2018 April

Monthly Archives: April 2018

‘UpFront’: Conservative commentator Sykes says Ryan’s retirement emboldens Democrats

Conservative commentator and author Charlie Sykes called House Speaker Paul Ryan a “decent man in an indecent era,” and said he wasn’t surprised by Ryan’s decision to retire, only by the timing of it.

“I think the difficulty of carrying Donald Trump on his back and running an uncontrollable caucus had gotten to him,” Sykes said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“It clearly emboldens the Democrats. It adds to the narrative of the ‘blue wave,’ and it’s going to demoralize Republicans,” Sykes said.

Sykes said he believed Ryan, R-Janesville, was sincere in his statement that he wanted to be a full-time dad. But he said he also thought there was a “Trump factor” in Ryan’s decision.

“During the campaign Ryan made it very, very clear that he had differences with Trump and was willing to call him out. But then of course when Trump was elected, Paul Ryan had to make a different choice. And he made the choice to basically become the wingman, to become Donald Trump’s enabler. But it was never easy. That was obviously always a complicated relationship,” Sykes said.

“What did you want him to do, though? He was in a very difficult position. What should he have done, in your mind?” Gousha asked.

“I wanted Paul Ryan to be a face of an alternative version of conservatism. To make it very clear that yes, Trump may be the president, but there was an alternative vision,” Sykes said.

Sykes aid he thinks Ryan “could have pushed back a little bit more” with Trump.  

“I understand that was complicated. But the question is: ‘How much are you willing to look the other way? How much are you willing to rationalize in order to get some policy decision?’ So yeah, they got tax reform, they got the tax cuts. But was it worth the price that I think Republicans are going to pay for again, going along with this?” Sykes said.

Gousha asked Sykes if he could see the 48-year-old Ryan running for another political office in the future.

“I can’t, but as I’ve said before, we live politics in dog years right now. The world will look very different two years from now, four years from now, six years from now. He’s a very, very young man. But I do think it’s hard to come back from the last year and a half. I think it’s going to be very tough for him,” Sykes said.

Also on the program, a national political handicapper discussed his group’s rating of Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District as a “toss-up” with Ryan out of the race.

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said Republicans have had trouble defending even Republican-leaning open seats this year.

That, in combination with the national environment and the president’s party historically losing seats in the midterm election, prompted the “toss-up” rating, Kondik said.  

“Even though Paul Ryan has consistently won this district very easily throughout his career, I think as an open seat the calculus just totally changes,” Kondik said.

“We know that the national environment in the fall is at least going to be a little bit Democratic leaning and maybe a lot Democratic leaning. And so you put that all together, and I think you do have to look at this district as basically 50-50, even while conceding that Republicans may ultimately have the edge, based on whoever the candidates may be,” Kondik said.

Kondik acknowledged that President Trump won the 1st District by 10 points, and conservative Judge Michael Screnock won it by 5 points, even while losing the state as a whole in the April 3 election for Wisconsin Supreme Court.

In another segment, BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Corri Hess said the possible loss of the Bon Ton stores will be a “huge hit” for shopping malls around the state.

Bon Ton, with 13 stores and more than 2,200 employees in Wisconsin, goes to auction Monday and faces possible liquidation.

Hess said Bon Ton has been struggling for years in a difficult environment for brick-and-mortar retailers.

“These mid-level (stores) have had trouble because people have gone other places to shop,” she said. Higher-end and lower-end retailers have fared better, she said.

Hess said if Bon Ton is liquidated, it will be very tough for struggling malls like Southridge and Bayshore in suburban Milwaukee, and the Regency Mall in Racine.

“In a lot of small towns, this is the department store to go to, actually across the state, and across the country,” she said.

See more from the program:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

‘UpFront’: Evers says he’s leading ‘one-person race’ for Dem guv nomination

State DPI Superintendent Tony Evers said he’s leading the large field of Democrats running for governor and it’s a “one-person” race at this point.

In an interview on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” Evers said the results of a poll commissioned by one of his opponents, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, are consistent with other polling done in the race.

Soglin released the results of the poll, done by Democratic firm FM3 Research, at a WisPolitics.com luncheon event last week.

The poll showed Evers in the lead at 30 percent, followed by Soglin at 17 percent.

But after descriptions of the candidates were read to respondents, the results changed to 25 percent for Evers and 23 percent for Soglin. The mayor called the contest a “two-person race.”

“I think it’s a one-person race,” Evers responded on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“When you have a 10-point lead, I’ve run statewide three times. There’s no other candidate that can say that. Last time I got 70 percent of the vote and won 70 of 72 counties, including Ozaukee County, which hardly ever has gone to a progressive. So no, I think it’s a one-person race,” he said.

“I feel very confident that we’re going to win that primary and beat Scott Walker,” Evers said.

Also on the program, Nick Polce, a conservative running for the Republican nomination in the 1st Congressional District, said he was motivated to run by the birth of his son and concern about the future of the country.

“I spent a lot of time overseas, fighting for freedom. I wanted to get involved now. My little man was being born, changed my life, and it was time to take action,” said Polce, a former Army Green Beret who lives in Lake Geneva.

Polce said elected officials shouldn’t go to Washington to become career politicians.

“I want to go there, work for a few years, then return back to the private sector and at the same time, create the next generation of leaders to take my place,” he said.

He said his top issues are government spending and overreach through regulation.

In another segment, a spokesman for Wisconsin’s Green Fire conservation group discussed the progress the organization has made since its founding on Earth Day 2017.

John Lyons, a retired DNR fisheries scientist, said the group is made up of mostly retired DNR experts, and people from the university and non-profit communities. Green Fire promotes science-based management of Wisconsin’s natural resources.

“There’s been a maybe not explicit, but certainly an implicit reduction in the influence of science on decision-making within the Department of Natural Resources, and certainly a strong reduction in the actual existence of science. The staff has been cut, the staff has been essentially muzzled in some instances and not allowed to speak out about stuff,” Lyons said.

Gousha asked if Wisconsin could still be considered a leader in conservation.

“Unfortunately, I’d have to say no,” Lyons said, adding that people outside the state “are kind of shocked” at how things have changed.

“Our sort of philosophy seems to have has changed, and that’s been troubling to a lot of the people who have joined Green Fire,” he said.

See more from the show: http://www.wisn.com/upfront

 

‘UpFront’: Hovde won’t run for U.S. Senate, holding off on endorsement

Madison businessman Eric Hovde, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, said he has decided against running for Senate this year.

“After wrestling with this decision for the last, oh, six months, I’ve decided not to run,” Hovde said Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Hovde cited “a number of different factors” both personal and professional, including the pregnancy of his eldest daughter, the serious illness of another family member, and the impact on his businesses.

“It really weighed on me. On one hand, I really wanted to get into the race. I so desperately wanted to debate Tammy Baldwin, because we have absolutely different philosophies,” he said.

“But when I looked at it, for my life right now and my wife, we just finally — after a lot of prayer and a lot of discussion — said it’s just not the right time for us at this point in time,” Hovde said.

Hovde’s decision leaves the Republican primary field to state Sen. Leah Vukmir of Brookfield and Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson. Both are seeking to challenge the incumbent Dem, Baldwin.

Hovde said he decided against running before Tuesday’s election for Wisconsin Supreme Court, in which Judge Rebecca Dallet, favored by liberals, defeated Judge Michael Screnock, the choice of conservatives, by a double-digit margin.

Hovde held out the possibility that he could run again for Senate at some point in the future.

Hovde also said he would hold off on endorsing at this time.

“Leah was a big supporter of mine last time. The one thing about Leah, I know she and I view most of the issues very similar,” Hovde said.

“Kevin I just don’t know that well. There are some issues that caused me a bit of concern, but, you know, I want to give him a fair hearing.”

Also on the program, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairwoman Martha Laning said “a lot of hard work” went into recent victories by two women seeking state office.

Judge Rebecca Dallet, who won a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tuesday, and Democratic state Sen. Patty Schachtner, who won a special election in January, are part of a trend of women seeking office across the nation.

“I think as women we really care about our communities and the future of our families, our parents. We’re caregivers, and we’re concerned about what’s happening,” Laning said.

Laning said Democratic candidates are connecting with voters around the state.

“We as Democrats did a much better job of ensuring that we were out talking to their neighbors and listening to what are the issues that are most important,” she said.

The next big races will be special elections in June for Senate District 1 in northeastern Wisconsin, and Assembly District 42 in south central Wisconsin.

Laning said Democrats have a good chance of picking up those seats.

“We know it will be not easy. We need everybody to get out and talk to the people and help us show just what phenomenal candidates, and we do have phenomenal candidates running in those positions. Rebecca Dallet won Senate District 1, but we’re not taking anything for granted,” Laning said.

In another segment, UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Bernie Patterson said a proposal to cut 13 humanities majors and add or expand 16 other majors was only a proposal, and campus groups are now looking at “alternative possibilities.”

UWSP leadership had proposed cuts in the humanities programs as a way to address financial difficulties and declining enrollment, which Patterson said has fallen 16 percent in the last seven years.

But there has been serious push back to the proposal, and the controversy has drawn national attention.

“What I hope to do is to find the really good ideas in all of the proposals that we hear,” Patterson said. “Thus far what we’ve heard is ‘don’t do this,’ or ‘don’t do that.’ But there haven’t been very many suggestions on what to do, and no action is, frankly, not a choice.”

Patterson said UWSP will not submit a plan to the Board of Regents until the fall semester.

“There’s plenty of time for dialogue and conversation. That’s why we started this as early as we did,” he said.

See more from the show:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

‘UpFront’: NextGen America plans large presence in WI to register, engage young voters

Tom Steyer, the California hedge fund billionaire who launched NextGen America, said the group will have a large presence in Wisconsin to engage and register young voters ahead of the 2018 election.

“We’re going to be on 35 campuses, including four community colleges,” Steyer said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“We’re going to have over 50 people working on it, and the idea is to get as many young voters engaged in the process, participating in our democracy, so we get the most just and the most intelligent decisions coming forward,” he said.

Steyer is targeting Gov. Scott Walker and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, for defeat.

“When we look at Wisconsin, you know we can see that Gov. Walker and Speaker Ryan are people who have been on the extreme right in the United States, that Wisconsin has been a place where there has been an attempt to restrict voting, as opposed to what we’re trying to do, which is have the broadest possible democracy,” he said.

“We feel like it’s absolutely incumbent to give the people of Wisconsin, particularly the young people, a chance for their voices to be heard, and their votes to be counted,” Steyer said.

Steyer also discussed his campaign to impeach President Trump. Steyer has been running television ads for several months asking people to sign a national petition calling for Trump’s impeachment.

“We have over 5 million people who have signed our petition, calling for the impeachment of this reckless and lawless president, and we feel that every single day the evidence mounts that this is a man who does not respect the rule of law, who is dangerous to our democracy and dangerous to the health and safety of the American people,” Steyer said.

In another segment, two consultants discussed the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court ahead of the election on Tuesday.

“Progressives and Democrats are much more motivated in this spring election, really than we ever have been,” said Democratic campaign consultant Tanya Bjork.

Republican communications consultant Brian Fraley of Edge Messaging noted a difference in enthusiasm levels between liberals and conservatives.

“A lot of conservatives maybe have taken this race for granted, have been slow to wake up, in part because the campaigns have been slow to mature,” Fraley said.

Fraley said Republican voter turnout efforts will be key for Judge Michael Screnock on Tuesday. The race is officially non-partisan.

“I think it will come down to the established, turnkey get-out-the-vote operation that Republicans have built up over the last 10 years. Is that enough to get a horse race, neck-and-neck campaign over the final hurdle?” Fraley said.

Bjork said turnout among female suburban voters will be important for Judge Rebecca Dallet.

“I think women are paying more attention to this time period in politics and in campaigns, and I think particularly to this race. There is a really stark contrast between these two candidates on issues that women care about,” she said.

Also on the program, Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, discussed the special elections coming up for two vacant legislative seats.

Democrats forced Gov. Scott Walker’s hand in calling the elections by filing a lawsuit. Walker, who had said waiting until the regular November election would save taxpayers money, called the elections for June.

“Only Republicans could say that democracy is too expensive, we just can’t afford the money for elections to let the people have representation,” Hintz said.

Hintz said Democrats are ready to run in the 42nd Assembly District, which was held by Republican Keith Ripp until he resigned Dec. 29 to join Walker’s administration.

“We’ve been ready for the 42nd Assembly seat for months because we thought that this was a likely outcome,” Hintz said.

He said the district is more competitive than the western Wisconsin Senate district Democrats won in a special election in January.

“In my time in office, I’ve never seen enthusiasm like this,” Hintz said.

See more from the show:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

‘UpFront’: Wachs says he’d seek to change Foxconn terms if elected governor

A Democratic candidate for governor, Rep. Dana Wachs, said the Walker administration has invested “too much in one company” in the Foxconn deal, and he would look to change the terms of the contract if he’s elected.

“I think by and large this company has somewhat of a checkered history,” the Eau Claire Dem said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“I think by and large we can expect there’ll probably be some form of a breach of the contract on their end. If that happens, then in that event I want to talk about some new terms for this contract,” Wachs said.

Wachs said Foxconn is a risky investment in one company in an industry that is “prone to change.” He said the administration could have spurred the development of “tens of thousands of new businesses” all over Wisconsin with the billions it spent on Foxconn.

One takeaway from the Foxconn deal, Wachs said, is that “we’ve had the money all along,” noting Gov. Scott Walker’s cuts to education and his statements early in his first term that Wisconsin was broke.

“What Foxconn does prove is we’ve got the money. We’ve just got to have the will to use it on regular folks, not just huge corporations,” he said. “We’ve got to invest in regular people.”

Former Racine Mayor John Dickert – now president of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative – said mayors of Great Lakes cities see Foxconn and the Lake Michigan water diversion as a “first” to be closely watched.

Dickert said leaders of Great Lakes cities have long anticipated “a migration” of industry back to the region.

“The mayors are all saying, since this is the first and the biggest to come back to the Great Lakes; we want to make sure this is done right,” he said.

In another segment, Union Grove dairy farmer Dave Daniels, a board member of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, said farmers are being hurt by lower commodities prices. 

“It’s all about supply and demand. We have an oversupply right now of milk. The demand is actually really good, and we’re getting it moved out in the countryside, and then we’re also doing a lot of exporting. We just need to get that balance back in place,” he said.

See more from the show:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

42nd AD candidate forum 🗓

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WHAT: Public forum for the 42nd Assembly District special election candidates sponsored by the Lodi Optimist Club

WHEN: Wednesday, May 2 from 12-1:15 p.m.

WHERE: The Large Group Instruction (LGI) room at Lodi High School, 1100 Sauk St., Lodi

Contact: Bill Haupt, 608-592-4278

The Lodi Optimist Club will sponsor a public forum for the 42nd Assembly District special election candidates on Wednesday, May 2 from Noon – 1:15 p.m. in the Large Group Instruction (LGI) room at Lodi High School, 1100 Sauk St., Lodi.

Invitations to participate in the forum have been extended to each of the six candidates on the primary ballot. They include four Republicans: Colleen Jane Locke-Murphy of Poynette, Jon Plumer of Lodi, Darren W. Schroeder of Columbus and Spencer Zimmerman of Janesville; Independent Gene Rubenstein of Pardeeville; and Democrat Ann Groves-Lloyd of Lodi.

Candidates will be asked to provide opening and closing statements and respond to questions from audience members. Optimist member Bill Haupt will serve as moderator.

For the past two decades, the Lodi Optimist Club has sponsored candidate forums in partnership with the administrators, faculty and students at Lodi High. In addition to being a “Friend of Youth,” Optimist clubs are encouraged in their mission statement to “promote an active interest in good government and civic affairs” in their communities.

Candidates emerging from the May 15 primary election will be invited to another forum prior to the June 12 general election.

5th CD Dem convention 🗓

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Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District Convention
WHEN: Sunday, May 6th, 2018
10 a.m.: Registration
11 a.m.: Convention begins
WHERE: Comfort Suites Conference Center, 725 Paradise Ln, Johnson Creek, WI 53038

Registration Information: The deadline to sign up for the convention and to become a delegate is April 29th at 5 p.m. Register Online https://secure.actblue.com/donate/5thcd2018# If you prefer to send a check, please mail it by the deadline to Jefferson County Democratic Party, PO Box 14, Jefferson WI  53549.

A Better Mt. Pleasant: Village CDA members must resign if they vote to blight homeowners in Foxconn zone

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CONTACT: Kelly Gallaher 414/350-6858

MT. PLEASANT, WI April 12, 2018 – Local community group, “A Better Mt. Pleasant,” is callingon members of the Mount Pleasant Community Development Authority (CDA) to resign fromtheir appointed positions if they vote to designate areas within the Foxconn development zoneas blighted. The vote is expected to happen on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 6:30 pm at theVillage Hall.

Residents have already received notice of eminent domain proceedings and Village officials
announced on March 20, 2018 at a CDA public hearing that they intend to invoke “blighting”condemnation against property owners in the land acquisition process for Foxconn.

“Most of these homeowners haven’t even entered into negotiations with the Village before theydecided to play the ‘blight’ card,” said Kelly Gallaher, a representative for the group. “The CDAhas been given detailed information on why these properties do not meet the legal definition of‘blighted.’ They have ignored the law and their own neighbors, and appear poised to do it anyway.”

Wisconsin State Statute 32.03(6) says that condemnation through blighting can only be used if the property is not occupied by the owner of the property, his or her spouse, or an individual related to the owner by blood, marriage, or adoption within the 4th degree of kinship OR the crime rate in, on, or adjacent to the property is at least 3 times the crime rate in the remainder of the municipality in which the property is located.

None of the homes in the Foxconn zone under threat of condemnation meet these legal criteria. Gallaher says, “There is little doubt that actions to blight these properties will lead to a lawsuit which will not just cause problems for the FoxConn development, but could set a very dangerous precedent. If Mount Pleasant is allowed to blight perfectly good family homes and give them to a privately owned corporation, they can do it to anyone, anywhere.”

The Mount Pleasant Village Code of Ethics ordinances state that any public official who
knowingly acts in excess of their legal authority and official capacity has committed misconduct in office.

Any member of the Mount Pleasant Community Development Authority who casts a vote to
impose condemnation through blight against property owners in the Foxconn zone does so
knowing they are violating state law and is therefore called upon to immediately resign from service on the Village CDA.

A petition calling for the resignations can be found online through Change.org.

“It took only seven votes to appoint these men to the CDA. We are prepared to offer hundreds to demand they step down,” said Gallaher.

The Mount Pleasant Village Community Development Authority is comprised of the following members: Rob Richardson – Chair, Matt Cramer, Frank Risler, Jack Thorsen, Jerry Franke, David DeGroot – Village President, Gary Feest – Trustee, Sam Schultz – Staff

ACLU of Wisconsin: Statement on Wisconsin spring election results

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Contact: Cass Bowers, ACLU of Wisconsin, [email protected], 414-272-4032 x217

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin voters elected Judge Rebecca Dallet to the state supreme court, and—as part of a new effort to inform more voters on the importance of civil liberties issues—the American Civil Liberties Union worked strenuously to engage its members in Wisconsin as well as many thousands more who are part of the ACLU’s statewide network of supporters.

“The results of this election show the importance of voting. By turning out, voters help to set the direction of our state for years to come,” said Chris Ott, executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “But our work is not done. We will continue to focus on turnout and giving voters information about where candidates stand on civil rights and liberties.”

“With civil liberties issues on the line, the ACLU made an unprecedented effort to inform Wisconsin voters on the key issues in the Supreme Court race and get them to the polls. We mailed the results of our candidate questionnaire on such areas as voting rights, criminal justice reform, immigrants’ rights, reproductive freedom, and LGBT rights to more than 40,000 people across the state. ACLU volunteers in cities such as Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, and Milwaukee also made thousands of get-out-the-vote phone calls to make sure these matters were front of mind when voting. Tonight’s results demonstrate that voters are demanding more progress from the court on civil rights and civil liberties,” said Faiz Shakir, national political director of the ACLU.

“Voting in 2018 has only just begun, and elections later this year could potentially change the course of both our state and our country. Those who need help getting the ID they need to vote or getting to the polls—or who want to volunteer to help other voters—can call our Voting Rights Project in Wisconsin at 608-285-2141,” said Molly McGrath, a Madison-based ACLU voting rights attorney and organizer.

The ACLU’s Wisconsin spring election questionnaire is available here:
https://peoplepower.org/wisconsin-supreme-court/

The ACLU has an ongoing challenge to Wisconsin’s restrictive voter ID law, Frank v. Walker, and is involved in the critical Wisconsin challenge to unfair maps for legislative districts that favor one political party. The U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the mapping case, Gill v. Whitford, this year.

The ACLU does not endorse or oppose any candidate for office. The ACLU’s goal is to promote voter education and voter participation.

For more on the ACLU of Wisconsin, visit our website at www.aclu-wi.org, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @ACLUofWisconsin and @ACLUMadison.

Adamski-Torres campaign: More Anonymous Campaign Literature Flouting State Election Statute

Unknown backers of Jen Adamski-Torres’ opponent for Racine’s 6th District Alderman are distributing literature to discredit Adamski-Torres’ years of public service and using a section of Wisconsin state statute to justify their anonymity.

“My opponent and I have different ideas about how to best serve the residents of 6th District and the entire city of Racine. I expect her to use literature drops to highlight her positions and record.” Adamski-Torres said. “But to find deliberately misleading literature funded by a nameless shadow group is outrageous. Frankly, I expected better. I call on my opponent to disavow this group, their message, and their tactics.”

Specifically, the group that produced the oversized flyer is violating Wisconsin State Statute 11.0601, which requires groups to register if they spend more than $2,500 in service of a campaign. The applicable language is listed below.

The literature blames Adamski-Torres and the Redevelopment Authority for projects that failed to launch and says that she has volunteers from out of town canvassing district neighborhoods.

In reality, during Adamski-Torres’ less than 2 years on the RDA, she has worked hard to remove barriers for local entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses in Racine. She’s also committed to resolving the issues at Riverside Inn, something her opponent has failed to effectively address during her 17 years on the City Council. And, Adamski-Torres has welcomed volunteer support from primarily local friends and family.

Adamski-Torres rightfully points out that because the group distributing the flyers is unregistered, there really is no way to track whether or not they’re adhering to the rules.

“My campaign is operating in accordance with the law and within the spirit of the law to ensure a civil, open, and honest race,” she added. “That my opponent’s backers can’t do the same should be concerning to every resident in the 6th District and the entire city and should call into question who they are and what their real intentions are for our community.”

ADCC candidate roll-out 🗓

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Inn on the Park, 22 S Carroll Street, Madison

CONTACT: [email protected]

Thursday May 31
ADCC Candidate Roll-out
11:00 – 12:30 pm.
Inn on the Park
22 S Carroll Street, Madison WI
$2500 Patron, $1000 Sponsor, $500 Supporter, $250 to attend
Questions? Contact [email protected]

ADCC golf outing 🗓

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45 Hillman Road, Wisconsin Dells

CONTACT: Liz Mueller
Finance Director, ADCC
cell: 443-504-4640 II office: 608-258-9225
[email protected]

Wednesday, July 11
Wild Rock Golf Club
45 Hillman Road
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Registration: 9:00 am, Shotgun Start: 10:00 am, Dinner: 4:00 pm
$5000 – hole sponsor & golf foursome w/ special golfer
$4000 – hole sponsor & golf foursome
$3500 – golf foursome
$2000 – lunch or dinner sponsor
$1000 – hole sponsor or individual golfer
Contact [email protected] with questions and RSVPs

AFP-WI: Applauds Gov. Walker for signing civil asset forfeiture reform

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CONTACT:  Eric Bott, [email protected]

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin today commended Governor Scott Walker for signing Senate Bill 61, that reforms Wisconsin’s civil asset forfeiture laws while protecting important law enforcement tools. The measure requires that property or money be seized and forfeited only from persons convicted of a crime related to the seizure and directs forfeited funds to Wisconsin’s Common School Fund.

Americans for Prosperity also thanked Senator David Craig and Representative Gary Tauchen for championing the reform in the legislature and Senator Bob Wirch for his support at the committee level.

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott issued the following statement:

“With his signature, Governor Walker has safeguarded the constitutional rights of all Wisconsinites by ensuring that no citizen of our state can be deprived of their property without due process of the law. AFP-Wisconsin activists thank the state legislature for working in a bipartisan manner and commend Governor Walker for signing this commonsense reform. This landmark reform will protect the property rights of Wisconsinites from unjust seizures while strengthening the rule of law by putting a check on government power. Once again, Wisconsin is a model for the rest of the nation in protecting the rights of its citizens from government overreach.”

Background:

AFP-Wisconsin Backs Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org

AFP-WI: Governor Scott Walker signs AFP-backed budget reform law

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin today praised Governor Scott Walker for signing the Zero-Based Budget Review Act that requires state agencies to report every dollar in every program they administer for review by the legislature. The law had been on the books since 2002 but was repealed in 2009 by the previous gubernatorial administration. The grassroots activist group commended the law’s authors, Senator David Craig and Representative Rob Hutton for their leadership on the issue.

Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott made the following statement:

“Ronald Reagan was right when he said a government program is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth. This law is one of the most important steps we can take towards limiting the size government and ensuring taxpayers are truly getting the most bang for their buck from Madison. Wisconsin taxpayers have been kept in the dark as to how their money is being spent by state agencies for too long. This law will let in the sunlight and allow taxpayers to hold their state government fully accountable for every dollar it spends. By increasing transparency in the budget, the public and their elected officials will be better able to root out waste, inefficiency and redundancy in all government programs.”

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org

AG Schimel: Applauds Gov. Walker for signing child neglect bill

MADISON, Wis. – Today, legislation arming prosecutors with additional tools to fight child neglect was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, nationwide.

“Today is a victory for children and those who work to protect them in Wisconsin,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “I’ve advocated for a change to Wisconsin’s child neglect statutes since my days as a prosecutor and I’m proud we were able to work with the Wisconsin State Legislature to pass the child neglect bill with bipartisan support.”

Assembly Bill 355, authored by Sen. Rob Cowles and Rep. Cody Horlacher, sets a criminal negligence standard by offering greater protection for neglected children, especially those suffering from emotional harm, or those whose neglect results in sexual assault, being trafficked for sex, and other horrific acts.

The law also tackles the problem of chronic neglect by allowing prosecutors to charge repeated acts of neglect committed against the same child. The change is similar to what exists for repeated acts of sexual assault or physical abuse. Often, children cannot identify specific dates or times when acts of sexual abuse were committed against them. Crimes of child neglect often follow that same pattern.

Finally, the new neglect law creates a drug endangered child component. Many times, young children who live in homes where methamphetamine is abused test positive for the drug and a number of very young children have died from exposure to opioid drug paraphernalia that belonged to their parents. Wisconsin law now explicitly protects children from neglect resulting from the use, distribution, or manufacture of controlled substances.

The Attorney General’s Task Force on Child Maltreatment assisted in drafting this legislation.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) is also currently working to establish evidence-based child abuse forensic interview guidelines for Wisconsin and is very active on the Statewide Child Death Review Council, which is currently working to establish a program in Wisconsin that reviews all child deaths in order to develop polices to prevent child deaths.

In October 2015, Attorney General Schimel appointed a child abuse resource prosecutor, who assists prosecutors across the state with challenging child abuse and neglect cases. Child abuse cases, particularly those involving abusive head trauma, formerly referred to by some as “shaken baby syndrome,” are very complex cases and require prosecutors to develop expertise in medical terminology and concepts. The child abuse resource prosecutor holds trainings for prosecutors and law enforcement around the state on topics ranging from child development, child abuse dynamics, forensic interviews, mandatory reporting, and prosecution strategies. The resource prosecutor also provides legal and technical assistance in and out of the courtroom in ongoing cases across the state.

Wisconsin’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program was launched in 1998 to help federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies enhance investigations into individuals who use the Internet and online communication systems to exploit children. In the last three years, ICAC teams across the state have dramatically increased the number of online child predator arrests and investigations.

  2015 2016 2017
Arrests 291 458 537
Search Warrants 459 705 856

ICAC also provides online safety training for parents, teachers, and communities. Since 2015, ICAC teams have given nearly 2,000 educational presentations statewide.

To access a PDF version of this news release, please visit: https://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/ag-schimel-applauds-governor-walker-signing-child-neglect-bill

AG Schimel: Provides updates on DOJ Office of School Safety

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel announced additional details today about the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of School Safety (OSS).

“I am ensuring the taxpayer dollars entrusted to DOJ to keep our schools safe are spent wisely and efficiently,” said Attorney General Schimel. “The administration of the Office of School Safety and associated grant process are being established in consultation with educational and law enforcement subject matter experts. I am confident that all the right voices have seats at the table and we are leaving no stone unturned.”

Following is a list of organizations who have met with DOJ staff, and consulted on the creation of the OSS and the grant process and criteria.

  • Association of Wisconsin School Administrators
  • Badger State Sheriffs Association
  • CESA 4, 7, 10
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • NAMI-WI
  • Wisconsin Association of School Boards
  • Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials
  • Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators
  • Wisconsin Association of School Nurses
  • Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association
  • Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • Wisconsin Education Association Council
  • Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association
  • Wisconsin Juvenile Officers Association
  • Wisconsin Professional Police Association
  • Wisconsin Retired Educators’ Association
  • Wisconsin Safe and Healthy Schools Training & Technical Assistance Center
  • Wisconsin School Music Association/Wisconsin Music Educators Association
  • Wisconsin School Psychologists Association
  • Wisconsin School Public Relations Association
  • Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association
  • Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association

The formal grant application process will be announced next week. Until that time, any school that is interested in applying for grant funding may submit a short letter of interest to DOJ at [email protected].

AG Schimel: Recognizes crime victims’ rights in Capitol ceremony

MADISON, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel recognized National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with a public ceremony at the Wisconsin State Capitol. The ceremony, an annual event co-hosted by the Wisconsin Crime Victims Council and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Crime Victim Services, recognized the importance of the state’s crime victim rights enshrined in Wisconsin’s constitution and statutes.

“Wisconsin has long been a leader in providing rights to crime victims,” said Attorney General Schimel, “Long ago, Wisconsin was the first state to have a local victim/witness services division, and since then we have continued to be a national leader in advancing victims’ rights. This ceremony honors and reflects on those statutory and constitutional rights that have already been established, and the work we must continue to do. Without empowered crime victims, our criminal justice system couldn’t hold criminals accountable.”

“This year’s theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is Expand the Circle: Reach all Victims. Many survivors of crime face barriers that keep them from accessing the services and crime justice systems that can help them recover,” said Michelle Viste, Executive Director of the DOJ Office of Crime Victim Services (OCVS). “Despite dedicated victim service providers working hard every day to meet the needs of crime survivors, there are still too many without meaningful access to rights and services. As a community and a state, this week is our opportunity to renew our commitment to ensuring that ALL survivors of crime – especially those where it is a challenge to reach or serve – are afforded their rights and receive a trauma-informed response.”

In addition to remarks from the attorney general and Viste, the ceremony featured testimonial writing by survivors of crime, including Laurel Blackstone, Catherine Cain, and Tiffany (Unnamed), participants in the Untold Stories program at the LOTUS Legal Clinic. On display at the ceremony was artwork inspired by the testimonial writing, created by students from the Milwaukee High School of the Arts and the Alliance High School. Singer Liz Potter, accompanied by guitarist Mike Lennon, performed at the ceremony in tribute to victims of crime and all who serve them.

Wisconsin’s Victims of Crime Constitutional Amendment, ratified in 1993, gives victims comprehensive rights, such as the right to attend proceedings and to make statements to the court. In 1998, the state legislature passed laws that assigned duties to public agencies to carry out the rights, in recognition of the importance of victims coming forward to report crime. In 2017, the Wisconsin State Legislature passed the first consideration of Marsy’s Law, an amendment to the state constitution that would strengthen and clarify the rights of victims even further.

DOJ plays a critical role in Wisconsin’s treatment of crime victims, and ensuring victims know their rights. The DOJ Victim Resource Center (VRC) assists victims who have questions or concerns about their rights. After a VRC review, victims also have a right to file a formal complaint with the Wisconsin Crime Victims’ Rights Board (CVRB) concerning alleged rights violations by public officials, agencies and employees. By law, DOJ provides operational support to the CVRB but decisions of the Board are not subject to review by the attorney general.

DOJ also routinely provides information and trainings to advocates and victim/witness services on victims’ rights, crime victim compensation, and the sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) fund. DOJ has also established, with collaboration from law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates, and victim/witness services, a plan through 2020 that is dedicated to supporting trauma-informed training and technical assistance and encourages innovative approaches to responding to domestic and sexual violence.

In 2017, DOJ provided $27.4 million to crime victims in all 72 counties in Wisconsin through September 2018. The funding, provided to Wisconsin DOJ by U.S. DOJ, is allocated through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) victim assistance grant to private and public agencies, including district attorney’s offices, to support direct services to victims of crime. Services provided under this program include safety planning, community service referrals, counseling, crisis intervention, and legal advocacy. Victim services funded by DOJ are extended to any crime victim, and to both large and small programs across the state. For example, VOCA funding supports a pilot project from Legal Action of Wisconsin that provides free legal representation for crime victims whose privacy is threatened during criminal proceedings. A full list of programs that will be supported by VOCA funding from October 2017 through September 2018 is available here.

Victims seeking more information about their rights can call the DOJ Victim Resource Center at 1-800-446-6564. Information about victim services and rights can be found at www.doj.state.wi.us. To learn more about LOTUS Legal Clinic and the Untold Stories writing workshop, go to www.LotusLegal.org.

Ald. Lewis: Property in Granville BID being developed into funeral home

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Alderwoman Chantia Lewis
(414) 286-2868

The Granville Business Improvement District and Alderwoman Chantia Lewis welcome the newest location of Reid’s New Golden Gate Funeral Home.

Funeral home operator Arthur Reid Jr. has purchased the location, at the intersection of 76th Street and Calumet Road, with plans to raze the current building and develop the property. Groundbreaking is anticipated for later this year and the business, to be located at 7550 N. 76th St., is expected to open in 2019, according to the Granville BID.

Mr. Reid’s career in funeral service goes back to the 1950s before starting his own business. This will be the first time an African-American has built a funeral home facility in the City of Milwaukee, according to Alderwoman Lewis.

 “It’s exciting to see yet another development in my district,” said Ald. Lewis. “Whether it’s a long-time, established business owner like Mr. Reid or someone just starting out, the door is open in the 9th District for their interest and activity.”

As always, Alderwoman Lewis invites the public and Aldermanic District 9’s community stakeholders to take a positive picture in the 9th District and explain why you love living and working there, and post it on social media at #New9thMKE.

Ald. Murphy: Art Walk on West Vliet Street this weekend

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Contact: Ald. Michael J. Murphy

(414) 286-3763

Alderman Michael J. Murphy announces Art Walk on West Vliet Street tonight and tomorrow. The event takes place on W. Vliet St. from 43rd to 60th streets, Friday, April 27 from 5 to 9 p.m and Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A portion of the proceeds from tonight’s sales will go to AWE: a non-profit that provides youth in Milwaukee with arts enrichment programs that advance learning, enhance human potential, and cultivate community.

