Lauren Justice / The New York Times

Former governor Scott Walker will be speaking at Cornell on November 4. Walker lost his chance at a third term as governor of Wisconsin to his opponent Tony Evers by a single percentage point.

October 8, 2019

Scott Walker, Former Governor of Wisconsin and Presidential Candidate, to Speak at Cornell

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A former two-term governor of Wisconsin and 2016 presidential candidate for the Republican Party, Scott Walker will speak at Cornell University on November 4 at the invitation of the Cornell University College Republicans.

Walker, who narrowly lost a reelection bid to Tony Evers (D-Wis.) in the 2018 midterm elections, has emerged in the past decade as one of the most polarizing figures in American politics — serving as a champion for small-government conservatives, while drawing the intense ire of labor activists for passing a series of bills that stymied public sector unions.

“Governor Walker’s tenure in Madison reflected a serious commitment to conservative principles and to the people of Wisconsin,” Cornell Republicans President Isaac Schorr ’20 told The Sun. “At a time when bluster pervades our country’s political scene, we are enthusiastic about bringing a speaker with a real interest in solutions and the real courage to stand by his decisions despite the political difficulties that they presented.”

Walker’s political career began at the age of 25 when he won a seat to Wisconsin’s House of Representatives. In 2016, Walker launched a short-lived bid for President — where he was initially viewed as potential front-runner — but his campaign, however, flatlined after Donald Trump’s entry and dropped out five months before the primary’s first contest.

During his eight-year tenure as the Wisconsin governor, Walker gained national attention for measures curbing the collective bargaining rights of state employees and instituting “Right to Work” laws, legislation which bars mandatory union membership.

Walker has defended his record as “pro-education” and pro-economic growth — the National Review, a right-leaning publication, at one point called him a “model governor”  — while detractors have argued that his actions have caused wages to drop and worsen labor protections.

That anger culminated in a 2012 recall election, whereupon Walker became one of only a handful of sitting governors in history to face a recall election — and the only one ever to survive it when he prevailed over the Democratic challenger by a wider-than-expected margin of seven points.

His talk next month, which is also sponsored by Young America’s Foundation, will largely focus on those high profile battles with organized labor, along with the Governor’s views on fiscal responsibility, according to Schorr.

“In many ways, Governor Walker was the ideal conservative officeholder … bold and courageous, but not self-indulgent or brash,” Schorr said. “He was a model for the party and the country.”

Walker will present on Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in Warren Hall B25. The event is free and tickets are not required.