WAUKEE, IOWA -- Gov. Scott Walker closed out Saturday night's spring kickoff for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition with a speech that brought the crowd to its feet several times
Walker said his accomplishments as governor -- a decreasing unemployment rate, budget restructuring, ending seniority and tenure for teachers, defunding Planned Parenthood and passing concealed carry and voter ID legislation -- could be replicated at the federal level. Walker told the audience that if the state of Wisconsin can improve drastically in four years so can the federal government.
"I tell you this ... not so much to brag, but to tell you that if it can happen in a blue state like Wisconsin, it can happen anywhere across America," Walker said. "But, more importantly with the right leadership, it can happen in our nation's capital."
Walker also spoke about his stance on immigration, saying economic implications should drive legal immigration policy.
"When times are tough the last thing we want to do is flood the market and put more workers in at a time when workers are unemployed and wages are low," Walker said. "We need to make sure we put American workers first in everything we do, from immigration to tax policy."
For other immigrants, he said, "if you want to be a citizen, you've gotta go back to your country of origin and then get back in line like everybody else."
To close, Walker spoke about his growth goals for the federal government.
"I think we grow the economy in cities and towns and villages all across this great country, and one of the best ways to grow the economy is to get the government out of the way of the American people and American employees," Walker said.
Walker also spoke of reform and pushed for the transfer of power out of the federal government and to the states, whether that relates to Medicaid, transportation, education or any other reform.
Along those lines, he said marriage should be defined by individual states, not at the federal level.
"Marriage is defined between one man and one woman and states should be the ones to make that decision," he said.
Walker talked about his religion as he told a story regarding a friend that spoke to him after the 2012 recall election. The friend passed a devotional along to him, which would have consoled him had he lost. He then spoke with a family that voted the day after their husband and father had died, and Walker realized that the devotional was not for him. The end of it read:
"Without me, you won't make it past the first hurdle. The way to walk through demanding days is to grip my hand tightly and stay in close communication with me. Let your thoughts and spoken words be richly flavored with trust and thankfulness. Regardless of the days' problems, I can keep you in perfect peace if you stay close to me."
Walker was the final speaker of the night, coming after potential presidential rivals Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Rick Santorum.
Robert Hammann of Leighton spoke highly of Walker and the other Republican candidates.
"The strength of the candidates this year far outweigh candidates of the last few years against Obama," Hammann said. "As an executive of a state, (Walker) has been all positive, besides making some people angry. He's a doer, he gets things done."