Scott is a model governor, a true conservative, and a great friend. I???m delighted to see him receive this honor.
As a champion of reform, Scott knew his task wouldn???t be easy. Public-sector unions often drive a hard bargain. But the resistance he faced was staggering. Legislators fled the state to prevent a vote on his budget-repair bill. Protesters overran the state capitol. A judge blocked his legislation from taking effect. And in one last, desperate move, his opponents tried to remove him from office???after only one year of his term.
But Scott never wavered. He believed that if you campaign on big ideas???and keep your word in office???the voters will reward you. He had faith that if you???re honest about our challenges and committed to solving them, you can get the job done. He was right. He became the first governor in our history to survive a recall attempt. In fact, he won more votes in the recall election than he did in 2010. Courage was on the ballot this year, and courage won.
I???m not surprised, because Scott is in public service for the right reason???not to promote a career, but to advance a cause. When he served in the state legislature, he backed Tommy Thompson???s welfare reforms. When he was Milwaukee County executive, he cut the county???s debt by almost a third. And when he became governor, he closed a $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes. He???s shown conservatives across the country that you can take on the big issues and win.
As a fellow Republican, I???m grateful for the example Scott has set. And on a personal level, I???m grateful for his friendship. Although we didn???t meet until after college, Scott and I grew up in small towns just 20 miles from each other???Delavan and Janesville. When we were teenagers, we both got jobs flipping burgers at McDonald???s. We???re natural allies because of our shared beliefs, and our shared experiences have made us close friends.
He has always been someone I can count on???especially during this last election. After an exhausting campaign of his own, he willingly took to the stump whenever he was asked. And in private, he couldn???t have been more supportive of my family and me. Even though he had enough on his plate already, he eagerly took on more to help our campaign. That???s because Scott believes in conservatism. He believes in our founding principles. He and I agreed many years ago that we???re in public service not to be someone great. We???re in public service to do something great for those we serve.
Scott achieved great things in 2012, and I???m excited to see what the next year will bring. Washington, D.C. may be getting all the attention these days, but that???s only because it???s broken. Today, the frontlines of reform are the states. That???s where conservatives are retooling policy and rebuilding communities. And it???s where we???ve met our greatest success so far???in no small part thanks to Scott. He has shown other governors, like Rick Snyder in Michigan, that reform may be difficult???it may be messy???but it is possible. More public servants should follow his lead.
Scott has spent years working to reform government???to make it smarter, simpler, and better. And I know he won???t quit now. He???ll keep working hard for the people of Wisconsin. We???re fortunate to call him our governor. And I???m blessed to call him my friend.
Rep. Paul Ryan was Human Events Conservative of the Year for 2012. He was also Republican nominee for vice president. He currently represents Wisconsin, serving his seventh term. He chairs the House Budget Committee and is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.