- Posted May 30, 2014 by
Team iReport featured this story
Mary Burke-Bringing Back Wisconsin
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
Since 2011, Wisconsin has gone through historic protests, recalls, and controversial legislative action. To many observers, the state has never been more polarized. As the political race for Wisconsin’s next Governor heats up, the two main contenders for the office include Republican Governor Scott Walker, and Democratic newcomer and challenger, Mary Burke. Walker has been covered extensively by the national media. Through successful fund raising from outside the state, Walker’s campaign has been able to invest heavily in political advertising since he took office. Some have speculated that Walker has sights on a 2016 presidential run. In the Daily Beast, reporter Eleanor Clift described Mary Burke as “the Woman Who Could Beat Scott Walker.” The race for Wisconsin’s next Governor will likely have major state and national overtones.
For the voters in Wisconsin, they are just beginning to learn who Mary Burke is, and what she stands for. A former business executive of Trek Bicycle Corporation and former Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce, she is quickly gaining notoriety, and becoming a formidable challenger for Governor Walker. In a Marquette Law School survey of registered Wisconsin voters in April 2014, Walker enjoyed a 56%-40% lead over Burke. A month later, Walker’s lead evaporated into a statistical 46% tie between the candidates. State and national news about Walker’s second John Doe investigation into alleged campaign finance violations, lagging job growth in the state, and significant education cuts have contributed to the tightening Governor’s race.
Burke recently toured Hamburg Hills Organic Farm to explain the importance of farming. The farm, operated by Tim and Lisa Servais, was featured in 2012 story by CNN iReports and CNN International. The story documented how the Servais family farm survived and flourished after weathering the historic U.S. drought of that year.
As Burke toured this organic farm, situated on a picturesque ridge top overlooking Hamburg Township in western Wisconsin, she talked with the media about farming, and why she would be the best choice of the next governor of Wisconsin. Burke wants to highlight the importance of agricultural farming to job growth, economy, and the state’s heritage. Burke commented, “I am concerned over the past five years we have seen the decrease of nearly 9,000 farms in Wisconsin. This is important for the vibrancy and economy of our rural communities, along with our agricultural industry and food processing.” Burke is touring Wisconsin farms to see how farmers have built on success, and to understand the challenges of the farmers of the state. Burke points out that we need to make sure “we are growing our farms rather than reducing them.”
In bringing back job growth to Wisconsin, Burke said, “I think people are looking for a governor with business experience. We do need to create jobs. Here in Wisconsin under Scout Walker we are actually 9th out of 10 Midwestern states in job creation. I think a business executive background is more important in creating jobs than someone who has been a career politician.“
Agriculture is just one issue she is discussing from as she travels throughout the state. Burke is also highlighting her platforms on supporting education, the right to vote, health care, and job growth throughout Wisconsin.
One last question Burke was asked during the media event was about what she would like her legacy to be. Without hesitation, Burke said, “I want to build Wisconsin’s economy to be a top 10 thriving economy, and I also want to be the longest serving Governor in the state of Wisconsin.” Her response drew spontaneous applause by the audience.
In Wisconsin, the race for Governor will certainly heat up further as the campaigns stretches through Wisconsin’s hot summer months, culminating into a highly publicized election in the fall. For both candidates, getting their messaging out to the voting public will only intensify. The question for many will be what Wisconsin will look like with sitting Governor Scott Walker, or challenger Mary Burke in the governor’s office. Stay tuned.