Our Next Governor

The Issues

Work hard and you can get ahead. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

But today, too many Wisconsin families are working harder than ever, and still falling further and further behind.  Good jobs—the kind that pay a living wage and offer real benefits—are getting harder to find. Saving for retirement can feel like a luxury.  Schools that used to be the envy of the nation have taken one hit after another.

It’s time to do something about it. That’s why Mary Burke is running for governor.

Mary knows Wisconsin has everything it takes to build the strongest economy in the country, but she also knows it won’t happen until we set aside the politics and get back to the things that really matter.  A better life for you.  A brighter future for your kids.   That’s what she’ll be working on every day as governor.


Mary Burke led the European Division at Trek where she opened up new global markets and increased sales from $3 million to $50 million a year, creating good jobs right here in Wisconsin. She took the same private sector approach as Secretary of the Department of Commerce, at a time when Wisconsin had 57,000 more jobs than we have today.  She’s the only candidate in the race to have created jobs in the private sector, and the only one to have started her own business.

The current administration has a very different record.  Under Scott Walker, Wisconsin is ranked 45th in projected job creation – sixth from the bottom. It’s time for a governor who will put the politics aside, focus on creating an environment where businesses can start up and grow, and who has the private sector experience to make it happen.  That’s Mary Burke.

As governor, Mary will grow our economy and create jobs by strengthening our core industries like agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, forest products and technology. Strengthening public education can give Wisconsin children and Wisconsin businesses the chance to compete and succeed against anyone, anywhere–just like Trek Bicycle did.  And because new small businesses account for the majority of new job creation, Mary will make sure the infrastructure is there to support entrepreneurs and small business owners so we can improve our current ranking of 48th in the country in new business start-ups.

Mary Burke supports the rights of workers to collectively bargain. She believes changes needed to be made regarding public employees health and pension contributions, but as governor, she would have negotiated fairly but firmly to get the necessary changes through the collective bargaining process.  Mary’s priority is ensuring the state has an effective, efficient and accountable public sector because in her experience, great people are the key to every successful organization.  Ensuring that workers feel respected and have a voice in the process is a big part of attracting and retaining a qualified work force.

View Mary’s full jobs plan here.


Education has always offered a way up to a good job and a better life.  It’s the fabric of our communities, and it’s the key to a strong economy in the long term.

As co-founder of the AVID/TOPs program, a public-private partnership that is narrowing the achievement gap for low income students, Mary knows that every Wisconsin student prepared to work hard can realize their dreams if given the support they need.  By bringing together area high schools, the Boys & Girls Club, technical colleges, businesses and the University, Mary made a real difference for students, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college. The first class graduated last spring, and in September, over 90% of those students enrolled in post-secondary education.

Mary believes Wisconsin schools should be among the best in the nation—and she knows that making historic cuts isn’t the way to do it.  She’ll work every day to strengthen our public education system, from K-12 to our technical colleges and university system. Mary strongly opposed the statewide expansion of vouchers—as governor, she’ll work to stop any further expansion, and ensure that all private schools taking public dollars have real accountability measures in place.

Health Care

Wisconsin used to lead the way when it came to providing quality, affordable health care. Mary Burke believes that finding smart, fiscally responsible ways to make sure families can get the health coverage they need is more than a policy imperativeit’s a moral obligation.  

The Walker administration has taken a different approach. Rejecting hundreds of millions of our own federal tax dollars means our money goes to cover health care in other states, and leaves us paying more as a state to cover fewer hard-working Wisconsinites.  It’s an example of what happens when you put politics ahead of progress.  And it’s just wrong.

Mary will overturn the current administration’s refusal to accept the federal expansion of Medicaid, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars of our taxpayer money back home to our state, where it belongs.  It’s just one part of Mary’s plan to make health care more affordable and accessible to Wisconsin families.

The last three years have seen an unprecedented assault on the freedom of women to make their own health care choices.  And Scott Walker has led the charge.  Mary Burke believes that the last person who should be making health care decisions for Wisconsin women are Madison politicians. She strongly supports a woman’s freedom to make her own health care decisions in consultation with her doctor and in accordance with her faith.

