likely to finish school, find a good job and live a life free of government dependence.

The federal government needs to support strong families by ending the marriage penalty and by reforming welfare programs that discourage fathers from being involved in the lives of their children.

I know how important both my parents were to my brother David and I when we were growing up.

That's why Tonette and I try to be good role models for Matt and Alex and we are proud of the leaders that each have become today.

We want to ensure that they - and every other son and daughter - have the opportunity to grow up in a more free and prosperous country.


To ensure that prosperity, we need to be for a pro-growth economic plan that helps individuals and families earn, save and achieve their piece of the American Dream.

Instead of the top-down, government-knows-best approach we hear from politicians in Washington, we need to build the economy from the ground up in a way that is new and fresh, organic and dynamic.

As long as you don't violate the health and safety of your neighbors - go out and start your own career, build your own business, live your own life.

That's freedom - the freedom that serves as the cornerstone of the American Dream.

To help live that dream, we have a plan to help the people of this country create more jobs and higher wages.

First, we must repeal ObamaCare.  That's right, repeal the so-called Affordable Care Act entirely and put patients and families back in charge of their health care decisions - not the federal government.

As Governor, I approved Wisconsin joining the lawsuit against ObamaCare on my first day in office.  We need a President who - on the first day in office - will call on Congress to pass a full repeal of ObamaCare.

Next, we need to rein in the federal government's out-of-control regulations that are like a wet blanket on the economy.  Yes, enforce common sense rules - but don't add more bureaucratic red tape.

In Wisconsin, I called for an overhaul of Wisconsin's regulatory process on my first day as Governor. We can do the same in Washington, then we can act to repeal Obama's bad regulations.

Then, put into place an "all-of-the-above" energy policy that uses the abundance of what God has given us here in America and on this continent.  We are now an energy-rich country and we can literally fuel our economic recovery.

We need a President who will approve the Keystone pipeline on the very first day in office and then seek to level the playing field for all sources of energy.

Next, we need to help people get the education and the skills they need to succeed.  This will help people find careers that pay far more than the minimum wage.

In Wisconsin, we reformed our public schools and gave families as many quality choices as possible because I trust parents to make the right decision for their children.  I believe that every child deserves access to a great education - be it in a traditional public, charter, choice, private, virtual or home school environment.

We want high standards, but we want them set at the local level.  No Common Core.  No nation-wide school board.

I will push to take the power and money out of Washington and send it to our states and our schools, where it is more effective, more efficient and more accountable to the people of America.  Think about it: where would you rather spend your dollar - in Washington or at your child's school?

And then, we need to lower the burden on hard-working taxpayers to improve take-home pay.  And we need tax levels that are competitive for job creators to bring jobs back from overseas to put more of our fellow Americans back to work.

We can do it.  We did it in Wisconsin and we can do it in Washington, too.

So, why do I focus so much attention on tax relief?  Well, some of you know that Tonette and I like to shop at Kohl's.  Over the years, I've learned that if I'm going to buy a new shirt, I go to the rack that says that the shirt was $29.99 but now is $19.99.  Then, I take the coupon from the Sunday paper up to the cashier or I take out the flyer that we get in the mail that gives us 15 or 20% off - or even 30% if we are really lucky.

Then, Tonette reaches into her purse and pulls out some Kohl's cash.  Next thing you know,  they're paying us to buy that shirt.

Well, not really.  So how does a company like Kohl's make money?

Volume.  They make it off of volume.

You see, they could charge you $29.99 and a few of you could afford it or they can lower the price and broaden the base and make more money off of volume.

That's what I think about your money - the taxpayers' money.  The government could charge the higher rates and a few of you could afford it.  Or, we can lower the rates and broaden the base and increase the volume of people participating in our economy.

Years ago, we saw this kind of plan work well under President Ronald Reagan.  Back then, it was called the Laffer Curve.  Today, I call it the Kohl's Curve because I believe that you can spend your own money far better than the government - and that will help grow the economy.

True Safety

To prosper, however, we need a safe and stable world.  Let me tell you why I'm for true safety.  To me,  the commander in chief has a sacred duty to keep the people of America safe.

During my lifetime, the best president on national security and foreign policy was a Governor from California.  Under his leadership, we rebuilt our military, stood up for our friends, stood up to our enemies and - without apology - stood for American values: this led to one of the most peaceful times in modern American history.

Today sadly, under the Obama/Clinton doctrine, America is leading from behind and we're headed toward a disaster.

We have a President who drew a line in the sand and allowed it to be crossed.  A President who called ISIS the JV squad, Yemen a success story and Iran a place we can do business with.  Iran...think about that.

