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Saturday, January 1, 2011

 6:02 PM 

Walker kicks off inauguration festivities

Scott Walker kicked off his inauguration festivities Saturday with a party on Madison’s east side to watch the Wisconsin Badgers play in the Rose Bowl.

Walker called it a “down to Earth” gathering that epitomized the tone he hoped to set with his administration. In addition to mingling with supporters at the East Side Club along Lake Monona, Walker invited the families of National Guard troops that he planned to speak with via video conference call during halftime.

“This is very much a family affair,” Walker said.

Those in attendance paid $20 to attend the event, which included a cash bar and the Rose Bowl on a projection screen at the front of the room. Backers clad in Badger red packed the room and waited in line to speak with the governor-elect.

Walker, who will be sworn in Monday, said it finally sunk in on Friday that he was about to become governor when he practiced the oath with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who had him recite the pledge during a run through.

“Until now, we’ve just been so busy,” Walker said.

Walker said he planned to move into the executive residence midweek after some cleaning and painting was finished. But his family will remain in Wauwatosa through the spring as his sons, one a junior, the other a sophomore, finish the school year. He said he was not sure which high school they would attend once they made the move to Madison.

Walker previously announced he planned to cover the employee share of his state pension following his election as he moves to require state workers to pick up a greater share of their retirement and health benefits. But he said he does not plan to return a portion of his salary.

“We’re not looking to do pay cuts. We’re looking to put employee benefits more in line with the private sector,” Walker said.

Walker planned a fundraiser Sunday night at Milwaukee's Pfister that was closed to the media.

- By JR Ross
WisPolitics


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