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Mary Burke launches gubernatorial campaign in Wisconsin

Published October 7, 2013

MADISON, WI (BRAIN) — Former Trek Bicycle executive Mary Burke announced her bid for the Wisconsin governor's mansion on Monday with a three-minute video that featured the bike company her father founded in a Waterloo, Wisconsin, barn.

Burke, a former state commerce secretary, is seeking the Democratic Party's nomination for the governor's seat. She hopes to replace GOP incumbent Scott Walker, who survived a recall election last year.

Burke is the sister of Trek president John Burke and was director of Trek's European operations in the 1990s and later director of forecasting and planning for the company. She was elected to the Madison School Board last year. She has a finance degree from Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. 

Her campaign video features Burke speaking in front of a display of Trek bikes and focuses on her time at Trek and as a state official. She said she had the skills to help Wisconsin business expand and add jobs and would end partisan gridlock.

"I'm Mary Burke. Helping to turn my family's business into a global company has been a big part of my life. Now I'd like to help make our great state of Wisconsin even better, as your governor," Burke says in the video. "At Trek I led strategic planning for nine years and it was my job to open up new global markets. Today we've grown to almost 1,000 employees right here in Wisconsin. I'm proud of that. But I also know there are small businesses all over our state with everything it takes to dream just as big."

Walker's efforts to curb collective bargaining for public employees led to widespread protests and, eventually, the recall vote. However, he emerged from the recall with more support than he had when first elected and is now widely seen as a 2016 presidential hopeful.

The state GOP quickly posted a video attacking Burke's candidacy, framing her as an out-of-touch millionaire "handpicked by party bosses." Burke's opponents also apparently secured the Internet domain, which now hosts an anti-Burke site. The site says it was "Paid for by the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Mike Jones Treasurer."


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