Daily Archives: January 12, 2018

Baldwin campaign: As outside special interests make wisconsin their top target, Tammy Baldwin for Senate announces $2.8 million fourth quarter driven by grassroots supporters

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$35 average grassroots online donations made to counter big money outside spending in Wisconsin

MADISON – Tammy Baldwin for Senate today announced the campaign raised more than $2.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 with grassroots online donations averaging $35 each.

The small dollar donations and the tens of thousands of first-time contributors show a groundswell of grassroots support as big money special interests have made Tammy Baldwin their top target. Already, the outside spending in Wisconsin against Tammy Baldwin is nearly $5 million dollars. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, outside spending against Tammy Baldwin so far is more than the amount spent against all other Democratic Senators up in 2018 – combined.

“Out-of-state special interests have made Tammy their top target, but we can overcome this big money outside spending by building on this outpouring of grassroots support. Wisconsinites know that Tammy puts Wisconsin first and they want Washington to work for them – not special interests,” said Tammy Baldwin for Senate campaign manager Scott Spector.

The campaign heads into 2018 with $7 million cash-on-hand, millions more than Ron Johnson or Russ Feingold had heading into 2016. The fundraising effort also broke off-year Wisconsin federal fundraising records for quarter and annual totals.

Baldwin raised $2.8 million in last three months of 2017

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U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, raised $2.8 million over the final three months of 2017, padding a significant financial edge over her GOP rivals.

Baldwin’s campaign said she finished 2017 with $7 million in the bank.

Republican Kevin Nicholson, a business consultant and former Marine, says he raised $800,000 during the fourth quarter, while Leah Vukmir, a GOP state senator, says she pulled in more than $400,000. Their campaigns said each finished 2017 with about $500,000 in the bank.

Baldwin’s $7 million puts her ahead of where U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, and Dem challenger Russ Feingold were at the beginning of 2016. Johnson, who won their 2016 rematch, raised $1.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 and finished that year with $4.4 million in the bank. Feingold pulled in almost $2.7 million that quarter and had $4.8 million in his warchest.

Dallet campaign: Dallet condemns President Trump’s racist remarks

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Contact: Jessica Lovejoy (608-318-3065)

MILWAUKEE – Judge Rebecca Dallet, candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court, released a statement today condemning President Trump’s racist remarks attacking immigrants.

“I was deeply disappointed to see our nation’s discourse further degraded by President Trump’s horrific comments attacking people from Haiti, El Salvador, and various African countries,” said Judge Dallet. “It is unacceptable and I condemn these remarks. My family immigrated here to find peace and freedom. That’s the American tradition we should sustain, not this throwback racism that harkens back to our nation’s darkest times. I’m running because I think we can do better. We must do better. And every leader should stand up and condemn the President’s ridiculous and offensive words.”

For more information on her campaign visit: dalletforjustice.com. For further comments or questions, contact Jessica Lovejoy at 608-318-3065 or [email protected]

Dept. of Justice: Child sexual predator convicted in Buffalo County

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MADISON, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel is announcing the successful prosecution of 33-year-old Jacob D. Vogel of Winona, MN. Vogel pled guilty in Buffalo County Circuit Court to charges of 1st Degree Sexual Assault of a Child Under Age 13 and Child Enticement.

“With this conviction, justice has finally been served to this victim and their family,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Putting this man in prison is just one part of how the criminal justice system can support survivors of sexual assault. I spent more than 25 years as a prosecutor, largely in the sensitive crimes unit, and I have seen time and again how prosecutors can deliver justice to survivors. Case by case, DOJ will continue to serve survivors by providing the support they need and deserve.”

This conviction is the result of a lengthy investigation conducted by the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with additional assistance by the Holmen Police Department. The Buffalo County District Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Service Coordinator provided crime victim assistance and support. DOJ Assistant Attorney General Shelly Rusch served as special prosecutor.

On January 3, 2018, Vogel pled guilty to the charges of 1st Degree Sexual Assault of a Child Under Age 13 and Child Enticement. Four additional felonies were dismissed and read-in for sentencing, meaning that Vogel admitted to the conduct charged and the judge can consider the dismissed conduct at sentencing. A sentencing hearing is scheduled on March 15, 2018.

Under Attorney General Schimel’s leadership, DOJ has reformed sexual assault response protocols, advocated for legislation that protects survivors, trained communities to respond to sexual assault with a trauma-informed, victim-centered approach, and championed the testing of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits in Wisconsin.

DNR: New pricing structure to go into effect on Wisconsin State Park System properties Feb. 15

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CONTACT: Jim Dick, DNR Spokesperson, 608-267-2773

MADISON – A new demand-based pricing structure for Wisconsin State Park System properties will go into effect on Feb. 15, 2018 that is intended to encourage use and manage capacity while providing funds for property improvements that directly enhance visitor experiences.

