What’s Really at Stake for Governor? A Comparison of Tony Evers and Tim Michels on Key Voter Concerns
October 24, 2022

Tamira Musgrave



  • Wisconsin voters are most concerned about inflation, crime, accurate vote count, and public schools. 
  • During his first term, Governor Evers attempted to raise the gas tax by over 20%.
  • Tony Evers was also in favor of doubling the energy tax and raising the tax on manufacturers that employ one in six people in the state. 
  • Governor Evers also falsely blamed businesses for the soaring inflation while he shamelessly took credit for a Republican-built budget that delivered some of the most significant tax cuts in Wisconsin history. 
  • Evers even rejected various Republican bills in early 2020 that would have led to tax cuts for Wisconsinites. 
  • Evers stood with the Defund the Police movement. He vetoed a bill that would have cut shared revenue payments to municipalities that defund police.
  • DPI’s data reveals that English language arts proficiency is down over 16%, math proficiency is down by over 20%, and only 8% of black students are proficient in math. So Tony Evers’ “money can fix all” mindset is harming Wisconsin students. 

With November rapidly approaching, voters are solidifying their votes. They’re going down the list to see which candidate will best work for and represent their needs, morals, values, and expectations. According to the latest Marquette Law School poll, Wisconsin voters are most concerned about inflation, crime, accurate vote count, and public schools. 

So what exactly is at stake for this election? Before heading to the polls in a few weeks, what should undecided voters know? Lake Country Tribune has covered four top issues among Wisconsin voters with a side-by-side comparison of what Evers has done vs. what Michels plans to do.  


While inflation happens to be the number one issue among registered Wisconsin voters, the Governor can do little to change it directly. But, on the other hand, the Governor’s policies can undoubtedly make or break people when the pressure is already so immense.

We can take a close look at how Evers handled inflation and how he went about helping Wisconsinites navigate rough waters. 

Has Tony Evers Taken Care of Wisconsinites Amid Inflation?

Let’s explore this question by tracking Evers’ footsteps during and after the pandemic. 

During his first term, Governor Evers attempted to raise the gas tax by over 20%. Fortunately, he wasn’t successful; otherwise, he would have sucked an additional $725 million out of residents’ wallets over the last two and a half years. 

Tony Evers was also in favor of doubling the energy tax and raising the tax on manufacturers that employ one in six people in the state. 

Governor Evers also falsely blamed businesses for the soaring inflation while he shamelessly took credit for a Republican-built budget that delivered some of the most significant tax cuts in Wisconsin history. 

He also wrongfully took credit for an estimated $3.8 billion surplus resulting from unprecedented federal aid plus conservatives in the legislature checking the Democrat’s tax-and-spend inclinations. He insists businesses should be blamed for the rising inflation, stating that they’ve “squeezed consumers for every extra penny, raising everyday costs for folks in Wisconsin and across our country.” 

Evers shut down and crippled various Wisconsin businesses because of his excessive lockdown orders, the orders that he initially said he had no plan of implementing. All while forcing thousands of residents out of work and into his dysfunctional Department of Workforce Development’s Unemployment Insurance System. 

Evers even rejected various Republican bills in early 2020 that would have led to tax cuts for Wisconsinites. 

Governor Evers passed over opportunities to help small businesses succeed and overcome the pandemic, his lockdown orders, and rising inflation. He chose to veto a measure that would have eliminated an incredibly burdensome property tax on businesses. He kept a $200 million tax on small employers, which saddled them with millions of dollars in additional compliance costs. 

The Evers administration also sought to tax forgivable PPP loans given to small businesses that he ultimately forced to close.

While Governor Evers had plenty of glaring opportunities to ease the blow on the residents of Wisconsin, he chose not to on multiple occasions. You could say his actions and failure to act sometimes made things much more difficult for Wisconsinites during the pandemic, lockdowns, and rampant inflation.

How Does Tim Michels Plan to Take Care of Wisconsinites Amid Inflation?

Tim Michels has made it clear that he understands how difficult inflation has made it to afford to live life. As a result, Michels has released his “Wisconsin First Economic Blueprint” plan. 

Michels stated, “Bidenflation hit us after months of the Evers shutdowns that tried to bring Wisconsin’s economy to a grinding halt. Their two-man power trip has hurt families across this great state, and we need to fight back. Our schools were closed, kids are still forced to wear masks, crime is at 30-year highs, and inflation is out of control.”

