EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) of the 8th Congressional District, speaks at the Republican headquarters as he rallies with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ahead of next week’s election Thursday in Marinette.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) of the 8th Congressional District, speaks at the Republican headquarters as he rallies with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ahead of next week’s election Thursday in Marinette.

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MARINETTE — Taxes and health care coverage were at the forefront of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s rally speech during his stop at the Marinette County Republic Party headquarters on Thursday evening, just five days away from the midterm election that will determine whether or not he will remain at the head of the state. 

Walker, his wife, Tonette, his son, Alex, and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch stopped in Marinette as part of a final campaign bus tour prior to Tuesday’s election. The tour kicked off earlier Thursday and featured guests such as departing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir. Present at the Marinette rally were Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), State Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), State Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) and State Secretary of State candidate Jay Schroeder. The headquarters was also packed with visitors and supporters. 

Kleefisch called the midterm election “the most important one of our lifetime,” and touted Walker as a common-sense candidate who would save taxpayers money. 

“Scott Walker is the guy who’s going to protect your pocketbook,” she said. “Scott Walker is the guy who has lowered your taxes by $8 billion as long as he has been in office. Guys, we’ve really needed that relief.” 

Kleefisch went on to criticize Walker’s opponent, Tony Evers, in particular using a claim Walker has made previously about Evers being willing to raise gas taxes by “up to $1 a gallon” in order to attain road funding. Evers has never actually given an amount for a gas tax hike, but has said “every possible revenue source is on the table.” 

While Walker did acknowledge that he was tied in the polls with Evers, he pointed to the Republican Party’s victories in the 2016 election and attributed it to the last-minute turnaround the GOP was able to make in the final few days by knocking on doors and visiting as many citizens as they could to encourage voting. 

“That’s what we need to do,” he said. “Any time there’s a midterm election, the party that’s in office always has a bit of a challenge.” 

One of the challenges Walker said he faces from Evers is the Democratic Party candidate campaign point about how the Walker administration will not protect health care coverage for those around the state with pre-existing conditions. Evers, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and others have been hitting Walker hard regarding his support to repeal the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, and a lawsuit brought by the State of Wisconsin and 19 other states that would eliminate protections in Obamacare which keep insurers from denying coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. 

“They somehow think that we’re not going to cover them, but we’re absolutely going to cover them,” Walker said, and pointed to legislation that passed the State Assembly earlier this year to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions are covered. The legislation, however, was never brought to the State Senate. 

Walker also pointed to a poll released Wednesday by Marquette University Law School, which showed that 54 percent of those polled believed the State of Wisconsin to be “on the right track.” Walker said he and Republicans merely needed to remind voters “who brought that about.” 

On local topics, Walker said he had made sure to include an increase in aid to repair local roads and state highways in the state budget. On the Back Forty Mine project, he said it was “something we’re just beginning to look at,” and added that he would continue to work with Nygren to look into the issue. A number of members from the Coalition to Save the Menominee River brought signs to protest the Back Forty Mine project outside the headquarters during Walker’s visit.