The event will feature local artists, shops, restaurants, galleries with live music, special pop-up shops, a visit from the A.W.E. Truck Studio and more.

“With spring weather finally here, what better way to enjoy it than with fine food, music and vendors that appeal to the artist in all of us,” said Alderman Murphy.

More information can be found at meetonvliet.com/artwalk. Social media users are encouraged to follow and post about Art Walk using #meetonvliet.

Ald. Murphy: Preliminary report to be released by Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force

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 Ald. Michael J. Murphy

(414) 286-3763

The preliminary report of the City-County Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force puts forth a proactive all-hands-on-deck plan that includes focusing on addiction and drug misuse prevention, increased access to services, and greater collaboration between community-based initiatives and government agencies, Alderman Michael J. Murphysaid.

The preliminary report was released by the task force today and can be viewed by going to Alderman Murphy’s city webpage at city.milwaukee.gov/district10. The report offers an initial set of policy recommendations to address the fatal and non-fatal overdose epidemic in Milwaukee and Milwaukee County involving heroin, opioids, synthetic analogs and cocaine (in both powder and crack form). “This report is a key launch point as we look for workable approaches to stem the deadly tide of overdoses and the terrible toll of addiction in our community,” Alderman Murphy said. “The problem of addiction is highly complicated and involves illness and an over-arching public health issue, and the recommendations of the task force are grounded in a public health approach.”

The recommended focus areas included in the preliminary report are (in no order of importance):

  • Enhance and fund existing prevention programs to keep individuals from developing substance use disorder.
  • Reduce the number of opioid related deaths in Milwaukee County.
  • Reduce the number of drug violation related arrests amongst youth.
  • Ensure there is adequate access to timely, affordable, and quality services for those all people with substance use disorders.
  • Develop programs in collaboration with the criminal justice system that treat addiction as a disease, while actively working to reduce the availability of illicit substances.
  • Enhance collaboration between community-based initiatives and government agencies.
  • Improve epidemiology and surveillance related to substance misuse.
  • Support federal, state and local policies and legislation that reduces substance misuse and overdose with equitable, cost-effective and evidence-based approaches.

“This issue is personal for many of us, and it’s a huge priority for Milwaukee County,” said Mike Lappen, co-chair for the Task Force and administrator for the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division. “We want people who are invested in creating a recovery-minded community to bring their ideas to the table so we can connect individuals to sustainable solutions that save lives.”

Alderman Murphy, the primary sponsor of the Common Council legislation creating the task force, said multiple public listening sessions will be held across the community to gather input before a final plan is adopted by the task force. “We want to hear from citizens, stakeholders and anyone who has ideas and input to share. Those public sessions will be scheduled soon and we will make a public announcement to provide all of the details when ready,” he said.

“Whether it is a teenager ingesting cough syrup to get high, a young adult using cocaine, or a middle age person unnecessarily taking prescription drugs — substance abuse is not limited to one profile in the community,” said Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, a task force member. “For us to properly address this issue we will need community awareness and involvement.”

The task force has been working steadily during the past year to shape the policy recommendations. The body is composed of experts from the Common Council, Health Department, Police Department, Fire Department, Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Intergovernmental Relations, the County Executive’s leadership team, healthcare or hospital systems, the Medical Society of Milwaukee County, medical professionals, community organizations and the general public.

The task force has been able to build on the city’s partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin and data analysis by Alderman Murphy’s office. An early examination of overdose figures had showed the county was on pace to endure a record number of heroin and opiate overdose deaths in the year 2016.

The report’s letter states: “This is the most significant public health crisis we have faced, and its scope and magnitude cannot be overstated. In 2017, drug overdoses ripped 401 sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, from their families in Milwaukee County, killing more people than shootings, suicides and driving related deaths combined.”

The letter ends with this: “Most importantly, we want to stress there is hope. Addiction and this crisis can be overcome. While the yoke of addiction is heavy and the challenges we face are substantial, we can begin to alleviate the burdens created by substance abuse by harnessing Milwaukee’s collective power and resiliency, engaging with compassion and urgency.”

Alderman Zielinski: Ascension contributing to health care disparity gulf in Milwaukee

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Statement of Alderman Tony Zielinski

The recent news of hospital downsizing and service cuts by Ascension Wisconsin in Milwaukee is extremely troubling to me. By making these choices Ascension is exacerbating the health care disparity problem in Milwaukee, where there is already insufficient delivery of health care services in neighborhoods where people of color reside.

Vernellia R. Randall is a professor at the School of Law at the University of Dayton. Professor Randall writes extensively on and speaks internationally about race, women, and health care. In her published article Inequality in Health Care Is Killing African Americans (Vol. 36 No. 4), she points to racial discrimination in the U.S. and its lasting and harmful impact on African Americans.

“Compounding the racial discrimination experienced generally is the institutional discrimination in health care affecting access to health care and the quality of health care received. Racial discrimination in health care delivery, financing, and research continues to exist. Racial barriers to quality health care manifest themselves in many ways, including (1) economic discrimination, which rations health care on ability to pay; (2) insufficient hospitals and health care institutions and clinics; (3) insufficient physicians and other providers; (4) racial discrimination in treatment and services; and (5) culturally incompetent care.”

Sadly this is what we are seeing now as Ascension downsizes its services at St. Joseph Hospital. The safety net is essentially being yanked out from under the mostly African American patient base at St. Joseph, leaving already underserved individuals to figure out what their next best options are.

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin: Governor signs dementia awarness bill

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CONTACT: Rob Gundermann, Public Policy Director
608-215- 8987
[email protected]

MADISON, WI, April 3, 2018—Governor Walker signed AB 632 this morning, creating a program that will provide local grants to help communities increase awareness of dementia.

Assembly Bill 632 was introduced by Representative Mike Rohrkaste of Neenah and Senator Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls. The new law provides $500,000 in grant funding that will be disbursed by the Department of Health Services.

“The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin (ADAW) is extremely grateful to
Representative Rohrkaste and Senator Moulton for introducing this legislation and to Governor Walker for signing it into law,” said Rob Gundermann, Public Policy Director for the ADAW. “This bill is going to help a lot of families dealing with dementia to get the services they need to remain in their communities. It’s a win for everyone,” Gundermann added.

AB 632 will help make families aware of the resources and supports are available to them in their communities, which can allow families to remain in their homes longer, helping to delay institutionalization.

America First Policies: ICYMI: America First Policies Takes Its Tax Cut Tour to the ‘Badger State’

Erin Montgomery
443-858-5403
[email protected]

Special Guest Vice President Mike Pence Addresses Audience

America First Policies made its 12th stop on its “Tax Cuts to Put America First” tour yesterday, April 25, at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The series, “Tax Cuts to Put America First,” features guest speakers discussing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act–signed into law by President Donald J. Trump in December 2017.

The event opened with a greeting and remarks from former Trump campaign manager Corey R. Lewandowski and featured a panel with U.S. Congressman Glenn Grothman (WI-06); Alfredo Ortiz, the president and CEO of the Job Creators Network; and Louis Woo, special assistant to the chairman and CEO of Foxconn Technology Group, which has invested $10 billion into the Wisconsin economy with the building of a new factory in Racine County. The panel discussed how the tax legislation is affecting Wisconsin residents, families, and businesses, and the nation as a whole.

Following the panel, David Bossie, president of Citizens United, addressed the crowd. He was followed by U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Governor Walker introduced the keynote speaker, Vice President Mike Pence.

“… All told, these tax cuts … are going to save the typical family of four in Wisconsin more than $2,500 a year on their taxes. And 90 percent of working families are going to see a tax cut reflected in their paychecks before the year is out, if you haven’t already,” said the Vice President. “But, you know, that’s only half the story. You’ll also see more money in your pockets because of what our tax cuts have meant to job creators here in this state and all over the country.”

To view the Vice President’s full remarks, click here. To read more about the event, click here and here.

To learn more about America First Policies, please visit www.americafirstpolicies.org.

American Conservative Union: Four federal Wisconsin lawmakers earn awards

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CONTACT: Luke Schneider, Public Affairs Coordinator
[email protected]

Alexandria, VA – The American Conservative Union Foundation has just released its 47th Edition of its Annual Ratings of Congress. The guide ranks members of Congress based upon their commitment to conservative principles as demonstrated by their voting records in the first session of the 115th Congress. This session marks the first time in over a decade that Republicans control all both chambers of the legislature and the presidency.

“In the 2017 session, we saw Republicans come together to pass the most important corporate tax reform in decades, confirm a true conservative in Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and repeal the Obamacare individual mandate,” said ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp. “But conservatives must not rest on their laurels. This is not the time for four corners defense. Congress must pass a rescissions bill to eliminate wasteful spending in the omnibus and finally confirm highly qualified presidential nominees to critical positions.”

This year four members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation received awards from ACUF for earning scores of 80% or higher:

  • Rep. Sensenbrenner – 100%
  • Rep. Grothman —96%
  • Rep. Gallagher—85%
  • Sen. Johnson – 80%

Rep. Duffy (R) earned 77%, while Speaker Ryan did not receive a score due to his non-voting role as Speaker. Democrat members received the following scores: Rep. Moore (8%), Rep. Kind (7%), Rep.Pocan (4%), and Sen. Baldwin (0%).

This session’s scorecard is made up of 25 bills in the US House of Representatives and 21 bills in the US Senate. The bills selected cover a wide range of issues including fiscal and economic, social and cultural, and national security, and are designed to reflect how an individual views the role of government in an individual’s life.

This year some of the key issues ACU Foundation scored include:

  • confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
  • repeal of Obamacare
  • passage of comprehensive tax reform
  • defunding of Planned Parenthood
  • repeal of Dodd-Frank
  • and key presidential nominations to cabinet positions.

ACUF is the sister organization of the American Conservative Union, the nation’s original conservative organization, and has for more than fifty years educated and activated the conservative movement through its ratings programs, policy centers and educational events such as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the largest annual gathering of conservatives in the nation.

CLICK HERE to view the 2017 Ratings online. CLICK HERE to visit our website.

For questions or media inquiries regarding ACUF ratings, email Luke Schneider, Public Affairs Coordinator for the American Conservative Union Foundation, at [email protected].

American Dairy Coalition: Blizzard-impacted farmers need to take action

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Media Contact:
Laurie Fischer
CEO
920-965-6070
In an effort to speed up potential relief efforts for farmers impacted by Wisconsin’s recent Blizzard Evelyn, the Wisconsin-based American Dairy Coalition (ADC) is asking those who sustained damage to contact their Farm Service Agency (FSA) office immediately.
Officials will quantify the damage reports and estimate the losses on a county-by-county basis. The totals will be provided to Gov. Scott Walker to use as the criteria for possible monetary assistance from state and/or federal resources.
“Time is of the essence,” said Laurie Fischer, ADC chief executive officer. “Whether they are facing collapsed structures, lost milk production, high insurance deductibles, animal losses or other situations, farmers need to get their damages on the record with their local FSA office. Just one phone call could have a big impact down the road.”
Those assessing damages need to look beyond current losses not covered by insurance, Fischer noted, and consider the longer-term economic losses that will impact future business profitability.
The ADC recommends farmers include in their assessments:
  • Collapsed building roofs: Total footage damaged, as well as structural damage to the remainder of the building that did not collapse; cost of cleanup and short-term fixes to keep parlors running.
  • Animal Injury: Injuries to cows, death of cows, cows culled, the percentage of cows in the future to be culled as a result of the blizzard and the loss per culled cow, as well as impact to future milking herd
  • Deductibles and Insurance Coverage: How much of your building will be covered? Will you receive any coverage for the replacement of the weakened structure? Are you required to pay a deductible and, if so, how much?
  • Impact during rebuilding process: Increased risk of mastitis, breeding complications or disruptions, veterinarian costs, additional labor needed.
  • Costs incurred from transporting animals, feed or milk
  • Milk lost
  • Recovery timelines: What is the realistic time frame in which your operation will return to normal function?
The American Dairy Coalition will continue to monitor this information and will keep you up to date on developments and information as they become available.
About The American Dairy Coalition:
The Green Bay-based American Dairy Coalition (ADC) is a farmer-led national lobbying organization of progressive, modern dairy, livestock and agriculture farmers in the nation. We focus on federal dairy, agriculture and livestock policy. For more information, contact CEO Laurie Fischer at 920-965-6070
.

American Lung Association in Wisconsin: Announces new Executive Director

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CONTACT: Dona Wininsky
262-703- 4840/414-426- 3086 (c)

Brookfield, WI — Megan Cordova has been recently appointed Executive Director for the
American Lung Association in Wisconsin. She was previously employed in the Wisconsin office from 2012 – 2015 as Director of Special Events.

During that time she directed three major annual fundraising events to successfully raise more than $3.4 million, including increasing growth in the Milwaukee Fight For Air Climb from $397,000 to more than $736,000.

As Executive Director, Cordova will cultivate community relationships, including key business leaders, individual donors and event participants; increase mission activities through successful fundraising; serve as the staff lead to the Wisconsin Leadership Board and provide support and guidance in reaching annual goals; and cultivate a collaborative working environment for staff and volunteers.

She also will lead the development staff in the Lung Association’s special events, including the Oxygen Ball Gala, the Fight for Air Climb (the largest in the nation) and the LUNG FORCE Walk.

“We’re so pleased to welcome Megan back to Wisconsin,” said Meghan Miller, Senior Vice
President of Development. “She has proven herself an exceptional leader and fundraiser, on both the local and national level and we are confident that she will lead the Wisconsin team to future growth and success.”

Cordova most recently served as National Manager, Special Events for the organization’s national office in Chicago where she was part of a team that achieved national special event net revenues of almost $18 million. She also provided development leadership and direction to Executive Directors and development staff in Denver, Houston, Dallas and Albuquerque and participated on national work teams to further the development of nationwide signature events.

Prior to joining the Lung Association, Cordova held the position of Development Officer for the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. She is a graduate of Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

Cordova will be based in the Brookfield, Wisconsin office, which employs a staff of 17.

American Majority: 32 American Majority trained new leaders win

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Media Contact: Nate Nelson [email protected]

 

Mequon, WI – Following last night’s Spring Election, 32 American Majority Trained New Leaders were elected. Congratulations to all of the winners on well-run campaigns. American Majority trained New Leaders had an excellent win ratio this year as 44 ran for office and 32 of them won their Spring elections. AM trained candidates had a 73% win percentage.

Special highlights of the evening were Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis of Delavan, who was recently trained by American Majority and the St. Croix County board where 5 trained candidates won their races.

American Majority works to build a farm team of new leaders at all levels of government. Our trained New Leaders include 24 State Legislators, 54 County Board Supervisors, 41 Municipal Level Leaders, 35 School Board Members, 2 District Attorneys, 3 County-wide officials (Clerk, Treasurer, & Clerk of Courts), and 10 Judges. The farm team builds from the local and state levels of government. These leaders are also the folks who will hopefully take the next step to run for higher office down the road, creating a pipeline of conservative public service.

Nate Nelson, the Wisconsin Executive Director of American Majority, said “Congratulations to all the winners! Since opening our Wisconsin office in October 2010, we have trained 169 new leaders who’ve gone on to victory across Wisconsin. American Majority is helping to bring conservative reform to the state of Wisconsin by providing candidates the tools to be successful in their campaigns. We’re very proud of the results thus far, and we will continue to build on these successes in the future.”

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin: Gov. Walker Signs AFP-Backed Worker Freedom Law

CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

New law provides Wisconsin small businesses with regulatory certainty

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin today commended Governor Scott Walker for signing the Employment Law Standardization Act into law. The new law provides statewide standard for employment law, protecting workers from the unintended consequences of local over-regulation and giving employers the certainty they need to start and grow their businesses. Wisconsin job creators and workers currently have to navigate the labor and human resources laws of nearly 2,000 different localities across the state. Special interests can take advantage of this patchwork by using their political connections to get special treatment from local politicians they support. The law is the latest AFP-backed reform signed by Walker in recent weeks. AFP-WI’s grassroots activists hosted phone banks throughout the winter and engaged digitally to encourage legislators to pass the bill.

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott made the following statement:

“With his signature, Governor Walker has lifted yet another host of regulatory burdens on Wisconsin’s small businesses and workers.  These new reforms, combined with the historic Wisconsin REINS Act enacted last year, mean that Wisconsin is open for business and our best days are yet to come. By slashing anti-growth, unnecessary red tape, Wisconsin’s economy will continue to thrive to the benefit or entrepreneurs and workers. 2018 is proving to be a banner year for policies that foster economic prosperity and worker freedom in the Badger State.”

Background:

AFP-WI Applauds Senate Passage of Labor Reform Bill

AFP-WI to Lawmakers: Stand Up for Worker Freedom!

Bott in Forbes: Reining in Wisconsin’s Regulatory State

Anderson campaign: On Tax Day, Libertarian candidates propose ending the State Income Tax

Contact: Phil Anderson
Anderson for WI Governor
Phone: 608-361-8608
Email: [email protected]

Madison, WI – Libertarian Party candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor call for elimination of the Wisconsin personal income tax.

“As Governor, I will do everything in my power, including wielding the line item veto, to get rid of the state income tax,” stated Phil Anderson, Libertarian candidate for Governor. “For too long, Wisconsin government has overtaxed and overspent, rewarding cronies and mismanaging funds. It’s time for the gravy train to end.”

Patrick Baird, Libertarian candidate for Lieutenant Governor, agrees. “Income taxes in particular are a blank check to state government, without accountability for how, and how much, is spent. While we seek to dramatically reduce government, abolishing the state income tax would remove one of the most egregious examples of government abuse and corruption.”

The candidates’ campaign website, TEAMGUV.ORG states: ELIMINATE THE INCOME TAX. Unchecked growth of government is fueled by overly broad taxation. Tax cuts alone are not enough to permanently reduce the role of government in people’s lives, taxation itself should be limited as much as possible. Wisconsin should follow the lead of Texas, South Dakota, Florida, and Washington State and find ways to fund operations without an income tax.

AP projects Dallet victory in Supreme Court race.

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Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet will win the race of state Supreme Court, The Associated Press is projecting.

She becomes the first candidate backed by liberals to win an open Supreme Court seat since 1995. When she takes her seat in August, it will shift the court to a 4-3 conservative majority.

With 41 percent of the vote in statewide, Dallet was at 56.5 percent, compared to 43.5 percent for Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock.

Meanwhile, the “no” vote on the state treasurer referendum was at 61.6 percent. Those who wanted to eliminate the office were at 38.5 percent.

April 25: Milwaukee Press Club, WisPolitics.com Newsmaker Luncheon ft. Acting Milwaukee Co. Sheriff Richard Schmidt 🗓

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MILWAUKEE – Richard Schmidt will be the featured speaker at a Newsmaker Luncheon, hosted jointly by the Milwaukee Press Club and WisPolitics.com, on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. Schmidt, who was hired as a sheriff’s deputy in 1986, has been Acting Milwaukee County Sheriff since September 2017.

Schmidt has a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s degree in Administration, both from Hyles-Anderson College, an independent Baptist college Crown Point, Indiana, and he earned a doctorate in ministry from Northland International University in Dunbar, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety Executive Management Program, the National Institute of Corrections Executive Excellence program, and the F.B.I. National Academy.

After beginning on patrol, Schmidt went on to lead the department’s Police Services Bureau and the Detention Services Bureau, and in 2010 was promoted to senior commander of the agency, a position that made him responsible for day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s office.

Schmidt will take questions from a panel of journalists and from the audience at the luncheon, set for 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Newsroom Pub, 137 E. Wells St. The event is open to the public.

The media panel:

  • Melinda Davenport, WISN 12 News
  • Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Michael Spaulding, Newsradio 620 WTMJ

The Milwaukee Press Club’s Newsmaker Luncheon Series is sponsored by the Medical College of Wisconsin.

WisPolitics.com joins the press club for this luncheon as part of its ongoing event series in Milwaukee, sponsored by UW-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Academy of Global Education and Training, ELEVEN25 at Pabst, Milwaukee Police Association, The Firm Consulting, Medical College of Wisconsin and Spectrum.

Press club Newsmaker Luncheons are held to shed light on issues of the day. The cost to attend is $20 for MPC members, $25 for non-members and $15 for students. Lunch is included. Seating is limited.  Advanced registration and payment are required and may be done online at www.milwaukeepressclub.org.  Checks may be mailed to the MPC at PO Box 176, North Prairie, WI  53153-0176. Cancellations will be accepted up to 48 hours in advance for a full refund.

Please contact Joette Richards at the Milwaukee Press Club at [email protected] with any questions or call 262-894-2224.

Special thanks to the Safe House/Newsroom Pub, home of the Milwaukee Press Club, for hosting the Newsmaker Luncheon Series.  Think of the Newsroom Pub for your next private party!  MPC members can book a room at no charge. The Newsroom Pub has FREE wireless internet service compliments of the Safe House.

Assembly and Senate Dem fundraiser 🗓

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The Assembly & Senate Democrats are joining together for a fundraiser in D.C. on May 22nd. We are honored to be joined by the entire WI Democratic Congressional Delegation in support our 2018 legislative efforts, and the upcoming special elections.
Date/Time: May 22, 5:30 – 7 pm
Location: Cava Mezze, 527 8th St SE Washington DC 20003
$10,000 & up Majority Maker, $5,000 Wave Builder, $2,500 Change Maker, $1,000 Supporter
Contact [email protected]com with questions and RSVPs
We will be soliciting separate donations to the Assembly Democrats and the Senate Democrats for this event, all going towards a sponsorship level. There are a few ways organizations can sponsor this event:
  • Up to $12,000 PAC to both the ADCC and the SSDC separately ($24,000 total)
  • Up to $12,000 corporate to both the ADCC and the SSDC separately ($24,000 total)
  • Unlimited individual contributions to both the ADCC and the SSDC separately

ATC, ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative: Began filing Wisconsin regulatory application to build Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project

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American Transmission Co.: Kaya Freiman, 877-506-6117,  [email protected]ITC Midwest: Tom Petersen, 319-297-6793[email protected]
Dairyland Power Cooperative: Katie Thomson, 608-787-1323[email protected]com OR Deb Mirasola, 608-787-1378,[email protected]com

 

MADISON, Wis. – Following years of analysis and public outreach, American Transmission Co., ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative have begun filing their application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources seeking approval to build an approximately 102- to 120-mile, 345-kilovolt transmission line from Dane County, Wisconsin, to Dubuque County, Iowa. The application filing process should be completed by the end of the month.

The Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project has been designated a Multi-Value Project by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator because it will enable the delivery of energy in support of electric reliability, economic and public policy benefits. The CPCN filing contains hundreds of pages of detailed analysis of the project. Among the filing’s findings, data indicates the project would:

  • Provide $23.5 million to $350.1 million in net economic benefits to Wisconsin electric consumers
  • Avoid the need to spend $87.2 million to $98.8 million on transmission line and asset renewal projects that would otherwise be needed if the project is not constructed
  • Increase the transfer capability of the electric system between Iowa and Wisconsin by approximately 1,300 megawatts, which would ease grid congestion, increase competition to help provide lower-cost power to Wisconsin and transfer additional low-cost wind energy into the state
  • Provide an outlet for approximately 25 gigawatts of wind resources in Iowa and areas west of Wisconsin and enable more than a dozen new wind facilities to fully interconnect to the electric system in areas west of Wisconsin

“Dairyland’s cooperative members—and energy users across the region—depend on a reliable, safe transmission system to meet their needs every day,” said Ben Porath, Dairyland Vice President, Power Delivery. “Investing in a robust transmission system is necessary for regional reliability, particularly in light of how the sources of electricity generation are changing. Dairyland is committed to diversifying its generation portfolio with more renewable resources to benefit our electric cooperative members, and the ability to reliably transport that energy will be of great importance. This project also will support stable energy prices by reducing grid congestion.”

The utilities are required to propose two route options for the transmission line. Approximately 95 percent of the 102-mile preferred route in Wisconsin follows existing utility and highway corridors, versus 63 percent on the alternate route. If the project is approved, the PSCW will select the final route and issue an order for it to be constructed. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will then issue a utility permit for the project to be constructed.

The project’s estimated cost is $492 million to $543 million, depending on the route. Wisconsin electric consumers would pay for approximately 10 to 15 percent of the construction cost, with the remainder of the costs allocated to the rest of the MISO region. However, the benefits are expected to help put downward pressure on electric rates and outweigh the costs.

“We appreciate the public’s active involvement over the past several years in helping us evaluate possible routes,” said ITC Midwest Local Government and Community Affairs Area Manager Angela Jordan. “We’ve looked at hundreds of paths for these lines and made adjustments based on what we learned from area landowners, businesses, community organizations and local officials.”

“Once the PSCW deems our application complete, the regulatory review process should take 12 months,” said ATC Project Manager Tom Schemm. “During that time, the PSCW will provide opportunities for the public and other stakeholders to provide input and follow the regulatory review process.”

If the project is approved, construction of the project would begin in 2021 to meet an in-service date of 2023. The application to the PSCW can be found by visiting www.psc.wi.gov and entering Docket No. 5-CE-146.

ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative also have kicked off the Iowa regulatory review process, with Iowa Utilities Board public information meetings held in Dubuque and Clayton counties on March 29, 2018.

An interactive map of the preferred and alternate route options and additional project information is available at www.cardinal-hickorycreek.com.

 

Attorney General Schimel: Hosts task force on elder abuse meeting in Milwaukee; recognizes elder crime victims’ rights

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel held the third meeting of the Attorney General’s Task Force on Elder Abuse.

“The statistics are sobering. One in nine seniors have reported being abused, neglected or exploited in the last twelve months, but we also know that elder abuse is drastically underreported[1],” said Attorney General Schimel. “The task force on elder abuse is working to not only raise awareness about the prevalence of elder abuse, but to provide solutions for protecting Wisconsin’s growing senior population from abuse and exploitation, and empower senior citizens and their family members to take action if abuse is occurring.”

At the task force meeting on Wednesday, April 11, Attorney General Schimel and task force members discussed elder financial abuse cases in the court system; the Medical College of Wisconsin’s work with medical professionals to identify abuse; and honoring the rights of elder crime victims.

The Elder Rights Project, which is part of Legal Action of Wisconsin, provided an update on the organization’s civil legal services available to elder abuse victims. This program has been supported by a $2.3 million federal Victims of Crime Act grant issued by the Wisconsin Department of Justice since 2015. The Elder Rights Project’s services are provided statewide to any elder abuse victim aged 60 years or older without any income or asset limitations. In 2017, the project served more than 1,000 elder abuse victims across Wisconsin.

The Attorney General’s Task Force on Elder Abuse, which was announced in August 2017, is charged with compiling the resources and knowledge of a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to study the impact of elder abuse in Wisconsin and assess ways to improve outcomes for this growing population of citizens. In addition to developing strategies to address barriers in investigations and prosecutions of elder abuse, the task force will strengthen consumer protection for seniors and create recommendations for improved cross-system communications.

In addition to the task force’s work, Attorney General Schimel has moved quickly to provide public safety tools to seniors and their loved ones. In October 2017, Attorney General Schimel expanded Dose of Reality, a statewide prevention campaign designed to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse and its effect on the opioid epidemic, to include resources and information unique to seniors and caregivers.

This year, the attorney general launched a radio ad campaign to raise awareness about elder abuse and encourage citizens to report abuse against seniors at Medicaid-funded or other senior care facilities. The attorney general also started “Safe Seniors Camera Program” a new pilot project in Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago counties that allows Wisconsin residents, who suspect a caregiver is abusing their loved one, to use a covert camera to provide surveillance over someone who may have been harmed by a caregiver in their residence.

To report suspected financial, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, please contact your county elder adult-at-risk agency or call 1-800-488-3780. If you witness an act of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that requires immediate attention, please call 911.

Badger Institute: New law levels playing field for aspiring Wisconsin chiropractors

CONTACT: Badger Institute Vice President Michael Jahr, 262-442-5208 or mic[email protected]

Madison – A bill signed by Gov. Scott Walker today will allow aspiring chiropractors who pass the national board exam to secure a license in Wisconsin without having to attain an arbitrary, higher score set by the state. The reform measure, authored by Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield), brings Wisconsin in line with 48 other states that accept the national accreditation standards.

Appleton resident Mikhaila Weister and Gov. Scott Walker at signing of reform bill

Under national chiropractic standards, a score of 375 points on the third and fourth portions of the exam is required to obtain certification. Until today, Wisconsin required scores of 438 and 475, respectively, on these sections, a deterrent to many would-be Wisconsin chiropractors.

Mikhaila Weister, who graduated from chiropractic school in 2016 and passed the national exam more than once, attended the bill signing and said she was relieved and excited by the reform. Weister is an Appleton native who wanted to practice and raise a family in her hometown but was stymied by Wisconsin’s higher requirement.

“It’s been frustrating that I graduated in November of 2016 and haven’t been able to practice,” said Weister, who added that her angst was compounded by the costs associated with a newborn and $230,000 in college loan debt. “This bill is offering so much hope for so many people. It’s life-changing. People were living in the basements of their parents’ house and working as bartenders, just not fulfilling their passions.”

The change in law will allow Weister to pursue her profession at an established practice in De Pere.

More than 370,000 residents now require a government permission slip to work in Wisconsin. The system was originally established a century ago with licensing or certification requirements usually related to health care. In the last 20 years, the number of occupational requirements has ballooned from 90 to 166. Instead of protecting public health and safety, many of these regulations fence out newcomers, drive up consumer costs, decrease competition and stifle innovation.

Amanda Berkley, a fourth-generation Wisconsin chiropractor, also attended the bill signing. When Berkley took the national chiropractic exam, her score put her at the top of the class in all but two other states. But she was five points short of Wisconsin’s requirement on the fourth portion of the exam.
Berkley’s family — her parents, grandfather and great-grandfather — have practiced in the La Crosse area for nearly a century. The new law will allow her to join her parents’ practice.

“It means a lot to me to actually be able to practice in my hometown and not have to worry about moving somewhere else,” she said. “I’m super excited, not only for me, but it’s affecting so many of my classmates, so many young chiropractors in Wisconsin. It’s great for the state. Who doesn’t want more professionals in the state that are going to increase quality of life and really care for their communities?”

The Badger Institute’s mission is to ensure opportunity and advance economic prosperity through free markets, individual initiative, limited and efficient government, and education reform.

Baldwin campaign: Despite unprecedented outside special interest spending, Tammy Baldwin for Senate announces record-breaking $3.7 million first quarter

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Contact: [email protected]

Nearly 25,000 new supporters join Baldwin campaign this quarter to stand up to special interests flooding Wisconsin airwaves with nearly $9 million in attack ads

MADISON – Despite facing more outside spending than any Democratic Senator up in 2018, Tammy Baldwin for Senate today announced the campaign raised more than $3.7 million in the first quarter of the election year, shattering past first quarter records for a federal candidate in Wisconsin.

“Wisconsinites know Tammy Baldwin puts Wisconsin first, and they are supporting Tammy at historic levels to stand up to the unprecedented number of outside attacks from special interests who want to rig Washington in their favor,” said Tammy Baldwin for Senate campaign manager Scott Spector.

The strong first quarter for Tammy Baldwin for Senate was driven by more than 48,000 grassroots supporters, including 25,000 new supporters this quarter, who contributed an average $33 online. The campaign now has $7.8 million cash-on-hand to help build on its successful ads, “Roddy,” “Skyrocketing,” and “Predator.”

Right-wing special interests have already spent nearly $9 million against Tammy Baldwin. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, there has been twice as much outside spending in the Wisconsin U.S. Senate race than any other 2018 U.S. Senate contest.

Baldwin raises $3.7 million in Q1, says it’s record haul

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U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, raised $3.7 million over the first three months of the year for her re-election bid.

Her campaign said it was the best ever fundraising haul in the first-quarter of an election year for a federal candidate from Wisconsin.

Baldwin’s fundraising helped push her cash on hand to $7.8 million. Her campaign did not release how much she spent during the the three-month period. But she ended 2017 with just under $7 million cash on hand. That means she spent about three-fourths of what she raised.

The period included a TV buy the campaign said in late March would run in four of the state’s media markets.

GOP U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson announced he raised more than $1 million during the first three months of the year and will report more than $800,000 cash on hand. Meanwhile, Republican candidate Leah Vukmir, a state senator from Brookfield, has not yet announced how much she raised during the period.

Baldwin starts ‘cheesy’ TV ad

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U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin today started running a “cheesy” new TV ad featuring Holland’s Family Cheese in Thorp.

The spot opens with the family’s five children warning it’s going to be a “cheesy ad” before one says “then again” and they all chime in, “this is Wisconsin.”

Baldwin says when “federal bureaucrats wanted to prohibit the use of wooden cheese boards, which help makes tens of millions of pounds of cheese a year, something had to be done.”

The spot then switches to cheesemaker Marieke Penterman, aka Marieke Gouda.

“Tammy Baldwin stepped in, helped eliminate regulations and stood up for businesses like ours,” she says.

The narrator says, “Tammy Baldwin, doing right by Wisconsin” before the senator closes the ad saying she approves “this message and this cheese” before a cow moos at the end of the spot.

The ad is running in the Milwaukee, Green Bay, Wausau and La Crosse/Eau Claire markets.

 

 

Bankers supporting financial literacy in April

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Wisconsin bankers are supporting financial literacy throughout the state this month by focusing on education and engagement at the community level.

April is Financial Literacy Month, and banks are holding events with the participation of local schools to strengthen connections between local banks and the people who use them.

The Wisconsin Bankers Association has declared April 16-20 as Power of Community Week, with 90 banks in the state committed to participating in community-building events as well as teaching kids — and some adults — about saving money.

“With 42 banks reporting their activities, we are logging over 1,000 volunteer hours for this month and over 1,300 bankers participating,” said Eric Skrum, communications manager for WBA.

Wolf River Community Bank is providing volunteers for a Wolf River clean-up event in Shiocton, while Investors Community Bank in Manitowoc is holding a video competition with cash prizes for local nonprofits.

Dozens of banks statewide are participating in Teach Children to Save Day on April 20, when bankers will visit classes in school districts where they have a personal connection to discuss finances in a child-friendly way.

See more at WisBusiness.com.

Bill Kaplan: Change in the air for Wisconsin and elsewhere

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The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.

Former Wisconsin GOP Governor Tommy Thompson (1987 — 2001) had some blunt truth for Trump, state GOP Governor Scott Walker and other Republicans. Thompson said: “He’s (Trump) a bully, and the president should not be a bully.” And, Wisconsin Public Radio reported: “Thompson predicted the Republican Party and … Walker could face historic losses in November’s elections.” Thompson also contrasted his electoral and governing style to Trump’s and Walker’s: “The philosophy now is … 50 percent plus one vote. … don’t have to worry about those other people. I (Thompson) wanted every vote.” Small-town Wisconsin wisdom.

Thompson had foreseen last week’s electoral debacle for Walker and the state GOP. Rebecca Dallet crushed Walker-backed Michael Screnock for a seat on the state Supreme Court. Dallet won across the board, including the Fox Valley and western Wisconsin. Moreover, she triumphed despite the National Rifle Association endorsement of Screnock. Limited, sensible gun control is no longer the third rail of state politics. And, Walker and the GOP-led legislature lost big in a vote to abolish the state treasurer’s office. Voters want checks and balances.

