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Walker joins GOP field; Clinton talks jobs

By Associated Press | China Daily USA | Updated: 2015-07-14 11:21

Walker joins GOP field; Clinton talks jobs

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the New School in Manhattan on Monday, where she pledged to build a "growth and fairness economy", while Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, speaking in Waukesha, Wisconsin, became the 15th Republican to enter the presidential contest. Walker, who has battled with labor unions, emphasized his record of cutting taxes. Reuters

Clinton looks to help workers; governor pushes 'fighter' image

Scott Walker, in announcing his entry Monday into the 2016 GOP presidential primary field, touted his record as Wisconsin governor, while Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton talked about helping workers.

Walker vowed to fight for America's interests abroad and for his conservative policies in Washington, highlighting his clashes with labor unions.

Clinton said that if she is elected to the White House she will seek to build a "growth and fairness economy" that would rejuvenate wages that have remained stagnant since the Great Recession.

Walker, 47, in his second term as governor of the Midwestern state, embraced his "fighter" reputation as he formally declared his candidacy in a speech in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and protesters gathered just outside the convention hall.

"Americans deserve a president who will fight and win for them," Walker said.

He became the 15th Republican to enter the GOP field and emphasized how he has won elections and policy debates in a state that typically supports Democrats.

Walker has enacted policies weakening organized labor's political power and became the first governor in US history to defeat a recall election. Labor unions spent millions of dollars to defeat him, but failed.

"Scott Walker is a national disgrace," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said.

Walker cut income and corporate taxes by nearly $2 billion, lowered property taxes, legalized the carrying of concealed weapons, made abortions more difficult to obtain, required photo identification when voting and made Wisconsin a right-to-work state.

His budget this year requires drug screenings for public benefit recipients, expands the private school voucher program, freezes tuition at the University of Wisconsin while cutting funding by $250 million and removing tenure protections.

Walker called for lifting the political restrictions on US troops stationed in Iraq "so they can help our Kurd and Sunni allies reclaim land taken by ISIS".

"On behalf of your children and mine," he said, "I'd rather take the fight to them than wait for them to bring the fight to us."

In New York, Clinton vowed to crack down on Wall Street excess and warned that a large field of Republican White House hopefuls would promote tax cuts and a return to policies that would balloon the national debt. She singled out three GOP candidates by name, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

"You may have heard Governor Bush say last week that Americans just need to work longer hours. Well, he must not have met very many American workers," Clinton said at The New School, urging Bush to speak to nurses, truckers or fast food workers. "They don't need a lecture. They need a raise."

Clinton sought to appeal to liberal voters within her party who have questioned her willingness to regulate Wall Street and have rallied behind her chief Democratic rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

"As the shadow of crisis recedes and longer-term challenges come into focus, I believe we have to build a growth and fairness economy," Clinton said. "You can't have one without the other."

Clinton said she would propose more public investment in infrastructure projects, advance renewable energy and promote tax cuts for small business owners. She expressed support for an increase in the federal minimum wage, an overhaul to the tax code, and policy proposals related to child care and paid family leave.

Clinton, who maintained strong ties to Wall Street as a New York senator, pushed back against the industry, saying the largest financial institutions had too often focused on short-term profits instead of helping grow the economy.

She expressed outrage at accounts of money laundering and currency manipulation involving several major financial firms.

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