2018 July

Monthly Archives: July 2018

‘UpFront’: Cheesemaker Sartori feeling impact of retaliatory tariffs

The president of a Plymouth cheese company says the business is feeling the impact of retaliatory tariffs directed at Wisconsin cheese, and if the trade dispute goes on long enough, executives may be forced to “totally re-plan the business.”

Sartori Company President Jeff Schwager said Mexico imposed a 15 percent tariff on Wisconsin cheese, and it will soon rise to as much as 25 percent. The tariff is in retaliation for President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, which have hit U.S. allies.

Schwager said Sartori has negotiated with its customers in Mexico to split the cost of the tariff.

“What was a profitable business for us is maybe now break even,” Schwager said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“We’re willing to do that for 90 days,” he said. “We’re hoping this isn’t a long-term situation.”

Schwager said the change in the trade rules and the uncertainty that’s created makes business hard for a company like Sartori, which ages cheese.

“The product we’re supposed to be shipping now was made a year ago. We didn’t know what the trade rules were, or were going to be. Today the cheese we’re making is for a year from now. What are the rules going to be?” he asked.

He also said if the trade dispute goes on long enough, it will eventually affect Sartori’s employees and the dairy farms that supply the company.

“It’s 500 families, within the processing. When we look at the dairy farms out there, that we buy 100 percent of their milk, there’s another, you know, 700 families there. It’s 1,200 families that are counting on us to make the right decisions and provide for their livelihoods,” he said.

Schwager said he agreed with the president that balance of trade is an issue, but the problem is China, not U.S. allies. He said he would like to see the administration work with Canada, Mexico and Europe to collectively deal with the China, “instead of creating havoc with our allies.”

Also on the program, Randy Bryce, an ironworker running in the Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District, said progressive candidates nationwide are “building a movement.”

“I’d like to say that we’re in construction, not demolition,” he said.

“A lot of candidates are stepping up, everyday working people that are running,” he said.

He said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former Bernie Sanders organizer who shocked the political world by upsetting House Democrat Joe Crowley in a primary in New York City last week, is part of that movement.

“We’re trying to get that enthusiasm, get people to the polls, give them something to be excited about, because we’re one of them. We understand the struggles of everyday people,” he said.

Bryce said he agreed with Ocasio-Cortez’s positions of Medicare for all, free college tuition for public universities, and abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — known as ICE — because “it’s a group that really terrifying the immigrant community, especially among the children.”

Gousha also asked Bryce about his opposition to the state’s deal with Foxconn, which is building a huge electronics plant in Mount Pleasant, and is expected to create thousands of jobs in the 1st CD.

“The problem that I have with Foxconn is the $4.5 billion in Wisconsin taxes that’s being used for it,” Bryce said. “I’d rather see that money being spent on fixing our infrastructure.”

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

‘UpFront’: Grothman praises Trump’s Russia policy

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, said it’s “a good thing” President Trump is talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that Trump’s overall policy toward Russia is positive.

“I think when you look at President Trump, you have to look at what he does, not what he says,” Grothman said Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“Donald Trump shoots from the hip a little bit,” Grothman said. But Trump has sent arms to Ukraine and Georgia, and increased U.S. military spending. Grothman also said the U.S. needs to be talking to Russia about the Middle East.

“I’m not concerned,” Grothman said about the Helsinki summit. “I’m glad he’s there.”

Gousha asked Grothman if Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is a “witch hunt,” as Trump claims.

“I think the investigation has gone on long enough. We haven’t really found anything,” Grothman said.

On the subject of Trump’s tariffs, and the impact they are having in Wisconsin, Grothman said the Trump administration knew “there would be some short-term problems.”

“I believe they thought things would be wrapped up by this time,” Gothman said.

“I’ve made it clear to the Trump administration the concerns I have with how it’s affecting agriculture and manufacturing,” Grothman said.

“We’re beginning to make progress with South Korea, with Australia, with some countries” he said. “I guess we’ll see the way it looks in a month.”

On immigration, Grothman said the country needs immigrants, but they should be “good immigrants.”

Gousha asked him what makes a “good immigrant.”

Grothman said a “good” immigrant is one who will “work hard, not break the law, and kind of think about the role of government the way Americans should think about the role of government.”

Grothman said the country can get more “good” immigrants by cutting off illegal immigration and using visas and other means to bring in people.

Gousha also asked Grothman what he would remember about former Republican state Sen. Mike Ellis, who died Friday.

“He was so valuable because he was genuine,” Grothman said, adding that Ellis was willing to stand up to leadership.

“He looked out for the average guy,” Grothman said.

In another segment, Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator, addressed election security ahead of the August primary and the November general election.

Wolfe said the commission is focused on training local election officials to detect anomalies and “help us secure elections in every corner of the state.”

She said the commission wants to bring on more people to increase monitoring and help automate those processes. She also said the commission is looking at expanding post-election audits.

“Every single ballot that is cast here in Wisconsin has a paper trail,” Wolfe said.

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

‘UpFront’: Johnson encouraged by European Union deal, says Trump is listening

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says he’s more optimistic that the Trump administration will resolve its international trade disputes, and that the president understands the pain the situation is causing in agricultural and manufacturing states.

Johnson, who early last week was harshly critical of the administration’s plan to spend $12 billion on aid to farmers hurt by the trade disputes, moderated his criticism in an appearance Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“He’s listening,” Johnson said of Trump.

“The whole $12 billion aid package is because he understands there is short-term pain, and he is trying to ameliorate that while still taking a pretty tough stance so we actually get a better deal,” Johnson said.

On Tuesday, Johnson had likened the farm aid package to a “Soviet-style” economy with “commissars” deciding to “sprinkle around benefits.”

