CPAC speaker Scott Walker: What to know about former Wisconsin governor

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Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is set to speak at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday morning.

In a Thursday tweet, the once GOP presidential candidate teased that he would be talking about free speech.

"The left is trying to intimidate us, recall us, and cancel us," he wrote. "We have to fight back!"

Who is Scott Walker?

Walker was born in Colorado Springs, Colo., in November of 1967 to Patricia and Llewellyn Walker. Patricia was a bookkeeper and Llewellyn was a Baptist minister.

In 1970, the Walker family moved to Plainfield, Iowa, before the family packed up again and headed to Delavan, Wis.

There, Walker became an Eagle Scout and Patricia was a den mother -- building upon a legacy of service that he would continue throughout the course of his career in politics.

After being selected to attend the American Legion’s Badger Boys State Program in Ripon, Walker was also picked as one of two representatives to Boys Nation in Washington, D.C.


In a 2010 interview with the American Legion, Walker said the trip to the nation's capital and the Vietnam Memorial "solidified" his interest in pursuing public service.

Walker was also an active member of the Delavan-Darien High School track team, winning numerous conference championships

The 1,600-meter relay team member graduated from the school in 1986 and began studying at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

There he was elected to the student Senate and was an active College Republican. He studied political science, economics and philosophy, and would run for both Inter-Residence Hall Council president and student government president between 1987 and 1988, according to Politifact.

Feb. 11, 2015: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker delivers a speech at Chatham House in central London. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

After a tough race against liberal Chicagoan John Quigley and some scandal surrounding the confiscation of the Marquette Tribune after it endorsed his opponent, Walker lost again in 1988 and disappeared from the student government scene.

He dropped out of the university in 1990 -- just 34 credits short of graduation -- and took jobs with both the American Red Cross and IBM.

Marquette said Walker had been in "good standing" when he withdrew.

But Walker was just starting in politics.

In 1990, at age 22, Walker ran for the state Assembly and lost to Democrat Gwen Moore. Three years later, Walker married his wife, Tonette Tarantino, and win election to the state Assembly in Wauwatosa.

In the early aughts, Walker saw more success: winning a special election for Milwaukee County executive in 2002 and again in 2008; being elected to his first four-year term as county executive in 2004 and announcing his run for governor in June of 2005.

Walker dropped out of the gubernatorial race in 2006 but announced three years later that he would run in 2010.

In 2010, Walker bested Milwaukee's Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett to win the seat on his 43rd birthday and he was sworn in on Jan. 3, 2011. He was the first governor in more than 64 years not to hold a college degree.

Walker, who had previously worked on crime reduction and decreasing welfare programs, ran on a promise of cutting spending, reducing benefits and salaries for public sector union employees, and reversing taxes.

"On his first day in office, Walker called the state legislature into a special session on job creation," Walker's bio on the National Governors Association reads, also highlighting proposed legislation calling for the transformation of the Department of Commerce.


In February of 2011, Walker unveiled legislation known as Act 10 that effectively ended collective bargaining for public workers and thousands of people gathered at the state Capitol. Act 10 was signed into law in March and in May Walker signed another bill requiring photo ID to vote.

Almost a year later, a petition was filed on Jan. 17, 2012, to recall Walker from office.

However, in a Jun. 5 election, Walker defeated Barrett for a second time and became the first governor in U.S. history to defeat a recall, according to The Associated Press.

In November of 2014 -- following the 2013 publication of his book "Unintimidated," the freezing of tuition at the University of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision to uphold the constitutionality of Act 10 -- Walker bested Democrat Mary Burke to win reelection to a four-year term. He was sworn in on Jan. 5, 2015.

Nov. 14, 2013: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis.

Nov. 14, 2013: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis. (AP)

In July of that year, the father of two and 45th governor of the Badger State would officially launch his bid for president in the 2016 race.

But, just a couple of months into his campaign, Walker withdrew, endorsing Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, instead of then-nominee Donald Trump.

In a final bid for reelection, Walker was beaten by Democrat Tony Evers in November of 2018. In 2019, he left office and announced he would join a speakers' bureau, traveling the country and advocating for conservative issues.

On his website describing The Walker Group, the former governor wrote that he would help turn the country around state by state.

"Traveling this exceptional country reminds me that our greatest asset is the hard-working people of America," he said. "If we can get government off of the backs of our citizens and unleash the power their hard work and determination, there are no limits to how great these United States of America will be in the future.I invite you to join us in this noble cause."


In 2019, Young America's Foundation announced that Walker would become their president in Feb. 2021.

In a bio on its website, the student group notes Walker also serves as the chairman of the board of trustees for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars within the Smithsonian Institute, a senior adviser to the National Taxpayers Union, serves on the board of Students for Life Action, is chairman of the Institute for Reforming Government, is finance chairman for the National Republican Redistricting Trust, and is national honorary chairman of the Center for State-led National Debt Solutions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Julia Musto Fox News