There will be no increase in the annual admission fees to park system properties, however daily admission fees will increase at three properties: Devil’s Lake, Peninsula and Willow River state parks. Devil’s Lake daily admission fees will increase $5, with resident daily fees going from $8 to $13 and non-resident daily fees going from $11 to $16. Daily fees at Peninsula and Willow River will increase $2, with resident daily fees going from $8 to $10 and non-resident daily fees going from $11 to $13.

Camping rates will be adjusted across the system based on demand, by both increasing and decreasing camping rates. Depending on campsite type and time of year, some properties will experience both a rate increase and a rate decrease. The average camping fee increase will be $3 per night and will range to a high of $7 at Devil’s Lake and Peninsula on electrical sites during summer weekends. The greatest camping fee decrease will be $5 per night.

“We believe this new pricing structure will help us better manage the demand we’re seeing at some of our highly used properties while encouraging use at our lesser visited properties.” said Ben Bergey, director of the Wisconsin State Park System.

The 2017-2019 state budget set new rates and authorities for the DNR including: the ability to adjust camping rates from the base rates set in statute and the ability to adjust daily admission fees from the base rates set in statute, at all properties. Also included in the budget is a $5 increase on all electrical campsites at Devil’s Lake, Peninsula, Kohler-Andrae, High Cliff, and Willow River.

Also authorized in the 2017-2019 state budget, the park system plans to reinvest $2 million in user fees to fund property improvements, including the electrification of an additional 200 campsites at different campgrounds throughout the system including Big Bay, Blue Mound, Buckhorn, Copper Falls, Devil’s Lake, Governor Dodge, Harrington Beach, Hartman Creek, High Cliff, Interstate, Lake Kegonsa, Mirror Lake, Nelson Dewey, Pattison, Peninsula, Perrot, Potawatomi, Wildcat Mountain, Willow River and Wyalusing. They will also fund technology improvements at parks and the addition of electronic pay stations at various properties.

Other improvements will be made at a number of properties throughout the state, and may include new fire rings, picnic tables and grills; graveling and grading campsites and repairs and improvements to facilities, entrance roads and parking.

Under a separate funding act (Act 71) approved by the legislature, the park system will complete $4.5 million in water and waste water infrastructure improvement projects at various state parks across the state, including the replacement of vault toilets and camper dump station at Peninsula State Park and replacement of water infrastructure at Devil’s Lake State Park.

Implementation of the new rate structure will begin on Feb. 15, 2018. For more information about the Wisconsin State Park System, search for keyword “parks.”

Ethics Commission voices support for agency administrator GOP legislators seek to oust

The state Ethics Commission Thursday unanimously signaled its confidence in agency Administrator Brian Bell as Republican lawmakers continue to push for his ouster.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, has refused calls for a public hearing on Bell and Elections Commission Administrator Mike Haas ahead of planned confirmation votes Jan. 23.

The Ethics Commission, split evenly between Dem and GOP appointees, discussed having a public hearing of its own so the public could weigh in on Bell’s work. But Dem appointee Jeralyn Wendelberger’s motion did not receive a second.

Former GOP Rep. Pat Strachota, a Republican appointee to the commission, said public hearings were the purview of the state Senate. She argued the commission has already made its position clear.

“We have confidence. We have indicated that. So what do you hope to accomplish?” Strachota asked. “It’s not really up to us. It’s up to the Senate. That’s how the law was set up.”

Bell and Haas have been under fire since GOP AG Brad Schimel released a report detailing the old GAB’s handling of records from a John Doe investigation into coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and outside groups during the recalls. Several Republican lawmakers, including Fitzgerald, have called for their resignations. Fitzgerald has said he would put their nominations to votes on the Senate floor unless they stepped down, saying the two would “never” get enough support for confirmation.

While commissioners did not embrace a public hearing on Bell, they agreed to send to lawmakers correspondence the agency has received on his performance.

Bell also sought to explain how the Elections and Ethics commissions approached the John Doe records that were at the heart of the DOJ report.

Schimel has accused employees of the commissions of not being cooperative in his investigation into a leak of Doe records to The Guardian.

Bell said Ethics Commission employees “got our hands dirty right away” in trying to inventory records after the old GAB was replaced by the Elections and Ethics commissions.

He said staffers at the Elections Commission may have been aware of what records existed, but the Ethics Commission did not. Ethics Commission staff then began going through records, which he said were stored in two rooms. He described one as a safety hazard, because the records were stored in such poor condition that there was a risk of collapse. Staff were not allowed to go into that room without notifying someone else as a precaution.