On “UpFront,” Johnson said he was encouraged by the administration reaching a deal with the European Union and by Friday’s strong quarterly GDP number. He also said the U.S. appears to be close to striking an agreement with Mexico.

“I completely agree with President Trump’s goal of fair trade, reciprocal treatment. You know, he’s shocking the system. I think this week shows that it’s bearing some results,” Johnson said.

“I’m certainly more optimistic than I was at the beginning of the week,” he said.

But he also said there is mounting pressure on the president to bring trade deals to a close before the November election. Johnson said he hoped they would be completed within a few weeks.

Johnson said the next step should be confronting China over its theft of intellectual property from western nations, and that the U.S. and other countries could put pressure on the Chinese by presenting a united front.

Also on the program, state Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, explained why he came out against a state plan to help Kimberly-Clark stay in the Fox Valley by offering it more than $100 million in incentives.

Kapenga said his opposition to the deal is a matter of both principal and policy over the role of government when it comes to businesses. He said the government shouldn’t give one company an unfair advantage by it helping it over others.

The Kimberly-Clark plan has been compared to the Foxconn deal. Kapenga voted for the Foxconn plan.

But Kapenga said Foxconn is a “completely separate situation.”

He said technology giant Foxconn, which is building a massive plant in Racine County, is a “fundamentally different industry that’s going to bring new jobs to the state.”

In contrast, Kapenga said paper-maker Kimberly-Clark is looking at closing multiple plants in a business that’s shrinking.

“You have a contracting industry,” Kapenga said about Kimberly-Clark.

“You’re not providing incentives to increase jobs. You’re saying ‘Hey we’re going to help bridge a gap here, because your union leaders and you couldn’t come up with the ability to do it.’ I fundamentally disagree with the concept,” he said.

Kapenga said the “net impact on the economy of Kimberly-Clark staying or going will be very minimal.”

He said Wisconsin has a worker shortage right now, and that while it would be unfortunate for workers who might lose jobs at Kimberly-Clark, they would quickly be hired elsewhere.

“There are a lot of jobs out there,” Kapenga said.

He also said he thought other Republican senators would oppose the Kimberly-Clark plan, which has already passed the Republican-controlled Assembly and has the support of GOP Gov. Scott Walker.

The Republican Senate caucus is expected to discuss the Kimberly-Clark plan later this week. Senate President Roger Roth, R-Appleton, is pushing for the Senate to approve it. Kimberly-Clark is located in Roth’s Senate district.

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

‘UpFront’: Pocan slams Trump administration’s efforts to reunite families separated at border

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, said efforts by the Trump administration to reunite children with parents who were detained along the U.S.-Mexican border have been “pathetic.”

Pocan visited the border last month. He called the current situation a “complete mess,” brought on by a lack of thought and planning.

“This is un-American,” Pocan said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” which is produced in conjunction with WisPolitics.com. “It’s inhumane. It’s cruel, and we want to force Congress and the president to bring families back together.”

Pocan also defended legislation he introduced Thursday that would abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) within one year.

“The problem with ICE right now, with this president, is it’s being misused,” he said.

Pocan said President Trump has made the agency into his “personal police force, his personal deportation force.”

The Madison Democrat said ICE has been using unchecked power to terrorize communities by conducting raids at garden centers and meatpacking plants.

Pocan’s bill would convene a commission of experts to provide a roadmap for Congress to implement an immigration system that he said would uphold the dignity of all individuals.

“We’re not saying get rid of the responsibilities that they (ICE) do,” Pocan said. “What we’re saying is let’s get this done right. Let’s transfer the appropriate responsibilities that ICE does to other agencies.”

Recent polls show a majority of Americans support ICE. There have been reports that House Republicans might bring the legislation to the floor to get Democrats on record supporting the termination of the agency, which the GOP could then use as a campaign issue this fall.

Pocan said Democrats would vote against their own measure if necessary but welcomed a broader debate on immigration policy.

“If (House Speaker) Paul Ryan wants to be too cute by half, bring it on. Let us talk about this because the American people agree with us. You should not take kids away from their parents,” Pocan said.

Also joining Gousha on Sunday’s program was ABC News Political Director Rick Klein, who discussed Sen.Tammy Baldwin’s re-election prospects.

While both political parties have recently removed Baldwin’s race from their lists of “top tier” Senate races, Klein says that could change quickly.

“Wisconsin Democrats have seen this movie before,” Klein said.

“A whole lot of folks nationally and in Wisconsin thought that Russ Feingold was going to beat Ron Johnson (in 2016).”

Gousha asked Klein if the Senate race in Wisconsin might again become a top-tier race.

“It’s getting close,” he said. “There just so much fertile territory there for Republicans, and they have Democrats that they are targeting in very red states like West Virginia, North Dakota, Missouri and Montana … so Wisconsin has fallen off because of other states crowding it out.”

Financially, Baldwin is in good shape, according to Klein.

“If she ends up losing a race or it gets closer than was expected, it’s not because she was asleep at the wheel.”

Baldwin will face either Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir or Delafield businessman and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson in the November election.

Gousha also talked about the upcoming Democratic primary for governor with Marina Dimitrijevic, director of the Wisconsin Working Families Party.

Her organization and another group, Our Wisconsin Revolution, have created a project called Wisconsin’s Choice, which seeks to narrow the eight-person field.

Forums and online polls help identify a “people’s champion.” Its four finalists are Mike McCabe, Kathleen Vinehout, Kelda Roys, and Mahlon Mitchell.

Wisconsin’s Choice will hold a final, third round of online voting in the run-up to the Aug. 14 primary. If a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, he or she would receive the Wisconsin’s Choice endorsement.

“To vote in round three, you do have to pledge 10 hours of action on behalf of a candidate,” explained Dimitrijevic.

