Gov. Evers makes first stop in Wausau as governor

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Gov. Tony Evers made his first stop as governor in the Wausau area.

Gov. Evers, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Department of Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson toured the DMV in Rib Mountain Thursday.

Gov. Evers said the visit was meant to start his administration off with an appreciation for state workers and not just say it, but show it.

He and Thompson also talked about wanting to create sustainable solutions for transportation.

The visit follows a letter Assembly republicans sent to his office laying out their priorities for the new session. The letter focused on Gov. Evers promises made during the campaign and where republicans believe they can find common ground.

Gov. Evers said he is looking forward to meeting with republicans in the legislature next week. He said he is encouraged by their effort to want to work on common goals.

This letter, however, follows bills passed during the lame duck session that help to secure republican values and limit powers of the governor and attorney general.

Gov. Evers said long before taking his oath of office that he will look at all options to fight those laws.

"The reason we had the special session was to basically require cooperation, so we sit down, we talk like adults, we listen to each other and we find that consensus," said republican Speaker Robin Vos. "So, if one of the first things he does is to try to find some legalistic language to try to go around the intent of the legislature, I guess he will have, he has every right to conduct himself as he chooses. My goal would be to say, 'how 'bout if the first thing you do is sit down with us.'"

"I have made no decisions on what I will do as it relates to either litigating something or not," said Gov. Evers. "The fact of the matter is the lame duck session I think was a mistake and I think it went out of its way to kind of put us in a weird place at the beginning of our administration."

Gov. Evers said some outside groups have already expressed interest in challenging the laws.

Overall, both parties seemed encouraged by the opportunity to work together toward common goals. The first bill republicans said they want to pass is protections ensuring people with preexisting conditions cannot be denied health insurance coverage, something Gov. Evers also made a priority in his campaign.