2018 June

Monthly Archives: June 2018

‘UpFront’: Johnson pressing Trump admin to seal trade deals, end tariffs

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said he is trying to pressure the Trump administration to conclude negotiations on trade deals so that the president’s tariffs can end.

Johnson said he is “highly concerned” about tariffs leading to a trade war and harming the economy.

“We’ve seen the saber rattling. Now we’ve actually had the opening shots of a trade war. And nobody can predict where it ends,” the Oshkosh Republican said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Johnson is co-sponsoring a bill that would require the president to seek congressional approval of certain tariffs. He said the bill would “reclaim congressional constitutional authority.”

“You can’t have 535 members of Congress trying to negotiate trade deals. You need the chief executive to do that. But it should be in complete consultation with Congress. And in the end, you should bring those trade deals back to Congress for ratification as treaties. That’s the way the system should work,” he said.

“I’m hoping to put pressure on the Trump administration to ‘OK, fine, use (tariffs) as negotiating leverage, but conclude the deals.’ There’s a lot of micro damage being done while all this uncertainty is being created,” he said.

Johnson also said the inspector general’s report of the FBI is “going to give me a lot of information in my own three-year investigation of the Hillary Clinton email scandal and then the FBI’s investigation of it.”

Johnson called the report a “treasure trove” of information.

“I concluded a long time ago that the email scandal, the investigation of it was not meant to uncover the truth and lead to prosecution, but it was really meant to cover up and lead to exoneration. I haven’t changed my opinion of it,” he said.

Johnson also said Trump’s summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un made the United States “marginally” safer.

“We got three hostages released, we have a commitment to return the remains of American service members that lost their lives in Korea. Those aren’t small things,” he said.

Johnson said it would now be up to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his team of experts to negotiate and “figure out how we get the complete, irreversible, verifiable dismantlement of their nuclear program and their ICBM technology.”

Also on the program Democratic candidate for governor Mahlon Mitchell said he is embracing the moniker of “union boss,” given to him by Republicans, because labor represents people.

“Labor, they’re not corporations, they represent people. So it’s not just having labor support or having union support. It’s about having their members behind you,” he said.

Mitchell said in his role as the head of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, he represents “men and women who run into burning buildings … men and women who respond to medical emergencies around the state.”

“You can call me whatever you want,” he said. “That’s helping the people of this state, and that’s what I would do as governor.”

“We need a different type of candidate, and that’s why I’m running. We need someone who is not only different but unique,” he said. “People are struggling, and we need a governor who’s going to take care of common people.”

Mitchell, who is African American, also said he would address the problem of a high rate of African-American male incarceration in Wisconsin, pledging to “tackle that head on” if elected.

He said he would do that in part by putting an end to jailing people for minor drug offenses, and getting rid of truth-in-sentencing.”

“It’s not doing what it’s intended to do. It’s actually having the reverse effect,” he said.

See more from the show:

‘UpFront’: Schimel says nationwide capacity problem behind sexual assault kit backlog

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said a backlog of sexual assault kits – all of which have now been submitted for testing – is a “capacity” issue that is nationwide in scope.

The final 4,155 kits, some of which are decades old, have become an issue in the race between the Republican Schimel, and his Democratic challenger, former federal prosecutor Josh Kaul.

“We’re going to solve a problem that has accumulated for more than 20 years in three years,” Schimel said. “It’s really a remarkable accomplishment.”

“This is a nationwide issue,” Schimel said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. “These kits have flooded into system, and there’s been no capacity to test them.”

Schimel said the Department of Justice has found labs that have agreed to “move our kits to the front of the line eventually,” and that DOJ has put in place a procedure to make sure a backlog of untested kits “never happens again.”

Schimel rejected charges from Democrats that he’s moved too slowly on getting the kits tested.

“This is a priority from the time I got in office. We made this a campaign issue, and I got in office and we took it on right away,” he said.

“It’s politicizing something that is a really serious public safety challenge that’s very complicated. My opponent has never told anyone, he never told you during your interview, how he would have gotten it done more quickly, because it’s a capacity problem,” Schimel said.

In another segment, Democratic candidate for governor Matt Flynn vowed to stop Foxconn “dead in its tracks” through litigation if he is elected.

“It’s a disaster for the state,” said Flynn, a Milwaukee attorney.

“It’s an unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional contract, and unconstitutional contracts are unenforceable in Wisconsin,” Flynn said.

He said the state’s contract with Foxconn, a Taiwanese tech giant preparing to build a massive plant in Racine County, is unconstitutional because it exempts the company from several state laws and “gives them a method for avoiding Court of Appeals jurisdiction.”

“That is unconstitutional and wrong, and I will go in with litigation to stop it,” he said.

Flynn also said his campaign “feels great to me” several weeks out from the Aug. 14 primary. Democrats have large field of candidates running for governor this year, with 10 speaking at the state party convention in Oshkosh.

“We have a very good team, we’re getting larger audiences, contributions are coming in very well. I’m excited about our chances,” Flynn said.

Also on the program, Jay Heck of Common Cause in Wisconsin discussed the Wisconsin redistricting case now before the U.S. Supreme Court. A ruling is expected soon.

Heck said Wisconsin Republicans in 2011 chose “the most partisan possible maps in which to draw state legislative districts.”

“They basically made legislative elections in Wisconsin uncompetitive,” Heck said.

“The problem with that is that voters don’t have a real choice at election time. The elections are decided in the primaries, not in the general,” he said.

The Wisconsin case before the Supreme Court argues that excessive partisanship has disenfranchised voters, Heck said.

“It is, I think, a powerful argument and one I think may resonate this time,” he said.

See more from the show:

‘UpFront’: Vukmir says she’s gaining traction in GOP U.S. Senate primary

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir said she is gaining traction in the race for the nomination and her message “is resonating with the grass roots.”

“I have said all along you can’t win an election in Wisconsin without the grass roots,” Vukmir said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Vukmir, a state senator from Brookfield, won the endorsement at the state party convention last month with the support of 73 percent of the delegates.

“These are the individuals that are going to go out and help me in every corner of the state, to help me defeat (Democratic U.S. Sen.) Tammy Baldwin,” said Vukmir, who must first beat Delafield businessman and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson in the Aug. 14 primary.

Vukmir said she has a “proven track record as a conservative that people can trust.”

“No one has to question whether or not I will stand strong. No one has to question whether or not I will cave under the pressure. After everything we have been through here in Wisconsin, it’s pretty clear I am not someone who is going to easily cave,” she said.

Gousha asked her about key points in President Trump’s agenda, and whether she supported his tariffs.

“President Trump got elected in large part because people know he is a negotiator. ‘The Art of the Deal.’ He wrote the book. I am willing to give him the opportunity to create fairer deals for our country,” she said.

Gousha also asked Vukmir about the image her campaign put out of Baldwin with Khalid Sheik Muhammad, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The image featured Vukmir and CIA Director Gina Haspel, labeled “Team America” on one side, and Baldwin and KSM labeled “Team Terrorists” on the other side.

Vukmir said her campaign did it to draw attention to Baldwin’s initial silence on President Trump’s nomination of Haspel. The nomination caused controversy because of Haspel’s past involvement with the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” and detention efforts during the Bush administration. Baldwin eventually voted against confirming Haspel.

“My point with that all along is that Tammy Baldwin was more concerned about the mastermind and his concerns, than she was about remembering the 3,000 Americans who lost their lives on 9-11,” Vukmir said.

“I wanted people to understand that Tammy Baldwin hides on a regular basis. We haven’t seen her for the last five and a half years but now she’s here,” Vukmir said.

Gousha also asked about immigration, Trump’s border wall and whether Vukmir is bothered by reports of children being taken from parents who are trying to enter the country illegally.

“Of course it does bother me. We’re going to have watch it very closely,” she said. “People are taking advantage of our generosity in this country. There is a process that has to be upheld.”

Gousha also asked about Trump’s statement that he has an “absolute right” to pardon himself.

“I think we have to follow our constitution. I, again, I think the president right now is in a situation where he is being attacked by everyone. People want to see this president fail. And I think we have to give him the opportunity to succeed. I’m looking at the positive things that he has accomplished so far in the short period of time that he has been in office,” she said.

Also on the program, Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discussed the special election Tuesday in the 1st SD in northeastern Wisconsin. A special election also will be held Tuesday in the 42nd AD in south central Wisconsin. Both elections are being held to fill open seats.

Gilbert said the 1st SD is a Republican district that President Trump won by 18 points in 2016. He also said it is currently looking like the northwestern Wisconsin Senate district that flipped from Republicans to Democrats in a special election in January.

“We kind of know that Democrats have a lot of enthusiasm and energy right now. The more of the unanswered question is on the Republican side. Traditional Republicans, are they going to turn out? The more independent part of the coalition that was for Trump, are they going to turn out?” Gilbert said.

Gilbert cautioned against reading too much into the outcome on Tuesday, as it’s likely to be a low-turnout election.

“These are Republican districts. They can elect a Democrat in a low-turnout election, if there’s a turnout differential. It’s much harder for a Democrat to win in a big turnout election,” he said.

In another segment, Marquette Law School water law expert David Strifling said a challenge by several environmental groups to the diversion of Lake Michigan water for Foxconn could be the next big test of the multi-state agreement governing use of Great Lakes water.

The city of Racine filed an application to divert 7 million gallons of water daily from Lake Michigan to Mt. Pleasant for Foxconn.

Environmental groups filed a challenge with the DNR over the DNR’s approval of Racine’s application.

Strifling said the Great Lakes compact requires that water be used for “public water supply purposes.” He said this will be a “test of what public purpose really means.”

He said the first step will be a hearing before an administrative law judge. But the case could go on from there.

“This is the precursor to a lawsuit in circuit court, potentially,” he said. The Legislature also added a provision that any appeal could go directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Strifling said.

See more from the show

10th annual Wisconsin Poverty Report release 🗓


Timothy Smeeding, Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs at the La Follette School of Public Affairs and Affiliate and former Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, accompanied by Brad Paul, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP), will release the 10th annual Wisconsin Poverty Report on Friday, June 8, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 225 N.W. of the State Capitol Building.

1st CD debate in Lake Geneva 🗓


Wisconsin First Congressional District Candidate Debate
July 8, 2018 Doors Open 6:30 p.m.
Debate 7–8:30 p.m.
Badger High School, Lake Geneva WI
Candidates:  Cathy Meyers and Randy Bryce
Moderator: Joy Cardin
Live Radio Broadcast: Mike Crute,
WRRD 1510 AM Milwaukee Resistance Radio

1st CD Dems slam Steil in speeches

The two Dems running for the 1st CD slammed Republican Bryan Steil in their speeches at the state Dem convention this morning, as they called on convention-goers to help flip the seat.

Longtime high school English teacher Cathy Myers knocked Steil, a corporate attorney and UW System Board of Regents member, for his support of “Scott Walker’s plan to dismantle our cherished UW System.” She said Steil likewise would “be a rubber stamp on Trump’s agenda in Washington.”

And Randy Bryce characterized Steil as someone who “has no idea what it’s like to fall on hard times,” as he contrasted himself as a “working person” who would stand up for other working people.

Bryce also played up his credentials as an ironworker, as he lamented the outsourcing of “too many good paying job” across the country.

“That’s why I’m here, that’s why I keep fighting, for all of us,” he said.

Myers, meanwhile, called for protections against sexual assault for women, equal pay and the “right to control our own bodies,” as well as steps to address student loan debt and gun safety legislation.

“It’s going to take all of us to replace Paul Ryan with a progressive woman,” she said.

This post is part of our coverage of the 2018 state Dem convention in Oshkosh. See the rest of our coverage here: https://www.wispolitics.com/category/dem-convos/

AARP Index: Ranks six Wisconsin cities among most “livable” in the U.S.


Jim Flaherty

AARP Wisconsin


Six Wisconsin cities, including Milwaukee, Madison, Fitchburg, Sheboygan, La Crosse and Sun Prairie, were all ranked in the top 10 in their respective population categories for being among the most “livable” in the country, according to data analyzed from the newly updated AARP Livability Index.

The index, first launched in 2015, uses more than 50 national data sources to score every neighborhood and community in the U.S. based on seven categories of livability, including housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity. New features include updated data with the ability to see change over time among the different categories of livability.

“The country is finding out what we’ve known for some time – that Wisconsin is a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire,” said AARP Wisconsin State Director Sam Wilson.

“We know that a majority of older adults want to remain living in their homes and communities as they age. This index is a valuable tool to help municipal leaders and individuals improve their communities and better meet the needs of people of all ages as the number of older adults in America continues to grow,” Wilson said.

Along with overall livability trends, AARP identified the top 10 large, mid-size and small cities in terms of their livability scores. Milwaukee made the top 10 for cities above 500,000, while Madison was among the most livable cities with populations ranging from 100,000 to 500,000. Included in the top 10 cities with populations of 25,000 to 100,000 are Fitchburg, Sheboygan, La Crosse and Sun Prairie.

“The data shows that these communities and hundreds of others across Wisconsin are adapting to their aging populations and making sure their communities are safe, walkable, affordable and economically viable to support all generations,” Wilson said.

Here is what the results showed about the six Wisconsin communities ranked as most livable by the index.

Milwaukee – is a top scorer when it comes to transportation. With every public transit station being ADA-accessible, it has affordable ease of movement and abundant transit options. The city ranks a little lower when it comes to equal opportunity and diversity.

Madison – is a city where citizens are involved in what’s happening around town. Park and open space improvements, for one, are made with heavy public input whether it’s in the form of surveys, forums or census information used. The city is dedicated to creating public spaces that fit the needs of its residents.

Fitchburg – is also very civically engaged, but caters to a younger population. The city began investing in economic growth, trying to create opportunities for entrepreneurs and attracting smaller businesses and innovation to the area. It also has its fair share of recreation spots for nature lovers.

Sheboygan – has a transportation system that is 100 percent accessible and ADA-compliant, while most neighborhoods are walkable. The city promotes civic engagement with a senior center, museums and plenty of natural trails and parks for those who love to be outdoors.

La Crosse – has a younger population that commutes with ease. Being located on the Mississippi River gives residents access to outdoor recreation on top of the historical sites around town. The city is working to improve streets, sidewalks and public transit to become a hub of the region by connecting other areas.

Sun Prairie – Age is almost evenly distributed, making it a little more diverse than other locations. With input from residents, Sun Prairie is improving streets, sidewalks and public spaces. The community does encounter traffic congestion during commute times, but has access to the region’s culture and natural sites.

ABC for Health: Submits comments, concerns on Wisconsin’s reinsurance plan to feds


Interview: Brynne McBride (608) 261-6939 ext. 210 or Bobby Peterson: (608) 261-6939 ext. 201

Madison, WI – On June 8, ABC for Health, Inc. submitted comments and concerns to US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Azar on Wisconsin’s Section 1332 Innovation Waiver establishing a state reinsurance plan.

ABC for Health, Inc. Executive Director Bobby Peterson says, “Our comments reflect ABC for Health’s perspective of nearly a quarter century of direct client services for people seeking access to health care and coverage.” In its comments, ABC for Health recognizes reinsurance programs as a useful tool, especially in risky insurance markets, yet identifies how Wisconsin’s proposed waiver request generates three major concerns: 1) lack of sufficient consumer protections; 2) troubling funding mechanisms; and 3) Previous state policy missteps and failures.

Peterson writes, “Wisconsin needs proactive steps to support enhanced consumer protections in the private insurance market, and promote increased growth of risk pools and plan enrollment. Wisconsin could expand and extend buy-in options to public-private partnership coverage programs like BadgerCare Plus, that promote large-scale pooling, spread risk, create financial leverage, and promote consumer protection and health plan accountability. Most fundamentally, Wisconsin’s draft waiver (the language in Act 138) provides no guarantee that any reinsurance payment made to Wisconsin insurers will translate into reduced premiums for consumers.”

Peterson questions the reinsurance plan funding mechanism, noting, “Wisconsin’s funding provisions may create a perverse incentive to create administrative barriers to services for eligible children and family members in order to pay for the state reinsurance plan. As Wisconsin develops an annual Medicaid budget, it can use procedural hurdles and red tape to generate larger and larger Medicaid lapse funds and GPR at the end of the fiscal year that can become a ‘goodie bag’ fund for the administration to dole out to special interests.” Peterson argues strongly against funding a reinsurance program on the backs of taking away Medicaid from people, saying it’s “an upward redistribution of income, regressive and wrong.”

Peterson urges that the reinsurance plan be looked at in the broader context of previous misguided state policies, “Any reduction in premiums Wisconsin hopes to achieve through reinsurance were undermined by previous Walker Administration decisions like the rejection of Medicaid Expansion funds. This reckless political decision dramatically reduced federal revenue opportunities and dramatically increased state budget outlays.”

Peterson concludes, “Under the right circumstances, reinsurance is an effective tool to help stabilize risk and jittery insurance marketplaces. The Wisconsin approach could be drastically improved to better serve the insurance consumers of our state. Unfortunately, too many myopic, political decisions impede effective, impactful implementation of a reinsurance program in our state.”

ABC of Wisconsin: Recognizes legislators with ‘Building Wisconsin’ award

Contact: Kyle Schwarm,
608-244-5883; [email protected]

MADISON, WI – Forty-four Wisconsin legislators have been selected to receive the 2017 “Building Wisconsin” award, presented by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin, in recognition of their leadership on enacted legislation that benefits the state’s construction industry.

During the 2017-2018 legislative session, the “Building Wisconsin” award winners coauthored Senate Bill 3 – which allows all qualified contractors to have a fair shot at performing work paid with tax dollars – or Assembly Bill 508, which expands apprenticeship in our state to allow more workers to receive training for family-sustaining jobs.

“Our members appreciate all the hard work by this distinct group of legislators to reinforce free market principles,” said John Mielke, president of ABC of Wisconsin. “Their efforts will help employers and new apprentices alike by reducing barriers to entering the workforce and levels the playing field for all contractors working on public projects.”

Senate Bill 3 prohibits governmental entities from entering into taxpayer-funded, union-only project labor agreements. This non-discrimination measure ensures all contractors will have an equal opportunity to perform work paid for by taxpayers. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker on April 17, 2017.

Assembly Bill 508, signed by Gov. Walker on March 28, 2018, eliminated convoluted Department of Workforce Development rules which restricted construction employers from being able to train as many apprentices as needed. The new law brings Wisconsin’s journeyworker-to-apprenticeship ratios in line with other states, preventing more than one journeyworker from being required to oversee the work of a single apprentice.

The 2017 Building Wisconsin Award recipients are:

  • Sen. David Craig (District 28 – Town of Vernon)
  • Sen. Alberta Darling (District 8 – River Hills)
  • Sen. Dan Feyen (District 18 – Fond du Lac)
  • Sen. Chris Kapenga (District 33 – Delafield)
  • Sen. Devin LeMahieu (District 9 – Oostburg)
  • Sen. Howard Marklein (District 17 – Spring Green)
  • Sen. Stephen Nass (District 11 – Whitewater)
  • Sen. Luther Olsen (District 14 – Ripon)
  • Sen. Duey Stroebel (District 20 – Saukville)
  • Sen. Leah Vukmir (District 5 – Brookfield)
  • Sen. Van Wanggaard (District 21 – Racine)
  • Rep. Scott Allen (District 97 – Waukesha)
  • Rep. Kathleen Bernier (District 68 – Lake Hallie)
  • Rep. Mark Born (District 39 – Beaver Dam)
  • Rep. Janel Brandtjen (District 22 – Menomonee Falls)
  • Rep. Robert Brooks (District 60 – Saukville)
  • Rep. Cindi Duchow (District 99 – Town of Delafield)
  • Rep. Mary Felzkowski (District 35 – Irma)
  • Rep. Cody Horlacher (District 33 – Mukwonago)
  • Rep. Rob Hutton (District 13 – Brookfield)
  • Rep. André Jacque (District 2 – DePere)
  • Rep. John Jagler (District 37 – Watertown)
  • Rep. Terry Katsma (District 26 – Oostburg)
  • Rep. Joel Kitchens (District 1 – Sturgeon Bay)
  • Rep. Daniel Knodl (District 24 – Germantown)
  • Rep. Dale Kooyenga (District 14 – Brookfield)
  • Rep. Scott Krug (District 72 – Nekoosa)
  • Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (District 84 – New Berlin)
  • Rep. Bob Kulp (District 69 – Stratford)
  • Rep. John Macco (District 88 – Ledgeview)
  • Rep. David Murphy (District 56 – Greenville)
  • Rep. Adam Neylon (District 98 – Pewaukee)
  • Rep. Jim Ott (District 23 – Mequon)
  • Rep. Kevin Petersen (District 40 – Waupaca)
  • Rep. Romaine Quinn (District 75 – Barron)
  • Rep. Jessie Rodriguez (District 21 – Oak Creek)
  • Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (District 55 – Neenah)
  • Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (District 15 – New Berlin)
  • Rep. John Spiros (District 86 – Marshfield)
  • Rep. Rob Stafsholt (District 29 – New Richmond)
  • Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (District 52 – Fond du Lac)
  • Rep. Paul Tittl (District 25 – Manitowoc)
  • Rep. Ron Tusler (District 3 – Harrison)
  • Rep. Chuck Wichgers (District 83 – Muskego)


ACLU of Wisconsin, Juvenile Law Center: Lincoln Hills Lawsuit Settlement Provides Critical Protections for Youth

Cass Bowers ACLU of Wisconsin, Office: 414.272.4032 ext. 217 Cell: 414.436.6029 Email: [email protected]

Katy Otto Juvenile Law Center, Office: 215-625-0551 ext. 128 Cell: 240-478-9387 Email: [email protected]

Agreement includes restrictions on solitary confinement, pepper spray and strip searches

Milwaukee, WI: The State of Wisconsin today agreed to settle a class action lawsuit, J.J. vs. Litscher, brought against the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake youth prisons. The young plaintiffs in the case challenged abusive practices such as solitary confinement and use of pepper spray and were represented by the ACLU of Wisconsin, Juvenile Law Center and pro bono attorneys at Quarles & Brady. This settlement, pending court approval, comes a few months after the state of Wisconsin passed legislation to close the controversial facilities by 2021.

“I am happy that the children will no longer be subject to such cruel treatment,” said Gloria Norwood, the grandmother of a youth at Lincoln Hills. “I was very concerned by the unfair treatment of my grandson and the other children, especially the harmful use of pepper spray and solitary confinement. Thank you to everyone involved in looking out for these kids, and trying to help improve their situation. I am glad that more positive things are coming for these kids.”

“We applaud the bravery of the youth and families who came forward to share their experiences, speak out against the appalling conditions to which they were subjected, and advocate for the rights of all youth in Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake,” said Sharlen Moore, co-founder of Youth Justice Milwaukee.

The settlement is subject to final approval of the court. Key terms of the settlement include the following agreements:
Punitive solitary confinement will phase out and will be fully eliminated within 10 months of court approval of the settlement.
All other forms of solitary confinement will be strictly limited.
The use of pepper spray will be phased out and will be fully eliminated within 12 months of court approval.
All forms of mechanical restraints, such as belly chains or handcuffs, will be strictly limited, and youth will not be cuffed to fixed objects like tables. Their use will be the exception, not the rule.
No strip searches will be conducted without individualized probable cause.
Within 3 months of court approval of the settlement, all facility staff will receive de-escalation training from a nationally recognized provider.
A monitor – an individual with expertise in juvenile corrections – will visit the prisons, interview youth, and review records to ensure that Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake follow the terms of the settlement.
“While biggest step forward for youth is the closure of Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake, today’s settlement is also an important win,” said Jessica Feierman, Associate Director of Juvenile Law Center. “The agreement establishes crucial safeguards against the harms of solitary confinement, restraints, pepper spray, and strip searches.”

“This is a major step in the right direction for Wisconsin and the protection of children in the custody of the state,” said Timothy Muth, staff attorney of ACLU of Wisconsin. “We hope this settlement and the closure of Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake signals a larger shift in Wisconsin’s juvenile justice system toward an approach that recognizes the unique needs and vulnerabilities of youth and respects their constitutional rights. We’ll need to remain vigilant to ensure that shift comes to fruition.”

ACLU Wisconsin: Statement on latest Milwaukee Police Department video regarding Sterling Brown arrest


CONTACT: Cassandra Bowers, ACLU of Wisconsin, [email protected]

MILWAUKEE, WI – Another video of the Milwaukee Police Department officers involved in the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown was released today, highlighting the officers’ plans to defend their inappropriate treatment of Brown.

Chris Ott, Executive Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, issued the following statement in response:

“We are outraged that the police officers involved in Milwaukee Bucks’ player Sterling Brown’s arrest were focused on planning damage control for their excessive use of force, instead of treating Mr. Brown with the dignity and professionalism that everyone—whether a Bucks player or not—deserves from the police. These officers refer to public concerns about racially biased policing with disdain, providing further proof that the culture and conduct of the Milwaukee Police Department toward people of color and their concerns need to change.

These officers must be held accountable to reinforce that police have a duty to protect and serve all people equally regardless of the color of their skin – including people of color. And to people who think that basketball players – or other athletes – shouldn’t concern themselves with what happens off the court, take note that this type of policing impacts ALL people.”

ADCC Milwaukee fundraiser 🗓



Tuesday June 26, 4:30-7 p.m.
Milwaukee Public Market
400 N Water Street – Parking included!
Questions? Email [email protected]
Help the ADCC by becoming a sponsor!
$1000 – Majority Maker
$500 – Change Maker
$250 – Wave Builder
$100 – Suggested contribution
**All contributions gratefully accepted

AFP-Wisconsin starts ad praising Walker for ‘pro-growth policies’


Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin today announced what it said is a seven-figure buy on TV and digital thanking Gov. Scott Walker for his “pro-growth policies.”

The conservative group said the spot will air in multiple markets around the state, but didn’t provide specifics.

The ad opens with the narrator saying, “Something exciting is happening in Wisconsin.”

The narrator goes onto say unemployment is at an all-time low, Wisconsin is second in the national for growing manufacturing jobs, taxes have been cut, the rainy-day fund has increased, and family income and wages are growing.

“It’s all thanks to Scott Walker’s pro-growth policies,” the narrator says before adding the state is investing “at historic levels in our schools.”

“His bold reforms are making sure every child has access to the education they need to succeed,” the narrator says before closing the spot, “Thank you, Governor Walker.”

AFP-Wisconsin: Praises Johnson, slams Baldwin for farm bill vote

CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

Bloated Measure Light on Badly-Needed Reforms, Heavy on Corporate Welfare

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin commented on the votes cast by the Badger State’s two U.S. Senators last night on H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill. The free-market activist group praised Senator Ron Johnson for voting no and criticized Senator Tammy Baldwin for voting yes, citing the bill’s failure to reform spending programs and reduce farm subsidies.

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

“Senator Johnson deserves tremendous credit for taking a courageous and principled stand against corporate welfare and for Wisconsin taxpayers. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Senator Baldwin. The farm bill passed by the Senate last night is a monstrosity, heavy on corporate welfare but light on badly-needed reforms. It is yet another example of Washington’s unwillingness to respect Wisconsin taxpayers and stop reckless overspending. On this vote, Tammy Baldwin showed once again that when it comes to cronyism and overspending, she is part of the problem, not the solution.”

Senator Johnson was one of 11 senators who voted against H.R. 2.

AG Brad Schimel: Announces next round of safety grants


[email protected]

During the month of June, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has taken school safety to a whole new level. As part of Office of School Safety’s grant program, the Attorney General has granted millions of dollars to local school districts to improve safety measures. Some highlights of the grant program include improvements such as updating classroom locks and improving visitor screening. A complete list of grants can be found at the Department of Justice’s website.

Here’s the latest round of funding:

As seen in the Wisconsin State Journal:

“State Attorney General Brad Schimel announced Thursday that 147 schools and school districts have been awarded the next round of grants for safety improvements and training for teachers and staff. A dozen of 147 schools and districts are in Dane County and the surrounding area … So far, the state has announced $1.9 million in school safety grants, with the Madison School District receiving nearly $1 million.”

As seen in Fox 11:

“More than a dozen schools in Northeast Wisconsin are the recent recipients of safety grants … Some of the schools and districts in Northeast Wisconsin include: Ashwaubenon, Brillion, Denmark, Fond du Lac, Freedom, Green Bay Area Catholic Education, New London, Oshkosh, Ripon, Shiocton, Saint James Lutheran School in Shawano, St. Mary’s Springs in Fond du Lac and Wrightstown.”

As seen in News8000.com:

“La Crosse schools are included in the list of 147 schools and school districts that have been awarded in the next round of grants through the Wisconsin Department of Justice School Safety Grant program. ‘The School District of La Crosse is extremely excited to be in consideration for this grant. We would like to thank Governor Walker, AG Schimel, our local legislators and the entire DOJ Office of School Safety for making this happen,’ said Scott Johnson, project director for the La Crosse School District school safety grant.”

AG Schimel: Announces “a Dose of Reality” for military veterans and active service members


GREEN BAY, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)Great Lakes Health Care System, is now offering a Dose of Reality to military veterans and active service members on the dangers of misusing opioid and narcotic pain medications. This new phase features customized brochures, flyers, posters, and social media graphics targeted at military veterans and active service members and their influencers – family members, friends, and fellow service members.

“Here’s a dose of reality: U.S. veterans are two times more likely than non-veterans to suffer from a fatal overdose from opiates,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Partnering with the VA on this new phase of Dose of Reality will give military veterans and active service members, and their families, the tools and resources to prevent opioid abuse.”

DOJ’s partnership with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs is the latest in a long list of organizations, representing numerous vocations and stakeholders, supporting the Dose of Reality campaign to prevent prescription painkiller abuse in Wisconsin.

“Veterans Integrated Service Network 12 is excited to team up with the Wisconsin Department of Justice on this first-of-its-kind partnership to proactively address the risks of opioid abuse and addiction,” said Renee Oshinski, Network Director, Veterans Integrated Service Network 12. “Since 2013, when the VA established its Opioid Safety Initiative (OSI), VA has made significant progress in reducing opioid prescribing. Along with our federal agency partners, VA is making headway treating opioid addiction by providing programs nationwide to support veterans.”

Dose of Reality, is a statewide prevention campaign designed to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse and its effect on the opioid epidemic. The campaign was launched in September 2015, and has prevention messages for the medical community, students, coaches, parents, educators, employers, tribal communities, and now, military veterans and active service members. The Dose of Reality campaign has also been adopted and deployed statewide in Arkansas, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

Anyone can download these free materials and share them in their community at doseofrealitywi.gov/program-materials.

AG Schimel: Announces more than $1.7 million in school safety grant funding

APPLETON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel today announced a list of 14 schools and school districts that have been awarded the next round of grants through the Wisconsin Department of Justice School Safety Grant program, administered by DOJ’s Office of School Safety. Combined, the 14 schools and school districts will receive $1,788,609 which will be spent on building safety improvements, as well as training for faculty and staff. More grants will be awarded soon. A list of all 735 schools and school districts that have requested grant funds is available on theDOJ website.

“School officials and law enforcement share the responsibility in keeping our kids safe when they leave their homes every day,” said Attorney General Schimel. “These grant funds will establish a meaningful way to improve school safety through physical improvements to school buildings, and a focus on mental health training for school faculty.”

Following is a list of schools and school districts that have been awarded school safety grants.

  • Appleton Area School District, $767,207;
  • D.C. Everest Area School District, $239,975;
  • Unified School District of De Pere, $62,200;
  • Howards Grove School District, $66,757;
  • Lena School District, $61,720;
  • Menasha Joint School District, $164,600;
  • Mishicot School District, $63,090;
  • Muskego-Norway School District, $33,659;
  • Phelps School District, $23,107;
  • Saint Peter Catholic School, $20,000;
  • Sturgeon Bay School District, $103,930;
  • Waupun Area School District, $99,979;
  • Winter School District, $62,385;
  • Waupaca Christian Academy, $20,000.

Grant dollars are divided into two categories: the Primary School Safety Grant and Advanced School Safety Grant. DOJ’s Primary School Safety Grants focus on baseline improvements to schools, including door locks and hardening school entryways. The Advanced School Safety Grants are awarded to schools that have met minimum security thresholds. In addition to making upgrades to school buildings, one of the School Safety Grant prerequisites is providing all full-time teachers, aides, counselors, and administrators with a minimum of three hours combined training in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and Trauma Informed Care/Trauma Sensitive Schools (TIC/TSS) before the end of the 2018-2019 school year; or demonstrate that staff has already received such training. Highlights from the school safety grant applications[1] include such improvements as:

  • Securing school entry areas with shatter resistant film;
  • Improving visitor screening through internal and external security camera, video/audio surveillance, key card access, door fob, an entrance buzzer system and reconfiguration of entry doors;
  • Updating internal classroom locks, including electronic locking devices;
  • Increase communication throughout the entire school through PA system upgrades, intercom capabilities, and panic buttons;
  • Installing playground security fencing; and,
  • Training for all staff on trauma sensitive schools, threat assessment and prevention, youth mental health, and armed intruders.

“We are so grateful to the Wisconsin Department of Justice for awarding our district this school safety grant,” said Dr. Judy Baseman, Superintendent of Schools for Appleton Area SchoolDistrict. “It will allow us to continue making improvements in the overall security of our district’s thirty-four schools, specifically in our ability to delay and/or detect threats through primary and advanced security measures, as well as to provide additional staff training and support. Our goal is to find a proper balance between creating schools that are safe and secure while also maintaining an open and caring environment where students, staff, parents and community members feel welcome at our schools. This grant will help to ensure that we are doing everything that we can to keep our learners safe every day.”

Over the past two months, since 2017 Wisconsin Act 143 was signed into law, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has consulted with numerous stakeholders in the fields of education, security, law enforcement, and mental health. These specialists, listed at the end of this press release, worked with DOJ’s own security experts to develop how the School Safety Grant Initiative will create sustainable improvements in Wisconsin schools.

“We need to make sure that every student, teacher, and parent feels safe in our schools,” said Governor Walker. “Today we are announcing additional grants to be distributed as a part of our $100 million School Safety Plan—these awards represent another important step forward in making our schools more secure for everyone.”

Grant applicants are required to partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure that proposed expenditures, visitor protocols, and school safety plans will be effective and provide students with the safest learning environment possible.

“I applaud Governor Scott Walker, the legislature, as well as Attorney General Brad Schimel and DOJ for taking such a strong stance and making our schools more secure through the grantopportunity that has been made available,” said Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt. “Making our schools less accessible to those who would do harm to our children while continuing to make our schools places where our youth are able to learn and feel safe is of paramount importance for all of us. As Sheriff, I appreciate all the collaborative efforts being taken by our partners to accomplish this goal.”

In addition to helping keep schools safe from violent attacks, DOJ will be closely monitoring for behavior that could affect a school’s ability to pay market rates for products like door locks and shatter-resistant film for glass. DOJ will review and investigate any instances of inappropriate pricing behavior so the benefits of the program are not reduced.

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

  • Association of Wisconsin School Administrators
  • Badger State Sheriffs Association
  • CESA 4, 7, 10
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Wisconsin Association of School Boards
  • Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials
  • Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators
  • Wisconsin Association of School Nurses
  • Wisconsin Catholic Conference
  • Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association
  • Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services
  • Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools
  • Wisconsin Department of Administration
  • 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

For more information on DOJ’s Office of School Safety, please visit: https://www.doj.state.wi.us/office-school-safety/office-school-safety

AG Schimel: Appoints Beloit Police Lieutenant Kristen A. Devitt Director of the DOJ Office of School Safety


MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel announced today the appointment of Kristen A. Devitt to the position of Director of the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of School Safety (OSS). Devitt, who has more than 600 hours of specialized police/child welfare training, is currently Lieutenant of Patrol at the Beloit Police Department, where she oversees school resource officers (SRO). Devitt is also a part-time instructor for the National Association of School Resource Officers.

“Lieutenant Devitt is the ideal candidate to lead the Office of School Safety,” said Attorney General Schimel. “It’s very clear, from Devitt’s background and experience, that she will be able to successfully administer the school safety grant program, as well as provide her extensive knowledge of school safety to local law enforcement and school districts as they make our schools the safest in the nation.”

Since the beginning of Devitt’s career, she has been passionate about the relationship between students and law enforcement officers. After graduating from Illinois State University in 1999 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, Devitt provided K-12 SRO services while an officer at the LaSalle, Illinois Police Department. After her time at the LaSalle Police Department, Devitt began a career as a police officer in the Madison Police Department. Three of Devitt’s eight years at the Madison Police Department were spent as an educational resource officer at Madison East High School. After leaving the Madison Police Department, Devitt served as Police Academy Director at Blackhawk Technical College before joining the Beloit Police Department. Devitt also holds a Master’s Degree in Education from UW-Platteville.

Devitt will begin her new role on Monday, July 9, 2018.

