Robert Burke Discusses Gubernatorial Candidacy

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Robert Burke Discusses Gubernatorial Candidacy

Premiere Date: 
August 15, 2014

Burke is the Libertarian Party candidate for governor.

 

Episode Transcript: 

Frederica Freyberg:

Back to the governor's race now. Mary Burke will not be the only candidate running for governor named Burke that you will see on the ballot in November. Republican-turned-Libertarian, Robert Burke, will also be a choice. Mr. Burke lives in the town of Hudson and formed the Libertarian party of Pierce and St. Croix Counties. Mr. Burke, thanks very much for joining us.

Robert Burke:

Frederica, thank you for having me on.

Frederica Freyberg:

How often do you get asked whether or not you're related to Mary Burke?

Robert Burke:

I have a running joke. I tell people I've been asked 480 times and I've said no 479. There was this one guy I had to mess with. But it's a common question.

Frederica Freyberg:

Do you expect there to be any confusion at the polling place because of the same name on the ballot for the same position?

Robert Burke:

I would hope that the average voter would have the acuity to tell the difference between a Robert Burke and a Mary Burke, and especially if they're trying to cast an informed vote. I won't shy away, by any stretch of the imagination, from the idea that name ID is a million dollar proposition and I'm taking advantage of that this election season. I think it’s a good election move and thank anybody that's done elections would endorse that idea that it was worth taking advantage of.

Frederica Freyberg:

So you're taking advantage of the same last name because you know she will have a very high profile?

Robert Burke:

We know the name recognition will be there. And so as individuals hear that Robert Burke is running as a Libertarian and they hear my ideas, the difficulty won't be recalling who it was who told you that. It was a Burke. It happened to be the Libertarian one. So that tie definitely works to my advantage.

Frederica Freyberg:

Why are you running for governor?

Robert Burke:

There are some very serious problems that our country and our state face. And I have spent over two years researching deeply the problems that both our state and country face, and I've realized that forward is in the other direction. And it's time for somebody to get going in this race who has some different ideas about how we solve the problems that we're going to face. There are going to be significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security, to Medicaid. And the faster, the sooner and the quicker that our state gets acclimated to the idea we're going to deal with a lot less money, then the faster and the better the solutions we can come up with. There’s nothing worse than trying to come up with solutions in a crisis. But if we don't start to face the problems of our spending at the federal level, a crisis level is exactly what we'll have to face at the state level.

Frederica Freyberg:

As a Libertarian I presume you believe in less government. How would that manifest in Wisconsin?

Robert Burke:

When we talk about less government, it's really more about re-acclimating to what government should be involved in. And its first and foremost role should be the protection of personal property, that is protecting individuals' homes, their cars, their personal assets from theft. But as we know right now we're spending so much money on the war on drugs that we aren't actually protecting property. Something like 50% to 60% of all property crimes go completely unsolved. Meanwhile, we put victimless crimes, drug users, someone who smokes a flower in our jails and in our prisons. And it's a waste of capital. We're not focusing on the correct things. So one of the things that we would do is we would ask what's the appropriate job of government? One other area outside of that that people really should take a look at is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which was a nonprofit, public-private corporation created in 2011 which Governor Walker used to make himself the chair of. What’s most interesting is that Governor Walker's experience in private business is in selling warranties for IBM and doing blood drives and fund-raising for the American Red Cross. While these are both worthy positions and individuals who do them obviously are working to build a life, that doesn't give someone the experience necessary to make themselves a chair of a venture capital firm. Because that's what it is. They're giving away private taxpayer dollars to public businesses. We would end that practice.

Frederica Freyberg:

Do you oppose WEDC as a whole then?

Robert Burke:

If the WEDC would like to operate as a nonprofit entity in the state of Wisconsin and they believe they can offer a value to the people of Wisconsin in opening new jobs and extending business opportunities, I think it's a great thing to have the WEDC there. But the WEDC in this current budget cycle is getting $67 million of taxpayer money. And in essence, if you want to know what that money really is, it's a marketing arm for the banks of Wisconsin. The banks are using the WEDC to funnel forward the referrals to banks for the private business loans rather than letting the businesses go out and seek the banks themselves. We're funding it through taxpayer dollars. Again, $67 million is spent so we can funnel referral for businesses to the banks that belong to the WEDC as a membership, like a chamber of commerce. We shouldn't be involved in that.

Frederica Freyberg:

We have less than a minute, but in working with the legislature if you were governor, whose position would you be more able to work with, the Democrats or the Republicans, especially because you left the Republican party?

Robert Burke:

This is a really tough question because when I was a Republican, I was under the assumption that our legislators were going to Madison to order to create smaller government, to create less intervention in our markets. What I found is they've actually intervened further in our markets. They give out money to private businesses. This isn't free market economics. If I'm not mistaken, isn't this the largest budget that the state of Wisconsin has ever had? That's a Republican in control of the governorship, the legislature and the senate and yet we have the largest budget ever. How is it we call them a conservative fiscal oriented group of individuals? So it’s really hard to say. I would bring that actual fiscal conservative idea along with that liberal ideology of civil marriage, we need to end the war on drugs, we need to do a lot to stop the damage done by prosecuting people for marijuana. Most importantly, at the top of my agenda is changing our taxes and legalizing hemp. We should legalize hemp yesterday. We need new industry in our state. There's new industry in hemp. We should start that process tomorrow. Which side do I work with for that? Neither side is fully on board with either of those plans.

Frederica Freyberg:

All right, we need to leave it there. Robert Burke, thanks very much.

Robert Burke:

Thank you. 


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