Governor Delivers Speech Virtually, Says 2021 Is “Year Of Broadband Access”

2020 was a year full of change. So it seemed only appropriate that Gov. Tony Evers delivered a first in state history when he delivered his State of the State address Tuesday. Evers delivered the speech virtually, and featured a great many clips of news reports during the pandemic, which Evers used to call out Republican lawmakers for their lack of action during the past year. Evers also brought attention to the more than 5,000 residents of Wisconsin who died as a result of complications from the coronavirus.

The Governor also spoke about the unemployment system, calling on Wisconsin lawmakers to upgrade the state’s unemployment system. It’s the same system that struggled greatly in being able to provide paychecks to the thousands of residents out of work because of COVID-19. The governor was quick to point out that the outdated system is due in large part to previous administrations.  

Following the address, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican from Rochester, said Evers failed to take responsibility for the delays in unemployment benefits while in office, and that Evers “seemed to cast blame on others and accept very little fault for himself.”

Evers also said 2021 will be the “Year of Broadband Access” and is looking to address inequalities between students’ educational experiences during the pandemic. In an effort to bridge the gap, the governor proposes nearly $200 million in broadband funding in his 2021-23 state budget.

Earlier in the day, Governor Ever teamed up with Republicans in the Senate, agreeing to a compromise deal on new COVID-19 legislation. Assembly Republicans were quick to voice their opposition to the deal, with Vos saying “It seems some would think the only way to find common ground is to cave in to the governor’s demands,” aiming his remarks squarely at Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, who said the Senate simply was protecting schools, churches and employers. “This is a great win while we continue to work on our core priorities of opening schools, lifting gathering bans and putting limits on local bureaucrats,” he said.