Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told Grant County Republicans it will take effort to continue the state's economic recovery.
"Things are happening, and they are happening in the right direction. Wisconsin is working again, but there's still more work to be done," he said.
Speaking at Sunday's Lincoln Day Dinner, hosted by Grant County Republicans and University of Wisconsin-Platteville College Republicans at the university's Ullsvik Hall, Walker called on a grass-roots effort to fend off Democratic challenges at the 2014 election.
"We need real people to make a connection with real people, and we need it right down to the local level," Walker said.
The dinner gave a variety of candidates an opportunity to introduce themselves to the 185 people in attendance. Candidates ranged from Ken Van Doren and Tony Kurtz, vying for a chance to unseat Rep. Ron Kind in the 3rd Congressional District, to Grant County Sheriff Nate Dreckman, who will seek election to the position he gained through a Walker appointment in 2012.
It also gave Walker an opportunity to remind GOP voters of the state's path since his victories in the 2010 general election and 2012 recall election.
"When I was running for governor in 2009-10, the state of the state was not great, but we took on the economy and the financial crisis from day one," he said.
Walker told the Platteville audience a $3.6 billion budget deficit has given way to a $1 billion surplus, thanks to tough but prudent choices. He said that, by reducing tax withholding and giving some of the surplus back to taxpayers, Wisconsin's economic revival can continue.
"We've got a clear path going forward," he said. "If you want economic recovery to continue, we need to put more money into the hands of taxpayers, consumers and small business owners who can put this money to work."
Karen Anderson-Carp, of Platteville, liked what she heard.
"It was great -- it was right on," she said.
She expected Walker to "sail on through" when he faces Democratic challenger Mary Burke in the fall.
State Rep. Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, said Walker's message resonates with people in southwestern Wisconsin.
"The governor's message is pretty simple -- people want unlimited economic freedom and they want prosperity," Tranel said.
Tranel said Wisconsin's economic revival and budget surplus proves the message is resonating.
"The proof is in the pudding," Tranel said.