Earlier, Walker was rebuked by three state judges, including a Walker appointee, for disregarding the law by refusing to hold special elections for two vacant state legislative seats. Walker had stunningly miscalculated with his Nixonian “dirty tricks”. Part of a pattern. Walker has attempted to suppress voting with burdensome, unnecessary voter ID requirements, severe restriction of early voting and now removing thousands from voting rolls (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Meanwhile, Trump “repeated his false claim that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election” (Washington Post). Voters are not amused.

Back in January, Democrat Patty Schachtner blew away her GOP opponent for a vacant state Senate seat. The GOP had held it for seventeen years. Moreover, Trump won the district big in 2016. Schachtner’s victory is part of a blue wave nationally. Since 2016, Democrats have flipped a net 35 state legislative seats from GOP to Democrat in special elections (Boston Globe). Then there’s Virginia.

Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam won by nine percentage points last November. He had coattails – Democrats (mostly women) picked up fifteen state legislative seats. Now the GOP-led Virginia legislature is on the verge of passing Medicaid expansion. The blue wave also hit Alabama and Pennsylvania.

In December, Alabama Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore for a vacant U.S. Senate seat. Moore was strongly supported by Trump despite “accusations of sexual abuse and child molestation” against Moore (New York Times). In March, Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb won a vacant U.S. House seat in the middle of Trump country on a message of economic fairness. The GOP spent more than $14 million. Big money lost. Change in the air for Wisconsin and elsewhere.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report said: Favorable polls, Democratic enthusiasm and GOP retirements are “aiding House Democrats’ path to a majority”. Cook also downgraded Wisconsin’s Seventh Congressional District, held by GOP Representative Sean Duffy, from solid to likely. Checks and balances.

— Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

 

Bill Kaplan: Missile strike is an echo of Watergate

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The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.

In October, 1973 Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Richardson refused and resigned. Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus similarly refused and was forced out. Finally, Solicitor General Robert Bork agreed to fire Cox. A few days later the Nixon administration ordered a worldwide military alert of U.S. forces, including nuclear weapons. The press questioned whether it was a response to possible Soviet (Russian) intervention in the Middle East, as claimed, or an attempt to distract from Watergate and Cox’s dismissal.

The past is prologue. Last Monday, the FBI raided the office of Trump’s personal lawyer and bagman, Michael Cohen. “They seized evidence of possible federal crimes – including bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations related to payoffs made to women, including a porn actress, who say they had affairs with the president before he took office and were paid off and intimidated into silence” (New York Times).

The Times opined: “That evening (Monday) the president surrounded himself with the top American military officials (to consider military action against Syria over its use of chemical weapons) and launched unbidden into a tirade against … American law enforcement officials … accusing them of ‘an attack on our country’.” Trump, acting like a tin-pot dictator, castigated Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who leads the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, possible collusion by Trump campaign officials and obstruction of justice. Mueller has indicted 19 individuals, with several pleading guilty and cooperating.

Meanwhile, the Times and Washington Post reported about offers of White House pardons for those indicted. Moreover, Trump floated a trial balloon, saying “many people” want him to “fire” Mueller. Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson has called for Mueller to “resign”, a difference without a distinction. And, House GOP Speaker Paul Ryan says the White House has given him “assurances” that Mueller will not be fired. In contrast, former House GOP Speaker John Boehner called firing Mueller “ a very bad idea. … There’s no reason why those investigations should be impeded at all”.

On Friday, Trump ordered a missile strike against Syria. He later tweeted “Mission Accomplished!”, seemingly oblivious to “the premature declaration that haunted George W. Bush” (Washington Post). Johnson and Ryan offered “thoughts and prayers”. While Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin supported the missile strike, she was critical, saying that Trump lacked a “comprehensive strategy” and needed “congressional authorization” of military action. Wisconsin GOP Representative Mike Gallagher, a former U.S. Marine, wants the 9-11 authorization for military action to be replaced. He said: “We’re using (it) to kill people that weren’t even born on 9-11”. Well-stated.

Finally, Washington Post conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin opined: “The queasy feeling that the president’s decision to use military force – or even the timing of the strike – may be influenced by personal, political factors underscores the degree to which the president has forfeited his moral authority and undermined his credibility”. The missile strike against Syria is an echo of Watergate.

— Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

Bill Kaplan: The NRA, Russia and Governor Walker

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The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.

Last week former Wisconsinite David Keene, editor at large for the conservative Washington Times, enthusiastically endorsed Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker’s reelection. Keene, “a stalwart on the right”, was president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) from 2011 – 2013 (Washington Post). The “NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump … . Most of that money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors”. If “internet ads” and “get-out-the-vote efforts” are included “total (NRA 2016) election spending actually approached or exceeded $70 million” (McClatchy). Walker “received about $3.5 million (from the NRA) for his 2010 election, the 2012 recall and his 2014 reelection” (Wisconsin Public Radio).

Keene helped lay the foundation for the NRA’s massive, opaque campaign spending. More ominously, he helped facilitate Russian “links” to the NRA and Republicans, including presidential candidates Trump and Walker (Time). Moreover, the FBI and Federal Election Commission are investigating “whether NRA got illegal Russian donations” (Politico) “to help Trump” (McClatchy). In 2011, NRA President Keene met Alexander Torshin, a Russian “gun rights” legislator with ties to Putin. In 2015, Torshin and his aide Maria Butina toured the NRA headquarters. The Russian “gun rights” leaders later went to the NRA convention and met Walker, then running to be the GOP presidential nominee. Torshin and Butina also attended a Tennessee fundraiser for Walker. And, Butina went to Walker’s July, 2015 “campaign kickoff” in Waukesha (Time).

“At the end of 2015, Butina welcomed a delegation to Moscow that included Keene, by then a member of the NRA board, as well as top NRA donors. The group also included a rising star in GOP politics (then) Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who went on to be a campaign surrogate for Trump …” (Washington Post). Keene and his group had a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. Torshin and Butina continued their efforts to cultivate Republicans, including Trump, hoping “that a Republican in the White House might improve U.S. – Russia relations” (Washington Post).

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is leading an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, possible collusion by Trump campaign officials and White House obstruction of justice. Mueller has indicted 19 individuals, including Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Trump campaign Chair Paul Manafort and Deputy Chair Rick Gates. Flynn and Gates have pleaded guilty and are cooperating. 13 Russians are among the indicted, facing charges for interfering in the 2016 election.

All along Walker has maintained his distance, with little to say. Trump won Wisconsin by only 22,748 votes. During the campaign “Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted” Wisconsin (CNN). And, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS) reported: “Russian Twitter trolls stoked racial tension in wake of Sherman Park rioting in Milwaukee before 2016 election”. Moreover, there were attempts by Russian “hackers” to “get into Wisconsin (election) computer systems” (MJS). Finally what about the NRA, Russia and Walker? Time for Keene and Walker to come clean.

— Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

Bill Kaplan: Trump’s cabinet is the worst

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The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.

Last fall, Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker was asked by the Washington Post for his “appraisal” of Trump’s presidency. Walker said: “His (Trump’s) actions speak louder than words. A lot of people get hung up on his tweets. If you look at the actions from where I sit in Wisconsin, this is a solid administration with a good Cabinet”. Walker fabricating. Other conservatives disagree.

GOP strategist Steve Schmidt described the Trump presidency: “From a personnel perspective, we’ve never quite seen the assemblage of crooks, just outright weirdos, wife beaters, drunk drivers, complete and total incompetents …” (MSNBC). There’s more.

Conservative American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman Ornstein described the Trump Cabinet: “We have a contingent of corrupt kleptocrats, some sadists, a racist, utter ideologues, … another who … made as his mission devastating our diplomatic corps. Other administrations have had occasional embarrassments or individuals brought down by scandal. None in our lifetimes like this. Maybe Warren Harding (1920s) would be a contender” (for worst Cabinet).

Wisconsin’s senators viewed their constitutional responsibility, to approve or reject Trump’s nominees for Cabinet positions, very differently. GOP Senator Ron Johnson voted as a rubber stamp, approving all of Trump’s Cabinet nominees. Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin acted to carefully vet Trump’s nominees, often when it was clear that the White House had not done so. Checks and balances.

Case in point. Disgraced former Trump Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign over his frequent use of taxpayer-funded expensive private air charter flights. But that was only the tip of the ethics iceberg. Baldwin had raised serious concerns over Price’s financial dealings as a member of Congress. Legislative favor for drug companies in which he owned stock and from whom he received campaign donations. Insider trading and other misdeeds. Then there was Price’s membership in a “fringe” medical group that opposes Medicare and mandatory vaccinations. Johnson, head in sand, saw nothing wrong.

And, how about ethically challenged Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Mulvaney recently told the American Bankers Association: “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you” (New York Times). The very definition of Trump’s “swamp”. Worse, Mulvaney wants to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 and means-test Medicare. Baldwin voted no, while Johnson voted for Mulvaney.

Last week, the White House vetting process for Cabinet nominees blew up. Embattled Trump Veterans Affairs nominee Ronny Jackson withdrew, with little support in the Senate for him. He faced serious questions over his lack of management experience and allegations of medical-personal misconduct. And, Environment Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is on life support as he faces ethical violations and exorbitant travel-security spending.

Any wonder that the New York Times reports that Walker “is unlikely to campaign with the president” this fall, while GOP leaders fear losing the GOP-led Congress.

— Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

 

Bill Kraus: WIPPS Lifetime Achievement Award for Civic Leadership acceptance speech

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This is the text of a speech delivered by veteran Wisconsin politico Bill Kraus upon acceptance on April 4 of the first Lifetime Achievement Award for Civic Leadership from the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service. WIPPS celebrated its 10th anniversary with an event in Wausau. The text below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.

I’ve been a big fan of what Eric and WIPPS have been doing for 10 years.

WIPPS tackles big ideas with very little money which is admirable.

Even more amazing is that everything they do is fact based. You remember what facts are I’m sure.

Anyway.

I’m proud and pleased to serve on their board.

But I do have trouble explaining why they chose me for this honor. It must have something to do with what my wife refers to as my checkered past.

My 66 years in and around politics and policy have been influenced by many people, some of whom are in this room.

My list of thank yous start with the dynamic duo from Marshfield: I met Mel Laird and his high school classmate Bob Froehlke in post WWII law school in 1946.

Bob and i made it all the way through to graduation. Mel went into the State Senate to replace his father who had died in office.

We joined forces again in 1952. We all lived in the 7th District and Mel was running for Congress.

The creative Bob Froehlke showed me how to organize a campaign and mel demonstrated how to run as a Republican, keep your distance from Joe McCarthy, and win.

This was my first crack at politics, the only game for adults.

I was hooked by the people and their passion and the game itself. You win you lose. It’s over.

My next big thank you goes to Ody Fish who was running Warren Knowles’ campaign for governor in 1964 and picked me to run it in the 7th District.

It was not a great year for Republicans. Lyndon Johnson beat Barry Goldwater by over 400,000 votes in Wisconsin, but Ody eked out a 13,000 vote win for Warren.

Ody then asked me to run the state campaign for Warren in 1966.

1966 was a triple header for several of us. Warren won and Tommy Thompson was elected to the Assembly for the first time.

And Bob Williams who was a life long idea machine for Laird and countless others orchestrated Bill Steiger’s close win in the 6th District that year.

Bob Williams and i were partners in crime for 65 years for candidates for offices from city counsel to Congress, to state government including the Supreme Court and beyond.

Then along came a UW chancellor named Lee Dreyfus who wantd to be governor. He joined the Republican Party in December of 1977 so he could run in 1978.

By this time money had become more important in campaigns and his campaign didn’t have any.

But we had something better than money. We had Bob Williams and his amazing ideas, Marsha Lindsay’s TV news show, and Lee himself who figured how to woo that 40% of the populace that does not regularly vote for anyone.

The crucial primary campaign had a $100,000 budget and no TV commercials. We won 60-40.

My checkered credentials include many, many more wonderful people, a lot of dumb German luck, and years of associating with people on both sides of the aisle which i don’t have time to thank by name.

But I thank you and WIPPS for recognizing all of them by giving me this great honor tonight.

Let’s make the world a better place.

 

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: $3.7 million for community projects

CONTACT:  Jonathan Barry, Executive Secretary (608) 266-8369

MADISON – The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) today approved $3.7 million in State Trust Fund Loans to support eight community projects in Wisconsin.  Board Chair Brad Schimel and Commissioner Doug La Follette voted in favor of the loans with Commissioner Matt Adamczyk voting against them.

The BCPL approved the following loans:

  • Arkdale Lake District, Adams County / Finance dam analysis and repair / $75,000
  • City of Ashland, Ashland County / Finance TID #10 development agreement / $550,000
  • Town of Buchanan, Outagamie County / Purchase capital equipment and vehicles / $485,000
  • Town of Cedarburg, Ozaukee County / Construct sports complex / $1,600,000
  • Village of Eastman, Crawford County / Finance roadwork and water main improvements / $305,000
  • Town of Maple, Douglas County / Purchase road grader / $186,000
  • Village of River Hills, Milwaukee County / Finance 2018 capital expenditures / $434,886
  • Town of Sullivan, Jefferson County / Purchase ambulance / $127,989

The BCPL operates entirely on program revenue, without taxpayer money, and distributes more than 96 cents of every dollar of interest earned on BCPL State Trust Fund investments to Wisconsin’s public schools.  The 2018 earnings of $35.7 million provide the sole source of state funding for K‑12 public school library materials.

A list of 2018 library aid received by each public school district is available at: (http://bcpl.wisconsin.gov/docview.asp?docid=28530&locid=145).

Established in 1848 by the State Constitution, the BCPL consists of the Secretary of State Doug La Follette, State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk, and Attorney General Brad Schimel.  The BCPL manages the Common School Fund, which was created in Article X of Wisconsin’s Constitution, as a permanent endowment to benefit public education.

To learn more about the agency, visit http://bcpl.wisconsin.gov.

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: Approves $3.6 million for community projects

CONTACT:  Jonathan Barry, Executive Secretary (608) 266-8369

MADISON – The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) today approved $3.6 million in State Trust Fund Loans to support eight community projects in Wisconsin.  Board Chair Brad Schimel and Commissioner Doug La Follette voted in favor of the loans with Commissioner Matt Adamczyk voting against them.

The BCPL approved the following loans:

  • City of Manawa, Waupaca County / Finance TID #3 development and ancillary costs / $347,000
  • City of Manawa, Waupaca County / Finance water tower painting / $311,200
  • Town of Neenah, Winnebago County / Finance sanitary sewer assessment / $114,240
  • School District of Raymond #14, Racine County / Purchase land / $350,000
  • School District of Raymond #14, Racine County / Refinance BCPL loan #2005167 / $276,547.98
  • Town of Sparta, Monroe County / Purchase tractor and equipment / $101,498
  • Village of Stafford, Marathon County / Finance TID #4 infrastructure improvements / $1,403,500
  • City of Two Rivers, Manitowoc County / Refinance general obligation debt / $675,000

The BCPL operates entirely on program revenue, without taxpayer money, and distributes more than 96 cents of every dollar of interest earned on BCPL State Trust Fund investments to Wisconsin’s public schools.  The 2018 earnings of $35.7 million provide the sole source of state funding for K‑12 public school library materials.

A list of 2018 library aid received by each public school district is available at: (http://bcpl.wisconsin.gov/docview.asp?docid=28530&locid=145).

Established in 1848 by the State Constitution, the BCPL consists of the Secretary of State Doug La Follette, State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk, and Attorney General Brad Schimel.  The BCPL manages the Common School Fund, which was created in Article X of Wisconsin’s Constitution, as a permanent endowment to benefit public education.

To learn more about the agency, visit http://bcpl.wisconsin.gov.

Boe campaign kickoff 🗓

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Please Join Steve Boe for Campaign Kick-off in Eau Claire
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Girolamo’s Court’n House Bar & Grill
113 W. Grand Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54703
Suggested: $50
Checks payable to: Friends of Steve Boe, 511 3rd St. Taylor, WI 54659
Contact: [email protected]

–Authorized and Paid for by Friends of Steve Boe–

Bradley Foundation: George Will To Emcee 2018 Bradley Prizes for 10th Year

CONTACT:
Christine Czernejewski
202-368-0281

Washington, D.C. Awards Ceremony to be held May 15

Milwaukee, WI – The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation announced today that George Will, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and conservative thinker, will serve as master of ceremonies for the 2018 Bradley Prizes, which honor scholars and practitioners whose accomplishments reflect the Bradley Foundation’s mission to restore, strengthen and protect the principles and institutions of American exceptionalism. The 15th annual awards ceremony will be held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, May 15, 2018

“George Will is one of the most revered conservative thought leaders of our time,” said Richard Graber, President and CEO of the Bradley Foundation. “His intellectual heft and award-winning commentary have had an immeasurable impact on American opinion and have inspired many of our current and future leaders. The Bradley Foundation is proud to have George as master of ceremonies for what is sure to be an impactful night.”   

This will be the 10th year Will has emceed the Bradley Prizes ceremony. The winners were chosen by a selection committee of distinguished individuals who reviewed nearly 200 nominations. Each winner will receive a stipend of $250,000. This year’s recipients are: 

    • Allen C. Guelzo, Director of Civil War Era Studies and the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College; and Claremont Institute senior fellow
    • Charles KeslerClaremont Review of Books editorClaremont Institute senior fellow; and the Dengler-Dykema Distinguished Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College
    • Jason RileyWall Street Journal columnist; and Manhattan Institute senior fellow

As a new feature of this year’s prize ceremony, Will will facilitate a candid “Conversation with the Winners,” which promises to be an informative, lively and unscripted discussion on the most pressing challenges in America with some of the country’s brightest conservative minds.

Will writes a nationally syndicated column for The Washington Post and is the author of numerous best-selling books. He has won many honors and distinctions, including a 2005 Bradley Prize. The Wall Street Journal has hailed Will as “perhaps the most powerful journalist in America.”

Founded in 1985, the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation supports projects and organizations that strengthen families and communities, inform and educate citizens, advance economic growth and encourage self-reliance. The Foundation’s forward-looking approach to philanthropy is guided by four core principles: fidelity to the Constitution, with its principles of limited government, federalism, separation of powers, and individual liberties; commitment to free markets; dedication to the formation of informed and capable citizens; and commitment to the institutions of civil society that cultivate individuals capable of self-governance. To learn more, please visit www.bradleyfdn.org

To schedule an interview with Richard Graber, President & CEO of the Bradley Foundation, please contact Christine Czernejewski at [email protected]ns.com or 202-368-0281

  

Bradley Foundation: To honor influential scholars, thought leaders on May 15

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CONTACT:

Christine Czernejewski

202-368-0281

Milwaukee, WI – The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation has announced that the 15th annual Bradley Prizes will be awarded at a ceremony at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, May 15. The Bradley Prizes honor scholars and practitioners whose accomplishments reflect the Bradley Foundation’s mission to restore, strengthen and protect the principles and institutions of American exceptionalism.

“The Bradley Foundation is proud to honor three distinguished individuals whose extraordinary talents have influenced American scholarship and debate,” said Richard Graber, President and CEO of the Bradley Foundation. “We look forward to an evening that recognizes their achievements and celebrates the belief that political and economic freedom lead to greater opportunity, prosperity, and quality of life.”

The Bradley Prize recipients, to be announced next month, will each receive a stipend of $250,000. A selection committee of distinguished individuals chose this year’s honorees after careful review of nearly 200 nominations.

The committee members include: Victor Davis Hanson, scholar, author, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow and 2008 Bradley Prize recipient; Diane Hendricks, Founder and Chair, ABC Supply Co.; Alan Charles Kors, Henry Charles Lea Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Pennsylvania and 2008 Bradley Prize recipient; James Arthur Pope, Owner, Chairman and CEO, Variety Wholesalers, and Bradley Foundation Board Chairman; Tracie Sharp,President and CEO, State Policy Network; Kimberley Strassel, author and columnist, Wall Street Journal and 2014 Bradley Prize recipient; Robert Woodson, Sr., Founder and President, Center for Neighborhood Enterprise and 2008 Bradley Prize recipient; Dianne Sehler, Bradley Foundation Senior Advisor to the President; and Richard Graber, Bradley Foundation President and CEO and Selection Committee Chairman.

Founded in 1985, the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation supports projects and organizations that strengthen families and communities, inform and educate citizens, advance economic growth and encourage self-reliance. The Foundation’s forward-looking approach to philanthropy is guided by four core principles: fidelity to the Constitution, with its principles of limited government, federalism, separation of powers, and individual liberties; commitment to free markets; dedication to the formation of informed and capable citizens; and commitment to the institutions of civil society that cultivate individuals capable of self-governance. To learn more, please visit www.bradleyfdn.org

To schedule an interview with Richard Graber, President & CEO of the Bradley Foundation, please contact Christine Czernejewski at 202-368-0281 or

[email protected]

Brown County: Executive issues statement on passing of Harry Maier

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Media Contact: Deputy Executive Jeff Flynt (920) 448-4083

(Brown County, Wis.) – Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach is issuing the following statement in regards to the passing of former Green Bay Redevelopment Authority Chairman and journalist Harry Maier:

“Harry was always generous with his time and was an early proponent of Brown County’s Research and Innovation Park,” says Streckenbach. “I always appreciated Harry’s willingness to offer guidance to my office and support efforts to improve the quality of life for all Brown County residents through his commitment to the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Marian and the entire family.”

Bryce campaign: Announces first quarter fundraising figures: $2.1 Million

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Contact: Lauren Hitt, 443-370-3205, [email protected]

The campaign has raised more than any other Ryan challenger in the last 20 years

RACINE, WI – The Randy Bryce campaign released the results of their fundraising efforts in the first quarter of 2018, today. The campaign raised $2.1 million, and ended the quarter with nearly $2.3 million cash on hand. With $4.75 million raised since the campaign’s launch, the Bryce campaign has now raised more than any other Ryan challenger in the last twenty years, with seven months still to go. The majority of those donations came in small contributions, with an average contribution of $23. The campaign’s fundraising has risen every quarter, with $1 million raised in the third quarter of 2017; and $1.2 million raised in the forth quarter of 2017. The campaign also dramatically grew its number of donors in the first quarter of 2018, adding 45,000 new donors from January 1, for a total of 113,000 total donors.

“Paul Ryan has never been more vulnerable,” said Communications Director Lauren Hitt. “Seats far more conservative than his, including one in rural Wisconsin, have already turned blue in special elections, this year. The Speaker is facing a well funded, well organized opponent with broad support, locally and nationally, in an extremely anti-incumbent environment. He may just want to put those rumors to rest and bow out gracefully now.”

Both CNN and the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics recently moved Wisconsin’s First from “safe” or “solid” Republican districts to more competitive leaning. The polling also indicates Ryan is in trouble, and that was before Bryce’s campaign made a sustained TV ad buy in-district last month. Additionally, the campaign is building up its field program, with over 140 county captains leading volunteer efforts in their communities.

Randy has built a broad coalition of support, local and national, progressive and labor groups – including Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI04), Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI02), Congressman Dave Obey (ret. D-WI07), American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, Democracy for America, End Citizens United, and International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), United Auto Workers, Vote Vets, and Working Families Party.

About Randy Bryce

Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker. He was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, and went to public schools. Randy’s father was a police officer, and his mother worked in a doctor’s office. After graduation, Randy enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was posted to Honduras, where he earned the Army Achievement Medal. After returning stateside, Randy was diagnosed with cancer, which he survived, but only after struggling through the bankruptcy that came with the medical bills. Once in remission, Randy found his way to an apprenticeship as an iron worker, a trade he’s now been practicing and fighting to protect from anti-labor laws for nearly 20 years. Randy currently resides in Caledonia, WI with his son, Ben, who attends public schools like his dad. Randy joined the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in Summer 2017.

Bryce campaign: Calls on Ryan to resign immediately

Contact: Lauren Hitt, 443-370-3205, [email protected]com

Following Ryan’s comments that he intends to use his remaining 9 months to focus on fundraising

RACINE, WI – Democratic congressional candidate Randy Bryce is calling on Speaker Ryan to resign immediately, following comments from the Speaker and his allies that Ryan intends to primarily use his remaining nine months in office to fundraise across the country.

“The people of the First District deserve a Congressman who will actually represent them and fight for their interests, not one who is going to dedicate the better part of a year to fundraising for other Representatives across the country. Ryan’s statements yesterday mean that Southeastern Wisconsin won’t be represented in Congress until late January of next year. Ryan should step down immediately, so we can have a special election, and get a Congressman who will actually work for the people of the First District in 2018.”

The head of Ryan’s super PAC was very clear yesterday about how the Speaker would be spending his remaining time in office, saying “If anything, Ryan’s decision ‘frees up the speaker to raise more money for Republicans across the country,’ said Corry Bliss, executive director at the Congressional Leadership Fund.” (AP, 2/12/2018)

Ryan confirmed Bliss’ statement when he told reporters yesterday afternoon that he was confident he would retain his Speakership until the end of his term because “There is nobody who’s comes close to being able to raise the kind of funds I have and still can raise for this majority. It makes no sense to take the biggest fundraiser off the field.” (USA Today, 4/12/2018 – emphasis added)

Bryce campaign: Issues statement on Walker’s approval of Foxconn’s air pollution

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Contact: Lauren Hitt, 443-370-3205, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – Democratic congressional candidate and Racine County resident Randy Bryce released the following statement on the decision by the state’s Department of Natural Resources to approve air permits for Foxconn.

“For Scott Walker, it wasn’t enough that taxpayers forked over billions of dollars to Foxconn, he expects us to sacrifice our air quality too. Sadly, I fear this is the kind of treatment we can expect from Foxconn. They will take, take, take for their bottom line, and give little in return to the working families funding their corporate welfare. Families in Racine County have already seen how We Energies has been permitted to get away with contaminating our homes and playgrounds with coal dust, thanks to the Governor’s lax standards.”

More on Foxconn’s Impact on the First District…
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Plans by Foxconn Technology Group for a massive manufacturing complex in Racine County would represent a major new source of air pollution in an area already struggling with summer smog problems. Emissions from the company’s operations in Mount Pleasant would rank among the highest in southeastern Wisconsin for pollutants that create smog, also known as ozone pollution, state documents show. Smog poses a health threat, especially for the elderly, children and people who suffer from respiratory problems like asthma. But it can also lead to reduced lung function for people working and exercising outdoors, and environmental groups are concerned about Foxconn’s impact on air quality.” (3/28/2018)

Journal Sentinel Headline: Foxconn’s promised jobs boom could miss neighboring city Racine (4/6/2018)

Racine Journal Times: “Independent testing has confirmed the presence of coal dust found Monday in a neighborhood north of the We Energies power plants in Oak Creek…Coal dust contains toxic metals including lead, mercury and arsenic, the release states. The health effects of inhalable particulate matter include aggravation of asthma, respiratory symptoms, an increase in hospital emissions and increased mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and from lung cancer. ‘There is no safe level of coal dust exposure.’ ‘This isn’t the first time this has happened,’ stated Greg Millard, a concerned local resident. ‘This is the first time they got caught. Coal dust blowing from the piles at these plants has been a problem for decades, and We Energies knows it. We want something done about it.’ Coal dust causes problems south of the plant, stated Bill Pringle, president of Environmental Accountability Group. ‘I used to live in Caledonia just south of the plant,’ Pringle stated. ‘Myself, my wife and my children became very ill, and after only eight years we had to move. We Energies did testing twice and said there wasn’t a problem, but when we hired someone to do independent testing, we found coal and fly ash in our house.’” (3/10/2018)

About Randy Bryce
Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker. He was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, and went to public schools. Randy’s father was a police officer, and his mother worked in a doctor’s office. After graduation, Randy enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was posted to Honduras, where he earned the Army Achievement Medal. After returning stateside, Randy was diagnosed with cancer, which he survived, but only after struggling through the bankruptcy that came with the medical bills. Once in remission, Randy found his way to an apprenticeship as an iron worker, a trade he’s now been practicing and fighting to protect from anti-labor laws for nearly 20 years. Randy currently resides in Caledonia, WI with his son, Ben, who attends public schools like his dad. Randy joined the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in Summer 2017.

Bryce campaign: LCV Action Fund endorses Bryce for Congress

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Contact: Craig Auster, 202-454-4633, [email protected]lcv.org; Lauren Hitt, [email protected]com

Washington, D.C. – The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund, which works to elect candidates who will support sound environmental policies, announced today its endorsement of Randy Bryce for Congress (WI-1).

“Randy Bryce is the real deal – he understands we need to transition to a clean energy economy to get people working in southeast Wisconsin and across America again,” said LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld. “As a veteran, cancer survivor and union leader, he understands the national security, public health and economic importance of fighting climate change and investing in clean energy. Unlike his opponent, Speaker Paul Ryan, we know we can always count on Randy Bryce to protect our air, water and public lands, and we’re thrilled to endorse his campaign for Congress.”

“Families in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District have lived too long with silence from their member of Congress while their health and quality of life are compromised. We’re excited to see Randy Bryce standing up for working people and making sure their air is safe to breathe, their water safe to drink, and their children have outdoor places to play,” said Kerry Schumann, Executive Director of Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.

“Corporate special interests have sent a message for years to working people that they have to choose between good jobs and clean air and water for their family. That’s a false choice. A Green New Deal would create thousands of family-sustaining jobs on infrastructure projects, and it would turn communities that have seen a decline in manufacturing into energy manufacturing hubs,” said Randy Bryce.

Bryce continued, “The environment is an issue for working people. Too many of us have faced environmental dangers on the job site that led to cancer or chronic diseases down the road. Too many of us have been cheated from good paying jobs because our federal government refuses to invest in infrastructure, a Green New Deal that will strengthen the middle class and our communities like never before. As an ironworker who helped build Wisconsin’s first wind turbines and as a cancer survivor who got sick from a toxic plant near my Army base, I know that bad environmental policy hits people scraping by the hardest, and, as a Congressman, I’ll make sure our country puts people before corporations again.”

Bryce is a strong advocate for climate action, clean energy and protecting clean air, water and public lands. Among his environmental priorities are: passing a “Green New Deal” that invests in green infrastructure and good-paying clean energy jobs; ending subsidies to fossil fuel companies; rejoining the Paris climate agreement; protecting the Land and Water Conservation Fund and our wetlands; and defending funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Bryce will also fight for stronger air quality testing at the Oak Creek coal facility and will hold Greif/Mid-America accountable for their alleged environmental and safety violations.

In contrast, his opponent Speaker Paul Ryan has led the most anti-environmental Congress in history and has rubberstamped President Trump’s pro-polluter agenda. Under Speaker Ryan’s leadership, the U.S. House has routinely voted to gut our most basic environmental and public health protections and undo the historic climate progress made under President Obama. Specifically, Speaker Ryan led the House in passing extreme Congressional Review Act measures to permanently undo President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, Clean Water Rule, Stream Protection Rule, and the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, among others. They have also voted on numerous assaults on clean air, clean water, public lands, wildlife and science, all under Speaker Ryan’s leadership. Closer to home, Speaker Ryan has been silent on important issues impacting his district, including Greif/Mid-America’s alleged numerous environmental and safety violations.

Bryce campaign: Poll shows Bryce poised to win WI-01

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Contact: Lauren Hitt, 443-370-3205, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – A poll conducted by Global Strategy Group on April 12 shows Randy Bryce is poised to win Wisconsin’s First Congressional District. An ironworker, veteran, and cancer survivor, Bryce edges out a generic Republican challenger, 42-41, according to the poll. Bryce also beats rumored Republican candidate Samantha Kerkman by a 5 point margin, and Bryce is in a dead heat with another rumored Republican candidate, former Congressman Mark Neumann, 42-42. The poll also found Bryce ahead of the Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, Robin Vos, by a margin of 42-40. Vos announced this morning he would not enter the race to replace Speaker Ryan.

Bryce has built a very strong, grassroots campaign. He currently has $2.5 million on hand, and the campaign has over 200 volunteer leaders who are already active and organizing in their communities. Bryce has also been airing TV ads in the District for nearly 2 months.

“Paul Ryan’s seat is well-within Randy’s grasp,” said Matt Canter of Global Strategy Group. “We tested him against well known possible Republican challengers and, in each case, he was ahead or in a dead-heat. This district may have been gerrymandered in Ryan’s favor, but it’s clear that the anti-Republican wave sweeping the nation and Bryce’s strong campaign are putting this seat very, very much in play.”

The poll also found that First District voters disapprove of the President by a 15 point margin (56-41). This is a dramatic swing, given that the President won the district by 10 points in 2016. Disapproval of the President in the district has steadily risen since Global Strategy Group first polled in August and December of last year. More details available here.

About Randy Bryce

Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker. He was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, and went to public schools. Randy’s father was a police officer, and his mother worked in a doctor’s office. After graduation, Randy enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was posted to Honduras, where he earned the Army Achievement Medal. After returning stateside, Randy was diagnosed with cancer, which he survived, but only after struggling through the bankruptcy that came with the medical bills. Once in remission, Randy found his way to an apprenticeship as an iron worker, a trade he’s now been practicing and fighting to protect from anti-labor laws for nearly 20 years. Randy currently resides in Caledonia, WI with his son, Ben, who attends public schools like his dad. Randy joined the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in Summer 2017.

Bryce campaign: Releases statement on Speaker Ryan’s decision not to seek reelection

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Contact: Lauren Hitt, 443-370-3205, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – Following Speaker Ryan’s announcement that he does not plan to seek reelection in Wisconsin’s First District, the Randy Bryce for Congress campaign released the following statement.

“Paul Ryan decided to quit today rather than face Randy Bryce and the voters,” said campaign Communications Director Lauren Hitt. “With nearly $5 million raised to date, a strong field program aided by organized labor, a broad coalition of support locally and nationally, Randy Bryce is incredibly well positioned to be the next representative for the First District. Electorates far more conservative than Wisconsin’s First have already elected Democrats in special elections in Wisconsin and across the country.”

WI-01 is far less conservative than many districts that have already turned blue, in and outside of Wisconsin, this year. PA-18 went to Trump by nearly 20 points and it’s rated by The Cook Political Report as an R+11 district. WI-01 is rated R+5 and Trump won the district by just 10 points. Senate District 10 in Wisconsin, which went to Trump by 17 points, also flipped blue in a special election in January of this year.

The Bryce campaign has organized a robust, grassroots campaign. Randy has raised $4.75 million to date, with 75 percent of those donations coming in small-dollar increments of $200 or less. That support allowed the campaign to begin airing TV ads in the district at the beginning of March, so voters are already becoming familiar with Randy’s story. The campaign is also building a strong grassroots field program. Over 140 county captains have already been trained to serve as volunteer leaders in their areas.

About Randy Bryce

Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker. He was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, and went to public schools. Randy’s father was a police officer, and his mother worked in a doctor’s office. After graduation, Randy enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was posted to Honduras, where he earned the Army Achievement Medal. After returning stateside, Randy was diagnosed with cancer, which he survived, but only after struggling through the bankruptcy that came with the medical bills. Once in remission, Randy found his way to an apprenticeship as an iron worker, a trade he’s now been practicing and fighting to protect from anti-labor laws for nearly 20 years. Randy currently resides in Caledonia, WI with his son, Ben, who attends public schools like his dad. Randy joined the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in Summer 2017.

