FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 11, 2015
Contact: Laura Smith, 608.266.5504
Democratic Weekly Radio Address: "Hold Walker's WEDC Accountable"
MADISON – Today Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) offered the Democratic Weekly Radio Address. The topic this week is the failure of Gov. Walker's
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to turn over records and documentation related to a highly questionable loan given to a major Walker campaign contributor, as well as any other risky loans the agency may have approved.
The people of Wisconsin deserve immediate answers about potential ethical and criminal violations and the ongoing mismanagement of taxpayer funds at Gov. Walker’s WEDC," Rep. Barca said. "
I hope all the people in Wisconsin will join me in demanding WEDC turn over these financial records – and that Republicans consider significant reforms to this troubled agency before we pass a budget."
The audio file of this week’s address can be found here and a video version can be viewed here.
Please also consider running this version of the address as a column in your publication. A copy of this version is attached here.
A written transcript of the address is below:
Here in Wisconsin, we work hard to enjoy our summers but unfortunately the Republican budget proposal has become a dark cloud ominously hanging over our state.
In this budget, many of our core Wisconsin values are being sold out to reward Republican campaign contributors and support Gov. Walker’s presidential ambitions. The Republican budget will deeply harm our neighborhood public schools and our universities, upend long-term care services for seniors and people with disabilities and threaten our clean air and water.
One of the key areas suffering under Republican rule is economic development.
Under Gov. Walker and the Republicans, Wisconsin is 40th in the nation in job growth, 42nd in wage growth and dead last in business startups. A primary reason for those failures is Gov. Walker’s disastrous Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
A few weeks ago, we learned that WEDC gave a highly questionable loan to a major Walker campaign contributor. The company created no jobs and no state funds were repaid.
The people of Wisconsin deserve immediate answers about potential ethical and criminal violations and the ongoing mismanagement of taxpayer funds at Gov. Walker’s WEDC – issues that were recently revealed in newspaper reports and a scathing non-partisan audit.
As board members, Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and I have been asking for the full records and documentation related to this and any other potentially risky loans, yet WEDC staff has stonewalled us for more than three weeks.
In addition, despite equally serious concerns raised in an audit, Republicans on the Audit Committee have not even scheduled a meeting to follow up on these issues – and Republicans on the budget committee are forging ahead with WEDC funding without addressing the serious problems that have been uncovered.
Republicans are doing an enormous disservice by turning a blind eye to these huge potential liabilities to taxpayers. But my fellow Democrats and I will continue to take action to stand up to the egregious leadership failures and potential criminal wrongdoing going on at WEDC.
I hope all the people in Wisconsin will join me in demanding WEDC turn over these financial records – and that Republicans consider significant reforms to this troubled agency before we pass a budget. Most of all, I hope you will join me in demanding a budget that works for all the people of Wisconsin – not just special interests.