Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s administration announced a plan this week to spend nearly $7 million on a marketing campaign in an attempt to lure veterans and young workers back to the state.
From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
The state needs more workers to fill jobs, including at a display-screen plant that Foxconn Technology Group plans to build in Racine County, Walker said.
He called on lawmakers to pass a $6.8 million package this spring to market the state. The ad and marketing campaign would target veterans by letting them know they can access generous state benefits and millennials by touting the state’s cost of living, he said.
“We need more bodies,” Walker said.
The ad campaign targeting millennials would build on a $1 million effort that is already budgeted and slated to launch in January. That campaign is aimed at getting recent alumni from University of Wisconsin institutions living in the Chicago area to return to Wisconsin.
Here’s one of those proposed ads:
Seems like a great pitch: “Hey Millennials: don’t you wish you were riding bikes in Wisconsin in January, instead of living in a city that has functional public transit? I bet you feel like a real dummy!!!”
Democratic state Rep. Daniel Riemer pointed out that the move represents a change of mind within the Walker administration regarding the importance of alternative transit:
Wisconsin’s Millennial brain drain is a real problem. A University of Wisconsin business professor found that the state lost an average of 14,000 college graduates per year between 2008 and 2012. Most of those losses came from recent college graduates, who are opting to move to more progressive states like Minnesota and Illinois. This isn’t a coincidence.
I grew up in the Milwaukee suburbs and went to college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (U rah rah!). I love my home state, and hope to move back to the Midwest sometime in the near future. And I am here to help the Walker administration in its quest to figure out why the state is struggling to lure and retain young workers. (Disclosure: I signed the petition to recall Scott Walker in 2011 and would do so again in a heartbeat!!!)
Here are a few things college-educated Millennials like myself are looking to see in our home states, that might convince us to move back:
- We want to live in a state that provides a check against the Trump administration, rather than handing the administration a blueprint for rolling back economic and social reforms.
- We want to live in a state whose government respects people regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexuality or economic status, rather than employing people who make racist jokes comparing welfare recipients to dogs.
- We want to live in a state that takes police misconduct seriously, rather than overlooking a sheriff who allows people to die of dehydration in his jail.
- We do not want to live in a state that jails more black men than any other state in the country, with nearly half of them locked up for low-level drug offenses.
- We want to live in a state that seeks to rehabilitate teenagers with behavior problems, rather than locking them in solitary confinement and pepper spraying them.
- We want to live in a state that ensures affordable health care for everyone, rather than sabotaging the gains made in the insurance marketplace.
- We want to live in a state that believes undocumented immigrants shouldn’t have to live in the shadows, rather than one moving to ban sanctuary cities.
- We want a governor who takes the proliferation of guns seriously, rather than one who takes millions of dollars from the National Rifle Association.
- We want to live in a state that recognizes all residents deserve help if they are struggling, rather than drug testing Medicaid applicants.
- We want to live in a state that acts with compassion toward the poor, rather than kicking tens of thousands of Wisconsin residents off of food stamps.
- We want to live in a state that wants to strengthen its public schools, not sell them out to the school privatization lobby.
- We want a state that values higher education, rather than one that cuts $250 million from the University of Wisconsin system while awarding $250 million in taxpayer money to build a new Milwaukee Bucks arena.
- We want a state that enshrines First Amendment protections, rather than one that threatens college students with suspension or expulsion for exercising their right to free speech.
- We want to live in a state that invests in public transportation, rather than eliminating the regional transit authority in the state’s largest city, thus cutting off (nonwhite) Milwaukee residents’ access to jobs in the city’s (overwhelmingly white) suburbs.
- We want to live in a state that prioritizes affordable housing and works to desegregate its cities, rather than trapping people of color in an economic desert from which they cannot escape.
- We want to live in a state that champions environmental protections and safeguards public lands, rather than gutting environmental protections to build an iron mine that threatens the well-being of Native Americans in the state.
- We want to live in a state that upholds the idea of “one person, one vote,” rather than eroding it through hyper-partisan gerrymandering and voter disenfranchisement.
- We want to live in a state that recognizes the importance of unions to workers’ rights, rather than killing the barganing power of the state’s teachers and nurses.
- We want to live in a state that supports women’s health, rather than cutting off women’s access to family planning clinics.
- We want to live in a state that values young workers, rather than using them as pawns in a re-election stunt that will do nothing to help the state’s economy in the long term.
- We want to live in a state that makes meaningful investments in Wisconsin workers, rather than sinking nearly $3 billion in taxpayer money into a Taiwanese company that will almost assuredly not be able to return the investment, in a deal that sure sounds good on paper, and that’s all that matters between now and November 2018, right, Scott?
- We want to live in a state that isn’t the poster child of the modern conservative political project of using the levers of state power to punish the perceived enemies—higher education, cities, immigrants, black people, Muslims, organized labor, young people as a whole—of a furious and revanchist aging white suburban population.
- Mostly, we want to live in a state that we can be proud to call home, not a state whose government only promises to ratfuck us and our peers at every turn.
Instead of taunting Millennials for leaving Wisconsin, maybe Governor Walker and his administration could try investigating why they left in the first place. You just might find that the answer lies with you and your shitty administration.