Bryce campaign: Statement on Bryan Steil entering race for WI-01

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Contact: Lauren Hitt, 443-370-3205, [email protected]com

RACINE, WI – The Randy Bryce campaign released the following statement on Bryan Steil, who is expected to enter the race to represent Wisconsin’s First Congressional District today.

“It’s hard to think of anyone less in touch with the struggles facing working families than a third-generation corporate attorney from a politically-connected family,” said campaign Communications Director Lauren Hitt. “A former Ryan staffer and a current Walker appointee, Bryan Steil is part of the institutional Republican swamp that believes we should give tax breaks to the wealthy and pay for it by attacking working people’s retirements and healthcare.”

Reports show that while Steil was the Associate General Counsel for Regal Beloit the company closed a Midwest factory, laid off more than 300 people and moved their jobs to Mexico.

NBC – 3 KYTV: “A large Springfield manufacturer will soon be closing its doors. The Regal Beloit plant on east Sunshine has an emptier parking lot than in the past, and it will soon be vacant. ‘They have let folks go out in segments, in groups, of people coming out. There will be another group coming out this Fridaytomorrow,’ says Cynthia Collins, Missouri Career Center business service representative. When Regal Beloit announced the closing about a year and a half ago, there were about 330 employees. Right now, we believe, from corporate management and an employee, that there are about 100 left. The plant, which makes electric motors, has been in Springfield for decades. ‘We’ve seen employees that had been there for 44 years. I mean Regal was GE before Regal, so you had folks that started on at GE and within 8 or 9 years ago, Regal bought GE, and those employees continued on,’ said Collins. The Missouri Career Center says Regal Beloit employees qualify for retraining assistance through the Trade Act, because some of the jobs are leaving the country, going to Mexico.” [12/18/14]

Bryce campaign: Statement on Ryan’s “private” town halls in Texas

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CONTACT: Lauren Hitt
443-370-3205
[email protected]

RACINE, WI – Speaker Ryan is spending his Easter recess doing two so-called “private town halls” in Texas. Ryan has not held a town hall in his District, Wisconsin’s First, since before he was elected Speaker in 2015. Democratic congressional candidate Randy Bryce released a statement on Ryan’s events in Texas today and tomorrow.

“Twenty years in D.C. have changed Paul Ryan. He’s now putting lobbyists, donors and party politics ahead of the people of the First District. You can’t represent people if you aren’t willing to talk to them. Part of being a public servant means being willing to talk to people who don’t agree with you. Right now, Paul Ryan is only talking to hand-picked Texas ‘yes-men.'”

Bryce is participating in a town hall in Speaker Ryan’s hometown of Janesville on Saturday.

About Randy Bryce

Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker. He was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, and went to public schools. Randy’s father was a police officer, and his mother worked in a doctor’s office. After graduation, Randy enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was posted to Honduras, where he earned the Army Achievement Medal. After returning stateside, Randy was diagnosed with cancer, which he survived, but only after struggling through the bankruptcy that came with the medical bills. Once in remission, Randy found his way to an apprenticeship as an iron worker, a trade he’s now been practicing and fighting to protect from anti-labor laws for nearly 20 years. Randy currently resides in Caledonia, WI with his son, Ben, who attends public schools like his dad. Randy joined the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in Summer 2017.

Bryce campaign: Wisconsin State AFL-CIO endorses Randy Bryce for Congress

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Contact: Karen Hickey, 414-573-7579, [email protected]; Lauren Hitt, 443-370-3205, [email protected]

MILWAUKEE, WI – Today, the Wisconsin state AFL-CIO announced their endorsement of Randy Bryce for the First Congressional District.

“Randy Bryce will fight for working class issues like creating good Wisconsin jobs, building a better economy and protecting the freedom to collectively bargain with your employer for a fair wage, a safe workplace and a work-life balance,” said Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “The hardworking men and women of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO are proud to support Randy Bryce because he stands ready to prioritize America’s middle class and unrig our economy.”

“The labor movement is ready to work to get Randy Bryce in Congress so he can lead on behalf of working people and protect our bedrock values like Social Security, the absolute right to join together in a union, and the ability to get paid time off to care for our loved ones,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “For far too long politicians have been rigging the rules against everyday Americans in order to benefit Wall Street and corporate campaign donors. Union Ironworker Randy Bryce will work to re-write the rules of our economy to better support working families and help us all prosper.”

About Randy Bryce

Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker. He was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, and went to public schools. Randy’s father was a police officer, and his mother worked in a doctor’s office. After graduation, Randy enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was posted to Honduras, where he earned the Army Achievement Medal. After returning stateside, Randy was diagnosed with cancer, which he survived, but only after struggling through the bankruptcy that came with the medical bills. Once in remission, Randy found his way to an apprenticeship as an iron worker, a trade he’s now been practicing and fighting to protect from anti-labor laws for nearly 20 years. Randy currently resides in Caledonia, WI with his son, Ben, who attends public schools like his dad. Randy joined the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in Summer 2017.

Chief Justice Roggensack: Statement on passing of Vel Phillips

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“Vel Phillips leaves a legacy of accomplishment that has benefitted the people of Wisconsin. Her commitment and unflagging devotion to Wisconsin were remarkable. She led in so many ways. And, as she prevailed, her leadership made a difference; it lifted us all. Her graceful leadership  will be missed.”

City of Milwaukee: Release of Council report to ramp up scrutiny of Foxconn development

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Contact: Ald. Robert Bauman

(414) 286-3774

            Starting tomorrow (Thursday, April 12) vetting of the massive Foxconn development will reach an intensive new level when the 54-page document An Overview of the Foxconn Technology Group and Plans for Wisconsin Operations (attached) is made public.

            Alderman Robert J. Bauman, chair of the Public Works Committee, said the report – prepared by the Legislative Reference Bureau – looks in-depth at the history, financials and global operations of the Foxconn Technology Group, and its plans for development in Wisconsin.

            “This detailed look at the Foxconn project by the Common Council is really the first time the public will see what is planned, the Foxconn record in several key areas, and how the company has operated during its history,” Alderman Bauman said. “Because the project was jammed through and there have been no real public hearings at the state or local levels, this is a first real dive into the Foxconn project details.”

            The report covers a wide array of Foxconn topics, including working conditions, water usage, utilities, public transit, worker safety, suicides, environmental record, incentives, and broken promises.

The report will be taken up by the Steering and Rules Committee when it meets tomorrow (Thursday, April 12) at 9 a.m. in room 301-B at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St. The meeting will be carried live on Spectrum Cable, AT&T U-Verse and the City Channel at www.milwaukee.gov/channel25.

Clean Wisconsin: Statement on DNR approval of Racine water diversion

Contacts: Ezra Meyer, Clean Wisconsin, 608-251-7020 ext. 20 (office) or [email protected]

MADISON, WI — Clean Wisconsin issued the following statement on the Department of Natural Resources’ approval of Racine’s proposed diversion of Lake Michigan water:

“We’re reviewing the DNR’s decision and weighing our options in coordination with our coalition partners,” said Ezra Meyer, Water Resources Specialist. “This proposed diversion does not meet the letter or spirit of the Great Lakes Compact. Racine’s application is clear in stating that none of the diverted water from Lake Michigan would be used for public purposes, as required by the Compact and state law.”

Club for Growth Action: Kevin Nicholson positioned to win

Contact: Rachael Slobodien
202-955-5500
E-mail: [email protected]

Support for Kevin Nicholson Totals $5.5 Million Cash-On-Hand and Pre-Paid Media

Washington, DC – At the end of the 1st quarter, outside groups supporting conservative Marine Kevin Nicholson along with the Nicholson campaign reported having $5.5 million cash on hand and pre-paid media. This far surpasses the support of groups backing Nicholson’s opponent which reported it had raised $295,000 last quarter and had just $813,000 on hand. The Vukmir campaign had $650,000 reported on hand. The financial strength of Nicholson-aligned outside groups indicates that he is best positioned to win not only in August, but more importantly in November.

“Conservatives recognize that in order to take back Washington, we need to send in the Marine,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh. “Kevin Nicholson has the best message and resources to win the primary and defeat Tammy Baldwin.”

Solutions for Wisconsin reported $200,000 cash on hand, Club for Growth super PACs had over $1 million, Restoration PAC had $2.1 million cash on hand, and America’s PAC reported $1.4 million in pre-paid media.

The strength of the outside groups supporting Nicholson augment his campaign’s performance against Vukmir’s. Nicholson raised $1 million for the quarter and Vukmir raised just $600,000. Nicholson reported $800,000 on hand and Vukmir has $650,000.

Common Cause Wisconsin: State Supreme Court election results demonstrate widespread citizen support for stronger judicial Recusal Rules

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CONTACT: Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)

Last week’s Wisconsin Supreme Court election results – and the size and scope of Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet’s victory over Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock – demonstrated the high level of citizen support for stronger judicial recusal rules for judges in the state. That issue became a central focus of the election campaign with Dallet, who supported strong recusal rules, decisively defeating Screnock – who, not only opposed strong rules, but spent much of the campaign trying to obscure the issue altogether.

According to the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice of New York University, the most accurate tracker of the money spent in this and other Wisconsin Supreme Court elections:

“The nonpartisan election saw $2.6 million in spending on television and radio ads alone, with more than $1.7 million coming from outside groups. Outside groups’ ads focused on candidates’ rulings in criminal cases – one ad described Dallet as “one of Wisconsin’s toughest judges,” and one ad argued Screnock “has a record of throwing the book at murderers, abusers and predators.” Ads also attacked Dallet and Screnock for allegedly ruling leniently in particular criminal cases. The race attracted national attention, including robocalls by former Vice President Joe Biden on behalf of Dallet, and spending by the National Rifle Association on behalf of Screnock.

The race elevated judicial recusal as a central issue. Despite recent reform efforts, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has maintained lax recusal rules, which say that campaign contributions alone are insufficient grounds for recusal. Dallet and Screnock debatedwhether their opponent would step aside in cases involving special interests or lawyers who supported their campaigns. Dallet said after her victory that “one of her top priorities…is to reopen the idea of changing the court’s recusal rules.”

The biggest outside spender in the election, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), spent about a million dollars, including on particularly vicious and largely untrue attack ads against Dallet on a criminal matter. WMC, a business organization, was willing to tear down Dallet at any cost, to protect their investment in Screnock and his opposition to strong judicial recusal rules. Citizens might ask how running nasty, untrue attack ads is good for “business” in Wisconsin.

The current “non-rule” on judicial recusal was written by WMC in 2010 and was adopted verbatimby a narrow 4 to 3 conservative majority. It basically said that judges should recuse themselves from a case only if they felt the need to do so. Large contributions to their campaigns or a significant amount of money spent by a so-called “independent,” outside special interest group (such as WMC) to benefit a candidate, do not trigger recusal from a case if the donor or outside group is a party to a case before the judge or justice – as it does in almost every other state.

As a result of this pathetic standard, Wisconsin has been judged to have the 47th weakest judicial recusal rules in the nation.

CC/WI has spent much of the past six months educating thousands of Wisconsin citizens about the need for stronger judicial recusal rules for judges at all levels. We strongly support the specific proposal put forward in January, 2017 by 54 retired Wisconsin jurists at all levels, in the form of a petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which was not only rejected by a 5 to 2 margin, but denied even a public hearing, almost exactly a year ago. CC/WI organized public hears last Fall in Green Bay, Milwaukee and in Madison, and this year has been further educating citizens over social media through two short videos on the subject of judicial recusal:


Please view both of these videos and let us know what you think. And share them with others so that more citizens will be educated about the need for reform in this critical area. Already more than 20,000 Wisconsinites have viewed them on our website, Facebook and YouTube. Please join them!

The issue of judicial recusal will continue to be very important this year as the Wisconsin Supreme Court will continue to be pressed to hold public hearings and consider stronger recusal rules. And the issue will likely play a central role in the upcoming 2019 State Supreme Court election, now less than a year away.

For more on this issue and for CC/WI’s commentary on the 2018 WI Supreme Court election, go herehere, and here.

On Wisconsin!

Contemporary hate groups in WI and their Antifascist Opposition with Stas Vysotsky 🗓 🗺

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“After the 2016 election the nation, including Wisconsin, have seen a rise in public activity by the extreme right-wing of American politics, including White supremacists and the so-called ‘alt-right.’ In response, Antifascist groups have also come into the streets,” said Chuck Ogg of the Rock County Progressives. “Therefore we are excited to have Stanislav ‘Stas’ Vysotsky speak on ‘Contemporary hate groups in WI and their Antifascist Opposition.’ Stas is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. He has been keeping tabs on white supremacist groups, as well as their ‘antifa’ counterparts, for years, documenting ‘not so much the birth of a movement but one that’s starting to come up from the underground.’

“This event will be held on Wednesday, May 9, at the Basics Cooperative Natural Foods Store in Janesville. This is an independent event not affiliated with Basics. The speaker will begin at 6:30 PM, doors will open at 6 PM. This event is free and open to the public.”

Contact information: RockCountyProgressives.com or [email protected]

Craig won’t run for 1st CD

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GOP state Sen. Dave Craig, a former aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan, announced Friday he will not run to replace his old boss.

“My family is so thankful and humbled by the support shown to us these past few days,” Craig tweeted. “After much prayerful consideration, the timing to run for Congress is not right for our young family. I look forward to continuing to advance our conservative principles in the State Senate!”

Craig, R-Big Bend, is not up for re-election to the Legislature this fall and would not have had to give up his Senate seat to run.

Bryon Steil, a UW regent and attorney, is considering a bid, as are state Rep. Samantha Kerkman, of Salem, and former Racine County Exec. Jim Ladwig.

Crowley campaign: Representative David Crowley seeks second term in State Assembly

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CONTACT: David Crowley
(414) 436-9221

MILWAUKEE, WI – Representative David Crowley (D-Milwaukee) issued the following statement announcing his candidacy for re-election to the State Assembly.

“It has been an honor and a sincere privilege to represent the great constituents of the 17th Assembly District and the communities of which I have lived my entire life,” said Representative Crowley. “While I am proud of the many accomplishments of my first-term, there is still much work that needs to be done. I look forward to continuing the fight for our district, our city, and the entire State of Wisconsin.”

During his first year in the State Assembly, David was selected as Chair of the Milwaukee Democratic Legislative Caucus, Chair of the Bipartisan Black and Latino Caucus, and served on both the Speaker’s Task force on Foster Care and the Governor’s Task Force on Minority Unemployment. Rep. Crowley also passed bills relating to fully funding Wisconsin’s 2-1-1 hotline and creating safe spaces for victims of domestic violence.

Representative David Crowley knows that there are many issues that need to be addressed; including reckless driving in the City of Milwaukee. This past year, Rep. Crowley introduced the “Safe Roads Save Lives Act”, a bill that would give Milwaukee law enforcement the 21st Century tools and technology needed to ensure safer roads. This bill received bipartisan support in the Assembly, a public hearing, and will be a focus of the Representative when the legislature comes back in 2019.

The 17th Assembly District is primarily located on the Northwest side of the City of Milwaukee. David Crowley was elected to represent the 17th Assembly District in 2016. For more information visit www.davidcrowleywi.com.

Dallet elected to Supreme Court, Walker warns of blue wave

Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet called her victory a message from voters that the special interests can’t buy a seat on the state Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walker cited Dallet’s win to warn backers Wisconsin is at risk for a blue wave this fall.

Also, voters overwhelmingly rejected an attempt to eliminate the state treasurer’s office, and GOP state Rep. Treig Pronschinske lost his re-election bid as Mondovi mayor.

Dallet often railed against rival Michael Screnock, a Sauk County judge, for the more than $408,000 the state GOP spent on his behalf in the campaign, a statewide ad buy from the Wisconsin’s largest business group and his support from the National Rifle Association.

“The message is certainly about the state not being for sale, that the voters are the ones who are going to decide who wins these races, not the big-money interests,” she said in an interview with WisPolitics.com.

Dallet becomes the first candidate backed by liberals to win an open Supreme Court seat since 1995, when current Justice Ann Walsh Bradley first won. Dallet, elected to a 10-year term, will replace Justice Michael Gableman in August, cutting the conservatives’ majority to 4-3vfrom the current 5-2 split. She also becomes the sixth woman on the court, leaving Justice Daniel Kelly as the only man.

Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock thanked supporters for their support and prayers through the campaign in his concession speech Tuesday night.

He said “as grueling of a task as running a statewide campaign is, and as fierce as some of the attacks were” he and his wife weren’t frustrated or anxious until the last two weeks of the nine-month campaign.

“I am absolutely certain that was the prayer cover,” he told backers at Trappers Turn Golf Club in the Wisconsin Dells.

After Screnock delivered his concession speech, Walker fired off a series of tweets warning what Dallet’s win means for November — and making a fundraising pitch.

He wrote the “Far Left is driven by anger & hatred — we must counter it with optimism & organization. Let’s share our positive story with voters & win in November.” Walker also warned he’ll be targeted by big-government special interests who will “work to undo our bold reforms.”

See more in the Election Blog:

https://www.wispolitics.com/category/election/

Dallet with big lead early, ‘no; vote on getting rid of state treasurer way ahead

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Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet opened a significant early lead over Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock in their race for an open seat on the state Supreme Court.

With more than a third of the statewide vote in, Dallet was at 56 percent, while Screnock was at 43.9 percent.

Dallet had a huge lead in liberal Dane County, hitting 80.7 percent of the vote with almost three-fourths of the vote in for that county.

By comparison, liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley hit 78.3 percent in Dane County in 2015 as she won statewide with 58 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, Screnock was at 64.7 percent of the vote in Waukesha County with 93 percent of the vote in. Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley won 68.3 percent there in 2016 as she won statewide with 52.2 percent of the vote.

Voters were also largely opposed to eliminating the state treasurer’s office in early returns. The “no” vote was at 62 percent, while 38 percent had voted in favor of eliminating the constitutional office.

 

 

Dallet: Win shows special interests can’t buy state Supreme Court seat

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Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet said her victory is a message from voters that the special interests can’t buy a seat on the state Supreme Court.

Dallet often railed against rival Michael Screnock, a Sauk County judge, for the more than $408,000 the state GOP spent on his behalf in the campaign, a statewide ad buy from the Wisconsin’s largest business group and his support from the National Rifle Association.

“The message is certainly about the state not being for sale, that the voters are the ones who are going to decide who wins these races, not the big-money interests,” she said in an interview with WisPolitics.com.

With more than 70 percent of the vote in, Dallet was at 56 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns collected by The Associated Press. Screnock was at 44 percent.

Dallet becomes the first candidate backed by liberals to win an open Supreme Court seat since 1995, when current Justice Ann Walsh Bradley first won. She will replace Justice Michael Gableman in August, cutting the conservatives’ majority to 4-3 from the current 5-2 split. She also becomes the sixth woman on the court, leaving Justice Daniel Kelly as the only man.

Dallet also received help from outside groups in the campaign, with the liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee running TV ads and other organizations doing digital spots and canvassing for her. That includes the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which spent $165,000.

She has previously pledged not to hear any cases filed by the NDRC that come before the court. Dallet told WisPolitics.com she also would step off other cases involving an organization that spent significant money on her behalf.

“That’s what voters need to see,” she said. “Wisconsinites need to know that their courts aren’t and can’t be bought.”

Dane Co. Exec. Parisi: Dane County to explore construction of more digesters, manure treatment systems in Mendota watershed

Today Dane County Executive Parisi announced Dane County will be partnering with our family farmers to accelerate lakes clean-up efforts by commissioning a study to recommend where treatment technology can most effectively be located to treat more manure. The county is looking for proposals and bids from private partners to evaluate where additional digesters or other types of large scale treatment systems could be placed to reduce run-off.

The announcement comes a week after the county broke ground on a project that’s the first of its kind in the country to sell biogas for environmental energy credits, making it possible for manure digesters to generate more income while reducing manure spreading.

“The advance of technology offers the boldest opportunity we’ve had to date to better clean up our lakes,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Treatment is the most effective answer to better managing the otherwise harmful environmental effects of excessive nutrient runoff into our lakes. Soon we’ll have an ability to inject that biogas straight into a natural gas pipeline, making digesters more economically feasible while reducing run-off and confronting climate change.”

There are currently two privately owned digesters in northern Dane County that were a result of partnerships involving the county. The new feasibility study just now underway will explore whether additional farms could team together to have their manure processed into biogas and treated.

“A seamless network of digesters throughout northern Dane County will reduce phosphorus loading and runoff, better ensuring the stability of both our dairy industry and our natural resources,” Parisi said. Parisi also noted construction is now underway on a manure treatment system at one of the county’s two biogesters (Town of Springfield) that will remove nearly 100% of the phosphorus from manure. UW-Scientists estimate that 40 percent of manure containing phosphorus runs off snow or frozen ground between January and March and ends up in the lakes.

“Our farmers are our best partners when it comes to lakes clean-up efforts,” Parisi said. “The county is working to do our part to ensure we preserve our agriculture heritage while protecting one of our most valuable resources.”

Proposals are due to Dane County May 24th and pending County Board review and approval, a contract for the study will be awarded this summer.

Dane Co. Exec. Parisi: Dane County’s Henry Vilas Zoo holds Earth Day Party for the Planet

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This Sunday Dane County’s Henry Vilas Zoo will hold an Earth Day Party for the Planet Celebration. The event will run this Sunday April 22nd from 12:30-3:30pm. Below is the schedule of events.

– Free tree saplings courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
– Meet our education Ambassador Animals

– Visit the Madison Gas and Electric solar energy cart and Chevy Bolt

– Visit the activity tent for coloring, face painting and Funbooks

– Paint the windows in the Aviary entrance

– Kids’ Tree Climb courtesy of the Dane County Regional Arborist Group (weather permitting) 11-4pm

– Zookeeper Chats between 1pm and 3pm around grounds

o 1pm Meet the Penguin Keeper (penguin exhibit)

o 2pm Polar Bear Training (bear training wall between bear exhibits)

o 3pm Orangutan Chat (orangutan exhibit)

– Spring themed enrichment for animals throughout the Zoo all day

Dane Co. Exec. Parisi: Prairie Moraine County Park closed May 3rd & 4th

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Contact: Joshua Wescott

608-266-9069

Prairie Moraine County Park located on Wesner Road in the Town of Verona will be CLOSED on Thursday 5/3 and Friday 5/4 to allow for a two phase pavement restoration project to be made on the entrance road and at the Ice Age National Scenic Trail parking lot. An additional 1-2 day closure is anticipated in early May to complete the final asphalt paving work. Notice of the upcoming closure for final paving will be posted at the park and on the Dane County Parks website as soon as the dates are known.

The paving repair work will complete the Prairie Moraine dog park parking lot relocation project that created a new 74-car parking lot at the end of Wesner Road. While the park is closed access to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and another dog exercise area is available nearby at Badger Prairie County Park, located at 1220 E. Verona Road, Verona WI 53593.

For more information, please contact:

Alex DeSmidt, Park Facility Planner

Dane County Parks Division

5201 Fen Oak Drive

Madison, WI 53718

Phone: 608.221.7212

[email protected]

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Capital City Trail to get major improvements over summer

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Today Dane County Executive Parisi announced Dane County is entering into a contract with Payne and Dolan to resurface over 6 miles of the popular Capital City Trail. The work will begin after the 4th of July and a final construction timeline and potential bike detour routes will be released when the final project is finalized in June. Given the popularity and use of the trail Dane County Parks will announce as soon as the construction timeline is finalized in early June.

“Dane County has a vibrant culture of biking and we have some of the best bike trails in the country,” said Dane county Executive Parisi. “We will continue to invest in our quality of life our lakes our parks our trails. Weather it is the brand new Lower Yahara River Trail or the well-used Capital City Trail, Dane county will continue to lead the way on bike trails.

2018 work will include culvert replacement, base layer restoration and resurfacing from Nob Hill Road to Glacier Valley Road (6.5) miles and will take approximately 6 weeks. Cost for this section will be $948,200. The bulk of the cost will be covered by Dane County with support from the DNR through a recreational trails grant $45,000 and a Stewardship grant $244,465.

Dane County Parks will post project schedule, detours, and other relevant information on our webpage as well as along the trail and at kiosks.

This will be the first major upgrade to it since it was completed in 2000. This will be a multi-year restoration to improve the safety and ride of this well used trail. Dane County plans to repave the entire length of the trail starting this year and ending in 2020.Built in 2001, this trail sees over 125,000 users each year.

A resolution to approve this contract will introduced at the county board this evening.

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Dane County implements lakes clean up efforts

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CONTACT: Stephanie Wilson Miller
Communications Director
Dane County
608.267.8823 o
920.470.4618 c

Dane County Executive Parisi announced a major step forward in lakes clean-up efforts today. Dane County will fund the majority of construction costs for the reconstruction of East Towne Pond that will stop the flow of 80,000 pounds of sediment and 195 pounds of algae producing phosphorous from entering our lakes. Additionally, Dane County is increasing staff to help link farmers to conservation projects.

“There is no one solution to cleaning up our lakes,” Said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Our lakes are irreplaceable and cleaning them up will help our children enjoy our lakes for generations to come.”

Dane County will increase staff on the ground in the watershed to link farmers with funds to implement conservation projects and partnerships. An $80,000 grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts will make this additional work possible. A resolution to accept the grant money will be introduced tonight at the County Board meeting.

Dane County awarded the money for the East Towne Pond reconstruction to the city of Madison under the “Urban Water Quality Grant Program” which is a program that assists with projects aimed at cleaning up urban runoff pollution in area waters. The project cost $820,000 with the county paying $615,000 for the effort and the City of Madison making up the difference. The project will convert the detention basin into a wet pond.

The grants are available to help local communities construct storm water management facilities. The basins capture trash and phosphorus-laden debris such as yard or pet waste from urban areas that would otherwise wash directly into area lakes and streams during heavy rains or snow melt. $1.3 million is available through the grant program this year.

Since starting the grant program in 2005, Dane County has helped fund over 60 projects countywide, stopping the flow of over 800,000 pounds of garbage and pollutants, including over 3000 pounds of phosphorus every year. Phosphorus is the main culprit to algae growth in our lakes. Every pound of phosphorus removed from the county’s watershed prevents 500 pounds of algae from growing.

For the sixth consecutive year, municipalities that propose projects in one of the county’s top ten target areas that discharge large amounts of phosphorus and sediment into the lakes will be eligible to receive a 75% county cost share grant. Other municipalities with eligible projects outside the targeted areas could receive a 50% cost share up to $100,000.

Dane County Executive Parisi: Kicks off construction of first of its kind project in the nation

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Stephanie Wilson Miller
Communications Director
Dane County
608.267.8823 o
920.470.4618 c
Facebook @DaneCoJoe

Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi kicked off construction for an innovative project that will turn garbage and cow manure into renewable fuel for thousands of vehicles across the region and country. This project is also expected to significantly increase our lakes clean-up efforts by increasing revenue opportunities for local biogas digesters.

“Taking cow manure and garbage and turning it into vehicle fuel is good for the air we breathe, the waters we fish and swim in, and county taxpayers,” Parisi said. “Dane County is committed to accelerating work to clean up our lakes and financing efforts to produce renewable energy, and this project does both.”

Design work of the new facility is complete, BIOFerm has started ordering its system components, and the remainder of the project is out for bid now.  Construction is expected to begin in the coming weeks with the system online by spring of 2019.

Dane County announced this today at a press conference with project partners Cornerstone Engineering, Clean Fuel Partners and Bioferm Energy, who is designing and supplying the biogas cleaning system for the project.

“BIOFerm is honored to be building this amazing green project for the County landfill which will serve as a beacon for all municipalities on how to maximize resources,” said Nadeem Afghan from BIOFerm. “We are proud to be a local company working to deliver this project and creating great economic value and jobs in the process. This project once completed will have the capability to deliver ½ billion gallons of clean transportation fuel which would be a great contribution by Dane County to save our environment from fossil fuel economy.”

The Dane County landfill currently generates electricity with the gas collected from the breakdown of garbage and organic material.  Presently, the landfill makes enough electricity to power 4,500 homes. This new facility will enable the County to convert its landfill gas into vehicle fuel, thereby eliminating thousands of tons of carbon emissions, a leading cause to the extreme weather events triggered by climate change.  In addition to the project’s environmental benefits, it is estimated the county will generate enough revenue from the project to payback its $25 million cost of the project in just a few years. That creates economic opportunity for both Dane County taxpayers and owners of “Cow Power” facilities north of Lake Mendota to convert their operations to gas production.

The County’s 2018 budget included the final phase of funding totaling $23.5 million for Dane County to build a biogas processing facility at its landfill and connect it with an adjacent interstate pipeline.  That facility will clean up all of the collected landfill gas and turn it into renewable vehicle fuel.  Of the total $23.5 million cost, $5.5 million is new funds in the 2018 budget.  Those additional funds will allow the county to build a gas off-loading station where other biogas producers, like dairy digesters located in the North Mendota watershed, can bring their cleaned up fuel and have it injected into the pipeline.  The gas would first need to be purified and compressed by the owner’s equipment before being hauled to the landfill for injection into the interstate pipeline.

This Dane County project is the first in the nation to be able to receive biogas from multiple off-site locations and connect that renewable gas with CNG gas stations locally and across the nation.

The 2018 county budget also included a $200,000 study to look into where additional digesters could be located to process manure into biogas. This will keep more manure off the land, reducing phosphorus on fields prone to runoff during heavy rain events that can get into waterways and cause algae blooms.

“Dane County continues to find game changing solutions to protect our lakes, produce renewable energy, and reduce climate change emissions,” said Jessica Niekrasz, Chief Administrator Officer of Clean Fuel Partners, whose company purchased the community digester near Waunakee in late 2015. “Our innovative private-public partnership with family-owned dairy farms will continue the work to economically remove phosphorus from the watershed.”

Digesters reduce greenhouse gas emissions by collecting and destroying methane that would otherwise be emitted to the atmosphere. They also help farms manage manure more responsibly, which reduces harmful runoff to lakes and streams. The county’s new facility at the landfill will make it economically feasible for manure digesters in the county to continue to produce renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and clean up our lakes.

Dane County Executive Parisi: Seeks partners to develop solar, wind projects across region, state

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Contact: Stephanie Wilson Miller

Communications Director

Dane County

608.267.8823 o

920.470.4618 c

Facebook @DaneCoJoe

County Executive Joe Parisi announced today that Dane County will seek partners in the coming weeks to help develop new solar and wind farms across Wisconsin. It’s the latest investment in clean, renewable energy by the County Executive who’s prioritized installing solar at county facilities, most recently making up to 40 acres of land at the Dane County Regional Airport available for solar, all in an effort to improve efficiency and reduce climate change causing emissions.

“Dane County is leading the way for renewable energy in Wisconsin,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This is the right thing to do for our environment, for our economy and for taxpayers. This project will increase local clean energy jobs, will reduce carbon emissions and ease the burden for taxpayers.”

In the coming days, the county will release what’s called a request for proposals, seeking offers from prospective solar and wind developers on projects Dane County could become an investor in. Projects will be evaluated this summer, with recommendations made in time for 2019 budget preparations. The goal is to facilitate the development of projects that generate renewable electricity to offset the amount of energy used to run county operations. In turn, keeping with the county’s benchmark of being 100% sustainable.

Dane County currently owns more solar than any other public entity in the state with nearly 600 kW at 15 sites across the county, not including the upcoming Airport Project which will be the largest public sector project in Wisconsin. That project could generate over 8 megawatts of power, almost three times more than the largest solar project currently operating in the region, a 2.25 megawatt facility in Beloit.

In addition to the airport, Parisi’s budgets have funded solar projects at the Dane County Job Center, the new East District Highway Facility and Medical Examiner’s Complex, the offices of Dane County Land and Water Resources, the Dane County Library Service and others. Additional future solar projects are planned for the Alliant Energy Center.

The new solar projects will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of taking 1700 cars off the road, reducing direct energy costs by over $2.1 million over the next two decades. The new Dane County East District Highway Garage that opened last year has well over 800 solar panels and is the second largest municipally-owned solar project in the state.

In addition to the solar developers, the project will employ local electricians and construction workers. There are more than 2,800 people employed in the solar industry in Wisconsin and 460 in Dane County, according to the Solar Foundation, which tracks solar jobs nationwide. Dane County is second only to Milwaukee County in the number of solar jobs in Wisconsin.

Expanding the county’s investment in solar projects will help continue the county’s tradition of being 100% sustainable. For more than the past two decades, Dane County has generated renewable electricity at its landfill, fueled by the naturally occurring methane given off by the waste. Presently, the landfill makes enough electricity to power 4,500 homes.

The county has initiated an innovative project to instead convert this methane into clean burning vehicle fuel, to further reduce carbon emissions by thousands of tons, the primary contributor to climate change causing greenhouse gases. In addition to helping Dane County achieve nearly 100% renewable status, the two landfills since 1998 have earned over $35 million for taxpayers thru the sale of renewable electricity. The County’s total renewable power generation reduces CO2 emissions the equivalent of taking over 5,200 cars off the road.

Dane County Henry Vilas Zoo: Welcomes new tiger

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Dane County’s Henry Vilas Zoo has welcomed a new male Amur tiger, “Yuri,” thanks to the community’s generosity last November on “Giving Tuesday,” a global day dedicated to giving back.

“This is a great addition to our Henry Vilas Zoo Family,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Henry Vilas Zoo is an award winning destination for families and continues to see a record number of visitors every year.”

Yuri comes from John Ball Zoo in Michigan as part of the Amur Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP), which helps make recommendations about managing the tiger population in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos. Yuri’s keepers are working to build a positive relationship and give Yuri lots of choices in learning to navigate his new home. Yuri will move at his own pace in venturing out to settle into the big cat area at the zoo. Amur tigers lead primarily solitary lives in the wild, so Yuri and our female tiger Callie will take turns in the exhibit and off-exhibit yards once they both become comfortable moving back and forth between spaces.

“Conservation is integral to all we do here at the zoo, and we are proud to work so closely with the AZA’s Amur Tiger SSP to provide a good home to Yuri,” said Executive Zoo Director, Ronda Schwetz. “Amur tigers are endangered, with a population number of less than 500 in the wild, so Yuri and Callie will have an important role educating and captivating guests to help build support for preserving this majestic species.”

Henry Vilas Zoo is a proud member of the AZA and participates in the Species Survival Plans for the animals in our care. The SSPs provide a framework of collaboration between zoos and aquariums to ensure that the animal populations are sustainable and genetically healthy, as well as support conservation initiatives.

Last November, the Henry Vilas Zoological Society raised more than $32,000 on Giving Tuesday to support the arrival of a new tiger.

“We are excited to welcome Yuri to the zoo and want to say thank you to our community whose support made his arrival to our zoo possible,” said Alison Prange, Henry Vilas Zoological Society President. “Yuri’s arrival is a powerful example of the zoo’s leadership in conservation, and we are delighted to work with other AZA-accredited organizations to help save these animals from extinction.”

Dane County Republican Women Senate candidate forum 🗓

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Cherokee Country Club,
5000 N. Sherman Ave.,
Madison.