The larger room where records were stored was in slightly better shape, Bell said. Ethics staff spent several days manually going through the records and found additional documents that DOJ wanted.

“I don’t know what the other agency can say that they put forth the same effort that we did,” Bell said, referencing the Elections Commission.

He also told the commission some Elections Commission employees were covered by the secrecy order governing the John Doe probe and had more knowledge of what was there.

At the request of commissioners, Bell also recounted his work for the GAB from March 2012 to September 2014. He worked for both the election and ethics divisions with the old agency, but said he had nothing to do with the John Doe probe.

He left for several reasons, including an opportunity at the Department of Safety and Professional Services and questions about the GAB’s future. Bell also said he “didn’t necessarily always agree with the way things operated.”

Chair David Halbrooks, a Dem appointee, suggested Bell left because he didn’t support the way the GAB was proceeding under the law and has “been on mission to clean up things that were wrong in the past.”

FRI AM Update: Baldwin raises $2.8 million in last quarter of 2017

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FRI News Summary: New superintendent at Lincoln Hills; Feds to allow states to test work requirements for Medicaid

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FRI REPORT: Ryan says immigration should be celebrated as he bemoans Trump comments on Haiti, African nations

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Gov. Walker: Seeks applicants for Winnebago County judicial vacancy

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today he is seeking applicants for appointment to the Winnebago County Circuit Court.
The new appointee will replace outgoing Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Gritton, whose resignation is effective July 31, 2018. The new appointee, should he or she choose to run, would be up for election in April 2019.

To apply, please submit the following:

-Cover Letter

-Resume

-Two Writing Samples

-Judicial Application: found on Governor Walker’s website: http://www.walker.wi.gov. (Select “Menu” at the top right of the page, “Serve WI,” “Service Applications,” “Judicial Application.”)

All application materials must be received no later than 5 p.m., Friday, February 2, 2018. Following submission, you will receive an email confirming that we have received your application, and explaining the next steps.

Potential applicants with questions about the process should email their questions to [email protected] If you need to speak with someone immediately, you may contact Kate Wiedel at 608-266-1212.

Kohl campaign: Statement on President Trump’s immigration remarks

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From Dan Kohl:

“Yesterday, the country learned that Donald Trump expressed vile and un American sentiments in a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

We should not mince words. The belief that the United States of America should not accept immigrants from non-white countries while accepting more immigrants from white, European countries is racist.

From the beginning of the American experiment we’ve been a nation of immigrants, drawn by this country’s freedoms and democratic ideals. In 1753, Benjamin Franklin decried the German immigrants who refused to learn English. Subsequent generations of arrivals from around the world faced bigotry and ignorance about their culture, their national identity, and their willingness to join the American experiment. Yet they persevered.

My grandfather, Max Kohl came to this country in 1924 at the age of 23. He lacked a formal education and didn’t speak more than a few words of English. He started a small grocery market, and over the course of a lifetime of hard work, he and my grandmother Mary lived out the American dream here in Wisconsin.

I approach the issue of immigration cognizant of the fact that under the Administration’s proposed immigration changes, my grandfather and his family would likely not have made it into this country. As a nation of immigrants, we need an immigration policy that’s compassionate, fair and consistent with who we are as Americans.

That is why I am calling for Glenn Grothman to join me and make clear that he will oppose the un-American, racist beliefs of Donald Trump from being implemented as the immigration policy of this great nation. Our children are watching and history will judge how our purported leaders responded.”

Palzewicz campaign: Statement in response to racist Trump comments

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Contact: Austin Kieler, (262) 501-9880

Seeing his comments about residents of Haiti, El Salvador, and various African countries yesterday, I was both astonished at the new low our President has sunk to, and unsurprised at the lack of comment from the incumbent in the 5th District.

All we hold dear in our civic life is under attack, and for what? A tax plan that raises taxes on many in the middle class, and double-taxes thousands of Wisconsin families? Further degradation of our environment and inaction on climate change, threatening our future survival?

Speaking of survival, more saber-rattling — with no evident strategy — with adversaries who have nuclear weapons?

I fully condemn these comments and call on Jim Sensenbrenner to do the same. And I promise when I’m in Congress, to do better and to make us confident and proud in our leadership again.

Tom Palzewicz is a Navy veteran and business owner who is running in southeastern Wisconsin’s 5th District to bring responsible and common-sense solutions to Congress. The general election will be held Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

Prolific donor Uihlein overhauling philanthropic organization

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Rep. Felzkowski: Wolf bill gets public hearing

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CONTACT: Rep. Felzkowski, 608-266-7694

Madison, WI – Wednesday, the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources met for a public hearing to receive testimony on AB 712, a bill to prohibit a Wisconsin law enforcement officer from enforcing a federal or state law concerning the management of the wolf population or that prohibits the killing of a wolf in this state.