He adds, “ Wisconsinites face skyrocketing inflation, shrinking retirement savings, and the prospect of tough economic times ahead if we don’t change course. But here is the thing: no one can compete with the Wisconsin work ethic. Wisconsin needs a governor who won’t stand in the way of economic growth. The Michels Administration will provide all businesses with the best opportunity to succeed and grow operations in Wisconsin.”

His economic plan for getting Wisconsin back on track involves:

  • First, competing with neighboring states by reducing corporate and individual income taxes to attract and retain more talent in the state.
  • Increase American energy production and distribution to provide low-cost and reliable energy for families and businesses across Wisconsin.
  • Eliminate the personal property tax. 
  • Recruit out-of-state veterans to join the Wisconsin workforce by improving VA hospitals and providing businesses with hiring incentives.
  • Optimize, overhaul, and streamline Wisconsin’s occupational licensing laws to eliminate obstacles that prevent hard-working professionals from earning a living or starting/expanding their businesses.
  • Incentivize students to pursue education and invest in training for high-demand fields, i.e., healthcare, engineering, and technology, and remaining in the state after graduation. 
  • Expedite access to high-speed broadband in rural communities so that all areas of the state can participate in the digital economy. 
  • Increase opportunities for K-12 students to participate in hands-on internships, youth apprenticeships, and programs like Dual Enrollment. 
  • Increase investments in Wisconsin’s vocational technical training to enhance the hands-on skills of the state’s workforce. 
  • Recognize that public safety is economic development, and we must protect storefronts and business owners’ property from acts of domestic terrorism. 

Crime and Public Safety

Crime is second on the top list for registered WI voters, as it should be. Everyone wants to live peacefully in their neighborhoods and communities, not in a constant state of fear of whether or not they’ll also become victims of a violent crime. 

Has Tony Evers made Public Safety and Law Enforcement a Priority?

Law enforcement has been singing songs of condemnation for Governor Evers, as he has poorly handled supporting and providing them with all the resources they need. 

Evers is soft on crime. His unwavering dedication to his prison population-slashing plan has sparked outrage throughout Wisconsin. Residents question why the Governor would be so quick to allow horrific murderers and rapists to walk free. Especially the victims’ family members who were not notified of the releases. 

His prison population cut has already released nearly 1,000 dangerous criminals onto the streets of Wisconsin. While Evers promised in 2018 that he would not release violent criminals, he is doing that today. Murders, rapists, child rapists, arsonists, and more are walking free under the Evers Administration. Let’s take a look at what Tony Evers has done so far. 

Evers stood with the Defund the Police movement. He vetoed a bill that would have cut shared revenue payments to municipalities that defund police. 

He also was in favor of including ending felony bail-jumping penalties in his budget. 

Evers attacked local police with an appalling message during the Kenosha riots. His statement called out law enforcement for being “merciless” killers. He took the rioters’ side during an explosive situation instead of trying to calm the chaos. During the riots, Evers also failed to support law enforcement by refusing aid, taking too long to send help, and not sending enough guardsmen to help control the violence on the city streets. Overall, Evers handled the situation poorly.  

Tony Evers refused to make law enforcement’s life easier until the upcoming election backed him into a corner. The radical liberal has made his stance on law enforcement clear on various occasions. Yet, since it’s an election year and the race is particularly tight, he is pouring funds on law enforcement from his federal COVID relief campaign slush fund

Tony Evers lied about not having any authority over those murderers and rapists released. We continue to hear the term “mandatory release,” although we already know that the parole list did not include any mandatory releases. They were all discretionary. We also know that Evers can appoint who he wants as the Parole Commission chair and that he has direct control over the DOC. Evers also doubles down on his parole commission, stating that the process has worked. Victims’ families disagree with him.  

Evers and his DOC expanded prison early release programs, ER and CIP. According to the state’s data, about 40% of those criminals are rearrested within two years. Even though the system is ineffective and endangers public safety, he still chose to fund it and expand it. 

Evers turned a blind eye and refused to investigate progressive justice ally, John Chisholm. After Darrell Brooks, who has been brushing up with law enforcement since the ’90s, was charged with killing six people and injuring dozens more in the Waukesha Christmas parade, Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm was confronted for setting an insultingly low bail for Brooks. Yet, despite many voicing their concerns about the issues, Governor Evers rejected a complaint against Chisholm and refused to investigate his fellow Democrat, effectively letting him off the hook. 

