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Gov. Evers on vaccine distribution, unemployment claims and the need for more broadband

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 10:01 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -

WEAU spoke with Governor Evers one-on-one about why Wisconsin has been behind other Midwest states with distributing the COVID-19 vaccine.

He says the state has a disproportionate high-number of people in assisted living and care facilities.

The original plan from the Federal Government was to bank the vaccine and not use it until there was enough for everyone to get both doses. However, now the Trump administration is adopting incoming President Biden’s plan to release all available doses of the vaccines, which Evers thinks will speed up the process.

“It takes some planning to do this now,” Evers explained. “They’ve changed the way they are operating, so we’re going to have to change the way we operate, but we’re going to get it out as soon as possible. We absolutely have to get it into people’s arms faster than what we did-- Our ranking as a state frankly has more to do with the percentage of folks that live in assisted living and congregate care facilities.”

Today, Evers also called a special legislative session for next week to modernize the state’s unemployment claims system. He believes it’s important to make the change now.

Evers denied Speaker Robin Vos’s claim the unemployment system errors were his and the State Department of Workforce Development’s fault.

“The Audit Bureau identified this as a problem years ago, long before Tony Evers was governor, but the issue is not who’s right and who’s wrong,” Evers said. “We had a pandemic, it’s showed that the system doesn’t work. It’s going to cost money, it’s going to take time. You don’t fix an airplane while it’s flying very easily.”

In last night’s State of the State address Governor Evers asked for $200 million in broadband infrastructure spending in his budget.

For him, the pandemic has highlighted the need for high-speed internet with Telehealth, small businesses forced to go virtual and Wisconsinites.

“400,000 families don’t have access and it’s just not a rural issue, it’s an urban issue too especially around the issue of affordability,” added Evers. “We’re going to be putting some of that money aside to help people who frankly can’t afford internet, even though they have access to it. [We will] make Wisconsin a leader in the country instead of somebody who has to turn companies away because we don’t have adequate internet across the state.”

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