Donatelli: Walker Confident Despite Looming Recall

Wisconsin GOP governor believes doing the right thing is a winning strategy

The class of Republican governors and state legislators elected in 2010 are fully invested in fundamental reforms at the state level. These Republican officeholders are moving aggressively to reform governmental institutions, tax policy and large state programs such as education and Medicaid. In effect, they’re finally bringing the states into the 21st century.

By any reckoning, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a leader in this class of reformers. He was a successful county executive in heavily Democratic Milwaukee County, winning re-election in 2008 with nearly 60 percent of the vote even as Barack Obama was carrying the county handily. He was elected governor last year with a dual charge to reform a bloated, inefficient state government and establish a pro-business environment to create long-term private-sector jobs.

He has begun to deliver on those promises. He has already reformed the state agency charged with bringing jobs to the state by substantially increasing participation of the private sector and job creators. He held the line on taxes and balanced a budget that was deeply in the red. A state that had lost more than 150,000 jobs from 2007 to 2010 has seen a net increase in private sector jobs in 2011, Mr. Walker’s first year in office.