Madison, Wis. (WXOW) – While both parties may support the themes, the dispute is over how best to get things done in actual practice.
Governor Tony Evers ended his first state of the state address wanting the two parties to work together.
“We will engage civilly,” Evers said. “We will have discourse and dialogue, but it will not devolve into disrespect.”
However, UW-La Crosse political science professor Anthony Chergosky says the announcement of wanting to pull out of the Affordable Care Act lawsuit and calling for the expansion of Medicaid may show otherwise.
“You saw Democrats in the room going crazy, happy about those announcements and you saw Republicans in the room sitting silently,” Chergosky explained.
Chergosky believes it’s because the two ideologies of the party at a historic level of division, but unified internally.
“Republicans are generally on the same page of what they want. The Democrats are generally on the same page about what they want,” he added.
While that is true some common ground could be found in the speech like on education and covering pre-existing conditions. This idea carried over through speaking to local representatives of both parties.
“Very encouraging that I think we can come together on funding two-thirds to schools,” Rep. Loren Oldenburg (R-Viroqua) said. “I think there’s enough funds there.”
“Governor Evers has shown himself to be a leader who is very involved in listening and bringing people together,” Rep. Jill Billings (D-La Crosse) said.
Chergosky says that doesn’t mean all will be easy and the divide won’t show it’s face in the coming months.
“People shouldn’t miss the forest through the trees here. This is a big picture battle about how the government should play a role in our lives,” he explained.
Chergosky says the Governor’s decision to direct Attorney General Josh Kaul to pull Wisconsin out of the federal lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act is a direct challenge to Republicans.
Chergosky says that cannot be done by Kaul. That authority comes from the GOP-controlled Joint Committee on Finance.