Mary Burke speaks to a meeting of the Democratic Party of Dane County at the Madison Concourse Hotel on Feb. 12.
"I would not get into this race if I did not have a game plan to win," Burke said.
After sparring with Gov. Scott Walker over how to spend Wisconsin's projected budget surplus, Burke kept up the pressure on Wednesday. She took jabs at his national ambitions and his out-of-state fundraising.
As for her own credentials, Burke said, "I know how to improve jobs and education, and that's how we're going to get on the path to prosperity," she said.
If elected, Burke promised to work to restore collective bargaining to public employees, raise the minimum wage and "roll back voucher expansion and hold schools accountable for public money."
Burke has not released her own jobs plan, which she said in early February would be ready in the next "month or two."
She also urged listeners to contribute to her campaign. She has been significantly outraised by Walker, pulling in $1.8 million since October 2013 to his $5 million.
"One-hundred-thousand people donating $10 a month from now to November equals $10 million dollars," Burke said. "Walker will attempt to buy the governorship with out-of-state money."
Roughly half of Walker's money from the past six months has come from outside the state. He was in Dallas last Tuesday for a fundraiser held at the home of conservative billionaire Harlan Crow.
This out-of-state fundraising, together with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's falling stock, has spurred national media discussion of Walker's 2016 presidential prospects.
"The governor is more concerned with his own career than putting people back to work," Burke said.
Her appearance Wednesday came three weeks after a Marquette Law School poll found that 70% of respondents -- and 66% of Democrats -- were unfamiliar with her as a candidate.
Annrita Lardy knew little of Burke before Wednesday. But her "youth and poise" impressed Lardy, a longtime party member who has voted for Democrats "since Roosevelt."
"After reading the newspapers, I didn't expect to be as excited about [Burke] as I am now," Lardy said. "Everyone I talk to says they don’t know her, but we got that tonight, and I hope she makes many more appearances."
After hearing Burke speak Wednesday, 39-year-old Tom McCann thinks she can compellingly tap into anti-Walker sentiment.
"I saw someone today who said they would vote for potato salad instead of Walker," McCann said. "But a lot of those same voters will be happy to vote for Mary Burke."