State Senator Patrick Testin (left) and Assemblywoman Katrina Shankland. (Contributed)

Testin, Shankland respond to Evers’ State of the State

Metro Wire Staff

Following Governor Tony Evers’ annual State of the State address, State Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) and Rep. Katrina Shankland (D–Stevens Point) released their reactions to the governor’s message.

Testin released a brief statement Tuesday night, taking Evers to task for what he calls a “critical issue” facing Wisconsin:

“Wisconsin’s crime rate is up 9 percent, Milwaukee just recorded a record high in homicides, and people don’t feel safe in their communities—yet Governor Evers failed to present a plan to combat crime or even mention the subject. One in five murder or attempted murder suspects in Milwaukee County was out on bond for another felony. It’s time to get tough on crime, pass meaningful bail reform, and actually support our police.”

Shankland released a longer statement:

“Tonight, Governor Evers offered a vision for a strong and healthy Wisconsin, including significant investments in rural healthcare, mental health, and public education. I truly appreciate the way he has led throughout this pandemic and the new investments he is making to ensure we are resilient and strong.

“I’m especially excited about the funding increases for EMS and additional support for mental health care. The people of Wisconsin deserve to have the strongest emergency services possible, and this is an important issue to address for rural communities especially. I’m also grateful for additional support for mental health—everyone deserves access to mental health care, and I appreciate the governor’s focus on people’s health and wellbeing.

“Additionally, I’m thrilled that Governor Evers has announced a $25 million investment in our UW System so they can finally fund the freeze. After years of advocacy by students, staff, faculty, and organizations, there will be a tuition freeze, and it will be fully funded through the end of the biennium. I’ve always supported freezing college tuition as long as it’s funded—that way tuition stays more affordable and campuses won’t have to sacrifice the courses and programs available to students. By providing the resources to campuses to ensure they’re able to keep their program offerings intact while tuition is frozen, Governor Evers understands that we can work to make college tuition more affordable while also supporting our campuses’ financial sustainability.

“I’ve said it before and it bears repeating—our students deserve to have the same opportunities that their parents and grandparents had, and our educational institutions deserve our support. Higher education isn’t just a vital driver of our workforce and an economic engine—it is the pathway for many Wisconsinites to achieve the American Dream. Institutions like UWSP have struggled with budget deficits due in part to previously unfunded tuition freezes, and this reinvestment in our students and the UW System will help ensure the Wisconsin Idea continues to thrive, from Stevens Point to Superior.

“I applaud everyone who has worked tirelessly in advocating for funding the freeze over the years, especially AFT-WI, who led this charge. As someone who has introduced legislation multiple times over the years to fund the freeze, I thank Governor Evers from the bottom of my heart for supporting college affordability and access to higher education. He is truly our education governor.

“During his time in office, Governor Evers hasn’t just talked about connecting the dots to strengthen and support our state and its people, but his steady leadership has also delivered meaningful results. Tonight’s investments in rural healthcare, mental health, and college affordability continue to underscore that Governor Evers truly cares about everyone in Wisconsin.”