Democrat Mary Burke stops in at WXOW studio for extended intervi - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Democrat Mary Burke stops in at WXOW studio for extended interview


LA CRESCENT, Minnesota (WXOW) -- Democratic candidate for Governor Mary Burke stopped at the WXOW studio Tuesday for an interview.

Burke, who announced her candidacy in October, said she's attempting to get to know Wisconsin's diverse electorate.

"Wisconsin's a big state," she said. "I want to make sure I have an opportunity to get out and talk to people and that they have an opportunity to get to know me, the values I have and what kind of governor I'd be."

Burke, a long time executive at Trek Bicycle, served as Commerce Secretary under former Governor Jim Doyle.

She's also a member of the Madison school board.

Burke said she's confident she has enough executive experience to be Governor.

"Having worked at Trek Bicycle, the division I ran increased sales from 3-million to over 50-million in just a few short years," she said.

"That was selling great Wisconsin products all over the world, but it helped create more good paying jobs right here in Wisconsin," Burke said.

Burke has recently come under criticism from Republicans for not presenting a formal plan on how to create more jobs across the state. 

"Mary Burke won't tell us where she stands on the issues," said Wisconsin GOP Executive Director Joe Fadness in a statement.

"She has no plan for Wisconsin," he said.

Burke said she plans on rolling out a formal jobs plan "certainly within three to four months."

Burke also said she is putting a lot of thought into formulating a plan.

"It won't just be a plan that I'll campaign with," she said. "It'll be a plan I implement as Governor."

"As Governor, I'd be focusing on making sure we create the jobs and focusing on helping new businesses get started, making sure they have access to capital and have the other supports they need."

Burke said she would also place heavy emphasis on investing in the state's infrastructure, as well as Wisconsin's tourism, agriculture, healthcare and information technology industries.

But she said a solid workforce revolves around an excellent public education system.

"Education certainly drives economic development and drives jobs," she said.

When asked about Governor Scott Walker's signature piece of legislation, Act 10, Burke said she would work to restore collective bargaining power to public workers if elected.

"I believe our public sector employees should have the right to collectively bargain and that doesn't stand in the way of having an efficient, effective, accountable public sector," she said.

Act 10 limits the collective bargaining power of most public workers to negotiating over base wage increases capped at the rate of inflation.

The law also requires most public workers to contribute more of their pay to healthcare and pension benefits.

Burke said she supports that aspect of the law.

She also said she supports the basics of the Affordable Care Act, commonly dubbed "Obamacare," although she added glitches in the law's rollout demonstrate it can still be improved.

She also said she disagrees with Walker's decision to reject federal government money provided by the law for states to expand medicaid coverage.

Walker said the current uncertainty in Washington makes accepting federal dollars a risky move.

But Burke said, if elected, she would work to alter the Governor's current plan and take the federal money.

"That is Wisconsin taxpayer money that we pay into Washington, D.C.," she said. "As governor I would fight for every dollar to make sure we're getting those dollars back."

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