The bill would also prohibit the Department of Natural Resources from expending any funds for the purpose of managing the wolf population in Wisconsin other than for the purpose of making payments under the endangered resources program to persons who apply for reimbursement for certain damage caused by wolves or protecting private property.

Rep. Felzkowski (R-Irma) commented, “Wolves may not be a problem in Madison, but I hear about them non-stop up north. We have parents that are afraid to let their kids and pets play outside. We have cattle farmers that wake up every morning hoping that all of their livestock made it through the night. And most of all, we have a population of wolves that aren’t afraid of humans. We’re currently allowing the wolves to manage us.”

Today’s hearing provided additional confirmation that de-listing the gray wolf is a bi-partisan solution agreed on by elected officials in Wisconsin and at the federal level. Until the gray wolf is de-listed and Wisconsin resumes wolf management, our sportsmen and farmers will unfairly continue to pay the cost.

Rep. Felzkowski added, “If the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Congress want to control the wolf population at the federal level, then they can provide the boots on the ground to implement their wolf management plan. If they don’t want to supply the resources to support their wolf management plan, then they should restore Wisconsin’s right to manage it ourselves.”

The Senate companion bill is scheduled to receive a public hearing next week. Both bills are slated to receive votes out of committee in the month of January.

Rep. Sargent fundraiser đź—“

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Kick off the New Year with Rep. Melissa Sargent

When: Wednesday, Jan. 17 from 5-7 p.m.
Where: Star Bar, 756 E Washington Ave., Madison

Republican State Leadership Committee: Second radio ad buy from the RSLC highlights Schachtner’s raw deal for taxpayers

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Contact: David James
[email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Beginning today, the Republican State Leadership Committee is airing a second issue ad which highlights liberal Patty Schachtner’s reckless use of taxpayer dollars.

As a member of the Somerset Board of Education, Schachtner supported a more than $4 million property tax increase on her neighbors. She has also criticized the testing of able-bodied welfare recipients for drug use, which helps protect tax dollars. Furthermore, as Chief Medical Examiner for St. Croix County, salaries for Schachtner’s office more than doubled in just five years.

“Patty Schachtner’s public stewardship of working families’ hard-earned tax dollars is appalling,” RSLC President Matt Walter said. “From sticking it to her own neighbors by supporting a more than $4 million property tax increase, to opposing the drug-testing of able bodied welfare recipients, to the amount spent on salaries in her office doubling as medical examiner, Patty Schachtner fails as a responsible guardian of taxpayer dollars,” Walter added.

The audio link and script of the new RSLC ad that begins today is below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5aDU4eWuZk

Script of Ad — “Wrong Answers”

(buzzer)

“Patty Schachtner has all the wrong answers for taxpayers.”

“Lemme give you some examples:”

“When she was on a school board, Patty Schachtner supported a property tax hike that would’ve cost taxpayers more than four million dollars!”

“Schachtner’s answer for taxpayers was just wrong.”

(buzzer)

“Patty Schachtner is failing to protect taxpayers by criticizing drug screening for able-bodied welfare recipients. The testing protects tax dollars, and it can also help people with drug addiction stay on the right path to getting and keeping a job. That’s commonsense accountability… but Schachtner opposes it.”

“Once again, Patty Schachtner is just plain wrong.”

(buzzer)

“And since Schachtner was put in charge of our local Medical Examiner office, their taxpayer-funded salaries more than doubled in just five years.” 

(buzzer)

“It’s clear, Patty Schachtner has all the wrong answers for taxpayers… and with her big tax agenda we all lose.”

(buzzer)

“Paid for by Republican State Leadership Committee.”

ABOUT THE RSLC

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) is the largest caucus of Republican state leaders in the country and the only national organization whose mission is to elect Republicans to multiple down-ballot, state-level offices. Since 2002, the RSLC has been working to elect candidates to the offices of lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state legislator, the judiciary and other down-ticket races. After Election Night 2017, state-level Republicans maintain 67 of 99 legislative chamber majorities in red, purple and blue states, hold 31 lieutenant governor seats, and control 30 secretaries of state offices. To learn more about the RSLC, please visit www.rslc.gop or follow @RSLC on Twitter.

Roys campaign: Roys calls on Gov. Walker to demand MO Gov. Eric Greitens’ resignation

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Contact: Ted Dick, 406-465-6317

Greitens’ alleged abuse and blackmail of woman is appalling, Roys says

Madison, WI – Today, former state representative and women’s rights advocate Kelda Roys called on Gov. Scott Walker to ask for Gov. Eric Greitens’ resignation from the board of the Republican Governors Association. The two GOP governors serve together on the board, where Walker recently stepped down as president and Greitens was his protégé. Walker campaigned vigorously for Greitens during his election.