“So, we kind of win either way. Mobilizing and inspiring folks to get active in this election”

Dimitrijevic said the Wisconsin Working Families Party would support the candidate who wins the primary, even if it is not the Wisconsin’s Choice candidate.

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

‘UpFront’: Strategists analyze Dem guv field, Walker’s re-election prospects

A Democratic campaign strategist says the gubernatorial primary is still an open race just a few weeks out from the Aug. 14 primary, and three or four candidates have a clear path to the nomination.

“I think it’s going to be a fast and furious final sprint here,” said Joe Zepecki, who previously worked for Democratic campaigns at the state and federal level.

He appeared Sunday, along with Republican strategist Mark Graul, on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“I think there’s three or four that have a very clear path to the nomination,” Zepecki said, citing state DPI Superintendent Tony Evers, former state Rep. Kelda Roys, union leader Mahlon Mitchell and Milwaukee attorney Matt Flynn.

Gousha asked if the primary race was Evers’ to lose.

“No, he needs to go out there and win it,” Zepecki said.

“The fact that you have not seen mass communication from candidates for governor on the Democratic side means that in the last month here, there’s going to be some movement, and if I was Mr. Evers, I would working my tail off, running like I’m behind. Because the moment there appears to be an alternative, he stands at risk of losing some of that support,” Zepecki said.

The other candidates are running strong, he said, “but it’s hard to see how they have the money to get up on TV and get their message out.”

Graul said it’s “most telling that we’re five weeks away, and no one knows much about the Dem candidates.”

“We’re talking about a field that hasn’t quite distinguished itself quite yet,” Graul said, calling Evers “kind of the default frontrunner.”

Graul said races against an incumbent are more about the incumbent than about the challenger.

“(Republican Gov.) Scott Walker is in a position right now where he has the best story he’s ever had to tell,” Graul said, listing record low unemployment, a budget surplus, more money going to education and lower property taxes as factors working in Walker’s favor.

“I’m really not sure how any of these Democratic candidates who haven’t yet distinguished themselves really are going to mount much of a tough campaign, except for the environment that we’re all expecting to be tough for Republicans,” Graul said.

Gousha pressed Graul on which Democratic candidate Walker would most like to face. Graul didn’t choose, but said Evers is an “easily quantifiable commodity” that Walker would match up well against.

On the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Graul said Republicans have “two really strong candidates.”

State Sen. Leah Vukmir “has done a great job” of unifying the grass roots behind her candidacy, which he said is important in a low-turnout election.

“She’s put herself in a really good position,” Graul said.

“That said, Kevin Nicholson has run a strong campaign too now. He’s got a lot of support from outside the state, but that really doesn’t matter. All that money spends the same. And I think he’s done a good job of sort of positioning his story as an outsider,” Graul said.

Gousha asked Zepecki which Republican candidate the incumbent, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, would want to run against.

“I don’t think it matters,” Zepecki said. “I think the Republicans have a very different primary going on. They’re going to have to bring everybody back together the day after August 14,” he said, because Vukmir and Nicholson “have been very sharp with each other.”

Also on the program, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said the city is experiencing an “economic renaissance,” and the controversial streetcar project is part of the boom.

Rails for the first route have been laid, the first cars have arrived, and the city says the public will soon see testing of the system. The streetcar is expected to begin full-time operations and open to the public this fall.

“You think eventually you can win over the critics?” Gousha asked the mayor.

“Well I’m not going to win over all the critics, but what I want people to realize is that the streetcar is really part of a vision. And I think what you are seeing right now, being executed, in the heart of the city is that vision, because we’re in the midst of an economic renaissance unlike anything we’ve in our lifetime,” Barrett said.

Gousha also asked Barrett about the city’s lead-in-water problem. Many homes in the city get drinking water from antiquated lead pipes, and the city’s health department has been under fire over its handling of the issue.

“How are you going to restore public confidence that you’re doing the right thing, that kids’ lives aren’t being put in jeopardy?” Gousha said.

“At every juncture if there’s been an issue with lead, I’ve talked to the public about it, because trust is so important. Are there problems? Yes there are problems. Have they been solved? Not all of them, but I do think will be, absolutely yes,” Barrett said.

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

1st CD Dem forum 🗓

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Kenosha, WI – In an effort to inform the first Congressional District voters ahead of the August 14th primary election, Forward Kenosha and the Kenosha County Democratic Party are hosting the Congressional District 1 Democratic Primary Forum between Cathy Myers and Randy Bryce. Myers and Bryce are set to face-off in the August 14th primary for the chance to run for the seat currently held by Paul Ryan.

WHO: Forward Kenosha and the Kenosha County Democratic Party host candidates Cathy Myers and Randy Bryce; moderated by WGTD’s Len Iaquinta

WHAT: Congressional District 1 Democratic Candidate Forum

WHEN: Wednesday, July 11th – 6:30 to 8:00 pm

WHERE: UAW Local 72 Hall, 3615 Washington Rd., Kenosha WI 53144

“With few opportunities for CD1 constituents to see these candidates side-by-side prior to casting our votes in the primary, we are happy to provide this opportunity to hear Randy Bryce and Cathy Myers talk about the issues that are important to us. It is critical that as voters we understand the strengths of both candidates so we can choose the individual who will best represent our needs in Washington,” said Jodi Muerhoff, Acting President of Forward Kenosha.

“The Kenosha County Democratic Party is pleased to cosponsor this forum that will give the constituents of the 1st Congressional District an equal opportunity to hear both candidates before the August 14th Primary Election. It is important that voters hear each candidate’s stance on the issues in this crucial election,” said Sally Simpson, Treasurer of the Kenosha County Democratic Party.

1st CD GOP debate 🗓

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WHEN: Thursday, August 2, 7:30-8:45 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Gateway Technical College’s Madrigrano Auditorium, 3520 30th Avenue, Kenosha.

