ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The nation’s Republican governors are meeting in battleground Florida with an unexpected opportunity: a president-elect of their own party with political IOUs to pay, perhaps the projects the party’s heads of the states prefer.
Donald Trump owes no governor more than Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, the onetime rival for the GOP presidential nomination who ended up endorsing the billionaire and whose state had been thought to be a Democratic firewall. But for the first time since 1984, Wisconsin voted for a Republican last week. When Trump won that state and Pennsylvania, The Associated Press around 2:30 a.m. EST declared him the winner of the presidential race over Hillary Clinton.
Walker, the incoming chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, said Tuesday that Trump’s election elevates “the possibilities in terms of what we can do to take power out of Washington and send it back to the states.” More importantly, he said on MSNBC, “back to the people.”
What the people can agree on as a top post-election priority is fixing the nation’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure, according to a survey at the end of the election. Clinton and Trump voters polled on 13 issues after the election agreed on two problem areas: drug addiction and crumbling infrastructure in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center.
Walker said the federal government’s focus should be on “fixing and maintaining our existing infrastructure” not “grandiose” high speed rail lines, for example.
During a speech at a Monday night reception at an Orlando hotel, Florida Gov. Rick Scott called on his fellow Republicans to help Trump bring “disruptive change” to Washington.
For Scott, that means a complete repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
Scott, who has been vague about what should be done about the 20 million Americans who got health insurance through the overhaul, said “of course we will need to unwind in a fair way, but we absolutely must repeal it.”
Those expected to attend this week’s conference include governors who had voiced differing opinions over Trump’s bid for the White House.
Scott backed Trump right after he won the Florida primary in March and eventually headed up a Super PAC that ran ads praising Trump and criticizing Clinton.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the nation’s only Latina governor, refused to endorse Trump before the election but did congratulate him after he won.
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