Election 2022 Governors (copy)

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers speaks during an event attended by President Biden at Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee on Sept. 5. Evers who is up for reelection warned voters that democracy is on the ballot this fall.

Nothing has been easy for Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers during his first term. And it is unlikely that the second term Evers now seeks will be any less challenging.

Yet the governor has managed the state ably in the most difficult of times, and we have no doubt that he is prepared to continue to do so. So, of course, we endorse his reelection.

Against an inexperienced and irresponsible rival, millionaire Republican Tim Michels, Evers is the obvious choice. While Michels has spent much of the past decade dividing his time between a penthouse in New York and a $17 million mansion in Connecticut, Evers has served the state where he was born and raised with a level of commitment — and skill — that matches that of the Wisconsin’s finest chief executives.

The contrast between the two candidates could not be more stark. Evers has dedicated his life to public service as a teacher, principal, school administrator, state superintendent of Public Instruction and governor, while Michels has dedicated himself to living large in distant states. Worse yet, Michels has wedded his political ambition to that of defeated former President Donald Trump, a man who has sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin and nationally.

But the 2022 gubernatorial election isn’t just about two candidates. It’s about the direction the state will take at a pivotal point in its history.

Wisconsin has historically been the nation’s laboratory of democracy, the state that chooses to experiment, innovate and achieve great things. Unfortunately, under former Gov. Scott Walker — the failed Republican presidential candidate whom Evers defeated in the 2018 race for governor — Wisconsin abandoned its progressive history and moved in a crudely reactionary direction.

Walker and a Republican-controlled Legislature attacked public employees and their unions, cut funding for education and public services, refused federal support for high-speed rail transportation and expansion of broadband internet service and sought to abandon the Wisconsin Idea of using the best research and thinking from the University of Wisconsin to formulate policy solutions.

Voters rejected Walker four years ago. Unfortunately, because legislative maps were gerrymandered, Evers was stuck with a GOP-dominated Legislature that refused to work with him on issues so central as fighting the coronavirus pandemic, raising wages and protecting the right to choose.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and his cronies did everything in their power to undermine Evers. The Democratic governor was required to use his veto pen repeatedly during his first term to defend the people of Wisconsin and their values. And, because gerrymandered maps will continue to shape election results, Evers will undoubtedly have to stand up to the Legislature in his second term.

But there is much more to Evers than his veto pen. As hard as the Republicans have made it for him, Evers has proven he can get things done in difficult circumstances. He has balanced budgets, led the state through a health care crisis and the economic turbulence associated with it, and renewed Wisconsin’s commitment to public education.

Tony Evers has proven that he can keep the reactionaries in check and move Wisconsin forward through difficult times. By any and every measure, Evers has earned a second term.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@captimes.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.