MADISON, WIS.―U.S. Senate candidates Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir will make their best case for who should represent Wisconsin in Washington D.C. at a special forum on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, at Cherokee Country Club.

Sponsored by the Republican Women of Dane County, the forum presents an opportunity for both conservative candidates to delineate their similar platforms on pro-guns, pro-military and fiscal responsibility.

“We are excited to host the U.S. Senate Candidate Forum for the residents of Dane and surrounding counties,” says Nancy Bartlett, RWDC president. “It’s a great opportunity to bring them together to learn how they stand on a variety of important issues. It will be a fantastic night for politics.”

According to the candidates’ respective websites, Nicholson is a Marine Corps veteran who touts that he is not a politician, but rather, “an outsider with real-world experience.” Vukmir is a nurse and a state senator representing the 5th District. She previously served in the Wisconsin Assembly.

The event is open to the public, and will kick-off at 6:30 with appetizers and no-host cocktails. The forum will run from 7:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Cherokee Country Club is located at 5000 N Sherman Avenue in Madison.

R.S.V.P.s to Nancy Bartlett are strongly recommended.

Dane County: To conduct community gap analysis on access to mental health services

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Today Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced Dane County is seeking partners to conduct a community study on the accessibility of mental health services. This analysis will be the most comprehensive review to date of existing public and private mental health services available in our community. It is aimed at identifying potential gaps while evaluating whether a community operated Crisis Restoration Center or similar facility could help improve care of those who struggle with mental illness. County Executive Parisi’s 2018 budget included $100,000 for this study.

“Our innovative crisis response teams that work every day in schools across this county are just one example of how Dane County is leading the way to help those who struggle with mental health challenges,” Parisi said. “Health care providers and hospitals, community organizations, and government all have a role in making sure those who need mental health services receive them. That’s why a community analysis is imperative to identifying where any gaps or overlaps in care might lie and what needs to change to fill them.”

The objective of this study is to review the current mental health and substance use services provided by public and private funders and identify the needs, gaps and possible solutions to address the issues identified. Firms interested in conducting the analysis have to get their responses back to Dane County by April 30th.

Dane County’s 2018 budget includes over $32 million for adult mental health services. An additional $11.4 million is budgeted for mental health care for children. Included in these efforts are Dane County’s School Based Mental Health Teams, created by the Dane County Executive in 2014 as his most significant policy initiative. The program started as a pilot effort in Madison, Sun Prairie and Verona and has since expanded to a total of nearly a dozen Dane County school districts. These teams work in schools daily, helping hundreds of kids each semester and are funded by a cost share between Dane County and local schools. The county’s share of funding in 2018 totals over $1 million for this program.

Dane County’s 2018 budget also included $100,000 to help fund Porchlight’s Safe Haven, a program that provides transitional housing and case management for those who suffer from mental illness to stabilize their living situation and reduce homelessness.

Additionally, Parisi’s 2018 budget included new money to support the critical work that NAMI (National Association of Mental Illness) Dane County does to better train and prepare front line responders and medical personnel on tactics needed to help de-escalate incidents where mental illness is a factor.

Dane County: Wisconsin’s Largest Counties Hire Same Firm In Opioid Lawsuit

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Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and the Dane County Board of Supervisors announced that Dane County has hired a team of attorneys to assist the County in filing a federal lawsuit against the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers and wholesale drug distributors for their role in causing and fueling the opioid epidemic in the Dane County community.

The County has hired expert law firms, experienced in holding the powerful pharmaceutical industry accountable. Those firms include: Baron & Budd; Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor; Greene Ketchum Bailey Farrell & Tweel; Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler; and McHugh Fuller Law Group. Baron and Budd serves as lead counsel to approximately 80 percent of the municipalities that have filed suit against pharmaceutical distributors for opioid-related claims including Milwaukee County.

“The opioid epidemic has hit local communities hard across the United States, and Dane County is no exception,” said County Executive Joe Parisi. “This epidemic has strained our resources and has cost local communities across Wisconsin millions of dollars as we try to get people the treatment and recovery they so desperately need.”

After today’s announcement, Baron & Budd and their team will work with Dane County to file a federal lawsuit in the coming months.

“The elected leaders of Dane County are taking an important step forward by going on the offense against the manufacturers and distributors of highly addictive, dangerous prescription opioid drugs,” said Baron & Budd Shareholder, Burton LeBlanc. “Dane County understands that significant resources will be needed to provide treatment for addiction, education and law enforcement to combat the opioid epidemic. I’m proud to be leading this team and intend to hold these manufacturers and distributors responsible for the widespread damage they have caused in this community.”

Prescription opioids have become exceedingly prevalent in the Dane County community. According to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, more than 300,000 prescriptions for opioids have been dispensed to Dane County residents annually since 2013. On average, 21 million opioid pills are dispensed to Dane County residents per year. That equates to over 39 opioid pills being prescribed to each of Dane County’s approximately 531,000 residents every 12 months.

“Aggressive and inappropriate marketing by large pharmaceutical companies has led to misuse of opioids,” said Dane County Board Supervisor Mary Kolar.  “Medication meant for short term use was pushed by the manufacturers for long term use.  We must hold these corporations accountable for the tragic results of addiction, including death, that they made billions of dollars from.”

Dane County EMS agencies administered 701 doses of narcan in 2016 and this increased to 901 administrations in 2017.   A total of 13 opioid involved deaths occurred in 2000, but that number skyrocketed to 85 in 2016. According to Public Health of Madison and Dane County, the rate of prescription opioid involved deaths in Dane County has doubled since 2000, from 6.3 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 12.4 per 100,000 people in 2016. The rate of heroin involved deaths has more than tripled since 2000, from 3.0 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 10.1 per 100,000 people in 2016.

Dane County is working hard to combat this growing epidemic. One program that is funded in part by the county and guides people into immediate treatment shortly after experiencing a medical emergency from a heroin overdose is the ED2Recovery Program. County Executive Parisi included $15,000 in his 2017 Dane County budget to help Safe Communities fund this endeavor. The ED2Recovery Program empowers those in recovery, called recovery coaches, by having them support and guide those who have just survived an overdose through the process of seeking long-term treatment.

Overall, Dane County has allocated a significant amount of resources to help those struggling with opioid addition. Approximately $7.5 million made up Dane County’s 2017 Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment budget. There was $733,000 in grant revenue from the state and federal governments that specifically provided treatment to those using opiates and using drugs intravenously in Dane County’s 2017 budget. Of the Dane County residents receiving county-funded treatment, 30 percent were seeking treatment for problems with using opiates.

In the County Executive’s 2017 budget he allocated funding for a permanent opiates counselor position to assist with deferred prosecutions in the District Attorney’s (DA’s) Office due to an increase in cases. Dane County spends $230,000 on this program.

Stephanie Wilson Miller

Communications Director

Dane County

608.267.8823 o

920.470.4618 c

Facebook @DaneCoJoe

Davis Ad Agency: New poll: By nearly 2-to-1, Wisconsin midterm voters want to lower legal immigration

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Press Contact:

Brantley Davis

202-775-8181

[email protected]

NEW POLL: BY NEARLY 2-TO-1, WISCONSIN MIDTERM VOTERS WANT TO LOWER LEGAL IMMIGRATION

57%-31% Say Less Immigration; 55%-34% Say End Chain Migration;

51%-27% Say Any Amnesty Must Also Mandate E-Verify

MILWAUKEE, WI (April 9, 2018) – A Pulse Opinion Research poll conducted March 14-18 reveals that most Wisconsin midterm voters want annual legal immigration numbers to be much lower.  The poll was funded by NumbersUSA which has launched TV ads in Wisconsin to raise awareness that current immigration policies are counter to what most voters want.

“We want Wisconsin voters who favor LESS immigration to know that most of the state’s voters agree with them – as do most voters nationally,” commented Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA. (He was referring to national polls by Harvard-Harris in January and by The Polling Company this month.)  “Armed with that knowledge, we hope the people of Wisconsin will encourage all of their members of Congress, especially House Speaker Ryan, to use their leadership to slow immigration so American wages can rise and so employers will more actively recruit from the tens of millions of working-age Americans who aren’t working at all.”

The Pulse Opinion Research survey (with a 3 percentage point margin of error) was of 1,000 likely voters in Wisconsin’s midterm congressional elections next fall.  The first survey question  was straight forward: “Current federal policy adds about one million new immigrants with lifetime work permits each year.  Which is closest to the number of new immigrants the government should be adding each year?”  Voters were offered three options for keeping immigration a million or higher and three options for lower numbers.  The response from Wisconsin voters was:  33% want less than 250,000, 16% say 500,000, 8% say 750,000, 16% say one million, 7% say one and a half million, 8% say more than 2 million, 12% are unsure.  Here’s a link to the poll https://www.numbersusa.com/resource-article/nearly-2-1-margin-wisconsinites-support-lower-legal-immigration-levels

Poll results were similar in California where NumbersUSA has also launched TV ads in Majority Leader McCarthy’s district.  Here’s a link to the California poll:https://www.numbersusa.com/resource-article/nearly-2-1-margin-californians-support-lower-legal-immigration-levels

The TV ad opens on a map of the U.S. flanked by a horizontal axis representing each decade since the 1950s and by a vertical axis representing average annual immigration numbers. A hand draws a line across the map, beginning at the bottom left corner in the 1950s when immigration was 250,000 per year. Then the line quickly slopes upward, reaching its apex today as Congress allows one million new immigrants a year.

As the ad suggests, at no time during that quadrupling of annual immigration have polls found a majority – or even a sizeable minority of Americans – advocating any growth in immigration at all.

“Immigration is an emotionally charged issue. We’ve tried to avoid emotional traps in this ad and simply give viewers the numbers,” concluded Beck. “We think that’s one of the most effective ways to make our case. Because numbers count.”

To learn more about NumbersUSA, visit NumbersUSA.com.  To view the TV ad, click the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APizyxBQC4s&feature=youtu.be

DC Wrap: Kind touts ranking as state’s most bipartisan House member

Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.

Quotes of the week

It’d be nice to modernize NAFTA … bring it into the 21st century. But we need to be careful that we don’t lose the market share we’ve already gained in that agreement, especially with our dairy export market in Mexico. If we were to lose that because the president wants to withdraw from NAFTA, (it) could destroy our dairy industry overnight.
– U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, in an interview with the Chippewa Herald about Trump’s trade policies.

It’s way too early to be talking about 2020. It could be a completely different world by 2020. We have a 2018 election first.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, when asked on CNN’s “New Day” whether he’ll support a re-election bid for Donald Trump in 2020.

This week’s news

— Dem U.S. Rep. Ron Kind this week touted his recent ranking as the state’s most bipartisan House member, noting his constituents are looking for an “independent voice” in Congress.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, was blasted by Dem opponent Dan Kohl for his place in the listing as the most partisan member of the chamber from Wisconsin.  

The Bipartisan Index, from the Lugar Center and Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, ranks all members of Congress based on how frequently a member introduces bills that get sponsors from the opposite party, and how often they co-sponsor legislation from the other side of the aisle.

Kind, D-La Crosse, has ranked in the top 25 of all 438 House members since the index’s launch in 2015.

“When I’m holding listening sessions in Wisconsin or talking to folks at the YMCA and the grocery store, I often hear about the frustrations people have with how divided Congress is,” Kind said in a statement. “Now more than ever, people want an independent voice that doesn’t approach issues with an ‘us and them’ mindset.”

Since Grothman took office in 2015, he’s ranked in the bottom 15 of all members of his chamber. But the newest scores show he’s 410th, the highest, most bipartisan ranking he’s received since heading to D.C.

Kohl’s campaign in a statement this week attributed the Glenbeulah Republican’s placement as the result of “desperate efforts by Grothman to build his bipartisan credibility” after Kohl got into the 6th CD race.

But spokesman Timothy Svoboda said Grothman had a long record of working across the aisle dating back to his time in the state Legislature. That includes teaming up with Dem U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan on a bill that would let students refinance their federal student loans.

He also noted that on average, about one-fourth of the between 1,000 and 2,000 bills that pass the House originate from the minority party. Of the 425 Dem-sponsored bills that have passed since Grothman was voted into Congress, he voted for 97 percent of them, Svoboda said.

The other Wisconsin House members received the following rankings: U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, 79th; U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, 185th; U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, 216th; Pocan, 333rd; and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, 359th.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, was excluded from the ranking.

In the Senate, U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin were both near the middle of the pack, ranking 51st and 54th, respectively.

— Johnson and Baldwin are on opposite sides over the appointment of Mike Pompeo as the next secretary of state.

The nomination of Pompeo, the current CIA director, was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Monday night.

Johnson, a member of the committee, said in a statement following the committee vote that Pompeo is “well-suited to serving as secretary of state.”

But Baldwin, D-Madison, said on Tuesday the nation needs a secretary of state that is “committed to using American diplomatic leadership to solve problems, protect our national security interests and advance human rights.”

See the full story at WisPolitics.com.

— Baldwin joined 46 other senators this week in calling on the Trump administration to reconsider expanding short-term health insurance plans.

The proposal would let insurers offer short-term policies that would last around one year and wouldn’t have to comply with regulations under the Affordable Care Act.

“If finalized, the rule could increase costs and reduce access to quality coverage for millions of Americans, harm people with pre-existing conditions, and force premium increases on older Americans,” the senators wrote in a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Department of Health and Human Services.

But the Trump administration has previously said those plans would mean cheaper alternatives and more choices for consumers.

See the letter.

— Baldwin has also teamed up with Louisiana Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy to introduce legislation to help stop the flow of illegal drugs through international mail facilities.

It’s called the Restricting Entrance and Strengthening the Requirements on Import Controls for Trafficking (RESTRICT) Illicit Drugs Act. It seeks to clarify the roles of the FDA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection in intercepting illegal or counterfeit drugs and destroying them or refusing their entry, and allow the FDA to stop people or companies convicted of an FDA-related felony from shipping products.

“The opioid epidemic is devastating families and communities throughout Wisconsin and a key way to help prevent this is to stop more illicit drugs like fentanyl, meth and illegal opioids from coming into this country,” said Baldwin, D-Madison. “I’m introducing this commonsense bipartisan legislation with Senator Cassidy to strengthen our control over the flow of illicit drugs from other countries into America.”

— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy has a new website.

See the site, which went live this week: https://duffy.house.gov/  

— Duffy this week also called on President Trump to stand up to some countries’ “free riding” on American pharmaceutical innovations.

Duffy, R-Wausau, wrote in a letter to the president he’s concerned with countries like Germany, France, Japan and Australia that “consistently undermine American companies through longstanding, impermissible practices” including price controls, market access barriers and intellectual property theft.  

“Perhaps the most effective way to prevent free riding is through trade enforcement and strong trade disciplines in our new free trade agreements,” he wrote.

— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman is calling on his Twitter followers to print out ballot signature forms for his re-election campaign.

Grothman this week tweeted from his campaign account: “Our team needs YOU! Print out this form to help get us on the ballot. We truly appreciate your support in our fight for Wisconsin!”

A campaign spokeswoman said the campaign sees promoting the form as “a great way to reach a different segment of the electorate.”

“Many candidates mail or email their signature sheets to their supporters,” she said. “This allows us to get our nomination papers in front of our constituents multiple times, on multiple platforms.”

— The International Foodservice Distributors Association has awarded Grothman the 2018 Thomas Jefferson Award.

The honor goes to legislators whose “voting record indicates strong support of policies that enable the U.S. foodservice distribution industry to create well-paying jobs, grow their businesses, and contribute to their local communities,” according to a statement from the group.

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Sen. Ron Johnson talks voter ID law, tariffs and 2020 election

Sen. Ron Johnson delivers address at Maranatha

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Votes In Favor Of Pompeo As Next Secretary of State

Baldwin secures major investments for rural development

The Fight for Wisconsin Is On as Outside Money Pours Into Senate Race

Dem Sen. Tammy Baldwin Brings Up Narcotics To Bash Ronny Jackson Then Gets Corrected

Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin to vote against Mike Pompeo for secretary of state

4/20/18 – Congressman Sean Duffy Interview, WILL Attorney Rick Esenberg Interview, Trump Winning on North Korea Front

House Introduces Bill To Increase CFPB Guidance Transparency

Rep. Mike Gallagher: US Can’t Ease Up on North Korea

Money pouring in for Wisconsin congressional races

Roll Call: Key votes from the Wisconsin congressional delegation this week

Congressman Kind talks agriculture in Chippewa Falls Monday

DC Wrap: Wis. lawmakers react to Ryan’s retirement; Baldwin, Johnson grill Facebook founder

Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.

Quotes of the week, April 6-12

No plans to run for anything. And I really don’t think I’ll change my mind.
– House Speaker Paul Ryan in an interview with CNN Wednesday following his announcement he won’t be seeking re-election this year. The Janesville Republican said he doesn’t have plans to run for another office, including president, and wouldn’t seek another public office while his kids are growing up.

See the WisPolitics.com story from Wednesday: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/source-ryan-wont-seek-re-election-to-house-seat/

I don’t think we want to take over Syria. But I think the adults in the region, including perhaps Russia, have to step in, not only to prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future but for looking out for our allies.
– U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, in a WLUK interview Wednesday following a suspected chemical attack in Syria that killed dozens of people. The Syrian government has denied being behind any chemical attack.

Across the state, we have seen how special interests work to line their own pockets and have Wisconsin working families foot the bill. Well, they can’t keep on undermining the American Dream.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, addressing her re-election bid at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Founder’s Day Dinner on Saturday in Milwaukee.

This week’s news

— House Speaker Paul Ryan drew praise from both sides of the state’s congressional delegation following his decision to forgo a re-election bid this fall.

The 48-year-old Janesville Republican announced in a news conference Wednesday morning that he’d be retiring after a nearly 20-year tenure in the House to spend time with his family.

Wisconsin members of both sides of Congress had warm words for Ryan.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson called Ryan “a person of true integrity.”

“He has served Janesville, southeastern Wisconsin and our nation honorably. We should all be grateful for his sacrifice and understand his desire to be a full time Dad,” he said.

Madison Dem U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who served with Ryan in the House, said in a statement the two “know each other well and while we have different views on policy, I consider him a friend and have a lot of respect for him as a person and a public servant.”

Meanwhile in Ryan’s chamber, U.S Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, said in a TV interview Ryan’s decision not to seek re-election instead of running and later resigning his post underscored his honestly.  

“There’s certainly congressmen around here that would have been comfortable doing that,” he said. “Paul Ryan was not comfortable doing that, which is one of the things that makes him so unique and beloved by his colleagues.”  

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, said Ryan “would leave an indelible mark upon this institution” and U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, called him a “humble public servant who has never once lost sight of his Wisconsin roots and values.”

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore recalled working together with Ryan as well as sharing “countless flights to and from Wisconsin.”

“As he considers the legacy he will leave in Congress, I hope he finds the courage to put the interests of the American public first,” the Milwaukee Dem said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, called the announcement “a well-deserved break” in a radio interview, but also said the decision signaled Ryan realized “he would’ve had a difficult November.”

“I think the Supreme Court election this spring really solidified I think the reality of Wisconsin and the reality across the country,” Pocan said, referencing liberal Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet’s victory statewide last Tuesday.  

— Both of Wisconsin’s senators grilled Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg during congressional hearings this week on the social media company’s work to address privacy issues.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Dem Sen. Tammy Baldwin both sit on their chamber’s Commerce Committee, which along with the Judiciary Committee held a hearing Tuesday to question the Silicon Valley tech mogul that trailed into Wednesday in the House.

The congressional inquiries come amid increasing concerns over privacy after reports the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica gained access to data from more than 87 million Facebook accounts.

Baldwin and Johnson asked Zuckerberg a range of questions, from Zuckerberg’s willingness to explore new business models to the company’s efforts to prevent Russian meddling in U.S. elections.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, mentioned a plan to charge users could be a logical next step if the company were to no longer take advantage of user data to sell advertising.

“There have been a number of proposals of having that data stay with the user and having the user monetize that data themselves. Your COO, Ms. Sandberg, mentioned possibly if you can’t utilize that data to sell advertising, perhaps we’d charge people to go onto Facebook,” Johnson said.

The proposal is one Zuckerberg said he generally opposes because it would potentially freeze out users around the world who aren’t able to pay for the social media platform.

“In general, we believe that the ads model is the right one for us, because it aligns with our social mission of trying to connect everyone and bring the world closer together,” Zuckerberg told Johnson.

In her questioning, Baldwin, D-Madison, highlighted Russian-created Facebook ads targeting Wisconsin during the 2016 election, as well as reports Russian actors used Twitter to divide Milwaukee after a police-involved shooting in August of 2016.

“I find some encouragement in the steps you’ve outlined today to provide greater transparency regarding political ads,” she said. “I do want to get further information on how you can be confident that you have excluded entities based outside of the United States.”

In response to Baldwin’s questioning, Zuckerberg said his company will soon make tracking of political ads much easier.

“You’ll be able to look at all the ads that they’ve run, the targeting associated with each to see what they’re saying to different folks and in some cases how much they’re spending on the ads. More transparency will really help discourse overall, and root out foreign interference in elections,” Zuckerberg said.

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan recently slammed Gov. Scott Walker for committing to send troops to the nation’s southern border, saying the guv is only doing it for political gain.

The Town of Vermont Dem’s comments come after Walker this week applauded President Trump’s “aggressive actions to secure” the border and said he’d commit Wisconsin National Guard troops to the effort.

Walker’s remarks were in response to a letter Pocan sent last week urging Walker to oppose sending troops to the border, writing they should only be asked to leave their jobs and families for “truly serious and necessary circumstances” and should not be used as “pawns” by Trump.

But Walker in his response letter to Pocan said he favors placing training facilities along the southern border, calling it a cost-effective way to increase the U.S. military presence there.

“As Governor, I want to ensure the safety of all of our citizens, and I want to reduce access to illegal drugs as part of a comprehensive strategy in dealing with opioid and illegal drug addiction,” Walker wrote. “Therefore, I welcome President Donald Trump’s aggressive actions to secure our nation’s southern border.”

But Pocan countered Trump’s proposed actions are meant to apprehend migrants, including children, rather than address the flow of drugs from Mexico. He also said Trump is using “desperate, last ditch efforts” to rally political support given the president has not yet succeeded in finding funding for a border wall.

“Arrests at the southern border of the U.S. are at a historic low,” Pocan said. “However, both you and President Trump are refusing to accept the facts and are instead twisting the narrative for political purposes to rally the Republican base.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, as well as other Wisconsin Republicans, have applauded the president’s approach.

“The president has a duty to protect American citizens. Securing our borders is a priority of his administration and this committee,” Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said in a statement. “I support the president’s decision to work with border state governors to deploy the National Guard to the southern border. I also look forward to working with the administration to fix the broken system and close legal loopholes that incentivize illegal immigration.”

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, raised $3.7 million over the first three months of the year for her re-election bid.

Her campaign said it was the best ever fundraising haul in the first-quarter of an election year for a federal candidate from Wisconsin.

Baldwin’s fundraising helped push her cash on hand to $7.8 million. Her campaign did not release how much she spent during the the three-month period. But she ended 2017 with just under $7 million cash on hand. That means she spent about three-fourths of what she raised.

The period included a TV buy the campaign said in late March would run in four of the state’s media markets.

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Ryan may be forced to leave speakership by summer

Sen. Ron Johnson encouraged by Trump’s tweet on missiles

Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin Weighs In As Facebook CEO Testifies Before Congress

Tammy Baldwin raises more than $3.7 million in first quarter in Wisconsin U.S. Senate race

‘Unprecedented’ outside spending hits Tammy Baldwin, boosts Kevin Nicholson in US Senate race

Tammy Baldwin lays out campaign themes in speech to state Democrats

WaPo Gives Baldwin ‘Three Pinocchios’ for Ad Blaming Factory Closure on Hedge Fund

Pocan slams Walker for welcoming Trump’s ‘aggressive actions’ on border security

Rep. Ron Kind touts ‘Make it in America’ in Eau Claire

Republicans rally behind challenger to Kind

Winner of 2018 Congressional Art Competition announced

Kind congressional art contest winners announced

Connect to Congress: Grothman responds to Syria chemical attack

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher: Money spent on foreign aid important to Wisconsin’s economy

Connect to Congress: Gallagher talks China, border security and ‘blue wave’

Duffy supports tax bill, ‘unconventional’ Trump

Duffy Weighs in on Issues During Northwest Wisconsin Town Halls

DC Wrap: Wis. lawmakers split on prospect of rejoining TPP; House fundraising round-up

Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.

Quotes of the week, April 13-19

First of all, I don’t think he should be fired. I think he should be left to do his job, and I don’t think they’re really contemplating this. We’ve had plenty of conversations about this. It’s not in the president’s interest to do that.
– House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, on “Meet the Press” about special prosecutor Robert Mueller. Ryan said he doesn’t think it’s necessary to pass legislation protecting Mueller and he doesn’t believe the president is going to fire the special prosecutor.  

This proposed constitutional amendment will give us the discipline that we have not had as we’ve sat and watched the deficit go up and up and up and away.
U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. The amendment failed on a 233-184 vote, although it gained the support of Sensenbrenner, Dem U.S. Rep. Ron Kind and GOP U.S. Reps. Glenn Grothman, Mike Gallagher and Sean Duffy. While bills typically require a simple majority to pass, the amendment needed support from two-thirds of members to advance.

Republicans have lost the right to claim fiscal responsibility after blowing a nearly $2 trillion hole in the deficit just to give tax breaks to billionaires and corporations.
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont. Pocan was the only Wisconsin lawmaker to vote against the amendment. Fellow Dem U.S Rep. Gwen Moore, of Milwaukee, didn’t vote, nor did Speaker Paul Ryan, who rarely does.

This week’s news

— Two members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation took opposite stands over rumblings President Trump may consider rejoining the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Reports that Trump was reconsidering the multicountry trade agreement he pulled out of days after becoming president drew praise from Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, but irked Dem U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan.   

Trump, though, changed course again Tuesday, seemingly backtracking on his administration’s previous comments that it would begin preliminary discussions on rejoining the trade agreement.

“While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don’t like the deal for the United States,” Trump wrote. “Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn’t work. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for OUR workers.”

But Johnson, who sits on the Senate Foreign relations committee, told Bloomberg TV Wednesday he believes joining the other 13 nations in agreement would create a unified front against what he considers to be China’s unfair trade practices.   

Currently the partnership’s economies comprise about 14 percent of the world’s economy. If the U.S. were to join, the partnership would take up about a 40 percent share.

“That is a very powerful block demanding that China actually adheres to the rules of the WTO and other world trading rules. So we have to identify the main cause of the problem, we have to have an effective way of doing it,” the Oshkosh Republican said.

Even so, China’s trade practices remain one point of consistency on which Trump and Johnson appear to agree.

“Let’s face it, China has been winning and the rest of us have been losing, let’s try to negotiate agreements where we win-win because that’s really what trade is all about is a win-win situation,” Johnson said.

But Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, panned Trump’s potential warming up to the agreement and vowed to do everything in his power to prevent the U.S. from joining.

“The reason President Trump won the state of Wisconsin is because of the issue of trade and re-entering the agreement would be a direct slap in the face to people who voted for him expecting that he would save their jobs and deliver on economic promises such as ending outsourcing,” he said in a statement.

Pocan further argued the TPP would “decimate” certain communities, and called for fairer trade agreements that would prevent the outsourcing of American jobs, protect the environment and remove special protections for corporations.

The office of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said the Madison Dem continues to oppose the TPP. Baldwin has previously denounced the trade agreement and joined with seven other Senate Dems in 2015 against giving President Obama authority to expedite TPP negotiations.

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has the biggest warchest among Wisconsin’s House members going into his 2018 re-election bid, a WisPolitics.com check of the FEC site shows.

The La Crosse Dem, who’s facing GOP opponent Steve Toft, ended the quarter with more than $3 million cash on hand after raising $246,573 over the first three months of the year.

Kind spent $288,942 over the period, which runs from Jan. 1 to March 31.

He outraised Toft, who brought in $82,268 over the period to end with $103,152 cash on hand. Toft also spent $32,224.

Other House members on the 2018 ballot with more than $1 million in the bank include:  

*U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, who had nearly $2.3 million in the bank after raising $350,771 over the period. The Wausau Republican also spent $223,121.

Duffy outraised each of his three Dem challengers who’ve filed statements of candidacy with the FEC. The three all officially announced bids within the last few months.

That includes Kyle Frenette, the manager of indie artist Bon Iver, who logged $243,716 in donations; spent $79,173; and finished the period with $164,543 cash on hand. While Frenette officially filed a statement of candidacy on Jan. 29, his FEC report covers “testing the waters activity” dating back to Dec. 6.

Marshfield physician Brian Ewert raised $107,989, spent $22,772, and finished the first three months of the year with $85,216 in the bank.

Meanwhile, former Balsam Lake attorney Margaret Engebretson trailed behind her primary opponents, raising $13,723, spending $5,008, and ending the period with $8,716 cash on hand.

*And U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, who logged $1.2 million cash on hand after raising $404,073 over the quarter. He also spent $188,425.

His Dem challenger, Beau Liegeois, raised $38,399. The Brown County assistant DA also spent $29,251 and had $32,408 in the bank.

See the full House fundraising roundup in Monday’s PM Update.


— No new Republican candidates have yet mounted a 1st CD bid following House Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement last week to not seek re-election later this year.

Instead, a series of sitting lawmakers and others politicos have decided to pass on a bid.

The latest is GOP Rep. Samantha Kerkman, who instead announced she’ll seek re-election in the 61st AD. Before that, State Sen. Dave Craig most recently announced he wouldn’t run, joining Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and others in deciding against a campaign.

Bryan Steil, a UW regent and attorney, will make a decision about launching a 1st CD bid this weekend, according to the Rock County GOP. And former Racine County Exec. Jim Ladwig’s name has also been floated as a possible candidate.

So far, just two GOP candidates are currently in the running for Ryan’s seat: veteran Nick Polce, who filed his statement of candidacy in November and Paul Nehlen, who lost to Ryan by 68 points in the 2016 GOP primary and has drawn scorn for a series of racist and anti-Semitic sentiments on social media.

Declared Dems are ironworker Randy Bryce and long-time school teacher Cathy Myers.


— Kind is touting the Trump administration’s recent announcement of a new process to give notice to disabled veterans about forgiving their student loans.  

Kind in February penned a joint letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, and Acting Commissioner of Social Security Nancy Berryhill asking they forgive the student loans of those that have died or claim permanent disability.

“The last thing Wisconsin’s disabled veterans need is to be worried about significant student loan debt and paying unfair taxes on that debt,” Kind said in a statement. “I’m proud to announce that by working together, we’ve found a solution to this problem, and permanently disabled veterans can now have their student loans discharged without paying additional taxes.”


— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore and two other reps this week launched a new caucus on addressing domestic violence.

The group, called Bipartisan Working Group to End Domestic Violence, was formed by Moore, D-Milwaukee, and Reps. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., and Ryan Costello, R-Pa.

“Since coming to Congress, one of my primary passions has been freeing our communities from the terror of domestic violence,” Moore said in a statement. “This bipartisan working group takes a critical step forward to achieving that goal. I am hopeful that we will build innovative solutions that lift up survivors and protect future generations from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.”


— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner this week was honored for his work on a law to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for individuals released from prison, jail and juvenile facilities.

The law, called the Second Chance Act, has been on the books since President George W. Bush signed it in 2008 and will need congressional reauthorization this year.

The Menomonee Falls Republican in a statement noted that he’s continuing to see efforts to reform the criminal justice reform continue to get wide bipartisan support even “in a time when our political climate is divided.”

“I’m proud of my work on the original Second Chance Act, which has empowered hundreds of thousands of individuals to reenter society successfully,” he said.


— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman is looking to further curb insider trading in the Capitol.

The legislation, called the Member Financial Transparency Act, would require congressmen to file reports with the House and Senate Ethics Committee on transactions made in stocks and bonds no more than a week after the transactions are finalized.

The bill would also change the deadline period for the House clerk and Senate secretary to make these reports public to no later than 10 days after receipt.

Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, said in a statement it’s time congressmen “stop providing themselves with special rules and play by the same ones as everyone else in the stock market.”

“Due to the nature of the job, members of Congress often receive information on actions that will be taken up by Congress before the general public does,” he said. “It was brought to my attention that some members, both Republicans and Democrats, decide to use this information for personal financial gain. In the private sector, this is called insider trading and it is strictly illegal.”


— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is introducing a new bill aimed at addressing the opioid crisis.

The legislation, called the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, would reauthorize and make changes to grants to states for opioid prevention and treatment; spur further research for non-addictive painkillers; and let hospice programs dispose of unneeded controlled substances to reduce the changes for misuse, among other things.

“Washington needs to step up with a stronger federal investment to support local prevention, treatment and recovery efforts,” the Madison Dem said in a statement. “This crisis is not going away, and this legislation takes an important step to extend and improve critical programs, and to open up new resources to help states and tribal communities continue to have the tools they need to save lives.”

Posts of the week

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Pocan critical of Trump TPP reversal
Senator Ron Johnson cautiously considers regulating Facebook
Ron Johnson continues focus on FBI probe of Hillary Clinton emails
Wisconsin US senators respond to Syrian airstrikes
Senate drops measure to exempt ship ballasts from Clean Water Act

DCCC: TBT: Glenn Grothman voted to allow sale of his constituents’ internet browsing data

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CONTACT: Evan Lukaske, (516) 661-0125

In the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, Washington Republicans and Representative Glenn Grothman have made a large show of supposedly fighting to protect their constituents’ privacy, questioning Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Capitol Hill and introducing legislation to strengthen privacy protections.

There’s just one tiny flaw with the charade.

Grothman himself worsened the problem last year, when he voted to roll back critical privacy protections and to allow Internet Service Providers to sell their constituents’ browsing data without their consent. It’s shameful, but not surprising—after all, Grothman has taken thousands of dollars from the telecommunications industry.

“Representative Grothman’s actions and words ring hollow,” said DCCC Spokesman Evan Lukaske. “Just last year, Grothman voted to allow Internet service providers to sell the personal browsing history of their customers without their consent and violated the personal privacy of each and every one of his constituents. Just as he’s done his entire career, Grothman put corporate interests over the private, personal interests of Wisconsinites, and families in his district will hold him accountable.”

DCCC: U.S. Rep. Grothman’s debt hypocrisy is going to cost seniors

CONTACT: Evan Lukaske | (516) 661-1025

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman talks a big game on the debt and deficits, but words are one thing, actions are another. When it comes down to it, Grothman has been part of Washington Republicans exploding the national debt, and now her hypocrisy is threatening to cost seniors in cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

Grothman voted for the GOP Tax Scam – a handout to millionaires and large corporations – that is going to add $1.9 trillion to the national debt.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office recently projected that after just over a year of unified Republican control of Washington, the annual federal budget deficit is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2020.

Now Washington Republicans are voting to advance a plan that AARP says could potentially lead to deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits. No one should be surprised—this is what Speaker Paul Ryanpromised to do when he passed the tax scam.