AG Schimel: Awards first school safety grant


[email protected]

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel recently awarded the first School Safety Grant to the Kenosha Unified School District for over $880,000. The grant will be divided across the schools within the district to focus on youth mental health training among staff as well as integrating safety upgrades to school buildings to protect teachers and students.

From the Associated Press: The district will get about $888,800. The district will use the money to train staff in youth mental health, building security assessments, physical building safety upgrades such as door locks and training in how to spot threats to schools on social media.

From the Kenosha News: In creating the Office of School Safety and the grant process two months ago, the idea was to allow local school districts and law enforcement agencies to tailor their own plans.

From Fox 6 Now News: “The grant program created by the Wisconsin Department of Justice is a smart and innovative approach to implementing the change needed to keep students, faculty, and staff safe. Our program is efficient, smart, and innovative – and we’re seeing results 65 days later. That is quite a feat. I can’t think of too many programs that have done so much in such a short time related to such an important policy – the safety of our children.” – AG Schimel

AG Schimel: Joins CVS Health for announcement of in-store drug disposal boxes

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel joined CVS Health today to announce the company’s first in-store permanent drug disposal collection box in Wisconsin. This announcement from CVS Health joins Attorney General Schimel’s ongoing work to prevent prescription opioid abuse in Wisconsin through enforcement, prevention, and treatment.

“Wisconsin has been a national leader on prescription drug disposal and I’m excited to see CVS Health expand their investment in Wisconsin’s efforts to cut down on the number of prescription drugs and medications falling into the wrong hands,” said Attorney General Schimel. “If more and more people continue to get hooked on these dangerous drugs, no amount of enforcement or treatment will put a stop to this public health crisis. But the success of drug disposal is proof positive that more people in Wisconsin are understanding their role in preventing the opioid epidemic from getting worse.”

In addition to CVS Pharmacy’s Green Bay location, located at 1561 W. Mason St., drug disposal boxes have been installed at CVS Pharmacy stores in Appleton, Barron, Eau Claire, and Milwaukee.

“CVS Health is dedicated to addressing and preventing opioid abuse in the communities we serve in Wisconsin and across the country,” said Thomas Moriarty, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, CVS Health. “Expanding our safe medication disposal program is one of the many initiatives we support to fulfill that commitment and to deliver on our company’s purpose – helping people on their path to better health.”

CVS Health also offers a grant program whereby law enforcement agencies can receive a free drug disposal box. To date, CVS Health has donated 41 drug drop boxes to law enforcement agencies throughout Wisconsin. For more information, please visit the CVS Pharmacy website.

Proper drug disposal is essential to prevent prescription painkiller abuse. Research has shown that 70% of initial painkiller abuse starts when drugs are obtained improperly from family members or friends.

Across Wisconsin, law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, and hospitals have provided nearly 400 permanent drug disposal drop boxes, giving citizens a convenient, environmentally-friendly, and anonymous way to dispose of unused medications all year long. Wisconsinites can find an interactive map and searchable database of these drug disposal locations on the Dose of Reality website.

After the last statewide Drug Take Back Day, 63,541 lbs. of unused medications were collected throughout Wisconsin; more unused medications than Minnesota, Michigan, and Iowa combined. Since 2015, the Wisconsin Department of Justice has collected and disposed of 401,769 lbs. of unused and unwanted medications. Wisconsin had more law enforcement agencies participate in the biannual event than any other state in the country, and Wisconsin consistently has one of the largest collections of any state in the country.

AG Schimel: Partners with National Association of Attorneys General to host drug overdose death investigation training in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel partnered with the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute (NAGTRI) to offer training for Wisconsin prosecutors and law enforcement on the investigation and prosecution of death cases resulting from overdoses of heroin and fentanyl.

“In 2016, opioids killed 827 people in Wisconsin,” said Attorney General Schimel. “We cannot stop this epidemic without prioritizing prevention, treatment, and enforcement. This training will help law enforcement and prosecutors in Wisconsin sharpen their enforcement skills when they are confronted with an overdose case involving heroin or fentanyl.”

More than 120 law enforcement and prosecutors from across Wisconsin are attending the training, which was located at Marquette Law School, who generously donated the location venue. The course is designed for the information and education of assistant attorneys general, state and local law enforcement officers, and local prosecutors. Topics included in the training are drug overdose death investigation techniques, legal requirements of these investigations, drug safety awareness, and evidence handling.

Presenters included personnel from the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Office of the Prosecutor, Memphis (Tennessee) Police Department, Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office, Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, and the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

NAGTRI is the training and research branch of the National Association of Attorneys General. Its mission is to provide high-quality, responsive, innovative training to state and territory attorney general offices.

This training includes law enforcement sensitive material and is not open to press.

AG Schimel: Provides training for DAs on elder abuse prosecutions


EGG HARBOR, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel, a 29-year prosecutor, is joining his colleagues today at the Statewide Prosecutors Education and Training (SPET) spring conference. SPET, a subset of the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Legal Services, provides a biannual training for state prosecutors and this spring’s training includes a half-day training on prosecuting elder abuse cases.

“Wisconsin’s elderly population will increase 72% in the next two decades[1],” said Attorney General Schimel. “We have to raise awareness, increase access to support for victims, and strengthen the criminal justice system’s response to this abuse. Prosecutors are the lynchpin of the criminal justice system, so we prioritized elder abuse prosecutions at this spring’s training.”

The training, which will be attended by 209 prosecutors from 62 Wisconsin counties, will be taught by former San Diego County prosecutor Paul Greenwood, a national expert on elder abuse.

“I applaud Attorney General Schimel for his pioneering efforts to raise awareness and implement preventative measures to combat this escalating crime of elder abuse,” said Paul Greenwood. “In the 22 years that I have prosecuted such cases I have seen a dramatic increase in the variety and numbers of incidents of criminal elder exploitation and abuse. It is time for every state to face this growing problem and replicate the excellent steps that Attorney General Schimel has already taken. My role in my retirement years will be to motivate and encourage prosecutors across Wisconsin and the nation to aggressively prosecute and hold the perpetrators of this insidious crime accountable.”

Yesterday, Attorney General Schimel was joined by local and national elder abuse experts, including Mr. Greenwood, and elder rights advocates to recognize the abuse and exploitation of seniors, and how to prevent this abuse at a ceremony in Appleton. June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Attorney General Schimel has prioritized elder abuse, and in August 2017, launched the Attorney General’s Task Force on Elder Abuse. The task force 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. DOJ worked with law enforcement and aging and senior care experts and advocates to raise awareness about elder abuse and encourage citizens to report abuse against seniors. The public awareness campaign, first launched in January 2018 with radio ads, encourages citizens to report suspected elder abuse of any kind, teaches how to recognize elder abuse, and connects victims with resources. In May 2018, Attorney General Schimel launched a new website, www.ReportElderAbuseWI.org, and paid online outreach aimed at elder abuse victims.

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.

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.

AG Schimel: Recognizes Appleton school resource officer for preventing tragedy

APPLETON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel presented Top Cop and Appleton Police Department Officer Jack Taschner, a school resource officer at Appleton East High School, with a certificate at the Wisconsin School Resource Officer Conference on Wednesday for his efforts that prevented a tragedy in April 2017.

“Officer Jack Taschner is a hero who prevented a tragedy and his leadership is an example of the benefit school resource officers can provide a campus community,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “Even though I’m recognizing Officer Taschner as a ‘Top Cop’ today, the students, faculty, and parents of Appleton East High School have known him to be a great role model during his entire tenure.”

In April 2017, while patrolling the halls at Appleton East High, Officer Taschner noticed two young men in the hallway that were not Appleton East students. Officer Taschner made contact with the young men and escorted them to the main office for an interview. As a result of the interview, Officer Taschner learned that the two young men were sent to the school to retaliate against a student.

Around the same time, law enforcement and the school administrators also identified a vehicle on school grounds that belonged to a third young man and that had been used to transport the two unknown young men to the school.

Concerned for the well-being of the students and faculty, Officer Taschner and school officials made contact with the third young man and searched his vehicle. Officer Taschner discovered two loaded .40 caliber pistols inside the vehicle.

All three men involved in this potentially deadly situation, two of which were juveniles, were taken into custody on the scene, and all were charged with conspiracy to commit the physical abuse of a child and possession of a firearm in a school zone.

Officer Taschner’s knowledge of the student body and quick thinking certainly helped prevent a tragedy and led to a successful prosecution of those involved.

“Officer Jack Taschner exemplifies everything it means to be a School Resource Officer,” said Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas. “This is just a small sample of the great work he does on daily basis to positively affect the community of East High School and keep that community safe.”

Officer Taschner gained national media attention in the fall of 2017 when he led the Appleton East High School student section in a cheer at a football game and rallied school spirit.

AG Schimel: Reminds Wisconsinites to respect state and local laws and use caution with fireworks over Independence Day weekend

MADISON, Wis. – The 4th of July is just around the corner and Attorney General Brad Schimel would like to wish everyone a happy Independence Day, and provide a reminder about Wisconsin’s fireworks laws.

Citizens and visitors of Wisconsin should remember that there are state laws and local ordinances regulating and restricting the use of fireworks. These laws and ordinances exist to protect the public from these potentially dangerous explosives. Those celebrating the holiday should also remember that many local ordinances are stricter than state law when it comes to the regulation of fireworks. If you have questions about what fireworks are and are not permitted in your community, contact your local law enforcement agency.

Wisconsin state law allows the sale, possession, and use of sparklers (not exceeding 36 inches in length), stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noisemakers, confetti poppers with less than ¼ grain of explosive mixture, and novelty devices that spin or move on the ground. There is no age restriction to this law.

The following fireworks are illegal without a permit: firecrackers, roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars, and any other firework. A commonly used rule of thumb is that a permit is required if the device explodes or leaves the ground. The sale of these restricted fireworks to a resident of this state without a valid permit is also illegal.

There is an exception in the law for nonresidents. A nonresident may possess fireworks in the state without a permit but may not use fireworks in Wisconsin without a valid Wisconsin permit.

A person who possesses, uses, or sells fireworks contrary to law, is subject to a forfeiture of up to $1,000 per violation. Each firework illegally possessed, used, or sold may be a separate violation.

A parent or guardian who allows a minor to possess or use fireworks (not including those for which no permits are required) is subject to a forfeiture of up to $1,000 per violation.

Permits are issued by municipalities and are only valid in the city, village, or town where the permit was issued.

AG Schimel: Statement on Gill v. Whitford U.S. Supreme Court decision

MADISON, Wis. – Today, in a unanimous decision, the United States Supreme Court vacated the lower court’s order in Gill v. Whitford to have Wisconsin’s State Assembly maps redrawn. All nine United States Supreme Court Justices agreed with the State’s position that plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s redistricting maps. Attorney General Brad Schimel issued the following statement in response.

“I am pleased that the highest court in the land has unanimously reversed the trial court’s erroneous decision invalidating Wisconsin’s Assembly map. Today is win for the rule of law in Wisconsin, and a testament to the talented attorneys at the Wisconsin Department of Justice.”

To view a copy of this news release online, please visit: https://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/ag-schimel-statement-gill-v-whitford-us-supreme-court-decision

AG Schimel: Statement on sentencing of Alec Cook

MADISON, Wis. – Today, Alec R. Cook, 22, Edina, Minn., was sentenced to 3 years in prison and 5 years extended supervision for sexual assault. Attorney General Brad Schimel issued the following statement.

“The Wisconsin Department of Justice is disappointed that Alec Cook did not receive the much longer sentence the prosecution team recommended, and we still believe that is what Alec Cook deserves. I am proud of the Madison Police Department and UW-Madison Police Department investigators, Dane County District Attorney’s victim services, and prosecutors from the Dane County DA’s Office and Wisconsin DOJ for their hard work and commitment to justice for these survivors. While those survivors wish that a longer prison sentence had been imposed, they stood strong. At DOJ, we hope that the fact that Alec Cook stands convicted as a felony sex offender and is on his way to prison will give survivors faith that there are people in the criminal justice system who stand ready to fight for justice for them.”

Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Attorney General Chris Liegel assisted Dane County Assistant District Attorney Allison Cogbill in prosecuting this case.

Due to the increased occurrences of sexual assault occurring on college campuses, Attorney General Schimel has deployed resources specific to campus sexual assault.

DOJ has worked with the University of Wisconsin System to conduct multi-disciplinary training on sexual assault investigations. In May 2017, at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), DOJ hosted a training about campus sexual assault. Local and campus professionals including city, county, and campus law enforcement, sexual assault nurse examiners, campus officials, victim advocates, and prosecutors gathered for a training about the complexities surrounding the investigation of campus sexual assault and the uniqueness of these types of cases. These experts discussed methods to partner to more effectively address campus sexual assault and protect victims and campus communities.

On college campuses, alcohol is often present during a sexual assault, and the fear of consequences for drinking should never come in the way of a victim seeking help from law enforcement and/or being treated by medical professionals. In 2016, DOJ partnered with the state legislature to support the sexual assault victim amnesty bill, which prevents law enforcement from issuing a citation to an underage victim of sexual assault, or anyone who is present with the victim, when he or she seeks the assistance of emergency medical personnel. This law applies statewide, but these circumstances frequently occur on college campuses.

AG Schimel: Statement on Seventh Circuit ruling in Unborn Child Protection Act case


MADISON, Wis. – Late yesterday, in Anderson, et al. v. Loertscher, a challenge to the state’s Unborn Child Protection Act, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit unanimously ruled that because the plaintiff has moved out of Wisconsin, her lawsuit is moot. The Unborn Child Protection Act remains law. The Unborn Child Protection Act or 1997 Wisconsin Act 292 gives state actors the legal authority to assist substance-addicted, pregnant women with their addiction, thus protecting both the mothers and their unborn children.

Attorney General Brad Schimel released the following statement in response to the Court’s opinion.

“Given Wisconsin’s drug crisis, the Unborn Child Protection Act is more important now than ever before. I’m pleased to see the Unborn Child Protection Act remain on the books. Law enforcement officers and human services providers have used the Unborn Child Protection Act for many years to aid drug-addicted women and will now be able to continue their important work that makes mothers and children safer and stronger.”

AG Schimel: Statement on Supreme Court of the United States denying certiorari in Dassey v. Dittmann


MADISON, Wis. – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States denied Brendan Dassey’s petition for certiorari in Dassey v. Dittmann. Previously, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, sitting en banc, reversed the district court’s grant of habeas.

Attorney General Brad Schimel released the following statement in response to todays’ decision.

“DOJ is pleased that the Supreme Court of the United States denied Mr. Dassey’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari, and the decision of an en banc panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit stands. We hope the family and friends of Ms. Halbach can find comfort in knowing this ordeal has finally come to a close.”

AG Schimel: Statement regarding death of Milwaukee police officer


MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel issued the following statement after Milwaukee Police Officer Charles Irvine Jr. was killed in the line of duty, and another Milwaukee Police Officer was injured:

“Tonight, my prayers are with Milwaukee Police Department and the families of Officer Charles Irvine Jr. and the other officer injured this evening.

Officer Irvine gave the ultimate sacrifice for his community. May God rest Charles’s soul; and may God watch over the injured officer’s recovery.

Every day in this state, thousands of law enforcement put their life on the thin blue line for our safety and security. May the safety and wellness of the men and women in blue be in our prayers every day, as we realize the sacrifices they and their families make for our beautiful Wisconsin communities.”

Ald. Lewis: Having health officer expertise is vital


Statement by Alderwoman Lewis

With the Common Council recently approving the position of a special deputy health commissioner, I am optimistic that similar health proposals will materialize.

In sponsoring the deputy health commissioner file that passed last week, I felt it was vital to specify the position be “qualified to lead a level III local health department.” Having staff members fill in during a commissioner vacancy beyond the scope of their duties is certainly not a path toward improving public health.

That is why I have aggressively worked to develop in-house resources who can deal with the health challenges facing the city of Milwaukee.

In the 2018 budget, I sponsored an amendment that creates two Disease Intervention Specialist positions, and I was lead sponsor for a $50,000 request to increase awareness and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Furthermore, I believe having community input and citizen engagement on these issues is a must, which is why I continue to work to create a Milwaukee Board of Health. Cities comparable to Milwaukee have this resource that we have been sorely lacking.

Make no mistake, improving public health requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, but we must also ensure the city has the expertise to manage community health issues accordingly.

Alderman Russell Stamper, II: City leaders say shop small on Center Street

Contact: Stamper: (414) 286-2659

The Center Street Marketplace Business Improvement District (BID) 39 is hosting Shop Small on Center Street this weekend. On Saturday, June 30, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the public encouraged to shop at one or more of the 75 small businesses on the commercial corridor from 32nd St. to 60th St. The three Aldermen representing that stretch of Center St. say this event comes at the right time.

“All too often the focus is on major development and mega businesses around Milwaukee so here is an opportunity to celebrate and patronize small businesses,” said Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II.

The event is open to all, visitors and locals alike.

“With this commercial corridor adjacent to many homes, we’d really like local residents to come explore or revisit a small business right in their own neighborhood,” said Alderman Michael J. Murphy.

There will also be a block party on 37th and Center to promote nonviolence. At noon, on 47th and Center by the Sherman Park Rising Mural, there will be a food and networking event.

“We look at this not only as a shopping event but also an opportunity for the community to come together,” said Alderman Khalif J. Rainey.

Faith-based and neighborhood level organizations (block clubs, churches and non-profits) will be taking part in the day as well.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: Rep. Mursau honored for championing youth health, cancer advocacy


Tracy Lytwyn
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: 312-279-7284
Email: [email protected]

MADISON, Wis. – June 19, 2018 – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) recently recognized State Rep. Jeff Mursau with its Wisconsin Distinguished Advocacy Award for his exceptional efforts on tobacco legislation.

Mursau received the honor for authoring legislation that would have required stores to place all tobacco products behind the counter. Currently, only cigarettes and chewing tobacco must be displayed in this way, leaving other tobacco products in easy reach of children.

“Tobacco products shouldn’t be on the same shelves as candy and chips,” said Sara Sahli, Wisconsin government relations director for ACS CAN. “Rep. Mursau worked tirelessly this past session to keep kids from browsing products like candy flavored brown cigarettes the same way they do snacks. He remains committed to continuing this effort next year and to ensuring that all tobacco products are treated the same way, placed out of reach of our children.”

ACS CAN leadership volunteers presented Mursau the award and thanked him for his hard work on behalf of Wisconsin cancer patients, survivors and their families. The ceremony took place Monday at an event in downtown Madison to celebrate Congress’ passage of the STAR Act, which will advance childhood cancer research, treatment and survivorship.

American Federation for Children: Supply grows to meet demand for WI special needs scholarship program


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Call: (202) 280-1990
Email: [email protected]

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Department of Special Instruction released the list of schools participating in the Wisconsin Special Needs Scholarship Program. First enacted by the legislature in 2015, enrollment restrictions for the program will be removed starting in the 2017-18 school year. The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, commends Wisconsin lawmakers for prioritizing the needs of families searching for the best educational options to meet the unique needs of their children, because no two children are alike.
Statement from Justin Moralez, Wisconsin State Director for the American Federation for Children:

“The number of new schools registering to participate in the Special Needs Scholarship Program demonstrates the huge demand for expanded educational options for students with unique learning needs. We look forward to working with families and educators in Wisconsin to make sure every child has the option to a attend a school that works best for him or her, regardless of income or circumstance.”

Details on the Special Needs Scholarship Program:

For the coming school year, the number of participating schools will increase from 56 to 84. In the first year of the program, 26 schools participated.
Currently, 246 students are being served, a number that is expected to grow significantly.
Enrollment for new participants, who must have an Individualized Education Plan for eligibility, begins on July 1.
Participating schools must be approved or accredited by the state, comply with federal nondiscrimination requirements, and participate in an annual financial audit.
Originally capped at $12,000, the scholarship amount grows at a rate equal to the percentage increase in general school aid to Wisconsin public schools.

American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers: Madison and Wisconsin Dells venues refuse to pay songwriters while profiting from their music


Cathy Halgas Nevins
cnevins (at) ascap.com

ASCAP Takes Legal Action Against 10 Venues Nationwide That Infringe on Songwriters’ Copyrights by Performing Their Musical Works Without Permission

NEW YORK, June 6, 2018 — The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced today that it has filed 10 separate copyright infringement actions against bars and restaurants nationwide, arising out of the unauthorized public performance of its members’ copyrighted musical works. Two of the infringing venues are Sotto in Madison and The Reef Nightclub in Wisconsin Dells.

ASCAP is a membership association that operates on a non-profit basis and represents more than 660,000 independent songwriters, composers and music publishers. ASCAP ensures its members can earn a living from their art by licensing the public performances of their songs, collecting those license fees, and distributing royalties to its members. Nearly 88% of the license fees ASCAP collects go directly to songwriters, composers and music publishers as royalties.

“When you see a customer at your establishment tapping their foot to the music, you know you’ve created the right ambiance,” commented ASCAP Executive Vice President of Licensing Stephanie Ruyle. “Music plays an essential role in creating an emotional connection with customers and hundreds of thousands of businesses understand that and recognize a music license is part of the cost of doing business. Our goal is to have businesses comply with the law so that our members can be paid for use of their work, and the establishments sued today have decided not to compensate songwriters. By filing these actions, ASCAP is standing up for songwriters whose creative work brings great value to all businesses that publicly perform their music.”

Songwriters earn their livelihoods by licensing the performance right granted to them under the copyright law. Any business using copyrighted music has the opportunity to obtain permission to do so lawfully through a simple license, which covers the entire ASCAP repertory of over 11.5 million musical works. The average cost for bars and restaurants amounts to less than just $2 per day for the right to play an unlimited amount of music.

Ruyle continued: “We want every business that uses music to prosper, including bars and restaurants. Songwriters and composers are small business owners, too, and music is more than an art form for them. It’s how they put food on the table and send their kids to school. Most businesses know that an ASCAP license allows them to offer music legally, efficiently and at a reasonable price – while compensating music creators so they can earn a living from our work and keep doing what they do best – writing music.”

ASCAP has made numerous attempts at the establishments listed below to offer a license and educate the business owners about their obligations under federal copyright law. Despite these efforts, the owners of these establishments repeatedly have refused to take or honor a license. Instead, they have continued to perform the copyrighted musical works of ASCAP’s songwriter, composer and music publisher members for the entertainment of their patrons without obtaining permission to do so.

Establishment (City, State):

5Church (Atlanta, GA)

EvenFlow Music & Spirits (Geneva, IL)

Frisky Frog’s (Nashville, TN)

Harp + Bard (Dorchester, MA)

Madison Inn (Middletown, OH)

Sotto (Madison, WI)

The Hooch (Columbus, GA)

The Reef Nightclub (Wisconsin Dells, WI)

Tir Na Nog (New York, NY)

Tony Spavone’s Ristorante (Bloomingdale, IL)

More information about ASCAP’s licensing of bars, restaurants and music venues can be found on ASCAP’s website at: http://www.ascap.com/whywelicensevenues.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business – from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With over 660,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at www.ascap.com, on Twitter @ASCAP and on Facebook.

Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin: Releases door hangers thanking Governor Walker for bold reforms, strong economy


CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

Activists Canvass WI Neighborhoods as Unemployment Stands at All-Time Low of 2.8%

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) today released a new door hanger as part of its grassroots activist campaign asking Wisconsinites to thank Governor Scott Walker for enacting pro-growth reforms that have turbocharged the Badger State’s economy. The door hangers cite Wisconsin’s all-time low unemployment rate and its standing as a “Top 5” state for manufacturing jobs as proof of the success of Walker’s economic policies such as eliminating job-killing regulations and lowering the tax burden on small businesses.

You can view the door hanger HERE.

AFP-WI State Director Eric Bott made the following statement:

“Our base of over 137,000 grassroots activists continues to be impressed by Governor Walker’s bold reform agenda of lowering taxes, cutting red tape, and modernizing welfare to increase employment opportunities for all.  With record low unemployment, a resurgence in manufacturing jobs, and more Wisconsinites working than ever before, the results speak for themselves. Wisconsin continues to be a model for the nation under Governor Walker’s reform-minded, pro-growth leadership. Our activists encourage him to double down on these smart policies that have made Wisconsin a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

Bott added:

“The unemployment rate is falling so fast we can’t keep up and as the Walker economy sets new records our door hangers risk being outdated as soon as we print them. We need to give our activists markers so they can update the door hangers by hand as they canvass to reflect the latest record low unemployment rate.”



Governor Walker Signs Landmark Welfare Reform Backed by AFP

Governor Walker Helps More Wisconsinites Get to Work

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin Launches TV Ad Thanking Governor Walker

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin: Launches new TV ads thanking Gov. Walker

CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

Seven-figure television and digital ad buy spotlights success of Walker economic and education policies

You can watch the ad HERE

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) today announced a new seven-figure investment in television and digital advertisements asking Wisconsinites to thank Governor Scott Walker for his successful, pro-growth economic policies that have lowered the state’s unemployment rate to an historic 2.8 percent. The ad also praises Walker’s historic levels of investment in Badger State schools, and asks Wisconsinites to urge him to continue these reforms.  The ads will begin running statewide tomorrow.

AFP-Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott made the following statement:

“Governor Scott Walker continues to build on his strong record of reform. From cutting taxes to growing the state rainy day fund, Walker has a been a champion for pro-growth, pro-freedom policies that have made Wisconsin a great place to live, work, and raise a family. By investing at historic levels in our schools, Governor Walker is ensuring that every child has the educational opportunities they need to succeed. These ads are our way of saying job well done, and keep up the good work.”


AFP-WI activists spent the spring canvassing Wisconsin neighborhoods with door hangers touting the role of Walker policies in lowering the state unemployment rate to an historic 2.8 percent.

Read ad script here:

Something exciting is happening in Wisconsin.

Unemployment is at an all-time low.  We’re 2nd in the nation in growing manufacturing jobs. 

We’ve cut taxes, grown our rainy-day fund, and family income and wages are growing.

It’s all thanks to Scott Walker’s pro-growth policies. 

Under Walker, our state is investing at historic levels in our schools. 

His bold reforms are making sure every child has access to the education they need to succeed.

Thank you, Governor Walker.

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin: To Tammy Baldwin: Stop overspending!

CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

18-1159_SHR_AFPRescissionPackageFBAd_ Baldwin.png

Badger State Activists Call on Senator to Cut $15 Billion in Wasteful Government Spending

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) today launched a statewide digital advertising campaign to encourage U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to support a measure recently passed by the House of Representatives that would save taxpayers over $15 billion. The free-market activist group launched the ads as part of AFP’s national “Stop Overspending” campaign to encourage Members of Congress from both political parties to confront Washington’s spending problem and embrace fiscal responsibility.

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

“Tammy Baldwin pays lip service to fiscal responsibility but fails to back up her words with her votes. The House did right by Wisconsin taxpayers earlier this month when they took a first step towards reining in Washington spending. The Senate should follow suit. With Washington spending set to top $4 trillion this fiscal year, now is the time for Senator Baldwin to rise above partisan politics and begin the hard work of getting our nation’s fiscal house in order.  We sincerely hope that Senator Baldwin will seize this opportunity to be part of the solution instead of continuing to be part of the problem.”

AFP-WI kicked off the “Stop Overspending” campaign last month by thanking U.S. Representative Glenn Grothman for his vote against a reckless trillion-dollar spending bill.

While tax reform was a significant achievement for hard-working Americans, AFP-WI has long-advocated the importance of pairing tax cuts with spending restraint to grow the economy and improve the lives of all Americans. Unchecked spending in Washington threatens to undermine economic growth.

The launch of AFP’s “Stop Overspending” campaign over Memorial Day recess included robust digital, direct-mail, print, and radio advertising in congressional districts across the country. President Trump’s $15.3 billion rescission plan proposed earlier this month presents an opportunity for lawmakers to demonstrate fiscal responsibility by supporting this modest attempt to undo some of the overspending damage.

AFP’s digital ads encouraging support for the spending  will focus on Republican Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Hoeven (R-ND), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Thune (R-SD), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Democrat Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Tina Smith (D-MN) and Jon Tester (D-MT).

Baldwin warns stakes have never been higher for fall election

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin warned that the stakes have never been higher this fall for working Wisconsinites.

She cautioned that special interests and Republicans in a dysfunctional Washington are threatening the livelihood of the citizens of the state, and touted her work to put Wisconsinites first.

“Let’s put these special interests and out of state mega donors on notice,” she said. “This year let’s organize, let’s take the fight for them, and stand up for Wisconsin.”

With special interests pushing their agenda, Baldwin said healthcare costs will continue to rise, and warned that the GOP might again try to repeal the Affordable Care Act. She touted her own efforts toward including the requirement in the ACA that young people can stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26.

She railed against the GOP tax law as providing its monetary benefits only to the wealthy one percent and corporations, and spoke repeatedly and ominously of powerful special interests “rigging the system in their favor.”

She also called out President Trump for not standing up for her plan for American infrastructure improvements to exclusively make use of American iron and steel.

But she also highlighted her push to address the opioid epidemic, and called on Democrats to heighten turnout in the fall.

“I have something that the special interests don’t: you,” she said.

This post is part of our coverage of the 2018 state Dem convention in Oshkosh. See the rest of our coverage here: https://www.wispolitics.com/category/dem-convos/

Banks campaign: Rich Banks launches campaign for 16th Assembly District

Email: [email protected] • Cell: 414-301-2406

MILWAUKEE – Today, Rick Banks, a Milwaukee community organizer and activist formally launched his campaign to represent the 16th District in the Wisconsin State Assembly. Raised in the District, Rick has dedicated his life to bettering his community. He has a long history as a community organizer and advocate with organizations such as Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC) and the Harambee Great Neighborhood Initiative (HGNI).

“I’m running for Assembly because I have a vision where the State of Wisconsin invests in communities, not just in corporations, and invests in the people of those communities, not just in the buildings,” Banks said. “Our communities need and deserve living wages, real equity, and exceptional healthcare, childcare, and education. We deserve safety and comfort without having to fear our neighbors or law enforcement. We deserve healthy and clean neighborhoods where we’re not being poisoned by the air or water, and where the streets aren’t destroying our cars.”

The son of working class parents, Rick Banks is a proud MPS graduate of Riverside University High School. Staying true to his hometown roots, he studied political science and economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is also a graduate of the Neighborhood Leadership Institute (NLI), and the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) programs.

Rick serves in many volunteering and leadership capacities, including tutoring youth and volunteering with local churches. As a community organizer Rick has listened to the concerns of hundreds of residents and worked to create solutions. He has organized home repair grants, youth programs, neighborhood cleanups, park improvements and other initiatives.

Rick Banks believes that money should stay local for the betterment of the community. To achieve this, he is working to start a community-centered credit union for the 53212 zip code with the goal of providing an alternative to predatory payday lenders, and fostering new community and worker-owned businesses.

A member of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Rick also passionately believes in the rights and dignity of all people, not merely the privileged few. He proudly stands against racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism, and all kinds of oppression and will continue to fight for basic human dignity on behalf of all of the residents of the District.

“The economics of the state are not in line with the needs of our communities. We deserve so much more than just ‘jobs’. We deserve fulfilling careers that bring joy to our lives. We deserve entrepreneurship and ownership in businesses that will bring real equity to our communities. We deserve to thrive!” Rick looks forward to bringing his experience and bold, innovative leadership to the State Assembly.

The Democratic Party Primary Election is Tuesday, August 14th.

Barnes campaign: AFT Local 212 endorses Mandela Barnes for lieutenant governor

Contact: Justin Bielinski
[email protected]

Milwaukee: The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 212 COPE has endorsed Mandela Barnes in the race for Lieutenant Governor. AFT represents 1400 staff at Milwaukee Area Technical College, and has been in existence since 1931, before public employees had even earned the legal right to bargain collectively.

“Local 212 has long been recognized as one of the most progressive labor unions in the entire state,” Mandela Barnes said in a statement Wednesday. “When Walker ‘dropped the bomb’ with act 10, many saw that as the beginning of the end for public-sector unions. In 2018, AFT remains as strong as ever, and I look forward to working with Local 212 members to restore workers’ rights and adequate funding levels for our universities and technical colleges across Wisconsin. I am honored to have received their endorsement.”

The Local 212 endorsement is the latest in a string of support for Mandela from labor and progressive groups, including Democracy for America, People for the American Way, Communication Workers of America (CWA), Iron Workers Local 8, and Working Families Party.

Mandela Barnes is a former 2-term state legislator, community organizer, and policy professional from Milwaukee. He is seeking the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor in the August 14th primary election. More information is available at www.mandelabarnes.com.

Barnes campaign: Mandela Barnes wins 2018 DPW Convention straw poll with 80.9% of the vote


Justin Bielinski
[email protected]

Oskhosh — This weekend, from June 1st through June 2nd, Wisconsin Democrats held their annual convention at the Oshkosh Convention center. Over 1,000 Democrats from across the state were in attendance as party activists and guests met to discuss policy, hear speeches from current elected officials, socialize, and meet with dozens of candidates for office in the 2018 elections

As is tradition, WisPolitics, a non-partisan news source on all things political in Wisconsin, conducted a straw poll of convention attendees to take the pulse of Democrats on the candidates running for office in 2018. In the Lieutenant Governor category, Mandela Barnes emerged victorious with 80.9% of the vote in the 2-way primary, earning 617 out of 763 total votes.

As he did in his floor speech at the convention, Mandela responded to news of his victory in the straw poll with a call for party unity.

“If we’re going to be victorious this November, we need to come together as a party, by bringing together all shades of blue.” Mandela said. “Big corporations have written the rules for far too long in this state, and this is the year that we as Democrats need to lead with a vision. A blue wave is definitely possible, but it won’t just happen. It’s going to take every one of us making a splash.”

Mandela Barnes is a former 2-term state legislator, community organizer, and policy professional from Milwaukee. He is seeking the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor in the August 14th primary election. More information is available at www.mandelabarnes.com.

Barnes campaign: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin endorses Mandela Barnes for lieutenant governor

Justin Bielinski
[email protected]

Madison: The Mandela Barnes campaign is pleased to announce that Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin (PPAWI) has endorsed our campaign for Lieutenant Governor. PPAWI endorses candidates who support access to family planning services and believe a woman should be able to make her own health care decisions without political interference. The endorsement comes at a critical time for Wisconsin Democrats, who are in the strongest position in a decade to retake control of the governorship, attorney general, and at least one branch of the state legislature. In such a heated midterm year, it’s important that the Lieutenant Governor candidate energizes new voters, as well as voters who may have stayed home in 2016. That’s just what Mandela plans to do. Said Barnes regarding the announcement:

“I am thrilled to receive Planned Parenthood’s endorsement. I truly believe that the Planned Parenthood platform of supporting gender equality, safe and legal abortion services, access to birth control, health care equity, the prevention of sexual assault and harassment, and reliable and accurate reproductive education is what we as Democrats must be promoting nationwide to ensure that women have what they need to feel safe and healthy. I will do everything I can as Lieutenant Governor to promote policies that empower women and defend reproductive rights.”

Nicole Safar, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, stated:

“Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin is proud to stand with Mandela Barnes in his bid for Lt. Governor. Mandela has been a longtime champion of women’s access to healthcare and economic and social justice. He understands how the issues fit together and is always there for PPAWI when we call on him. As both an organizer and a state representative, Mandela’s work to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care has been critical to PPWI and the patients it serves.”

Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider, informed educator, passionate advocate, and global partner, helping similar organizations around the world. It delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund works to advance access to sexual health care and defend reproductive rights.

Mandela Barnes is a former 2-term state legislator, community organizer, and policy professional from Milwaukee. He is seeking the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor in the August 14th primary election. More information is available at www.mandelabarnes.com.

Barnes, Kober knock Foxconn, praise ‘Wisconsin Idea’


Lt. guv candidates Mandela Barnes and Kurt Kober both praised the “Wisconsin Idea” and slammed the $4.5 billion public incentive package to bring Foxconn to Racine County in their pitches to Dem activists.

Kober, a businessman, said Gov. Scott Walker has destroyed the state’s legacy, but there is an opportunity to reclaim the state. He asked the crowd to imagine if the state didn’t force every Wisconsin household to pay “$1,800 to a foreign corporation,” a reference to Foxconn.

“Imagine if we supported public education,” Kober said. “Imagine if we supported a spirit of entrepreneurship in our state. Imagine if we once again embraced the Wisconsin idea.”

Barnes, who is African-America, recounted his grandfather moving to Milwaukee after serving in WW II and working 30 years as a union ironworker, while his father spent 30 years working Delphi.

Barnes said he was born in the nation’s most impoverished and incarcerated zip code, but that he can stand before the convention running for lt. Guv is testament to the Wisconsin Idea. He also pushed Dems to be progressive this fall and he has a simple answer when people ask him how to pay for their priorities: Foxconn.

“If we have $4.5 billion to throw down the drain, we have at least that much to invest in the state of Wisconsin,” he said.

