Republican who killed Menominee Nation casino opens campaign

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). Photo from Facebook

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who killed the Menominee Nation off-reservation casino earlier this year, officially launched his 2016 Republican presidential campaign on Monday.

Walker faced intense pressure from the tribe, the public and lawmakers from both parties to approve the proposed casino in Kenosha. But after repeatedly delaying a decision, he rejected it in January and later refused to meet with Chairman Gary Besaw to discuss the project.

Tribal leaders at the time blamed the rejection on Walker's presidential aspirations. They feared that he was thinking more about his standing in conservative political circles rather than the jobs and economic opportunity that the casino would bring.

Menominee Nation Chairman Gary Besaw was prevented from approaching the office of Gov. Scott Walker (R) in an attempt to discuss the off-reservation casino. Photo from Facebook

The controversy, though, is not likely to affect Walker's campaign. Indian gaming has never been a top presidential issue and most candidates lack experience on the subject regardless of their political backgrounds.

But Walker could encounter the issue again before he leaves office in Wisconsin. The Ho-Chunk Nation is awaiting a Bureau of Indian Affairs decision on its off-reservation casino and the governor will have veto authority under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Get the Story:
Scott Walker makes it official, launches presidential campaign (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 7/14)
Walker seeks to rally GOP on a pledge of victory with no compromise (The Washington Post 7/14)
Scott Walker Enters 2016 Presidential Race, Pledging Conservative Agenda (The New York Times 7/14)

An Opinion:
OUR VIEW: Enjoy the campaign; you’ve paid for it (The Kenosha News 7/14)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Press Release | Fact Sheet: Menominee Nation Decision | Section 20 Determination: Menominee Nation Off-Reservation Casino

Related Stories:
Ho-Chunk Nation off-reservation casino deal goes 3 more years (04/01)
BIA rejects Menominee Nation off-reservation gaming compact (03/30)
Opinion: Wrong call on Menominee Nation off-reservation casino (03/09)
Menominee Nation weighs next step for off-reservation casino (02/20)
Menominee Nation makes last push for off-reservation casino (02/19)
Menominee Nation sought to bar rival off-reservation casino (02/17)
Menominee Nation starts 156-mile walk to rally casino support (02/13)

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