“Seniors have spent a lifetime paying into Social Security and Medicare and don’t deserve to have their benefits exposed to cuts just because hypocritical Washington Republicans like Representative Grothman can’t keep their word.” – DCCC Spokesperson Evan Lukaske

Dem Governors Association: Two Peas in a Pod: Scott Walker and Mike Pence

Contact: Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188
[email protected]

Today, Vice President Pence is in Wisconsin to bail out his buddy Governor Scott Walker’s floundering campaign. And it’s no wonder why Pence is committed to keeping Walker in power: the two are in lockstep when it comes to putting special interests and their campaign donors ahead of middle class families.

“The people of Wisconsin know that Scott Walker and Mike Pence are two peas in a pod, putting national political ambitions and their special interest donors ahead of hard-working families and small businesses,” said DGA Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “Voters have had enough of their warped priorities and will make that clear at the ballot box in six short months.”

Dem Governors Association: Where Have We Heard That Before? Scott Walker Says He’ll Serve Full Term As Governor

Contact: Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188
[email protected]

Flashback: Walker Made Same Promise in 2014 Before Breaking It In 2015 for Presidential Bid

Yesterday, Scott Walker promised “I will never willingly leave the role as governor through this next coming term,” at which the people of Wisconsin laughed. Walker made a similar vow in a debate in 2014 yet abandoned Wisconsin only a few months later and announced he would run for President (a race he lost in spectacular fashion). Video of Walker’s 2014 pledge is available HERE.

“Fool me once, shame on you, Governor Walker. But Wisconsin voters won’t be fooled again,” said DGA Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “The people of Wisconsin know that Walker has put his national political ambition ahead of the people of their state at every turn, and they’ve had enough. Wisconsin needs a full-time leader, not a ladder-climbing jet-setter who cares more about his future career than his current job.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported

Gov. Scott Walker — who mounted a brief bid for the presidency just months after winning re-election in 2014 — pledgedMonday to serve a full four years if he’s elected to a third term in November. 

…Walker’s comment was similar to one he made just weeks before he was re-elected in 2014. During a debate with Democratic opponent Mary Burke that October, Walker said: “My plan is if the people of the state of Wisconsin elect me on November 4 is to be here for four years.” 

Within a few months, he began exploring and then pursuing his bid for the presidency, which he abandoned in September 2015.

“Governor Walker has already demonstrated that Wisconsin voters cannot take him at his word when it comes to his commitment to this state,” said Joe Zepecki, a Democratic consultant who helped run Burke’s campaign. 

“The political peril he finds himself in today is a direct result of putting his own political fortunes ahead of the voters he was elected to serve.” 

For more on Governor Scott Walker’s national political ambitions and his extensive national travel, please visit WheresScottWalker.com

Democratic Governor’s Association: Ryan retirement sign of major trouble for Scott Walker

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Contact:

Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188

[email protected]

 

After months of “wake up calls” and “sounding the alarm” by Governor Scott Walker, this morning’s retirement announcement by Speaker Paul Ryan will turn Walker’s reelection panic level up to 11.

“Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision not to face Wisconsin voters this year is yet another major warning sign for Governor Scott Walker’s campaign,” said DGA Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “Voters in Wisconsin want change – and that’s why both Ryan and Walker faced difficult paths to re-election. Unfortunately for Walker, panic buttons and wake up calls don’t fix roads or improve schools. Wisconsin voters know he’s spent his time as Governor chasing national celebrity at the cost of Wisconsin’s middle class families, and no level of blaring alarm bells can change that.”

Democratic Governor’s Association: Winless Walker’s losing streak continues

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Contact:

Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188

[email protected]

Today, DGA Executive Director Elisabeth Pearson released the following statement in response to Governor Scott Walker’s latest electoral defeat:

“If January’s special election was ‘a wake up call’ to Governor Scott Walker, today’s results were a blaring fire alarm for his struggling campaign. Scott Walker made this race a referendum on his governorship and he lost. This election is the clearest sign yet that Scott Walker is in trouble this November.

“Wisconsin voters have had enough of Governor Walker putting his political ambitions ahead of Wisconsin’s middle-class families. They’ve made that abundantly clear in the last 3 elections, and they’ll have the opportunity to send their message even more directly come November. Scott Walker’s loss tonight couldn’t have been clearer if his name were on the ballot: Walker put his resources, his credibility, and his brand on the line, and voters clearly rejected him.”

Tonight’s result marks the third straight election Democrats have won in Wisconsin. Walker and his partisan allies went all in for Screnock, but even millions in spending and a personal appeal from the Governor himself weren’t enough to overcome surging Democratic enthusiasm in Wisconsin.

Democratic Governors Association: As Walker Heads to Chicago to Campaign for Rauner, DGA Launches ‘Where’s Walker’

Contact: Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188
[email protected] 

Wisconsin Voters Can Follow Walker’s Extensive National Travel At WheresScottWalker.com

As Governor Scott Walker hits the road yet again for political travel, the DGA is launching “Where’s Walker,” a new interactive website. At WheresScottWalker.com, Wisconsin voters can follow along try to find their elusive governor as he flits around the country and leaves Wisconsin in the dust.

Scott Walker has spent his time as governor more focused on his own national political ambition than the families and small businesses of Wisconsin. As a presidential candidate and RGA Chair, Walker sure racked up the frequent flyer miles, and he hasn’t slowed down since.

Today, Walker finds himself in the Land of Lincoln where he’s headlining a $50,000 ticket fundraiser for fellow doomed governor and anti-working family crusader Bruce Rauner.

At WheresScottWalker.com, an interactive map shows highlights of Walker’s known national travel during his second term as governor. Zoom in and click on his head for more information, and check back often! We will update this site as Walker pops up across the country in 2018.

“Scott Walker has made clear that he’d rather chase national political stardom across the United States than solve the real problems Wisconsin is facing,” said DGA Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “That’s why the DGA is proud to launch WheresScottWalker.com to help Wisconsin voters track their elusive governor and his warped priorities as he jets around the country.”

Democratic Governors Association: Scott Walker’s reelection odds downgraded

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For Immediate Release:

April 6, 2018

                                                                                                                     

Contact:

Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188

[email protected]

 

Scott Walker’s Reelection Odds Downgraded

Following an embarrassing showing at the polls earlier this week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s reelection odds were officially downgraded by Nathan Gonzales at Inside Elections, one of the major election ratings operations.

Pundits and reporters had already made clear he was in bad shape, but today’s announcement marks the first official ratings shift since Tuesday when Walker himself warned of a coming “#BlueWave in WI.”

“Today’s downgrade announcement reflects the fact that Wisconsin’s families and small businesses have just plain had enough of Walker’ failed leadership and me-first-politics,” said DGA Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “Walker has spent 8 years putting Scott Walker’s political future ahead of Wisconsin’s future, so it makes sense that Wisconsin voters won’t want to give him another 4. Scott Walker is in trouble—the pundits know it, the people of Wisconsin know it, and Walker himself knows it.”

Democratic Governors Association: What they’re saying: Ryan retirement bad news for Walker

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Contact:
Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188
[email protected]

Speaker Paul Ryan’s retirement announcement earlier last week made clear how precarious the reelection prospects are for his fellow Wisconsinite, Governor Scott Walker.

National observers are saying Walker “may face an expiration date in November,” and “is likely facing his most arduous electoral challenge to date” as he “faces the headwinds of a Trump presidency with negative approval ratings.”

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Republicans “worry the tide may be turning on them,” saying “No time is ever a good time to lose the speaker of the House, in Congress, from the state of Wisconsin,” and that recent election results in the state were “the canary in the cave, a signal, and the canary died.”

Key excerpts from recent coverage are below:

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Remember GOP’s Cheesehead Revolution? As Ryan leaves, Wisconsin’s national influence wanes

Paul Ryan is retiring as House Speaker.

Reince Priebus left the White House last summer.

If Gov. Scott Walker loses this fall – one possible outcome of a Democratic wave – then Wisconsin’s famous “Big Three,” its troika of Republican stars, will be gone from the political game a few short years after mastering it.

…Now one (Priebus) has left the stage. Another (Ryan) says he’ll never run for office again. And the third, Walker, faces the headwinds of a Trump presidency with negative approval ratings.

… “No time is ever a good time to lose the speaker of the House, in Congress, from the state of Wisconsin. No time is a good time to lose the Republican Party chairman of the national committee, because that means a lot to us, too. But you change, you adapt. I think we understand the challenges that are ahead of us,” Keith Gilkes, a GOP strategist and Walker adviser, said Thursday night at a Wispolitics.com forum in Madison.

TPM: Reince Priebus And Paul Ryan Are Done. Is Scott Walker Next?

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is leaving. Former state chairman Reince Priebus is gone. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), the big cheese, stands alone — and may face an expiration date in November.

…“The Supreme Court race was the canary in the cave, a signal, and the canary died, so now we have to figure things out,” Brandon Scholz, a Wisconsin Republican strategist with ties to Walker and Ryan, told TPM. “That was a big wakeup call.”

And it came on the heels of a big Democratic upset in a northwestern Wisconsin state senate seat that Democrats hadn’t held in 17 years.

Those results rattled Republicans across the state, who worry the tide may be turning on them after an impressive eight-year run.

…But Walker is the big prize. He saw his standing plummet in the state after his failed presidential run, and while his numbers have bounced back he’s still upside down in most recent polling of the state.

US News: After Ryan, Dems Eye Walker

It’s pretty clear why. Walker, seeking a third term in November, is likely facing his most arduous electoral challenge to date. And that’s saying something, given the unprecedented recall election effort that he staved off in 2012.

…Nevertheless, Walker’s numbers aren’t good. His approval rating stands at just 43 percent, according to a new Morning Consult survey, placing him in the bottom 10 governors in the country. Walker was diminished following the unceremonious end to his 2016 presidential campaign and he might be suffering from voter fatigue as the Wisconsin electorate sniffs around for something new.

Given the series of events in Wisconsin, it’s easy to read why Democrats feel emboldened about their prospects of taking back the governorship. Taking over Ryan’s 1st Congressional District would be an impressive feat, but upending Walker would essentially amount to an end of a conservative era that dawned during the rise of the tea party.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Vukmir-Nicholson #GOPTaxScam is still a giveaway to the richest Americans

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MADISON — A new report from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center looks at the Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson-supported #GOPTaxScam, finding,”The Republican tax law passed last fall will give the richest one percent of Americans an average personal income tax break of about $33,000, while the poorest Americans will receive an average personal income tax break of $40.”

The Tax Policy Center’s new isolated look at the law’s regressive disparity in individual income tax savings is the clearest sign that the Republican tax law — which Vukmir and Nicholson have made a central part of their respective Senate campaigns — is a massive giveaway to big corporations and the wealthy few that’s shouldered by hardworking, middle-class Americans.

The #GOPTaxScam sends more than 80 percent of benefits to the richest one percent and big corporations like Exxon, Wells Fargo, and drug companies like Pfizer, while hiking taxes on hard-working, middle-class Americans. And the tax law is paired with a Republican federal budget plan that calls for reckless Vukmir and Nicholson-endorsed cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

“This new report is just the latest confirmation that Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson’s GOP tax law is a scam giveaway to the right-wing billionaires and corrupt corporate special interests bankrolling their campaigns,” said Brad Bainum, DPW spokesperson for the 2018 Senate race. “Big corporations like Kimberly-Clark are already using their disproportionate tax breaks for stock buybacks, then laying off hardworking Wisconsinites — it isn’t right, but Vukmir and Nicholson are staking their political futures on this scam tax law anyway.”

Department of Health Services: Announce breach of information

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CONTACT: Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

The Department of Health Services (DHS) and The Management Group (TMG) are notifying IRIS participants of a breach of information due to theft of a laptop and a work bag of a TMG IRIS Consultant on February 5. TMG mailed notifications to 779 participants on April 3 who received services from TMG who have potentially been impacted by this breach of information. Due to the sensitive nature of data on the stolen laptop, all participants impacted by the breach have been offered one year of identity theft protection services without charge.

TMG is a business associate of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and serves as an IRIS Consultant Agency for the IRIS Program.

The stolen laptop was encrypted, but the password to the laptop was in the stolen work bag which is against company policy. In the review, TMG found the laptop may have contained personal information about IRIS participants, including names, addresses, dates of births, participation in IRIS, services, Medicaid numbers, financial information, and social security numbers. Social security numbers of 23 participants were on the laptop. TMG is taking additional steps to protect against further breaches of personal information.

Participants who believe they may have been affected but have not received a notification letter by April 9 or have questions about this incident, can call 844-864-8987 from 8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday or email [email protected] (link sends e-mail)

Depperman campaign: Ken Depperman Announces Bid for 59th Assembly District

Ken Depperman formally announced his bid for Republican Party State Assembly Representative in the 59th Assembly District (serving parts of Calumet, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, and Washington Counties) at the Village of Kewaskum Board meeting on Monday, April 16, 2018. He is currently a Fond du Lac County Board Supervisor and Town of Auburn Chairperson. Ken is also on the Fond du Lac County Finance Committee as well as the Commission on Aging Committee. Previous committee assignments included: Chairperson, University of Wisconsin Education, Extension, Ag, and Recreation; Land Conservation Committee; and Executive Committee. He is also Vice-President of the Campbellsport Public Library Board. Ken is on the Wisconsin Counties Association Steering Committee on Transportation and Public Works. He is also the Town of Auburn Planning Commission Chairperson and on the Town of Auburn Board of Review.

Ken has been married for over 30 years to Mary Kay Depperman. He is retired and worked 34 years in the Professional Staffing Industry. Ken has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biological Sciences, with a minor in Chemistry. He has resided at his current address in the Town of Auburn, Campbellsport for over 25 years. Ken is a member of St. John Lutheran Church in New Fane; a pheasant hunter and member of the Dundee Sportsmen’s Club; and an avid snowmobiler and member of the Northern Kettle Moraine Crooked Trails Snowmobile Club (past President and also past Vice-President of Events).

Since retiring, Ken has given time to serving the community. He wants to represent the 59th Assembly District to maximize the quality of life in our district, keep taxes low, and to increase job opportunities for the citizens in the district. Ken also wants to continue the expansion of high speed internet in our rural areas to increase business opportunities, and also allow individuals and students to be able to work from home. He wants to use his experience on the County Ag and Land Conservation Committees to help the farm community in any and every legislative way possible.

Ken is a member of the Fond du Lac County Republican Party. He is a Fiscal Conservative with a Social Conscience. His main issues of concern in the State of Wisconsin are Transportation, Education, and Human Services.

Ken can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (920) 533-5297.

Dept. of Administration: State of Wisconsin Receives “A” Grade for Transparent Government

Contact: Steven Michels, (608) 267-7874
 
Dept. of Administration: State of Wisconsin Receives “A” Grade for Transparent Government
 
MADISON – The State of Wisconsin received an “A” grade by the United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) Education Fund for providing online access to government spending data.  U.S. PIRG issued their Following the Money 2018 report today which evaluates how all 50 states rank for openness and transparency related to government spending.  Wisconsin improved from No. 6 to No. 3 in the rankings from 2016 to 2018 in U.S. PIRG’s report.“Transparency and efficient use of taxpayer dollars is a top priority for Governor Walker’s Administration,” said Department of Administration Secretary Ellen Nowak.  “We are pleased to receive recognition for our efforts and will continue to be good stewards of our resources.”

Created in 2014, Wisconsin’s primary online resource, OpenBook.wi.gov, provides citizens with access to state expenditures, including payments for goods and services and travel and vendor expenses, among other data.  OpenBook.wi.gov provides more than 25 million entries for state agencies, the legislature, the courts, and the University of Wisconsin System dating back to 2008.  As of 2017, the site was updated to include fringe payment data, employee salary, purchase orders and contracts that the state agencies have with vendors.

The full report can be found here.

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Sec. Harsdorf urges farmers to report snowstorm losses

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CONTACT: Donna Gilson, 608-224-5130, [email protected]
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020, [email protected]

MADISON – Secretary Sheila Harsdorf is reminding Wisconsin farmers who sustained property damage or livestock losses from recent snow storms to document and report losses to their county USDA Farm Service Agency offices.

Many parts of Wisconsin received two feet or more of heavy, wet snow April 13-14. It caused roof collapses in barns that killed livestock in some cases. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has been in contact with the FSA state office since the storm. “It is critical that farmers document and report and damage to their local FSA office because they may be eligible for disaster assistance programs. If farmers haven’t already contacted their insurers, they need to do that as well,” said Secretary Harsdorf.

Assistance may be available to farmers who lost livestock, grazing land and fences. There are also safety net programs, including the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish program.

In addition, the FSA uses loss reports to determine whether to seek a disaster designation from the USDA Secretary. A disaster designation makes farmers in the county eligible for low-interest loans if they cannot access private financing.

A directory of county FSA offices is available at https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=wi&agency=fsa.

Even before the storm, farmers were stressed because of low commodity prices and a late planting season, Harsdorf noted. She reminded farmers that the Wisconsin Farm Center is available to help with lender mediation and to help them deal with financial and emotional stress. The hotline number is 1-800-942-2474. Staff are available 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays, and a voicemail system will take messages over the weekend.

Dept. of Corrections: Inmate workers earn Dairy Worker Training Certificate

Contact: DOC Communications, 608-240-5060
[email protected]

WAUPUN – Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Jon Litscher joined Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, leaders from Moraine Park Technical College, and guests to celebrate the second completion ceremony for inmate workers completing the Dairy Worker Training Certificate.

The Bureau of Correctional Enterprises, which is part of DOC, has four dairy farms near Waupun, Fox Lake, Oregon, and Green Bay, as well as a dairy and creamery in Waupun. In total, there are 62 inmate workers managing a herd of more than 552 milk cows, 73 dry cows, and 659 heifers. There are 26 inmate workers at DOC’s dairy and creamery.

The milk, ice cream, and sherbet produced are sold to correctional facilities in Wisconsin and Minnesota for consumption and cream is sold to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to make ice cream. The farms also produce crops for livestock feed.

Moraine Park Technical College and DOC worked to develop a training program for inmate workers at DOC’s Waupun State Farm. The Dairy Worker Training Certificate is a two-credit transferable credential which includes instruction in milking, feeding, cow reproduction and calf care, as well as farm maintenance and other critical skills.

The Bureau of Correctional Enterprises also operates a transition program for inmate workers to find employment in related fields upon their release.

Lt. Governor Kleefisch said: “At a time when Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is at its lowest in history, it’s smart to prepare today’s inmates to be tomorrow’s workers, especially at dairy farms and creameries where farmers say we face critical worker shortages.”

DOC Secretary Litscher said: “Making vocational training available for inmates is one way we can prepare inmates for release. Under Governor Walker’s leadership, we worked with the Department of Workforce Development and local technical colleges to greatly expand skills training for in-demand careers in fields like construction, industrial maintenance, welding, CNC machining, construction, and agriculture. With tens of thousands of available jobs and a historically low unemployment rate, we want inmates to release with the necessary skills to find a job and become productive citizens.”

Moraine Park Technical College Vice President of Academic Affairs Jim Eden said: “Moraine Park Technical College is proud to be in a continued partnership with the DOC Dairy Training program and we celebrate this innovative approach to helping employers fill open positions. Our College aims to benefit our communities by providing skilled workers for our market. The skills gained through this program will benefit this important industry, as well as our local and state economy. We look forward to continuing this partnership of enrichment and growth for the inmate population.”

Dept. of Corrections: Minimum-Security Inmate Jennifer Drost Walks Away from Work Release Site in Kenosha County

Minimum-security inmate Jennifer Drost, confined at Robert E. Ellsworth Correctional Center, has walked away from a work release site in Kenosha County.

The incident has been reported to the Racine County and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Offices.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of this inmate should immediately contact law enforcement.

Name: Jennifer Drost

Year of Birth: 03/27/1977

Gender: Female

Race: White

Height: 5’09”

Weight 193 lbs.

Eye Color: Blue

Hair Color: Brown

County of Conviction: Rock, Milwaukee

Offense information is available on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website.

Dept. of Corrections: Offender Anthony Stephenson Escapes from DOC Custody

DCC Offender Anthony Stephenson has escaped from DOC Custody while being transported.

The incident has been reported to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office and the Milwaukee Police Department

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of this inmate should immediately contact law enforcement.

Name: Anthony Stephenson

Year of Birth: 04/19/1995

Gender: Male

Race: Black

Height: 5’08”

Weight 155 lbs.

Eye Color: Brown

Hair Color: Brown

County of Conviction: Milwaukee

Offense information is available on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website.

Dept. of Corrections: Recognizes Crime Victims’ Rights Week

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Contact:
DOC Communications, 608-240-5060
[email protected]

Department of Corrections Recognizes Crime Victims’ Rights Week

MADISON— Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Jon Litscher joined law enforcement, victim advocates, and others in commemorating Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The week honors those who have been impacted by crime and highlights programs and services available to victims, witnesses, and survivors in Wisconsin.

Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed April 8th to 14th as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Wisconsin. This week recognizes the rights available to victims, witnesses, and survivors of crime under the Wisconsin Constitution and Chapter 950 of the Wisconsin Statutes, which includes the Crime Victim and Witness Bill of Rights. These protections ensure that crime victims are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect for their privacy. Additionally, state law requires victim input to be considered throughout the criminal justice process and affirms victims’ ability to participate in court proceedings.

DOC Secretary Litscher said: “Advocating for victims of crime is integral to our Department’s mission. We have a dedicated team of specialists who work with victims every day, advocating for them and working within the Department of Corrections and local communities to ensure that their voices are heard. ”

The Department of Corrections’ Office of Victim Services and Programs has victim advocates in Madison and Milwaukee who work on behalf of victims who have enrolled to receive information from DOC regarding perpetrators. There are approximately 30,000 crime victims enrolled in VOICE for Victims, DOC’s victim notification system, which includes 2,677 victims who enrolled in 2017. Once enrolled, victims can receive notifications regarding the release of an offender from a correctional facility, changes in supervision status, changes of address for sex offenders, parole hearing information, revocations, and discharge from community supervision.

Members of the public can also enroll in VINELink to receive information regarding the custody status of offenders in Wisconsin county jails and to be notified when protective orders have been served.

Crime victims and survivors can also choose to participate in restorative justice programming, including victim-offender dialogues or speaking to staff and inmates about their experiences.

NOTE TO MEDIA: The Department of Corrections will have employees available in Madison to speak with members of the media about Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

 

Dept. of Health Services: #HopeActLiveWI: Grants fund expansion of treatment of opioid use disorder

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CONTACT: Jennifer Miller/Elizabeth Goodsitt
608-266-1683

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has awarded four $250,000 grants to one county, one tribe, and two nonprofit organizations to support the expansion of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.

“These grants continue our efforts to connect people in need of help with effective treatment options,” says DHS Director of Opioid Initiatives Paul Krupski. “Together, with our community partners, we are helping people reclaim their lives.”

The grant recipients include Milwaukee County, Forest County Potawatomi Community, Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program, and Tellurian.

All four agencies will provide or contract for medication-assisted treatment, which uses Food and Drug Administration-approved medications, including buprenorphine products, methadone, and naltrexone, along with therapy and support to address issues related to addiction. Research shows medication-assisted treatment is the most effective way to treat opioid use disorder.

Governor Scott Walker issued Executive Order #229 (link is external) in January, 2017, directing DHS to apply to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for the grant funds. That followed his issuing of Executive Order #214 (link is external), creating the Task Force on Opioid Abuse. The one-year grants are part of Wisconsin’s share of the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis grant, and managed by the DHS Division of Care Treatment Services.

This announcement is part of the second and final day of the DHS Opioid Forum in Milwaukee, an event in which service providers and community leaders are learning strategies to end Wisconsin’s opioid crisis. View archived recordings of sessions from this event on the DHS webcasts page.

Dept. of Justice: AG Schimel and Texas AG file 20-state injunction against Obamacare

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a motion today seeking a preliminary injunction against the federal government’s Affordable Care Act. Attorneys General Schimel and Paxton are leading a 20-state coalition in this effort to undo the harmful effects of Obamacare.

“Obamacare’s irrational design wreaks havoc on health insurance markets,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Obamacare causes premiums to rise and coverage to fall, forcing Wisconsin and other states to take extreme, costly measures to protect their citizens’ health and pocketbooks. I bring this challenge to Obamacare because, as Wisconsin’s attorney general, I swore to uphold the rule of law and protect our state from overreaching and harmful actions from the federal government.”

In February, the same 20-state coalition filed a lawsuit that argues the ACA, as recently amended, forces an unconstitutional and irrational regime onto the states and their citizens. In NFIB v. Sebelius, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly upheld the core provision of the ACA—the individual mandate—as a “tax.” However, Congress has recently repealed this tax, while leaving the mandate in place. Since the Supreme Court has already held that Congress has no authority to impose such a mandate on Americans, absent invoking its taxing authority, the ACA is now unconstitutional.

In the motion for a preliminary injunction that was filed today, Attorney General Schimel told the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas that an injunction against Obamacare is necessary to spare the people of Wisconsin and the other states from the enormous financial burden caused by the individual mandate. Before Obamacare, “the states allowed individuals to determine whether to buy health insurance, established high-risk insurance pools to help individuals in ill-health, enabled cost-sharing, and instituted many other policies that Obamacare now preempts or functionally preempts,” the coalition wrote.

Wisconsin and Texas filed the coalition’s complaint in a federal district court in Texas. Other states participating are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.

See the filing. 

Dept. of Justice: DOJ and Vilas County Sheriff’s Office Find Meth Lab in Eagle River by Using NPLEx Database

EAGLE RIVER, Wis. – A joint investigation conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office led to the discovery of a meth lab in Eagle River on March 30. Two individuals have been charged with multiple felonies as a result of the investigation.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for a home on US Hwy 45 after review of the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) database revealed individuals residing at the residence had purchased unusual amounts of pseudoephedrine. NPLEx is a real-time electronic log that tracks sales of over-the-counter medications containing pseudoephedrine.

“In its less than six-month existence, NPLEx is already proving its worth,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Through use of NPLEx and strong investigative work, DCI and the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office were able to prevent the production of highly dangerous and addictive drugs. I appreciate the Wisconsin State Legislature giving law enforcement this valuable new tool.”

Vilas County Sheriff investigators conducted a routine review of pharmacy logs on the NPLEx database and discovered that two people had purchased more than the legal amount of pseudoephedrine within a 30-day period from pharmacies around the state. Pseudoephedrine, a common cold ingredient found in some over-the-counter allergy and cold medications can also be illegally used to manufacture methamphetamine in small, home-based labs. The two individuals were also observed buying lithium batteries and cold packs, which are two ingredients that are also used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine in home based clandestine meth labs.

“Another joint investigation that resulted in great results,” said Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath. “We have a very good partnership with Department of Justice.”

The two individuals, Stephanie Wolfe and Scott Schmidt, were charged with six felonies for manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine waste, possessing methamphetamine precursor chemicals, possessing drug paraphernalia to manufacture methamphetamine, purchasing of pseudoephedrine greater than 7.5 grams within a 30 day period and one misdemeanor count of receiving or concealing stolen property. Their bonds were set at $5,000 and $10,000, respectively.

All suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

In November 2017, Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 306, also, known as the NPLEx bill, into law which allowed Wisconsin to join the National Precursor Log Exchange Program. Attorney General Schimel testified in favor of the NPLEx bill, which was authored by Rep. Cody Horlacher and former Senator Shelia Harsdorf.

The NPLEx system has been identified as a valuable tracking tool to prevent “smurfing” and reduce the manufacturing of meth. Smurfing is a term that describes when small home-based labs target small gas stations, hardware stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that use a paper log system by traveling to the different locations and purchasing the maximum amount of pseudoephedrine.

NPLEx is available at no cost to state agencies and its users, including pharmacies, retailers, and law enforcement when a state passes electronic tracking legislation.

Dept. of Military Affairs: National Guard to canvass Omro as part of Dark Sky exercise

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CONTACT: Capt. Joe Trovato
[email protected]
608-242-3048

MADISON, Wis. — Approximately 110 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers will partner with local emergency management, fire and police from the city of Omro, Winnebago County and the American Red Cross to go door-to-door in Omro, Wisconsin, May 16 as part of a full-scale training exercise known as Dark Sky.

Local residents can expect to see Soldiers canvassing neighborhoods, knocking on doors, speaking with residents, and passing out emergency preparedness information as part of the exercise during the afternoon hours of May 16. Residents may participate in a voluntary survey about smoke detectors. The American Red Cross will dispatch volunteers to help resolve smoke detector issues. Residents who are not home during the canvassing period will still receive emergency preparedness information at their doors, and they may still choose to participate in the survey by calling “2-1-1.”

There is no threat to the public, and local residents should not be alarmed or concerned if they see an increased law enforcement or military presence in Omro May 16. The purpose of this exercise is to aid in readiness and safety should a major crisis arise in the city.

In the exercise scenario, National Guard Soldiers — at the request of local authorities and emergency responders — will simulate conducting health and welfare checks of local populations to ensure residents are safe. This is similar to a real-life scenario that played out in July 2017 in Burlington, when Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers assisted local emergency responders by going door-to-door in that community to conduct health and welfare checks in the wake of extreme flooding there.

“The city of Omro is pleased to be partnering with Winnebago County and the State of Wisconsin to exercise our ability to incorporate mutual aid resources into local disaster operations” Linda Kutchenriter, the Omro city administrator, said. “This opportunity will help our first responders, as well as those around the state, learn how to better coordinate and communicate with the Wisconsin National Guard, American Red Cross, and other partners to conduct critical public outreach during these crisis periods.”

Dark Sky is a full-scale exercise that runs May 15-17 in Brown, Calumet, Dane, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Outagamie and Winnebago Counties. The exercise simulates a long-term mass power outage across a large swath of Wisconsin, testing the abilities of private utilities, nongovernmental organizations, emergency responders from all levels of government, and the National Guard to respond to threats to the power grid, a long-term power outage and its second and third order effects.

The goal of the exercise is to increase the understanding of the coordination, policies, and procedures required to conduct a joint inter-agency response to cyber and physical threats to critical Wisconsin infrastructure.

The state Emergency Operations Center, the Business Emergency Operations Center, Wisconsin National Guard, county emergency operations centers, municipal command posts, and federal agencies will participate in the exercise.

The Dark Sky scenario includes a variety of incidents that require local, county and state-level response operations designed to exercise each participating unit and agency. The Wisconsin National Guard will exercise its joint staff and the National Guard Reaction Force in support of private utilities partners, nongovernmental organizations, local, county, state and federal agencies for infrastructure security. As part of the exercise, Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers will conduct door-to-door health and welfare checks in Omro.

The exercise will also test the abilities of public and private sector partners to work directly with local citizens impacted by critical infrastructure failures and to coordinate critical fuel distribution, cyber response, intelligence sharing, and other resources as well as procedures for opening and operating the state’s Business Emergency Operations Center.

The exercise represents the final phase in a series of related exercises that culminate in Dark Sky. In November 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs and private utilities partners conducted GridEx in Columbia and Dane Counties. GridEx also simulated a cyber and physical threat to the power grid resulting in a Wisconsin National Guard response. In February, the annual Statewide Interoperable Mobile Communications — or SIMCOM — exercise simulated a notional winter ice emergency that affected 600,000 people and disconnected power to about 50,000 people.

The relationships developed between the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs and private utilities in Wisconsin during the previous exercises have further honed public-private response capabilities and laid the groundwork for continued success in the Dark Sky exercise.

Dept. of Military Affairs: Wisconsin’s dispatchers recognized for helping keep citizens safe

CONTACT: Lori Getter | [email protected] | 608-242-3239

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker has declared April 8-14 as Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. The week is designed to recognize Wisconsin’s dispatchers and communicators who play a vital role in public safety.

Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general and Wisconsin’s Homeland Security advisor, joins the governor in thanking dispatchers for the important job they do. Last fall, the Office of Emergency Communications was created within the Department of Military Affairs to help coordinate interoperability programs in Wisconsin, including Next Generation 911 — programs that will provide new resources for dispatchers.

“Dispatchers are the unseen heroes,” Dunbar said. “They are the calming voice people hear when they dial 9-1-1. Dispatchers and telecommunicators coordinate the emergency assistance from fire, law enforcement and EMS. They are a highly trained group that help those in need anytime day or night.”

Currently Wisconsin has 109 public safety answer points (PSAPs) or 9-1-1 dispatcher centers that receive more than 2.9 million emergency and non-emergency calls each year. Dispatchers not only assist the public but also provide support to public safety agencies utilizing telephones, radios, computers and other communications devices.

“Today most 911 calls are made from cellphones which does not necessarily show where the call is from,” said Office of Emergency Communications Director Tom Czaja. “Next Generation 911 will provide more tools for our dispatchers that will help them locate where the call originated from and to be able to get emergency help to the scene to help save lives.”

Dept. of Natural Resources: Approves straddling community diversion application from city of Racine

CONTACT: Jim Dick, DNR Director of Communications, [email protected], 608-267-2773

MADISON, Wis. – The Department of Natural Resources issued an approval today allowing the city of Racine to divert an annual average of 7 million gallons a day of water from Lake Michigan for its customers within the village of Mount Pleasant. The village of Mount Pleasant straddles the divide between the Lake Michigan basin and Mississippi River basin.

For perspective, the total surface water withdrawn from Lake Michigan from all states in 2016 was reported as 9.6 billion gallons per day by the Great Lakes Commission. Racine’s requested 7 million gallons per day withdrawal would only amount to a 0.07 percent increase in the total surface water withdrawals from Lake Michigan. This withdrawal would still put the Racine water utility under its existing withdrawal capacity and below its 1995 average day water sales number as cited in its application.

Straddling community diversion applications are regulated under the Great Lakes Compact, which took effect in 2008. The process allows communities that straddle the Great Lakes basin divide to apply to divert Great Lakes water.

The village of Mount Pleasant lies predominantly in the Great Lakes basin, and the Racine Water Utility already serves over 5,000 residential customers in the village of Mount Pleasant. The diversion approval allows the Racine Water Utility to extend public water service to the 8 percent of the village that is in the Mississippi River basin, partially including the Foxconn facility site. Because Racine’s public water system will continue to serve a group of largely residential customers, including the straddling community of Mount Pleasant, the DNR determined that Racine’s proposed diversion is for “public water supply purposes.”

As part of the diversion approval, the city of Racine must ensure that the diverted water is returned to Lake Michigan minus consumptive use such as evaporation. The water returned to Lake Michigan will be treated at the Racine Wastewater Treatment Plant to meet all applicable state and federal water quality discharge standards. Any industrial customers, such as Foxconn, will work with the City of Racine to meet pretreatment requirements for wastewater.

Again, for perspective, Lake Michigan rose 56.3 inches between January 2013 and August 2017. (NOAA GLERL Dashboard – exit DNR). By comparison, the annual consumptive use water loss caused by the diversion from Lake Michigan would be about .0025 inches or about the thickness of a lightweight (12 bond) sheet of paper.

After receiving the application in January, the DNR invited the public to provide comments on the application, and received public testimony at a hearing in early March in Sturtevant. The department has taken the comments under consideration in issuing the approval and drafted a comment and response document available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov for keywords “Racine diversion.”

“We received approximately 800 comments on the Racine application, which shows the public’s strong interest in this topic,” said Adam Freihoefer, water use section chief for the Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater. “We appreciate the public’s involvement and I thank those who took the time to comment.”

More information about the Great Lakes Compact is also available by searching dnr.wi.gov for “Great Lakes Compact.”

