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Evers, Barnes Stop at UWGB for Listening Session, Respond to Lame Duck Bills

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Governor-elect Tony Evers and lieutenant governor-elect Mandela Barnes were in northeast Wisconsin Tuesday to give people a chance to voice their opinions on the state budget. 

The pair kicked off their "Building the People's Budget" listening tour at UWGB.

Everything from education, to the environment, from jobs to healthcare, everything was up for discussion.

"I believe that our government should be open to the people and it’s really important for me as a mother of a seventh grader to include him in that process too," said listening session participant Melissa Fredricks.

Evers and Barnes sat in on multiple group sessions.

With a myriad of issues at the forefront, what will be the budget's bottom line?

"No expectations about the bottom line, our goal obviously is to keep taxes at a reasonable level and hopefully not raise them at all, but there’s lots of needs out there," says Evers.

Evers said he was not worried about being able to pass the budget, but he did respond to bills passed by the state legislature last week.

Those bills include limits on early voting and would restrict Evers' ability to remove Wisconsin from a multi-state lawsuit disputing the Affordable Care Act.

"There’s 141 pages of hot mess and to say, 'oh gosh this one is more important than that', I cannot say," says Evers. "I think the optics around it is bad and the content around it is bad and it’s my belief that it should be repealed completely."

Governor Walker has until December 20 to act on those bills, but for the next week Evers will continue to listen.

"This was a great forum to be able to talk with other people hear what other people have to say," says Fredricks. "Each group had a note taker and all that information is going to be recorded and taken into consideration which I think is really important especially if this is being called the people’s budget."

Evers and Barnes will continue the tour in Wausau Wednesday.

Next Tuesday they'll be in La Crosse and they'll wrap things up in Milwaukee next Wednesday.

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