Mary Burke, a wealthy former business executive and the Democratic candidate for governor in Wisconsin, brushed off criticism from Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has cast his rival as part of the 1 percent and dubbed her “Millionaire Mary.”
“It’s one of many attacks and lies that have been passed by the Republicans, but I’ve grown up like most people,” Burke told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos.
Burke made her fortune expanding Trek Bicycles, a company founded by her father in a Wisconsin garage.
Recent polls show Burke running virtually neck-and-neck with Walker, a fiscal hawk and conservative favorite. Burke told Ramos she is up two points among likely voters, and RealClearPolitics calls the race a dead heat. Nearly every poll shows the race within the margin of error.
Burke said her top priority is economic growth.
“Our economy in Wisconsin is dead last in the Midwest in terms of job creation,” Burke said. “We aren’t creating the type of opportunities so people have jobs, so young people stay in our state. And I’m a business person, I come at this from that perspective.”
When asked to respond to the Walker campaign’s claims that Trek Bicycles sent jobs abroad during her time as an executive there, Burke said that Trek makes more bikes in Wisconsin than any other company in the U.S., but international expansion was only necessary as the company grew.
“It is a global company. It sells bikes throughout the world, and it makes bikes throughout the world,” Burke said.
Burke is also a football fan, and she told Ramos the NFL should do more to respond to domestic violence cases involving players.
“I don’t think that they did handle it correctly from the start,” Burke said, referring to the Ray Rice incident. She said the league needs to send “a very strong signal because of the public exposure that the NFL has.”