KENOSHA – The Republican Party of Kenosha County (RPKC) will be hosting the only scheduled Republican primary debate for the race for the Republican nomination for the 1st Congressional District. Candidates Nick Polce, Kevin Adam Steen and Bryan Steil are all attending.

The debate will take place on Thursday, August 2 from 7:30-8:45pm at Gateway Technical College’s Madrigrano Auditorium, 3520 30th Avenue, Kenosha. Doors will open at 6:30pm

Moderator for the debate will be Len Iaquinta, interview host on local Public Radio Affiliate WGTD’s “Community Matters”.

Questions for the candidates can be submitted to the Republican Party of Kenosha County at [email protected].

The debate is open to the public, and free tickets are available at EventBrite.com.

For more information contact the RPKC at [email protected] or 262.697.6144.

31st SD Dem candidates say online sales taxes should go to boost budget before funding tax cuts

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Jon Schultz, a Democrat running to replace state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout in western Wisconsin’s 31st SD, says he wouldn’t mind reducing the state income tax given new revenues from online remote sales tax collection.

But he told WisPolitics.com in an interview this week it’s more important for areas such as transportation and public education to receive the extra revenue first.

The expansion of the state’s coffers stems from a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing states to begin collecting sales tax for purchases made by a state’s residents from a company physically located outside the given state.

Gov. Scott Walker said the state will begin collecting the sales tax in October. And he’s announced he wants to offset the revenue the state brings in with tax cuts elsewhere.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau previously projected the state could collect an additional $90 million in the current fiscal year. It would then bring in an estimated $120 million annually.

Democratic opponents Jeff Smith and Steve Boe agree any additional revenue the state receives should be directed toward obligations before reducing taxes.

“You need to take care of your own house first,” Boe told WisPolitics.com.

Boe, who is 34 and works as director of local affairs for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, says he would direct the funds toward repairing Wisconsin’s roads.

Smith, who is 63 and served previously in the state Assembly, said he’d consider using the revenue to make up for cuts to the UW System and K-12 education, while also keeping in mind infrastructure and broadband.

The three candidates face off in an Aug. 14 primary.

Beyond agreeing on mining the state general fund’s additional revenue, the candidates diverge on their approach to tackling Wisconsin’s infrastructure dilemma.

As a former county board chair essentially in charge of county transportation decisions, the 41-year-old Schultz said he knows the difficulty of finding dollars for road projects.

Schultz said he wishes he could vote to repeal the Foxconn deal to free up more funding for roads. But if that’s not possible, he says he’d likely turn to a gas tax increase with a sunset added in or indexing of the gas tax.

He’s open to higher registration fees but is against tolling, which he considers a path of no return.

But he also said the state can do a better job of prioritizing road projects and scaling back the number of roundabouts constructed in the state, which he characterizes as a solution without a problem.

Boe said he wants to put all options for transportation funding on the table. He won’t rule out increases in registration fees or the gas tax or tolling.

Still, he said he’d like to look closely at the state budget to see if any funding could be freed up instead of raising new revenues. He also wants to prioritize providing funding to towns and counties to manage roads themselves instead of putting state highways and interstates first.

Smith says he would call for the state to return to automatic indexing of the gas tax, but acknowledges there’s no silver bullet. He said he’d also back the creation of regional transit authorities, but is skeptical of tolling.

On other issues:

*Providing funding for new state prisons: All three candidates agree the state should first pursue alternative sentencing options rather than prioritize the building of new state prisons.

Schultz said his native Trempealeau County has had success with alternative sentencing options, and warned against private prisons in Wisconsin. Still, he made an exception for updating the state’s oldest prisons if they don’t provide adequate conditions for inmates and employees.

Boe emphasized both building new prisons and incarceration in general is expensive for the state, and that alternatives to harsh sentencing can save money and be more effective in the long run.

But he said he’d at least consider upgrading aging facilities that need it.

In his response, Smith slammed the state’s incarceration rate – particularly among African-Americans in the state — and so-called “truth-in-sentencing” initiatives.

“We don’t need to build more prisons,” he said. “We’re ruining families over what I would say is nonviolent crimes.”

To lower incarceration rates, Smith said he supports legalizing marijuana and restoring voting rights for some severe offenders. He also thinks the state should prioritize funding education and workforce development before prisons.

He said he’d need more details to determine whether to replace two of the state’s oldest prisons, and said he’d like to study whether those two prisons could be decommissioned without replacements if the prison population could be lowered.

*Continuing the UW System tuition freeze:

Boe, who said he finishes paying off his student loans in September, s noncommittal on the UW tuition freeze, but does favor offering more state support for the System with the goal of keeping tuition low.

“If they’re not getting more money from students by putting the freeze in, then the state needs to help pick up some of the tab,” he said.

To help students, Boe said he also supports measures to make it easier for students to refinance their loan debt.

Smith, who researched ways to offer free tuition during his tenure in the Legislature, said he’d continue to support the UW System tuition freeze if it came with adequate state funding, and would even seek to lower tuition to reduce the student debt burden.

He says shifting the state’s financial priorities could help find the funding to do so.

“The state budget is a moral document in many ways. Let’s look at our tax structure. Let’s get rid of all of these loopholes. Everyone should pay their fair amount, and I think we’ll be in a lot better shape,” he said.

Schultz, who said he just recently finished paying off his student debt, said he thinks the idea of a tuition freeze is “fantastic,” but that the state needs to make up for past cuts to the System that have made it more difficult for campuses to deal with increasing costs.

“We have to invest in education,” he said.

Hear Schultz’s interview:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/180710schultz/s-CStEK

Hear Smith’s:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/180709smith/s-3BDOg

Hear Boe’s:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/180709boe/s-dNniz

62nd AD GOP candidates share ideas on transpo funding, uses for online sales tax revenue

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More than a year after state Rep. Dale Kooyenga released his sweeping tax and transportation plan, Republican 62nd AD candidate Robert Wittke is still talking about it.