Dept. of Natural Resources: Public comment period open through April 12 to provide feedback regarding preliminary recommendations from County Deer Advisory Councils

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CONTACT:  Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, 608-261-7589

MADISON – County Deer Advisory Councils met in each county in March, and preliminary antlerless deer quotas, tag levels, and season structure recommendations for the 2018 deer hunting season are now available for review and comment.

An online public comment period will be open through April 12 to collect feedback on the preliminary recommendations. To view each county’s recommendations and provide feedback, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “CDAC.”

Antlerless quota recommendations and hunter success rates from previous hunts help determine the number of antlerless tags available for the 2018 deer hunting season, and help Department of Natural Resources staff and councils work to reach deer population objectives within each county.

“The impact that CDACs are having on deer hunting in Wisconsin is impressive and growing,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist. “The public has a real voice in local deer management, and the council members weigh their decisions heavily on public feedback – if you have an interest in helping to shape the deer season in your county, this is an important opportunity.”

CDACs consider a variety of factors, like harvest data, population trends, and winter severity to form harvest objective and tag level recommendations.

After the public comment period has ended, each council will reconvene April 16-19 to evaluate public feedback and determine final recommendations for 2018 deer seasons, which will be reviewed and adopted by the Natural Resources Board in May.

All council meetings are open to the public and provide the opportunity for attendees to address the council. Meeting details for each county can be found at keyword “CDAC.”

Dept. of Natural Resources: Wisconsin officials celebrate removal of Kirtland’s warbler from federal endangered species list

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CONTACT: Drew Feldkirchner, DNR Natural Heritage Conservation program director, 608-235-3905

MADISON – The removal of Kirtland’s warbler from the federal endangered species list on April 12 is another great conservation comeback story, and Wisconsin will continue its efforts to grow the tiny songbird’s population.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced earlier this week its plans to remove Kirtland’s Warbler from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. The USFWS has determined that the species has clearly met recovery goals following years of intensive habitat management, mostly in lower Michigan where the core population is found.

The species’ numbers in Wisconsin don’t yet meet the criteria to be removed from the state’s endangered species list. However, Wisconsin continues to be active in conservation efforts for the species which began when it was first documented breeding here 10 years ago.

“This is a huge milestone for the overall recovery of this bird, and we will continue our work to increase the Wisconsin population,” says Drew Feldkirchner, who directs the Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Conservation Program. “Decades of commitment and hard work through public and private partnerships in Michigan have paid off, and we are also proud of the work our Wisconsin partners have done to increase our small but growing population.”

National recovery team leaders believe the Wisconsin population provides an important backstop to the core Michigan population and that newly established breeding areas on public land in northern Wisconsin will be important as hotter, drier conditions affect the warblers’ food supply at breeding sites in Wisconsin and Michigan at lower latitudes.

Wisconsin’s population has grown from only 11 Kirtland’s warblers and three nests documented in 2007 to 53 birds and 20 total nests in 2017. Importantly, the population has grown and its range has expanded from Adams County to also include Marinette and Bayfield counties. The birds fledged a minimum of 49 and up to 63 young in 2017.

“Kirtland’s are responding to a decade of conservation work from dedicated partners and the numbers of individuals and nests in Wisconsin continue to increase,” says Kim Grveles, the Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist who led Kirtland’s warbler efforts in Wisconsin for the past decade.

“We’re very encouraged by results of recent years and look forward to contributing more birds to the overall population in coming years,” she says.

The Kirtland’s warbler was placed on the federal endangered species list about 40 years ago, when its Michigan population dropped to about 300 birds due to habitat loss and nest predation from brown-headed cowbirds.

Starting in the late 1990s, the protections and efforts made under the federal Endangered Species Act enabled the Kirtland’s warbler to start expanding its breeding territory to Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Ontario. The first nest was confirmed in Wisconsin in 2007.

To help increase Kirtland’s warblers in Wisconsin, DNR, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other partners now conduct annual surveys in seven counties to listen and look for the birds, monitor nests in Adams County and Marinette County where breeding sites have been found, and set traps to keep cowbirds away from the warblers’ nests.

The partners are also working to maintain and expand the mix of 5- to 20-year-old jack pine trees and barrens to provide quality habitat for Kirtland’s warblers and other species, says Grveles.

In 2017, DNR planted a 125-acre jack pine stand near the Brule River in Douglas County. Also, Bayfield County Forest and Marinette County Forest continued their habitat management efforts that benefit Kirtland’s warblers.

In addition to those county forests, DNR and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, other partners and collaborators include the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Natural Resources Foundation, USDA Wildlife Services, Sand Valley Restoration LLC, Meteor Timber, the Wisconsin Trapshooting Association, Bayfield, Marinette, Vilas, and Jackson County Forest Departments, and many birders and other private citizens.

An article is planned for the June edition of Wisconsin’s Natural Resources magazine that will highlight Wisconsin’s efforts to conserve Kirtland’s Warbler over the last 10 years.

Dept. of Public Instruction: Evers to join military family celebration in Tomah

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CONTACT: Tom McCarthy, DPI Communications Director, (608) 266-3559

MADISON — State Superintendent Tony Evers will join students from the New Lisbon, Sparta Area, and Tomah Area school districts, their families, educators, and other invited guests for a celebration of Military Child Month at the Cranberry Country Lodge in Tomah on Friday.

Under the theme, “Brave Hearts and Resilient Souls,” the event recognizes the challenges and successes of students whose families serve in the armed forces. Activities begin at 11:30 a.m. with the program including music from the Sparta High School choir and introductions of dignitaries and their remarks. Additionally, Fort McCoy’s Military Student of the Year and the Tomah High School Military Student will be introduced and speak. In his remarks, Evers will bring congratulations to students, calling attention to the family,
teacher, and community mentor supports that contribute to student success.

The event is hosted by the Tomah Area School District, Cindy Zahrte, superintendent. Student and family participants will also be from the Sparta Area School District, Amy Van Deuren, superintendent, and New Lisbon School District, Dennis Birr, superintendent. Other program participants include Shelley Joan Weiss, Wisconsin commissioner for the Interstate Compact for the Education of Military Children; Becky Walley, outreach director and school liaison officer at Fort McCoy; Garrison Commander Col. David Pinter Sr., Fort McCoy; and Army Chief of Staff Col. Brian Wolhaupter, Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs.

The Month of the Military Child observance was established in 1986 by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger to underscore the important role that military children play in the armed forces community.

Dept. of Revenue: Collections, March FY2018

CONTACT:  608.266.2300 or [email protected]

($ thousands) 

  Collections for Month Collections to Date
Revenue Source FY17 FY18 % change FY17 FY18 % change
       
Individual Income          307,518          129,177 -58.0%      5,359,121      5,426,255 1.3%
adjusted          307,518          382,589 24.4%      5,359,121      5,679,668 6.0%
         
General Sales & Use          360,480          364,651 1.2%      3,403,633      3,560,291 4.6%
         
Corporate          181,283            97,089 -46.4%          622,174          509,458 -18.1%
         
Excise Taxes            51,192            49,363 -3.6%          470,777          453,219 -3.7%
         
Other              3,386              3,684 8.8%          236,884          236,323 -0.2%
         
Total GPR          903,860          643,964 -28.8%    10,092,589    10,185,547 0.9%
Total GPR, adjusted          903,860          897,377 -0.7%    10,092,589    10,438,959 3.4%

Notes:

  1. For fiscal year (FY) 2018, the adjusted line includes withholding that was received on the first working day of April, rather than the last day of March, which was a weekend day. The collections-to-date were also affected for FY2018.
  2. Individual Income includes 66.2% of pass-thru withholding and Corporate Franchise & Income includes the remaining 33.8%.
  3. 2017 Wisconsin Act 2 changed many corporate due dates from March 15 to April 15.
  4. The “Other” category includes estate, utility, and real estate transfer fee collections.
  5. Total does not include insurance premium taxes.
  6. This report is generated from the STAR Accounting System.  Timing differences may cause the amounts in this report to differ from reports produced by the Department of Administration.
  7. All data are preliminary and unaudited.

Dept. of Transportation: State revokes auto dealers’ licenses

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For more information, contact:

Office of Public Affairs

(608) 266-3581   [email protected]

Investigations uncover odometer fraud and other violations

After thorough investigations, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recently imposed licensing sanctions against several auto dealers for odometer fraud and other violations.

Odometer fraud is the resetting, disconnecting or altering a vehicle’s odometer to conceal the true mileage. This costs consumers millions of dollars each year. DMV’s Dealer and Agent Section has ninefield investigation territories for handling consumer complaints.

“Odometer and title fraud, along with unlicensed sales activity, are a continuous threat facing Wisconsin consumers,” said Dealer and Agent Section Chief Michael Domke. “DMV’s Dealer and Agent Section is committed to combating these activities but it can take several months to investigate and impose sanctions. Consumers are encouraged to be proactive and educate themselves with help from DMV’s “Car buying and selling” resources support.

Last year, the Dealer and Agent Section recovered more than $1 million to Wisconsin consumers and closed more than 900 complaints.

The following businesses received Wisconsin sanctions:

  • L and A International Motors3500 South 92nd St, Milwaukee, had their motor vehicle wholesaler dealer license revoked for selling vehicles directly to the public without licensure, falsifying vehicle title documents, and odometer tampering.
  • Mex Car Sales, 5439 22nd Ave., Kenosha, had their motor vehicle dealer license revoked for engaging in odometer fraud.
  • Infinity Texas Auto Sales, based in Texas, had all motor vehicles buyer’s licenses revoked for engaging in odometer and title fraud.
  • Fast Motor Auto Sales, had all motor vehicle buyer’s licenses and Salvage Buyer Identification (BID) Cards revoked for engaging in odometer fraud by purchasing vehicles at Wisconsin auctions with high mileage and subsequently selling those vehicles with the odometer altered to show lower mileage.

Dept. of Transportation: Wisconsin State Patrol recognizes law enforcement dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week April 8-14

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CONTACT: WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
608-266-2405
[email protected]

This is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week and the Wisconsin State Patrol is recognizing all the highly-trained professionals who provide life-saving assistance to citizens and emergency responders around-the-clock and throughout the year.

“Our law enforcement and other emergency dispatchers fulfill a vital role in public safety, helping police, firefighters and medical professionals coordinate the proper response to a variety of complex incidents,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Major Timothy Huibregtse. “Working behind the scenes, they use their advanced skills and technologies to help save lives, minimize injuries and property damage.”

The State Patrol has 50 law enforcement dispatchers and supervisory staff located around the state who routinely communicate with federal, state and local police agencies

Dept. of Transportation: Work Zone Awareness Week promotes highway safety

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Contact: Office of Public Affairs [email protected]

 

Governor Scott Walker proclaimed April 9 to 13 as Work Zone Awareness Week as part of efforts to prevent traffic crashes, deaths and injuries in construction and maintenance areas along Wisconsin’s roadways.

Drivers are asked to stay alert in work areas, which include major highway construction and rolling maintenance operations as well as emergency response, municipal projects and utility work along local roads. Wisconsin’s efforts are in coordination with National Work Zone Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “Work Zone Safety: Everybody’s Responsibility.”

“Everyone has the opportunity to set the right example for safety by slowing down, eliminating distractions and being especially cautious driving in areas where workers are present,” said WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross. “Whether we’re working or driving in a work zone, everyone wants to make it home safe at night. Let’s work together to be safe on the roads.”

In 2017, Wisconsin recorded 2,763 crashes in work zones, including 1,067 injuries and six fatalities. The previous year, 2,811 crashes claimed nine lives and caused 1,112 injuries.

“Tragedies can happen in the blink of an eye,” said Ross. “Even at the reduced speed of 55 mph, your car will cover the length of a football field in less than four seconds. It’s important to stay focused and avoid tailgating, giving your undivided attention to the road.”

Along with safety messages on Dynamic Message Signs, other work zone technologies include Temporary Portable Rumble Strips used by county maintenance workers and private contractors and Queue Warning Systems, which help to communicate speed reductions and other valuable traffic information ahead of work zones.

Throughout the week, and continuing into the 2018 construction season, WisDOT will periodically display messages on its electronic signs on highways and will use social media to remind drivers to slow down and pay attention on all Wisconsin highways, especially work zones. (Visit facebook.com/WisDOTtwitter.com/WisconsinDOT,youtube.com/user/wisdot). Television and radio messages about work zone safety will be broadcast statewide.

In addition, officers from the Wisconsin State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies will be deployed in work zones to enforce speed limits and other traffic laws.

How can people help?

  • Drive safely, avoid distractions and obey posted speed limits. Be courteous and patient. Set a good example for others on the road.
  • Show support for work zone safety with the social media hashtags #NWZAW, #WorkZoneSafety, or #OrangeForSafety (but please never tweet and drive).
  • Participate in “Go Orange Day” on Wednesday, April 11 by wearing orange in support of safety. (#OrangeForSafety)
  • Visit wisconsindot.gov and search “work zone” for more tips and information.

 

What’s coming up?

Please contact [email protected] or the contacts listed below for information about any of the following upcoming events. More details will follow closer to the events themselves.

  • Monday, April 9, 1 p.m., Verona Road Project, Madison – WisDOT news briefing and Work Zone Awareness Week kickoff at the Verona Road Project. Contact Steve Theisen: [email protected]
  • Tuesday, April 10, 11 a.m., Eau Claire – News briefing and safety message at the Dunn County I-94 improvements. Contact Diana Maas: [email protected]
  • Tuesday, April 10, 2 p.m., Wausau – News Briefing and safety message in partnership with the Marathon County Highway Department. Contact Kristin McHugh:[email protected]
  • Wednesday, April 11, statewide – “Go Orange Day.” Show support by wearing orange and using #OrangeForSafety in social media. (Turn off or set aside cell phones while driving).
  • Thursday, April 12, 11:30 a.m., WIS 10/441 Project, Neenah – News briefing and more information about the innovative Queue Warning System to alert motorists of slow speeds or backups approaching a work zone. Contact Mark Kantola: [email protected]
  • Friday, April 13, 1:30 p.m., Zoo Interchange Project, Milwaukee – News briefing focusing on safety in the final months of the project. Contact Mike Pyritz:[email protected]

Dept. of Veteran Affairs: Veterans home at King to celebrate grand opening of Wisconsin Veterans Museum’s James Megellas Gallery

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CONTACT: WDVA Office of Public Affairs
Carla Vigue, Director
(608) 266-0517
[email protected]

KING – Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Secretary Daniel J. Zimmerman and Wisconsin Veterans Museum Director Michael Telzrow are pleased to announce the grand re-opening of the James Megellas Gallery at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum at King. A ribbon-cutting ceremony to re-open the Gallery, following a year-long improvement project, will be held on Friday, April 20, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King’s Marden Activity Center. The public and media are invited to attend.

“Strong support from Wisconsin’s Veteran community makes King truly special,” Secretary Zimmerman said. “This museum, right in the heart of our campus, honors the service of the men and women of that community. It also gives our members an opportunity to see and hear the stories of those who served, just as they did. Sharing those experiences with their families and friends in conversations about service above self are therapeutic to all involved. We are excited to provide this new museum in honor of all those who have served.”

“We are proud to open the new James Megellas Gallery at our museum at the King Veterans Home,” said Telzrow. “This completely redeveloped space will provide Home members and the surrounding public with an opportunity to learn about, and remember, the sacrifices of our Wisconsin Veterans. The incorporation of our oral history recordings within the individual exhibits is certain to provide an authentic experience for all of our visitors.”

The James Megellas Gallery at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum at King traces the history of Wisconsin’s involvement in our nation’s conflicts through the eyes of individual Veterans. Supported by original artifacts and oral histories, this exhibit features stories from Veterans who served in every conflict.

The James Megellas Gallery is named in honor of U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel James “Maggie” Megellas, of Fond du Lac, the most-decorated officer in the history of the 82nd Airborne Division. Megellas received the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars and other military honors for his World War II European service. The campaign continues to upgrade one of Megellas’ Silver Stars to the Medal of Honor for his service and leadership during the Battle of the Bulge.

In addition to featuring Lt. Colonel Megellas, the Gallery includes:

Melvin Jacob, of Manitowoc, served with the Marine Corps during World War II. Aboard the USS Indianapolis when it was sunk by a torpedo, he waited for rescue at sea for five days;
John Peters, of Merrill, served in 2nd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division during the Gulf War. He was awarded the Bronze Star;
Michelle Rasmusson, who grew up in the Fox Valley, served in the Army Reserve with the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion from 1999 to 2007. She was involved in the Kosovo Force, K4, and Operation Iraqi Freedom; and,
Many more Wisconsin Veterans.
The Museum improvement project is just one aspect of an overall transformation of the Marden Center. The Veterans Café, located on Marden’s lower level, celebrated its grand re-opening in February following months of gathering input, planning and construction. Additionally, the King Exchange was moved into the Center to improve access, the Alley 5 bar got a facelift, and other upgrades around the building were made, such as new flooring and furniture.

More changes are planned, including a major landscape project on the waterfront side of Marden that will improve member access and safety.

For its astounding effort and future construction plans, the Veterans Home was presented with a 2017 Facelift Award from the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce in January. The award is presented to area businesses which make changes that aesthetically improve the environment of the city or area.

The WDVA’s Veterans Home at King has more than 130 years of providing around-the-clock care and amenities for America’s heroes. All branches of the armed forces are represented at the home, which is one of three across the state operated by the WDVA. King is ranked in the top 15 percent of all skilled-nursing facilities in the nation.

WHERE:
Wisconsin Veterans Home at King – Marden Center
N2665 Cty. Rd QQ
King, WI

WHEN:
Friday, April 20, 2018
10:30 a.m.

Dept. of Workforce Development: #AccountableGov: Crackdown on worker misclassification nets $1.4 million in unpaid taxes, interest & penalties

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CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

MADISON – Today, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Ray Allen announced that due to the department’s efforts to combat the misclassification of workers in Wisconsin across numerous industries, the state netted $1.4 million in unpaid Unemployment Insurance (UI) taxes, interest and associated penalties. This figure doesn’t include the additional dollars brought into the UI Trust Fund due to continued compliance with UI tax law.

The state’s efforts to reduce worker misclassification is part of a multi-pronged, anti-fraud initiative that is designed to ensure employers comply with requirements to classify workers correctly as employees or independent contractors under unemployment, worker’s compensation and equal rights law. Employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors unfairly avoid UI tax and other tax obligations. Conversely, combating worker misclassification has protected and strengthened the state’s UI Trust Fund, which ended 2017 with a balance of nearly $1.5 billion and increased $313 million over the year. The latest annual report detailing the state’s strong UI anti-fraud measures is available online.

“The state’s UI program plays an important role in helping workers as they rapidly transition from a period of unemployment to a new, rewarding career,” Secretary Allen said. “We owe it to the Wisconsin employers that fund this vital program to ensure that everyone plays by the rules so that workers who are out of work through no fault of their own have access to the temporary safety net they need, and so that businesses don’t gain an unfair competitive advantage by skirting legal obligations.”

DWD operates a dedicated Worker Misclassification Unit, staffed with a team of seasoned, former law enforcement professionals, many of whom specialized in investigating white-collar crime during their previous careers. This unit teams with the UI Division’s Audit Section as well as the Program Integrity Section to effectively investigate, formulate cases and pursue monies owed to the UI Trust Fund as well as associated penalties.

Since 2013, the Worker Misclassification Unit has invested $1.2 million in federal grant funds to:
– Conduct over 1,550 on-site investigations, in addition to thousands of audits conducted by the audit section
– Publish two educational videos in November 2016, one to assist employers in properly classifying workers, and the other to help employers prepare for a UI tax hearing. To date the videos have been viewed approximately 700 times.
– Execute a statewide public awareness radio campaign in fall 2017 to highlight the importance of proper worker classification and encourage individuals to report suspected misclassification. The radio announcements were broadcast 11,000 times on 190 Wisconsin radio stations in the fall of 2017 and will be repeated during the beginning of this year’s construction season.

If you suspect misclassified workers are being utilized at a business or job site, please send an e-mail to [email protected] to provide the department with that information.

“Although strong penalties exist for employers that intentionally misclassify workers as part of their business practices, we aim to use those measures only for the most egregious cases, choosing first to educate employers and encourage them to voluntary comply with UI tax law,” Secretary Allen said. “We thank the Governor, members of the Wisconsin State Legislature as well as the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council for providing us with the tools to help level the playing field for Wisconsin employers who follow the law.”

More information on DWD’s Worker Misclassification program is available online.

Dept. of Workforce Development: BLS data: State adds 8,900 private sector jobs, 2,100 manufacturing jobs in March: Unemployment rate holds at historically low 2.9%

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CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

MADISON – Today, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) released the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revisions for February 2018 and preliminary estimates for March 2018 covering the employment and job statistics for the state of Wisconsin.  The data showed that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate remained at a historic low of 2.9 percent, while the state added 8,900 private sector jobs from February 2018 to March 2018.  Additionally, previously reported private sector job losses of 300 from January 2018 to February 2018 were revised upward to a gain of 3,700.  The data now shows a two-month increase of 12,600 private sector jobs.

In brief, the seasonally adjusted estimates show:

  • Place of Residence Data:  Wisconsin’s preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2018 maintained its historically low level of 2.9 percent for the second consecutive month and remained 1.2 percent below the national rate of 4.1 percent.  Wisconsin also reached a record high for the number of people employed in the state for the third consecutive month.  The size of the state’s civilian labor force increased to 3,168,500, reaching an all-time high for the second consecutive month.  The state’s labor force participation rate also increased from February 2018 to March by 0.1 percent to 68.7 percent, while the national rate decreased 0.1 percent to 62.9 percent over the same time period.
  • Place of Work Data:  Based on preliminary data, Wisconsin gained 8,900 private sector jobs over the month and a significant 27,800 private sector jobs and 13,200 manufacturing  jobs over the year.  Wisconsin also added 6,800 total non-farm jobs over the month and a significant 29,700 total non-farm jobs over the year.  Additionally, the state’s previously reported loss of 300 private sector jobs from January 2018 to February 2018 was revised upward to a gain of 3,700 private sector jobs, showing a 2 month increase of 12,600 private sector jobs from January 2018 through March 2018.

DWD Secretary Ray Allen released the following statement about today’s report:

“Wisconsin’s working families, employees and communities are benefiting as Wisconsin’s labor market economy sets new records across numerous measurements,”  Secretary Allen said.  “Our unemployment rate remains at a record low of 2.9 percent, the number of people employed is at a record high and our civilian labor force is larger than ever before in our state’s history. Under Governor Walker’s leadership, Wisconsin’s strong alignment between workforce, education and economic development partners will enable Wisconsin to attract, train and retain even more workers through an all-hands-on-deck approach that draws talent from outside the state and helps those already here skill up and skill in to good-paying opportunities.”

The BLS uses three data sets to measure employment and unemployment:

  • Current Employment Statistics (CES): compiled from a monthly survey sent to about 5,500 employers (3.5% of Wisconsin employers). CES data has been shown to be subject to significant revision.
  • Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS): compiled from a monthly survey of 985 households and unemployment insurance claims. Measures the labor force, employment, unemployment, and the unemployment rate.
  • Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW): compiled on a quarterly basis from Unemployment Insurance records from some 96 percent of Wisconsin business establishments. Considered by most economists to be the most accurate measure of jobs, the QCEW includes data from almost all employers in Wisconsin.

Other indicators of the state of Wisconsin’s economy include:

  • Initial UI claims ended 2017 at their lowest level in the last 30 years.
  • Continuing unemployment claims ended 2017 at their lowest level since 1973.
  • Moody’s investor Service upgraded the state’s credit rating, nothing that “(T)he stable outlook reflects the expectation that the state will experience moderate economic growth and will continue its prudent fiscal management practices.”

Dept. of Workforce Development: Kwik Trip Garners National Honor for Commitment to Hiring Individuals with Disabilities

CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce
Over 200 DVR consumers placed in Retail Helper positions in WI since 2013 through collaboration with DWD
MADISON – Wisconsin-based Kwik Trip Incorporated recently received a national award from the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) for its strong commitment to employing job seekers with disabilities.
On Tuesday, April 10, CSAVR presented Kwik Trip executives with the Business Partner of the Year Award during the council’s Spring Conference in Bethesda, Maryland. The honor highlights Kwik Trip’s Retail Helper program, which began in Wisconsin in 2013 and placed over 200 Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) consumers in employment. Of the DVR consumers placed, nearly 75 percent successfully gained permanent employment status with Kwik Trip.
“I would like to congratulate Kwik Trip for being recognized for its commitment to hiring individuals with disabilities,” Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Allen said. “Ever since DWD staff and Kwik Trip began working collaboratively in 2013 to fill the company’s labor market needs with qualified and energetic talent, the Retail Helper program has expanded and now operates in three states. The Retail Helper program is a reflection of the innovative and successful approaches that DWD is advancing to address employers’ labor market needs by tapping the skills of everyone who wants to work.”
Retail Helper duties differ from store to store, but basic job functions include maintaining positive store image and sanitation standards, monitoring cleanliness and maintenance needs, ensuring a high level of customer service, and assisting with essential functions such as stocking, unloading, filling coolers and more
“Under Governor Walker, DWD remains committed to providing Wisconsin employers with a talented and reliable workforce, and that includes individuals with disabilities,” Secretary Allen said.  “In roughly the last 7 years, over 25,000 DVR consumers have successfully reached their employment goal, and this accomplishment would not be possible without strong business partners like Kwik Trip recognizing the value that employing job seekers with disabilities brings to any employer’s bottom line.”
More information about DVR is available online
Read the CSAVR report highlighting Kwik Trip’s Retail Helper program.

Dept.of Transportation: Stay safe on the roads this growing season

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Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581, [email protected]

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation urges drivers to take extra caution as agricultural activity increases statewide.

Tractors, trailers, and other farming equipment are recognized as essential agricultural tools and operate on Wisconsin roadways. Because the equipment is heavy and often slow-moving, there are special considerations that both the farming community and the traveling public should keep in mind to prevent crashes.

“We ask drivers to eliminate distractions, slow down and be patient,” said WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross. “The road to every grocery store and farmer’s market starts in Wisconsin’s countryside, and it’s important we give farmers the room they need to work safely.”

According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), there are more than 150,000 jobs statewide in on-farm production, part of the roughly $88.3 billion Wisconsin agricultural economy.

“While spring is always a busy time on Wisconsin roadways as farmers work around the clock preparing and planting their fields, given the late spring, it will be especially so,” said DATCP Secretary Sheila Harsdorf. “Motorists and farmers need to be particularly aware of each other and their surroundings and understand their responsibilities in sharing the roadways. Let’s make this season a safe one on Wisconsin roads.”

All drivers: Watch out for farm vehicles – Eighteen people have been killed and 607 injured since 2011 in crashes involving agricultural equipment in Wisconsin. Drivers should slow down immediately whenever they see a fluorescent orange slow-moving vehicle emblem on the rear of a tractor or other piece of equipment. Stay alert, focused and patient when passing a slow moving agricultural vehicle in an area where passing is legal. Importantly, Wisconsin law makes it illegal for motorists to pass slow moving agricultural equipment in a no passing zone.

Farmers: Know the lighting and marking requirements – Lighting and marking requirements draw attention to the size, shape and speed of agricultural vehicles and alert drivers that caution is required. There are specific requirements for different types of equipment. WisDOT has information and a short explanatory video published on the web.

Farmers: Know local weight restrictions – Agricultural equipment axle weights are typically heavy and can have a significant impact on our roads and bridges. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection publishes a map with local information about weight limits and, when applicable, local permitting needs. Generally, agricultural weight limits are 23,000 pounds per axle or 92,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, dependent on number of axles and axle spacing, and subject to seasonal or special postings.

More information on weight limits, driving safety permitting and exemptions is published at www.AgVehicles.DOT.wi.gov.

Depts. of Corrections, Veterans Affairs: Host Resource Fairs for Incarcerated Veterans

Contact: (608) 266-0517
[email protected]

FOX LAKE – The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA), in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC), the US Department of Veterans Affairs and multiple other local, state and federal groups, is hosting a series of expos to provide incarcerated veterans information about benefits, programs and services available to them. The expos help incarcerated veterans better prepare for release and give them the resources they need to help transition them to communities in Wisconsin.

“These events are an opportunity for veterans to engage one-on-one with experts regarding the resources available to them,” WDVA Secretary Daniel J. Zimmerman said. “We are committed to helping veterans transition from incarceration to independence. We are joining together to help these individuals who have served our country access health care, housing, training and employment, and various other tools so they can thrive in our communities.”

DOC Secretary Jon Litscher said: “We believe it is critical for DOC to prepare inmates for release, so they leave our facilities prepared to be successful. This resource fair is an opportunity for us to collaborate with the Department of Veterans Affairs and other partners to highlight programs and services are available to inmates inside the institution and in the community.”

There are currently about 1,400 incarcerated veterans in Wisconsin correctional facilities.

The first round of expos were held last year in Oshkosh, Stanley, and Racine. This year, expos are being hosted at Fox Lake Correctional Institution, Redgranite Correctional Institution, and New Lisbon Correctional Institution. Each expo consists of two one-hour sessions for veteran inmates. At the beginning of each session, there is a brief explanation of the benefit or service available at each resource table. Veterans are then able to directly engage with the staff and seek the resources they need.

The expos are a collaborative effort by numerous agencies. Information will be offered on the following resources:

· State of Wisconsin Benefit Eligibility

· State of Wisconsin Programs such as the Wisconsin GI Bill

· Federal Pension and Disability Claims Assistance

· Wisconsin Homeless Veteran Assistance

· VA Employment Specialist, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and other employment programs such as Vocational Rehabilitation

· County Veteran Service Officers

· Healthcare for Reentry Veterans and Healthcare for Homeless Veterans

· Veterans Justice Outreach

· Veterans Benefits Administration

· Transition Case Management

· VISN Homeless Coordinator and other housing programs such as HUD/VASH and Tribal HUD/VASH

· VA Suicide Prevention

· Morale Recognition Therapy (MRT) and MRT for Domestic Violence

· The Vet Center

DGA: Scott Walker’s RGA pushes panic button in Wisconsin

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Contact:

Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188

[email protected]

The same morning that Governor Scott Walker went on Fox and Friends to “sound the alarm” about his reelection odds, the RGA pushed the panic button and announced it would be dumping $5 million into propping up his floundering campaign.

Walker served as Chair of the RGA through 2017 and is currently on their executive committee.

“Scott Walker is vulnerable: Wisconsin families know it, the RGA knows it, and Walker himself knows it,” said DGA Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “All the money in the world won’t cover up Walker’s record because voters know he’s spent his time as governor putting his own national political aspirations ahead of Wisconsin’s small businesses and hardworking families.”

Disability Rights Wisconsin: Announces victim advocacy program

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CONTACT: Diana Henry
Rippe Keane Marketing
608-277-9097
[email protected]

Madison, WI – Disability Rights Wisconsin joins community leaders in supporting crime victims during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), April 8-14.

According to the U.S Department of Justice, between 2009 and 2015, individuals with disabilities were at least twice as likely to be victims of violent victimization as people without disabilities. In 2015, nearly 30 of every 1,000 people age 12 or older with a disability reported violent victimization, compared to 12 of every 1,000 people age 12 or older without a disability.

Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) supports persons with disabilities across the state who have been victims of crime through its Victim Advocacy Program.

The Victim Advocacy Program assists people with disabilities who have experienced a crime, even if the crime has not been reported. Victim Advocacy Specialists work with each eligible person to receive advocacy and access services to move forward, find justice, and obtain safety and stability in whatever form the victim/survivor needs.

“One important way to make sure rights of victims are honored is to give them a voice,” said Nadya Rosen, Managing Attorney, DRW Victim Advocacy Program. “We want victims of crime with disabilities and their families to know this week and every week that we have services available to assist them in moving forward.”

Advocacy involves assisting individuals to understand and exercise their rights, report incidents of crime and/or victimization, ensure access to and participation in criminal justice and victim response systems, and promote recovery from victimization by receiving needed supports and services at home and in their community.

“We applaud the efforts being made by our community partners to call particular attention to crimes against people with disabilities,” added Rosen. “We want victims, survivors, family members, guardians, disability services providers, and victim services providers to know that crime impacts people with disabilities at disproportionate rates and that people with disabilities who are victimized need specific types of supports and services to be able to recover and thrive.”

About Disability Rights Wisconsin

Disability Rights Wisconsin is the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy system for the State of Wisconsin, charged with protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities and keeping individuals free from abuse and neglect. To learn more about the resources available, visit: http://www.disabilityrightswi.org/learn/victim-advocacy-program/

DNR Wisconsin: Spring fish and wildlife hearing results available

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CONTACT: Kari Lee-Zimmermann, DNR Wisconsin Conservation Congress Liaison608-266-0580

MADISON – More than 6,800 people came out to participate in the 2018 Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearings and Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings that were held in every county statewide on Monday, April 9.

The public hearings provide citizens with an opportunity to comment and indicate preference on a wide range of proposed fish and wildlife management issues, Conservation Congress advisory questions, and to submit resolutions for rule changes they would like to see in the future.

Statewide hearing results and the questions are available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords “Spring Hearings.”

People voting on the department’s wildlife management advisory questions supported restricting the transportation of deer harvested in CWD-affected counties as well as moving the close of the pheasant season daily shooting hours from 2 p.m. to 12 p.m. on stocked public properties.

The majority of voters also favored the idea of reviewing panfish and gamefish regulations on the Mississippi River and reducing the walleye bag limit on the Lake Winnebago system. Participants supported the Wisconsin Conservation Congress’ advisory proposals relating to increasing guide license fees and requirements, however, attendees were not in favor of requiring the registration of all non-motorized watercraft.

Meeting results, along with written comments on the evening’s questions and DNR recommendations are used to advise the state Natural Resources Board. This year’s results will be reviewed at the board’s May 23 meeting in Madison. Votes are non-binding and are presented to the Natural Resources Board as a gauge of the public’s support or non-support for proposed changes.

The hearings are held annually on the second Monday in April in conjunction with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings. DNR related proposals are presented to attendees by DNR staff. Following DNR business, the meeting is reconvened as a Conservation Congress meeting and Congress advisory questions are presented.

The Spring Hearings also provide an opportunity for citizens of each county to elect Wisconsin Conservation Congress delegates to represent them on natural resource issues. The Conservation Congress is the only statutorily recognized citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board. During the Congress’ portion of the hearing, citizens may introduce resolutions for consideration and vote by those attending the hearings.

DNR: Focus on safety for a successful spring turkey season

CONTACT: DNR Administrator/Warden Jon King, 608-575-2294, [email protected]

MADISON — Approximately 80,000 hunters will be heading to the field for the 2018 spring turkey hunting season, with the first period starting April 18.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden and Hunter Education Administrator Jon King says there are two key factors needed for safe turkey hunting.

“The two most critical ingredients for a successful spring hunt are a detailed hunting plan in one hand and a firm grip on firearm safety in the other,” King said.

DNR statistics show 80 percent of accidents during turkey hunting seasons involve hunters mistaking other hunters for game, or hunters failing to positively identify their target. The other 20 percent of accidents are self-inflicted, usually the result of violating one of the four firearm safety rules.