This post is part of our coverage of the 2018 state Dem convention in Oshkosh. See the rest of our coverage here: https://www.wispolitics.com/category/dem-convos/

Bill Kaplan: Change is in the air, Medicaid and more


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

Wisconsin Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson believed that Democrats must run across the nation, at all levels. There are no easy, magical solutions for change, e.g., impeachment, 25th Amendment (presidential disabilities) or a perfect candidate. Change requires winning elections. Trump and Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker have provided the impetus for Democrats to win in 2018.

Since Trump took office in 2017: Democrats have flipped about 40 state legislative seats from the GOP; won gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia by landslides, a shocking upset for an open Alabama GOP U.S. Senate seat and flipped an open Pennsylvania GOP U.S. House seat. Moreover, Wisconsin Democrats elected Patty Schachtner and Rebecca Dallet, flipping a state Senate seat from the GOP and choosing a liberal for an open state Supreme Court seat, previously held by a conservative. Two more open Wisconsin GOP state legislative seats will be decided by special elections on Tuesday, June 12 (Walker fought tooth and nail not to hold).

Democrats are running to flip the GOP-led Congress. At a time when most members of Congress are millionaires, disproportionately male, only about 20 percent veterans and minorities are underrepresented – change is in the air. Democratic regular folks, including women, teachers, veterans and minority group members, are running for Congress as well as state legislative seats and governorships. In Wisconsin, Democrat Randy Bryce – ironworker, union member and U.S. Army veteran — is running for the open First Congressional District seat held by departing GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan (retiring on an $85,000 per year pension, and health care coverage – CNBC).

Elections have consequences. Last Wednesday, the GOP-led Virginia state legislature did the math – loss of 15 GOP House seats and the economic stimulus from federal funding covering 90 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion. Virginia became the 33rd state to expand Medicaid, covering some 400,000 Virginians. Virginia GOP state Senator Ben Chafin from a rural district said: “I came to the conclusion that ‘no’ just wasn’t the answer anymore, (or) doing nothing about the medical conditions, the state of health care in my district …”.

The same in Maine and Utah. Last November, 59 percent of Maine voters in a referendum approved Medicaid expansion, making Maine the 32nd state to expand Medicaid. However, Maine GOP Governor Paul LePage, having previously vetoed 5 bipartisan expansion bills, still refuses to expand Medicaid. A lawsuit is pending in state Superior Court. Meanwhile, Utah has agreed to hold a Medicaid expansion referendum in November. Idaho and Nebraska may follow. All GOP-led states. Time for Walker and the Wisconsin GOP-led state legislature to expand Medicaid.

The November elections will also help determine other issues, such as pension reform. The underfunded Central States Pension Fund and other plans covering 1.5 million retirees, including 25,000 Wisconsinites – need a legislative solution. Milwaukee retiree Bob Amsden said: “Dreamers, they’re the millions of retirees (many veterans) … All they asked for was a dignified pension to retire …”. What will Ryan do? Change is in the air.

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


Bill Kaplan: Walker and Trump, dissembling on health care


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

Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker, Trump and the GOP-led Congress have been disingenuous on health care. There never was a Republican health plan that would have preserved the expansion of coverage for more than 20 million Americans, including over 200,000 Wisconsinites. Nor did they have any intention of keeping universal consumer protections, including essential health benefits, prohibiting annual and lifetime limits, requiring insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions, or disallowing heath insurance premiums based on health history and preventing health insurers from price-gouging the elderly.

Moreover, most Americans support the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A handful of principled Republicans and all Democrats in Congress prevented repeal of the ACA. However, that has not stopped Trump from trying to roll back the ACA with a sabotage campaign: deep cuts in ACA advertising and outreach, a shorter enrollment period, elimination of federal payment of out-of-pocket health costs, allowing the sale of useless bare-bones insurance and eliminating the individual mandate (2019).

Walker has been forced to deal with the fallout of policies he strongly supports: repeal of the ACA with its coverage expansion and consumer protections and fanatic, irrational opposition to Medicaid expansion. With Trump-created chaos, confusion and instability in the private insurance market causing higher premiums, Walker opted for a Wisconsin ACA reinsurance program to help private insurers with high-cost enrollees. His TV campaign ad touts his supposed “bipartisan stabilization plan”, discounting his scorched-earth opposition to the ACA and worse. Walker wants to destroy the ACA.

As Walker signed his reinsurance bill, he gave the go ahead to Wisconsin GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel’s scheme to go to a conservative Texas federal court to argue that the elimination of the individual mandate means the entire ACA should be declared unconstitutional. Even for Walker this was a breathtakingly cynical stunt. But it’s no laughing matter now.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions “with the approval of the President of the United States” (Justice Department) has refused to defend the ACA in court. Moreover, Sessions said that congressional elimination of the tax penalty to enforce the individual mandate requires overturning ACA’s guarantee of coverage for people with preexisting conditions and its prohibition of charging sick people higher rates. The Kaiser Family Foundation said 52 million Americans under 65, including 852,000 Wisconsinites, could lose access to affordable comprehensive health insurance.

There is a firestorm of opposition from the American Hospital Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Medical Association, patient advocacy groups such as the American Cancer Society and members of Congress. Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin said: “Attorney General Sessions has gone to court in support of President Trump and Wisconsin’s Governor and Attorney General to take away guaranteed protections and to raise costs for Americans with preexisting conditions. The people of Wisconsin did not send me to Washington to take people’s health care away and I will continue my fight against these relentless efforts to make things worse for Wisconsin families.” It is long past time to heed Senator Baldwin and end GOP dissembling.

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


Bill Kraus: Primary repairs


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

Political Primary elections have had a short, relatively sad history.

They came into existence at the beginning of the last century. The idea was to take the slating of candidates out of the hands of the bosses and parties and turn it over to the people.

Our own Fighting Bob La Follette was a prominent player in the creation. So was Teddy Roosevelt who was kind of embarrassed into his lead role when someone pointed out that 70 percent of the money for his campaign came from corporations, not people.

The first bad thing that happened to this good idea was that the voters weren’t much interested in picking candidates. Voting percentages in primary elections fell far short of expectations.

This flaw turned this new slating election over to the voters who were most active in politics. Not a bad outcome as long as those active in politics were representative of the population as a whole.

By the 21st century the extremists had taken over the primaries and moderate activists were pretty much gone. “I didn’t leave the party. The party left me” was the lament of most moderates who had been the election-deciding swing voters for most of the 20th century.

Party candidates always had to run two distinct races. They needed the activists to get nominated and the moderates to get elected. This was an interesting contradiction which was deftly handled for a very long time.

Money had a lot to do with the distortion of the primary idea. Money in the hands of the incumbent leaders became a useful weapon to keep their caucuses in line. It didn’t take a lot of money to win primary elections and the threat of that money terrorized once independent incumbents. “It’s all about the money” was what they said, and rued. And it was.

Party rules and party extremists were suddenly in charge.

Until California, Maine and a few other states came along and recognized that candidates were more entrepreneurial [you have the money and energy to do this, you can self nominate]. These states defanged the parties’ power by turning their primary elections into popularity contests where neither party is guaranteed a place in the finals. One of the hopes was that popularity primaries would bring out more voters and more moderate candidates. The jury is still out, but one thing they have done for sure is diminish the parties’ power to influence candidate selection. No more votes in the pockets of party officials. Less of a play to the more radical bases.

I like the Maine system which is also espoused by Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter in their essay. Maine has one primary for all, four winners for the finals, and an over 50% winner on one or more peel-off votes at the end.

— Kraus is a longtime Republican strategist and former co-chair of Common Cause in Wisconsin.


Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: Approves funding for community projects

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

MADISON – The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) today approved nearly $1.7 million in State Trust Fund Loans to support three community projects in Wisconsin.

The BCPL approved the following loans:

  • City of Durand, Pepin County / Finance street and storm water improvements / $352,000
  • City of Gillett, Oconto County / Finance road projects / $944,974
  • Town of Oregon, Dane County / Finance road projects / $385,000

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.

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: Nearly $3.5 million for community projects


For Immediate Release

DATE: June 5, 2018

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

MADISON – The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) today approved nearly $3.5 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:

· Village of Albany, Green County / Purchase building and truck / $81,000

· Town of Buchanan, Outagamie County / Finance infrastructure projects / $500,000

· City of Cumberland, Barron County / Finance road projects / $665,411

· City of Cumberland, Barron County / Finance lift station #11 reconstruction / $140,000

· Town of Grantsburg, Burnett County / Purchase town hall building / $170,000

· Village of Random Lake, Sheboygan County / Finance road and utility projects / $525,000

· Town of River Falls, Pierce County / Purchase land / $100,000

· Town of Winchester, Vilas County / Construct town shop and renovate town hall / $1,300,000

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.

Bodden campaign: Sheboygan County Sheriff Cory Roeseler endorses Ty Bodden for the 59th Assembly District


Ty Bodden for Assembly
(920) 624-2289

Sheboygan County Sheriff, Cory Roeseler, Endorses Ty Bodden for the 59th Assembly District

St. Cloud – Former Cascade, Waldo, Adell, and the town of Lyndon Police Chief and current Sheboygan County Sheriff, Cory Roeseler, endorses Ty Bodden to succeed Rep. Jesse Kremer in the 59th Assembly District. Roeseler holds over 28 years of law enforcement experience. 26 of those years have been in the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to his appointment to Sheriff, Roeseler served as Captain of Patrol for twelve years.

Sheriff Roeseler issued the following statement regarding Ty, “I am proud to support Ty Bodden for the 59th District Assembly. Ty brings a youthful exuberance to the district, while addressing the important rural hometown farming issues.”

Ty Bodden issued the following statement in response to Sheriff Roeseler’s endorsement, “I would like to thank Sheriff Roeseler for his support and for his many years of dedicated service to law enforcement and to Sheboygan County. I look forward to working with him and with all of our local Police Departments in the future. Sheriff Roeseler has some great ideas and I am excited to have further discussion about those ideas when elected.”

Sheriff Roeseler was appointed by Governor Walker in January of this year and is up for election in November.

Boivin campaign: applauds SCOTUS decision on Colorado baker but concerned it does not go far enough to protect religious liberty under the First Amendment


June 7, 2018 – Brad Boivin, candidate for Wisconsin’s 1stCongressional District, announced Monday on Twitter: “I applaud SCOTUS for ruling in favor of the Colorado baker,” but he went on to say that he does not believe the ruling goes far enough to protect religious liberty.

When asked during a follow-up if his comments could be read as an endorsement of discrimination, Boivin said, “My belief is that the baker, Mr. Phillips, has a constitutional right to exercise his religious beliefs by refusing to explicitly or implicitly participate in a ceremony or ritual that violates his religious beliefs.” Boivin went on to say, “It is my understanding that Mr. Phillips has not discriminated against patrons based on their sexual orientation in the past but in this particular case he was discriminating specifically against the ceremony, not the person or persons.”

Boivin went on to explain that he would have made the cake if put in the same situation as Phillips but that he supports Phillips’ right to not bake the cake based on constitutional grounds as outlined in the First Amendment.

When Boivin was asked if he thought Phillips, or those with similar beliefs in the district would vote for him given he has been out as a gay man since 1994, Boivin replied, “I think they wouldvote for someone who he has spent more than 20 years defending religious liberty and who vows to take that fight to Washington. In many ways, religious liberty is under attack, specifically the religious liberties of Christians, and this concerns me greatly.”

Boivin went on to clarify that he does not believe that businesses have a right to refuse to provide general goods and services to patrons based on their sexual orientation but again reiterated that business owners have the constitutional right to exercise their religious beliefs “when the goods or services being requested by a patron require the business owner to knowingly and willfully violate their own religious beliefs.”

“I also have concerns that the ruling by the Supreme Court does not go far enough to protect religious liberty,” Boivin said. “Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion seems to focus more on the hostility of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and less on the constitutional merits of Mr. Phillips’ case.”

Boivin campaign: Personal response to Speaker Ryan’s endorsement of Bryan Steil.


For Immediate Release:

Speaker Paul Ryan’s endorsement of Bryan Steil today, along with the previous endorsement of Reince Priebus and the strategic timing of the Speaker’s retirement announcement, are consistent with the frequent criticisms I have been hearing from both voters and grassroots volunteers alike: “The fix was in on April 11th.”

My friends, family and all the voters in Wisconsin’s 1stCongressional District deserve an alternative to the establishment’s handpicked candidate. The People are fed up with these sorts of establishment shenanigans and I will continue to challenge my opponent up until Election Day on August 14th.

My opponent has the privilege of more money, more establishment support, and access to Speaker Ryan’s campaign team, not to mention the ability to campaign full-time rather than work a 40-hour workweek like the rest of us. I do not fault him or judge him for this privilege. But I believe strongly that money, power, connections and access will only get you so far with The People of the 1stDistrict.

I have spent my adult life working hands on with people facing tragedy, suffering, pain and profound loss. I spend every day of my life sitting with people, many from the 1stDistrict, who feel hopeless and are uncertain about their future. I dedicate every day of my life to helping them find ways to recognize and access the vast resources they have within themselves to solve problems and overcome life’s challenges. I want to bring that experience to the job of U.S. Representative for the 1stDistrict of Wisconsin.

I am not running for Congress as an opportunity to pursue a lifetime political career. I am running because we are facing real problems in our cities, our state and our country and I am concerned that big government is going to continue doing what it has always done, write more and more laws that only make things more complicated for people like you and me who are in the community actually trying to address the problems head on.

On August 14th, The People of the 1stDistrict will get to choose their candidate and I will continue to make every effort between now and then to stay relevant in this race and to ensure The People of the 1stDistrict know I am still the Right Person to represent them – to fight for them – in Washington!

Boivin campaign: Responds to Republican leadership news conference on opioid epidemic

Dr. Brad Boivin, Candidate for Wisconsin’s 1stCongressional District, issues a statement in response to today’s Republican Leadership News Conference on the opioid epidemic.

I appreciate that our elected representatives are taking action to address the opioid epidemic, but I am concerned that we yet again find ourselves buying into the false belief that big government needs to come in and save the day. The solution to the opioid epidemic is not more one-size-fits-all regulations.

Speaker Ryan said today that they “learned a whole lot about this problem in a short period of time” and I am concerned that our representatives have written 70+ bills after receiving a crash course on the issue. This exemplifies what is broken about our current system and might explain why so many small businesses, including small private clinics, are struggling to keep their doors open – finding it difficult to maintain compliance with the overly burdensome regulations imposed on them by the government.

It is also important to keep in mind that the majority of people prescribed opioid pain medications do not abuse them or become addicted to them. Of those who do become addicted or abuse their pain medication, there is often an underlying issue such as depression, anxiety, trauma or some other mental health problem. We cannot adequately talk about the opioid epidemic without acknowledging underlying mental health problems.

Speaker Ryan hit the nail on the head when he talked about the role isolation plays in addiction, emphasizing that our societal institutions need to “emulate and encourage” a “model of support” for individuals and families dealing with addiction. I also appreciate Speaker Ryan’s bold statement that addiction “does not lower the inherent value of a human life. Every life has meaning and no drug can take that away.”

The government may play a role in helping the mental health and medical fields find ways to address the opioid epidemic, but the help should be well informed, fiscally responsible, practical and patient/family-centered.

Boivin campaign: Response to Speaker Ryan’s weekly news conference


In response to Speaker Paul Ryan’s Weekly Press Conference today, Dr. Brad Boivin, Candidate for Wisconsin’s 1stCongressional District, is encouraging Congress to talk directly with mental health professionals about reasonable and manageable solutions to the opioid epidemic.

“Washington has a tendency to engage in knee-jerk reactions to our nation’s problems, oftentimes writing overly burdensome regulations and spending money that is not used efficiently and does not adequately address the problem,” Boivin said.

As a clinical psychologist who specializes in addiction treatment, Boivin has seen firsthand what happens at the intersection of overly burdensome government regulations and addiction treatment and said, “Much of what I have seen is concerning.”

Boivin recently worked with the State Legislature to write a law that removed overly burdensome government regulations that were interfering with access to addiction treatment in Wisconsin. Boivin said, “The law I worked on with Representatives Cindi Duchow and John Nygren has the potential to increase access to addiction treatment in Wisconsin by as much as 500% and without costing the Wisconsin taxpayers a single dime.” The bill passed both the Wisconsin Assembly and the Senate with unanimous support and was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker on April 9, 2018.

When Congress addresses initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic next week, Boivin is encouraging them to “avoid the temptation to simply throw taxpayer money at the problem and, instead, take time to talk with mental health practitioners from managed care organizations and rural community clinics across the country to find out what the government can do to get out of the way of treatment as opposed to writing well-intentioned laws that may actually create barriers to treatment.”

Boivin encourages Congress to take a closer look at Wisconsin’s H.O.P.E. legislation, spearheaded by Representative John Nygren, as “an example of commonsense, conservative solutions to the opioid and overdose epidemic.”

Boivin campaign: Response to U.S Supreme Court decision on Wisconsin redistricting maps


For Immediate Release

Today’s 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court decision held the challengers failed to prove they had standing in the reapportionment case. Justices Ginsburg and Kagen sided with the “conservative” justices on the decision. The challengers were unable to prove the 2011 reapportionment map caused personal injury.

This decision is a win for states’ rights, specifically the right for individual states to draw their own redistricting maps. The constitution places the power to draw electoral maps with the states, not appointed judges. Wisconsin has a process within the law to reapportion and redraw the legislative maps, and today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court confirms the Wisconsin Legislature acted within the scope of their constitutional and legal authority.

This decision also gives certainty to the upcoming 2018 Wisconsin Assembly elections, as maps are not in jeopardy of being hastily cobbled together because of a court decision. This is a win for constitutional, representative government in Wisconsin.

Born campaign fundraiser 🗓


Mark Born For Assembly Event

Tuesday, June 26, 5:30-7 p.m.

@ Stooges Sports Bar’s Outdoor Patio

112 North Spring Street in Downtown Beaver Dam

Suggested contribution $30/person  $50/couple

Host Sponsors:  –  $1000  –  $500  –  $250

All donations graciously accepted, PAC accepted

RSVP to [email protected], with reply envelope or call 920-210-1808

Boys & Girls Clubs of Wisconsin: Over 680 Wisconsin club kids to visit Washington D.C.


$700,000 Dollars Donated to Support ‘Learning Journeys’

Madison Boys & Girls Clubs of Wisconsin announced today that over 680 kids from Clubs across the state have trips planned to visit Washington, D.C. this summer to learn about American government and history, visit institutions of higher education and develop important life-skills.  Learning Journeys are all-expense paid educational experiences that emphasize leadership development and expand upon the positive youth engagement that Boys & Girls Clubs provide each day.  Funded by Herb Kohl Philanthropies, this educational field trip, which covers all meals, lodging, exhibits and travel expenses, requires youth to visit at least one college or university and also provides access to students who might not otherwise have the opportunity.

“We are pleased to support Boys & Girls Club youth around the state in this way.” said Herb Kohl. “We want young people to see history come alive, expand their horizons and imagine themselves as our future leaders, and most of all, be ready to take their place as responsible, productive citizens of this great nation.  Whether it’s the trip of a lifetime or a life-changing trip, we encourage and support Boys & Girls Club kids in their Learning Journey.” Kohl Philanthropies is donating $700,000 to over twenty individual Boys & Girls Clubs across the state to make these trips happen in 2018.

While in Washington, D.C., students may visit the White House, Congress, Smithsonian, Holocaust Museum, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, National Museum of the American Indian, the U.S. Supreme Court and National Museum of African American History and Culture and more.  Every student will also tour a college or university, and each group can custom design their own specific trip, depending upon their background or areas of emphasis.

“Kohl Philanthropies prioritize youth who live in areas of poverty, or who qualify for reduced school lunch,” said Andy Gussert, State Director for Boys & Girls Clubs. “Our mission is to enable young people who need us most to reach their full potential, so this is a perfect match.” The trips are expected to continue in 2019.

Brown County Exec. Streckenbach: Foxconn recognizes Brown County’s growth as an innovation area


Media Contact:

Deputy Executive Jeff Flynt

(920) 448-4083

(Brown County, Wis.) – Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach is pleased to welcome Foxconn to Northeast Wisconsin as the global technology firm expands its new Wisconn Valley Innovation Network.

“It’s great to see a global technology company invest in Northeast Wisconsin,” says Streckenbach. “Foxconn recognizes the growth Brown County has demonstrated in its infrastructure as an area that supports industry and innovation thanks to our fiber network, the STEM Innovation Center and engineering school at UWGB. The hundreds of jobs that this venture will create follows the vision our community’s leaders have talked about, as the pipeline of high-quality careers and innovation truly takes shape.”

According to a press release from Foxconn, more than 200 employees are expected to work at the center, where they will focus on developing applications for AI 8K+5G display technology that Foxconn is creating. This innovation center in Brown County will serve a complementary role to Foxconn’s Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park and its innovation center in Milwaukee in cultivating a new class of vertical solution providers for advanced manufacturing processes and technologies, as well as for industries such as education, medical and healthcare, entertainment and sports, security and smart community.

Brown County: Hosts rat trap giveaway


Residents Looking for Method to Deal with Rats Can Get Free Traps

(Brown County, Wis.) – Brown County officials will host a one-day “Great Rat Trap Giveaway” at the Neville Public Museum, 210 Museum Place in downtown Green Bay, on Saturday, June 30 from 10 a.m. to Noon.

Any resident can show up and get up to 3 free rat traps by presenting a valid ID showing residency in Brown County and signing a waiver. This giveaway event follows the direction of the Brown County Board of Supervisors, who previously voted to approve $5,000 in the 2018 budget to help eradicate the rat problem in the Green Bay area.

Residents will also receive educational material on how to help keep the rats away, including manufacturers’ instructions for usage of the rat traps and for animal disposal.

Here are some other tips:

  • Removed food sources, water and items that provide shelter for rodents
  • Dispose of garbage on a frequent and regular basis inside and outside of the home
  • Thoroughly clean areas with signs of rodent activity to reduce the likelihood of exposure to germs and diseases

Brown County: Names new airport director


Jeff Flynt
Brown County Deputy Executive
(920) 448-4083
[email protected]

New GRB Leader Aims to Expand Economic Opportunity, Community Engagement

Brown County, Wis. – Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach is announcing today that Marty Piette, A.A.E., has been nominated to become the new Airport Director at Green Bay-Austin Straubel International Airport.

“Following a nationwide search, we had a number of fine candidates interview for the position. Marty Piette stood out from the group because of his knowledge, skill set and dedication to Brown County and Greater Green Bay,” says County Executive Streckenbach. “I’m counting on Marty to bring the airport to the next level.”

“I am excited and honored to have been chosen to step into the role of Airport Director. Brown County is a great place to live and work, and the Airport is a valuable asset that reflects the region’s prosperity,” says Piette. “My top priorities will be to work with the various stakeholders to meet the air service needs of the community, build upon our efforts to be engaged with business and community leaders, and continue to operate the facility as efficiently as possible. Working together, we will cement GRB’s position as the airport of choice for Northeast Wisconsin and beyond.”

Piette is currently serving as the Assistant Airport Director at Green Bay-Austin Straubel International Airport. He’s had more than 20 years of airport management experience at airports in Muskegon, Michigan; Gulfport, Mississippi; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Bryce campaign: Bryce statement on the Janus vs. AFSCME case


Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – Randy Bryce released the following statement on the Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court decision.

“The Supreme Court’s decision on the Janus vs. AFSCME case is a direct attack on workers’ rights. It undermines our freedoms and rigs our economy to help corporations while hurting the working people. With Donald Trump’s Supreme Court standing on the side of corporations and special interests groups, we can expect many more decisions like this one–where working people suffer as a consequence,” said Randy Bryce.

“I know the importance of unions. I know that this type of decision is an attack on millions of Americans who depend on unions to fight for us and protect our rights. This needs to stop.”

Bryce campaign: Bryce to participate in two primary debates

Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]

RACINE, WI- Randy Bryce will be participating in two primary debates throughout the district, giving voters an opportunity to hear Randy talk about real issues that affect working families. The debates will occur in Lake Geneva and Janesville and they are scheduled throughout the month of July.

“Randy welcomes the opportunity to address voters directly and share with them why his experience as a working person makes him best qualified to represent Wisconsin’s First District,” said Communications Director Julia Savel. “It is vital that voters have the opportunity to make an informed decision before sending someone to be their Representative in Washington. We are confident that Randy will show voters why his progressive vision to build a bigger table is the type of bold change we need from our leaders.”

Exact times and locations will be provided.

Bryce campaign: Calls for all federal IDs to have a gender non-binary option

Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – Today, Randy Bryce demands all Federal IDs and government documents have a gender non-binary option.

“By not recognizing non-binary genders on federal IDs, our government currently forces individuals with non-binary genders to misgender themselves nearly every time they interact with our government. This policy makes so many people hide who they really are. This is wrong, and it must end,” said Randy Byrce. “Our federal government needs to stand up and allow all people to represent their true selves. We need our non-binary friends to gain the representation, freedom, and visibility they deserve. America is truly great when every person has the freedom to lead the life they want to live, and for too long our trans and non-binary friends have not had that right or opportunity to do so. I know that I can’t understand firsthand what it’s like walking around every day in a society that refuses to accept who I am, but I vow to work every day to be the best ally to the non-binary community that I possibly can, and making our government recognize the existence of non-binary individuals with this change is an important first step to take.”

“Often, in the fight for gender equality, folks tend to exclude those that do not prescribe to the binary that is our gender system. Rarely given platforms in mainstream media and politics, non-binary and gender non-conforming people face neglect in multiple aspects of society due to a lack of visibility and respect,” said Michaé Pulido, Policy Strategist and Organizer at [email protected] Coalition and member of Trans United Fund (Pronouns: They/She). “One main barrier to equity for non-binary and gender non-conforming people is the lack of access to gender markers on ID documents that reflect the appropriate gender identity of individuals. This is an issue that needs to be challenged on federal and state levels and having elected officials that will bring these issues to the forefront is necessary to help reach equity for all trans and gender non-conforming people. Randy Bryce is one of the few candidates for Congress that has been an active advocate for our communities. Although it is vital that we have actual trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people in positions of power, strong allies are definitely helpful in our fight for liberation. [email protected] Coalition and Trans United Fund happily support Randy Bryce to represent Wisconsin’s 1st District.”

Bryce campaign: Calls on Steil to reject donations from the NRA


Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]randybryceforcongress.com

RACINE, WI – With a record number of school shootings and gun-related violence this year, Randy Bryce demands Bryan Steil, Paul Ryan’s chosen replacement, reject all money from the NRA.

“Too many politicians are in the pockets of the gun lobby. The NRA clearly values profits and power over saving innocent lives — all while our leaders shamelessly take money from them.  And no one profits from their NRA ties quite like Paul Ryan, who took over $170,000 (citation) in 2016 from the NRA — more than any other member in the House of Representatives.

This is unacceptable. I will not take a penny from the NRA because they fund and fuel the gun epidemic. I challenge Ryan’s hand-picked replacement, Bryan Steil, to do the same and reject the gun lobby’s money. Wisconsin families and communities deserve a leader who will put our interests, safety, and wellbeing first.”

Watch Randy’s online video about rejecting NRA money here. The script of the video is below:

More and more, Americans are fed up with the NRA. They buy politicians support. Our leaders should never be in the pockets of lobbyists and big corporations.

We have a gun problem in America. Too many people have too many guns. And the evidence proves it. The US has nearly six times the gun homicide rate as Canada, more than seven times as Sweden, and nearly 16 times as Germany.

America’s problem with guns is completely unique. No other country faces as many school shootings, homicides, and widespread gun related crimes.

It’s not rocket science. We see the problem facing our country and there is an easy solution that has proven to work. We need comprehensive gun reform, and we need it now. We need universal background checks. We need to ban bump stocks and assault rifles. We need a 48 hour waiting period. We need action from our elected officials.

Too many politicians who take millions from the NRA have said that anyone who speaks up for these common sense gun safety measures are politicizing the situation. I don’t think demanding that our fellow Americans are safe is politicizing anything. It’s what we should expect from our representatives.

That is why I am proud to say that I will never take a single cent from the NRA. We are seeing a shift in this country. People are standing up, taking action, and pushing back against the NRA. We need to hold the NRA accountable for their actions. We need to boycott this organization that is putting their political priorities before the lives of innocent Americans.

Bryce campaign: Randy Bryce endorsed by Voces de la Frontera Action


Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]eforcongress.com

RACINE, WI – Today, Voces de la Frontera Action, an activist organization championing immigrant rights and wider social justice issues, endorsed Randy Bryce for Congress in his campaign to replace Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s first congressional district.

“Voces de la Frontera Action is proud to endorse Randy Bryce for Congress,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera Action. “Randy has used his campaign as a platform to stand in solidarity with immigrant youth and parents threatened with persecution and deportation under the new Administration. Most recently, I was proud to march with Randy in the May 1st Day Without Latinx and Immigrants strike of over 10,000 people to demand that Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson not enter into the 287g program, which would turn his deputies into ICE agents. Randy is a Voces member, he is of Mexican-American descent, and he has been involved in our movement for student, worker, and immigrant rights for years. He is a person of principle and action. He is a working class leader who understands our needs and will fight for all of us. His campaign is part of a larger political breakthrough that embraces a bolder vision and is accountable to the movement. Randy’s bold platform includes Medicare for all, the abolition of ICE, and tuition-free public higher education. We are excited to work hard for Randy, who will be a champion for working people in Washington.”

“I am proud to be endorsed by Voces de la Frontera Action. Voces de la Frontera Action was a huge reason why I got into this race. Just a few months after Donald Trump was elected, I started attending Voces’ emergency meetings. So many who went to those meetings were afraid that their families would be torn apart. We worked together to help bring labor groups and veterans, as well as members from other communities to stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters. Because that’s what solidarity means,” said Randy Bryce. “I’m proud to partner with the incredible activists at Voces de la Frontera Action. Their actions, including their recent “Day without Latinx” march and student-organized walkouts in support of a clean DREAM Act, are demonstrating how effective we can be when we stand up to the GOP and their destructive policies. Together, we’re going to turn Wisconsin’s First Congressional District blue.”

Bryce campaign: Statement on Paul Ryan endorsing Bryan Steil


Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – The Bryce campaign released the following statement on Paul Ryan’s recent endorsement of Bryan Steil.

“It’s no surprise that Paul Ryan endorsed Bryan Steil. It’s hard to think of two people that are less in touch with the struggles facing working families than a third-generation corporate attorney from a politically-connected family and a millionaire that is Speaker of the House” said Communications Director Julia Savel. “A former Ryan staffer and a current Walker appointee, Bryan Steil has taken a page right out of Ryan’s playbook: he believes we should give tax breaks to the wealthy and pay for it by attacking working people’s retirements and healthcare. Bottom line is people in Wisconsin’s first district want real change– and a Paul Ryan clone can’t get the job done.”

Bryce campaign: Statement on the newest attack on the Affordable Care Act


Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – Democratic congressional candidate Randy Bryce released the following statement on the Trump administration’s decision to gut critical parts of the ACA.

“What the Trump has done tonight jeopardizes health care for millions of Americans. It should not be so hard to get health insurance just because you have a preexisting medical condition. Millions of Americans and I are cancer survivors, and we need these protections. This is an attack on working families everywhere, and the Trump administration’s request not to repeal this rule until after the midterms proves that they know that too.”

Bryce campaign: Statement on Trump’s Foxconn visit

Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – Randy Bryce released the following statement about Donald Trump’s visit to Foxconn.

“Once again, Donald Trump is lying to us. He claims that Foxconn will create “15,000 jobs”. But here’s the reality: Foxconn is only guaranteed to create 3,000 jobs. True to form, he is over-promising and under-delivering. So now I have a message for Donald Trump: working families are sick of being lied to. We see the lies a mile away and we will hold you accountable this November.”

Bryce campaign: Statement on Trump’s disgusting immigration policy

Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – Randy Bryce released the following statement about the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy.

“This is disgusting. The Trump administration’s policy is inhumane. I have seen the pictures of mothers being ripped from their children. I have heard the screams of babies and children, some even younger than my son. I have read the stories about the hundreds of children locked in cages and lying on the floor. It’s heartbreaking and unfathomable for me as a parent and as a human being. This isn’t just a political issue– it’s a moral one.”

“Trump and the GOP can no longer sit idly by while a human rights crisis carries on in this country. An executive order isn’t enough. We need to end this zero tolerance policy. We need to reunite families. We also need to abolish ICE. Bottom line– we need real change. And although Trump may say differently, this isn’t the Democrats’ fault– this tragedy happened because the GOP put party over people once again. And this November, people across the country won’t forget it.”

Bryce campaign: Statment on Donald Trump fundraising for Bryan Steil


Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – The Bryce campaign released the following statement regarding Trump’s upcoming fundraiser for Paul Ryan’s chosen replacement Bryan Steil.

“With Donald Trump coming to town, of course he was going to stop by and fundraise with Paul Ryan for his handpicked replacement Bryan Steil. Bryan Steil, Paul Ryan, and Donald Trump are out of touch with working families. All three rely on special interest groups and high dollar donors to hit their fundraising goals,” said Communications Director Julia Savel. “Bryan Steil is cozying up to Donald Trump and everything he represents: corruption, corporate greed, and tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. We now know for sure that the so-called problems Steil wants to solve are not the struggles of Wisconsin’s working families, but rather the needs of corporate America. Wisconsin’s first district doesn’t need another representative to rubber stamp Trump’s shameful agenda.”

Bryce campaign: Trans United Fund endorses Randy Bryce for Congress

Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – Today, Trans United Fund has endorsed Randy Bryce for Congress, citing Randy’s working-class credentials and dedication to the needs of traditionally marginalized groups.

“Bryce is an everyday hero–a union ironworker who knows what it means to struggle to make ends meet, to struggle to access healthcare; that firsthand experience deepens his dedication to fighting for his fellow poor and working class people. From his time serving in the U.S. Army, to standing up for homeless veterans, and defending the rights of unions against Governor Scott Walker’s attacks, Bryce embodies the meaning of service. He is a champion for the rights of trans and queer people, people of color, women, immigrants, and is running to make our democracy work for everyone, not just the wealthy few,” Daye Pope, Trans United Fund’s Organizing Director, said Wednesday.

“Randy Bryce is a perfect example of how we progressives can come together across our differences, united in our commitment to equality and opportunity for all. Bryce’s commitment to workers’ rights, to investing in much-needed green infrastructure and small farms which will create good jobs, and his determination to ensure crisis services as well as job training and educational opportunities throughout Wisconsin and the U.S. are competently serving all who need them, including trans and nonbinary people, are just a handful of the reasons we proudly endorse him for U.S. Congress in Wisconsin’s 1st District.”

Trans United Fund is a nationally recognized organization that works to build the political power of trans and gender expansive communities and as well as support allies that will advocate for trans equality.

“I am honored to be endorsed by Trans United Fund,” said Randy Bryce. “Throughout this campaign, I have been a champion and an outspoken advocate for all people — including the trans and gender-expansive community in Wisconsin and across the country. I’ve been a strong supporter of Trans United Fund and their work for social justice since I participated in their Transgender Day of Visibility campaign in March. I welcome the chance to make progress this November in Wisconsin and Washington with their support.”

Citizen Action of Wisconsin: Wisconsinites still hopeful after U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Gill v Whitford and call on state to end gerrymandering


For Immediate Release–June 18, 2018

Press Contacts:
Marla Stephens, Citizen Action of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Organizing Co-op, (414) 469-0116, [email protected]

Lindsay Dorff, Citizen Action of Wisconsin – Northeast Organizing Co-op, (920) 391-8638, [email protected]

Wisconsinites Call on State to Pass Fair Maps Legislation

STATEWIDE, WIS. – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the Gill v Whitford case back to the district court, effectively leaving Wisconsin’s unconstitutional election maps in place for the 2018 election. This ruling leaves the onus on Wisconsin to protect voters from gerrymandering for the time being.

“The courts didn’t fix our current unfair maps, and politicians won’t either. We, the people, want fair maps. We do not want partisan politicians to continue fighting over our maps in court and wasting taxpayer money. Wisconsin needs a nonpartisan process for drawing our election maps,” said Marla Stephens, member of the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Organizing Cooperative in Milwaukee. “Every one of us should be demanding that our legislators and our governor call special or extraordinary sessions to pass non-partisan independent redistricting reform now – before the 2018 and 2020 elections and before the next voting maps are drawn using 2020 Census data.”

In Gill v Whitford, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to send the case back to the district court on the grounds that the plaintiffs did not establish standing because they did not make a successful claim of individual harm. “What is stunning about the ruling is that the U.S. Supreme Court found a technicality allowing it to avoid immediately ruling on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “It is highly significant that the court refused to uphold the hyper-partisan districts created by Wisconsin Republicans, or reverse earlier federal court decisions which found them unconstitutional. There is nothing stopping the Legislature from from creating an independent redistricting process that serves the interests of the people of Wisconsin, not the partisan interests of political parties and politicians.”