Wittke cited the Brookfield Republican’s calls to reduce the gas tax and apply the sales tax to fuel, for example. And the 60-year-old Racine Unified School Board president praised it and other provisions as a means of kick-starting a much-needed conversation about stabilizing funding going forward, as well as providing more opportunities for economic growth.

“Overall what I like is the fact that it is a plan that was brought forward to begin a discussion,” he said. “And I think that’s how we will find solutions that benefit the taxpayers of Wisconsin.”

The plan came up as Wittke was weighing options for funding roads in an interview this week with WisPolitics.com. While he was unclear about whether he’d push for aspects of the plan himself should he win a seat in the Assembly, he highlighted another piece of the proposal: moving the state from four brackets to a flat tax of 3.95 percent as part of an overhaul of the tax code.

Kooyenga, a member of the Joint Finance Committee, unveiled the wide-ranging plan in the midst of a budget cycle bogged down by debates over what to do about the transportation budget and K-12. Among the other provisions Kooyenga outlined are: stopping local governments from enacting new wheel taxes; and allowing local governments to impose a sales tax for road work via referendum.

As for other funding solutions — vehicle registration fees and tolling — Wittke said those ideas “need to be evaluated fiscally and in a relationship with each other.” And with his background in finance and accounting, he says he’s just the right person to do that.

Wittke is one of two GOP contenders looking to succeed Rep. Thomas Weatherston, R-Caledonia, in the state Assembly. Weatherston in April announced he wouldn’t seek re-election.

Meanwhile, fellow Republican John Leiber, 40 and a full-time candidate for office, called for overhauling the way the state does vehicle registration fees.

Instead of a flat rate, he said, lawmakers should looking into restructuring the system — the way other states do it.

“I think we should kind of look and see how other states are approaching this same issue, because this isn’t something that’s unique to Wisconsin, this is something that these states are dealing with in some form or another,” Leiber said.

And he said he doesn’t support upping the gas tax, noting that as cars become more fuel-efficient, the tax “isn’t a sustainable way to fund transportation.”

“Ultimately I really don’t want to see tax increases to pay for roads because I feel that we should use our existing taxes that we’re already collecting to somehow fund roads,” he said.

Leiber also expressed skepticism for tolling, saying with the need for federal approval and establishing the infrastructure, the option “really doesn’t solve anything now.”

The former president of the Caledonia Parks and Recreation Commission and previous commissioner on the Housing Authority of Racine County, Leiber ran unsuccessfully for office twice before: Caledonia Village Board in 2012; and Racine Unified School Board in 2008.

But he also spent four years working in Weatherston’s office, and ran Weatherston’s first campaign for Assembly in 2012.

That combination of state and local experience, he said, makes him the best candidate in the race.

“I think because this is such an important time in Racine County,” he said, referencing the Foxconn deal, “we need someone with the experience and the ability to commit their full time to this.”

Wittke, who hasn’t sought other offices besides school board, played up his three years holding a local office and his more than 25 years of work in the tax and finance industry as reasons he would be the district’s ideal rep.

“I’ve got the public industry experience, I’ve got a finance and accounting background. I’ve held local elected office here dealing with a $320 million budget, have been head on into the challenges that the state will be facing as we continue to grow and as the huge manufacturing investment in our area begins to take shape, there will be a lot of peripheral industries” making relationships with area governments and tech colleges key, he said.

Along with their different backgrounds, the two candidates also split over Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to use the money collected from online sales taxes to offset the tax burden elsewhere.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled states can collect online sales taxes from sellers not physically located in the state. Wisconsin will begin collecting those taxes in October, the guv’s office has said, and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates $90 million will be collected for rest of this fiscal year and $120 million for the full fiscal year going forward.

Leiber said while Walker’s plan is a “good place to start,” he called for waiting to spend the revenue — revenue, he added, that the state “should have been collecting all along” — until the budget bill is introduced to assess the situation.

“I don’t want to start spending every single dollar we get in as soon as it’s predicted, I think we need to see where is the budget at?” he said. “Because I don’t want to just spend all that money and have to borrow it somewhere else. So I do want to get that money before we spend it.”

Wittke said while he generally agrees with Walker’s approach to reducing taxes and providing a better environment for businesses and individuals in the state, he said he’d also be open to investing some or all of the revenue in other areas.

That includes using the money for K-12 or higher ed in order to support “an appropriate workforce for the future.”

On other issues:

*UW-System tuition freeze: Both said they’d support continuing the five-year cap on tuition, citing the importance of keeping costs of higher ed low for students and their families.

*Constitutional carry: The two also said they would back legislation that would allow someone to carry a concealed weapon without first obtaining a permit or going through any training if it comes back around and they’re in the Legislature.

“I think (the) constitutional carry bill would make sense at this point,” Leiber said, adding that he encourages those thinking about carrying concealed to get training, though that’s not something he said the state needs to mandate.

“There are so many different training courses out there, I believe leaving it up to the gun owner to be responsible is the best course,” he said.

Hear Wittke’s interview:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/180718_wittke

Hear Leiber’s:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/180718_leiber/s-qgnxT

91st AD Dem candidates support gas tax hike, other options to bolster transpo fund

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All four of the Dems aiming to fill outgoing state Rep. Dana Wachs’ seat in the Assembly say upping the gas tax is a key step toward solving the state’s transportation woes.

Still, the Eau Claire-based candidates disagree on exactly how much it should be increased by and what other options are on the table in addressing the issue.

