State schools superintendent Tony Evers announced his candidacy to seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Scott Walker at McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg this morning.

“I’m running because I believe that what is best for our kids translates into what is best for our communities, best for our economy, and, frankly, best for our democracy,” Evers told the crowd. “With the problems and division facing our state – today and over the last 8 years – how could I not run? As state superintendent, I can see first hand how Scott Walker’s policies have made it tougher for all public schools K-12 and the families they serve to play a vital role in our society. Walker raided public education to fund tax cuts for wealthy corporations. There were some downsides to this obviously – larger class sizes, less support staff and, of course, a looming dramatic shortage of teachers.”

Evers has served as state superintendent since 2009. His three statewide victories as state superintendent have given many Democrats hope that he can gather the support across the state to defeat Walker.

“For the first time I can remember in my recollection, Wisconsin went from a top-10 state for resources that we spend on our kids to below the national average,” Evers said. “I don’t believe we should be there, folks. I’ve watched voters at hundreds of school districts across Wisconsin vote to raise their own taxes because Walker’s policies have not given them the resources they need to do the job.”

Scott Walker has forced a million people to raise their own taxes in the last three elections, Evers added.

“As a lifelong educator, I understand the best way to prepare kids for 21st-century jobs and to bring those jobs to Wisconsin. Investing in schools and investing in people will bring jobs to Wisconsin,” Evers said. “If we invest in public education, technical colleges, and university systems, new jobs and industries will come. And they will come without having to write a billion-dollar check to foreign corporations.”

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen the consequences of having leaders who seek to divide us rather than bring us together,” Evers said. “People are getting hurt. Families and friendships are being destroyed. People are scared. Make no mistake – Donald Trump is using the same playbook Scott Walker has been using in Wisconsin for years to create divisions and pit people against each other,” Evers said. “The targets of their efforts are different, but their tactics are the same. Trump and Walker are not a symptom of our divisions – they are the cause.”