A majority of Wisconsin county boards have already expressed their support for the legislation. So far, 39 of 72 counties have passed resolutions that call for “the creation of a nonpartisan procedure for the preparation of legislative and congressional redistricting plans.”

“This is an issue that affects every single one of our citizens,” said Lindsay Dorff, Citizen Action of Wisconsin Organizing Cooperative member in Green Bay. “The Wisconsin legislature has spent more than three million of our tax dollars to draw and defend flawed maps. We want to see a nonpartisan process for drawing maps that is both fair and costs significantly less.”

Senate Bill 13, introduced by Sen. Dave Hansen, and Assembly Bill 44, introduced by Rep. Don Vruwink, would move the responsibility for drawing voting maps out of the hands of politicians and into the hands of the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau. The bills are based on a successful model used in Iowa for thirty years.

“This is only the beginning of our movement for fair maps in Wisconsin,” said Stephens. “Wisconsinites will continue to push our state legislature to create an independent and transparent map drawing process until we get it.”

Clean Wisconsin, Wisconsin Farm Bureau: Statement on new drinking water protections

Contacts: Scott Laeser, Clean Wisconsin, 608-807-6332 (mobile) or [email protected]

Paul Zimmerman, Wisconsin Farm Bureau, 608-828-5708 (office) and [email protected]

New NR 151 rules the result of collaboration

MADISON, WI —Clean Wisconsin and Wisconsin Farm Bureau issued the following statement after the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced updates to Natural Resources 151 to protect drinking water for Northeast Wisconsin will take effect July 1:

“These new protections are the result of tireless effort on the part of residents in Northeast Wisconsin to implore the state to address drinking water contamination, and we are pleased to see them take effect,” said Clean Wisconsin Water Program Director Scott Laeser. “Many residents in places like Kewaunee County have struggled for years with contaminated drinking water, and these new protections are a sign of hope for a future with clean drinking water.”

“WFBF looks forward to continuing to work with farmers, local citizens and other stakeholders to ensure that these new protections are implemented to improve groundwater quality,” said Paul Zimmerman, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Governmental Relations. “In order to do so, local, state and federal government resources are needed to provide assistance to farmers and county conservation staff to accomplish this.”

This process has given our organizations and others in our communities the opportunity to sit down and talk openly and meaningfully about how we can find solutions to Wisconsin’s water quality problems.  Clean Wisconsin and Wisconsin Farm Bureau will continue to work together to move our state closer to a place where agriculture is thriving and everyone has access to clean drinking water.

Both organizations were part of the Technical Advisory Group DNR convened early in the development of the new rules.

Club for Growth: Supreme Court nomination will be a key issue in Wisconsin Senate race says Club for Growth President David McIntosh

Phone: 202-955-5500
E-mail: [email protected]

Washington, DC – Justice Kennedy’s decision to retire puts in play a key issue in November’s Senate election, one that could be decisive for Sen. Tammy Baldwin, according to David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth and a founder of the Federalist Society.

“In 2016 we saw the importance Wisconsin voters placed on the selection of Supreme Court Justices,” McIntosh explained. “They sent a clear message of support for the Constitutional Conservatives President Trump promised to appoint. He kept his promise with the nomination of Justice Gorsuch. Unfortunately, Sen. Baldwin ignored the will of these voters and followed the Democratic Party’s demand for a far-left nominee who pledges to advance the party’s ultra-liberal positions on a wide range of issues, no matter their constitutionality.”

“Sen. Baldwin will have another opportunity to vote for a well-qualified jurist who is committed to following the law as written. Her decision will not go unnoticed.”

Coalition for Expanding School-Based Mental Health: Legislators honored at School Mental Health Summit


CONTACT: Armando Hernandez (608) 218-4516 [email protected]

On June 22, 2018 at the 3rd Annual Growing School Mental Health Summit in
Madison, the Coalition for Expanding School-Based Mental Health presented
legislative awards to Representative Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah) and
Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) for their leadership in advancing
innovative funding solutions to support the expansion of school-based
mental health services.

The Coalition for Expanding School-Based Mental Health in Wisconsin is a
statewide coalition whose mission is to advance and support expanded,
comprehensive and integrated mental health services within the school
setting through school, home, and community partnerships.
Governor Walker’s 2017-19 Biennial Budget proposed new dollars to
support mental health services in schools, and then Representative Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), through their roles on the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, successfully championed additional grant dollars for schools and a critical, new Medicaid-funded consultation service to enable mental health professionals to connect with teachers and other school staff on strategies for effective engagement and interventions with students to support their treatment

“Guided by strong and diverse family and youth voice, quality school-mental health efforts augment the work of teachers, school psychologists, social workers, counselors and nurses through clinical therapy and consultation for students with more complex mental health challenges,” emphasized Chris Crowe, Coalition chair and Director/Principal of North Star Academy in Cameron. “One of the central goals of our Coalition has been securing more stable sources of funding for these successful, proven services. The approval of Medicaid-funded consultation in our schools is a critical building block that will deliver dividends for students across the state. We are grateful to Representative Rohrkaste and Senator Darling for their extraordinary efforts to expand successful treatment options for Wisconsin’s students.”

Committee to Elect a Republic Senate: Statement on the 1st Senate District special election


Contact: [email protected]

[Madison, WI] — The Committee to Elect a Republican Senate issued the following statement from Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald following the results of the 1st Senate District special election.

“These elections should have been aligned with the fall elections, and the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate looks forward running a competitive race for the 1st Senate District again this November. With low turnout in the special election tonight, it proved yet again that this was a complete waste of taxpayer money.”

Common Cause Wisconsin: It’s up to us to end partisan gerrymandering since the US Supreme Court won’t now


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

The U.S. Supreme Court decided on Monday not to take a North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case, a week after “punting” on Wisconsin’s Gill v. Whitford case, and one in Maryland. That means that, for now, it’s solely up to us – the citizens of Wisconsin – to continue to move this issue forward and advance the case for establishing a non-partisan redistricting process in Wisconsin for the constitutionally-mandated redistricting process in 2021, which will follow the national Census of 2020.

Last week, the nation’s highest court did not rule on the merits of the 2011 Wisconsin legislative district gerrymander, considered one of the most partisan state redistricting processes in the history of the nation. Instead, it side-steeped the issue and sent it back to the federal district court in Wisconsin that had ruled in November, 2016, that the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature’s redrawing of district boundaries was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court said, last week, that the original plaintiffs in the case had to show how they were harmed on a district-by-district basis and not solely on a statewide basis.

No one saw that coming. But attorneys for the plaintiffs say they should be able to articulate that harm and bring the case back to the U.S. Supreme Court. That could happen in the next two years – in time for a redrawing of Wisconsin’s state legislative districts for the 2020 elections. Or not.

Regardless and in the meantime, CC/WI and other reformers in Wisconsin are determined to press ahead with consideration and enactment of a new, non-partisan redistricting system for Wisconsin to be in place for the 2021 redistricting process based on the non-partisan process that our neighbor Iowa has had in place since 1980.

The establishment of such a system can occur, regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decides in Gill v. Whitford. Do not let any opponent of fair maps tell you that because the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to rule on Gill v. Whitford, the current, corrupt hyper-partisan redistricting process must remain in place. That’s a flat out lie.

CC/WI and other reformers – when CC/WI united pro-reform legislators and organizations behind it – have strongly supported “Iowa model” redistricting reform legislation. During the 2017-18 legislative session, it was introduced as Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bill 44. State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and State Rep. Don Vruwink (D-Milton) introduced this bipartisan reform legislation that would transform Wisconsin’s current hyper-partisan, highly secretive, extremely costly (to we, the taxpayers) redistricting process to one like Iowa’s – where a neutral, nonpartisan state agency draws state legislative and congressional voting maps every ten years. This is a system that has the overwhelming support of that state’s voters, both political parties, and even of the legislators. This is because it’s fair, transparent, impartial and provides voters with real choices in general elections. And it costs taxpayers next to nothing. Wisconsin’s current system has none of those qualities or characteristics.

You can continue to advance this reform by continuing to advocate for it with candidates for the State Senate and State Assembly and candidates for statewide office – and by insisting that their support for the Iowa model for Wisconsin will figure mightily in your intention to vote for them or not. That will get their attention.

You can also sign our on-line petition here, if you have not yet done so. If you’ve signed already, then urge friends and family to do so as well. We have nearly 4,000 signees to date and would love to have over 5,000 to present to the “new” Wisconsin Legislature in early 2019.

And finally, you can inform yourself further about the issue.

Here is CC/WI’s statement about the U.S. Supreme Court decision last week in the Wisconsin gerrymandering case, Gill v. Whitford.

Last week, CC/WI joined other reformers at a Capitol rallyin support of fair maps and ending gerrymandering.

Video of CC/WI Director Jay Heck’s remarks is here.

To hear Jay Heck’s and CC/WI Chair Tim Cullen’sremarks on the Supreme Court decision on Milwaukee radio, go here and here.

To see Jay Heck interviewed about gerrymandering on Up Front With Mike Gousha, prior to the Supreme Court decision, go here.

For even more on the decision go here (Wisconsin Gazette) and here (Fox 6 News).

Above all, keep involved, stay engaged and turn up the heat on candidates for public office to support fair maps and end partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

We are winning this fight. The U.S. Supreme Court isn’t going to lend a helping hand right now, but may later. But we cannot depend on that. It’s up to We the People.

On Wisconsin!

Common Cause Wisconsin: Stronger judicial recusal rules needed now before upcoming Wis. Supreme Court election in early 2019


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

Wisconsin has the 47th weakest judicial rules in the nation for recusal by judges at all levels with regard to receiving campaign contributions or benefiting from spending by outside special interest groups. Essentially Wisconsin doesn’t have any requirement to step aside when it comes to political money.

Judges can decide for themselves whether to step aside, or not.

This “non-rule” is awful because it was written verbatim by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and the Wisconsin Realtors Association and adopted by a narrow 4 to 3 vote by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2010.

Earlier this year, WMC spent about $1 million to influence the outcome of the Supreme Court election between Rebecca Dallet and Michael Screnock, primarily on scurrilous, nasty and largely untrue ads attacking Dallet. Had Screnock (WMC’s anointed candidate) won the election, he would not have been required to recuse himself from a case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in which WMC was a party. Even though Screnock benefited from $1 million in spending by WMC. That is so absurd it is beyond comprehension or logic.

The urgent need for strong judicial recusal rules was a front-and-center issue in the Dallet-Screnock election. Dallet supported them and Screnock opposed them. Dallet won the election handily in a major upset. Unquestionably, Dallet’s support for strong judicial recusal rules helped her, while Screnock’s opposition to them hindered his effort.

In less than six months, another election will be underway to fill the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat being vacated, after 42 years, by Justice (and formerly Chief Justice) Shirley Abrahamson. This election will no doubt be mightily contested and millions of dollars will be spent – most by big donors and “outside” special interest groups.

The need for stronger judicial rules for judges at all levels should and will be a central issue again.

To help raise the visibility of this critical issue, CC/WI just released it’s third informational video about the role of big campaign contributions and the need for stronger recusal rules. Marquette University Law School Professor Edward Fallone, a candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2013, does a superb job of framing the issue in this short video. We believe you will like it and learn from it:

Earlier this year, we produced and released two other videos on this issue which we also urge you to watch and share. The first one features former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Janine Geske and Louis Butler:

The second video, also released earlier this year, features Wisconsin citizens talking about the issue, expressing surprise about how weak our recusal rules are, and saying why they believe we have got to have stronger rules now:

Please feel free to share these widely – with family, friends or complete strangers! Education about issues leads to action and positive change. Be a change agent.

And here is further incentive to be concerned about this issue, if you need it. Currently, Illinois has stronger judicial recusal rules than does Wisconsin. Yes, even Illinois!

That must change.

On Wisconsin!

Community support key for early-stage entrepreneurs at StartingBlock


Community support is key to some of the earliest-stage startups working in the recently opened StartingBlock space in Madison.


“All the faces that you see everyday — it keeps the mood up,” said Clay Burdelik, CEO of YoEats, which has been working out of the space for the past three weeks as construction crews finished up. “Entrepreneurship can be up and down. If there’s a friendly face, that adds a comraderie aspect because they’re going through the same thing.”


Organizers for StartingBlock held a launch event yesterday evening at the new Spark Building, which has several floors dedicated to the Madison-based entrepreneurial group. The space is envisioned as a hub for entrepreneurs and established companies to interface and make connections, ultimately strengthening the area’s startup ecosystem.


Over 400 people attended the event, which featured food, drinks, product demonstrations, live music and comments from StartingBlock leaders.


Scott Resnick, entrepreneur-in-residence for StartingBlock, said “this has been years in the making.”


Five years ago, organizers were looking for promising real estate projects to house the proposed startup hub. Three years ago, American Family Insurance decided to join the endeavor. Less than two years ago, building construction began at 821 E. Washington Ave., several blocks away from the state Capitol.


“Now, we’re finally ready,” he said.

See more at WisBusiness.com.

Cory Mason: City of Racine Benefiting from New Partnerships and Foxconn


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

As news outlets and political pundits anxiously await the groundbreaking on Foxconn’s Racine County manufacturing facility, in the City of Racine, we are already starting to see how Foxconn’s unprecedented investment will benefit local residents and families.

As the Mayor of Racine, I have two key priorities regarding Foxconn: (1) make sure Racine residents are well-positioned to pursue jobs tied to public and private development projects throughout the area; and (2) ensure that we protect Lake Michigan, our greatest natural resource. I’m proud to say that last week we made progress on both fronts.

In terms of workforce development, last week I was joined by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Ray Allen, County Executive Jonathan Delagrave, Gateway Technical College President Bryan Albrecht, and other local and state officials to announce Racine Works, a $1.5 million workforce training program that will help train City of Racine residents for public and private construction job opportunities tied to Foxconn and other projects throughout our community. This partnership between the City, the County, the Department of Workforce Development, UMOS, and the Gateway Foundation will enable us to boost existing efforts and enhance their focus on City of Racine residents. In addition to workforce training, the Racine Works program will help ensure local hiring for publicly funded projects.

We have organizations that are already doing great work in this space. First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship, WRTP/BIG STEP, UMOS, and local building trades are preparing people for job opportunities. Because of Foxconn and the related development projects, we need to ramp up our efforts. Encouraging businesses, developers, and contractors to hire from Racine is meaningless if we don’t invest the dollars in the training needed to make sure we have skilled workers available to hire. That’s what Racine Works is all about. Through the program and its investment, we will go from training dozens of Racine workers to training hundreds.

We are anticipating more than $100 million in Racine Water Utility work tied to water infrastructure projects for the Foxconn project alone. Thanks to the Racine Works program, we will be able to ensure that City residents have the skill needed for these jobs, and that contractors will have trained workers to hire from within the City.

My other priority is ensuring that our greatest natural asset, Lake Michigan, is protected. As Mayor, I am responsible for protecting Lake Michigan with the City’s Water and Wastewater Utility. I have made it clear on several occasions that we will ensure that Foxconn will have to meet or beat every federal, state, and local water discharge standard. We made great strides last week when Foxconn announced that it is investing $30 million in a zero liquid discharge (ZLD) system that will allow it to dramatically reduce the facility’s water intake requirements from Lake Michigan and when operational, eliminate the return of any industrial wastewater to the lake.

By using this technology, Foxconn will reduce its intake of water by more than 3.5 million gallons per day, down to 2.5 million gallons per day. The ZLD system eliminates industrial wastewater by distilling it, allowing the company to recycle, recover, and re-use it. The only water that will not be recycled will be the domestic wastewater that is normally discharged from any commercial or residential facility and the water evaporating from the cooling systems.

Foxconn is committing to modify its facility in order to protect – at an even higher level than before – our greatest natural resource, Lake Michigan. Few manufacturing facilities in the United States have adopted ZLD systems and I appreciate Foxconn’s investment in environmental sustainability.

Foxconn is breaking ground in Racine County. I am doing everything in my power to ensure that the opportunities and growth that it brings will have a positive impact for our city. I know that Racine residents work hard, and given the opportunities and training, they will succeed. I also know that Lake Michigan is one of our greatest resources, and it is incumbent on us to protect it. There are challenges to overcome, and there is work to be done, but I believe that the arrival of Foxconn creates the best opportunity in my lifetime to rebuild our middle class and build a stronger community for all of us.

— Mason is mayor of Racine and a former Democratic state legislator.

Dane Co. Exec. Parisi: Dane County purchases new emergency command vehicle to better respond during major events

Stephanie Wilson Miller
Communications Director
Dane County
608.267.8823 o
920.470.4618 c

Today Dane County Executive Parisi announced Dane County has a new command vehicle to help coordinate emergency responses at major public safety incidents. County Executive Joe Parisi included $500,000 in this year’s county budget to purchase the new Dane County command vehicle (known as CV-1) and outfit it with the most state of the art communications and public safety response equipment.

Housed in Dane County’s Emergency Management Department, the vehicle will respond to severe weather, criminal investigations, power outages, and other emergencies requiring coordination of significant public safety resources. The new mobile command center will provide critical communications, planning and coordination for major incidents.

“This brand new command vehicle continues Dane County’s commitment to supporting the important work of police, fire, and emergency medical services countywide,” Parisi said. “Dane County Emergency Management stands ready to respond and support our responders and the communities they keep safe.”

Dane County first acquired a command vehicle in 2004, thanks to dollars from U.S. Homeland Security. It served as the command center during the 2005 Stoughton tornado and was critical to the county’s coordination and response to that disaster and its subsequent clean-up. CV1 has been deployed at numerous law enforcement, fire and community events since it was placed in service.

The new CV1 was purchased from Lynch Diversified Vehicles (LDV) a Wisconsin based company located in Burlington, Wisconsin. It features updated electronics and increased data capabilities to better aid responders.

Dane County Exec. Parisi: County increases access to fish lake, wins award and granted money

All Efforts Highlight County Commitment to Fishing And Lake Access

Today Dane County Executive Joe Parisi opened a new boat landing at the Lussier County Park. In addition to the new boat landing, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff awarded the Dane County Land and Water Resource Department a Fisheries Management External Partner Award and the Fishing Expo awarded Dane County $50,000 for to continue planning for a boat launch on Crystal Lake.

“I am proud of this new boat launch that will allow more people to enjoy the wonderful beauty of Fish Lake,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “I want to thank the Fishing Expo for their continued partnership that will allow more people to access our wonderful lakes.”

Lussier County Park is a 19 acre park located in the Town of Roxbury on the east shore of Fish Lake. The existing boat landing at Fish Lake County Park has parking for approximately five vehicles with trailers and requires users to back across Fish Lake Road on a corner when launching their boats. The new boat landing will include 13 trailer stalls, 8 car stalls, trailer and car ADA accessible parking, an ADA accessible path to the boat ramp pier and storm water infiltration basins. The project cost $620,000 with $420,000 from Dane County and the additional funding from a DNR grant. The existing Fish Lake County Park boat landing will remain for canoe/kayak carry-in access.

Lussier County Park encompasses approximately 130 acres and 4,000 feet of public shoreline, providing direct access to Fish Lake. The park offers a boat launch facility and hiking trails, and is also popular for shore fishing and wildlife observation. Fish Lake, known as a kettle lake, is one of the largest and deepest lakes in the county at around 200 acres in size and 62’ maximum depth. It was formed when the last glacier retreated from the area, leaving behind a large ice chunk which melted and created a large depression. The lake contains Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass and Panfish.

Dane County Land and Water Resources Department won the Fisheries Management External Partner Award. This award recognizes external partners in forwarding the mission and goals of the WDNR Fisheries Management program through their contributions to area fisheries resources and improved access to those resources.

“The Dane County Land and Water Resources Department does an amazing job every day to protect our resources for our kids and grandkids to enjoy,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “I am so proud of the work they do and thank them for their efforts.”

Individual staff that were recognized for their work were Kevin Connors, Darren Marsh, Pete Jopke, Chris James, John Reimer, and Sara Rigelman. The High profile projects included are Lake Kegonsa Carp Telemetry and Removal project, Indian Lake Carp Removal and Management, Mud Lake Carp Removal, Lake Waubesa shoreline habitat improvement associated with the Lower Yahara River Trail, Sugar River habitat improvement and demonstration project at the Dane County Basco Wildife Area.

Dane County Exec. Parisi: County to be national leader in climate change efforts

Recent Floods Across Wisconsin Highlight Need to Address Climate Change

Dane County Executive Parisi announced today that Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change has received a $29,500 grant from the Carolyn Foundation in Minneapolis to help make Dane County a national leader in the effort to address climate change. The Grant will allow Dane County to fulfill a contract with world-class modelers to model various polices, programs and projects to be included in a Dane County Climate Action Plan.

“With evidence of climate change all around us, Dane County is making a strong commitment to deep analysis of the most effective mitigation available, ” noted Parisi. “This week we have had communities flooded and more storm events than ever before. We can’t sit back and do nothing we must address climate change head on.”

The Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change (OECC) has convened a Council on Climate Change consisting of 37 organizations that represent a diverse mix of stakeholder perspectives and County leaders to help Dane County Develop a Climate Action Plan that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The award of this grant is recognition of the significant leadership Dane County has demonstrated in addressing climate change challenges,” said County Board Supervisor Patrick Miles (McFarland). “The modeling will help ensure that our efforts are effective in mitigating our impact on the environment and are cost-effective for taxpayers.”

Office of Energy and Climate Change has contracted with Sustainable Energy Economics which developed and holds the proprietary ownership of the Framework for Analysis of Climate-Energy-Technology Systems (FACETS) model. The FACETS model is an extremely powerful electric sector model that Sustainable Energy Economics is amending with transportation sector data to give Dane County the opportunity to perform geographically specific and deep analysis of mitigation actions.

Dane County Executive Parisi created the Dane County Office of Climate Change as part of his 2016 budget. The Office of Energy and Climate Change is a division within the County Executive’s Office. This office leads public and private efforts across the community to implement climate change strategies county government has embraced in recent years.

“This modeling will be a critical piece of work that will help make Dane County a national leader in the effort to protect our children’s future by reducing the adverse impacts of climate change, added Parisi.

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Dane County accepting applications for two partners in equity grant programs


Stephanie Wilson Miller
Communications Director
608.267.8823 o
920.470.4618 c

Programs Aimed at Addressing Systematic Racial inequities

Today County Executive Parisi announced that community based organizations can now apply for the Partners in Equity Grant Program and the first Partner in Equity Food Project Grant. The Partners in Equity Grant Program supports Dane County-based community groups that propose to use funding to address systemic racial inequities in the criminal justice system. The Partners in Equity Grant (PIE Grant) was approved by the County Board of Supervisors and County Executive and piloted in 2015 to address systemic racial inequalities in health, education, employment or criminal justice.

“My top priority as County Executive is to work with our entire community to ensure that every single resident has access to opportunity,” said Joe Parisi, Dane County Executive. “Together, we can address these shared challenges and better ensure opportunity for all.”

Grants are awarded to Dane County based community group(s) that will use the funding to address systemic racial inequities in the following areas: Health, Education, Employment, Criminal Justice. Individual organizations may apply for up to $15,000. Partnerships or collaborations of two or more eligible organizations may apply for up to $50,000 (the full amount).

“This program will help bolster important work that is being done in the community and is a wonderful opportunity for non-profits to access county services,” said Supervisor Shelia Stubbs. “It will help organizations innovate and grow and will benefit our efforts to be a more equitable community.”

Applicants may go to the following website https://oei-exec.countyofdane.com/Pie-Grant to obtain the applications or may contact the office at 608-283-1391 for a paper application or if they have questions.

The PIE Grant application must be received by the Tamara D. Grigsby Office for Equity and Inclusion by no later than 4:00 PM, Tuesday, July 31, 2018. Mail or drop of applications at 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, RM 356, Madison WI 53703.

The Partner in Equity Food Project Grant was created to encourage the innovative development of projects that advance equity and access in local food systems across Dane County. The budget for food projects is $15,000. The maximum amount of any one grant will be $5,000.

Proposals should address one for more of the following focus areas:

● Increase access to healthy food

● Ease access to land for growing food

● Address issues of food waste and recovery

Priority will be given to projects serving Dane County communities outside the city of Madison and those that impact underserved or underrepresented communities in Madison.

The PIE Food Grant Program application must be received by the Tamara D. Grigsby Office for Equity and Inclusion by no later than 4:00 PM, Friday, July 13, 2018.

The Office for Equity and Inclusion furthers Dane County’s ongoing commitment to addressing racial, gender, and disabilities disparities. The office guides Dane County’s Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, Contract Compliance, and Civil Rights Compliance functions and serves as a resource for all County departments around issues of equity, disparities, conflict resolution, staff development and best practices.

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Fights to hold pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors responsible for creating opioid epidemic

Stephanie Wilson Miller
Communications Director, Dane County
608.267.8823 o
920.470.4618 c

Consortium of national law firms to lead litigation against drug companies, alleging costs of treatment for addiction, education and law enforcement connected to pervasive opioid abuse

Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced that the County has filed suit against the nation’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for their role in creating a widespread diversion of prescription opiates for nonmedical purposes. The case was filed on June 14, 2018 in federal district court in the Western District of Wisconsin Case No. 18-cv-455.

Dane County has struggled to manage a rising number of drug overdose cases, including a staggering number of overdose deaths. In 2000, there were 13 opioid-involved overdose deaths in the county, but by 2016, the number of opioid-overdose deaths reached 85. Additionally, in 2015, Dane County had 443 ambulance runs in which naloxone was administered to overdose patients, the second highest amount in the state of Wisconsin.

The rise in overdose cases aligns with the dramatic uptick in opioids dispensed throughout the county. According to the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, more than 300,000 opioid prescriptions have been dispensed for Dane County residents each year since 2013, even though the County’s is only home to approximately 500,000 residents.

“The opioid epidemic has taken a tremendous toll on our community – lives have been lost, families have been hurt, and Dane County taxpayers have shouldered the tremendous cost of trying to manage this growing crisis,” said Parisi. “We need more resources to help our friends and neighbors who are addicted to these dangerous drugs and help prevent more innocent people from Dane County from falling through the cracks. Today’s action demands accountability from the corporations that have fueled this vicious cycle of widespread addiction in our County.”

In the suit, Dane County alleges that many of the nation’s largest drug manufacturers pushed highly addictive, dangerous opioids, and deliberately misinformed doctors by claiming that patients using the drugs rarely experienced addiction. The companies named in the suit include: Purdue Pharma; Teva Ltd. (which acquired pharmaceutical maker Cephalon, Inc. in 2011); Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson); Endo Health Solutions, Inc.; Allergan PLC; Mallinckrodt; and Insys Therapeutics, Inc. Drugs manufactured by these companies include, but are not limited to: OxyContin, Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Nucynta, Nucynta ER, Opana/Opana ER, Percodan, Percocet, Zydone, Kadian and Norco.

The suit also alleges that three of the nation’s largest drug distributors – Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson Corp. – failed to monitor, identify and report suspicious activity in the size and frequency of opioid shipments to pharmacies, in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act. Additionally, the suit names three of the nation’s largest Retail Pharmacies – CVS, Walgreens and Walmart – for their role in failing to report suspicious opioid orders.

Dane County has hired a team of 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; McHugh Fuller Law; Powell & Majestro, PLLC; and Axley Brynelson, LLP. The firms currently represent more than 500 cities and counties throughout the United States and serve as lead counsel to approximately 80 percent of the municipalities that have filed suit against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for opioid-related claims.

“The opioid epidemic in Dane County, and throughout the country, did not happen by accident,” said Baron & Budd Shareholder, Burton LeBlanc. “These Fortune 500 corporations were motivated by greed and acted with total disregard for the dangerous consequences of dumping these drugs throughout the country. Our team is determined to fight vigorously to hold these corporations accountable and help Dane County put a stop to this crisis.”

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Furthers efforts to decrease jail population


Communications Director: Stephanie Wilson Miller

608.267.8823 o

920.470.4618 c

Today Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced Dane County will begin working with Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM), Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development, Anesis Center for Marriage and Family Therapy and the Jessie Crawford Recovery Center to help inmates who are transitioning into the community from the Dane County Jail.

“Our new community based jail re-entry team will be there to help people make the transition back into society at a very vulnerable time,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “We will work with them while they are in jail to assess their needs and to develop a plan for success. Once released, we will have a team in the community ready to work with and assist them in successfully reintegrating back into society.”

This program will work with inmates before they leave the jail to help prepare them for a successful transition by providing case management and peer support to eliminate intrapersonal and environmental factors that contribute to criminal activity and repeated incarceration. Individuals who are at the highest risk for returning to jail will be prioritized.

Sentenced inmates who have indications of a mental illness or substance use disorder will be prioritized for intervention, unless that individual already has support from a case manager in the community. The organizations will gather critical information and develop a re-entry plan for each individual prior to their release to the community. MUM, Nehemiah, Anesis and Jessie Crawford Recovery Center will collaborate with other professionals and entities focused on community re-entry from the jail. The re-entry plan will address the most critical needs of the individual that are most likely to place the individual at risk of a subsequent period of incarceration.

“MUM along with our partners look forward to working with Dane County on this initiative to expand our existing reentry peer support and case management services to the entire county,” said Linda Ketcham, Executive Director of Madison-area Urban Ministry. “The County initiative will increase our capacity to offer peer support, case management, access to mental health, trauma support, employment support and housing we can offer a holistic approach to supporting for returning citizens. We recognize that these collaborations not only increase capacity but strengthen our efforts and allow us to more effectively leverage existing services.”

Participation in the program will be voluntary and in collaboration with the Dane County Sherriff’s office re-entry coordinator. The partner organizations will work to help assist individuals to obtain housing, employment, counseling or medication for a mental illness or a substance use disorder, health coverage, and need-based benefits. They will meet with people in jail to start working through their plan and offer services like trauma counseling, peer support and access to other community organizations.

Dane County Executive Parisi introduced this initiative as part of his 2018 budget and efforts to divert people from the Dane County Jail and allocated $110,000 annually toward the effort.

All the organizations are currently working in this field and are well respected community based organizations. Their combined expertise in the areas of culturally specific services, trauma informed treatment, housing, employment and training, and peer supports will provide a full continuum of services needed to assist inmates in successfully transitioning from jail to the community.

Over the coming weeks the Dane County Board is expected to approve the contract and work will be begin later this summer.

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Kicks off lakes clean up work


Groundbreaking Work Means Cleaner Lakes Decades Sooner

Today Dane County Executive Joe Parisi kicked off “Suck The Muck”, a $12 million lakes clean-up project. The initiative will assess and clean up to 33 miles of streams that feed phosphorus directly in the lakes on a daily basis. This work will remove 870,000 pounds of phosphorus, the chief culprit responsible for algae growth, from area waters.

“This effort will mean cleaner lakes for our children and grandchildren,” said Dane County Executive Parisi. “Our lakes are one of the reasons people love living in Dane County. We must continue to improve the health and vitality of our lakes.”

Over the summer, Dane County will continue to assess streams by collecting and analyzing sediment samples from all 33 miles of streams. Sample laboratory results are being evaluated. Also, planning for sediment removal of additional sites is underway. Dane County anticipates identifying and securing services for sediment removal from a second site starting in fall/winter of 2018.

These waterways are feeders of phosphorus into the chain of lakes. Until the muck under the water flowing above is free and clear of pollutants, the streams will continue to release phosphorus, responsible for creating algae, into the lakes. This project will provide a benefit by returning these stream bottoms to the way they were back in 1890, allowing for new fisheries and healthy habitats for wildlife.

Dane County conducted a study to analyze the water quality and phosphorus content of the streams and creeks that feed into Lake Mendota. The findings were stark: if the accrued muck that sits at the bottom of these streams is not removed, it will take 99 years to see the water quality standards achieved. Technical experts from UW- Madison, DNR and State Hygiene Lab were consulted on the project.

Testing shows the phosphorus concentration in this stream sediment is seven times more potent than what’s found on crop fields in the watershed. County staff and farmers have implemented conservation and runoff reduction practices on 90% of those lands in the Dorn Creek area. Nutrient Management Plans from farmlands in the watershed are on average two times better than the state standards for phosphorus runoff.

This data shows what’s been done to date has worked at keeping nutrients on the land. The County and its partners are making progress. Studies show that even if all phosphorus and sediment stopped entering streams today – all runoff from farm and cities stops immediately- it would still take 60 years for all the established sediment and phosphorus to be flushed out of the system.

Stephanie Wilson Miller

Communications Director, Dane County

608.267.8823 o, 920.470.4618 c

Facebook @DaneCoJoe

Dane County: Announces director of airport will be retiring


Communications Director: Stephanie Wilson Miller

608.267.8823 o

920.470.4618 c

Today Dane County announced that Brad Livingston will be retiring as Director of the Dane County Regional Airport effective August 31, 2018.

“I want to thank Brad for his years of public service to the Dane County Regional Airport and the citizens of Dane County,” said Dane County Executive Parisi. “Under his leadership Dane County greatly grew our direct flights and improved our airport.”

Brad Livingston has worked 38th years in airport management, 25 years of that time as a Dane County employee working in various management positions at the airport. Currently he is serving in his 15th year as the Airport Director. During his tenure as Director he has secured non-stop routes to Washington, DC Reagan, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, Salt Lake City, UT, Orlando, FL, Las Vegas, NV, Philadelphia, PA, Dallas, TX and most recently, San Francisco, CA. When Brad started in 1986 the total passenger count was under 900,000 and is now approaching 2 million. Dane County now has an award winning concession program and have plans to further expand the program in 2019.

Dane County Regional Airport has invested in a $300 million capital improvement program since 2003 with a plan to modernize and update the terminal in 2019/2020 while remaining self-supporting and off the property tax levy.

Brad is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration. He has also worked at Centennial Airport in Denver Colorado, Omaha- Eppley Airfield in Omaha Nebraska in addition to the Dane County Regional Airport.

Dane County will be conducting a nationwide search to fill the position of Director of the Dane County Airport.

DATCP: Confirms chronic wasting disease at depopulated Iowa County deer farm

Media Contacts:
Leeann Duwe, Communications Specialist, (608) 224-5005
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, (608) 224-5020

MADISON – The National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) confirmed that 21 whitetails from a deer farm in Iowa County tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). On May 18, a team comprised of Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service veterinarians and animal health technicians humanely depopulated the farm’s 103 whitetail deer. CWD testing was done for 79 of those deer that were 16 months or older.

The deer farm had been quarantined since October when DATCP confirmed a deer shot on a hunting ranch in Waupaca County tested positive for CWD and was traced back to the farm. Since then, 10 additional deer harvested from the Waupaca County hunting ranch tested positive for CWD and were traced back to the Iowa County deer farm. State and federal indemnity payments are in the process of being determined.

CWD is a fatal, neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by an infectious protein that affects the animal’s brain. Testing for CWD can only be performed after the deer’s death. For more information about CWD visit DATCP’s website. DATCP regulates deer farms for registration, recordkeeping, disease testing, movement, and permit requirements. To learn more about deer farm regulations in Wisconsin, visit DATCP’s farm-raised deer program. The Department of Natural Resources also provides resources for CWD and monitors the state’s wild white-tailed deer for CWD.

DATCP: Confirms CWD-positive deer in Marinette County


Media Contacts:
Leeann Duwe, Communications Specialist, 608-224-5005
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON – The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirms that a white-tailed deer from a breeding farm in Marinette County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). The National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the test results and the farm has been quarantined. A quarantine means no animals may move in or out of the farm.

The two-year-old doe was born on the 230-acre farm and died during fawning. The fenced farm has 320 whitetail deer, according to the owner’s most recent registration. The farm had not been enrolled in the CWD Herd Status Program since May 2017. Previously, the farm was enrolled in the CWD Herd Status Program since 2002. More information about CWD testing requirements for farms enrolled and non-enrolled in the program can be found on the DATCP website.

DATCP’s Animal Health Division will investigate the animal’s history and trace movements of deer onto and off the farm to determine whether other herds may have been exposed to the CWD-positive deer.

CWD is a fatal, neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by an infectious protein that affects the animal’s brain. Testing for CWD can only be performed after the deer’s death. For more information about CWD visit DATCP’s website. DATCP regulates deer farms for registration, recordkeeping, disease testing, movement, and permit requirements. To learn more about deer farm regulations in Wisconsin, visit DATCP’s farm-raised deer program. The Department of Natural Resources also provides resources for CWD and monitors the state’s wild white-tailed deer for CWD.

DATCP: Confirms CWD-positive elk in Sauk County


Contact: Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020, [email protected]

MADISON – The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirms that an elk from a breeding farm in Sauk County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). The National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the test results and the farm has been quarantined. A quarantine means no animals may move in or out of the farm.

The 5-year-old cow died while giving birth. The fenced farm has 15 elk, according to the owner’s most recent registration. The farm has been licensed since 1997 and is not enrolled in the CWD Herd Status Program. More information about CWD testing requirements for farms enrolled and non-enrolled in the program can be found on the DATCP website.