“Mistreating women is never acceptable. Too many GOP leaders, including Gov. Walker, looked the other as over a dozen women accused President Trump of assault and harassment. In the wake of the tremendous #metoo movement, however, women are not going to be silenced and pushed aside any longer.

“Now, Gov. Walker’s fellow RGA board member, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, has been accused of blackmailing a woman with revenge porn, having photographed her nude without consent after blindfolding her and binding her hands during a consensual encounter. It’s time for Gov. Walker to stand up to this appalling, abusive behavior – even when perpetrated by fellow Republican governors or presidents. I call on Gov. Walker to denounce Gov. Greitens and call for his resignation as governor and from the RGA board.”

Kelda Roys, 38, is a small business owner, former state representative, and longtime advocate for women and families. She is running for governor of Wisconsin.

Ryan says immigration should be celebrated as he bemoans Trump comments on Haiti, African nations

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Ryan says immigration should be celebrated as he bemoans Trump comments on Haiti, African nations

By David Wise
WisPolitics.com

House Speaker Paul Ryan Friday called immigration a “thing to celebrate” as he bemoaned the president’s vulgar comments about Haiti and African nations as “very unfortunate, unhelpful.”

Still, Ryan sidestepped when asked how Congress could finalize an immigration deal with Trump reportedly making the comments, saying only: “We just have to get it done.”

“I read those comments later last night and the first thing that came to my mind was very unfortunate, unhelpful,” Ryan told a WisPolitics.com event in Milwaukee before talking about his family coming to the U.S. from Ireland.

The event were Ryan’s first public comments on the president’s remarks, which have been condemned by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

GOP U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson Friday called on Trump to apologize for the “totally inappropriate” remarks, according to a transcript of an interview with Wisconsin Public Television that his office provided.

Trump Thursday during a meeting with congressional leaders reportedly questioned why the U.S. should protect immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and some African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to national media reports.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump was reported as saying to the lawmakers.

Via Twitter, Trump denied making derogatory comments.

But Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said the “the best thing” Trump can do “is just admit it and apologize for it and move on.”

“When you enter the public realm, I don’t care what your past was, I don’t know what kind of salty language he might have used, you stop doing it,” he said. “You have a certain responsibility, a certain decorum you have to conduct yourself in public with.”

Ryan says Congress unlikely to tackle entitlement reform this year

During the WisPolitics.com event, Ryan also said Congress is unlikely to take up changes to major entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security in 2018, citing a lack of bipartisan consensus on the issue.

“It’s more of a wishlist of mine, but I don’t see us tackling it this year,” the Janesville Republican said.

Because Congress can’t use budget reconciliation, which requires a simple majority vote, to enact such changes, bipartisan support will be needed to get enough votes, Ryan said.

“No matter what you do, you’re going to have to find bipartisan consensus to fix these thorny, long-term problems,” Ryan said. “And we don’t have that right now.”

But Ryan stressed the importance of making changes to the programs so they remain available for future generations.

“Medicare and Social Security are the two most important programs, arguably, we’ve got,” Ryan said. “They’re going bankrupt.”

With tax and regulatory overhauls accomplished in 2018, Ryan said the next big focus to boost the economy will be on the workforce.

Ryan said that involves looking at how to close skill and opportunity gaps, and getting people coming out of prison rehabilitated and into the workforce.

“That to us is going to be our biggest priority,” Ryan said. “And that means to me is that if we close this skills gap, and reverse this brain drain that we have, we’re going to do such a better job of getting people into great lives, into great careers and the economy will grow even faster as a result.

On other topics:

— Ryan predicted the tax reforms signed into law shortly before the new year will grow in popularity and help Republicans as they face possible headwinds in the midterm elections.

Ryan said that stands in contrast to Dems with the Affordable Care Act, which they thought was going to be “wildly popular” only to see it play into a GOP wave that swept the country in 2010. He said Dems made a mistake by opposing the GOP tax bill, believing “this is our Obamacare.”

“This law, once people actually realize what it actually does do, is popular,” Ryan said, adding that pundits have slammed the law for “falsehoods that don’t exist.”

“So that now that you see what it actually does, the story just gets better,” Ryan said. “You’re going to see more jobs, more investment, higher take-home pay, lower taxes for people, and that is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

— Ryan said while he believes that is a good thing for Republicans to run on, history shows a newly elected president’s party tends to face losses in the first midterm after inauguration.

“We have to buck history, and we know that we have a challenge ahead of us to do that,” Ryan said. “The reason I feel confident and comfortable is we ran on a set of ideas, we’re now implementing and executing those ideas and policies, and the results are proving themselves.”

