Mark Neumann announced today that he will be running for the governorship of Wisconsin this morning. I'm sitting in on the online press conference this morning, to talk to him about the decision to run, and what comes next.
Of course, I'll be liveblogging it!
9.06 am: got logged in to the online teleconference. Never used Webex before, but it seems quite intuitive. Although I thought I'd be on a webcam too. Should have stayed in my pajamas, I guess!
9.11 am: Of course this is the moment Tesla begins whining to go play outside. Playing ball with my dog doesn't take precedence over politics, although I explained to her already that we're planning a trip to the dog park later this morning.
9.14 am: a helpful staffer explains how to get video going, and then Mr Neumann comes on. Here we go!
9.18 am: he's off to a fast start, but basic ideas are:
taxes: technology and creativity make for cost-effectiveness, savings passed on to the taxpayer
education: "we're not competing against [states], we're competing against the entire world"
environment: "do it in a way that actually creates jobs... get away from this battling back and forth"
Question: why are you better qualified than Scott Walker?
Thinks people want someone from the private sector. Goes back to his basic thesis:
innovation and creativity and technology control costs and lower taxes
9.20 am: Dave McGrath: off reservation casino proposal in Kenosha?
I will be doing a lot of review and consideration; we have to listen to a lot of very smart people.
9.25 am: I ask, "As a candidate who isn't the presumptive frontrunner, what tech lessons have we learned from previous campaigns to use the internet effectively in campaigning?"
He points to Obama; "We hope to make this the best campaign in the history of Wisconsin; you can see this through the way we're announcing, doing interactive people-to-people things," Obama is an indication that we can harness the people's energy.
9.27 am: A question comes up on KRM commuter rail and regional transit authority.
"We have to look at the numbers... if it makes economic sense. I have not seen any studies that it is economically viable."
9.30 am: Scott has the advantage from a money perspective... in the last 4 years I've been in private sector. We have a lot of catching up to do. He points to 300 jobs he created; now working on this full-time; creativity and innovation will be key.
Are we going to run a non-conventional campaign? You'll find we have [rallies at] businesses scheduled, we have rallies scheduled, all the things of a standard campaign [stops]... also recognize it's time to move out of the past... we fully intend on a complete traditional campaign to meet face-to-face... I want to hear from people. Their voice matters.
9.30 am: He's really coming at this from a private-sector perspective, emphasizing streamlining government and running the Governor's office using business practices.
"Sounds like we're really in the future" -- lots of feedback from one of the questioners. Sounded like a Sci-Fi sound file...
9.42 am: I ask about roundabouts in Kiel, and streamlining state bureaucracies:
He discusses online conference tonight for public, son's paper on open-source software got him thinking about getting "everyone... in the process of governing." Points to democratization of media, new channels and Internet. It's absolutely essential for government to move out of the past, streamline the way we do business exactly as my business did to survive the economic downturn. We are clearly ready. I honestly see really tough times... I'm not an optimist short-term. [We must] utilize the best technology.
9.45 am: He won't get into specific things he'd like to see cut, but he does propose a 1% across-the-board cut, as well as other case-by-case decisions.
9.48 am: How to better manage Badger Care?
I was talking to small business owners today, it was one of the issues that was brought up. I'd like to apply examples from the real world to government. Discusses what he did in his business, putting money in the bank toward health expenses for each employee. Knowing it was their own money in a savings account, employees searched for best deal.
9.50 am: last question, and moving to a prepared video (link added on update). Very successful for a method that is being used for the first time.
9.55 am: And that's all she wrote. Apologies for the behemoth, somewhat rambling post; I'm going to go throw the ball with the dog for a while, and I'll be back in the afternoon for a wrap-up post to discuss the lessons learned from this little adventure. Overall, though, kudos to the Neumann folks for putting together an excellent webconference -- despite being fraught with possible hangups, it was a very smooth event.