Tony Evers has repeatedly shot down opportunities to lend a helping hand to Wisconsin law enforcement. He’s also involved with releasing hundreds of violent criminals into Wisconsin, and he failed to act decisively and directly during the riots when Wisconsinites needed him most. Evers has not seen law enforcement or safety as a priority, and now that it’s time for his re-election, he decided to shell out funding to police.

How Does Tim Michels Plan to Tackle Crime in Wisconsin? 

Evers opponent, Republican candidate Tim Michels has a step-by-step plan called “Back the Blueprint.” He plans to tackle all the issues essential to keeping streets safe and law enforcement protected and supported. 

  • Firing Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm immediately
  • Incentivize the hiring of more police, particularly in our most dangerous neighborhoods
  • Create new mandatory minimum penalties for felons caught possessing firearms
  • Create a RICO-like provision to investigate and prosecute riot organizers
  • Identify weak prosecutors and judges through greater access to public information
  • Impose state aid reduction for cities that attempt to defund their police
  • Allow judges to consider multiple factors when setting bail
  • Replace the tired Green Bay prison with a larger, more modern facility

Tim Michels plans to remove careless District Attorneys. We will remove any Judges or DAs that willingly pose a risk to their communities. John Chisholm is the first to go. 

He plans to enact a minimum two-year prison sentence for felons convicted of gun possession. The ability for charges to be dropped will no longer be viable. Setting a minimum sentence of two years fights crime with consequence, something Evers has not been willing to do. 

Public information will be used to target and remove weak prosecutors and judges. Create a user-friendly and easy-to-navigate portal that collects published data on bail and sentencing recommendations, comparing them to the minimum and maximum allowable bail and sentencing penalties for all District Attorneys and Judges. Maximizing transparency to help crack down on minimizing crime on Wisconsin’s streets. 

Incentivize the WTCS system. UW and private universities to explain law enforcement training and graduating more students. More law enforcement can help curb crime. 

Destroy the anonymity of the mob. Regarding riots, we will create a special counsel with authorization to bring personal civil actions against all who have participated in mob or riot activity to collect all losses caused by the activity, including property damage and lost business income, etc. Local DAs and judges need to be less fearful and step up to the plate.

Replace and expand Green Bay Correctional. Green Bay correctional institution is older than Alcatraz and was built in 1897. It was designed to house 800 prisoners, but today holds more than 1,000. Replacing the prison would create 1,400 jobs and bring in millions of dollars in revenue. In addition, the new and improved prison would be able to hold 1,500 prisoners instead of 800 and would be within 30 miles of the original location.

Tim Michels has a detailed plan which involves cracking down on crime and prioritizing the safety of residents and communities throughout Wisconsin. As violence spreads across Wisconsin, especially Milwaukee, we can’t afford to defund police. Law enforcement will need a Governor who will stand by them and help them control the rising crime issue. 

Accurate Vote Count

Wisconsin voters don’t want foul play or fraudulent activity interfering with their elections. Fair and free elections are essential; all Americans deserve that right.

Let’s see how Evers has approached the election integrity issue and what he’s done so far to address it. 

Has Tony Evers Helped Strengthen Election Integrity?

Evers’ opposition to making elections more secure is suspicious. He has vetoed multiple election integrity bills by Republicans that would have strengthened the integrity of elections and increased transparency in the state’s electoral process. 

Republicans have repeatedly tried to make cheating harder, and Evers has vetoed many bills that would have helped. While Evers maintains the rhetoric that Republicans are trying to make voting harder, the goal is to prevent cheating and only allow eligible, registered voters to vote.

Evers vetoed seven bills in August 2021 that would have strengthened election integrity. One of them was SB 204, which would have prevented individuals from abusing “indefinitely confined” status to avoid showing a photo ID when voting. 

After clerks in Milwaukee and Dane counties were caught encouraging individuals to mark themselves as “indefinitely confined” to avoid voting in person in the spring of 2020, the number of “indefinitely confined” voters skyrocketed from about 50,000 in March 2020 to 250,000 by November. As a result, the Republican Party of Wisconsin sued those clerks and obtained a favorable decision from the state Supreme Court. 

The Wisconsin Election Commission also advised WI municipal clerks to alter incomplete absentee ballots, contrary to Wisconsin law. Despite this, a recent Legislative Fiscal Bureau document reveals that WEC “lapsed,” AKA forfeited 100% of its investigation funding and 58% of its voter ID training funding. Wisconsin voters have the right to know why this money was lost when it could have been used to make a valuable impact.