Rich Postlewaite, a 55-year-old economics and government professor at UW-Stout, is perhaps the most bullish on the gas tax, telling WisPolitics.com this week he’d support increasing it between 7 cents and 10 cents before again indexing it, which pegs the gax tax to the cost of living. While he says he’s also open to looking at both higher vehicle registration fees and tolling, he admits he has reservations about both.  

“I think a simpler method would be indexing the gas tax and raising the gas tax,” he said, noting raising registration fees would hit the poor harder than the wealthy and setting up the tolling system takes time.

The others seeking the seat didn’t commit to supporting a 5 cent gas tax hike in recent interviews with WisPolitics.com, though they all agreed an increase is part of the path forward.

Jodi Emerson, 45, and the former Fierce Freedom director of public policy and community relations in Altoona, said she wouldn’t support tolling. While she’d back increasing the vehicle registration fee and gas tax “a little bit,” other areas should be considered as vehicles continue becoming more fuel efficient.

The state budget included higher fees for hybrid and electric vehicles in the state, including a $75 surcharge on hybrid registrations and a $100 surcharge on electric vehicle registrations, on top of the already-in-place $75 vehicle registration fee.

Asked whether she thinks those levels are appropriate, Emerson said she’d need to look more into it before weighing in on whether the rates should be adjusted. She also stressed considering solutions other states have championed, rather than just looking at options Wisconsin has done in the past.

Navy veteran and retired Eau Claire Deputy Police Chief Eric Larsen, 59, says he wants to raise the gas tax and then index it. And Thomas Vue, 57, and a Department of Workforce Development employment and training specialist, says he’d support a gas tax increase and “minor” vehicle registration fee upper, as well as tolling.

Larsen, who currently runs a E. E. Larsen & Associates, also said registration fees should be paid based on the value of the vehicle rather than an across-the-board increase. On tolling, Larsen said he was “skeptical” because the option leaves “too much room for corruption.”

“It introduces private interests to funding of our highways and that concerns me,” he said.

Meanwhile, the four candidates also touted their backgrounds in city government, state politics, campaigns and more.

For example, both Larsen and Vue previously served on the Eau Claire City Council: Larsen from 2013 to 2017, and Vue from 2004 to 2013. Larsen also noted in the last decade of his police career, he focused on public policy issues over law enforcement, including working with the City Council on the Confluence Project, a public-private-university partnership for a performing arts center in downtown Eau Claire. The center is set to open in the coming months.  

Postlewaite said he worked on several campaigns, including as a field coordinator for Russ Feingold’s successful 1992 U.S. Senate campaign, and has served as a behind-the-scenes resource for individuals interested in running for office since.

And Emerson highlighted her five years at Fierce Freedom, an anti-human trafficking organization, where she lobbied the state Capitol and got seven bills passed. That experience helping write legislation and establishing relationships with legislators, she said, gives her a leg up on her opponents.

One of the candidates also emphasized the historic nature of his bid. Vue, who was born in Laos, would be the first Hmong state rep, should he win election.

“There is an open seat, and there’s time for me to run for the state Assembly to diversify representation in Madison,” he said.

On other issues:

*The four said it’s unlikely they’d support the so-called “constitutional carry” bill if it comes back around next session and they’re in the Legislature.

The bill would allow someone to carry a concealed weapon without first obtaining a permit or training.

While all the candidates said they’re in favor of firearm training, Emerson and Larsen said gun owners should have not just marksmanship training but lessons on the appropriate time to use force.

“If somebody wants to carry a concealed weapon, then they should have the training, they should have annual training, and not just marksmanship,” Larsen said. “They’ve got to understand what the use of force really means and when it’s justified and when it’s not.”

*The candidates also said they would all prefer to bolster alternative sentencing options in the state rather than building a new prison to reduce the state’s inmate population and address overcrowding issues.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to building a new prison. But if the answer is to just keep filling them up, I don’t see the logic in that,” Postlewaite said.

Larsen, meanwhile, called the two-decades old truth-in-sentencing law a “mistake,” adding the state “shouldn’t be using our prisons just to lock (individuals) away.”

The law requires offenders to serve every day of their sentence, while largely eliminating parole and weakening early release.

*And the four are mixed over the five-year UW System tuition freeze, which lawmakers voted to continue in the most recent budget.

While they all emphasized the need to invest more money into the System, they were largely non-committal over the future of the freeze.

Postlewaite, the UW Stout professor, said he doesn’t think tuition should be capped anymore, noting he has “seen the impacts” of the freeze and the state’s funding decisions in the classroom.

“I don’t think we should keep the tuition freeze going any longer,” he said. “I think it’s had its impact. It’s done what it was supposed to do, what the Legislature wanted it to do, to cut the fat, so to speak. So I think it’s about time to up the funding to our schools so they can keep up with the needs of modern day technology and the needs the students have to graduate and get good jobs.”

Vue, meanwhile, said he’d like to see the freeze continue, while Larsen said he’d potentially support keeping the freeze.

Emerson said she wants to increase funding to the UW System, and would only be open to getting rid of the freeze “if we could use it as a bargaining chip to get more government spending.”

Hear Postlewaite’s interview:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/180711postlewaiteinterview/s-Wd1Hf

Emerson’s:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/180710emersoninterview/s-nEtcV

Larsen’s:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/180710larseninterview/s-uaccc

Vue’s:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/180710vueinterview/s-8pfwm  

ACLU Wisconsin: Milwaukee Common Council approves historic settlement with ACLU, with sweeping police reforms to end unconstitutional stops and frisks of Black and Latinx people

CONTACT:
Cass Bowers, ACLU of Wisconsin, 414-272-4032, ext. 217, [email protected]
Alexandra Ringe, ACLU, 212-549-2582, [email protected]aclu.org 

Agreement would require Milwaukee to overhaul police department policies, training, supervision, accountability, and community engagement

MILWAUKEE —Today the Common Council of the city of Milwaukee voted to approve a settlement of a federal lawsuit brought against the city by a group of Black and Latinx Milwaukee residents, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Wisconsin, and the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP. Collins v. City of Milwaukee challenged the Milwaukee Police Department’s vast and unconstitutional stop-and-frisk program. Over the past decade, stop records fail to show that officers had reasonable suspicion, as required by the U.S. Constitution, for hundreds of thousands of pedestrian and traffic stops conducted by the Milwaukee Police Department. In addition, those stops targeted Black and Latinx people at much higher rates than they targeted white people, suggesting racial and ethnic profiling citywide.

