Evers to launch first TV ad, promises to boost education
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin schools Superintendent Tony Evers went on the offensive Monday as the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination winds down, preparing to launch his first television ad and announcing he’ll seek $600 million for special education in the next state budget.
Evers has emerged as the front-runner among eight Democrats vying for the chance to face Republican Gov. Scott Walker in November. Voters will winnow the Democrats down to one candidate in an Aug. 14 primary.
Both Evers and Walker have been working to portray themselves as pro-education. Evers’ new ad opens with him telling a room full of people that he’ll invest in children and Wisconsin workers rather than handing out a billion dollars in corporate incentives to companies like Foxconn Technology Group, a direct dig at Walker for signing a bill last year that gave the Taiwanese electronics giant an unprecedented $4.5 billion in incentives to build a flat-screen plant in Mount Pleasant.
The ad touts that Evers is a former teacher and now superintendent, showing him smiling with children at a playground. An unseen narrator promises that Evers will invest in public education, early childhood and technical training for workers.
Evers says in the ad it will take a better vision of the future to beat Walker. The spot makes no mention of any of his Democratic rivals for the nomination.
The 30-second spot is set to begin running statewide on Tuesday. Evers campaign manager Maggie Gau didn’t immediately reply to an email asking how much the buy cost.
Earlier Monday Evers announced that he’ll seek $969 million in special education funding in the next state budget, up 163 percent the current $369 million.
Walker spokesman Austin Altenburg said in an email to The Associated Press that Walker fully funded the state Department of Public Instruction’s request for $7.6 million in special education grants and he has boosted school funding by about $200 more per student in each year of the current biennial budget. Evers even called the spending plan a “pro-kid budget” last February, Altenburg said.
Altenburg referred a request for comment on Evers’ ad to Republican Party of Wisconsin spokesman Alec Zimmerman, who accused Evers of imitating Walker’s approach to education.
“Scott Walker has already accomplished what Evers is talking about and more,” Zimmerman said.
Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trichmond1