My brother David and I used to tie ribbons around the tree in front of our house during the 444 days that Iran held 52 Americans hostage.  One of them was Kevin Hermening who grew up down the road in Oak Creek.  He was the youngest hostage - a Marine working at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Kevin Hermening is here today.  He knows that Iran is not a place we should be doing business with.  Iran hasn't changed much since he and the other hostages were released on President Reagan's first day in office.

Looking ahead, we need to terminate the bad deal with Iran on Day One, put in place crippling economic sanctions and convince our allies to do the same.

Earlier this year, the President proclaimed that climate change is the greatest threat to future generations.  Well Mr. President, I respectfully disagree.  The greatest threat to future generations is radical Islamic terrorism and we need to do something about it.

That means lifting the political restrictions on our military personnel in Iraq so they can help our Kurd and Sunni allies reclaim land taken by ISIS.  On behalf of your children and mine, I'd rather take the fight to them than wait for them to bring the fight to us.

We need to acknowledge that Israel is our ally and start treating Israel like an ally.  There should be absolutely no daylight between our two countries.  That's why I went to Israel earlier this year and met with both the Prime Minister and the opposition leader to express my wholehearted support for the unshakeable bonds between our two countries.

We need to stop the aggression of Russia into sovereign nations.  Putin bases his policies on Lenin's old principle: probe with bayonets, if you encounter mush, push; if you encounter steel, stop.

With Obama and Clinton, Putin has encountered years of mush.  The United States needs a foreign policy that puts steel in front of our enemies.

We need to stop China's cyber attacks, stop their territorial expansion into international waters and speak out about their abysmal human rights record.

We need to have the capacity to protect our national security interests - here and abroad - and those of our allies.  That begins with rebuilding the Defense budget at least to the levels recommended by Secretary Gates.

We need to honor our men and women in uniform by giving them the resources they need to keep us safe - and then give them the quality and timely healthcare they deserve when they return home.

But I believe that the best way we can honor them is by fighting to win.  This is important because our goal is peace, but there will be times when America must fight.

And if we must, Americans fight to win.

The world needs to know that there is no better friend and no worse enemy than the United States of America.

America is a great country.  We just need to lead again.

It's not too late.  We can do it because we've done it before.

Veterans like Claire Congdon and Bob Turner remind me that what makes America great, what makes us exceptional, what makes us the greatest country in the world, is that all throughout our history during times of crisis - be it economic or fiscal, spiritual or military - what makes America amazing, is that there have been men and women of courage who thought more about future generations than they did about their own political futures.

This is one of those times in American history.

After a great deal of thought and a whole lot of prayer, we are proud to announce that I am officially running to serve as your President of the United States of America.

Tonette and I want our sons Matt and Alex - and all of the other sons and daughters like them - to grow up in a country that is at least as great as the one we inherited.

Americans deserve a President who will fight and win for them.

Someone who will stand up for the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Someone who will stand up for our religious rights and all of our other Constitutional rights. Someone who will stand up for America.

You see, It doesn't matter if you're from a big city, a suburb or a small town, I will fight and win for you.

Healthy or sick, born or unborn, I will fight and win for you.

Young or old - or somewhere in between - I will fight and win for you.

Over the years, I've met some amazing people who came here from other places around the world.  The people I’ve met tell me that they didn't come here to become dependent on the government.

No, the reason they came was because America is one of the few places left in the world where it doesn't matter what class you were born into or what your parents did for a living.  In America, you can do and be anything you want.

Here, the opportunity is equal for all, but the outcome is up to each and every one of us.

You see, there is a reason we just took a day off to celebrate the 4th of July and not April 15th. Because in America, we celebrate our independence from the government and not our dependence on it.

That's why I love America.  That's why we love America.  That's why - working together - we can fight and win for America.

God bless you.  God bless our troops.  And may God bless the United States of America.


July 13, 2015

Programming Details for Gov. Walker Announcement Event

Waukesha, Wis. -- Ahead of Governor Walker's announcement event tonight in Waukesha, WI, please see the following from the Washington Examiner:

Scott Walker invites former hostage to campaign launch, as Obama negotiates with Iran:

"Scott Walker's presidential campaign announcement happens to coincide with the latest deadline set by the Obama administration in its negotiations with Iran. But the presence of Kevin Hermening, the youngest American held hostage by Iran in 1979 for 444 days, will not be quite so serendipitous. Walker often mentions Hermening in his stump speech when making his case about the best way to deal with Iran and other foreign adversaries. The Wausau, Wisc., resident told the Washington Examiner the Walker team invited him to Monday's announcement at the governor's request. He said he felt honored to receive the invitation, and added that he hoped to hear Walker articulate a vision that "lifts up and holds steadfast to the principles of a capitalist economic system and a peace through strength military posture." (Ryan Lovelace, July 13, 2015)

Below are the details for the program. 