DATCP’s Animal Health Division will investigate the animal’s history to try to determine how it was exposed to CWD.

CWD is a fatal, neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by an infectious protein that affects the animal’s brain. Testing for CWD can only be performed after the animal’s death. For more information about CWD visit DATCP’s website. DATCP regulates deer farms for registration, recordkeeping, disease testing, movement, and permit requirements. To learn more about deer farm regulations in Wisconsin, visit DATCP’s farm-raised deer program. The Department of Natural Resources also provides resources for CWD and monitors the state’s wild white-tailed deer for CWD.

DATCP: Food projects receive Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grants

Media Contacts: Rick Hummell, 608-224-5041 [email protected]

or Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020 [email protected]                                             

MADISON – Six local food projects are the latest recipients of Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grants administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The grants are intended to provide consumers with access to even more Wisconsin-grown food products.

“Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grants support the diverse sectors of Wisconsin agriculture, and outcomes generated by the grant recipients provide benefits to local communities and serve as models for others in the local food industry,” said DATCP Wisconsin Foods Program Manager Kietra Olson. “The grants help reduce marketing, distribution, and processing hurdles that impede the expansion of sales of Wisconsin food products to local purchasers.”

DATCP received 25 funding requests totaling approximately $980,000. Ultimately, six projects totaling $200,000 were selected to receive grants. The 2018 grantees and project descriptions are:

  • FairShare CSA Coalition: Equipping growers with online marketing tools and templates to increase CSA share sales in Wisconsin.
  • NamiChips: Increasing the demand and supply for locally produced food by strategically purchasing produce from local farms and processing it into an innovative local food product.

  • Nordic Creamery: Collaborating with local dairy farmers to create and market A2 Milk Products.

  • Pasture and Plenty: Expanding direct-to-consumer and wholesale distribution to support Wisconsin-based growers and connect consumers with convenient local food solutions.

  • Living the Waupaca Way: Expanding the access and reach of the Waupaca Area Farmers’ Market.

  • Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative: Developing a workable model for cost-efficient aggregation and transportation for local and regional food markets for Wisconsin produce

The program has been funded since 2008. Since its inception, the program has funded 58 projects, totaling more than $1.6 million. Previous grant recipients have generated nearly $10 million in new local food sales, created and retained 211 jobs, and benefitted more than 2,700 producers and 2,900 markets.

The application period for FY2019 BLBW grants will be announced late this summer.

Learn more about the program here. For more information, contact Kietra Olson[email protected]gov or 608-224-5112.

DATCP: Foodborne illness advisory: Pre-Cut melons linked to salmonella


Media Contacts:
DHS: Jennifer Miller or Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683
DATCP: Leeann Duwe, 608-224-5005; Bill Cosh, 608-224-5020

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) are alerting Wisconsin consumers to a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Adelaide infections linked to the consumption of pre-cut melons. At this time, no cases have been identified in Wisconsin residents, but the recalled products were sold at locations in the state.

The FDA has identified Costco stores in the following Wisconsin cities as having distributed the recalled pre-cut melon:

  • Bellevue (Green Bay)
  • Grafton
  • Grand Chute
  • Menomonee Falls
  • Middleton
  • New Berlin
  • Pewaukee
  • Pleasant Prairie
  • Sun Prairie

The full list of stores distributing this product is available on the FDA’s website and may expand to include other stores as the investigation continues. Consumers who have purchased recalled pre-cut melon from these stores, including fruit salad mixes with pre-cut melon, should not to eat it and throw it away.

To date, no cases have been reported in Wisconsin, but public health officials continue to monitor for cases. Nationally, 60 people infected with the Salmonella strain have been reported in other Midwest states. States that have reported illnesses include Illinois (6 cases), Indiana (11), Michigan (32), Missouri (10), and Ohio (1).

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment. The elderly, infants, and those with weak immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness. In rare cases, Salmonella infection can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. Individuals who believe they may have become ill with Salmonella should contact their health care provider. More information about this outbreak and steps to take to reduce the risk of infection can be found on the CDC’s website.

The following are general food safety tips when preparing any fresh produce:

  • Rinse raw produce, such as fruits and vegetables, thoroughly under running tap water before eating, cutting, or cooking. Even if the produce will be peeled, it should still be washed first.
  • Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush.
  • Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Purchase produce that is not bruised or damaged.
  • When selecting pre-cut produce — such as a half a watermelon or bagged salad greens — choose only those items that are refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
  • Bag fresh fruits and vegetables separately from meat, poultry, and seafood products when packing them to take home from the market.
  • Check that your refrigerator is clean and is set to operate at 40° F or below.

For more food safety tips, visit http://www.foodsafety.gov.

DATCP: Protect your pets and livestock from extreme heat exposure

Media Contacts:
Leeann Duwe, Communications Specialist, 608-224-5005
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON – Due to the forecasted heat advisory, DATCP is reminding pet and livestock owners this holiday weekend to take extra steps to protect their animals that may be exposed to extreme heat.

“People want to take their pets everywhere but keeping your pet at home in the shade, air conditioning, or a cool basement shows you care more about your pet than risking its welfare in the heat,” says Dr. Yvonne Bellay, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) state humane veterinarian. “If you have livestock it is important to let them be when it’s this hot and make sure they have shade and water.”

Heat stroke is a threat for both pets and livestock, and can be fatal even with prompt treatment. Pets that have already suffered heat stroke once are more susceptible, as are animals that are very young or very old, have health problems, are overweight, or are snub-nosed.

Signs of heat stroke in small animals include panting, staring or stupor, breathing difficulty, an anxious expression, refusal to obey, warm dry skin, fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and collapse.

In large animals, signs of heat stress and stroke may include restlessness, stumbling, increased heart rate and salivation, panting, collapse, and convulsions.

If you see any of these signs, call your veterinarian immediately.

For pets, get the animal out of direct heat and wet however you can – such as towels soaked in cool water, with a hose, or in a wading pool. If you use towels, it will be most effective on less hairy parts of the body, like a dog’s belly and legs. Even if the animal seems to revive after a few minutes, get it to a veterinarian, because its temperature may rise again or fall well below normal.

For cattle and other large animals, hosing them down may be effective until the veterinarian arrives.

Tips for pet owners:

  • Never leave an animal in a parked vehicle, even for a few minutes. Even with windows open a few inches, the temperature in a parked car may hit 120 degrees within minutes. When running errands, leave your dog home. When traveling, stop at places where your pet can get out of the vehicle.
  • Provide fresh, cool drinking water at all times – including in your vehicle when you are traveling.
  • Outdoor kennels must be well-ventilated and shaded, with water in bowls that will not tip.
  • Do not exercise pets on hot days or warm, humid nights.
  • Clip long coats to about an inch — shorter clips or shaving can leave dogs vulnerable to sunburn.

Tips for livestock owners:

  • Avoid transporting animals in heat over 80 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity.
  • Park vehicles loaded with livestock in the shade.
  • Deliver animals at night or in early morning, and use wet bedding to transport hogs in hot weather.
  • Provide well-ventilated air space in farm trucks, barns, or any enclosure.
  • Provide fresh drinking water at all times, and provide shade in resting, eating, and watering areas.
  • Use a water sprinkling system to cool animals.

DATCP’s Division of Animal Health monitors animal health and disease threats, promotes humane treatment of animals, and provides licensing and registration regulation for animals in Wisconsin. For more information about how the weather may affect your pet or livestock, visit DATCP’s website.

DATCP: Quarantines Dane County deer farm and Richland County elk farm due to positive CWD results

Media Contacts:
Leeann Duwe, Communications Specialist, 608-224-5005 
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON – The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has quarantined a deer farm in Dane County and an elk farm in Richland County due to chronic wasting disease (CWD). This is a result of the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, IA confirming on May 31 that samples from a 15-year old whitetail doe and a 2-year old elk cow were positive for CWD.

The 10-acre Dane County deer farm has six whitetail deer that have been registered with DATCP since 2003. The farm has been double-fenced since 2009. Since 2010, the farm has had 20 deer sampled for CWD.

Since March, the 20-acre Richland County elk farm has had 11 elk and there have been no elk purchases or sales on the farm in the past five years. Since 2007, the farm has had 25 elk sampled for CWD.

CWD is a fatal, neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by an infectious protein that affects the animal’s brain. Testing for CWD can only be performed after the deer’s death. For more information about CWD visit DATCP’s website. DATCP regulates deer farms for registration, record keeping, disease testing, movement, and permit requirements. To learn more about deer farm regulations in Wisconsin, visit DATCP’s farm-raised deer program. The Department of Natural Resources also provides resources for CWD and monitors the state’s wild white-tailed deer for CWD.

DATCP: Shining a light on conservation success: New Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Annual Report

Contact: Donna Gilson, 608-224-5130, [email protected]
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020, [email protected]

MADISON – A civic-minded farmer’s conservation efforts, washouts from a 2016 deluge in northern Wisconsin, and an unlikely alliance between farmers and lakeside homeowners highlight efforts to protect Wisconsin’s land and waters, detailed in the 2017 Land and Water Conservation Annual Report.

Land and water conservation staff in the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection presented the report to the Land and Water Conservation Board at its June meeting in Madison. It is available online at https://datcp.wi.gov under the Publications menu.

Conservation efforts in Wisconsin depend on county land conservation departments and landowners working with DATCP, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Often private non-profit environmental groups are also part of the cooperative effort. All told, conservation spending in Wisconsin in 2017 totaled more than $87 million. Of that, about $18 million was state funds, mostly distributed to county land and water conservation departments, and about $59 million came from federal funds. Local governments kicked in more than $8 million, and almost $2 million came from private organizations and other sources.

The annual report is required by Wisconsin law. The report used to be mostly lists of conservation practices installed and dollars spent, but in recent years, it is used as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on success stories in the conservation world.

Counties featured in this year’s report:

Bayfield County – That July 2016 deluge accelerated erosion along Whittlesey Creek, which flows through a national wildlife refuge into Lake Superior. Overnight, the streambank washed away up to a bridge on a town road and within five feet of a power pole. The end result was a stabilized streambank and improved habitat for the coaster brook trout, a native trout that spawns in the creek and spends its adult life in the lake. (p. 23)

Chippewa County – The July 2016 rainstorms eroded a gully that was 22 feet deep and the length of a football field on a Chippewa Falls farm. Unable to secure federal disaster relief, the landowner turned to Chippewa County Department of Land Conservation and Forest Management for help designing and building a system of berm, buffers and dams to prevent further land loss. (p. 15)

Columbia County – A notice of violation that took an old-school young farmer by surprise led to a project to control runoff from a feedlot, shore up stream banks, establish rotational grazing, add watering stations, and keep cattle out of the stream. Another, happier surprise came out of all that when calf health improved in his beef herd, because the calves could easily get to clean water. (p. 6)

Florence County – The Lakes and Rivers Association inventoried stream crossings in the county, helping prioritize conservation work and funding. In 2017, two undersized culverts on Wood Creek, the county’s highest quality trout stream, were slated for replacement, along with a culvert on an unnamed stream that was damaged in the heavy rains of 2017. WE Energies funding was key, along with both the county and the Town of Florence. (p. 25)

Fond du Lac County – Fond du Lac County’s agronomist decided to take the farmers-teaching-farmers approach into the classroom, bringing in two producers and nutrient management advocates into her annual nutrient management training. One had flatlands, the other had steep hills and valleys, one had 220 head of dairy and beef combined, the other was a 950-head CAFO. But they were both open to data-driven decision-making and had credibility with farmers. (p. 9)

Pepin County – Concern about high nitrate levels in drinking water brought the land conservation and management departments together with the county health department and UW-Extension to develop the ThinkWater School. It offers tools and skills for effective adult and community water education and outreach. (p. 20)

Pierce County – It borders the Mississippi, but erosion control efforts here focus on the small watersheds that eventually drain to the big river. The county land conservation department encourages experimentation among farmers to increase rainfall infiltration and decrease cropland erosion, offers the incentive of tax credits through Farmland Preservation Program participation that requires conservation compliance, and rents a no-till drill so farmers can try the technology before they buy. (p. 13)

Sheboygan – The Elkhart Lake community, worried about toxic algae blooms, formed a collaboration among the lake improvement association, county planning and conservation, and Sheboygan River Basin Partnership to investigate where the phosphorus originated that was feeding those blooms. The result was installation of a new technology – a phosphorus-reducing iron filtration bed on the edge of land volunteered by a farmer. (p. 21)

Vernon County – The county’s land and water conservation department shares a hands-on, multisensory watershed project with local school kids. Last year, students in the project entered 630 posters in the state and national Conservation Poster Contest. (p. 20)

Vilas County – A livestock operation in this tourism-driven county needed help with the annual problem of spring thaw that turned a shed and a watering area into a muddy mess for cattle and horses, compacting soil and leading to runoff. County technical help and cost sharing helped the owners build an access road, concrete slabs and gravel to solve the problem and help save the lakes that are the county’s economic backbone. (p. 24)

Waukesha County – A partnership among the county, School District of Waukesha and Carroll University has revitalized environmental education in the county, connecting the community with UW-Extension resources, the Retzer Nature Center, professional development opportunities and recycling programs. In addition, teachers have access to a land conservation tour and Project WET, offering water education training. (p. 20)

DATCP: Storm Damage? Watch for Travelling Contractors


Media Contact: Jerad Albracht, Senior Communications Specialist, 608-224-5007 or Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON – The continuous storms have brought flooding, strong winds and hail damage throughout Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) asks affected property owners to seek trusted contractors for repairs and to be leery of “storm chasers” that come knocking at your door with aggressive sales tactics.

Always use caution when interacting with storm chasers that show up at your door in the aftermath of a storm, never let them into your home, and do not give in to high-pressure pitches.

Start your search for a contractor by seeking references from neighbors, friends, family, local home builder associations, and your insurance company. You can also contact DATCP’s Consumer Protection Hotline (800-422-7128) to check on complaints against a business.

Consider these tips if you seek help with a home repair after a major storm:

Ask contractors if they are subcontracting your job. If they are, find out who the subcontractor will be and check them out as well.

Get lien waivers from anyone you pay for home repairs. Lien waivers protect you if the person collecting the money does not pay the suppliers or workers.

Get a written contract with a start and completion date and warranty information. Also, make certain that the contract states exactly what work is to be done and what materials are to be used. Never rely on a verbal commitment.

Check with your local building inspector to see if the work requires a permit. Make sure an inspector visits the job site before you make a final payment.

Request a copy of the contractor’s certificate of liability insurance.

In addition, a Wisconsin state law – “The Storm Chaser Law” – aims to protect consumers, businesses and prevent insurance fraud. Highlights of the law include:

Contractors cannot promise to pay all or some of a property insurance deductible.

Contractors cannot represent or negotiate with the customer’s homeowner’s insurer on behalf of the customer. The contractor can, with the consent of the customer, discuss damages and costs with the insurer.

Before entering into a contract with a customer, the contractor must inquire if the work requested is related to an insurance claim.

Customers have a right to cancel the contract within three business days of being notified that their insurer has denied all or any part of the claim for work. Contractors must notify customers of this right.

It is important to note that local door-to-door solicitation rules could vary by municipality, and that there are legitimate businesses that may knock on your door with a sales pitch. A good practice to follow is to request a business representative’s permit to operate if your municipality has a door-to-door sales ordinance.

For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at http://datcp.wi.gov, send an e-mail to [email protected] or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.

Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wiconsumer or Twitter: @wiconsumer.

DC Wrap: MU Law Poll shows Ryan, Johnson above water

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, June 15-21

We can enforce our immigration laws without breaking families apart. The administration says it wants Congress to act, and we are.
– House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, in a statement Wednesday. The House is set to vote on immigration legislation today, including a so-called “compromise” bill that would appropriate $25 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, end the diversity-visa lottery program, ensure migrant families stay together in immigration-detention facilities and further extend protections to so-called Dreamers, per national media reports.

During my visit to the southern border this weekend, it was clear that additional National Guard troops will not alleviate the humanitarian crisis unfolding in shelters.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, who knocked Gov. Scott Walker this week for agreeing to send two dozen Wisconsin National Guard troops to the southern border. Pocan traveled to Texas over the weekend along with other lawmakers to tour border patrol processing centers and other facilities. A Walker spokeswoman noted the state’s troops are on administrative assignments with the cost covered by the federal government. See more in a WisPolitics.com report.

You can’t have 535 members of Congress trying to negotiate trade deals. You need the chief executive to do that. But it should be in complete consultation with Congress. And in the end, you should bring those trade deals back to Congress for ratification as treaties. That’s the way the system should work.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in an interview on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,’’ a partner of WisPolitics.com. He’s co-sponsoring legislation that would require the president to seek congressional approval of certain tariffs. He said the bill would “reclaim congressional constitutional authority.” See more on the interview.

This week’s news

— U.S Sen. Ron Johnson and House Speaker Paul Ryan are viewed more favorably than not, according to the results of the new Marquette University Law School Poll.

But U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who’s up for re-election this year, and President Trump are both under water.

The latest poll results, released yesterday, also found most people think increased tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will hurt the national economy, while more than half of respondents think free-trade agreements have positively benefited the U.S.

In all, 29 percent of respondents said higher steel and aluminum tariffs would improve the economy and 55 percent said they thought an increase would have a negative impact. Fifteen percent responded they didn’t know.

Fifty-one percent of voters said free-trade agreements have been good for the U.S. economy, while 28 percent said they’ve been bad, while 20 percent say they don’t know.

The questions come following the Trump administration’s imposition of tariffs on imported steel and aluminum in March. While several allies were initially exempted, that exemption expired in May, according to national media reports.

Meanwhile, views on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election have become more polarized, the poll results found.

Both the number of respondents saying they have “a great deal of confidence” and the number saying they have “no confidence at all” have grown over the last year. Twenty-nine percent say they have a great deal of confidence, while 32 percent say they have no confidence.

In March, the first time the poll was conducted this year, 24 percent said they have a great deal of confidence while 23 percent said they have no confidence.

— In other results:

*Johnson, R-Oshkosh, is viewed favorably by 39 percent and unfavorably by 34 percent, while 26 percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t know. His split was 40-30 in March.

*Forty-three percent of respondents say they view Ryan, R-Janesville, favorably, while 41 percent view him unfavorably. That’s a closer margin that in March, when Ryan’s rating was 46-39. Fifteen percent this time around said they don’t know or haven’t heard enough.

*Baldwin, D-Madison, is at 41-43 favorable-unfavorable, a slight difference from the March poll where she was at 37-39. This time, 15 percent said they haven’t heard enough or don’t know and 1 percent refused to answer.

*Trump has a 44 percent job approval rating with 50 percent disapproving, while he was at 43-50 in March. Asked who respondents trust more to tell them the truth about important issues, Trump or the news media, 38 percent said Trump while 45 percent said the media. Fourteen percent said neither.  

The survey of 800 registered voters was conducted from June 13-17 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The poll used live interviewers, who conducted 60 percent of the surveys via cell phones.

See more from the results.

— A bipartisan amendment from Baldwin to boost support for medical isotope companies has been added to the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Bill.

The amendment was introduced with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio.

“The Department of Energy has diligently been working with the private sector to develop sources that are Made in America, and this amendment would dedicate $20 million to ensure that work continues so we can secure domestic production as soon as possible,” Baldwin said Wednesday on the Senate floor.

The United States currently has no domestic production of Mo-99, the most commonly used medical isotope in the country for detection and treatment of cancer and heart disease, Baldwin said. That means many patients in the country rely on imported isotopes from Canada, the Netherlands and South Africa.

“This raises costs and risks supply disruptions, as the isotope only lasts for three days,” she said. “For security in the health care system and certainty in patient access to essential medical tests — which are often needed in urgent situations — we need a domestic supply of these isotopes.”

Jonathan Fera, deputy press secretary for Baldwin’s office, says this will support efforts from Wisconsin companies like SHINE Medical Technologies in Janesville and NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes in Beloit, which are working toward production of this important isotope.

Fera said the amendment passed Wednesday morning, and will be included in the bill.

The Senate could complete passage of the funding package by the end of this week or the beginning of next week, Fera said. At that point, the House and Senate would need to conference their competing versions of the package to reconcile differences, and then both chambers would need to pass the conferenced version.

He said it’s unclear when that process will begin, but it could be as soon as July or as late as September. He noted House and Senate GOP leadership have a goal of completing appropriations bills by the close of fiscal year 2018, on Sept. 30.

See more in a statement from Baldwin.

— Baldwin this week also took to Twitter this week to urge President Trump to publicly back her “Buy America” push.

Trump said during a visit to Kenosha last year he supported Baldwin’s “Buy America” water infrastructure legislation.

Baldwin, in a video message to Trump filmed on the shore of Sturgeon Bay, called on Trump to reach out the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to tell them he supports her effort, as the Senate considers the so-called “Water Resources Development Act” containing the “Buy America” provisions.

“Maybe just … send them a tweet,” she said in the video.

— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner has introduced legislation that would make it easier for foreign physicians to get temporary visas to work in areas that don’t have enough health care professionals.

“Every community should be served by well-trained medical staff,” the Menomonee Falls Republican said in a statement. “This legislation is a commonsense solution to the very real problem of doctor shortages that affects vulnerable populations across the country.”

According to a release from his office, foreign doctors must complete a residency training program in the United States if they want to practice in the country. Sensenbrenner argues this policy makes sense for younger doctors fresh out of medical school, but not for industry veterans who have been caring for patients for decades.

The bill would make it possible for these experienced doctors to live and work in an area defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as having a shortage of health care workers for three years, without needing to complete a residency.

Wisconsin has hundreds of Health Professional Shortage Areas, with communities statewide experiencing shortages in primary, dental and mental health.

The release says states would still be able to keep their own standards for practicing doctors, and decide which ones qualify for this exception.

See HPSAs in Wisconsin here.

— Two bills from Wisconsin congressmen aimed at addressing the state’s drug crisis recently cleared the House.  

One, from Sensenbrenner called the “Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act,” would target synthetic opioid by updating the Controlled Substance Act through the addition of a new schedule, Schedule A, to the five existing ones

The other, from U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, is called the “PROPER Act.” The bill would give those who receive Medicare more information on the risks associated with opioid medication and promote the proper disposal of opioid medications, among other things.

— U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan and Gwen Moore have signed onto a bipartisan push to withhold support of a Saudi-led strike on a Yemen city.

Pocan, D-Madison, led a group of 34 members of Congress in drafting a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis. The letter calls on Mattis to put pressure on Saudi Arabia in an effort to prevent an assault on the Yemen port city of Hodeida.

The members of Congress cited fears that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen would worsen if the coalition took the city.

“We urge you to use all tools at your disposal to dissuade the Saudi-led coalition from moving forward with this offensive and reject the provision of U.S. logistical, military and diplomatic support for any such operation,” the members of Congress wrote to Mattis.

The authors also called on the Defense Department to provide Congress with more information about the U.S.’s involvement in the conflict, saying it was necessary for Congress to authorize such military involvement.

“We are concerned that…the Pentagon may have concealed key information from members of Congress regarding the full extent of on-the-ground U.S. military participation in the Saudi coalition-led war,” they wrote.

As of Tuesday, fighting between the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels in Hodeida is ongoing, according to international news reports.

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher’s chief of staff, McKay Daniels, has left the office to take a job in Chicago.

Daniels, who’s been working with the Green Bay Republican since he took office last year, is now the COO for the National Roofing Contractors Association, a Gallagher spokeswoman said.

Spokeswoman Madison Wiberg says a replacement for Daniels hasn’t yet been finalized.

NRCA in January 2017 announced former U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble had taken over as CEO. Daniels previously served as Ribble’s chief of staff before he retired and Gallagher sought the seat.

Posts of the week


‘UpFront’: Johnson pressing Trump admin to seal trade deals, end tariffs

MU Poll: Tammy Baldwin leads Republican challengers Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson in Wisconsin U.S. Senate race

Marquette Poll: Tammy Baldwin holds lead over Republican challengers

Ron Johnson pushes bill to keep families together at southern border

Ron Johnson ‘troubled’ by ethics issues against EPA chief Scott Pruitt

Sen. Ron Johnson on Trump and North Korea: ‘You’ve got to take some risks’

“I’m happy to blame Congress:” Johnson on border crisis in Connect to Congress interview

What U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan saw in Texas

A congressman answers the question ‘where are the girls’

Pocan travels to US-Mexico border

Pocan Visits US-Mexico Border

Kind calls on Perdue to safeguard farmers

Wisconsin Republicans scramble on Donald Trump administration’s family separations

Glenn Grothman challenger Dan Kohl gets boost from Democrats in 6th Congressional District race

Rep. Duffy responds to new legislation about US border policy

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

DC Wrap: Washington Post’s Hohmann says Wis. ‘rising stars’ can help take back power in Congress; reaction to Justice Kennedy’s retirement

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, June 22-28

It was a hot mess … to be candid. And I think sorting that out is a very specific skill set that I think may be needed in Milwaukee.
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, who spoke critically with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week about Milwaukee’s handling of its ongoing lead poisoning crisis.  

When we, in this democracy, are suggesting that because we disagree with people on political views, on policy views, on philosophical views, that we should resort to violence and harassment and intimidation that’s dangerous for our society, dangerous for our democracy. And she should apologize. And there’s just no place for that in our public discourse.
– House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, who called on Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters to apologize for urging her supporters to publicly confront and harass members of the Trump administration in response to its “zero tolerance” immigration policy that led to family separations.

This week’s news

— Washington Post reporter James Hohmann says he expects Wisconsin to regain power in the national political scene.

Hohmann said that while the era of the “Wisconsin Mafia” —  Gov. Scott Walker, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan — has ended, Wisconsin has “rising stars” who can help the state take back some power in Congress.

The author of The Daily 202 newsletter at a recent WisPolitcs.com breakfast in D.C. cited U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, as someone who is viewed highly by conservative radio stations.

“[Gallagher] has a profile, partly because of his background as a Marine, and I think he’s someone who has a bright future in Congress,” Hohmann said.

As for state Dems, Hohmann said there are “a lot” who can be influential but declined to give specific names.

“Wisconsin is going to be so key to the future of the Democratic Party,” he said. “There are a lot of people who can play a role there.”

In terms of the midterm elections, Hohmann said it would be “hard to imagine” Democrats winning the Senate. But he said there is a greater than 50 percent chance Dems gain the majority in the House.

The race for U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s seat, he said, has “fallen off the national radar.” Hohmann emphasized the difficulty for Dems in the upcoming Senate elections, noting they will have to defend 10 seats in states won by Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

“There will be such a huge sea change in Washington if Democrats could win the House,” Hohmann said. “It would dramatically alter this whole conversation.”

— President Trump says he will nominate a replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy from a list of 25 candidates he released last fall that included former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Diane Sykes.

“It will be somebody from that list,” Trump said Wednesday, according to a pool report, adding the process will “begin immediately.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refused to call a vote on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland ahead of the 2016 elections, said on the Senate floor the chamber will vote on Trump’s pick “this fall.”

Trump’s list, which he released in November, includes a mix of state and federal judges, along with U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

Sykes, 60, served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 1999 to 2004, when President Bush appointed her to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, told Bloomberg TV Wednesday he agrees the Senate will move “expeditiously” toward nominating and confirming a justice.

“And by judge we’re talking about an individual that will actually apply the law, not alter it. That’s the classic definition of a judge. And that’s exactly what President Trump has been nominating –those types of individuals — and that’s exactly the types of judges we have been confirming in the Senate,” Johnson said.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, said in a statement said this isn’t the “time for a divisive nominee.”

“It’s important that Wisconsinites have an independent Justice who will bring people together, side with them over powerful special interests, and protect the constitutional rights and freedoms of all Americans,” she said.

See the list.

— Members of the state’s congressional delegation are calling on Trump to reconsider his administration’s trade policies after Harley-Davidson announced it plans to move production overseas of motorcycles bound for Europe.

The company’s move was in response to tariffs the European Union placed on U.S. motorcycles following Trump’s tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.

Trump this week knocked Harley-Davidson on Twitter — including the threat to tax the Wisconsin company “like never before” — ahead of his visit to Wisconsin today for a groundbreaking ceremony at the Foxconn plant in Racine County and a fundraiser earlier this morning.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said the manufacturer’s announcement confirms his “concerns and is a far too predictable outcome of policies that give companies like Harley-Davidson incentives to make their products elsewhere.

“We need to hold China accountable for its trade abuses, but that does not need to come at the expense of American workers and businesses,” he said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, tweeted this week, “I support better trade deals, not trade wars. Tariffs against our trading partners in Europe do not fix our trade problems, and President Trump’s haphazard approach on tariffs with our allies will hurt Wisconsin’s manufacturing and agriculture economy.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, said on Twitter Wednesday he met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and “urged the administration to re-consider any policy changes that risk forcing great Wisconsin companies, like @harleydavidson, to produce less in our state and more overseas.”

And Dem U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore called on politicians in D.C. to “protect good-paying American jobs instead of throwing them under the bus,” while Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner urged Trump to consider “a more targeted (trade) approach that protects American workers and businesses.”

See a WisPoliitcs.com story this week on state lawmakers’ response to Trump’s tweets.

— Baldwin this week touted the Senate’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Bill, which included a series of her priorities.

That includes: an amendment that would boost support for medical isotope companies; language that would help prevent Asian Carp from getting to the Great Lakes; an effort to allocate $6.9 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program, including repairing harbors in the state; and more.

“I’m urging the President to support these key investments that will protect our Great Lakes and grow our Made in Wisconsin economy,” she said in a statement.

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, coming off his trip to the southern border, is calling for the elimination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Town of Vermont Dem said he plans to introduce legislation that would dismantle the agency and create a commission to recommend other immigration enforcement options to Congress. While the commission makes its recommendation, duties handled by ICE would transfer to other federal agencies, under Pocan’s plan.

“President Trump and his team of white nationalists, including Stephen Miller, have so misused ICE that the agency can no longer accomplish its goals effectively,” Pocan said in a statement.

Pocan earlier this month joined U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and other congressional Dems in touring detention facilities in southern Texas.

He cited the trip in his call to eliminate the agency, saying that “during my trip to the southern border, it was clear that ICE … has wreaked havoc on far too many people.”

But state GOP spokesman Alec Zimmerman ripped Pocan for jeopardizing people’s safety.

“Yet again, Democrats are siding with their radically left base over our law enforcement,” he said. “Instead of focusing on how to secure our borders, Pocan is launching a dangerous stunt with no regards for the rule of law or safety of our communities.”

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is calling on House leadership to refrain from voting on an “irresponsible, Washington budget” that would cut Social Security and Medicare.

The La Crosse Dem in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi warned the version of the fiscal year 2019 budget bill that recently cleared the House Budget Committee would “gut the programs Wisconsinites rely on in their golden years, and should receive no consideration as we start to create our next budget.”

The proposal cleared the committee on a 21-13 party-line vote. It includes cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and welfare and anti-poverty programs, according to national media reports.

See the release.  

— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore has introduced a bill aiming to prevent using federal dollars to “rip families apart solely based on poverty,” according to a statement from her office this week.

The Milwaukee Dem introduced her “Family Poverty is Not Child Neglect Act” on Wednesday.

“The condition of impoverishment should never be used as justification for tearing children from their parent’s arms,” she said. “The vast majority of children end up in the child welfare system not because of abuse, but because of symptoms of poverty that officials categorize as neglect.”

— U.S. Rep Jim Sensenbrenner and House Speaker Paul Ryan have endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir, who’s looking to challenge Tammy Baldwin this November.

Posts of the week


Tammy Baldwin’s Campaign Fueled by Out-of-State Donors

Wedge Issues: Tammy Baldwin on her mother’s opioid addiction

Sen. Tammy Baldwin brings Seth Meyers Spotted Cow

PolitiFact: Tammy Baldwin’s Attack on Donald Trump’s Executive Order

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson Discusses Plan To Keep Migrant Families Together

Paul Ryan Backs Leah Vukmir Ahead of GOP Primary In Key Wisconsin Senate Race

Trump attacks on Harley-Davidson put Walker in awkward spot

Rep. Mike Gallagher reacts to Supreme Court travel ban ruling

Wisconsin U.S. Senate race: Paul Ryan, Jim Sensenbrenner endorse Leah Vukmir

Trump threatens Harley-Davidson with taxes ‘like never before’

Rep. Duffy: Trump Is ‘Bullish’ on Midterms

6/26/18 – Congressman Glenn Grothman Interview, Travel Ban Ruling, FBI/DOJ Obstructing GOP Lawmakers w/Your Calls

After Witnessing Trump’s Border Crisis, Congressman Mark Pocan Proposes to Abolish ICE

Mark Pocan: Eliminate nation’s immigration-enforcement agency, ICE

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore labels Milwaukee lead prevention efforts a ‘hot mess’

DC Wrap: Wis. Dems call on Ryan to hold net neutrality vote; Grothman bill to establish opioid task force clears House

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

We must always be clear that we are dealing with a brutal regime with a long history of deceit. Only time will tell if North Korea is serious this time, and in the meantime we must continue to apply maximum economic pressure.
– House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, in a statement this week commending President Trump following his summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. Still, Ryan warned as negotiations continue, “there is only one acceptable final outcome: complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.”

The people of Wisconsin did not send me to Washington to take people’s health care away and I will continue my fight against these relentless efforts to make things worse for Wisconsin families
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, in a statement after the federal Dept. of Justice said it won’t defend the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act brought forth by Wisconsin and 19 other states. The federal DOJ argued the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional in its brief. The campaigns of Baldwin’s Republican challengers knocked her in separate statements last week, with Kevin Nicholson’s campaign saying in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story the ACA “needs to be repealed and replaced with a market-based solution free of unconstitutional mandates and market-rigging schemes.”

It worked out just fine. He and I didn’t agree on the issue of net neutrality, but we talked for half an hour on it. I make it a point not only to go to big communities, but also small ones.
– U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, when asked in an interview with Roll Call this week about the smallest crowd he faced at a town hall meeting. Just one constituent had shown up at the Rubicon event earlier this month. Sensenbrenner held 115 town halls last year, the most among members of Congress.

This week’s news

— With the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality taking effect this week, Wisconsin Dems are pressing Speaker Paul Ryan to hold a vote that would restore the rules.

The effort comes after the Senate passed a resolution in a 52-47 vote last month to restore the Obama-era policy that blocked internet providers from impeding access to websites and online services or charging higher fees for the highest streaming quality. The rules officially took effect Monday.

Dem U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan and Gwen Moore took to Twitter that day to show support for net neutrality, touting its “overwhelming public support” and noting they signed a discharge petition to force a vote on the House floor.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, also signed the petition, while none of the Wisconsin House GOP members have supported the effort. The petition is 48 votes short of the 218 needed to bypass the chamber’s leadership and force a vote on the floor.

A spokesman for Ryan referred WisPolitics.com to the Energy and Commerce Committee. A committee spokeswoman pointed to statements from ECC Chair Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who pushed back against the efforts to reinstate net neutrality.

The pair said in a statement congressional Democrats are “more interested in coming up with political slogans than legislative solutions.”  

Meanwhile, Ryan praised the repeal of net neutrality when the FCC voted to repeal the rules in December, calling the policy an “egregious government overreach” and claiming the Trump administration’s repeal will “benefit all users of the internet.”

“Despite its unassuming name, the Obama administration’s net neutrality regulation threatens the free and open internet that has done so much to advance modern society,” he said in the statement.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who voted in favor of net neutrality in May, has also called on the House to take up the effort.

“It’s time for @SpeakerRyan to let the House vote to protect a #FreeandOpenInternet,” she wrote in a tweet this week.

The net neutrality bill went to the Senate floor last month after Dems used a procedural move that allows Congress to revoke agency rules via a simple majority vote instead of the 60-vote threshold typically required. All Dems, two Independents and three Republicans backed the effort. U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, was among the majority of GOP members who opposed it.

Former Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton sent a letter to Wisconsin’s GOP congressmen denouncing their inaction against what she called moral and ethical violations by the Trump administration.

In the letter last week, Lawton said the people of Wisconsin can no longer ignore the GOP House members’ “deafening silence” on issues that “put our state and nation in a constant state of tumult.”

She sent letters to U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Glenn Grothman, Sean Duffy and Mike Gallagher, as well as House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The former lt. guv took issue with the five for not calling for an investigation into EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt following accusations he used his position for personal gain. She also criticized the representatives for not questioning or protesting the administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families and “housing some of the children in cages.”

“You have effectively abandoned your own moral authority along with the interests of your constituents,” she wrote.

None of the five congressmen’s offices returned a call and email seeking comment.   

See the letter.

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is calling on the Trump administration to allow for short-term health care plans that he says would give consumers more options.

The Oshkosh Republican joined 34 other senators in a recent letter to the heads of the treasury, labor, and health and human services departments, where they requested plans that would last up to a year and are renewable. Those choices, they wrote, “would allow options for enrollees who face skyrocketing premiums or who have an unexpected gap in coverage.”  

