Walker Stresses Flexibility, Economic Development in Visit with Regents

scott walkerThis morning, Governor-elect Scott Walker met with the members of the UW System Board of Regents at their meeting in Madison. He discussed the importance of the system to the state, his commitment to giving the university more flexibility, and his desire to have the university work more closely with the business community on economic development.

In introducing Walker, Regent President Chuck Pruitt noted that nearly all of the regents sitting at the table had been appointed by Governor Jim Doyle, a Democrat who was sharply criticized by Republican Walker during the campaign. “But when we walk through that door, we’re neither Democrats nor Republicans,” Pruitt said. “We’re advocates for the university.”

Pruitt said the regents want to help Walker grow the state’s economy and meet his goal of creating 250,000 jobs.

In brief remarks, Walker said the state faces a deficit of at least $3 billion, but sounded a positive note. “With great challenges come great opportunities,” he said.

Walker said he wants to maintain the quality of the system and is committed to generating more graduates. He said he has talked with UW leaders about giving campuses more flexibility, and he is “willing and able to help with these efforts.”

He also said he will direct the state’s Department of Commerce to work more closely with UW campuses on economic development. “We need to have everyone at the table,” he said.

“I look forward to working with you on this,” Walker concluded, and then received his second standing ovation from the regents and assembled onlookers.