— Ryan said a short-term fix is in the works to prevent a government shutdown.

Stressing problems with military readiness due to funding issues, Ryan said a long-term solution is needed to fund the government, but there is not enough time to draft and pass legislation before the January 19 deadline.

“I think we will get a down payment on some of these problems … and keep working to get the rest of it done,” Ryan said.

— Ryan called reports he would retire after his win on his longtime goal of tax reform “bogus speculation.”

“There are other things to do than just tax reform,” Ryan said.

He said he and his wife have a conversation every spring in election years about what to do going forward.

“And this year is no different than any other year,” Ryan said.

Pressed for a firm answer, Ryan quipped, “Do you think I’m not going to talk to my wife and give you the answer?”

U.S. Rep. Pocan: Announces 2018 United States Service Academy nominations

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Contact: Ron Boehmer 202-225-2906

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) today announced nominations for 14 students from Wisconsin’s 2nd Congressional District to join the Classes of 2022 at the United States Service Academies.

“It is an honor to nominate these exceptional students to attend our nation’s service academies and become future leaders in the military,” said Rep. Pocan. “All of the nominees are bright and dedicated students who have demonstrated extraordinary academic achievement and a strong commitment to serving our country. They will certainly become successful leaders, representing Wisconsin and our nation with virtue.”

On January 6, the students and their families were recognized at an award ceremony and reception at the Alicia Ashman Library in Madison and received an award from Rep. Pocan.

Rep. Pocan assembled a board of volunteers comprised of community leaders as well as active and retired service members from south central Wisconsin to assist with the evaluation of the applicants from the 2nd Congressional District. After the completion of the application process, the nomination board recommended the students, who were then nominated by Rep. Pocan.

Rep. Pocan is recommending the following students to the service academies’ classes of 2022. Final admission is determined by the respective academy.

United States Air Force Academy

Julia Ballweg – Prairie du Sac, Sauk Prairie High School

Jack Cronin – Beloit, Beloit Memorial High School

Cole Myers – Belleville, Belleville High School

United States Military Academy

Benjamin Kelley – Cottage Grove, St. John’s NW Military Academy

Paul Luebke – Madison, Shattuck St. Mary’s Boarding School

Jack Rader – Middleton, Middleton High School

United States Naval Academy

Casimir Buske – Madison, Madison East High School

Hunter Dunn – Madison, Edgewood High School

Zachary Hurst – Fitchburg, Verona Area High School

Mitchell Jorgensen – Madison, Madison West High School

Kendra Lee – Hollandale, Edgewood High School

Abigail Louis – Stoughton, University of Maryland

Robertson Powers – Middleton, Middleton High School

*Alexander Wowk – Verona, Madison Memorial High School

*Has been accepted to Service Academy

Wachs campaign: Announces Day Five of Week One Campaign: Achieve Wisconsin Initiative

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Initiative will make sure every Wisconsin student is prepared to succeed in the 21st century
EAU CLAIRE – Dana Wachs announced the fifth and final part of a week-long issues campaign called Week One. On Day Five, Wachs would launch the Achieve Wisconsin Initiative to make sure every student, no matter where they live or what their financial means are, has access to the same opportunities for education. It also seeks to provide relief for college graduates with crippling student loan debt.

“It’s simple. Every student should have the same opportunity to succeed if they work hard. It shouldn’t matter if their parents are poor or wealthy, if they live in a small town in northern Wisconsin or if they live Milwaukee or Green Bay. Every child should be able to get a high-quality education in our public schools. That isn’t just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. The better educated our young people are, the better our economy will perform.

“We must also recognize that entire generations of folks in our state are suffocating under the weight of student loan debt. It keeps them from starting new businesses, starting families, buying homes, and more. If we are going to grow our economy, we must let these folks refinance their student loan debt similar to the way homeowners can refinance a mortgage. Gov. Walker’s “just-call-a-bank” line is out of touch.

“And we have to roll back Gov. Walker’s ludicrous mandates that tie the hands of our teachers and faculty. We need to respect and value education instead of belittling it. I will respect Wisconsin’s teachers, support our students, and take swift action to help us build the Wisconsin that will let every child achieve their dreams,” said Wachs.

The Achieve Wisconsin Initiative will:

  • Restore Gov. Walker’s cuts to our public schools, the University of Wisconsin system, and Wisconsin’s technical colleges.
  • Create a Wisconsin Badgers Achieve program to ensure that a technical college, two-year college or four-year university is within reach for any student who works hard and gets good grades.
  • Resolve funding inequities between wealthy and low-income school districts and increase funding for schools in rural districts to make sure every child has the same opportunities to achieve no matter where in Wisconsin they live.
  • Finally, allow Wisconsinites with college debt to refinance their student loans similar to the way millions of Americans are able to refinance their home mortgages.
  • Increase access to quality early childcare programs throughout Wisconsin.
  • Give our teachers and faculty the respect they deserve and remove the mandates that tie their hands and stifle innovation in education.