“Turkey hunters, like all hunters, must practice these four basic safety guidelines when handling their firearms,” King said. “Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction, be sure of your target and what’s beyond it, and keep your finger outside of the trigger guard until ready to shoot.”

It’s a good idea to wear a blaze orange cap or gloves while walking. And find a hunting spot that allows you to rest your back against a tree or some other object that is as wide as your shoulders. This helps protect you from not only an errant shot, but from the good vision of the turkey.

Never stalk a wild turkey and don’t try to approach closer than 100 yards to a gobbler. The chances of getting close enough for a shot are slim, but the chances of becoming involved in an accident are increased. The less you move the safer and more effective you will be in field.

Follow these simple rules for a safe and successful hunt.

  • Identify your target; it’s not a good enough reason to take a shot when a hunter only thinks they are seeing a legal target.
  • Do not shoot at sound and movement.
  • Be certain of your target, what’s in front of it and beyond it.
  • Avoid wearing red, white and blue. These colors are also shared by gobblers.
  • Use gobble calls only to locate a tom, not to attract one. Some other hunter might think you’re a turkey.
  • Keep hands and head camouflaged when calling.
  • Never carry or move an uncovered decoy.

“Continuing Wisconsin’s safe hunting tradition is a shared responsibility of all hunters,” King said.

Don Vruwink: Govern for the people, not for power

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The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.

Remember the Boston Tea Party and the motto “No taxation without representation?”

How would you like it if you did not have an elected representative for nearly a year?

What if you called your state senator or state representative with a question, comment, or request for assistance … and you found out he or she left with no notice and no replacement?

In late December last year, after appointing a state representative and a state senator to high-level positions in his administration, Governor Walker refused to call special elections, opting to leave the seats vacant until November 2018.

Wisconsin law clearly states that after vacancies occur, legislative seats “shall be filled as promptly as possible by special election”.

Democrats and Republicans alike objected to leaving more than 200,000 people unrepresented. The Walker Administration decision wound up in court. Both the circuit court and appeals court said it was illegal not to call special elections. The Walker Administration ultimately backed down, knowing the law was not on their side. Thus, special elections will be held June 12th.

Special elections in the two empty seats could have been held on April 3rd, coinciding with all the other spring primary elections. It would have cost the taxpayers no extra money.

Instead, the party in power in Wisconsin chose to defy state law, deprive citizens of representation, attempt to change state law, and spend taxpayer dollars on unnecessary litigation.

Here is another historical parallel: In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president with almost 58 percent of the vote, indicating broad popularity. With this mandate in hand, Roosevelt implemented two of the signature programs of The New Deal – the National Recovery Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.

The U.S. Supreme Court rule both bills unconstitutional, at least in part.

Undeterred, after his re-election in 1936 – this time with over 60 percent of the vote – Roosevelt devised a plan to ensure his agenda would not be blocked by the judicial branch. The “Judicial Procedures Reform Bill” proposed adding four justices to the Supreme Court. Roosevelt argued this would bring new energy to the Court.

What was the reaction? Even Democrats disagreed with what came to be known as the “court-packing plan.” People simply did not want the Constitution undermined to promote the President’s agenda.

History repeats itself. Roosevelt’s proposal parallels Governor Walker’s proposal to delay the special elections.

In the 1938 midterm elections, President Roosevelt’s Democratic Party lost a large number of seats. The public used its voice at the ballot box to tell the President they did not like his attempt to consolidate power.

The Republican Party may be in for a similar wake-up call. Too often the majority party is more interested in holding onto power than acting in the best interests of our state.

This isn’t the way it should be. Wisconsinites work hard and play by the rules. They expect the same from their elected officials. The lesson to be learned from both the President and the Governor is that people do not want important decisions made solely to benefit those in power.

— Vruwink, D-Milton, represents the 43rd Assembly District.

 

Duchow campaign: Rep. Cindi Duchow seeks re-election

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CONTACT: [email protected]

Delafield – State Representative Cindi Duchow released the following statement regarding her decision to seek re-election for Wisconsin’s 99th Assembly District.

“Today, I announce that I will seek re-election as State Representative for the 99th Assembly District. Since being elected in 2015, I have worked hard to make our state and district a better place to live and prosper. I promised to help lower income and property taxes, and we accomplished both in the last state budget. As a result, we kept more hard earned money in taxpayer’s pockets and allowed small businesses to reinvest in their companies and create even better paying jobs. I also promised to make education a priority, which is why during the 2017-18 session we provided record funding for public schools and expanded statewide school choice along with many other important educational reforms. We made Wisconsin the Welfare Reform model for the country and got tough on crime, including a bill I authored to give judges the ability to protect our communities from dangerous people.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the constituents of the 99th Assembly District over the past three years. I look forward to continuing our work to move Wisconsin forward and increase prosperity for everyone.”

The 99th Assembly District includes the towns of Delafield, Genesse, Merton, Oconomowoc, and Ottawa; villages of Chenequa, Dousman, Hartland, Merton, Nashotah, North Prairie, Oconomowoc Lake, Summit, and Wales; and the City of Delafield.

Edgewood College: Gilda’s Club names student organization Community Partner of the Year

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CONTACT:  Ed Taylor, Director of Strategic Communications
608-663-2333

Madison, Wis. (April 24, 2018) – The Child Life Association at Edgewood College has been named Gilda’s Club of Madison’s Community Partner of the Year. The student organization was recognized at a special event on Sunday, April 22, 2018.

The Child Life Association began its work at Gilda’s Club in 2009. Since that time “they have been the backbone volunteer group of our Children and Family Program, especially with Family Night,” Carissa Hodgson, Youth Program Manager at Gilda’s Club said. “Without them, Family Night would not be possible. The group has consistently increased their partnership with Gilda’s, getting more involved with creating and leading workshops and socials for kids, teens and their families.”

“The Child Life Association at Edgewood College is the perfect partner to Gilda’s Club,” Ms. Hodgson said, “as their students are preparing to work with kids and their families during periods of medical stress. Students are authentically excited to engage with kids and they make the energy in the room brighter and lighter at the same time.”

Caption: (l. to r.) Zoë Page, Child Life Association, Kourtni Kelley, Child Life Association, Carissa Hodgson, Youth Program Manager at Gilda’s Club, Katie Glass, Director of Child Life, School of Education at Edgewood College. Gilda’s Club of Madison Photo.

About Gilda’s Club

Gilda’s Club Madison is a cancer support community where men, women and children living with cancer – and their family and friends – can join together to build social and emotional support. Gilda’s Club Madison provides professionally-facilitated emotional support groups, educational workshops, lectures, and social events. All programs are offered free of charge. For more information, please visit us at www.GildasClubMadison.org.

About Edgewood College

Located in Madison, Wis., Edgewood College is a liberal arts Catholic college in the Dominican tradition. We serve approximately 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students at our Monroe Street and Deming Way campuses, and online. The College offers more than 40 academic and professional programs, including master’s degrees in business, education, and nursing, and doctoral degrees in educational leadership and nursing practice. For more information about Edgewood College, please visit www.edgewood.edu, or call Ed Taylor in Marketing & Strategic Communications at 608-663-2333.

Election strategists seeking to win over ‘unicorn voters’ in November

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Elections Commission approves plan for accepting $7 million elections security grant

The Elections Commission has unanimously approved a plan for accepting $7 million in federal elections security funds.

The funding is intended to help the commission confront security threats in light of Russian attempts to hack Wisconsin’s elections systems before the 2016 general election.

Wednesday’s approval means the commission will ask DOA to accept the funds, which will require a $348,916 match using existing money in the commission’s budget. The federal grant is good for five years. DOA spokesman Steve Michels said his department plans to approve the request.

The commission hopes to use the money to address immediate needs ahead of November’s midterm elections.

“We’re very grateful to the feds for providing the funds that will allow us to take much needed steps to make sure that Wisconsin elections stay secure and are modernized,” Commission Chair Mark Thomsen told reporters.

Once DOA signs off, the first of those steps is implementing a multi-factor authentication system for WisVote, the commission’s online voter registration system.

Such a system, which could cost up to $200,000, would require users — mainly Wisconsin’s municipal and county clerks — to enter a password and a second factor such as a randomly generated number sent via email, to login. Thomsen says the system should be in place before the August primary elections.

Another immediate need is hiring two additional IT contractors, costing around $225,000 annually. The commission currently has three contractors who develop electronic poll books, upgrade the agency’s online voter registration systems and maintain other voting systems.

One of the new contractors would implement the multi-factor authentication system and the other would address quality assurance.

The new contractors would be tasked with implementing the multi-factor authentication system and the other on quality assurance.

The commission also approved a plan to explore using $600,000 of the grant to hire several positions. Two of those posts — voting equipment specialist and IT classified security specialist — were included in a previous 13.10 request the commission later withdrew after learning about the federal funding. Beyond those positions, the commission is also exploring hiring an IT project manager, security trainer, data specialist and grants manager.

Other immediate uses for the money could be to upgrade the commission’s servers, provide additional elections security training for county and municipal clerks, and purchase activity logging software for its online voter registration systems.

While fulfilling immediate security needs, commission staff would also begin working with the Department of Homeland Security, Wisconsin’s Department of Enterprise Technology, county and municipal clerks and the public to determine how the majority of funds should be spent.

End Domestic Abuse WI: Appellate court overturns ruling on 2012 Brookfield Spa shooting case, increases accountability for online firearm dealers that facilitate illegal gun sales

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CONTACT: Chase Tarrier, Public Policy Coordinator,
End Domestic Abuse WI
[email protected], 608.237.3985

Madison — A state appeals court reinstated a lawsuit yesterday that The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed on behalf of Yasmeen Daniel against Armslist.com, holding the company liable for the illegal gun sale that led to the murder of Daniel’s mother. Victim advocates around the state are applauding the decision as an important step towards increased accountability for companies that provide a platform for illegal gun sales online.

“Today’s ruling is yet another reminder that as long as the private sale loophole exists in our federal background check system, domestic abusers will continue to exploit it to terrorize and kill their partners,” said Patti Seger, Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “The fact is, family and intimate assaults with firearms are twelve times more likely to result in death than non-firearm assaults and abused women are more than five times more likely to be killed if their abuser owns a firearm. This decision shows that truly keeping victims safe requires closing the private sale and gun-show loopholes immediately and ensuring universal background checks on all gun sales, period.”

Zina Daniel-Haughton was murdered by her estranged husband, along with two of her co-workers at the Azana Spa and Salon in Brookfield in 2012. Although he was prohibited from buying a gun because of an active domestic abuse restraining order, Radcliffe Haughton easily obtained a firearm on Armslist.com through the private sale loophole in the federal background check system.

“Since 2000, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin has reported on every instance of domestic violence homicide in Wisconsin,” said Seger. “Each year, guns are the most common weapon in domestic violence homicides—they account for more killings than all other weapons combined. Today’s ruling will send a message to online arms dealers that they need to do more to stop the illegal gun sales that all too often end in tragedies like the Brookfield Spa Shooting. Our thoughts are with the families of the three shooting victims that lost their lives that day, we hope this landmark decision will encourage companies like Armslist.com to take further action to keep guns out of abusers’ hands and prevent domestic violence from claiming more lives.”

The state appellate court found that Daniel’s lawsuit doesn’t treat Armslist.com as the publisher of information provided by someone else, which would exempt it from liability, but instead seeks to hold the company liable for managing the website in a way that allowed Haughton to intentionally avoid a background check that would have denied him access to a weapon. Victim advocates around the state report that the ruling sets an important precedent for future cases involving guns sold through loopholes in the current federal background check system.

Ethics Commission to consider whether to let campaigns accept cryptocurrencies

The state Ethics Commission is taking public testimony today on whether to allow Wisconsin campaigns to accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins.

In February, the chair of the Wisconsin Libertarian Party asked the commission for a public hearing and formal opinion on accepting cryptocurrencies. Chair Phil Anderson wrote in the request that the party and its campaigns has been offered donations in cryptocurrencies and sought advice on:

*how to calculate such donations toward campaign limits;

*what registration of cryptocurrency accounts is required;

*what information must be provided — such as donor address and profession — for accepting and disbursing campaign funds from cryptocurrencies.

Anderson recommended the commission consider a couple approaches to such donations. That includes requiring campaigns to report a cryptocurrency donations as its cash value when it’s received. But campaigns would be allowed to hold onto the cryptocurrency as its value fluctuates. Another approach would be to require campaigns to immediately convert the cryptocurrency donation to dollars and then deposit it.

The commission is expected to deliberate in closed session on the suggestion, and it is unclear when it may issue an opinion.

See the agenda:
https://ethics.wi.gov/Pages/Meeting_20180424.aspx

Evers campaign: Opponent’s poll shows Tony Evers holds commanding lead in Democratic Primary

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MADISON – Madison Mayor Paul Soglin’s gubernatorial campaign released a poll today showing that State Superintendent Tony Evers has a commanding lead over the rest of the Democratic primary field. Under Soglin’s poll, Evers is 13 points ahead of the next candidate and has a 20+ percent lead over the vast majority of the Democratic field. This is the third straight poll released that shows Evers with a significant lead.

Evers Campaign Manager, Maggie Gau, released the following statement:

“After winning statewide three times and most recently winning with 70 percent of the vote just one year ago, it’s no surprise that our own opponent’s polling shows Tony Evers is overwhelmingly leading this race. It’s clear that voters are sick of the chaos in Madison and Washington and are looking for a strong leader, the calm in the political storm, who will lead Wisconsin forward. Tony Evers has consistently stood up to Scott Walker, so much so, that Walker is trying to prevent Tony from picking his own attorney when sued by right-wing special interest groups trying to take away his power over our schools. Tony Evers is the best candidate to beat Scott Walker.”

Felzkowski campaign: Rep. Felzkowski seeking re-election for 35th Assembly District

Contact: Mary Felzkowski
(715) 966-3366
[email protected]

Irma – Today, Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) has announced she will seek re-election to the Wisconsin State Assembly.

Felzkowski was first elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2012 as Mary Czaja. She was married in December of 2016 and is running under her married name, Mary Felzkowski. Mary is a lifelong resident of Lincoln County where she has raised her family and has owned and operated C.I.S. Insurance Group since 1988.

“These past six years have been incredibly productive, as we’ve witnessed the positive direction in which our state is moving. I’m proud to have played a role in that. We’ve come a long way, but we’re not done yet. I am honored to have had the chance to represent the people of northcentral Wisconsin, and I hope to continue to do so come this November.”

Felzkowski has led the charge in the Assembly on a variety of issues. For education, she has  fought to increase aid for frugal, low-spending school districts such as Antigo, Merrill and Tomahawk. For health care, she has focused on preserving Senior Care and ensuring access to services in rural Wisconsin. On the issue of broadband, Mary has advocated for an innovative new technology to address the shortage of reliable internet connections. For veterans, Mary authored the Veterans Outreach and Recovery bill, which ensures rural veterans get the services they need. As a member of the Joint Committee on Finance, the state’s budget writing committee, she has had the opportunity to bring Northwoods values to Madison.

“We need to continue to fight for our most vulnerable populations including students, seniors, veterans, and those with disabilities. We need to continue to fight for economic development, while maintaining our natural resources. Most of all, we need to continue to fight for you, the hardworking people of the 35th Assembly District.”

The 35th Assembly District includes all of Lincoln and Langlade counties and parts of Oneida, Marathon and Shawano counties.

FEMA: Disaster proof your pocketbook in three steps 

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Contact:
Cassie Ringsdorf, 312-408-4455

CHICAGO – April is the beginning of severe weather here in the Midwest, and floods, storms and tornadoes are threats to take seriously and prepare for. But not all disasters have to be record-breaking or historic to be catastrophic to your family. What about an accidental house fire that destroys your home and all of your belongings? Or a sump pump failure that damages your home’s electrical, water heater and furnace, leaving feet of contaminated water in your basement?

“Even if you have insurance coverage after a disaster, you may wait weeks before you receive a claims payment,” said James K. Joseph, regional administrator for FEMA Region V in Chicago. “Planning now for what you’ll do after an emergency will make recovery that much easier. Your plan should include options for temporary housing if you can’t immediately return home, and having cash at the ready to pay for essentials such as food, water, clothing and toiletries if they need to be replaced.”

While you can’t always predict when or what type of a disaster will occur, you can be ready for one. Here are a few steps to start:

Have cash on-hand. Set aside enough cash to get you and your family through multiple days after an emergency. Consider what the costs would be to temporarily house, clothe and feed your family for up to a week. This is especially important if ATMs, banks and credit card machines aren’t functional due to an extended power outage. Include smaller bills as well, in case stores aren’t capable of making change. If putting aside that much money isn’t an immediate option, consider saving in smaller increments to eventually save the amount you may need.

Have copies of important personal and family information. If you lost everything in a disaster, what will you use to prove your identity to get credit cards reissued, file insurance claims, or request disaster assistance? Have extra originals or copies of passports, driver’s licenses, birth and marriage certificates, adoption decrees, Social Security cards and military records stored in a safe, easily accessible location to avoid any issues.

Obtain property insurance. Of the estimated $55 billion annual natural catastrophe losses in the U.S., more than half aren’t insured. Talk to your insurance agent about the coverage your home may need. Review existing policies and ensure the amount and extent are adequate to cover losses from any possible hazard. Homeowners insurance covers wind damage, but a rider needs to be added to insure against sewer backup. In addition, homeowners insurance doesn’t typically cover flooding, so you may need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Individuals can purchase flood insurance through an insurance agent or an insurer participating in the NFIP. If your insurance agent does not sell flood insurance, you can contact the NFIP Referral Call Center at 1-800-427-4661 to request an agent referral.

For more information on how to financially prepare for an unexpected emergency or disaster, visit www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness and watch the PrepTalk titled Financial Literacy and Overcoming Liquid Asset Poverty by Operation HOPE founder John Hope Bryant.

Fewer bills to be signed into law this session compared to previous two

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First Lady Walker: Highlights the need for trauma-informed care to be fully incorporated in Wisconsin, the United States, and globally

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CONTACT: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

WAUPACA – First Lady Tonette Walker with a delegation from Oslo, Norway today discussed Wisconsin’s leading role in practicing and implementing Trauma-Informed Care (TIC). The group visited the Waupaca County Health and Human Services Department, the Menominee Tribal Keshena School, and the Sojourner Family Peace Center in Milwaukee.

“No matter where you live—Norway or Wisconsin—you have a role to play with Trauma-Informed Care, which can positively shape life outcomes,” said First Lady Tonette Walker. “Wisconsin has been a leader incorporating Trauma-Informed Care and the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) into policy and practice. The Menominee Nation, Waupaca County Department of Health and Human Services, and the Sojourner Family Peace Center are just three of the leaders creating lasting change for Wisconsin’s children and families through Trauma-Informed Care.”

The Norwegian delegation consists of local government and organizational leadership interested in gaining knowledge about Wisconsin’s broad use of Trauma-Informed Care and the science of ACEs from early child care to health services.

In addition to several members of the delegation traveling throughout the state to visit practicing Trauma-Informed Care organizations, several also visited with Wisconsin state agency leadership to discuss the incorporation of Trauma-Informed Care into state policies and programs.

Through the First Lady’s leadership with Fostering Futures, six Wisconsin agencies, including the Department of Health Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Workforce Development, Department of Children and Families, Department of Corrections, and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation are already implementing Trauma-Informed Care principles within their interactions with each other as well as in the services they provide.

Members of the delegation included:

  • Inge Marta Thorkildsen, Vice Mayor of Oslo
  • Tone Tellevik Dahl, Vice Mayor of Oslo for Primary Health and Social Services
  • Tarjei Helland, Political Advisor to the Vice Mayor of Oslo for Education
  • Bente Fagerli, Director General of the Department of Education
  • Nina Backer-Røed, Assistant Director General of the Department of Education
  • Hege Ophus, Special Advisor for the Section of Education
  • Walter Frøyen, Director of the Educational and Psychological Support System and Special Schools
  • Lasse Dahl, Senior Executive Officer in the Department for Pedagogical Development and Quality
  • Anne Grethe Hole-Stensrud, Assistant Director of the St. Hanshaugen District
  • Inger-Lise Walmsness Larsen, Managing Director of the Oslo Crisis Center and Competence Center for Violence in Close Relationships
  • Iben Schier van der Berg, Assistant Director of the Agency for Child and Family Welfare Services
  • Hilde Terese Hamre, Director of the St. Hanshaugen District
  • Endre Sandvik, M.D., Director General of the Department of Primary Health and Social Services
  • Ellen Rønning-Arnesen, Political Advisor to the Vice Mayor for Primary Health and Social Services
  • Knut Egil Asprutsen, Assistant Director General of the Department of Primary Health and Social Services
  • Janne Melsom-Hansen, Special Advisor to the Vice Mayor for the Department of the Elderly, Health, and Social Services

“It was an honor to host the delegation from Norway because Trauma-Informed Care is not unique to Wisconsin, it is something that affects everyone in every community in the world,” continued First Lady Tonette Walker. “I hope the delegation takes what they have learned from our state and becomes a Scandinavian leader in Trauma-Informed Care.”

For additional details about the First Lady’s efforts to incorporate Trauma-Informed Care in Wisconsin’s communities, please see attached.

First Lady Walker: Wisconsin is leading the nation on trauma-informed care

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MILWAUKEE – First Lady Tonette Walker today hosted a Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) event in Milwaukee highlighting TIC implementation throughout Wisconsin with a governmental delegation from Norway.

“Wisconsin is a national leader when it comes to implementing Trauma-Informed Care,” said First Lady Tonette Walker. “Through Trauma-Informed Care we are able to change outcomes for children and families in Wisconsin, the United States, and around the world. Here in Wisconsin, we have seen TIC make a difference in our communities. By partnering with experts and sharing our ideas and best practices, we can amplify our positive results. I am excited to continue working with this Norwegian delegation and any other governments to bring Trauma-Informed Care to the forefront.”

The Norwegian delegation consists of local government and organizational leadership interested in gaining knowledge about Wisconsin’s Trauma-Informed Care activities and how the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences is transforming policies and practices within communities, organizations, and government.

Through the leadership of the First Lady with Fostering Futures, six Wisconsin agencies, including the Department of Health Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Workforce Development, Department of Children and Families, Department of Corrections, and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation are already implementing Trauma-Informed Care principles within their interactions with each other as well as in the services they provide.

The First Lady is also working on the national stage to bring TIC to other states. Earlier this year she worked with Congressman Mike Gallagher (WI-8) on creating House Resolution 443 which passed the House with overwhelming, bipartisan support. This legislation recognizes the importance and demonstrated the effectiveness of TIC. It also encourages its use within federal government programs.

For additional details about the First Lady’s efforts to incorporate Trauma-Informed Care in Wisconsin’s communities, please see attachment.

 

Flynn campaign: Michele Doolan Ends Campaign for Governor, Endorses Matt Flynn

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Contact: Bryan Kennedy, (414) 517-3864

(Milwaukee) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michele Doolan exited the race over the weekend and announced she is endorsing Matt Flynn.

“Democrats in Wisconsin need to unite to defeat Scott Walker. Matt is a Democrat, period, and he is the candidate to unite us for November. Matt gives us a plan to win in the fall. His progressive and principled ideas will help move Wisconsin forward again. Matt inspires me, and I wholeheartedly endorse Matt Flynn for Governor of Wisconsin,” said Doolan.

“I want to congratulate Michele and her team on a good campaign, and I am grateful for her support,” said Flynn. “I will continue to unite Wisconsinites behind our strong, substantive campaign. We will move this state Forward again.”

###

Matt Flynn is a Navy veteran, attorney, and former Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. He graduated from law school at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

For additional information, visit www.ForwardWithFlynn.com.

Flynn campaign: Milwaukee County Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez endorses Matt Flynn for governor

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Contact: Bryan Kennedy – (414) 517-3864

(Milwaukee) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn today received the endorsement of Milwaukee County Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez.

“Matt Flynn is the leader we need to bring our state forward. He has a vision for a brighter Wisconsin for all of us and the wisdom to see it through,” said Ortiz-Velez. “His plans to raise wages, care for every Wisconsinite, and restore clean and honest state government are the best of any candidate running for governor. He’s more concerned with solutions than with petty political fights. I’ve known Matt for many years, and I’m proud to call him my friend and will be proud to vote for him in the August primary and the November general election. I wholeheartedly endorse Matt Flynn for governor of Wisconsin.”

“I want to thank Supervisor Ortiz-Velez for her endorsement,” said Flynn. “2018 is a critical election and we need to come together to replace Scott Walker. As governor, I will work with local leaders and re-establish the principle of local control in our communities.”

Flynn campaign: Milwaukee County Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez endorses Matt Flynn for Governor

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CONTACT: Bryan Kennedy, (414) 517-3864

(Milwaukee) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn today received the endorsement of Milwaukee County Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez.

“Matt Flynn is the leader we need to bring our state forward. He has a vision for a brighter Wisconsin for all of us and the wisdom to see it through,” said Ortiz-Velez. “His plans to raise wages, care for every Wisconsinite, and restore clean and honest state government are the best of any candidate running for governor. He’s more concerned with solutions than with petty political fights. I’ve known Matt for many years, and I’m proud to call him my friend and will be proud to vote for him in the August primary and the November general election. I wholeheartedly endorse Matt Flynn for governor of Wisconsin.”

“I want to thank Supervisor Ortiz-Velez for her endorsement,” said Flynn. “2018 is a critical election and we need to come together to replace Scott Walker. As governor, I will work with local leaders and re-establish the principle of local control in our communities.”

Flynn campaign: Remarks on National Beer Day

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Contact: Bryan Kennedy, (414) 517-3864

(Milwaukee) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn today made the following statement regarding National Beer Day.

“Tomorrow is National Beer Day. Here in Wisconsin, we have a proud tradition of brewing dating back to the 1800s. From Miller and Leinenkugel to the New Glarus Brewing Company and the dozens of microbreweries across Wisconsin, the Badger State is truly the Brewing State.

“Knowing the economic value that beer production has on the state, as governor, I will continue to promote our role as a leader in brewing nationally. To that end I will support our breweries. Foreign companies like Foxconn can come to Wisconsin, but they must follow the same laws and pay the same taxes as Miller, New Glarus, and others.

“I will also support our hard-working brewers by standing up for workers’ rights. I will repeal Walker’s wage-killing Right-To-Work law so our UAW-represented brewers can continue to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.”

Flynn campaign: Statement for Equal Pay Day

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CONTACT: Bryan Kennedy, (414) 517-3864

(Milwaukee) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn today made the following statement on equal pay and gender equality in Wisconsin.

“Today is National Equal Pay Day. It is vital that we remember that the struggle for gender equality is ongoing. In Wisconsin, women earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. This is unacceptable. We must work harder to close the wage gap.

“In 2012, the GOP and Scott Walker repealed an important law that protected equal pay for equal work. Walker disrespects his constituents and expects to retain their votes. We need to restore legislation that protects working women from pay discrimination and vote Walker out.”

As governor, I will:

  • Protect women’s ability to challenge workplace discrimination with litigation.
  • Ensure women have equal access and opportunities in the job market.
  • Address hiring and promoting practices.
  • Make sure there are more women in high-level positions in state government and encourage Wisconsin companies to do the same.

Former Gov. Thompson: On the passing of Barbara Bush

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April 17, 2018 statement from Tommy G. Thompson on the passing of Barbara Bush:

“With the passing of Barbara Bush the Bush family lost their matriarch, yet are left with the indelible memories of a woman who was a proud beacon of support, shared great humor, exhibited a sensible grace and had an inner strength that paired perfectly with a genuine humility. Barbara Bush’s love and compassion were felt by many, earning her the unofficial role of (grand)mother to all of America.

When I think of Barbara Bush, The Jewish proverb comes to mind: “God could not be everywhere, and therefore, he made mothers.”

Rest easy Barbara, and God Bless the Bush family. You are all in our hearts and prayers.”

Full Impact Communications Inc.
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Oconomowoc, WI 53066
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Former Gov. Thompson: Statement regarding the retirement of Speaker Ryan

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“Speaker Paul Ryan has served as the guiding voice of conservative policy reform during his nearly twenty years in congress, his legacy sets a new standard for future public servants.  Speaker Ryan’s leadership is without equal, his policy intellect puts him at the forefront of any serious conversation and his passion for creating a better nation delivers an optimism that is easy to embrace. 

While his departure from congress leaves an uncertain void, his dedication to his family delivers a greater certainty that I am sure will be appreciated by his wife Janna and his young children. 

I am honored to have long considered Paul Ryan a friend, wish him the very best as he looks ahead and look forward enjoying the next chapter of his successful life.  I will forever remain optimistic that Paul Ryan’s retirement from congress constitutes a break and not an exodus, as he has more than proven there’s always a place for someone with his intellect and passion for policy in the public arena.”

Former Governor to discuss caregiving with nursing students 🗓

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Former Governor To Discuss Caregiving with Nursing Students

Event Will Promote Family- and Dementia-Friendly Healthcare

 

For more information contact: Diane Farsetta, 608-265-9542 or [email protected]

 

MADISON — On Tuesday, April 3, from 4 to 5:30 pm, former Wisconsin Governor Martin J. Schreiber will meet with students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing to discuss his experiences as a family caregiver to his wife Elaine, who is living with dementia.

The event—“Caregiving, Practice and Policy: A discussion of dementia care with former Governor Schreiber”—is being organized by the UW–Madison School of Nursing’s Center for Aging Research and Education (CARE), as part of national Careers in Aging Week.

“More family members are helping aging loved ones manage complex health conditions,” says UW–Madison School of Nursing Associate Dean and CARE Executive Director Barb Bowers, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Nurses work with family and other caregivers to help older adults live their very best lives.”

Mr. Schreiber is an award-winning crusader for Alzheimer’s caregivers and persons with dementia. He speaks nationwide, using humor and compassion to share lessons from his ongoing, decade-plus journey as a family caregiver. His acclaimed book, My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver, raises funds to promote Alzheimer’s caregiver support.

Students from across the UW–Madison campus—from the School of Nursing’s BSN undergraduate and DNP and PhD graduate programs, and from the Schools of Pharmacy, Social Work, Psychology and even Engineering—will join the discussion on April 3. UW–Madison School of Nursing Dean Linda Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN will kick off the event and introduce Mr. Schreiber.

 

About CARE

The UW–Madison School of Nursing’s Center for Aging Research and Education (care.nursing.wisc.edu) develops educational resources, training programs and evidence-based tools that help family members, direct care staff, students and healthcare professionals to improve older adults’ health and well-being. CARE is developing an online guidance, support and planning tool for family caregivers of older adults.

 

About Mr. Schreiber

Over his 16 years in public service as a state senator, lieutenant governor and governor, Martin Schreiber focused on aging issues, improving quality of nursing home care and developing the in-home Community Care Organization. More recently, he collaborated with the Alzheimer’s Association to launch “Operation: Stronger Together” to support family caregivers, and with Wisconsin state government to create an online dementia-friendly toolkit for employers.

Former Rock Co. GOP chairs: Call on Steil to run for Congress

From: Past Rock County GOP Chairs – Tim Lindau, Beth Schmidt and Jim Olson

As conservatives, it was bittersweet when we learned of Paul Ryan’s retirement. Paul has made the First Congressional District proud as he has led the way in enacting Conservative policies in Washington which ultimately boosted our local economy.

As we look to the future, we call on Bryan Steil to run for Congress. We need an outsider’s voice to champion Conservative values in Congress. Bryan is no career politician. Bryan is a political outsider who will bring his years of business experience in manufacturing and technology to Washington. Having worked closely with Bryan to elect Republicans to office throughout our state, we want others to know of Bryan’s strong reputation as a hard worker and a tried-and-true Conservative with real world experience in creating jobs.

The future of the First Congressional District is bright. We are leading the way in manufacturing, technology, and agricultural innovation. We need a Conservative, outsider voice to advocate for our region and our values. As a result, we are imploring Bryan Steil to step up and run for Congress.

Former Secretary of State Vel Phillips dies at 94

Vel Phillips, a civil rights leader and the first African-American woman elected to statewide office in Wisconsin, has died, according to Dem officials. She was 94.

Phillips won a seat on the Milwaukee Common Council in 1956 and pushed for an ordinance to outlaw discrimination in housing. She later served as a judge and then won the secretary of state’s office in 1978. She lost her bid for re-election in the 1982 Dem primary, falling to Doug La Follette, who had given up the seat four years earlier to run for lt. guv.

“Her spirit is with all of us, in Wisconsin and the nation, as we proudly continue the fight she took to the streets despite horrific abuse for civil rights, equality and justice,” said state Dem Chair Martha Laning. “Her legacy and strength in the face of hatred and injustice stays with us now as we continue her march.”

Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm last night tweeted, “Saddened to learn that Vel Phillips, Wisconsin’s first African-American judge and statewide official, passed away this evening. My deepest condolences to her family, including my colleague Assistant District Attorney Mike Phillips, who continues his mother’s work for justice.”

Forward Kenosha: Statement on Paul Ryan’s announcement

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CONTACT: Jodi Muerhoff
[email protected]
262-308-1943

Paul Ryan has been our representative in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District since 1999, but has decided to not run for re-election. Forward Kenosha celebrates his choice not to run and while Ryan has decided to stop, we will continue to advocate for candidates who will lift up ALL the citizens of our district and across our nation.

Ryan has been more than just missing in action; he has been out of touch with the needs of his constituents. For example, it has been 918 days since Ryan last held a public town hall for the people of his district. Meanwhile, he has advocated for policies that have harmed the people he represents and has not advocated for what his district needs: living wage jobs, quality and affordable healthcare, and tax relief for the middle class.

Paul Ryan could have used his position as Speaker of the House to do more good for his constituents and for the American people, but:

● Ryan didn’t hold President Trump accountable for his attacks on our democratic institutions such as our free press, our independent judiciary, our public education system and our election process;
● Ryan didn’t strongly condemn Trump’s tolerance and advocacy of racist policies and white supremacy;
● Ryan didn’t work for a permanent solution to the plight of America’s DREAMers;
● Ryan didn’t prevent the steady erosion of women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and the vilification of immigrants in our country;
● Ryan didn’t heed the call for common sense gun reform in answer to the epidemic of gun deaths that have beset our country.

Ryan did none of these things. Instead, he attacked those who have the least by taking away healthcare from millions and advancing tax cuts that benefit the ultra-rich and wealthy corporations. He left the middle class behind. As our representative, Paul Ryan has failed us.

Ultimately, Paul Ryan sold out his district and his country for his gravely flawed political idealism. He leaves Congress a wealthy man, well funded by both the NRA and the Koch Brothers.

Paul Ryan didn’t represent his constituents during his time in office, but Forward Kenosha will continue to advocate for candidates who will lift up ALL the citizens of our district and bring about the change that benefits all of us.

Fox Cities Chamber: Three Bazaar After Dark night markets announced for 2018

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For information contact:

Nikki Hessel

Director, Pulse Young Professionals Network

[email protected]

APPLETON, Wis. (April 18, 2018) – Pulse Young Professionals Network, a program of the Fox Cities Chamber, is thrilled to announce that Bazaar After Dark, the Fox Cities inclusive and eccentric night market, will return for three separate events in 2018. Bazaar After Dark is dedicated to revitalizing and drawing positive attention