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Walker talks political climate, gun control, state budget

Conservative of the Year 2012 talks exclusively with Human Events.

‚??We got a tremendous response across the board to Human Events‚??s honor!‚?Ě exclaimed Scott Walker Saturday afternoon.

Wisconsin‚??s Republican governor was referring, of course, to his being named ‚??Conservative of the Year‚?Ě for 2012 by the nation‚??s oldest conservative newsweekly. Human Events honored Walker for his reforms in the retirement and health care plans of some public employees in the Badger State and for enduring and emerging triumphant from an internationally-watched recall election last summer.

Walker, who is expected to seek re-election in 2014 and is already talked of as a potential presidential hopeful in 2016, told us that ‚??we have sent out the Human Events story, posted it online, and tweeted it. It‚??s awesome!‚?Ě

Turning to Wisconsin, we reminded the governor how he spoke of calming what he called ‚??a fractious political climate‚?Ě after the recall election.

‚??And it has calmed down,‚?Ě he replied. ‚??I presented my budget a few weeks ago and, while Democrats [in the legislature] were not necessarily eager to embrace it, we are at least sitting down and talking now.‚?Ě

One part of his budget that Walker strongly emphasized was its proposed expansion of choice in education.

‚??We are seeking to expand the voucher program‚??which actually started in Milwaukee with Democratic support‚??and we‚??ll try to expand charter schools as well. Look, wealthy families have a choice as to where to send their children to schools. We want to expand that choice to middle-class and lower-income families.‚?Ě

Less than three months after the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn,, the nation‚??s governors are discussing possible gun legislation at the state level. Walker pointed out that his state had its share of tragedy, with the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Milwaukee last year that claimed seven lives.

‚??It‚??s a common issue for the governors of Connecticut, Colorado, Wisconsin and other states that have experienced tragedy,‚?Ě Walker told us. ‚??But the focus must be not on the weapons, but on the perpetrators of evil themselves.‚?Ě Because of the savings from his budget reforms, Walker noted, the state was able to secure $30 million in additional funding for mental health. This brought the overall funding for mental health last year to a higher aggregate amount than was spent on mental health by the state in the last thirty years, he said.

‚??And we do a better job at dealing with this issue at the state level rather than the federal level,‚?Ě Walker added.

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Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as ‚??the man who knows everyone in Washington‚?Ě and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on what‚??s going on in the nation‚??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as ‚??Gizzi on Politics‚?Ě and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of ‚??Gizzi‚??s America,‚?Ě video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. John‚??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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