Governor Evers Makes 1st Stop in Central Wisconsin

From L to R: Mandela Barnes, Tony Evers, and Craig Thompson at the Wausau DMV (MWC photo by Liz Holbrook)
From L to R: Mandela Barnes, Tony Evers, and Craig Thompson at the Wausau DMV

(MWC photo by Liz Holbrook)
Evers, Barnes, and Thompson with Wausau DMV employees

(MWC photo by Liz Holbrook)

WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -- Tony Evers made his first stop in Central Wisconsin as Governor of the state on Thursday afternoon.

After being inaugurated Monday morning, Governor Tony Evers has been traveling the state with Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes to highlight various issues. In Wausau, the Governor visited the DMV to talk about the transportation and infrastructure issues in Wisconsin.

In the conference room of the Wausau DMV, Evers pick to lead the Department of Transportation, Craig Thompson, spoke on how Wisconsin needs better roads as one of the most transportation dependent economies in the country.

"We're the second most transportation-dependent economy in the country. Indiana is the first. And we've got a mismatch when between the quality of our transportation that we have and what the state with the second most dependent transportation economy needs."

When talking about the quality of roads, Governor Evers recognized that many counties have put wheel taxes in place to make up for lost funding. "Our roads are some of the worst in the country. And one in twenty local governments, I think there's some in this area that has imposed wheel taxes in order to make sure that the roads are fixed locally. That is a tax that frankly has been imposed upon our local governments because the state hasn't done their fair share."

With the previous lack of state funding, Evers feels that it's now time for the state to help with transportation needs. "The state has to step up whether it's transportation or an education problem. Also, we need to make sure that the local governments have not only the resources but some more flexibility with how they can obtain those resources."

The visit was also to thank state employees for their work and be recognized. Evers expressed during his visit the importance of letting state workers know they're valued. "I think it is important to make sure that we recognize the employees for the work they do. And we have a bunch of good ones right here today."

Evers says the best way to let workers know how important they are is to be visible. "We need to actually show that appreciation by being visible and seeing offices across the state of Wisconsin. That's exactly why we're here today."

In his first week in office, Evers has taken measures to highlight the importance of state employees. "I did sign an executive order talking about the importance of state employees and the importance of recognizing state employees. And making sure that they are actively engaged in their work and people have a voice in their work. That's really critical I think. Over the last two years that has been missing."

Evers discussed his plan to work on the upcoming budget, and his potential actions moving forward with the lame duck session laws.