It could have been really awkward. At the New North Summit in early December, Gov.-elect Tony Evers was scheduled to address business and community leaders from around the region. Following Evers on the agenda was Mark Hogan, CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. — one of the biggest achievements touted by Gov. Scott Walker, the man who Evers beat. Instead of pointing out their differences, both men focused on a shared goal: helping Wisconsin businesses.
While the condition of the state’s roads was a topic during the campaign — most of us remember the “Scott hole” ads and billboards — Evers moved right past that to discuss the importance of developing a solid statewide transportation system that will help businesses move their products from point A to point B as well as improving road safety.
“I definitely believe high-quality roads across the state — not only in southeast Wisconsin, but in Price County — is the key to unlocking economic development,” he said.
Coming up with a solution will require bipartisan support, Evers said.
“We need to have some intestinal fortitude to move forward on some of these tougher topics. Having high-quality roads should be a nonpartisan issue that Democrats and Republicans can all get behind,” he said before asking that from the region’s top business leaders.
After Evers left to a standing ovation and a short video touting the region’s economic successes, Hogan took the stage and expressed his commitment to working with Evers (although Hogan may soon be out of a job with the incoming administration).
“We want whoever is governor to be successful since that helps Wisconsin be successful, which is something we all want,” he said.
The WEDC’s CEO went on to discuss the organization’s plan to attract more workers to Wisconsin, whether they are millennials from other Midwest cities, alumni from the state’s colleges and universities or military veterans.
While it seems nearly impossible to get members of different political parties to agree on anything lately, it was refreshing to see Evers and Hogan focus on their common goal to improve Wisconsin’s economy.