Gov. Scott Walker today brushed off a question about the timing of his presidential campaign's reimbursements to the state for security and travel expenses, saying he has been paying the bills all along.
The guv, speaking to reporters at the 40th anniversary celebration of Apache Stainless Equipment Corp. in Beaver Dam, said his now-suspended campaign will adhere to the payment process it has been following.
"Bills get submitted," Walker said. "Every penny will be paid just as it has been in the past."
Still, the guv could not say how much his campaign owes the state.
"I don't know," he said. "I just know in the end we've already made payments along the way and, again, that'll be top of the list in terms of payments."
Walker also made clear he intends to serve the three remaining years of his term, will not run for U.S. Senate and has no interest in a cabinet position should a Republican take over the White House.
"I plan on being governor," he said. "I'm not positioning myself for anything else."
He stuck to that position even after it was pointed out he made similar comments prior to his re-election as governor. He said he has made his disinterest in a cabinet position "crystal clear," and he showed no hesitation in dismissing a Senate run.
"All the other governors I've talked to who've told me they went from governor to United States Senate have told me how miserable they are," Walker said. "And I have no interest in being miserable."
The guv, though, was less certain when discussing the possibility of running for re-election when his current term expires. He said "it's a bit premature" for him to make that decision.
Likewise, Walker was uncertain about launching another run for the presidency.
"I've got three years being governor," he said. "Who knows what the future will hold after that?"
And he said speculation that he might wind up on the Republican ticket as a vice presidential candidate is "presumptuous" at this point.
Walker, though, for the most part stayed on message, pushing hard for a proposed overhaul of the state's civil service system. For instance, in response to a question about repealing the state's minimum-markup law, the guv said only that he "just had a talk about it the other day" before redirecting to the civil service changes unveiled yesterday.
And the guv insisted that despite comments from past years about how he believes civil service protections are crucial for state employees, he is not going back on his word. He said merit-based hiring will remain intact and just-cause firing will be clarified.
"What we get rid of is the silliness and the ridiculous stuff that's arcane," he said. "We're moving hiring and recruitment into the 21st century instead of where it's at, which is the 20th century."
When not discussing civil service changes or his future, Walker talked about what it would take to settle back into his "day job" as governor. He said it comes down to just being present.
He said after the Apache visit, he planned on attending the Saturday funeral of Supreme Court Justice Patrick Crooks, going to the upcoming Badgers and Packers games and travelling the state.
He used his speech at Apache to talk about the drop in unemployment since he took office and a state budget that has the "lowest level of bonding in 20 years." He said he will continue to focus on growing the state's workforce in manufacturing through apprenticeships and technical colleges.
He said the state that can do that is "going to be the state that leads the country going forward." When he made that comment during the speech, though, he initially started to say "country" instead of "state."