Instead of being eager to get a firm grip on elections, Gov. Evers panicked when absentee ballot boxes were officially outlawed. He sent out an urgent fundraising letter attacking Republicans for eliminating the drop boxes in the state. In his letter, he said, “folks should have the right and the ability to vote and make their voice heard.” Banning these drop boxes strengthens election integrity, and his extreme response to this action suggests he wants it to be easier for everyone, and anyone, to vote. 

Some of the election integrity bills that Governor Evers vetoed would have:

Judging by how many bills he vetoed that would have improved and strengthened the transparency and reliability of Wisconsin elections, it’s clear that making it harder to cheat is not a priority for Evers. 

How Does Tim Michels Plan to Strengthen Election Integrity?

Tim Michels is making Wisconsin elections a priority. His plan includes various steps to ensure that all badger state elections are free and fair. 

His election integrity plan includes the following:

  • Repealing all previous WEC election guidance and freezing the issuance of any new guidance. 
  • Prohibiting re-hiring of any WEC staff that participated in issuing any formal guidance that violated existing laws.
  • Creating a provision enabling the governor to remove and replace any election official held in contempt of court for failing to cure a polling place violation, including any wrongful denial of observer rights.
  • Banning special interests, including private individuals and private organizations. 
  • Banning unmanned ballot drop boxes. 
  • Cleaning up the poll registration log twice annually, purging dead and inactive voters. 
  • Requiring each county to designate an available election duty judge to be available for hearings on a maximum notice of thirty minutes to hear and resolve emergency Election Day complaints related to polling place violations, including any wrongful denial of observer rights.
  • Addressing the flood of indefinitely confined voters, have them reapply and show photo ID to verify their claim. 
  • Uniformly enforcing implementation of absentee ballot laws and legal standards.
  • Banning pop-up polling places.
  • Prohibit regular polling places from closing less than 60 days before an election.
  • Strengthen nursing home voting protections for seniors while ensuring swift prosecution for violations.
  • Passing first consideration of the Voter Uniformity Amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution, empowering voters to enforce their civil and constitutional rights and fight back if ever again subjected to such unfairness.

Tim Michels will work towards establishing a wiser and stronger election process. He has assured Wisconsin voters that he will take all measures to prevent fraud. Your vote matters if you are an eligible voter, and it should count. Individuals who shouldn’t be voting in the first place or who abuse the system are making it harder for the state to have fully transparent, accessible, and fair elections.

Public Schools

The pandemic opened the eyes of many Wisconsin parents. They need more information and, most importantly, more control. Schools must respond to their concerns and address any issues that arise. If a school isn’t working for their child, they should be free to find a better option. 

How Has Tony Evers Helped Wisconsin Students Succeed?

Evers boasts that he’s the “education governor” since he was a long-serving superintendent before he became governor of Wisconsin. 

We know that Evers loves dumping money into Wisconsin public schools. However, what has he done to optimize public education in core subjects like math, reading, and writing? How does he feel about involving parents in their children’s education? Is funneling money into public schools enough to fix the key issues? Let’s take a closer look at how it has been going. 

Evers school shutdowns lead to severe repercussions. Many students disengaged from academics and slipped backward. Most students learned less than they should have during these shutdowns. Students suffered from historic learning loss from Evers’ refusal to help reopen schools but prioritized his teachers’ union donors instead of Wisconsin children. 

Despite obsessively throwing money at the public school system, DPI’s data reveals that English language arts proficiency is down over 16%, math proficiency is down by over 20%, and only 8% of black students are proficient in math. So Tony Evers’ “money can fix all” mindset is harming Wisconsin students. 

Evers denied additional funding towards a school that serves special needs students. Evers also vetoed a bipartisan literacy bill. 

Evers tried to cap school choice enrollment, which would have denied students equal access to a quality education regardless of zip code.

Under Evers’ leadership, the Department of Public Instruction failed to revoke the licenses of 88 teachers accused of immoral conduct, including multiple cases of blatant sexual misconduct. Despite notifications from the school district, these teachers did not have their licenses revoked. Middleton-Cross Plains Associated School District even commented on the Governors failure to act, “(Evers) clearly doesn’t believe viewing pornography in school over a prolonged period of time justifies license revocation.”

Evers is also responsible for vetoing a package of education bills that would have transformed the state’s education system, especially in the city of Milwaukee. One of the plans would have eliminated income caps at private voucher schools. 

Governor Evers also vetoed a bill that would have split up the Milwaukee Public School District and replaced it with smaller districts.