Currently, those short-term plans can only last up to three months, under caps established under former President Obama’s administration.

See the release.

— Wisconsin Dems are pushing for policy inclusions in the federal farm bill as the legislation works its way through the Senate.

The bill failed to pass the House last month over a debate on immigration policy, and is now awaiting a full vote in the Senate.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin asked for improvements to dairy risk management tools to be included in the farm bill. The Madison Dem wrote in a letter to the Senate Agriculture Committee chair that Wisconsin dairy producers face low prices and an oversupply of milk in the market.

The changes Baldwin offered include allowing farmers to update the Margin Protection program — which provides dairy producers with payments when dairy margins are below the margin coverage levels the producer chooses each year — by letting them purchase higher margin coverage levels and making coverage more affordable.

“Dairy farmers work hard to prepare for the ups and downs in the market, but they have very limited options to respond to rapid price changes,” Baldwin wrote. “For this reason, a working safety net tool is critical to ensure that market dips do not threaten the future of these farms, which are the backbone of our rural economy.”

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind issued his own priorities for the farm bill this week. In his Priorities Report, Kind wrote that crop insurance programs should avoid subsidizing the production of certain crops, which he says favors large agribusiness.

“Unfortunately, the Farm Bill has often been a vehicle for advancing parochial interests at the expense of sound policy and taxpayer dollars,” the La Crosse Dem wrote.

Kind also touched on the issue of trade in his report, advocating for a system of funding to help farmers expand their export markets.

“To compete with farmers around the world, we must have a robust trade agenda that seeks to expand export opportunities,” Kind wrote. “There is no better example of US presence around the world than our robst agricultural export market.”

The farm bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday, and heads to the full Senate for a vote, which is expected before the July 4 recess, per national media reports.

— Baldwin is backing legislation aiming to prevent the Dept. of Homeland Security from separating children and parents at the southern border.

The bill, called the “Keep Families Together Act,” would only allow children to be separated from their parents if the children are being trafficked or abused.

The legislation comes as the federal government has implemented a policy from AG Jeff Sessions to separate families that illegally come into the U.S.

“Tearing families apart and traumatizing children is wrong and immoral,” Baldwin said in a statement. “This legislation restores a humane approach that respects individuals seeking asylum in our country and ensures children and parents are not separated at our border.”

— Baldwin is also featured in the inaugural podcast from PayPal CEO Dan Schulman called “Never Stand Still.”  

Watch the interview. 

— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman’s legislation to address the opioid crisis has cleared the House.

The legislation, which would establish a federal task force with the mission of coordinating the federal response to the opioid crisis, passed the chamber on a 409-8 vote.

All of Wisconsin’s House members voted to support it, with the exception of Speaker Paul Ryan, who didn’t vote and rarely does in his leadership role.

Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, applauded its passage in a statement yesterday.

“One overdose is too many,” he said. “These are preventable deaths of precious lives. I am determined to fight to put an end to the opioid crisis and believe that this bill could be a turning point in the fight.”

The task force would help identify, evaluate and recommend best practices to states and local agencies in their fight against opioid abuse, as well as develop ways to better identify and prevent substance abuse in the home and around children and minors.

See the roll call vote.  

Posts of the week


California Sen. Kamala Harris headlines campaign rally for Tammy Baldwin

Tammy Baldwin, Kamala Harris encourage supporters to keep fighting in tough election

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

Trump agreement with North Korea divides Wisconsin Dems and GOP

Rep. Ron Kind meets with farmers ahead of bill vote

Rep. Kind unveils Farm Bill Priorities

Rep. Gallagher: less pageantry, more talk of NK’s human rights record

The King of Town Halls Reflects on Face Time

Grothman Pushing for SNAP Amendment

DC Wrap: Wis. House Dems sign onto discharge petition to debate immigration bills; Gallagher calls to cancel Aug. recess

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

As I made clear to my colleagues in the Senate and the House before each body voted on S. 204, this legislation is fundamentally about empowering patients to make decisions in cooperation with their doctors and the developers of potentially life-saving therapies. This law intends to diminish the FDA’s power over people’s lives, not increase it.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in a letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb  in response to comments Gottlieb made suggesting the agency may need new regulations to “balance” the requirements under the new right-to-try law. President Trump signed Johnson’s bill into law May 30.

With ten Democratic candidates for governor, each one of them will rise and fall in the polls at various points over the next ten weeks. To use an arbitrary date and fundraising level for selection is wrong, especially within three weeks of the primary date when a debate performance could significantly impact the state of the race.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, in a letter to the WBA Foundation. The foundation this week announced it’ll limit its July 27 Dem guv debate to four candidates, based largely off the top finishers in upcoming Marquette University Law School polls.

This week’s news

— Wisconsin’s House Republicans aren’t saying if they’re planning to sign onto a discharge petition that would force the chamber to vote on a series of immigration bills.

The state’s three House Dems — U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, of La Crosse; Mark Pocan, of the Town of Vermont; and Gwen Moore, of Milwaukee — each have signed onto the petition, which has so far gathered 215 signatures, three short of the 218 it needs to bring the legislation to the floor.

So far, no Wisconsin Republicans have added their names to the list, and the offices of U.S. Reps. Glenn Grothman, Jim Sensenbrenner, Sean Duffy and Mike Gallagher didn’t return emails from WisPolitics.com this week seeking more information.

One hundred ninety-two of the House’s 193 Dems and around two dozen Republicans are backing the discharge petition, a procedural move that lets lawmakers bypass the chamber’s leadership and force a vote on the floor if a majority of members back it.

Asked about the petition in an interview with WisPolitics.com last week, Kind applauded the GOP members who had signed on to it, saying it “takes a lot of courage” for them to support it.

He also underscored the need to fix the country’s “broken immigration system,” which he characterized as one that’s “in desperate need of (comprehensive) reform.”

“I have noticed that not one House Republican in Wisconsin has signed the discharge petition yet,” he said. “And yet, we know that there are things that need to be fixed here in the state when it comes to immigration policy.”

See more from Kind’s interview in last week’s DC Wrap.

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is joining other senators in calling for an extension of the Dairy Margin Protection Program.

The Madison Dem asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to extend the June 1 deadline by 30 days. Perdue extended the deadline Monday to allow dairy producers until June 8 to sign up. The program offers financial protections against market fluctuations for dairy producers.

The senators requested the extension to allow dairy producers who may also plant crops enough time to get their crops in the ground, according to a release. They say the extra time is needed for producers to to navigate recent changes made to the program.

“Previous extensions have shown evidence that enrollment grows when the sign-up period is extended,” the bipartisan group of senators wrote in their letter.

A Baldwin spokeswoman applauded the week-long extension, but called on the Trump administration “to extend it for June dairy month.” Baldwin also encouraged Wisconsin producers to take advantage of the extension on Twitter.

The changes producers have to consider include the evaluation of producers’ cost on a monthly, instead of bi-monthly, basis; and the exemption of certain producers from fees for catastrophic coverage.The changes were included in the most recent budget bill and were based on feedback from producers. The amount of coverage producers elect to have by Friday will retroactively apply to the first half of 2018.

— Baldwin and Johnson have called on the FCC to give local governments more time to evaluate broadband eligibility.

Both senators signed a letter to FCC Chair Ajit Pai asking the commission to do more outreach to local governments to help them determine whether they may be eligible for broadband funding.

Local governments would have to challenge the FCC for inclusion into the program.

“While you have noted that state, local, and Tribal governments can participate in the challenge process, absent additional direction, they may remain unaware or unprepared to do so,” the bipartisan group of 30 senators wrote.

The senators asked for a 90-day extension to allow for outreach to stakeholders and challengers to collect data for their requests.

— Johnson is asking the Trump administration to protect the information of donors who give to nonprofit organizations.

The Oshkosh Republican in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and IRS Acting Commissioner David Kautter this week said that forced disclosure of that information “may threaten the freedoms of speech and association.”

See the letter.

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher is calling on House leadership to cancel the August recess, following news this week the Senate is limiting its break over that month.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday senators are only getting the first week of August off and will be returning to D.C. for the rest of the month stemming from a legislative backlog that he attributed to the “historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees.”

Gallagher, R-Green Bay, wrote in a letter to his chamber’s leadership on Wednesday the August recess should be cancelled so the House can work on the 12 annual spending bills it needs to pass by the Sept. 30 fiscal-year deadline in order “to avoid another last-minute funding battle like we encountered in March.”

“The House has yet to complete consideration of any of the twelve annual appropriations bills on the floor. With fewer than forty legislative days until the end of the fiscal year, Congress should remain in Washington until the work is complete,” Gallagher and others wrote. “The House should immediately begin floor consideration of all funding bills, so they can be openly debated through regular order and sent to the U.S. Senate for immediate consideration.”

— Dem U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan are calling for federal anti-discrimination law that explicitly protects LGBT people in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The call comes after SCOTUS ruled 7-2 Monday in favor of a Christian baker in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Moore and Pocan on Twitter this week said the decision highlights the need for such legislation.

“Just as businesses can’t refuse service based on race, religion, or gender, they should be held to the same standard when it comes to sexual orientation,” wrote Pocan, D-Town of Vermont. “Congress must immediately pass the #EqualityAct and ensure that every American has full and equal rights. #OpenToAll.”

Meanwhile, Republicans applauded the ruling.

“Today, religious freedom got a much-needed victory,” U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, said on Twitter.

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has joined the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, a group looking to enact legislation to address global warming.

The La Crosse Dem was one of five new House members to join the caucus last month, bringing the group’s total to 78, according to a recent report from The Hill.  

The only other Wisconsin House member in the caucus is U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay.

See the full list of members.

Posts of the week


Top Republican senator predicts China is about to have a larger economy and military than the US

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson talks big data privacy, making Wisconsin a tech hub

Sen. Johnson on Whether Mueller Appointment is Constitutional: ‘I’m Not a Constitutional Scholar’

Tammy Baldwin at convention: Outside groups, billionaires want to ‘buy a U.S. Senate seat’

Tammy Baldwin bashes ‘special interests’ and rouses Democrats at state party convention

Baldwin pushed ‘Buy American’ initiative

Rep. Ron Kind calls for changes to 2018 Farm Bill

U.S. Reps. Moore, DeFazio visit rail suppliers in Wisconsin, Oregon

Marshfield doctor Brian Ewert aims to unseat Sean Duffy in 7th District congressional bid

2 Democrats Make Primary Ballot To Face Sean Duffy In 7th Congressional District

Candidates set for Democratic primary, general election in Rep. Sean Duffy’s district

Amid polarized times, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner town hall draws just one (very polite) constituent

Sensenbrenner agrees Trump could pardon himself, but says it would lead to impeachment

DCCC: Grothman Votes to Slash Medicare & CHIP Funding


CONTACT: Evan Lukaske | (516) 661-1025

After Washington Republicans gave massive handouts to the wealthy and corporations at the expense of the middle-class (while speeding up the insolvency of the Medicare Trust Fund), Representative Grothman voted last night to slash Medicare and CHIP funding.

Dismantling extremely popular programs including Medicare and Social Security has long been the goal of House Republicans, and it will continue to play a central role in the midterms.

“Representative Grothman’s heartless vote to slash funding from Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program will absolutely come back to haunt him in the midterms,” said DCCC Spokesman Evan Lukaske. “While Democrats are talking to voters every day about protecting and expanding access to affordable healthcare, Grothman is continually working to make healthcare more expensive for Americans. The choice for voters could not be clearer.”

DCCC: Six Months After GOP Tax Scam Passage, Higher Costs for Families

CONTACT: Evan Lukaske | (516) 661-1025

Grothman Will Be Held Responsible by Voters

Six months ago, Congressman Grothman and Washington Republicans passed a Republican tax scam that provided massive giveaways to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and increased everyday costs – particularly healthcare premiums – for everyone else.

The Republican tax scam capped the amount of money homeowners can deduct for state and local taxes, and repealed a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that will result in millions of Americans paying more for health care. The GOP tax scam blew a $1.9 trillion hole in the deficit, and Speaker Paul Ryan and Washington Republicans have made clear that they are willing to cut Medicare and Social Security to offset their massive giveaway to corporations and the wealthy. Over 83% of the tax cuts go to the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

“Corporations and billionaires have seen a windfall from Representative Grothman’s tax bill, but the only noticeable difference for middle class Americans is increased costs – especially when it comes to health care premiums,” said DCCC Spokesman Evan Lukaske. “Now Washington Republicans have set their sights on cutting the Medicare and Social Security that Americans have paid into over a lifetime of hard work and playing by the rules. The numbers don’t add up for hardworking people trying to make ends meet, and that spells trouble for Representative Grothman’s reelection.”

Dem 37th AD candidate ‘welcomes the opportunity’ to address election fraud allegations

The Dem Assembly candidate accused of election fraud “welcomes the opportunity to address the issues that have been raised,” her attorney says.

The Watertown Police Department is investigating allegations against 37th AD candidate Charisse Daniels that were prompted by a GOP challenge to her nomination papers. Among other things, the complaint claims 43 of the Daniels’ 201 signatures were invalid, because they were fraudulently or improperly submitted. The complaint asked law enforcement to investigate the matter.

“We are gathering the relevant details now and will present them to the Elections Board and local officials,” said Daniels attorney Mike Maistelman. “We expect that this issue will be resolved and my client is looking forward to facing the voters on the ballot this fall.”

In her challenge, Republican Assembly Campaign Committee Chair Jenny Toftness submitted affidavits from 15 individuals claiming their names had been forged. She also referenced several others who claimed their signatures had been forged but either declined or were not able to sign an affidavit on time.

Toftness also referenced three signatures from individuals who signed the papers twice.

Two-hundred signatures are required to get on the ballot for state Assembly. Since Daniels has submitted 201 signatures, she can only afford to lose one signature to remain in the race.

Daniels had been featured in a CNN article about women who decided to run for office after the 2016 presidential election, which she called an “absolute kick in the gut.”

She is the only Dem who filed nomination papers to run against GOP Rep. John Jagler, of Watertown.

See the complaint:

Dem Frostman wins 1st SD, Republican Plumer takes 42nd AD


Dem Caleb Frostman won a special election Tuesday for the vacant 1st SD, flipping a seat in northeastern Wisconsin that Donald Trump won by 17.5 points two years ago.

Meanwhile, Republican Jon Plumer kept the 42nd AD in GOP hands, running close to the president’s 2016 performance in the district northeast of Madison.

Frostman, the former economic development director for Door County, had 51.4 percent of the vote over GOP state Rep. Andre Jacque, according to numbers WisPolitics.com collected from county websites. By comparison, Hillary Clinton won 39.8 percent of the vote there in 2016.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, noted it was the first time a Dem had represented the seat since Gerald Ford was president.

Frostman, who will replace Frank Lasee after the Republican resigned to take a job in the Walker administration, said his campaign worked the doors hard. He also said voters in Door County, where he lives, remember the things he accomplished on a non-partisan basis with Republicans, Dems and others.

“That resonated with folks, and they remember that,” he said.

Meanwhile, Plumer largely matched Trump’s performance in the 42nd AD as he beat Dem Ann Groves Lloyd.

Plumer pulled 53.9 percent of the vote, according to unofficial numbers collected by WisPolitics.com, though that tally doesn’t include votes for the independent candidate in the 42nd or write-ins. The results will not be official until after county boards of canvass meet.

Trump, meanwhile, took just shy of 53.9 percent in 2016 as he beat Clinton by more than 14 points with write-ins and third-party candidates included.

The final days of the race included stories about social media posts from both candidates and Plumer’s disorderly conduct charge more than two decades ago. The two will face each other in a November rematch for the seat northeast of Madison.

Plumer told WisPolitics.com in a phone interview he didn’t plan to change his message in the November race, though he expected the spotlight to shift to other races.

“At my age, this is what you get,” said Plumer, who owns a karate studio in Lodi. “I’m not going to change.”

Plumer will replace Republican Keith Ripp, who resigned to take a job in the Walker administration.

After Lasee and Ripp resigned their seats in the Legislature, Gov. Scott Walker declined to call special elections for either seat. But Eric Holder’s national Democratic Redistricting Committee filed a lawsuit that eventually led to an order for Walker to call the elections. Republicans briefly sought to change state law in an attempt to thwart a Dane County judge’s order to call the elections. But another Dane County judge and one from the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Waukesha County refused requests to delay the order to call the elections so lawmakers could debate the bill. The measure ultimately did not come up for a floor vote in either house.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, promised a competitive race in the fall for the 1st SD and complained the seats should have been filled in the fall election.

“With low turnout in the special election tonight, it proved yet again that this was a complete waste of taxpayer money,” Fitzgerald said.

Holder, meanwhile, hailed Frostman’s win. His group has pledged to play in legislative races this fall in an effort to help Dem candidates and reverse maps Republicans drew in multiple states in 2011 during the last round of redistricting.

“Scott Walker and his Republican allies gerrymandered this district for their own partisan benefit, but the citizens of Wisconsin are clearly speaking out this year to demand a state government that better represents their values,” he said.



Dem guv candidates at forum pledge to invest in Wisconsinites, overhaul prison system


Seven Dem guv candidates in a candidate forum last night pledged to invest in the people of Wisconsin and overhaul elements of the state’s incarceration system.

“We are going to be investing in regular folks,” state Rep. Dana Wachs told attendees at a forum hosted by WISDOM in Pewaukee. The other contenders who attended were: former state Rep. Kelda Roys, former Dem Party Chair Matt Flynn, activist Mike McCabe, state firefighters union head Mahlon Mitchell, Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout.

The contenders each got 5 minutes to speak at the event, after facing a series of questions from WISDOM members ranging from health care to transportation to the criminal justice system.

During their speeches, Wachs and Vinehout called for prioritizing individuals over corporations. Wachs, who sits on the Wisconsin Economic Development Board, noted he’s been “fighting that Foxconn thing since they rolled it out” and knocked it as “not an investment in people.”

Vinehout also retold the story of “Rachel,” a woman in Racine who works 40 hours per week on minimum wage. It’,an anecdote the Alma senator had used in her speech to the state Dem convention earlier this month. She drew a contrast between spending money on Foxconn and spending on people, saying the state’s “priorities are upside down.”

Gronik, meanwhile, stressed policies that would ensure everyone “in the state of Wisconsin has a voice.” He also pointed to the challenge the state GOP brought against his nomination paper signatures, including allegations not all circulators were qualified electors of the state and included convicted felons, and noted the campaign knew the individuals’ backgrounds.

“We got up in front of the cameras and not only did we not disavow this (their ties to the campaign), we embraced the fact that this is how we run Wisconsin going forward,” Gronik said.

Meanwhile, Mitchell and McCabe prioritized overhauling the state’s treatment of African Americans.

Mitchell, who would become the state’s first African American governor if elected, told attendees while the state is “the worst place in the country to be African American,” he’d look to end the “school- to-prison pipeline” and invest more in communities to turn it around.

And McCabe called for ending “the new Jim Crow” system. The system, he said, stands on “voter suppression policies,” mass incarceration and a new policing philosophy: “intimidate and control.”

Flynn, an attorney, used the first part of his speech to “set the record straight” on his legal defense of the Milwaukee Archdiocese during the priest sexual abuse scandal, which has gotten media attention in recent weeks.

He also touted his promise to pardon anyone in Wisconsin’s prisons serving time for nonviolent marijuana offenses.

And Roys looked to distinguish herself from the other candidates, saying her experience in the Assembly and as a mother, attorney and small business owner means she has the “experience to get the job done on day one.”

“We need someone with the values to put all Wisconsin families first and we need someone that could win,” she said.

The candidates also all agreed they’d a support legislation to allow for the creation of regional transit authorities, which are overseen by a board of directors and allowed to operate a transportation system or contract to do so.

The state in 2009 passed legislation to allow the creation of the authorities in different communities, but the Republicans’ 2011 biennial budget eliminated the initiative and dissolved the RTAs that had been created in Dane County, the Chippewa Valley in the Eau Claire area and Chequamegon Bay in the Ashland area.

The agreement came in the first portion of the forum, during which candidates were asked a series of questions by WISDOM members on a variety of topics ranging from health care to transportation. The contenders had to hold up a green card to signify they would support the given policy if elected governor, a red card if they disagreed and a yellow card if they were uncertain.

The seven candidates in all agreed with each of the questions. That includes support for a $15 million-per- year increase in Treatment Alternatives and Diversion, or TAD, funding in the first budget; as well as the reintroduction of the so-called “Prove It First” mining law.

The 20-year-old law, which created a so-called “moratorium” on sulfide mining, was overturned this session after a GOP-backed effort ended a requirement companies seeking a sulfide mining permit must prove they operated for 10 years and were closed for 10 years without polluting groundwater or surface water, among other things.

And they each agreed to support background checks for all gun sales, including those made at gun shows and between private parties.

Watch a WisEye video of the first hour of the forum:

Dem keynote speaker argues party has clear message

Keynote Democratic Convention speaker Peter Buttigieg pushed back against those who suggest his party doesn’t have a message.

“We have a message, we’re the party for protecting and supporting people in their everyday lives,” he said.

In his remarks about the party’s message, which mirrored those given earlier by Congresswoman Gwen Moore, he urged Dems to not be afraid of their values.

He said the Democratic Party is the party that is calling for giving families raises and paid leave, and railed against the Republican Party for having a monopoly on the word “freedom.”

“I say you’re not free if you’re afraid of losing your health care coverage. You’re not free if you wonder whether your son or daughter is going to be safe coming home from school,” he said.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana who is also openly gay, credited his party for backing the effort that will allow him to marry his fiance in coming weeks.

The South Bend mayor is also optimistic of a Democratic resurgence that will begin in forgotten places like Wisconsin that will parallel the economic resurgence he’s seen in South Bend.

And he also cautioned Dems against treating the presidency like it’s the only office that matters. He said he acknowledges Trump is unraveling the country, but said Dems must take some “tough medicine” to understand that they’ll need to focus their message on voters’ needs rather than what voters already know — that racism and denigrating women is wrong.  

“Long before Trump was in white house, you call saw what happens when the people in charge don’t care about lifting people up,” he said.

He urged Dems to get out the vote for Caleb Frostman in the 1st SD and Ann Groves Lloyd in the 42nd AD.

Like other Dems before him at convention, he finished by calling for a united Democratic front.

When everybody stands and up and unites we cannot lose.

“We’re standing up for a better way. Let them divide and conquer. For us, united we stand and united we’re going to win.”

Dem. Governors Association: Statement on Supreme Court gerrymandering decisions


For Immediate Release:

June 18, 2018

Contact: Jared Leopold, 202-772-5600, [email protected]

Today, DGA Chair Governor Jay Inslee (WA) released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s declining to decide two gerrymandering cases:

“Americans cannot wait for the Supreme Court to stop the gerrymandering that poisons our democracy,” said Gov. Inslee. “The most important thing we can do in 2018 to stop gerrymandering is to elect Democratic governors who will fight for fairer maps. This November’s gubernatorial elections will determine the makeup of Congress and state legislatures for more than a decade. The Supreme Court today affirmed what we have known for sometime: the best defense against gerrymandering in 2021 is a Democratic governor in the state house.

“This November, Americans will elect more than 25 governors with veto power over 2021 maps. Governors with a veto pen in hand hold tremendous power to end extreme partisan gerrymandering and stand up for fair maps and fair representation. Democratic governors are ready to follow the path blazed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf in fighting for maps that provide fairer Congressional and legislative districts. That’s why the DGA launched the Unrig The Map project to support this critical mission.

“Today, Justice Kagan warned: ‘The 2010 redistricting cycle produced some of the worst partisan gerrymanders on record. … The technology will only get better, so the 2020 cycle will only get worse.’ Justice Kagan is right: And that’s why we need Democratic governors at the table to stop Republican map-rigging after the 2020 Census.

“While the Supreme Court’s decision not to act on partisan gerrymandering today was disappointing, it reaffirms that electing Democratic governors in states is the single best path to unrigging the map across the United States. While Americans wait for the Court to take on redistricting in 2019, we can take action in 2018 to elect Democratic governors and stop extreme gerrymandering in its tracks.”

The DGA’s Unrig the Map project, launched in 2015, is a zero-overhead fund to win targeted gubernatorial races that are key to 2021 redistricting in Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The governors in these 8 states all hold veto power and play a key role in the redistricting process. In these 8 swing states combined, Republicans hold a 26-seat majority in Congress. Unrig The Map scored a significant victory in November 2017, as Democrats won the battleground of Virginia.

Democrat Andy Gronik drops out of race for governor

Businessman Andy Gronik announced he’s dropping out of the Democratic race for governor in part so Dems can rally behind a single candidate.

Gronik’s decision, which he said was informed by Wednesday’s Marquette University Law School poll, comes as the survey showed he and several other Dem candidates struggling to break out in the field.

Gronik received just four percent of support from registered Democratic voters in the poll, while 87 percent of respondents said they had never heard of him.

Fellow Dem and state schools Superintendent Tony Evers had a commanding lead in the poll with 25 percent, although 34 percent of respondents were still undecided. The next top vote getters in the poll were former DPW Chair Matt Flynn, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and activist Mike McCabe, who each received 7 percent support.

With his decision to exit the race, Gronik said in a statement he hopes to clear the way for a challenger to consolidate support.

“There are lots of people sitting on the bench, confused by the large field of candidates and waiting to see what happens in the primary,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a winning strategy!”

In the statement, Gronik also mentioned his campaign’s inability to gather support quickly enough.

According to campaign finance reports released in January, Gronik over the last half of the year contributed $450,000 to his campaign.

See the statement:

Democrat Dana Wachs drops out of race for governor

Dem state Rep. Dana Wachs today dropped out of the guv race, saying he will now back state Superintendent Tony Evers in the crowded field for the party’s nomination.

Wachs is the second Dem candidate to drop out this week, reducing the field to eight contenders to face Gov. Scott Walker. Much like Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, who dropped his bid Thursday, Wachs, D-Eau Claire, had pumped personal money into this campaign, but struggled to break through with voters.

In this week’s Marquette University Law School Poll, Wachs was at just 2 percent for the Dem guv nomination. Evers led the pack at 25 percent with no one else in double digits.

See the release:

Wachs campaign: Endorses Tony Evers for governor, encourages unity to defeat Scott Walker

Democratic Governors Association: Calls on Walker to reveal whether he supports Trump pardoning himself

Contact: Jared Leopold, 202-772-5600
[email protected]

Does Scott Walker Think Donald Trump Can Pardon Himself?

Today, the Democratic Governors Association is calling on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to answer one simple question: Does he believe President Donald Trump could pardon himself of any crimes? The DGA’s request is part of a nationwide effort calling on Republican governors up for election to answer whether Trump has the power to pardon himself.

As Governor, Walker said “I just look at (granting pardons) and say that’s not really why I ran for office,” – but Walker has been silent on whether his fellow Republican executive, Donald Trump, could pardon himself.

“President Trump is flouting the rule of law and it’s time for Scott Walker to stand up to the head of the Republican Party,” said DGA Communications Director Jared Leopold. “Does Scott Walker believe Donald Trump can pardon himself? Does he think he should? Walker has pardon authority himself, but he’s suddenly silent when it comes to President Trump’s perversion of the authority.”

Democratic Governors Association: Statement on Scott Walker’s special election defeat


Jared Leopold, 202-772-5600
[email protected]

Tonight, DGA Executive Director Elisabeth Pearson released the following statement on Scott Walker’s latest defeat in Wisconsin special elections:

“Tonight’s special election win for Democrats in Wisconsin is more bad news and yet another ‘wake up call’ for Scott Walker, and he knows it. That’s why he was willing to break the law to avoid these elections being held at all. Tonight’s massive swing in a district that went for Trump by 18 points in 2018 and Walker by 23 in 2014 shows voters are ready for change after eight years of Walker putting politics above people.

“Wisconsinites are sick of Scott Walker’s agenda that has favored special interests and his political cronies at the expense of Wisconsin’s roads and schools. They want a governor who won’t put personal ambition above the needs of working families, and that’s why Scott Walker is in trouble in November.”

Dems blast Walker for sending troops to southern border

Dems are blasting Gov. Scott Walker for sending Wisconsin National Guard troops to the southern border as the Trump administration continues pursuing its family separation policy for undocumented migrants.

But a Walker spokeswoman countered that the policy is a federal one, and didn’t take a position on the issue.

The Department of Military Affairs announced Monday that about two dozen of the state’s National Guard members are leaving to aid the Arizona National Guard and U.S Customs and Border Patrol in securing the state’s border with Mexico. President Trump in April called for the National Guard to help secure the nation’s southern border.

The news came as the Trump administration doubles down on its decision to separate migrant parents and children at the border, which stems from the new “zero tolerance” policy when processing undocumented immigrants.

Wisconsin Dems, including U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, condemned the guv for agreeing to send troops to the border, saying the move “will not alleviate the humanitarian crisis unfolding in shelters.”

“Governor Walker’s plan to send Wisconsin National Guard members to the southern border is a misuse of state and federal resources, and only serves to give President Trump air cover for his outrageous and cruel plan to separate immigrant families,” he said.

The Town of Vermont Dem traveled to Texas over the weekend along with other lawmakers to tour border patrol processing centers and other facilities.

Meanwhile, Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz called on Walker to withhold the state’s National Guard troops until the family separation policy ends, while nearly 30 Assembly and Senate Dems signed onto a letter urging Walker to rescind his offer of the state troops.

“At long last, when children are being ripped from their parents by the thousands, you need to draw a line in the sand and stand up against cruelty,” the letter said.

Walker spokeswoman Amy Hasenberg noted the state’s troops are on administrative assignments with the cost covered by the federal government, adding the family separation policy isn’t a state one.

“The policy related to individuals seeking asylum is a federal policy, and those with concerns should contact their federal lawmakers,” she added.

Walker had also previously written in a letter to Pocan he supported Trump’s “aggressive actions” to secure the border.

“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 in April. “Therefore, I welcome President Donald Trump’s aggressive actions to secure our nation’s southern border.”

See the Dem letter to Walker:

See the DMA release:

See Walker’s April letter to Pocan:

Dems have plan to keep guv candidates to five-minute speeches — and no more


There’s a risk anytime politicians are before a convention microphone that they’ll go over the allotted time for a speech.

But the Dem Party has a plan to keep the guv contenders to their five minutes.

Spokeswoman Melanie Conklin said the 10 guv candidates who will address the convention Friday night are limited to five minutes each. They will have a timer they can see at the podium to keep track of their time.

Once they hit five minutes, the mic will be cut off — and not one second more.

After that, the intro music for the next speaker will be played.

“Because the media like it when things are moving along smoothly and kept on track,” Conklin said when asked why the party decided on the policy.

Others slated to speak tonight include U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore, of Milwaukee, and Mark Pocan, of Town of Vermont. Other speakers have longer time limits, Conklin said.

This post is part of our coverage of the 2018 state Dem convention in Oshkosh. See the rest of our coverage here: https://www.wispolitics.com/category/dem-convos/

Dems slam Walker for not directly addressing Trump’s Harley-Davidson comments

Dems are criticizing Gov. Scott Walker for not directly addressing President Trump’s broadside against Harley-Davidson, including the threat to tax the Wisconsin company “like never before.”

The president’s comments followed the company’s announcement that it planned to move production overseas of motorcycles bound for Europe. That move was in response to tariffs the European Union placed on U.S. motorcycles following Trump’s tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.

Following Trump’s tweets Tuesday, a Walker spokeswoman said the guv believes there should be “no tariffs or trade barriers as the President stated earlier this month at the G7 summit.” The spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the statement on the heart of Trump’s claims, including that moving production overseas “will be the beginning of the end.”

Walker, who owns a Harley-Davidson, has long featured the motorcycle in his campaign events, including scenes of him riding it in the rollout video to officially launch his re-election bid. Similar to his spokeswoman’s comment, Walker tweeted today, “At the G7, the @POTUS suggested they consider no tariffs. That’s the right answer for WI companies and farmers. No tariffs.”

Trump’s knocks on Harley-Davidson come as he prepares to visit Wisconsin for a groundbreaking ceremony at the Foxconn plant in Racine County on Thursday and attend a fundraiser that morning.

Dems pushed Walker to take a stronger stance in defense of the Milwaukee icon.

“Still going to Trump fundraiser the day of the ground breaking? How is that defending #HarleyDavison jobs? Seem to me your attendance says you’re on with Trump threatening a Wisconsin company,” Dem state Sen. Jon Erpenbach tweeted.

Walker’s potential Dem guv challengers also knocked the response.

State Superintendent Tony Evers demanded to know if Walker would attend the fundraiser after Trump “threatened a Wisconsin business.”

Walker’s campaign confirmed he will attend the fundraiser.

Meanwhile, Mahlon Mitchell, head of the statewide firefighters union, said, “Walker’s silence as Donald Trump destroys family-supporting, union jobs is proof he is derelict in his duty as chief executive.”

During a meeting with members of Congress Tuesday, Trump told reporters he’s been “very good to Harley-Davidson.”

Trump said the company is using the tariffs as an “excuse” to move production overseas.

“And I think the people that ride Harleys are not happy with Harley-Davidson, and I wouldn’t be either,” Trump said, according to a transcript of his remarks.

See the transcript:

Harley-Davidson did not respond to requests for comment on Trump’s slams, but labor unions representing its workers say the company should refocus on U.S. manufacturing.

Robert Martinez Jr., international president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, says Harley-Davidson’s decision to shift some production overseas “leaves us with more questions than answers.”

“If the EU rescinds its tariffs, will Harley drop its plans to offshore more production? This is looking like just another excuse by Harley to justify moving more American jobs offshore,” Martinez said.

He added: “Harley workers are left wondering if Harley is still committed to manufacturing in America.”

Michael Bolton, District 2 director for United Steelworkers, says “we cannot speculate” on how Harley’s announcement could affect employment in the United States. However, he says domestic sales drive production and employment at Harley’s U.S. facilities.

“The company built its reputation and image by making motorcycles here, and if the company wants to continue to market itself as an iconic American brand both at home and abroad, it needs to focus on U.S. production,” Bolton said.

Dept. of Administration: Lt. governor joins local partners to highlight $500,000 in homeless case management services grants

Contact: DOA Communications, (608) 266-7362
Dept. of Administration: Lt. governor joins local partners to highlight $500,000 in homeless case management services grants
Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch today joined partners in Milwaukee and Racine to highlight $500,000 in Homeless Case Management Services Grants that have been awarded to 10 organizations across Wisconsin.

“Today is a great day not just for the organizations that are on the front lines of efforts to end and prevent homelessness in our communities, but for the additional families who can now be provided with the supports they need to achieve financial stability and brighter futures for themselves, their children and, ultimately, future generations,” Lt. Governor Kleefisch said. “Together, we will continue working hard to reduce the number of individuals who are homeless in Wisconsin, as one family without housing, employment and financial stability is one too many.”

Lt. Governor Kleefisch recognized partners at events hosted by two organizations that each received $50,000 in grant funding: Community Advocates in Milwaukee, and HALO Inc. in Racine. Representatives from the Salvation Army of Milwaukee and Family Promise of Washington County (West Bend), both of whom are grant recipients, were also recognized at the Milwaukee event.

Under the grant program, which was authorized in the state 2017-19 budget, 10 agencies across the state were each awarded $50,000 to provide intensive case management services to homeless families.

The services focus on providing financial management, employment, ensuring school continuation for children, and enrolling unemployed or underemployed parents in W-2 or the Foodshare employment and training program. The grant is administered through Wisconsin Department of Administration, Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources (DEHCR).

“Community Advocates is truly grateful to be a recipient of the Homeless Case Management Services Grant program,” said Andi Elliott, CEO of Community Advocates. “This grant will support our work with families as they move from homelessness to housing and economic stability.”

“The Homeless Case Management Services Grant program will permit us to strengthen our ability to provide a more intensive level of case management and access to resources for our families at HALO,” said Gai Lorenzen, Executive Director of HALO Inc. “We are very thankful to be selected for the grant, and the opportunities it will provide to help families experiencing homelessness become self-sufficient and maintain stable housing.”

Under the competitive grant program, DEHCR will award up to 10 grants per year, with each one totaling up to $50,000.

Organizations from Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Manitowoc, New Richmond and Portage also received the $50,000 grants. The full list of 2018 award recipients is available online.

For more information about the program and eligibility criteria is available at DOA’s website.

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Gypsy Moth aerial treatments to resume early next week


Contact: Bill Bonadurer, 608-224-4581 [email protected]
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020, [email protected]

MADISON – Residents of six western Wisconsin counties can expect to hear and see low-flying planes in the early morning, depending on weather conditions, starting next week.

The treatments are planned in the following six counties over the next four weeks: Barron, Buffalo, Chippewa, Crawford, Dunn, & Vernon.

From late June to mid-July, yellow planes contracted by the U.S. Forest Service in a joint project with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), will be applying an organic, biodegradable mating disruptor to 11 sites in 6 counties in the western third of the state. Unlike the earlier spring treatments that targeted gypsy moth caterpillars, the mating disruptor targets adult male moths.

