Gov. Evers listens to people of the Chippewa Valley ahead of budget deadline

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- There's still time for lawmakers on both sides to agree how to fund the state for the next two years, but Tuesday night, it was the people who elected them who discussed where they want their tax dollars to go.

It’s been almost two months since Governor Tony Evers delivered his very first budget address, one he's calling "The People's Budget.”

During a listening session tour leg Tuesday night at CVTC in Eau Claire, locals made their voices heard, a chance, Evers says, to change the direction of the state of Wisconsin.

During the session, members of the community stood up to addressing gaps in special education services, and a lack of resources for gifted students in the schools.

“Wisconsin is grossly underfunded in that realm,” says Hillarie Roth, who sits on the Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted board.

They listened to their own community members about the need for mental health counselors and voiced their concerns surrounding the opioid crisis.

“Just in the last two weeks we've lost 7-10 people to overdoses,” says Jim Britton of Eau Claire.

Wisconsinites didn't just talk Tuesday night, one man shed a tear as he told his story, and called for action in Justice Reform.

All of this as Governor Evers sat eye-level with community members, and listened.

“The people in the Eau Claire area are engaged in their lives and they care about what happens in Madison,” says Gov. Evers.

“So I think really and truly hearing from the people, seeing what they agree with and disagree with in this budget is very important and it's good to be transparent within our government system,” says Roth.

As the Democratic Governor Evers faces a Republican controlled legislature, those in Tuesday night's crowd say the time is now to find common ground.

“What we really need to do is stop the bickering and we need to compromise and we need to solve the problems that are in front of us,” says Britton

For Evers nearing his first budget deadline as governor, he says, “I have the strongest veto pen in the country, so they might not get some things they feel very strongly about and I’ll use whatever I can at my disposal to make sure that we at least get to a point where we can reach common ground.”