Evers also vetoed the Parental Bill of Rights. The Parental Bill of Rights would have prioritized parents, allowing them to review instructional materials for their kids, opt out of specific instructional materials or classes if necessary, and determine what pronouns and names their child would go by when at school. 

He also vetoed a bill that banned teaching about systemic racism, otherwise known as CRT, in Wisconsin schools.

While Evers may have a superintendent background and plenty of education experience, he added to the issues during the pandemic. He offered no resistance to school closures that blatantly exceeded reasonable public health guidelines. As a result, his leadership denied students access to an adequate education. 

Tony Evers is opposed to parents being involved in their children’s education, he has vetoed various education bills while students struggled, and he is in favor of allowing CRT in schools but won’t make a conscious effort to improve essential areas like English or math. If he wanted to improve Wisconsin education, he would have made a more significant effort over the past four years. 

How Does Tim Michels Plan to Help Wisconsin Students Succeed?

Perhaps the most detailed plan is Michels “I Trust Parents” plan for Wisconsin students. Again, it’s clear how passionate the Republican candidate is about ensuring students are set up to succeed and have options to help them gain the knowledge they require, graduate, and secure a valuable career afterward.

Tim Michels plan for Wisconsin education includes:

  • Improving Reading skills immediately. We must set higher reading proficiency standards and provide parents with the transparency to choose schools that follow the practices that work. 
  • Empower and trust parents to choose correctly. All families should have choices regardless of zip code or income. We must remove financial obstacles.
  • Sign the Parental Bill of Rights. Evers shot it down, and Michels promised to bring it back. Parents should know if schools are focusing on math or reading or pushing a curriculum rooted in Critical Race Theory. Parents should have the power to enroll their children elsewhere.  
  • Promote career technical education. We will expand the CTE Technical Incentive Grants so all students can earn trade certifications. Unfortunately, too many students end up crippling debt without anything to show.  
  • Expand apprenticeships. We will add resources to schools so that courses in these occupations can be added to high school curriculums, giving our children a head start on careers. In addition, we will require our UW system and Technical College System to accept dual credits for coursework done in high school that meets their requirements. 
  • Secure Wisconsin schools. School safety is essential. Parents, educators, and law enforcement should develop specific prevention and security plans. Governor’s Conferences on Safety will occur each June to review developments of the past school year and prepare for the following. In addition, we will renew Wisconsin’s School Safety Grants, an initiative started by Republicans in 2017. Access to funding, training, and resources is not a question regarding student safety. 
  • Increase turnout in school board elections. Parents will have a much more significant impact at the ballot box if elections are pushed to the fall. 

Tim Michels wants to put reading, math, and writing skills back at the top of the list. He wants parents back in the classrooms. Michels wants families to have options regardless of where they live or how much money they make. He wants students to flourish in school so they can eventually secure a meaningful career and use their expertise to ultimately serve their communities. 

See his complete education plan here; it’s packed with ideas paired with actions he plans to implement if he is elected Governor of Wisconsin next month. 

Tony Evers vs. Tim Michels: The Bottom Line

Tony Evers has been Governor of Wisconsin since 2019. Unfortunately, where we stand today is not where we want to be. Recent polls suggest that many registered voters in the badger state think we’re heading down the wrong track. Voters are concerned about inflation, crime, election integrity, and public schools because they are pressing, current issues. There is plenty of room for improvement.

Pouring money into public schools has not turned out to be the answer. Parents aren’t seeing the improvements they expected to see. Parents are frustrated from falling five steps backward because of Evers’ extreme school shutdowns. They also want more options and more control regarding their children’s education. Unfortunately, Evers has vetoed many bills that would have helped turn around Wisconsin education.

Inflation is making life hard enough, and Governor Evers hasn’t helped. Instead, Evers has used his veto pen to make matters much more difficult when he could have used it to offer some relief. Election integrity is also essential to WI voters, but Evers hasn’t dedicated much time to address that issue. Instead, he has rejected various bills that would have made a difference. 

Crime is rampant, primarily in Milwaukee, where we see homicides growing at a record-breaking pace. Law enforcement put their lives on the line daily to help protect and serve the communities of Wisconsin, while Evers has repeatedly turned his back on them. He’s failed to penalize cities that wish to defund the police, making his point of view completely clear. 

If something fails, you try something new. If something isn’t working, you change it. But unfortunately, since 2019, we haven’t seen much improvement regarding public schools, crime, election integrity, or relief from this dizzying inflation. That’s the bottom line.

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