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Walker Dodges Casino Discussion At Kenosha Event

Area Officials And Menominee Tribe Continue To Push Issue

Peter Stevens (CC-BY)

Gov. Scott Walker was in Kenosha Tuesday for a jobs announcement, but he declined to meet with local elected officials to talk about the jobs they wanted to discuss: The thousands that might have been created by the Menominee Tribe’s proposed casino.

With the deadline approaching, the Menominees marching on Madison and local officials seeking one last chance to bend his ear, Walker avoided questions about casino jobs in Kenosha. But standing on an empty factory floor, he announced that an Illinois company will move in 50 machine jobs to Wisconsin.

Afterward, as Walker was shaking hands and posing for photos, Kenosha Democrat Rep. Peter Barca was blasting him for refusing to meet.

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“I would certainly think that he could have carved out 10 minutes,” Barca said.

When it was his turn, Walker made clear that he’s done talking about it, saying, “Why meet about something that’s already been resolved?”

In recent weeks, Walker has cited fears that the Potawatomi Tribe, operators of a nearby casino, might successfully sue the state if the Menominee project goes ahead.

The Menominees and their Fortune 500 partner, Hard Rock International, have said they’ve got those concerns covered.

Walker has until Thursday to change his mind before federal authorities officially close the book on the matter.