“Female gypsy moths do not fly. They give off a pheromone, or a chemical scent, which attracts male gypsy moths,” explained Christopher Foelker, DATCP’s gypsy moth program manager. “The product we apply to the tree canopy emits the same scent, so the male moths cannot find the females. These treatments are highly effective at reducing the mating success of this insect. The chemical signal released is specific to gypsy moth and will not interfere with the life cycle of other insects.”

The gypsy moth has a wide range of harmful effects on local communities. The cost of removing dead trees around a house can range from several hundred to over a thousand dollars and the loss of mature trees decreases property value. During the spring and summer, caterpillars shed bristly skin as they grow. Bristles from the cast skins become airborne and can irritate eyes, skin and the respiratory system. People may develop a rash if they come in contact with the bristles.

About the Product

The product is aerially applied and dispersed across the forest canopy as small waxy droplets which slowly release the synthetic gypsy moth mating pheromone. Past research shows this can reduce gypsy moth populations by nearly 90 percent in the subsequent year.

The mating disruptor is not harmful to humans, animals, birds or other insects. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is no health risk to humans nor have any adverse effects been reported in the two decades that this pheromone has been used for gypsy moth control.

Stay Updated

Treatment dates and times are weather dependent. People can sign up to receive email notifications about treatment plans at gypsymoth.wi.gov. Daily updates during the treatment season are posted to DATCP’s Facebook and Twitter account. They can listen to a recorded message about the plans by calling the toll-free Gypsy Moth Information Line at 1-800-642-6684. Press menu option 1 for updates.

Treatments will begin in late June in southwestern Wisconsin and end in mid-July in northwestern Wisconsin. Maps of specific treatment areas are available online at https://datcpgis.wi.gov/maps/?viewer=gm

Aerial treatments will be completed by the Slow the Spread Program. It focuses its efforts in western Wisconsin where gypsy moth populations are low or beginning to increase. The objective is to slow the westward spread of gypsy moth.

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: State settles with Wisconsin O’Connor Corporation


Media Contact: Jerad Albracht, Senior Communications Specialist, 608-224-5007 or Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON – The State of Wisconsin reached a settlement with Wisconsin O’Connor Corporation (WOC) to resolve consumer complaints related to a number of landlord/tenant issues including illegal security deposit deductions and prohibited rental agreement provisions. The settlement includes $500,000 in restitution, forfeitures, fees, and assessments.

The Department of Justice, on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, entered into a consent judgment specifically requiring WOC to make changes to its rental agreements, provide new agreements to current tenants, and provide specific notifications to tenants. The judgment requires three years of monitoring – the business will file a report with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection every six months regarding security deposit actions.

Under the terms of the judgment, WOC will be required to comply with the requirements and prohibitions of Wisconsin rental laws. The business must:

Remove contractual requirements that tenants give more than 28-days’ notice to vacate an apartment.

Remove contractual provisions that barred month-to-month tenants from ending their tenancy between October and March.

Cease deducting future rent, or rent that is not yet due, from security deposits.

Remove a provision that requires tenants to pay for replacements or improvements that are “minor in relation to the rent.”

Remove any provisions that attempt to waive the company’s legally required duty to maintain the premises. Existing agreements with these provisions are not enforceable.

Discontinue security deposit deductions for cleaning, repairs, replacements, decorations, or improvements that are the result of normal wear and tear.

Provide clear and conspicuous verbiage in agreements with regard to late fee assessments.

Provide (on a semi-annual basis) a notice to tenants who incur any late fees.

WOC is required to send a letter to tenants whose rental agreements are unenforceable due to violations of state law. These tenants will be required to continue making payments for rent and reasonable utility fees. Moving forward, unless the tenant agrees to a new rental agreement, their tenancy will be subject to requirements of state law.

The $500,000 settlement includes:

$300,000 for restitution and the State’s fees and expenses, including investigation costs. Currently the restitution stands at $112,147.18. The exact restitution amount will be determined after WOC produces all outstanding security deposit return letters from January 1, 2010 to June 5, 2018.

$131,458.55 in civil forfeitures.

$68,541.45 in fees and assessments.

If the company defaults on the established 6.5-year payment schedule and fails to cure the situation within 30 days of default notification, the judgment will be amended to include $1,160,000 in payments to the State less any payments already made.

This settlement agreement also applies to residential rental properties owned by Mary Ann O’Connor.

By entering into this consent judgment, Wisconsin O’Connor Corporation does not admit that it has violated any laws or regulations of the State of Wisconsin.

Dept. of Children and Families: Dane County Foster Youth honored for academic achievement

Contact: Joe Scialfa or Gina Paige ― 608-266-9000

(MADISON) – 50 current and former foster youth were honored for their academic accomplishments at a special celebration held today at the Wisconsin Executive Residence. First Lady Tonette Walker joined Department of Children and Families Secretary Eloise Anderson for DCF’s sixth annual Foster Youth Graduation Ceremony, which recognizes young adults for their recent graduations from high school or other post-secondary educational milestones.

Foster youth must overcome many challenges—including being removed from biological family and often, moves between foster homes, caseworkers, and schools. Nationally, only about 54% of foster youth will graduate from high school and only 2% will go onto college.

“Many foster youth face struggles most of us couldn’t imagine,” said First Lady Tonette Walker. “When we learn about young people who beat the odds and achieve success, it’s time to celebrate. Resilience, perseverance, hope – these are just a few of the lessons we can learn from the graduates here today.”

The 50 graduates who were able to attend the celebration represented the 114 foster youth throughout Wisconsin who are known to have reached commencement in the 2017/18 academic year.

Locally, six students from Dane County were recognized: Tashonna Robinson, Jericho Leone, Clara Thorns, and Arianna Long from Madison; James Schenk from Oregon; and Deoveon Randle from Sun Prairie.

“These determined individuals deserve to be recognized for their academic achievement,” said Eloise Anderson. “They are shining examples that despite whatever hardships a person might face, you can still achieve your goals through hard work, determination and perseverance.”

For more information on Wisconsin’s foster care services or to find out how you can be a foster parent, please visit the Department of Children and Families website at https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/fostercare/parent or the Coalition for Children, Youth and Families website at www.fosterparentsrock.org.

Dept. of Children and Families: First Lady and DCF Secretary honor foster youth for student success

Contact: Joe Scialfa or Gina Paige ― 608-266-9000

(MADISON) – 50 current and former foster youth were honored for their academic accomplishments at a special celebration held today at the Wisconsin Executive Residence. First Lady Tonette Walker joined Department of Children and Families Secretary Eloise Anderson for DCF’s sixth annual Foster Youth Graduation Ceremony, which recognizes young adults for their recent graduations from high school or other post-secondary educational milestones.

Foster youth must overcome many challenges—including being removed from biological family and often, moves between foster homes, caseworkers, and schools. Nationally, only about 54% of foster youth will graduate from high school and only 2% will go onto college.

“Many foster youth face struggles most of us couldn’t imagine,” said First Lady Tonette Walker. “When we learn about young people who beat the odds and achieve success, it’s time to celebrate. Resilience, perseverance, hope – these are just a few of the lessons we can learn from the graduates here today.”

The 50 graduates who were able to attend the celebration represented the 114 foster youth throughout Wisconsin who are known to have reached commencement in the 2017/18 academic year.

“These determined individuals deserve to be recognized for their academic achievement,” said Eloise Anderson. “They are shining examples that despite whatever hardships a person might face, you can still achieve your goals through hard work, determination and perseverance.”

Former foster youth, Jameelah Love, also spoke, inspiring the graduates with the story of her life’s journey and how she is using her past experiences to bring positives changes to foster care on the both the local and national level. Love, who is currently earning her political science degree at UW-Milwaukee, completed an internship in 2017 with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington, D.C., and is currently working on a Fostering Success initiative at UW-Milwaukee, which aims to support former foster youth who are continuing their education.

For more information on Wisconsin’s foster care services or to find out how you can be a foster parent, please visit the Department of Children and Families website at https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/fostercare/parent or the Coalition for Children, Youth and Families website at www.fosterparentsrock.org.

Dept. of Corrections: Inmates complete Gas Metal Arc Welding Program

FOR DOC: DOC Communications, 608-240-5060
[email protected]

FOR WITC: Jena Vogtman, 715-394-6677, ext. 6936
[email protected]

SUPERIOR – Department leaders joined Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) Campus Administrator Bonny Copenhaver, family, and friends to congratulate fourteen Gordon Correctional Center inmates graduating from WITC’s Gas Metal Arc Welding program.

The program is a 5-week, 8-credit program which provides fundamental instruction in welding safety and basic arc welding techniques. With this credential, inmates are qualified to work as welders, fitters, operators, production welders, or welder helpers. The median wage for WITC graduates from the Gas Metal Arc Welding program is $18.37 per hour.

The inmates, who are in minimum-security status, represent part of the Department’s efforts to train inmates nearing release for in-demand careers in the community. Over the last two years, the Department has devoted significant resources to increasing educational and vocational opportunities for inmates, which includes hosting short-term intensive academies across the state of Wisconsin in concert with local technical colleges in carpentry, welding, CNC machining, industrial maintenance, and animal husbandry.

These academies result in industry-recognized credentials inmates can utilize to find family-sustaining jobs in the community in an effort to reduce recidivism. The Department has also purchased a mobile lab which provides instruction in CNC machining and received funds in the 2017 – 2019 biennial budget to purchase additional mobile labs which will provide instruction in welding and industrial maintenance.

DOC Secretary Cathy Jess said: “As a Department, we believe it’s critical to prepare inmates for success in the community. This program is one way inmates can learn valuable skills which will translate into employment in the community and enable them to live crime-free lives. We will continue to expand these opportunities, as we believe that a good, family-sustaining job is a great deterrent to recidivism.”

“The success of this welding program shows how organizations can work together to provide unique opportunities for incarcerated residents to build their skillset, gain confidence and realize a new future for themselves upon release,” explains, Bonny Copenhaver, WITC-Superior Campus Administrator and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Dept. of Corrections: Inmates complete Nicolet College Mechanical Maintenance Program

FOR DOC: DOC Communications, 608-240-5060
[email protected]

FOR NICOLET COLLEGE: Terry Rutlin, 715-365-4681
[email protected]

RHINELANDER – Department Secretary Cathy Jess joined Nicolet College President Richard Nelson, family, and friends to congratulate five McNaughton Correctional Center inmates graduating from Nicolet College’s Mechanical Maintenance program.

The Mechanical Maintenance program is a 14-week, 13-credit program which provides fundamental instruction in hydraulics, pneumatics, and electronic devices commonly used in the manufacturing sector. With this credential, inmates are qualified to work as production workers, machine operators, utility workers, factory laborers, or helpers. The median wage for these positions in the Nicolet College Technical College District is $16.12 per hour.

The inmates, who are in minimum-security status, represent part of the Department’s efforts to train inmates nearing release for in-demand careers in the community. Over the last two years, the Department has devoted significant resources to increasing educational and vocational opportunities for inmates, which includes hosting short-term intensive academies across the State of Wisconsin along with local technical colleges in carpentry, welding, CNC machining, industrial maintenance, and animal husbandry.

These academies result in industry-recognized credentials inmates can utilize to find family-sustaining jobs in the community in an effort to reduce recidivism. The Department has also purchased a mobile lab which provides instruction in CNC machining and received funds in the 2017 – 2019 biennial budget to purchase additional mobile labs which will provide instruction in welding and industrial maintenance.

DOC Secretary Cathy Jess said: “We welcome the opportunity to provide a chance for inmates to learn critical skills and connect with employers in the community to fill open jobs. Using labor market information, the Department is identifying careers where inmates can quickly receive training and find entry-level employment to begin crime-free lives in the community and become productive citizens.”

“The inmates can now proudly call themselves Nicolet College graduates,” Nicolet College President Richard Nelson said. “They’ve demonstrated through hard work and dedication that they have earned this distinction, something they will be able to carry with them for the rest of their lives. The skill sets they now have will serve as a strong cornerstone as they move forward and build their lives.”

Dept. of Corrections: Minimum-security inmates complete Industrial Maintenance Program

FOR DOC: DOC Communications, 608-240-5060
[email protected]

FOR NWTC: Casey Fryda, 920-609-1767
[email protected]

GREEN BAY – Department Secretary Cathy Jess joined Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) President Jeff Rafn, family, and friends to congratulate 11 Sanger Powers Correctional Center inmates graduating from NWTC’s Industrial Maintenance Certificate program.

The 14-week, 14-credit technical training program provides instruction in the basics of PLC motors and drives, pneumatics, hydraulics, and mechanics. Certificate completers can provide basic troubleshooting and maintenance on industrial machinery.

The inmates, who are in minimum-security status, represent part of the Department’s efforts to train inmates nearing release for in-demand careers in the community. Over the last several years, the Department has devoted significant resources to increasing educational and vocational opportunities for inmates. This includes hosting short-term intensive academies across the State of Wisconsin in concert with local technical colleges in construction, welding, CNC machining, and industrial maintenance.

These academies result in industry-recognized credentials inmates can utilize to find family-sustaining jobs in the community in an effort to reduce recidivism. The Department has also purchased a mobile lab which enables us to provide instruction in CNC machining. The Department received additional funds in the 2017 – 2019 biennial budget to purchase additional mobile labs which will provide instruction in welding and industrial maintenance.

DOC Secretary Cathy Jess said: “Expanding vocational education opportunities for inmates are invaluable for inmates seeking a second chance and employers seeking skilled workers. National research shows that every dollar invested in educational opportunities for inmates can save taxpayers five dollars in reincarceration costs over the next three years. We look forward to continuing to expand our education and vocational offerings to provide inmates the opportunity to receive their high school degree, learn an in-demand skill, and release to the community with good prospects for employment. ”

“NWTC has a long history of helping people start a new path that will transform their lives, support their families, and meet employer needs,” said Dr. Rafn. “Based on my conversations with area business leaders, Wisconsin’s critical manufacturing industry needs more trained technicians in industrial maintenance than they can find. Training students for a promising career that meets area business needs is one of the ways NWTC stands out, and one of the ways we keep Wisconsin’s economy growing. I’m very happy to see this day arrive – for everyone involved.”

Dept. of Corrections: Minimum-security inmates James Heather and Alexander Weinmann escape from Winnebago Correctional Center

Minimum-security inmates James Heather and Alexander Weinmann, confined at Winnebago Correctional Center, have escaped from the facility.

The incident has been reported to the Oshkosh Police Department.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of this inmate should immediately contact law enforcement.

Name: James Heather

Year of Birth: 10/28/1990

Gender: Male

Race: White

Height: 5’07”

Weight 181 lbs.

Eye Color: Blue

Hair Color: Brown

County of Conviction: Sauk, Richland

Name: Alexander Weinmann

Year of Birth: 04/26/1993

Gender: Male

Race: White

Height: 5’10”

Weight 168 lbs.

Eye Color: Blue

Hair Color: Brown

County of Conviction: Winnebago

Offense information is available on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website.

Dept. of Corrections: Statement regarding settlement in J.J. et al v. Litscher et al

DOC Communications, 608-240-5060
[email protected]

MADISON – Wisconsin Department of Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher today announced that a settlement has been reached in J.J. et al v. Litscher et al, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin:

“Staff and youth safety is paramount to the Department of Corrections and we believe this settlement will maintain options which allow us to safely manage youth. We will continue to emphasize mental health treatment and education. Over the last two years, our investments have prioritized security, education, and mental health treatment, along with sweeping changes to security policies and practices.

Department leaders will continue meeting with staff on an ongoing basis to seek their input and will be providing comprehensive training to both security and non-security staff as we implement the terms of this agreement.

We are continuing to move ahead with reforms to Wisconsin’s juvenile corrections system, including the development and construction of new Type 1 juvenile correctional facilities, partnerships with counties to develop secure residential care centers for children and youth, and the conversion of Copper Lake School/Lincoln Hills School to an adult correctional facility.”

Dept. of Corrections: Wisconsin DOC teams raise nearly $40,000 for Special Olympics



June 5, 2018

FOR DOC: DOC Communications, 608-240-5060, [email protected]

FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS: Nicci Sprangers, 920-731-1614, [email protected]

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) and Special Olympics Wisconsin today announced that teams from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections participating in the 2018 Polar Plunge raised more than $38,000 to benefit Special Olympics athletes in Wisconsin.

The top team, which included 16 employees from Redgranite Correctional Institution, raised more than $10,000, and the second place team, from Waupun Correctional Institution, raised more than $6,500. Other participating teams were from Fox Lake Correctional Institution, Dodge Correctional Institution, Oshkosh Correctional Institution, Columbia Correctional Institution, DOC headquarters, and Oakhill Correctional Institution.

The Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Wisconsin took place in 12 locations across the state from February 3rd to March 3rd, with more than 5,000 people participating. Five of the DOC teams plunged into the freezing waters of Lake Winnebago on February 16th during the Oshkosh Law Enforcement & Corrections Plunge. The Polar Plunge included a Law Enforcement Challenge, which comprises law enforcement and corrections agencies from across Wisconsin. In 2018 alone, 46 teams across the state participating in the Law Enforcement Challenge raised more than $110,000.

“Department of Corrections employees are deeply involved in the communities where they live,” said DOC Secretary Jon Litscher. “I’m thankful to our staff for their investment of time and energy to support a great cause like the Special Olympics. We look forward to building on this year’s success and continuing to provide support to community organizations.”

“Special Olympics Wisconsin is so appreciative of the incredible fundraising efforts of Redgranite Correctional Institution during the Law Enforcement Challenge of the Polar Plunge. The Department of Corrections and their institutions are such a critical component of our mission and our relationship with law enforcement agencies,” said Kathleen Roach, President/CEO of Special Olympics Wisconsin. “Redgranite’s fundraising success and enthusiasm for Special Olympics athletes is a perfect example of that. The $10,000 they raised through the Challenge will really go a long way toward helping athletes achieve their dreams both on and off the field.”

Dept. of Health Services: K2 and Spice still causing hospitalizations in Wisconsin


Contact: Jennifer Miller/Elizabeth Goodsitt 608-266-1683

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is warning people about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids, often called “fake weed”, “K2”, and “spice” as people continue to be hospitalized with severe bleeding after using these products which have contained rat poison. Wisconsin has seen a total of 15 cases since March of this year, 7 confirmed and 8 probable. Counties with confirmed cases include Dane, Milwaukee, and Outagamie Counties. Illinois has reported 4 deaths from bleeding related to synthetic cannabinoids as of June 20, 2018.

“These dangerous products are still in the community and we urge people not to use K2, spice, or any synthetic cannabinoid,” said State Health Officer Karen McKeown.

Dept. of Health Services: Promotes awareness on National HIV Testing Day

Contact: Jennifer Miller/Elizabeth Goodsitt 608-266-1683

 Medical advances mean people diagnosed with HIV can now live long, healthy lives

Today is National HIV Testing Day and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is taking this opportunity to share information about medical advances that allow those diagnosed with HIV to live long, healthy, happy lives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many people living with HIV who seek appropriate treatment are able to maintain an undetectable viral load, which means they can live without fear of passing HIV on to others, but the first step is getting tested. Nearly eight in 10 people living with HIV in the United States reported feeling stigmatized for their HIV status, while nearly two out of three say it is difficult to tell others about their infection. Addressing HIV stigma is central to ending the HIV epidemic because when people experience stigma, they are less likely to access HIV testing, adopt safe behaviors, or be adherent to their HIV medication.

“With advances in medicine and the dedicated work of our community partners, the goal of ending new HIV transmissions in Wisconsin is within reach,” said Karen McKeown, State Health Officer. “We want people to know the facts about HIV so that together we can reduce fear and stigma and help people stay healthy.”

DHS would like to share the following facts and resources with the public:

Free or low cost HIV testing. Getting tested is the first step, and DHS sponsors HIV testing at numerous agencies across the state. Testing is confidential and only takes 20 minutes and a finger stick. Find a list of places to get free or low-cost HIV testing in Wisconsin. Select Walgreens locations in Milwaukee are also offering free, confidential HIV testing that takes one minute to perform. Learn more at GetTestedMKE.org.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). With only one pill a day, people who are HIV negative and at high risk can reduce their risk of becoming HIV positive by up to 92%. The medication is available by prescription from your primary care physician or infectious disease physician. Learn more about PrEP.

Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U). In 2017, studies showed that people living with HIV who were able to maintain an undetectable viral load through antiretroviral medication (ARVs) did not pass on HIV through sex. This means that people living with HIV who are able to stay in treatment can live without fear of passing HIV on to others through sex. Learn more on the CDC website.

As part of its work to reduce HIV-related stigma, DHS will be launching a media campaign, “HIV In Real Life”, which will run in Milwaukee County starting on July 9, 2018. The campaign features Milwaukee community members who share their stories about staying healthy while living with HIV, staying HIV negative, and the stigma they encountered in their lives because of their diagnosis.

Dept. of Justice: AG Schimel welcomes attendees to AG’s Public Safety Summit focused on school safety


WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel opened his annual AG’s Public Safety Summit. Nearly 200 law enforcement officers and school faculty will gather for the next three days to discuss school safety, the subject of this year’s summit, through educational tracks specific to an attendee’s profession, either law enforcement officer or school official.

“Keeping children and faculty safe in our K-12 schools is a top priority at DOJ and our training will help strengthen the multi-disciplinary teams on the ground,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Instead of only including law enforcement and public safety leaders, we’ve added educators and school staff, and the team at the Wisconsin Department of Justice has selected nationally renowned speakers who will present on the best practices to keep kids safe; and if the worst should occur, how to respond quickly and effectively. This conference will help continue the conversation and foster further collaboration between law enforcement and educators.”

In total, 105 law enforcement officers and 89 school officials from around the state will attend programing on active shooter situations and recognizing, assessing, and managing the threat of targeted violence. Conference attendees will hear from school safety experts like Mike Clumpner, President/CEO of Threat Suppression, Inc. and Christopher Cole, Director of Threat Intervention Services at UW-Madison.

This year’s conference will also continue to support law enforcement officer wellness. Tim Rutledge of the Mississippi Law Enforcement for Peer Support will provide a presentation on the benefits of bringing a peer support team to a law enforcement organization and why officer survival includes mental, emotional, and physical safety.

Over the past three months, since 2017 Wisconsin Act 143 was signed into law, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has consulted with numerous stakeholders in the fields of education, security, law enforcement, and mental health. These specialists, listed at the end of this press release, worked with DOJ’s own security experts to develop DOJ’s Office of School Safety and the School Safety Grant Initiative, both of which will create sustainable improvements in Wisconsin schools.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Schimel announced the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) as the recipient of the first School Safety Grant. KUSD received $888,788, which will be spent on building safety improvements, as well as training for faculty and staff.

Grant funding will be awarded under two School Safety Grant categories, the Primary School Safety Grant and Advanced School Safety Grant. DOJ’s Primary School Safety Grants focus on baseline improvements to schools, including door locks and hardening school entryways. The Advanced School Safety Grants, are prioritized to award grants on a competitive basis to schools that have met minimum security thresholds. Additional school safety grants will be awarded to schools throughout the remainder of 2018.

Dept. of Justice: AG Schimel: Public awareness campaign will show an “altered state” of Wisconsin with rapidly growing meth use


GREEN BAY, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Northwoods Coalition and the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth kicked off the next phase of the KNOW METH public awareness campaign by announcing $225,000 in new funding and sharing what an “Altered State” would look like if meth use were to impact time-honored traditions in Wisconsin.

“Meth use is rapidly growing in Wisconsin with nearly a 500% increase in cases from 2010 to 2017,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “Meth use isn’t just affecting the user; it’s hurting our communities and costing Wisconsin $424 million annually. It is critical that we educate the public to ‘KNOW METH’ and this next phase in our awareness campaign is a tremendous step forward to slow this dangerous epidemic.”

The KNOW METH public awareness campaign was first launched statewide in January 2018, in partnership with Marshfield Clinic Health System, Northwoods Coalition and the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth. The campaign is aimed at preventing people from using methamphetamine and to encourage those who are addicted to seek treatment.

The phase of the KNOW METH launched today will include targeted online, video, television, radio ads, and print materials that will be available on the www.knowmethwi.org website. The campaign messaging will show beloved Wisconsin symbols that are being left in an “Altered State,” similar to what happens to a meth user’s body and life when they become addicted. The campaign will begin airing in late June and early July, targeting over 35 counties in Northern and Western Wisconsin, including in the Green Bay-Appleton, Wausau-Rhinelander, and La Crosse-Eau Claire media markets.

“According to USA TODAY Network – Wisconsin, in 2016, 7,390 children were placed outside of their homes due to drug abuse,” said Danielle Luther, Manager – Alcohol & Drug Programs, Marshfield Clinic Health System. “Our goal is to encourage communities to talk to children and families members about the risks and dangers of meth use and to get involved by supporting local coalitions and organizations in taking action to prevent meth use.”

This phase of the campaign is funded by $225,000 that was committed to the KNOW METH public awareness by Attorney General Schimel from settlement funds. The Wisconsin State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) approved Attorney General Schimel’s expenditure plan for the campaign in May 2018.

“Meth addiction is a big-time issue in the northern portion of the state, and its heart breaking for everyone involved,” said JFC member Rep. Mary Felzkowski of Irma. “I would like to thank Attorney General Schimel and the Department of Justice for their continued hard work on drug awareness, teaching the public how dangerous these drugs are and encouraging them to seek treatments for addiction. The only way to prevent addiction is to refrain from using in the first place, and it’s programs like these that prove to be beneficial by educating Wisconsinites on the risks and consequences involved.”

Attorney General Schimel has taken additional action against rising methamphetamine use in Wisconsin:

· Appointed three assistant attorney general (AAG) to assist local district attorneys and law enforcement in the prosecution of methamphetamine-related cases; one each assigned to Wausau, Appleton, and Eau Claire to support Northern Wisconsin. This AAG represents the state in criminal cases; advises local prosecutors on matters relating to methamphetamine trafficking; and assists in the development of legislation concerning the growing threat that methamphetamine poses to local communities.

· Hired an analyst at the Wisconsin Statewide Information Center (WSIC) and purchased equipment for investigating meth labs; and is providing training and financial support for the efforts of local law enforcement agencies and multi-jurisdictional drug task forces. Funding for these initiatives comes from a $1.5 million Methamphetamine Initiative Grant from the United States Department of Justice.

· Hired four additional criminal investigation agents who are focused on drug interdiction and drug trafficking.

· Increased spending on treatment alternative and diversion courts (TAD) in 51 counties and two tribes, with more than $6 million provided annually to support these local programs.

· In 2017, Attorney General Schimel successfully sought a stay from the Supreme Court of the United States in Anderson, et al. v. Loertscher, a challenge to the state’s Unborn Child Protection Act. The Unborn Child Protection Act or 1997 Wisconsin Act 292 gives county health services agencies the legal authority to assist substance-addicted, pregnant women with their addiction, thus protecting both the mothers and their unborn children.

To learn more about the KNOW METH public awareness campaign and to get facts about the impact of meth use in Wisconsin go to: www.knowmethwi.org

Dept. of Justice: Federal government agrees with important aspects of AG Schimel’s lawsuit against Obamacare


MADISON, Wis. – Late yesterday, the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) conceded in court filings that Obamacare’s central provision, the individual mandate, is unconstitutional, and that a federal judge should strike it down along with other central provisions of the law before January 1, 2019. US DOJ’s position that these other central provisions cannot lawfully stand if Obamacare’s individual mandate is invalidated is consistent with critical concessions also made by US DOJ under President Obama.

Attorney General Brad Schimel’s lawsuit, filed earlier this year on behalf of 20 states, challenged the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA or Obamacare. Schimel argued that when Congress voted to remove the individual-mandate tax in December 2017, the constitutional underpinnings of the entire law fell apart.

“I am pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice properly understood that there is no good legal defense for Obamacare’s central provisions,” said Attorney General Schimel. “As I have long said, Obamacare is unconstitutional and we look forward to the courts vindicating that position.”

When the United States Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of the ACA in 2012, the Court ruled that the law was constitutional only because the individual mandate could be fairly construed as a tax, even though Congress did not explicitly establish the mandate under its taxing power. But in December 2017, Congress revised the tax code and eliminated the individual-mandate tax, thereby rendering the law unconstitutional in full. On February 26, 2018, twenty states—led by Attorney General Schimel and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton—sued to strike down the ACA in light of the new provision in the tax code.

In a brief filed yesterday, US DOJ agreed with Attorney General Schimel that the ACA’s individual mandate, community-ratings provisions, and guaranteed-issue provision must be invalidated. But the US DOJ further argued, contrary to the States’ position, that certain other provisions of the ACA, such as the one allowing those under age 26 to remain on their parents health insurance, should remain in place.

By almost any measure, the ACA has largely been a failure. Despite former President Obama’s claims that the ACA would extend health insurance to every American and that everyone who liked their doctor could keep their doctor, over 30 million Americans remain uninsured, and according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, average individual market premiums more than doubled between 2013 and 2017.

The federal court is expected to issue a decision on the case later this year.

Dept. of Justice: Third KNOW METH methamphetamine enforcement public safety summit held in Rice Lake

RICE LAKE, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), Alliance for Wisconsin Youth, Marshfield Clinic Health System, and the Northwoods Coalition held a public safety summit in Rice Lake, Wis. today to fight methamphetamine use in northern Wisconsin. The summit is part of KNOW METH, a public awareness campaign to prevent methamphetamine use. In January 2018, Attorney General Brad Schimel committed $50,000 to support the campaign and trainings for public safety officials and earlier this month announced an additional $225,000 in public awareness funding.

“Meth is devastating northern Wisconsin communities and we are fighting back with a multifaceted approach that includes going after the traffickers, spreading awareness, and trying to prevent people from ever starting,” said Attorney General Schimel. “The DOJ public safety summit will give northern Wisconsin officials the tools they need to crack down on the meth ravaging their communities.”

“We have heard from our partners and communities that law enforcement and criminal justice officials would like more training just on the topic of methamphetamine,” said Danielle Luther, Manager – Alcohol and Drug Programs at Marshfield Clinic Health System – Center for Community Health Advancement. “The training was hosted in three locations to make it easy for participants to attend in areas most affected.”

This one-day training offered will cover methamphetamine trends in Wisconsin, clandestine lab safety and awareness, best practices for investigation, an overview of DOJ’s Treatment Alternatives and Diversion program and tools for people on the frontlines of the methamphetamine epidemic in Wisconsin.

Attendees at the summit include more than 80 law enforcement and criminal justice professionals. Similar trainings were held in Rhinelander and Ashland last month.

In January 2018, Attorney General Schimel committed $50,000 to support the KNOW METH public awareness campaign and training and earlier this month announced an additional $225,000 for the campaign. The public awareness campaign, launched in partnership with the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth, Marshfield Clinic Health System, and the Northwoods Coalition, raises awareness about methamphetamine use in Wisconsin communities. The campaign informs the public:

  • Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant impacting Wisconsin communities;
  • Methamphetamine impacts more than just the person abusing the substance, including children and the environment, and;
  • Communities should look for signs of addiction, methamphetamine use and trafficking.

To learn more about the KNOW METH public awareness campaign and to get facts about the impact of meth use in Wisconsin go to: www.knowmethwi.org.

In February 2017, Attorney General Schimel briefed the Wisconsin State Legislature on the growing threat of methamphetamine and included findings from a January 2017 joint DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) study. The report details methamphetamine use increased 250 to 300 percent from 2011 to 2015. Recently, the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory Bureau (WSCLB) has experienced a 32.3% increase in methamphetamine submissions, from 1,148 in 2016 to 1,696 in 2017.

DOJ also combats methamphetamine through its commitment to the Drug Endangered Children Program (DEC).  Cynthia Giese, a DCI Special Agent in Charge (SAC), leads Wisconsin’s DEC program and also is currently serving as the interim president of the nationwide program as well.  DEC is comprised of multi-disciplinary professionals including law enforcement, child protective services, medical providers, prosecutors, school personnel, and corrections officers. All of these professionals play a role in the rescue and support of drug endangered children. The children are provided with services that assist in providing the drug endangered child with a safe environment in which to live and grow up.

Attorney General Schimel has taken additional actions against rising methamphetamine use in Wisconsin:

  • Appointed three assistant attorney general (AAG) to assist local district attorneys and law enforcement in the prosecution of methamphetamine-related cases; one each assigned to Wausau, Appleton, and Eau Claire to support Northern Wisconsin. This AAG represents the state in criminal cases; advises local prosecutors on matters relating to methamphetamine trafficking; and assists in the development of legislation concerning the growing threat that methamphetamine poses to local communities. Hired an analyst at the Wisconsin Statewide Information Center (WSIC) and purchased equipment for investigating meth labs; and is providing training and financial support for the efforts of local law enforcement agencies and multi-jurisdictional drug task forces. Funding for these initiatives comes from a $1.5 million Methamphetamine Initiative Grant from the United States Department of Justice.
  • Hired four additional criminal investigation agents who are focused on drug interdiction and drug trafficking.
  • Increased spending on treatment alternative and diversion courts (TAD) in 51 counties and two tribes, with more than $6 million provided annually to support these local programs.
  • In 2017, Attorney General Schimel successfully sought a stay from the Supreme Court of the United States in Anderson, et al. v. Loertscher, a challenge to the state’s Unborn Child Protection Act. The Unborn Child Protection Act or 1997 Wisconsin Act 292 gives state actors the legal authority to assist substance-addicted, pregnant women with their addiction, thus protecting both the mothers and their unborn children. In June 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit concluded the case moot.

The Northwoods Coalition, formed in 1995, is the largest and oldest network of coalitions dedicated to substance abuse prevention in Wisconsin. Representatives from more than 50 coalitions in a 34-county region, including the 11 Wisconsin Tribal Nations, serve on a non-governing advisory board to help shape policies, practices and programs to address public health issues arising from use of alcohol and other drugs. Marshfield Clinic Health System staff provide support including education, training, technical assistance and other resources to members of Northwoods Coalition.

Dept. of Military Affairs: Celebrate safely during Independence Day

CONTACT: Andrew Beckett | [email protected] | 608-242-3211

by ReadyWisconsin

As we celebrate the Independence Day holiday with fireworks and barbecues, ReadyWisconsin is offering these tips to make sure you and your family have a safe and happy 4th of July

“We all enjoy celebrating Independence Day with family and friends, especially watching fireworks,” said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula. “However, it is important to remember that fireworks can be dangerous when used improperly.”

Last year, 15 people were hospitalized and 102 visited emergency rooms in Wisconsin due to fireworks-related injuries, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Nationally, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says more than 250 people go to emergency rooms with fireworks-related injuries every day during the weeks leading up to the July 4th celebration.

The easy way to keep everyone safe is by watching free community fireworks shows. However, if you choose to set off your own fireworks, please follow these tips:

  • Make sure you buy legal fireworks that are allowed in your community and buy from reliable sellers
  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Adults igniting the fireworks should always wear eye protection and never have any part of their body over a firework.
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks
  • Always have water (a garden hose or a bucket) ready in case of a fire
  • Light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from buildings, dry leaves and flammable materials. Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people or animals
  • Keep your pets indoors to reduce the risk that they will run loose and get injured

In addition to fireworks safety, ReadyWisconsin offers these additional tips:

  • While you are out celebrating, remember to drink plenty of water. Limit your alcohol use and never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.
  • If you are traveling, make sure you have an emergency kit in your car with items such as bottled water, snacks, and a cell phone charger. Check 511Wisconsin for traffic-related information using the free mobile app or online at www.511wi.gov.
  • If you are traveling to northwestern, Wisconsin, be ready for possible road closures due to recent flooding. Use caution in these areas and adhere to signed closures. DO NOT drive around barricades. For more information, check www.511wi.gov.
  • Never leave a child, disabled person or pet in a parked car — even briefly. Temperatures can become life threatening within minutes. On an 80-degree day the temperature inside a car, even with windows cracked slightly open, can reach 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes.
  • ReadyWisconsin reminds everyone attending holiday activities to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement. You could protect your family, neighbors and community. For more information on the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign, visit https://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something.

Stay informed on impending heat dangers by following us on: Facebook – www.facebook.com/readywisconsin, Twitter –www.twitter.com/readywisconsin, and Instagram – www.instagram.com/readywisconsin.

Dept. of Military Affairs: Remembering Wisconsin’s historic 2008 flooding


CONTACT: Lori Getter | [email protected] | 608-242-3239

by Lori Getter

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the devastating 2008 floods in southern Wisconsin. Three people were killed and thousands of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed as flood waters impacted 31 counties for almost a month. It was the worst disaster since the Great Floods of 1993 that hit the Midwest.

“It’s hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the 2008 floods forever changed communities such as Gays Mills and Rock Springs along with Lake Delton,” said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general and Homeland Security Advisor. Dunbar was adjutant general at the time and oversaw the state of Wisconsin’s response to the flooding.

