State of the State: Here is what Gov. Evers is expected to say tonight

Gov. Tony Evers addresses latest COVID-19 numbers during a Dept. of Health Services' news...
Gov. Tony Evers addresses latest COVID-19 numbers during a Dept. of Health Services' news conference on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020.((WMTV))
Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 4:30 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2021 at 7:51 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 is expected to dominate Gov. Tony Evers’ State of the State speech Tuesday night. In excerpts released prior to the speech, Evers described the optimism that he felt during last year’s address, “then things changed overnight.”

Saying that no one could have predicted what 2020 had in store for Wisconsin, Evers goes on to describe the past year as “among the most unrelenting many of us have experienced.”

“I said then that the year would challenge the depth of our empathy and the strength of our selflessness—and it did, but in more and different ways than we could have ever imagined,” the governor continues.

He plans to showcase many of the investments the state made with the $2 billion provided by the federal government in its $2 trillion CARES Act last spring. Some of those expenditures went to 26 million pieces of PPE for hospitals, long-term care facilities, and frontline workers.

Evers said the nearly $400 million dedicated to stabilizing the economy helped support approximately 53,000 small businesses and more than 15,000 farms as well as the hospitality and tourism industries.

Another $200 million was injected into helping communities themselves recover.

This year’s speech likely won’t end on as optimistic of a tone either, with Evers warning of “the grief we’re still grappling with (and) the ramifications we’ve yet to fully realize.”

“We’ve made it through a difficult year, folks. While it was discouraging, we aren’t defeated. While it was trying, we’re tough. Wisconsin, we’ve never been known for being timid, and we’re sure not going to start today,” he says.

The State of the State address begins at 7 p.m. NBC15 News will stream it live on our website and on our Facebook page.

GOP: “Weak leadership”

The Wisconsin Republican Party didn’t wait to hear what Gov. Tony Evers had to say Tuesday to criticize his actions over the past year and describe his leadership as “weak.”

“Gov. Tony Evers’ administration is marked by failed leadership, broken promises, partisan games and little accomplishment,” Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin Andrew Hitt said. “With every challenge Wisconsin has faced over the last year, Evers’ weak leadership let down the people of Wisconsin.”

Responding to the governor’s effort in battling the pandemic, Republicans took aim at the vaccine rollout, which they described as one of the slowest in the nation, and blasted COVID-19 restrictions, pointing to businesses that were forced to close for good.

The GOP also accused Evers of “playing politics” with his response to the unrest in Kenosha over the summer, saying he refused to accept federal aid quickly enough and wouldn’t go see the damage himself for several days.

“When Wisconsinites needed steady leadership, Evers and his hyper-partisan staff decided to play games instead,” the party said.

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