Matt and Alex Walker will emcee the event.

4:20 PM CDT: Matt and Alex Walker begin the program
Governor's sons

Llewelyn Walker delivers the Invocation
Governor's father

David, Isabella and Eva Walker lead audience in the Pledge of Allegiance
Governor's brother and nieces

Jenny Thiel delivers the National Anthem
Award-winning vocalist

Matt and Alex Walker deliver remarks

Rachel Campos-Duffy delivers remarks
Wife to Congressman Sean Duffy, mother of seven, co-host of FOX News' "Outnumbered"

Recall the Recall Video

State Senator Leah Vukmir delivers remarks
Wisconsin State Senator

Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch delivers remarks
Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor

Announcement Video

First Lady Tonette Walker delivers remarks and introduces the Governor

5:15 PM CDT: The Governor delivers remarks

The Governor concludes remarks and participates in rope line

Day of Announcement: Democrats Attack Governor Walker 

Good afternoon all,

Ahead of Governor Walker's announcement, Democrats have spent their day launching attacks against him, showing how scared they are of someone who is both a fighter and a winner.

See highlights below.


AshLee Strong

Washington Examiner: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka kept it brief in his response to the announcement that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was officially running for the Republican presidential nomination. Trumka issued a six-word press release: "Scott Walker is a national disgrace." That was it. Trumka added nothing to clarify or expand on the thought. He said in a tweet that was his "full statement." (Sean Higgins - July 13, 2015)

ABC News: "[C]linton went after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker -- who just entered the presidential race today -- for his “mean-spirited, misguided attacks” against workers. “Republican governors like Scott Walker have made their names by stomping on workers’ rights,” she said." (Liz Kreutz - July 13, 2015)

Wisconsin Gazette: "Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a U.S. representative from Florida, said that, "Scott Walker has indicated that he intends to bring his Wisconsin brand of politics to Washington, but the reality is that he’s already brought the worst of Washington to Wisconsin. ... “It’s that type of divisive, ineffective politics, and mismanagement that middle class Americans don’t need any more of in Washington. Walker simply has the wrong priorities for America.” (The Wisonsin Gazette - July 13, 2015)


News Release Catherine Frazier
July 13, 2015  

Cruz Welcomes Scott Walker to Presidential Race

– U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today released the following statement regarding Gov. Scott Walker’s entry into the 2016 GOP campaign for President:

“Scott Walker is a welcome addition to the 2016 Republican field and I’m glad to have him join the race. Gov. Walker has been a successful governor of Wisconsin where he bravely took on the unions to pass important right to work legislation. His talents will sharpen the field and make us all stronger as we prepare to face Hillary in the general election.”


Democratic National Committee

DNC Chair Statement on Scott Walker’s 2016 Announcement

Washington, D.C. – With Scott Walker’s announcement that he is running for president, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:

“With today’s announcement, Scott Walker has indicated that he intends to bring his Wisconsin brand of politics to Washington, but the reality is that he’s already brought the worst of Washington to Wisconsin.
“To promote adherence to his rigid partisan views and to please the special interests that have backed his campaigns, Walker has pit the people of Wisconsin against each other in contentious ideological fights. He’s gutted education, refused investments in infrastructure and health care, and shuttered women’s health clinics, while pushing tax policies that have overwhelmingly benefitted the wealthiest few. 
“Walker promised to eliminate the deficit but his state was $2.2 billion in the red, and Walker’s Wisconsin sits at the bottom in his region for job growth, while his job-creation agency is mired in mismanagement and questions about tax credits that went to his political donors.

“It’s that type of divisive, ineffective politics, and mismanagement that middle class Americans don’t need any more of in Washington. Walker simply has the wrong priorities for America.”

Democratic National Committee rapid response

Walker’s Rhetoric vs. Reality

Walker rhetoric: “I'm for building a better economy where everyone can live their piece of the American Dream.  That's pro-growth.”
Reality: Wisconsin is at the bottom in the Midwest for job growth.

Walker rhetoric: “As long as you don't violate the health and safety of your neighbors…live your own life.”
Reality: Unless you’re a woman or an LGBT American...Walker opposes a women’s right to choose, without exception for rape, incest or the life of the mother – and opposes marriage for LGBT Americans.

Walker rhetoric: “Young or old - or somewhere in between - I will fight and win for you.”
Reality: Walker has gutted education, and would throw young people off of their parents’ health insurance. He supported a plan to voucherize Medicare and would repeal the Affordable Care Act which has saved seniors billions of dollars on prescriptions.