Wachs for Wisconsin will release a new initiative each day from January 8 through January 12, one year out from a new administration.

For more information, visit www.DanaWachs.com/weekone.

Wisconsin Historical Society: Names Christian Overland as the new Ruth and Hartley Barker Director

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Contact: Kara O’Keeffe
Wisconsin Historical Society
[email protected]
608-261-9596

Current executive vice president of the Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, will head Wisconsin’s premier historical organization

Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin Historical Society announced today that its Board of Curators has appointed Christian W. Overland as its new Ruth and Hartley Barker Director. Overland is currently the executive vice president of The Henry Ford, an internationally-recognized history destination in Dearborn, Michigan.

“The Wisconsin Historical Society is rich in educational resources and one of the best history organizations in our nation,” said Overland. “I am very excited about working with the Society’s staff and Board of Curators to create meaningful and memorable mission-based experiences through access to history.”

“Christian emerged following a national search as our top choice to lead the Society,” said Brian Rude, the president of Society’s Board of Curators. “His impressive career at an important historical institution gives him the skills, insights and experience to lead the Wisconsin Historical Society forward.”

Overland has held a variety of administrative roles at The Henry Ford since 1992. Since 2010, he has been responsible for leading and managing strategic planning, historical research, the maintenance and growth of the institution’s collections and visitor experiences as its executive vice president. Overland also has overseen education programs, experience design, museum operations and national positioning.

The Henry Ford is a national historic landmark that draws nearly 1.8 million visitors annually to its five attractions: Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour, Benson Ford Research Center and The Henry Ford Giant Screen Experience.

Major leadership initiatives by Overland have included the master plan effort, restoration and transformation of Greenfield Village as well as planning, developing and implementing the Henry Ford Museum Master Plan.

Overland will replace Ellsworth Brown, who announced his intention to retire last August. Brown has led the Society since July 2004.

“Ellsworth’s efforts have enhanced the national standing and reputation of the Wisconsin Historical Society,” said Rude. “The Board of Curators thanks him for his leadership in the preservation of Wisconsin’s heritage and his unwavering commitment to helping the Society connect people to the past by collecting, preserving, and sharing important stories.”

Overland, a Minnesota native, will be moving to Wisconsin with his wife Maura and their three children.

Prior to his positions in Michigan, Overland worked for the Minnesota Historical Society and was a volunteer gallery lecturer at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He earned his undergraduate degree in American Studies and Art History at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis and his master’s degree at the State University of New York College at Oneonta and New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, NY in American History and Museum Studies.

Overland will begin his new assignment in Madison on February 12.

According to Rude, Overland will be taking over leadership of the Society, its diverse operations and its exceptional North American history resources at an exciting time. In 2018, the Society will move into a new 188,000 square foot State Archive Preservation Facility and explore ways to upgrade the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison.

About the Wisconsin Historical Society
The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Society serves millions of people every year through a wide range of sites, programs and services. For more information, visit www.wisconsinhistory.org.

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty: Wisconsin Supreme Court takes WILL case challenging Wisconsin’s law prohibiting cemeteries from operating funeral homes

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State law is unconstitutional, an unnecessary impediment to competition, free markets
Milwaukee, WI – The Wisconsin State Supreme Court has decided to take Porter v. Wisconsin, a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s prohibition on joint ownership of cemeteries and funeral homes. This anticompetitive law was passed at the behest of funeral directors during the 1930’s to protect themselves from a new form of business: combination firms that operated cemeteries as well as funeral homes. Combination firms are now common in most states, but they are still forbidden from doing business in Wisconsin.
On behalf of Highland Memorial Park, a cemetery in New Berlin, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed a lawsuit in Waukesha County against the State of Wisconsin, the Secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, and the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Examining Board in August of 2014. We argue that the facts show that the law is protectionist and does not serve any legitimate governmental purpose. The State supports it by offering mere speculation about some ways in which Wisconsin consumers might be harmed. But combination firms operate almost everywhere without any actual evidence that any of these possible harms have ever actually occurred, anywhere or any time.
WILL President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg noted that “the case is not about judicial activism or asking courts to substitute their judgment for that of the legislature. The state’s police power does not allow it to impair the right to earn a living or pursue a lawful business without some reasonable justification. The state has no business favoring one group of competitors over another.”
The law does nothing more than protect funeral directors from competition. It prevents innovation in the funeral services industry and deprives consumers of the benefits that could be achieved by firms that are better able to provide them with the range of services they may need. The law deprives cemetery owners and, for that matter, funeral directors themselves, from freely conducting their businesses in the way they think will best serve their customers.
Case background and documents can be found here.
At the outset of the lawsuit, WILL Senior Counsel Mike Fischer stated, “The funeral services business is a business like any other. The Wisconsin Constitution protects people’s right to earn a living and engage in business in the manner of their choosing. And Wisconsin consumers, who spend millions of dollars on funeral services every year, should be able to work with a firm that offers them the comprehensive and innovative services they need. Government cannot limit their choices without demonstrating that a regulation is needed to protect the public health, safety or welfare. These laws are not.”
Oral arguments in the case will be heard this spring with the court issuing a decision this summer.

