Tim Michels: Why I’m Running for Governor

The voters of Wisconsin face a critical choice for governor this November. As a life-long conservative, I was already skeptical when Tony Evers was elected four years ago, but the results we’ve seen have been worse than anything I could have imagined. Governor Evers has spent his entire adult life in government, and we’re seeing the results. From Covid to Kenosha Tony Evers has been a disaster. His instincts are bad and his policies are even worse.

Tony Evers closed our schools, fanned the flames of division, and even tried to cancel an election. 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 all 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.

Joe Biden and Tony Evers have spent their lives in government. They love government and they rely on it for every answer to every problem, no matter the cost in dollars, lives or liberty. My career experience is different. I grew up in Brownsville, in Dodge County, and learned the value of hard work. My dad didn’t give me an allowance when I was a kid, instead he handed me a shovel when I was nine and taught me how to dig a trench. He started the family business in 1959 and my brothers and I pitched in. My time away from school was spent learning from the good men and women Dad led. I graduated from Lomira High School and went to college at St. Norbert in the Green Bay suburb of DePere, where I joined the ROTC. This led to my serving in the Army for 12 years, where I continued to work, learn, and lead.

After my time as an Army Ranger Infantry Officer and having earned the rank of Major, I came back to Wisconsin and went to work full time at the family construction company. Unfortunately, I only had one year working alongside my father before he passed. But the lessons he taught me throughout my life continue to resonate to this day. Together with my brothers, we continued to build upon the foundation set forth by my father. We balanced budgets, completed projects on time, and have grown the company from a pipeline contractor with a few hundred employees to the largest construction firm in Wisconsin, where we provide 8,000 of our co-workers with good, family-supporting jobs.

My success has come from the work ethic instilled in me by my father Dale – who ran the field operations – and my mother Ruth – who drove the dump truck. I was blessed with parents who had an entrepreneurial spirit, a strong faith in God, and a love of family. My success has been the byproduct of my upbringing, work ethic and the passion to seize opportunities and solve problems as they are presented. I am running to put my proven, decisive, executive leadership to work for the State of Wisconsin.

I haven’t spent the last decade, or last two years campaigning for some political office. But I do now hear the call to serve once again. I’m ready to take the experiences I’ve gained in the trenches in the army and in helping lead Wisconsin’s largest construction company, and bring them to Madison. We all know Wisconsin is on the wrong track and a shake up is desperately needed. .

Families are feeling the pain of Joe Biden and Tony Evers’ failed policies, particularly on the economy. From a gallon of milk to a gallon of gas, Wisconsinites are paying more and it’s taking a toll. We’ve felt this particularly in Wisconsin, where so many people were told by their government that their job was not essential. I know firsthand that every job is essential.

Our company, Michels Construction, was working on the Keystone Pipeline. On day one of Joe Biden’s presidency, he canceled the project. While President Biden was dancing at his inaugural ball, I was forced to lay off 700 hard working men and women. Because of the Democrats’ refusal to commit to energy independence, our gas prices have skyrocketed. Caving to the online progressives on Twitter cost hundreds of Wisconsin families their jobs. It must stop.

Under the failed administration of Tony Evers, we’ve seen crime run rampant in Wisconsin, particularly in Milwaukee. When there is an officer involved shooting, Tony Evers first instinct was to embrace the Defund the Police philosophy and blame the officer. Then, as Kenosha burned, Tony Evers was slow to provide the help needed to keep peace on the streets. He turns a blind eye to the woke ‘catch and release’ policies of liberal prosecutors like Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, and the results don’t just impact the state’s largest city, but surrounding communities like Waukesha.

I wore a uniform for 12 years. I know what it means to put yourself in harm’s way to defend freedom and liberty. Getting Wisconsin back on the right track starts at the top, and when I’m governor, law enforcement will know they have a partner, not an adversary. We need to defend the police, not defund them. We need more law enforcement officers, not fewer, and I will ensure the men and women who choose to serve our communities have the tools to be successful. They will know the governor’s office will back the badge, not bash them.

We also know education is in drastic need of new leadership. Tony Evers has spent his life in public education, and what are the results? One third of Wisconsin students are not proficient in reading. Wisconsin’s achievement gap is the highest in the nation. Milwaukee Public Schools continue to fail generation after generation, while billions and billions are spent–as if more money is the only answer. As governor, I will focus more on outcomes than inputs. I will partner with parents across the state who want and deserve better schools for their children

Across the country we’ve seen teacher unions and educational bureaucrats drown out the voices of parents. Kids, forced to wear masks, are not performing as well as they were just a few years ago. Instead of raising standards and inspiring a love of learning, some see schools as a place for social experimentation. ABC’s are being replaced with CRT, and parents are rightfully fed up. During Covid, parents saw first-hand what was happening in their kids’ classrooms, and many were rightfully concerned.

Unlike Tony Evers, I trust parents. As governor, mothers and fathers will have a seat at the table when it comes to the education process because nobody knows what’s best for their kids more than a parent. That’s why every Wisconsin family deserves to have access to universal school choice. Tony Evers has vetoed dozens of common sense bills that would empower parents and improve schools. I will work with parents and lawmakers and will sign these bills when they get to my desk.

When I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the military I took an oath to protect and defend this nation and our Constitution. The fundamental element is our right to vote to select our leaders. As we continued to build a more perfect union, the right to vote was rightly expanded. Now it must be protected. Governor Evers tried to cancel an election. Then he allowed billionaires from California to administer and influence the process in Wisconsin’s largest cities using Zuckerbucks. The Wisconsin Elections commission went rogue and gave instructions to local clerks and nursing homes that was contrary to Wisconsin law and past practice. A lot of people have questions about the conduct and outcome of the 2020 race, and I’m one of them. When I am Governor, every Wisconsinite will have faith in the system. It will be transparent. The law will be followed. Every ballot will be treated and counted the same. Tony Evers rejected a series of election reform bills this year. When I am Governor next year, I will sign them.

So now, our campaign to beat Tony Evers begins. Some have wondered why I’ve just announced. Why so late? Well, I’ve been busy building one of Wisconsin’s great businesses. But here is the thing: it’s not late. People are sick of endless campaigns. They’re sick of the petty squabbles, where men and women who have a shared agenda tear each other down in a year-long primary. And they are sick of losing to big government liberals like Tony Evers. I am not running a perpetual campaign. I will not engage in petty sniping with my fellow GOP candidates. And I will not lose to Tony Evers.

Thanks for taking the time to read a little about my background and my vision for Wisconsin. These are just a few of the issues I will be talking about with Wisconsinites in the coming months. This campaign is about you, and I can’t wait to get to work.

This op-ed was originally featured in the Wisconsin Conservative Digest.