Walker Moves Forward As The Right's Newest 'Hero' Wisconsin's GOP Gov. Scott Walker made history by pushing back an effort to recall him from office. Walker's salvation was already a vital cause for the conservative movement. Now, there's speculation about what the future holds for the 45-year-old governor.
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Walker Moves Forward As The Right's Newest 'Hero'

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Walker Moves Forward As The Right's Newest 'Hero'

Walker Moves Forward As The Right's Newest 'Hero'

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Audie Cornish. Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker returned triumphantly to the Capitol building this afternoon, fresh off his decisive victory in yesterday's recall election. This morning, Walker thanked voters at a factory outside of Milwaukee.

NPR's David Schaper reports the governor appears to be emerging from this bitter recall with an enhanced national profile, but with battles yet to fight at home.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: It's a scene he repeated almost daily in the final weeks of the campaign - Republican Gov. Scott Walker shaking hands with workers and executives on a factory floor. But today, instead of asking for their support, it was the raspy voiced Walker's turn to simply say...

GOV. SCOTT WALKER: Thank you. Thank you.

SCHAPER: Earlier, Walker made brief remarks at this metal-fabricating plant. He told supporters Tuesday's resounding victory shows that Wisconsin voters appreciate his efforts to rein in state government spending.

WALKER: But we're not done yet. We're not done yet.

SCHAPER: Walker says many businesses in Wisconsin may have been holding back on expansion and hiring plans until knowing the outcome of the recall election. And among the next moves he plans in the state Capitol, Walker says he and lawmakers need to loosen environmental regulations and enforcement actions that he says are stifling job growth.

WALKER: We still want clean air, clean land, clean water. We want public safety and public health. But you can enforce things that are based on common sense, and not just on bureaucratic red tape.

SCHAPER: However, Walker does vow to change his ways, telling reporters he realizes he needs to drop the more divisive approach that sparked the recall effort against him.

WALKER: While the final product is good, fixing things is good, so is making sure that you talk about it; that you do more to include people in the process. So as we take on big issues in the future, there's no doubt that we're going to hone in on what we need to fix things. But we're also going to spend the time talking to people, bringing more people involved.

SCHAPER: The governor says he'll start by bringing all state lawmakers from both parties together for burgers, bratwurst, and some good old Wisconsin beer. Forty-two-year old Bill Hoff, a supervisor at this Steelwind Industries fabricating plant, says he likes what he hears from Walker. Hoff says the governor seems to have emerged from this bruising recall fight unscathed.

BILL HOFF: I think, if anything, it's been - he's gotten more popular.

SCHAPER: And outside of the plant, human resources and safety director Angie Trentadue says she sees a governor who may now be ready for bigger things.

ANGIE TRENTADUE: Absolutely. Wouldn't mind seeing him in the presidential election, you know, in a couple of years, or even a vice presidential election.

MORDECAI LEE: I think this is going to catapult him into the national view, as a real hero.

SCHAPER: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee political scientist Mordecai Lee says Scott Walker should now be on Mitt Romney's short list of possible vice presidential candidates.

LEE: He took the hit. He took the best blow that the left could throw at him, and he survived. And he survived comfortably. And so he is now a national symbol of standing up to the enemies of the right.

SCHAPER: But being on the ticket with Romney might be a stretch. Among the reasons is that there's an ongoing corruption investigation into the Milwaukee County Executive's Office, the post Walker held before being elected governor in 2010.

Several of his former aides and associates have been charged with crimes ranging from embezzlement to campaigning on county time. The governor has not been implicated, but the investigation is a cloud hanging over Scott Walker and his historic recall victory.

David Schaper, NPR News, Milwaukee.

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