State of Wisconsin Archives: on Welfare & Poverty


Tommy Thompson: Replace Welfare with the Tools to Succeed

Gov. Thompson made building our people - particularly the poor - an important priority. Frustrated that generations of families were being locked in a welfare trap, Thompson embarked on welfare reform in 1987, long before it became a major national issue

Before starting, Thompson invited groups of welfare mothers to his home for luncheon discussions on what locked them into welfare and what was needed to free them from the trap. The most commonly cited barriers to leaving welfare were inadequate child care, health care, transportation and training - four elements that became the foundation for the governor’s reform programs.

Since 1987, Thompson has instituted many welfare reform programs and initiatives that have combined to reduce Wisconsin’s welfare caseload by more than any state in the nation.

Since 1987, Wisconsin has cut its welfare caseload by more than 93%, from 98,000 AFDC families in January 1987 to under 6,700 W-2 cash assistance families in February 2000.

Source: Wisconsin Governor’s web site Dec 25, 2000

Tommy Thompson: Early leader in welfare reform

Wisconsin was so far ahead in its reforms that Gov. Thompson ended welfare and the AFDC entitlement check altogether and replaced it with a new program based on work called Wisconsin Works, better known as W-2. This program is now the standard for welfare reform in America.
Source: Wisconsin Governor’s web site Dec 25, 2000

  • The above quotations are from State of Wisconsin Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Welfare & Poverty.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2012 Presidential contenders on Welfare & Poverty:
  Democrats:
Pres.Barack Obama(IL)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)

Republicans:
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Third Parties:
Green: Dr.Jill Stein(MA)
Libertarian: Gov.Gary Johnson(NM)
Justice: Mayor Rocky Anderson(UT)
Constitution: Rep.Virgil Goode(VA)
Peace+Freedom: Roseanne Barr(HI)
Reform Party: André Barnett(NY)
AmericansElect: Gov.Buddy Roemer(LA)
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Page last updated: Dec 17, 2013