Fiscal Responsibility

Mary Burke is the only candidate for governor who has met a payroll and balanced a budget in the private sector.  She knows how to make responsible decisions that keep a balance sheet in the black while creating jobs because she’s spent her career doing it.

Scott Walker has taken a different approach.  Despite making historic cuts to education, he’s turned a projected budget surplus into a deficit, and state spending has shot up by $4.6 billion.

Mary Burke will take the same private sector approach she applied starting her own business and leading strategic planning at Trek to her work as governor.  Her focus: put Wisconsin back on sound financial footing by making responsible decisions about spending while protecting the things that make the economy grow, like good schools, affordable health care and sound infrastructure.

Individual Freedoms

Wisconsin has had a proud tradition of civic participation unrivaled by nearly any other state. It’s part of our independent spirit, our heritage, and who we are.

Mary Burke believes that every eligible Wisconsinite should have the right to vote without having to navigate onerous rules like photo ID aimed at making it harder to cast a ballot. Rules like this – plus efforts to restrict early voting – hit our seniors, veterans and students the hardest, and that’s not right.

Mary Burke knows our redistricting process is broken.  And the political fights that are the inevitable result of this broken system aren’t just dividing our state – they’re dragging our economy down.  It is absolutely critical that Wisconsin adopt a non-partisan redistricting process similar to Iowa’s that takes the politics out of redistricting and makes government more accountable to the people of Wisconsin.

And Mary believes that all Wisconsinites should have the freedom to marry who they choose. That’s why she opposed the 2006 amendment which wrote discrimination into our state constitution, and why as governor she would work to defend the state’s domestic partnership registry.

Natural Resources

As Governor, Mary Burke will bring all of the stakeholders to the table to find the right balance between economic development, and our public health and natural resources. By letting mining companies write their own rules, Scott Walker’s policies have put Wisconsin’s public health and great outdoors at risk.  That’s why Mary opposes the GTAC mine – the approach the Governor, legislature and industry took didn’t balance protection of our natural resources and public health with the need for job creation.

Our precious natural resources are one of Wisconsin’s greatest assets.  Getting outside, hunting and fishing, camping with the family…it’s all part of what makes Wisconsin so special. And clean air and water are critical to public health for generations to come. It’s not just about conservation – our traditions generate billions of dollars in tourism revenue each year, making it Wisconsin’s third largest industry and putting thousands to work.

Tourism isn’t the only industry that wouldn’t exist without Wisconsin’s natural resources - agriculture has a $60 billion a year impact on our state economy. As Governor, Mary Burke would work to preserve farmland, protect our water, and restore local control to communities so they can make decisions about things like frac sand mining that would dramatically change the landscape and water quality of our rural areas.


Wisconsin has a long, proud tradition of honoring its men and women who serve in the military—as well as their families. For many years, both the benefits we provided to those who served and the grassroots participation of veterans in the provision of those benefits were models for other states. Sadly, that is no longer the case. Over the last four years, we haven’t always lived up to those commitments.

Mary Burke believes that the veterans’ community embodies the very best of who we are and what we stand for in Wisconsin. Every man and woman who has served in uniform is a vital asset to the future of this state. To honor their service, we must commit ourselves to managing veterans’ programs in fiscally responsible but creative ways that ensure we keep our commitments and are not forced to reduce benefits.

As Governor, Mary will stand up for veterans. She will do everything in her power to ensure that our veterans are getting all the assistance they need in finding meaningful employment and a quality education. She will look for ways to enable the admission of veterans of the Wisconsin National Guard at our veterans’ homes. She will restore grassroots participation in the governance of veterans programs by recreating the CVSO Advisory Council. And she will work to repeal legislation that reduces vital legal protections for veterans. Wisconsin’s veterans and their families deserve no less.

View Mary’s full plan for Wisconsin’s Veterans here.

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