"Outsider" Andy Gronik Talks About His Run For Governor

Home » Here & Now » "Outsider" Andy Gronik Talks About His Run For Governor
Premiere Date: 
September 8, 2017

"Outsider" Andy Gronik Talks About His Run For Governor

In our continuing coverage of the race for Wisconsin Governor, we sit down with Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik to discuss what sets him apart in a packed Democratic field. During the discussion, Gronik talks about his business background and why he thinks he is the best Democrat to take on Walker.

Episode Transcript

Frederica Freyberg:

A closer look now at the widening field of candidates running for governor. Tonight, we introduce you to Democrat Andy Gronik. Mr. Gronik is a Milwaukee businessman. He joins us now. Thanks for being here.

Andy Gronik:

Great to be here. Thank you.

Frederica Freyberg:

First we wanted to ask you what sets you apart from the many other Democrats who have thrown their hat into the ring?

Andy Gronik:

Well I come at this from a completely different perspective. As an outsider, as someone who's been in business my entire career. Someone who's helped companies solve problems and access billions of dollars every year so they could grow and create jobs. It's a very different skill set. And it's a skill set that I think will get Wisconsin growing again.

Frederica Freyberg:

As to that skill set and you talking about being a business person, recent news articles, as you well know, say that you were fired by your father and sued by your former business partner for alleged fraudulent behavior. How do you reconcile that with what you say is a skill set to be the governor of this state because of your business background?

Andy Gronik:

Well, I transformed my father's business. And I will tell you that not only did he fire me when I offered to buy the business, really at the end of having grown it. He fired me pretty much every month. We had a very different view of that business. I came in. It was a small auction business serving mostly southeastern Wisconsin. And transformed it to an information business that was doing appraisals and business consulting on a national basis. The company became much larger than what my father was comfortable with. And that caused us to hit heads, as I think a lot of father and son businesses do, for the entire eight years that I was there. We finally got to a point where, you know what, we have a different vision of where the business is going. I offered to buy the company. And he fired me. This time I actually took him up on it.

Frederica Freyberg:

As for the split with the business partner?

Andy Gronik:

The business partner, that was a cascading series of events associated with my actually purchasing a house where we discovered after living there for seven months that it had toxigenic mold and pathogenic bacteria. It made my entire family sick. What I did at that point was stood up for my family. I took a leave from my company. And I fought for them the same way I’m going to fight for the state of Wisconsin.

Frederica Freyberg:

Let’s go to the issues now. What's the single most important thing in your mind that Wisconsin could do to improve and help its education system?

Andy Gronik:

Gosh, where do we begin? I think we start by not starving those institutions of resources. When you think about the university system, it's always been an economic engine of our state. Always. For Scott Walker to come in and actually take resources away and attack the institutions and their professors in a way that actually diminishes the effectiveness of the university system, I think it's crazy.

Frederica Freyberg:

If the ACA should still be in force, would you expand Medicaid, take the expanded Medicaid in Wisconsin?

Andy Gronik:

Well, you're talking about things that are very personal to me, because I am on Obamacare. My entire family is. I am a guy who was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in my early 20s. And that's an existing -- a pre-existing condition I’ve listed my whole life. I understand that the fear Wisconsinites have of ending that program, when I believe that everybody in Wisconsin should have affordable access to health care.

Frederica Freyberg:

How would you go about growing good-paying jobs in Wisconsin?

Andy Gronik:

First, I would make sure we start focusing on our strengths as a state. We're great in food. We're great at growing food, processing food, distributing food and all the industries around food. Clean water, sustainable energy, clean air, those are all industries that we can be focusing on as a state to actually be the leader, be the global leader in advancing technologies and applications that allow us to be the world source.

Frederica Freyberg:

Speaking of technologies and applications, what is your position on the Foxconn deal?

Andy Gronik:

Well, interesting, too. I mean, I just wrote an op-ed on that. I talked about some simple things I think people have to be aware of. First, we're essentially offering guarantees to Foxconn if they build a building without Foxconn offering us guarantees how many people they'll put in that building. And that's how the state of Wisconsin actually gets their investment back. That's a crazy way to do business. And again, as an outsider, somebody that's coming in having done feasibility analysis for companies all over the world, it makes me understand why people are concerned about giving their money to government, thinking that government's not capable of actually acting responsibly with their tax dollars. This is a great example of that.

Frederica Freyberg:

With just about a half a minute left, why do you think you could unseat Scott Walker?

Andy Gronik:

Well, Scott Walker comes to this office as a guy who's known nothing but politics. I come to this office as someone who has brought people together my entire professional career. Actually executed plans, measured that success very transparently and made things happen. We need to make things happen in this state because we're not creating new businesses. We're last in the country. The companies that we're paying enormous amounts of money to to stay in our state, we still lost over 3700 manufacturing jobs last year. Despite all of his efforts, we only created less than 12,000 private sector jobs last year. That's pretty crazy. Wisconsin's ready for a change.

Frederica Freyberg:

All right. We need to leave it there. Andy Gronik, thank you very much.

Andy Gronik:

Thank you. Appreciate it.

Share this page

Have questions, comments, or story ideas?


WisContext

WisContext serves the residents of Wisconsin, providing information and insight into issues as they affect the state.