Gov. Walker: First Lady Tonette Walker and Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation to raise funds for renovations

December 8, 2012
For Immediate Release
Contact: Cullen Werwie, 608-267-7303

Earlier this week, the Department of Administration (DOA) sent a request to the Building Commission for authority to construct an Executive Residence renovation project to update the industrial kitchen and residential kitchenette. The project proposal before the Building Commission asks for approval for the full project cost of approximately $478,000, which will allow DOA to move forward with the project. However, First Lady Tonette Walker will raise a majority of the funds for the project through private donations to the Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation (WERF).

“The Executive Residence is truly the People’s House and, each year, thousands of people go there for events, meals, or tours,” said Governor Walker. “Tonette is committed to working with the foundation to raise the majority of the funds for this renovation project, which will make sure the People’s House is in good repair and can serve all who visit throughout the year.”

The Executive Residence has over 15,000 visitors annually for receptions, dinners, meetings, and public tours, including events held at the residence this year for organizations such as the Japanese-America Student Conference, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp., and the National Legislative Services & Security Association. The kitchen is often used to provide food service for these types of events.

The Executive Residence kitchens have not been updated since 1986 and the 1960s respectively. Both kitchen areas are outdated, in poor condition, and have failing equipment in need of frequent repair. The main floor kitchen needs specific repairs to meet the requirements of an industrial/commercial grade kitchen. It is expected that new energy efficient equipment will also lower operational energy expenses.

“The Executive Residence is a beautiful and historic structure and we want to be able to provide the best experience possible for all its visitors,” said Mrs. Walker. “I am fully committed to working with the foundation to raise the majority of the funds for this project and limit the impact on our state’s taxpayers.”

The Executive Residence was acquired by the State of Wisconsin in 1949, and it serves as a showcase of Wisconsin nature and art. A similar renovation was done in the basement area of the Executive Residence during the tenure of Governor Jim Doyle.

Governor Walker and his family do not use the Executive Residence as their primary residence. The Walkers continue to reside at their family home in Wauwatosa, WI.