For the agreement to become final, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett must sign the resolutions the council passed, and then the city attorney must sign the agreement itself. The agreement will then be filed with the court for its approval.  The agreement would require the Milwaukee Police Department and Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission to end unlawful stops and frisks; institute new and enhanced data collection policies, training, supervision, and corrective measures; and foster accountability to the public for implementing law enforcement reforms.

“I was stopped by Milwaukee police and treated like a suspect when I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” said Charles Collins, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit and a resident of Milwaukee for more than 50 years. “This agreement gives me hope that the police will change the way they treat me and that I will be able to leave my home and be free of suspicion.”

The agreement would require the Milwaukee Police Department and Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission to: 

·         change policies regarding stops and frisks;

·         document every stop and every frisk conducted by officers, the reason for the encounter, and related demographic information, regardless of the outcome of the stop;

·         improve training, supervision, and auditing of officers on stop and frisk and racial profiling issues, and provide for discipline of officers who conduct improper stops or fail to document those stops;

·         release stop-and-frisk data regularly to the public;

·         expand and improve the process for the public to file complaints against police officers;

·         maintain the Milwaukee Community Collaborative Committee, which will seek community input policing strategies and their impact on the public to improve trust between law enforcement and city residents, and seek diverse representation on the committee;

·         use an independent consultant to evaluate whether the city, the police department, and the Fire and Police Commission are making sufficient progress in implementing the reforms and identifying and correcting unlawful stops and frisks.

 “When police stop people on the basis of race or ethnicity, it doesn’t help solve crime and instead harms the communities the police are sworn to protect. Today’s agreement would guide Milwaukee police away from bias-driven stop and frisk practices that are increasingly discredited nationwide and move the department toward evidence-based policing,” said Nusrat Choudhury, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. “The Milwaukee Police Department—like every other police force in the country—must protect and serve everyone, regardless of race and ethnicity.”

 Traffic and pedestrian stop rates in Milwaukee are more than six times higher for Black people than for white people. This disparity was found after controlling for crime rates and other factors that can influence stop rates. Searches of Black and Latinx drivers are more than 20 percent less likely to lead to the discovery of drugs than searches of white drivers.

 “The Milwaukee Police Department’s work must be guided by evidence and the rule of law, not by the color of someone’s skin,” said Karyn Rotker, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Wisconsin. “Under the agreement, the department would take specific steps to ensure that officers have reasonable suspicion as required by the Fourth Amendment when they conduct stops and frisks. The agreement’s measures would also guard against the unfair treatment of Black and Latinx people prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Between 2010 and 2017, the Milwaukee Police Department conducted more than 350,000 pedestrian and traffic stops for which they have no record of reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or a traffic or vehicle equipment violation, as required by the Fourth Amendment.

Said Jason Williamson, deputy director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, “With this historic agreement, the city of Milwaukee would make a commitment to its people to break the pattern of baseless, unlawful police stops and frisks and racial and ethnic profiling. We hope this sends a message to other cities about the need to advance fairness and equal treatment in policing.”

“In this agreement, the city would agree to rigorous monitoring of officers’ stops and frisks by an independent entity that will publish its findings for the public,” said Chris Ott, executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “That’s crucial for the success of the reforms. Milwaukeeans must have a neutral accounting of the department’s progress. And the department itself needs an accurate picture of what’s working and what isn’t in order to improve.”

Said Shanya Dingle of Covington & Burling, “This agreement would require the city to safeguard the constitutional rights of Black and Latinx people in Milwaukee. It represents a turning point for the Milwaukee Police Department, which will now take meaningful steps to ensure that unlawful stops and frisks become a thing of the past.”

ADCC Eau Claire fundraiser 🗓

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Monday, July 30

Rep. Dana Wachs, Assembly Democratic Leadership & Eau Claire Area Candidates

Candidates in attendance: Jodi Emerson (AD-91), Eric Larsen (AD-91), Rich Postelwaite (AD-91), Thomas Vue (AD-91), Wren Keturi (AD-67), Wendy Sue Johnson (AD-68), Charlie Warner (AD-93)

5 – 7 p.m.

Lazy Monk Brewing , 97 West Madison Street Eau Claire WI

Sponsorship levels: $500, $250, $150 Suggested Contribution: $50

ADCC event 🗓

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Where: Appleton Beer Factory, 603 W College Ave Appleton WI 54914

When: Wednesday August 8th, 5-7 p.m.

ADCC in Appleton
Hosted by Representative Amanda Stuck, Candidate for the 90th District Staush Gruszynski
And Special Guest Rep. Gordon Hintz
5-7 pm
Appleton Beer Factory, 603 W College Ave Appleton WI 54914
Sponsorship Levels: $1000, $500, $250, $150 Suggested: $50
RSVP to [email protected]

AG Schimel tops Dem rival Kaul with $672k raised in first half of ’18

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GOP AG Brad Schimel announced Wednesday morning he raised $671,093 over the first six months of the year, finishing the latest reporting period with more than $1 million in bank.

That topped the more than $570,000 that Dem rival Josh Kaul earlier announced he had raised during the six-month period. The former federal prosecutor finished June with about $680,000 cash on hand.

Schimel’s campaign said he has now raised more than $1.6 million for his re-election bid.