“Our first responders and communities did a great job,” Dunbar said. “It seemed every day, a different area was experiencing major flooding. There was water everywhere.”

In the early summer of 2008, southern Wisconsin was primed for a major flood. The ground was saturated from flooding that had occurred in the previous year, combined with record-breaking snowfall during the winter. When heavy rains began on June 5, there was soon widespread flooding because there was no place for the water to go. Some areas would eventually receive up to 14 inches of rain that month.

One of the more visual events was the draining of Lake Delton on June 9. As the lake levels continued to rise, it caused the sandy soil along the eastern edge of the manmade lake to give way, draining the entire lake into the Wisconsin River and destroying five homes.

Wisconsin’s Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) was activated for nearly three weeks as heavy rains continue to move over the same stretch of southern Wisconsin. The rains not only flooded homes and businesses but also forced the closure of numerous roads, bridges and even interstates. Within days, President George W. Bush declared a federal disaster area for 31 counties.

Many agencies responded to the flooding. The Wisconsin National Guard assisted with diverting traffic from flooded interstates, delivered sandbags and water, assisted local officials with evacuations and provided aerial assessments with the RC-26 aircraft.

“The RC-26 provided us with real-time video downlink capabilities,” Dunbar said. “It allowed us in the SEOC and the National Guard Joint Operations Center to see immediately endangered dams and other flooded areas.”

When emergencies and disasters occur today, Wisconsin has a new tool to help gain immediate situational awareness. Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones can provide critical tasks including spotting people in need of help, provide a view of impacted areas and assess damage to buildings, bridges, roads and power lines. They can also be used for searching of missing persons, hazardous materials incidents and other high-risk areas.

In 2008, floodwaters displaced thousands of people, with more than 2,600 seeking emergency shelter. Volunteers provided 77,000 meals at mobile and fixed feeding sites. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) nearly 24,000 individuals were approved for federal disaster assistance with more than $56 million in grants distributed to those impacted by the flooding through FEMA’s Individual and Household Program.

“The 2008 floods were a huge test for our state to respond to a disaster of that magnitude,” said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula. “In the last 10 years we have expanded our emergency plans and resources to respond to major disasters. This includes working closely with the private sector to provide goods and services to those communities impacted. We also have plans in place to quickly bring in additional support from other states under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.”

Locals, state, federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses and citizens worked hard to try and stop the damage from the raging flood waters and provide comfort and relief to those impacted. For many people, they would never live in their home again. More than 190 flooded homes and other structures were acquired and demolished under Wisconsin’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. It took six years for the Wisconsin Emergency Management Hazard Mitigation program staff to close out the 2008 flood projects.

More than 850 local and state government agencies applied for assistance under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. FEMA obligated $48.5 million. While most of the repairs and financial reimbursement were made in two years, there were some larger projects that took longer. The final closeout for the 2008 flood was made in March 2017.

“Another lesson learned was the importance of long-term recovery,” Satula observed. “Just because the flood waters go away, doesn’t mean things are back to normal for a community. Recovery can take years, as many of these communities have discovered.”

Many communities also began looking at what could be done to prevent similar losses from occurring in the future. The village of Gays Mills was struck by back-to-back floods of the Kickapoo River in August 2007 and June 2008. Both flood events resulted in substantial losses to residents and businesses in the downtown area. After the 2008 flooding, the village began working with county, state and federal officials to help move businesses and residents to higher ground. The hard work paid off. When flooding occurred in 2016 and 2017, only a few businesses and homes left in the downtown area were impacted.

Dept. of Military Affairs: WI Emergency Management release: June 26 is Lightning Safety Awareness Day in Wisconsin


CONTACT: Andrew Beckett | [email protected] | 608-242-3211

MADISON, Wis. — When thunder roars, go indoors! Wisconsin’s Lightning Safety Awareness Day is Tuesday, June 26, 2018 and ReadyWisconsin is reminding people about the dangers of lightning and what steps they can take to keep safe.

“Lightning strikes can seemingly come out of nowhere, killing or seriously injuring a person in the blink of an eye,” said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula. “It’s important to watch the skies and be ready to head indoors if you hear thunder or see lightning.”

Lightning kills dozens of people across the country and injures hundreds of others each year. In Wisconsin, seven people have died since 2008 after being struck by lightning.

Health officials say if a person you are with is struck by lightning, immediately dial 911 and start performing CPR. Don’t be afraid to touch the victim – the human body does not hold an electrical charge.

If you can hear thunder or see lightning, act quickly to protect yourself. Even if the skies are clear directly overhead, a bolt of lightning can travel several miles from the center of a storm. Never seek cover under a tree or think you are safe by being low to the ground. Get out of open areas and away from bodies of water, such as lakes or rivers.

The safest place to be is inside a sturdy shelter, such as a house. Even the inside of a car with a hard top is safer than being out in the open during a thunderstorm. If you are inside a vehicle, avoid touching metal surfaces that could conduct electricity.

Before spending time outdoors, pay attention to weather forecasts and be ready to change your plans if thunderstorms are in the forecast.

For more information go to readywisconsin.wi.gov. For daily safety tips and information, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/readywisconsin) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/readywisconsin).

Dept. of Military Affairs: Wisconsin Emergency Management release: Incident report 2 – Northern Wisconsin flooding


CONTACT: Lori Getter | [email protected] | 608-516-0293

Incident Report #2 – 06/18/18 2:00 pm

Damage assessments continue in northwestern Wisconsin, following heavy rains over the weekend that caused flooding across the region. The National Weather Service says portions of Douglas, Bayfield, and Ashland counties received 6-10 inches of rain over the past three days, while Drummond in Bayfield County received 15 inches between Saturday and Monday morning.

A state of emergency has been declared in Douglas and Bayfield counties, where residents and businesses are being urged to call 2-1-1 to report flood damage.

At least one person is dead as a result of the flooding. The Ashland County Sheriff says a 75-year-old Mason, Wisconsin man was found in a flooded ditch near a pickup truck, which was also in the water. The incident remains under investigation.

Several rivers, including the Nemadji and St. Croix Rivers, are running high. A flood warning remains in effect for Clark County until 7 pm Monday. A flash flood warning has been issued until 6:30 pm Monday for Burnett and Douglas counties. Douglas, Washburn, and Burnett counties are under flood warnings until Thursday morning.

Multiple roads in the region are closed due to washouts, being covered by water, or because of concerns about their stability. People traveling in the region are urged to check 511wi.gov for current road closure information. If you encounter standing water on a roadway, turn around and find a different route.

The State Emergency Operations Center remains elevated to Level 3 with Wisconsin Emergency Management, Wisconsin National Guard, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the National Weather Service monitoring the situation. Other state agencies are monitoring. WEM Regional Offices continues to work with county emergency management agencies.

Additional information on the state’s response to the flooding can be found at http://ready.wi.gov/flooding/NWWI2018.asp

Dept. of Military Affairs: Wisconsin Emergency Managment release: Incident Report 1 – Northern Wisconsin Flooding


CONTACT: Lori Getter | [email protected] | 608-516-0293

Storm Update – 6:00 pm

Heavy rains have caused flooding and flash floods in northwestern Wisconsin. The National Weather Service says the area has received 7-12” of rain. There will be a few showers tonight but the heavy rainfall has moved out. The counties with the most damage includes Douglas, Ashland, Bayfield, Price, Iron and Sawyer Counties.

Douglas County has declared a state of emergency. Numerous roads in the impacted counties, including sections of U.S. Highways 2, 35, 53, 63 and 137 are closed due to flooding. Law enforcement agencies tonight are advising no travel. They are reminding motorist that driving through water is dangerous and is putting first responders at risk.

Both Douglas and Bayfield counties are encouraging residents and businesses impacted by flooding to call 2-1-1 to report flood damage. Sawyer county and Lac Courte Oreilles Nation have reported several homes damaged by fallen trees as a result of the storms.

Several rivers including the Nemadji and Brule Rivers are running high and are flooding. Flood Watch and Flood Warnings continue.

Douglas County forestry trail system is shut down until inspections and repairs are completed due to water damage. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources report that many wardens are out in the field responding to requests for rescue and assistance. Evacuations were made at Copper Falls State Park last night. The decision was made to close access to Amnicon Falls State Park at 1315 today due to concerns regarding park guests on the walking bridges and roads.

The State Emergency Operations Center is elevated to Level 3 with Wisconsin Emergency Management, WI National Guard, WI State Patrol, WI Department of Natural Resources and the National Weather Service. Other state agencies are monitoring. WEM Regional Offices are on scene working with county emergency management agencies. They are coordinating additional traffic signs, barricades and barrels in anticipation of possible additional road closures.

Dept. of Military Affairs: Wisconsin National Guard gains first woman deputy adjutant general for Army


CONTACT: Capt. Joe Trovato | [email protected] | 608-242-3048

by Vaughn R. Larson

VOLK FIELD, Wis. — The Wisconsin Army National Guard celebrated the first woman — as well as first Native American — to serve as Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Army during a formal change of authority ceremony last Friday (June 1).

In the shadow of where the Wisconsin Army National Guard came to train before there was an Air National Guard, Maj. Gen. Mark Anderson relinquished the post in which he had served since 2008 to Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews, who most recently has served as the assistant adjutant general for readiness and training.

Though Mathews has a lengthy history of setting “firsts” in the Wisconsin Army National Guard — from commanding the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation to commanding the 64th Troop Command, to serving as the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s chief of staff and then as assistant adjutant general for readiness and training — she approaches each new opportunity with humility.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be standing here,” Mathews said at the ceremony, after her installation as deputy adjutant general for Army. “I am very proud and extremely humbled, and thankful that you have chosen me for this position.”

Anderson had high praise for his successor.

“I’ve had the opportunity to watch her grow as a senior leader to where she is at right now,” Anderson said. “There could not have been a finer officer selected to be my successor. She is absolutely ready, and I am 100 percent confident in her capabilities — not only because of her leadership, but because of the men and women in the audience.”

Anderson ascribed the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s success as an organization to its Soldiers and leaders.

“We have the opportunity at our level to influence — kind of having our hands on the tiller — but it is the people that are rowing, day and day and day, that truly make this organization as phenomenal as it is,” Anderson said.

Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, presided over the ceremony and praised Anderson for his performance the past 10 years, calling him “an exceptional deputy adjutant general.”

“Under his watch and his stewardship he has made this Army National Guard the envy of the 54 and I couldn’t be happier,” Dunbar said. “It’s been an honor to serve with you.”

Over the past decade the Wisconsin Army National Guard has been hard at work fulfilling its dual-mission as both the primary combat reserve of the Army and as the state’s first military responder in times of emergency. During Anderson’s tenure, the Wisconsin Army National Guard mobilized nearly 5,500 Soldiers and 95 units for overseas combat operations. It simultaneously mobilized to state active duty on dozens of occasions to serve in the aftermath of floods, winter storms, civil unrest and other emergencies including large mobilizations to Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands last fall in the wake of a destructive hurricane season.

“From the day I took the guidon back in 2008 up until right now, we have had Soldiers deploy each and every year, constantly,” Anderson said. “And I know that’s going to continue for the foreseeable future. But this organization shines because of the culture that we have of trust, the culture that we have of continuous improvement, and just the phenomenal leaders that we have standing in our formation each and every day.”

Turning to Mathews, Anderson said, “All I can say is ‘strap in,’ because it’s going to be a heck of a ride.”

Dunbar offered similar comments to Mathews’ husband Ric and her daughters Shannon and Lindsey.

“Ric, ladies, I’m going to apologize to you up front, because over the next several years I may see Brig. Gen. Mathews more than you do,” Dunbar said. He also expressed his confidence in Mathews.

“I am absolutely convinced that Brig. Gen. Mathews is ready for this chance,” Dunbar said. “Exactly where she wants to be — taking over a great organization from a great leader.”

Mathews thanked Anderson for his mentorship and instruction over the years as she served in personnel and administration, and then as chief of staff and as assistant adjutant general for readiness and training. She said his shoes would be difficult to fill.

“Sometimes when you take on a new job you want to see where there is room for improvement,” Mathews said. “Well, I don’t see anything — we are that good. That’s all attributable to you and the senior leaders in this room.”

She thanked Anderson for his dedication and strong leadership.

“One of the best things I am very thankful for is I can call you a friend,” Mathews said. “Thank you for that.”

During his tenure, Anderson also served as the deputy commanding general for the Army National Guard at the Field Artillery Center, Fort Sill, Oklahoma from 2009-12, where he was the advisor and personal representative of the commanding general of the U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence for all Army National Guard members. From 2015-18 he also served as a special assistant for diversity to the chief of the National Guard Bureau.

Anderson will continue in his duties as deputy commanding general for the Army National Guard at the U.S. Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), where as the principal Army National Guard advisor to the commanding general he will ensure that the Army National Guard mission, skill sets and capabilities are considered and integrated into the Total Army and Joint transformation.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege these past 10 years to have the opportunity to serve as your deputy,” Anderson said. “I salute you.”

Dept. of Military Affairs: Wisconsin National Guard members supporting southwest border mission


CONTACT: Capt. Joe Trovato | [email protected] | 608-242-3048

MADISON, Wis. — Approximately two dozen Wisconsin National Guard members are headed to the southwest border to assist the Arizona National Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Arizona requested the state’s support in securing its border with Mexico, and Wisconsin troops will work with the Arizona National Guard as it supports the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

In April, President Donald Trump directed the Department of Defense to support the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to secure the nation’s southern border. Border states — Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas — mobilized forces from their respective National Guards under the Militia Clause of the Constitution to complete the mission, and subsequently began submitting requests for assistance from other states in order to support the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Wisconsin is one of several states nationwide providing support to states on the southwest border. All will mobilize in a Title 32, 502(f) status, meaning they will operate under state control but with federal funds.

The Soldiers and Airmen from Wisconsin are volunteers from different units around the state that possess a variety of skills requested by Arizona. Additional Wisconsin National Guard members are expected to head to Arizona in the coming weeks and months.

Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, said the Wisconsin National Guard stands ready to take on the mission of supporting Arizona’s National Guard.

“As the nation’s first military responder in times of emergency, assisting civil authorities and partner agencies is one of the National Guard’s core missions,” Dunbar said. “The Soldiers and Airmen in the Wisconsin National Guard are a well-trained, professional force ready to answer the president’s call to assist Arizona and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.”

Wisconsin Guardsmen have supported southwest border security missions in the past. In 2006, then-President George W. Bush called National Guard troops to the southwest border for a two-year mission known as Operation Jump Start. The Wisconsin National Guard provided equipment and approximately 1,000 Soldiers and Airmen in support of Jump Start over a two-year period. The duration of their missions varied from two weeks to two years.

In 1916, the entirety of Wisconsin National Guard — some 5,000 troops — deployed to Texas during the Mexican Border Crisis.

Nearly 1,200 National Guard troops supported the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol during Operation Phalanx in 2010, though no Wisconsin troops participated in that mission.

Dept. of Natural Resources: Four lucky Wisconsin residents will participate in the first managed elk hunting season in state history following random drawing

CONTACT: Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist, 608-261-7589

MADISON – Following a 30-day application period and a great deal of anticipation, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff conducted the random drawing for four lucky residents who will participate in the first managed elk hunting season in state history.

“This is an historic time for the department and I would like to sincerely thank all those who applied for an elk license,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist. “It was a privilege to call all the winners and personally congratulate them – each one recognizes that this will be a unique and exciting experience.”

Over 38,000 Wisconsin residents entered the drawing for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Four hunters were selected to receive a license for Wisconsin’s inaugural elk hunt. In addition to license fees, over $13,000 was contributed through donations to benefit elk management in Wisconsin.

An additional license will be awarded through a raffle conducted by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The raffle winner will be drawn Aug. 11, and tickets can be purchased at http://www.rmef.org/Events/RafflesSweepstakes/WisconsinElkHuntRaffle.aspx [EXIT DNR]. All Wisconsin residents may enter the raffle, including hunters that applied in the state drawing. Raffle tickets may be purchased for $10 each; the same cost as the state application fee.

Proceeds from elk license applications and the RMEF drawing are earmarked for elk management in Wisconsin.

“Offering this hunt has taken Wisconsin’s elk management program to a whole new level,” said Wallenfang. “There has been high interest and excitement since we announce the hunt, and it has brought a level of awareness to a lot of people who didn’t even know that we have elk in our state. It’s an important opportunity to inform and build advocacy for our elk reintroduction effort, while providing a limited, but exciting, recreational opportunity. We anticipate more tags in the future as the herds grow.”

The 2018 hunting season will occur only in the Clam Lake elk range in parts of Sawyer, Bayfield, Ashland, and Price counties in far north-central Wisconsin where the original restoration effort was initiated with 25 elk from Michigan in 1995. The herd is projected to comfortably surpass 200 animals this year.

Prior to purchasing an elk hunting license, all winners will be required to attend a Wisconsin elk hunter orientation offered prior to the hunt. The class will cover a hunting area overview, field sampling and health testing, regulations and more.

“The hunt will occur after the rut and the area is dense forest with openings, so it won’t be easy,” said Wallenfang. “But we estimate about 70 adult bulls in the Clam Lake herd, so it will be a hunt to remember for those lucky winners.”

For more information regarding elk in Wisconsin, go to dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “elk.” To receive email updates regarding current translocation efforts, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled “subscribe for updates for DNR topics,” then follow the prompts and select the “elk in Wisconsin” and “wildlife projects” distribution lists.

Dept. of Natural Resources: Heavy rains fuel floods, faster currents statewide

CONTACT: Capt. April Dombrowski, DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement’s Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills Section Chief, [email protected]; Joanne M. Haas, Public Information Officer for Bureau of Law Enforcement, [email protected]

MADISON — June storms packing heavy downpours have pushed lake and river levels into flood levels, tossed debris into waterways and accelerated currents statewide, signaling Wis. Department of Natural Resources officials to remind all water users to think safety by checking local water conditions and always wear a life jacket when on the water.

Capt. April Dombrowski, head of the DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement’s Recreation Safety and Outdoor Skills Section, says the heavy rain and rapid onset of flash floods in many areas of Wisconsin resulted in road wash-out, closures and sinkholes. In addition to the roadway issues, it can have a major impact on your water-based recreational activities.

Dombrowski says this severe weather is a reminder for all to check your local water conditions before boating or paddling, swimming or any water activity. Good places to check are local tourism offices, DNR offices, local bait shops, sporting goods stores or the U.S. Geological Survey, too.

“One quick safety tip is to always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket,” Dombrowski said. “Today’s models are comfortable versions. Wearing one just might save your life.” Learn more about life jackets for every water sport.

Some of these storms and heavy rains have pushed trees and other debris in the water which creates another danger to keep watch. High water levels also increases the shoreline and erosion impacts of your boat wake. Some areas have implemented lake-wide slow-no-wake requirements. Remember to always be aware of your boat wake and impact on others and check the signage prior to launching, Dombrowski says.

Here are some other safety tips from Dombrowski:

  • Make a float plan, follow that plan – and let someone know where you are going.
  • Always wear a life jacket. All people in either canoe or kayak are required by law to have a wearable U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board.
  • Match your skill level to water and weather conditions.
  • Take a boating safety class and hone your skills.
    • Everyone born on or after January 1, 1989 must have completed a boating safety course to operate a motorboat (unless ages 10-15 and accompanied by a parent or guardian). You can take an online boat safety course.
  • Do not overload your vessel.
  • Place belongings and dry clothing in a wet sack or other waterproof container.
  • Another top tip is to remain sober while operating your boat or paddling. Hold off on consuming alcohol until after your recreational boating outing. Remember this weekend is the national Operation Dry Water event, when law enforcement agencies partner to keep the waters safe for all by removing impaired operators. DNR wardens will be out, joining local boat patrols for this June 29 – July 1 weekend.
  • Wisconsin has many popular lakes and rivers that attract many users for all sorts of water activities. And with all the users comes boat congestion and unintended user conflicts. For all water recreational enthusiasts to have a safe and enjoyable outing, it’s important to slow down, use common sense and respect other users on the waters.

Dept. of Revenue: Don’t wait to claim your Wisconsin child sales tax rebate

CONTACT:  Patty Mayers, Communications Director
608.266.2300 or [email protected]

Deadline is July 2

With just less than two weeks remaining in the filing period, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) is urging eligible claimants to file for their $100 per child sales tax rebate. Claims must be filed by July 2, but DOR encourages those who are eligible not to wait until the last minute.  DOR estimates that roughly 670,000 households, with 1.22 million children in total, are eligible to file a claim.

“Our message for people who are eligible to claim this rebate is to do it now,” said Department of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler. “It’s easy to put this off and think you’ll do it later. However, after July 2, we are unable to accept claims, so if you’re eligible, don’t wait.”

Have a dependent child/children?  You’re likely eligible for a $100 (per child) sales tax rebate!

Sound fiscal management and a strong economy resulted in a state budget surplus of almost $400 million for the State of Wisconsin. Recently, a law was passed to return some of that surplus to taxpayers in the form of a Child Sales Tax Rebate. If you’re eligible, you can claim it between May 15 and July 2

What is the Child Sales Tax Rebate?

It is a $100 rebate for sales and use tax paid on purchases made for raising a dependent child in 2017.*

You may claim $100 for each qualified child.

Who can claim the Child Sales Tax Rebate?

If you have a qualified child, you’re likely eligible. Each child’s rebate may only be claimed by one individual.

A qualified child must be: 

  • Under age 18 on December 31, 2017
  • A dependent of the claimant for tax year 2017
  • A Wisconsin resident on December 31, 2017
  • A United States citizen

How do I claim my $100 (per child) Child Sales Tax Rebate?

The fastest and most convenient way is to go to childtaxrebate.wi.gov where you will find more details, frequently asked questions and information. You can apply for the Child Sales Tax Rebate online 24/7 from May 15 through July 2.

If you don’t have internet access, you may file a claim by phone at (608) 266-KIDS (5437), Monday – Friday from 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Please keep in mind that going online will be faster and more convenient.

*Dependent is determined using guidance described in IRS Publication 501, regardless of whether the claimant files a 2017 federal income tax return.

Dept. of Revenue: Over 408,000 Wisconsin child sales tax rebate claims have been filed in three weeks

CONTACT:  Patty Mayers, Communications Director
608.266.2300 or [email protected]

With just under four weeks remaining in the filing period, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) is reminding eligible claimants to file for their $100 per child sales tax rebate. Claims must be filed by July 2, but DOR encourages those who are eligible not to wait until the last minute.  DOR estimates that roughly 670,000 households, with 1.22 million children in total, are eligible to file a claim.

“We’re pleased to see that so many people have already filed,” said Department of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler. “We encourage people to do it soon, so they don’t forget.  After July 2, we are unable to accept claims, so if you’re eligible, don’t wait.”

Have a dependent child/children?  You’re likely eligible for a $100 (per child) sales tax rebate!

Sound fiscal management and a strong economy resulted in a state budget surplus of almost $400 million for the State of Wisconsin. Recently, a law was passed to return some of that surplus to taxpayers in the form of a Child Sales Tax Rebate. If you’re eligible, you can claim it between May 15 and July 2

What is the Child Sales Tax Rebate?

It is a $100 rebate for sales and use tax paid on purchases made for raising a dependent child in 2017.*

You may claim $100 for each qualified child.

Who can claim the Child Sales Tax Rebate?

If you have a qualified child, you’re likely eligible. Each child’s rebate may only be claimed by one individual.  

A qualified child must be: 

  • Under age 18 on December 31, 2017
  • A dependent of the claimant for tax year 2017
  • A Wisconsin resident on December 31, 2017
  • A United States citizen

How do I claim my $100 (per child) Child Sales Tax Rebate?

The fastest and most convenient way is to go to childtaxrebate.wi.gov where you will find more details, frequently asked questions and information. You can apply for the Child Sales Tax Rebate online 24/7 from May 15 through July 2.

If you don’t have internet access, you may file a claim by phone at (608) 266-KIDS (5437), Monday – Friday from 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Please keep in mind that going online will be faster and more convenient.

*Dependent is determined using guidance described in IRS Publication 501, regardless of whether the claimant files a 2017 federal income tax return.

Dept. of Revenue: Seven days remain to claim Wisconsin child sales tax rebate

CONTACT:  Patty Mayers, Communications Director
608.266.2300 or [email protected]

Deadline is July 2nd; DOR Cannot Accept Late Claims

With just 7 days remaining in the filing period, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) is urging eligible claimants to file for their $100 per child sales tax rebate. Claims must be filed by July 2, but DOR encourages those who are eligible not to wait until the last minute.  DOR estimates that roughly 670,000 households, with 1.22 million children in total, are eligible to file a claim.

“Time is running out to claim your Child Sales Tax Rebate,” said Department of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler. “It’s easy to put this off and think you’ll do it later. However, after July 2, we are unable to accept claims, so if you’re eligible, don’t wait.”

The fastest and most convenient way is to go to childtaxrebate.wi.gov where you will find more details, frequently asked questions and information. You can apply for the Child Sales Tax Rebate online 24/7 from May 15 through July 2.

If you don’t have internet access, you may file a claim by phone at (608) 266-KIDS (5437), Monday – Friday from 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Please keep in mind that going online will be faster and more convenient.

Dept. of Revenue: Wisconsin child sales tax rebate July 2 deadline is firm

CONTACT:  Patty Mayers, Communications Director
608.266.2300 or [email protected]

Six Days Remain to Claim; DOR Cannot Accept Late Claims

With just 6 days remaining in the filing period, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) is urging eligible claimants to file for their $100 per child sales tax rebate. Claims must be filed by July 2, but DOR encourages those who are eligible not to wait until the last minute.  DOR estimates that roughly 670,000 households, with 1.22 million children in total, are eligible to file a claim.

“The clock is ticking, and only days remain to claim the Child Sales Tax Rebate,” said Department of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler. “With the coming weekend, we don’t want people to forget and miss the deadline.  After July 2, we are unable to accept claims, so if you’re eligible, don’t wait.”

Dept. of Transportation: State troopers target drunk drivers with special patrols during Country USA


Note to media: Wisconsin State Patrol Sergeant Dan Diedrich will be available for interviews beginning Monday, June 19, to discuss the saturation patrol and underage drinking and driving. Please contact Sgt. Diedrich to arrange interview time.

For more information, contact:
Sergeant Dan Diedrich, Wisconsin State Patrol
[email protected] (920) 929-3700

(Fox Cities) The Wisconsin Division of State Patrol (DSP) reminds Country USA event goers to enjoy the music and designate a designated driver if you plan on drinking at the concert. To combat drunk driving, DSP will again have extra patrols on the roads around the festival venue to target intoxicated drivers. Special Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) Saturation Patrols will be in effect for the five-day concert beginning Tuesday, June 19.

Local law enforcement is especially concerned with the recent trend of drunk drivers leaving Country USA events who are not of legal age to drink alcohol.

“We have really noticed an uptick in underage drinking at Country USA. Unfortunately, those not of legal age to drink are making the deadly decision to get behind the wheel as well,” said Sergeant Dan Diedrich, Wisconsin State Patrol, Fond du Lac Post. ““Law enforcement officers are well trained in identifying the signs of impaired driving, and they know where and when to look for drunken drivers.”

Sergeant Diedrich notes that any amount of alcohol in a person under 21 years of age and driving is illegal, and they will get a citation for a violation of the absolute sobriety law and possibly arrested for OWI.

If drivers make the irresponsible and reckless decision to get behind the wheel while impaired, officers are ready to stop, test and arrest them with increased patrols on area roads. OWI Saturation Patrols receive special funding that provides officer overtime and increased law enforcement presence where impaired driving is highest.

“Our goal is to get people to drive sober, not to make more arrests,” explains Sergeant Diedrich. “Events like Country USA are important and vital to our local economy, but just one bad decision to drink and drive following the concert can turn a night of fun memories into a lifetime of nightmares, pain and even death.”

To help prevent drunken driving, WisDOT offers a free Drive Sober mobile app. You can use the Blood Alcohol Estimator to find out if you’re sober enough to drive, select a sober driver with the Designated Driver Selector, choose your ride and get home safely with the Find a Ride feature, report a drunk driver, and more. To download the app for free, please see the Wisconsin Traffic Safety website at http://witrafficsafety.org/.

Dept. of Workforce Development: BLS data: Wis. ranks 2nd nationally in manufacturing jobs added over year

CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate and labor force participation rate rank in top 5 nationally

MADISON – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Ray Allen released the following statement on today’s release by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDOL/BLS) showing that Wisconsin’s addition of 15,100 manufacturing jobs from May 2017 to May 2018 ranked 2ndnationally and 1st in the Midwest, and Wisconsin’s record-low unemployment rate of 2.8 percent was tied for the 5th lowest rate among states in May.  The data also showed that Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate of 68.9 percent ranked 5th highest nationally.

“Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector continues to drive the Wisconsin comeback, with the addition of 15,100 jobs over the past year ranking 2nd nationally,” DWD Secretary Allen said.  “With an unemployment rate of 2.8 percent, Wisconsin needs the talent of all individuals to fill the increasing demand for skilled workers in this state, and DWD stands ready to assist all workers, no matter your current skill level, in getting on the path to rewarding, family-sustaining employment.”

Highlights of today’s state-by-state rankings released by BLS include:

  • Wisconsin’s addition of 1,200 manufacturing jobs from April 2018 to May 2018 ranked 7th nationally.
  • Wisconsin’s addition of 45,600 manufacturing jobs since December 2010 ranks 9th nationally.
  • Wisconsin’s addition of 9,200 manufacturing jobs in 2018 ranks 2nd nationally.
  • Wisconsin’s unemployment rate of 2.8 percent ranks 5th lowest nationally, and 2nd lowest among Midwestern states.
  • Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate of 68.9 percent ranks 5th highest nationally.
  • Wisconsin’s unemployment rate of 2.8 percent is significantly lower than the national rate as defined by BLS.
  • Wisconsin ranked 11th nationally in the percent growth of manufacturing jobs from May 2017 to May 2018.

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 recently 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.”

The data included in today’s release can be accessed on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Dept. of Workforce Development: Up to $1 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grants to train and license teachers across the state


Wednesday, June 6, 2018
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

Madison – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announces up to $1 million in grants to help Wisconsin school district boards, private school governing bodies and charter school management organizations train and license teachers through Governor Walker’s expanded Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) program.

The new Grant Program Announcement (GPA) makes funding available to Wisconsin schools to assist interested employees with preparing for and completing licensure or permit requirements in partnership with an approved Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction educator preparation program.  The grants are intended to increase the statewide number of licensed general education, bilingual education and special education teachers. Details follow:

Teacher Training and Development GPA:
Applicants:               Wisconsin school district boards, private school governing bodies and charter school management organizations
Deadline to Apply:  3 p.m. on Monday, July 16, 2018
Award Amount:       $5,000 to $50,000

Awarded grants reimburse Wisconsin schools for eligible expenses that are necessary and reasonable to operate the program.

Under Governor Walker’s leadership, Wisconsin has invested over $200 million over the past four years and over $140 million in the current biennial budget to support workforce development, including funding to expand WFF program to support the development of innovative training solutions to meet regional workforce demands.

GPA application materials are available at: http://wisconsinfastforward.com/wff_standard.htm

Learn more about the WFF program here.

DNR: Final test results confirm VHS as cause of this spring’s fishkill in Lake Winnebago

CONTACT: Kendall Kamke, DNR fisheries supervisor, 920-424-7880

OSHKOSH – The fish disease VHS has been confirmed as the cause of a large fish kill of mostly sheepshead in Lake Winnebago in April.

“We’ve received final lab test results from the La Crosse Fish Health Center confirming that VHS caused the fish kill,” says Kendall Kamke, DNR fisheries supervisor in the Oshkosh area. “Results for all fish species tested were positive for VHS and negative for all other common fish pathogens.”

A DNR fisheries biologist first responded to reports of dead fish in the Fond du Lac area on April 24 and found hundreds of dead fish, mostly sheepshead, as well as common carp, black crappie, yellow perch, largemouth bass and bluegill.

Time of year, lake conditions and the behavior of the affected fish suggested VHS, short for viral hemorrhagic septicemia, as a possible cause. Additional samples were collected as reports of dead and dying fish started coming in from just north of Oshkosh and on the north end of Lake Winnebago.

A total of 60 drum, seven black crappie, and one each of yellow perch, bluegill and largemouth bass collected from the lake at Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and High Cliff were sent to La Crosse for pathogen testing.

VHS is a deadly virus of fish which does not affect people who handle infected fish or want to eat their catch. VHS does, however, pose a threat to more than 25 Wisconsin fish species including musky, walleye, yellow perch and northern pike.

The virus has been detected in lakes Michigan and Winnebago for more than a decade. Most recently, the fish disease was associated with 2018 fish kills of gizzard shad in Port Washington Harbor on Lake Michigan and in the Menomonee River in Milwaukee County.

Kamke does not expect the die-off to have a significant effect on the Winnebago fishery. But the confirmation that VHS caused the fish kill is an important reminder to all anglers about the critical importance of disinfecting boats and gear when moving between bodies of water, he says.

“This time the fish kill was confined to mostly sheepshead on the big lake – next time we might not be so lucky. VHS could affect our walleye when they are concentrated on the marshes during spawning. We can’t get lax about following the safeguards.”

Rules for preventing the spread of invasive species and pathogens require that boaters do not transfer water, fish or vegetation from one body of water to another. Drying or disinfection of boat and gear is recommended before moving between waterbodies. More information is available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for “boat transportation and bait laws.”

Dodd campaign: Former Ald. Bohl endorses Nikiya Dodd as successor for Milwaukee’s 5th Aldermanic District 

Contact: Nikiya Dodd at
MILWAUKEE– Nikiya Dodd, candidate for Milwaukee Alderman, 5th District today announced the endorsement of former 5th District Alderman Jim Bohl.
“I have known Nikiya Dodd for many years as a friend and colleague. She is passionate about public service and cares deeply about her neighborhood and our community. She will bring those strengths, and a thoughtful approach to addressing issues, in representing the 5th District and moving it forward,” said Bohl.
“Alderman Jim Bohl is an excellent example of a servant leader, and I am honored to have his endorsement. I will work hard to earn the trust of our community in improving our neighborhoods, delivering efficient city services to all, and working together to keep our neighborhoods safe,” said Dodd.
The special election to be held on Tuesday, November 6th. There will be a primary on Tuesday, August 14th .
About Nikiya Dodd
Nikiya Dodd started her political career on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors from 2010 through 2012. She was then elected to the Wisconsin State Senate, representing Milwaukee’s north side from 2013-2017. Nikiya did not seek re-election. Nikiya Dodd has two degrees from UWM, a bachelor’s degree in community education, and a master’s degree in adult education. She and her husband, Tony, live on Milwaukee’s northwest side with their 3-year-old son.

Don Vruwink: Celebrate Dairy in Wisconsin


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

Here are a few examples of the pride Wisconsinites take in living in the Dairy State:

Last October, when the head of the state’s largest business lobby proposed removing “America’s Dairyland” from the state license plate, the backlash was swift and the idea died.

There was a time when people used the term “cheesehead” to refer derisively to Wisconsinites. But we quickly embraced the name and now foam cheeseheads are standard headgear at Packer games and other events where we want to show our Wisconsin pride.

As a member of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, I heard testimony on legislation to make cheese the official state dairy product. When the bill came to a vote, the committee chairman asked members to name their favorite cheese instead of saying “aye.”

National Milk Month originated in 1937 as a way to encourage more milk consumption. June is now recognized as National Dairy Month to include the entire dairy industry.

Here in Wisconsin, we have especially good reason to celebrate. Consider these facts:

– Wisconsin’s 9,250 dairy farms account for 23 percent of all dairy farms nationwide.

– The Wisconsin dairy industry employs nearly 42,000 people, generates $2.14 billion in direct wages, and has an economic impact of more than $23 billion.

– Roughly 90 percent of Wisconsin’s milk is turned into cheese and about 90 percent of that cheese is sold outside of the state.

– If Wisconsin were a country, it would rank 4th in the world in cheese production.

– Last year, the Dairy State once again led the nation in cheese production, and specifically in American, cheddar, provolone, parmesan, Romano, brick, Muenster, processed cheese, specialty cheeses, feta and limburger. We account for 26.6 percent of the nation’s cheese.

As the State Representative from the 43rd Assembly District, I am proud to represent dairy farmers and workers in Rock, Walworth, Jefferson, and Dane counties. I look forward to the June dairy breakfasts every year.

The Rock County Dairy Breakfast will be held Saturday, June 9 at 4522 W. Mineral Point Road, Janesville, which is about 1.5 miles west of Parker High School. The Walworth County Dairy Breakfast will be held at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn on Saturday, June 16.

For more details on these events and other county dairy breakfasts, please visit https://hooraywisconsindairy.com/events/.

I encourage you to show your support for our dairy farmers and processors by attending a dairy breakfast this month. If you see me, please come up and say hello!

— Vruwink, D-Milton, represents the 43rd Assembly District.