WisDems: Another Walker non-answer on Lincoln Hills raises a significant question

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Contact: Melanie Conklin, 608-260-2409

What changed to make your office finally address this crisis? 
MADISON — On Tuesday, Gov. Scott Walker’s clumsy cover-up of his neglect of the crisis at Lincoln Hills grew even more flimsy as he struggled to answer a basic question about its closure.

The following is an exchange between Walker and WSAW:


WSAW Reporter: “Why did it take so long to have your office do anything with regards to Lincoln Hills and the overcrowding. I was told by your office that you’ve been working on it for a little over a year, but you also found out about this six years ago.”

Walker: “Well, the changes have been made by the Department of Corrections consistently over the last several years. We take safety and security — so what was announced this past week wasn’t the first step; it’s one of many steps.” (sic)


Walker’s evasive non-answer leaves the public wondering about the “many steps” Walker suddenly claims to have taken to address this crisis because he has done nothing to substantiate his claim that the plan to close Lincoln Hills has been in the works for over a year.

This leads to a natural question: If there were many steps being taken before, why Walker’s sudden interest in finally addressing this situation?

Just two months ago, Walker told the AP that he was leaving it up to the Department of Corrections make whatever changes it felt were needed for security at Lincoln Hills. He made no mention of any ongoing planning, continuing to show a complete lack of personal concern over the crisis. That would be an unusual response from someone who at that point had been actively working on a plan to close Lincoln Hills for more than a year.

Walker’s timeline is suspect — horrifying stories of abuse and mismanagement at Lincoln Hills have regularly emerged for years through aggressive reporting on the crisis.  The only things that have changed recently are the threat of a tell-all book from Walker’s former Department of Corrections secretary Ed Wall and the fact that Walker is facing a tough re-election.

“All signs point to Walker moving on Lincoln Hills in order to cover up his years-long neglect of this crisis and his utter lack of leadership,” said Martha Laning, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “The people of Wisconsin expect more than a governor who only does his job in campaign years.”

WisOpinion Poll: Do you agree with Gov. Scott Walker’s juvenile corrections plan?

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Gov. Scott Walker recently announced a plan to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake and move offenders from the Northern Wisconsin youth prisons to new regional facilities.

The plan would take effect in 2019, but in response to lawmakers’ concerns, Walker said he is open to accelerating the timeline.

Walker’s plan calls for $80 million in borrowing during the 2019-21 budget to fund the new regional facilities.

But retrofitting Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake into a medium-security adult prison would be an additional cost.

Along with the five regional facilities, the plan also calls for expanding the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center.

According to the guv’s office, the regional facilities would have between 32 and 36 beds, and the state also would work with Lincoln County on the transition of the youth prisons to a medium-security adult facility.

DOC spokesman Tristan Cook said the department will work with the Department of Administration’s Division of Facility Development in the next biennium to estimate projected costs and begin the design process for five new regional facilities. One would be north of a line between Manitowoc and La Crosse, while Cook told WisPolitics.com that three of those facilities are slated to be located in southeastern Wisconsin.

DOC will work with counties to determine the location of the fifth facility.

There is an ongoing federal probe at the prison over the treatment of inmates, and the ACLU filed a lawsuit that resulted in a federal judge order requiring changes in the use of solitary confinement, restraints and pepper spray.

Do you agree with the governor’s plan?

Share your opinions in other WisOpinion polls and view results: https://polco.us/wispolitics

WisOpinion.com: ‘The Insiders’ debate whether Paul Soglin can become Wisconsin’s Bernie Sanders

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Show 39B Insiders Two-Minute Take (1-12-2018) from WisOpinion on Vimeo.

The WisOpinion Insiders, Jensen & Chvala, analyze whether the latest Dem governor candidate, Paul Soglin, can become the Bernie Sanders of Wisconsin.

Sponsored by Michael Best Strategies and the Wisconsin Counties Association.

January 14, 2018 | January 11, 2018
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