Governor Doyle: ‘I’m not going to pull a Brett Favre’Gov. Jim Doyle on Monday announced he would not seek a third term as the state’s top elected official during a press conference at Randall Elementary School in Madison.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Gov. Jim Doyle on Monday announced he would not seek a third term as the state’s top elected official during a press conference at Randall Elementary School in Madison.
As volunteers with the as Peace Corps volunteers, a lawyer and a teacher on the Navajo Indian Reservation, district attorney, attorney general, governor and first lady, Doyle said he and his wife Jessica have dedicated themselves to working for others.
“When I first ran for governor in 2002, Jessica and I assumed that if I was fortunate enough to be elected, it would be a two-term commitment,” Doyle said in a prepared statement Monday. “As I have thought long and hard about this decision, I have come back to this starting point. As much as I love the job, as hard as I work at it and as much as my team and I have to contribute in a third term, I believe that a governor should limit him- or herself to two terms.”
Doyle said it was a decision that he will probably regret many time in coming years.
“I promise, I’m not going to pull a Brett Favre on you,” Doyle said,
The governor said he made the announcement Monday to give other political candidates the opportunity to build their campaigns and turn his attention to governing the state for the next 17 months.
Doyle said his intention always was to serve just two terms and he wanted to announce his plans to give other Democrats enough time to build campaigns. His departure sets up the first open governor’s race in Wisconsin since 1982.
“With him out, it actually allows national forces to come play a bigger role,” said University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor Charles Franklin.
“We owe Governor Jim Doyle a debt of gratitude for his decades of public service,” said Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. The leader of the state’s Democratic Party said the governor has a long list of accomplishments, including providing 98 percent of Wisconsinites access to health care coverage and prioritizing investments in education. The governor’s list of achievements demonstrates his deep commitment to improving the lives of Wisconsin citizens and is certain to grow during the remainder of his term, Tate said.
“Jim’s commitment to public service and progressive ideals have ably guided Wisconsin,” U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold said in a prepared state.
“I’m sorry to learn that Jim Doyle is not running for re-election,” U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl said. “He has been a great governor with many outstanding accomplishments.”
Over the next year and a half, Doyle said he will have the opportunity to govern the state without the complication of running for the job.
“I believe that without all the politics we can get a lot done,” Doyle said. “… We are going to do even more on education, health care, job creation and the environment.”
Doyle said his plans for the remainder of his term, he will work to implement the Wisconsin Covenant, education and school finance reforms well as build on the state’s university system. In health care he said work would continue to insure Wisconsin residents without health care coverage, expand family care and move toward electronic medical records. Plans for the remainder of the term include expanding energy conservation and developing renewable energy sources, building on manufacturing and agriculture, and expanding on high-tech and green jobs.
U.S. Rep Dave Obey, D-Wausau said anybody can govern during good times; it takes skill, balance and guts to govern in tough times and Doyle has shown all of those attributes.
“Jim’s unwavering dedication and his love for Wisconsin are evident in his 25 years of dedicated service to the state and the people of Wisconsin are lucky to have him as governor,” President Barack Obama said in the prepared statement issued by the White House Office of Media Affairs.
Associated Press contributed to this report.