Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn vowed Friday at a campaign stop in Eau Claire to undo several of Gov. Scott Walker’s signature policies if he can emerge from a crowded field of Democrats and topple the two-term governor.
Flynn, a former state Democratic Party chairman and one of 17 Democrats seeking to challenge Walker in the Nov. 6 election, told a group of about 15 local residents that he would seek to reverse what he called the wage-killing policies of the Walker administration, including Act 10, the law that stripped collective bargaining rights from most public workers, and the right-to-work law that prohibits labor contracts requiring all workers to pay union dues.
Instead of following Walker’s “trickle-down” economic philosophy that cuts taxes for the rich in hopes they will spend that money to create jobs — a strategy Flynn insisted has been proven repeatedly not to work — Flynn said he would pursue “demand economics” policies that put money in the pockets of average residents.
“I’d put purchasing power in people’s hands because then they go out and buy shoes, they buy clothes, they buy food, they buy automobiles, they go out to eat. It circulates,” he said.
Flynn’s economic plan includes calls for raising the minimum wage to $15, creating a more progressive tax structure, ensuring that up to two years at Wisconsin’s public universities, colleges and technical colleges would be tuition-free for state residents, supporting a BadgerCare-for-all public insurance option and seeking federal funding for job-creating infrastructure projects involving roads, rail, public transportation and high-speed internet.
State Republican Party spokesman Alec Zimmerman defended Walker’s record and called attention to charges that Flynn, a lawyer, was overly aggressive in representing the Archdiocese of Milwaukee against victims of sexual abuse by priests in the 1990s and early 2000s.
“While Gov. Scott Walker is getting positive things done for Wisconsin’s economy, dirty defense attorney Matt Flynn spent his career leaving Wisconsin families in danger — offering to throw victims of sexual abuse ‘crumbs.’ Why would Wisconsin families expect anything different of Flynn as governor?” Zimmerman said.
Flynn has denied ever making a comment about “crumbs” for victims.
In the gathering Friday afternoon at Democratic Party headquarters in Eau Claire, Flynn, 70, of Milwaukee, pledged not to attack the other Democrats in the race but made the case for why he believes he is the best choice to beat Walker in the fall.
Flynn highlighted his status as a U.S. Navy veteran and said he has the demeanor, experience and instincts to go toe-to-toe with Walker on the debate stage. He drew chuckles from the audience when he offered a sneak peek at how he might rebut Walker touting his proposal to give families a $100-per-child tax credit this year.
“I’d say things like, ‘Yeah, but he took $1,100 (in taxes) from everybody to pay for Foxconn so he owes them all a grand,’” Flynn said, referring to the $3 billion in incentives Walker promised to Foxconn Technology Group to get the company to build a huge electronics plant in southeastern Wisconsin. Flynn maintained the company will end up receiving closer to $4.5 billion in incentives.
While several of the Democratic candidates back similar policies, Flynn said he stands out from the crowd on two issues: He supports legalizing marijuana and opposes opening the Wisconsin Retirement System to people who aren’t public employees, calling the state retirement plan a brilliant idea that shouldn’t be tampered with.
The primary in the governor’s race will be Aug. 14.
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