Gov. Evers gets loose on state podcast

    Gov. Tony Evers standing outside
    Gov. Tony Evers (courtesy of Evers for Wisc)

    It might never reach an audience the size of “Call Your Girlfriend,” “Pod Save America,”  or “WTF with Marc Maron,” but the Department of Workforce Development has joined the wonderful world of podcasting. 

    The idea came out of brainstorming including DWD’s secretary-designee, Caleb Frostman, and the department’s communications staff. “Anytime we can tell our story and get the word out, that’s what we try to do,” DWD spokesman Tyler Tichenor told Wisconsin Examiner

    Episode 3 of “On, Wisconsin Workforce,” as the more-or-less-monthly program is called, dropped on Sept. 9. It included an interview with the administrator of DWD’s Division of Employment and Training, Chytania Brown, a recurring segment with the department’s chief economist, Dennis Winters, and the thoughts of a 12-year-old boy named Harrison who told Frostman that he wants to be a politician when he grows up. 

    The podcast also for the first time featured Gov. Tony Evers as the lead-off guest. Frostman quizzed his boss about everything from the state budget to labor shortages. Evers lamented lagging wages and praised the department for its role in overseeing apprenticeship and other job-training programs. He reiterated his support for increasing the state minimum wage. He also called for reversing laws passed under his predecessor, Scott Walker, that eliminated the state prevailing wage and instituted so-called “right to work,” which enables people represented by unions to refuse to pay union dues. And he plugged his administration’s inter-agency task force on payroll fraud.

    Evers also spoke of his September trade mission to Japan (already underway by the time listeners got to hear the interview, which had been recorded the Friday before Labor Day) and took a swipe at President Donald Trump’s trade policy without ever mentioning him by name. Along the way he employed the plain-spoken rhetoric that the otherwise soft-spoken governor has become famous for launching unexpectedly.

    “Unfortunately we have leadership at the national level that engages in trade wars via Tweet,” Evers told Frostman. “I understand an analysis, whether it’s China or some other country that we’re fighting with over trade issues, that we could maybe find a better way to do it, but the process itself” — he paused, as if pondering whether he wanted to say what came next, then plunged ahead — “just  sucks. I don’t know how else to put it. We have businesses making decisions based upon some Tweet that was done at 3 in the morning. We can’t survive that way.”


    Erik Gunn
    Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, along with related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.


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