Finance reports for state candidates are due Monday.

AG Schimel: Announces more than $3.5 million in school safety grant funding to 52 school districts

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel today announced a list of 52 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 52 schools and school districts will receive $3,501,346 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.

“Momentum to improve school safety, training, and law enforcement collaboration continues with today’s school safety grant awards,” said Attorney General Schimel. “The public safety professionals at DOJ, in conjunction with dozens of educational and mental health response professionals, established a meaningful way to improve school safety by strengthening response to mental health crises and improving the physical safety of school buildings.”

A list of schools and school districts that have been awarded school safety grants is at the bottom of this press release.

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:

  • Training for all staff on Trauma Informed Care (TIC), Trauma Sensitive Schools (TSS), Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), Violence and Bullying Prevention, and Active Shooter Response training (ALICE);
  • Increasing two-way communications throughout the entire school through handheld radios, emergency communication system and PA systems equipped with new speakers;
  • Purchasing an anonymous reporting application (StopIt);
  • Updating internal classroom and entrances with locks that lock from the inside, including adding quick action locking devices/remote lockdown and removable mullions;
  • Enhancing security software to include door prop recognitions that alerts staff, and panic button;
  • Improving visitor screening and entryways through adding key card/keyless access, access control door entry system and visitor management systems;
  • Allowing for more secure entrances to receiving docks, a performing arts box office, and fitness centers;
  • Securing the entry areas, sidelites, and interior classroom windows with shatter resistant film and updated doors;
  • Labeling entry and classroom doors so that first responders can identify a specific area.

“The Christ King School Community is blessed and humbled by our receipt of this grant,” said Gina Brown, Principal of Christ King School. “These monies will help us to continue our efforts to ensure that all of our precious children feel safe and nurtured in our school. We especially thank our local law enforcement officials in both the City of Wauwatosa and City of Milwaukee, Governor Walker, AG Schimel, our local legislators and the entire DOJ Office of School Safety for their partnership to keep our children safe.”

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 how the School Safety Grant Initiative will create sustainable improvements in Wisconsin schools.

“Our $100 million School Safety Plan is helping schools across Wisconsin become more secure,” said Governor Walker. “It is important we all continue to work together to make sure every teacher, parent, and student feels safe in our schools.”

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.

“Children are our most important resource and secure schools are imperative,” said Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt. “I am thrilled for the financial support our community will receive to help keep our children safe!”

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
  • NAMI-WI
  • Wisconsin Association of School Boards
  • Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials
  • Wisconsin Association of School District,,, Administrators
  • Wisconsin Association of School Nurses
  • Wisconsin 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.

List of schools awarded grants on July 9, 2018:

  • Atonement Lutheran School (Milwaukee), $21,522;
  • Augusta School District, $81,717;
  • Beaver Dam Unified School District, $187,256;
  • Burlington Area School District, $163,880;
  • Cashton School District, $39,546;
  • Catholic Memorial High School (Waukesha), $21,624;
  • Christ King School (Wauwatosa), $15,743;
  • Cochrane-Fountain City School District, $41,150;
  • Crestview Academy, $19,325;
  • Cumberland School District, $78,920;
  • Dominican High School/The Archdiocese of Milwaukee, $19,798;
  • Elk Mound Area School District, $64,133;
  • Elmbrook School District, $210,800;
  • Franklin Public School District, $149,053;
  • Good Shepherds Evangelical Lutheran School (West Allis), $23,925;
  • Glenwood City School District, $78,820;
  • Greenwood School District, $41,564;
  • Independence School District, $50,266;
  • Hartford UHS School District, $22,725;
  • Holy Trinity School (Kewaskum), $20,000;
  • Holy Rosary Catholic Grade School (Medford), $18,974;
  • Immanuel Lutheran School (Brookfield), $17,452;
  • Kansasville Grade School, $20,421;
  • Kewaunee School District, $64,677;
  • Kiel Area School District, $57,938;
  • Ladysmith School District, $61,080;
  • Lake Mills Area School District, $56,544;
  • Maple School District, $84,705;
  • McDonell Area Catholic Schools, $82,100;
  • Medford Area Public School District, $84,135;
  • Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, $220,000;
  • Milton School District, $139,910;
  • Milwaukee Center for Independence, $18,302;
  • Mondovi School District, 64,843;
  • Monroe School District, $102,841;
  • Parkview School District, $61,783;
  • Reedsburg School District, $173,491;
  • Saint Lucas Lutheran School (Milwaukee), $20,723;
  • Saint Johns Lutheran School (Watertown), $16,210;
  • Saint Robert Grade School (Shorewood), $20,000;
  • Saint Victor Grade School (Monroe), $19,448;
  • Shoreland Lutheran High (Somers), $26,929;
  • Shullsburg School District, $61,460;
  • Solon Springs School District, $20,600;
  • South Milwaukee School District, $131,505;
  • SS Peter & Paul Grade School (Independence), $22,753;
  • St. Mary School (Portage), $15,892;
  • Stoughton Area School District, $109,285;
  • Waunakee Community School District, $123,049;
  • West Bend School District, $152,529;
  • United Community Center Acosta Middle School, $40,000;
  • Whitehall School District, $40,000.

AG Schimel: Announces nearly $4 million in school safety grant funding to 89 school districts

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel today announced a list of 89 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 89 schools and school districts will receive $3,980,473 which will be spent on building safety improvements, as well as mental health 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 the DOJ website.

“The DOJ Office of School Safety is moving fast to award school safety grants,” said Attorney General Schimel. “The nearly $4 million grants being awarded to large and small schools across the state, incentivizes school officials and law enforcement to make meaningful improvements to Wisconsin school safety through physical improvements and a focus on mental health training for school faculty.”

A list of schools and school districts that have been awarded school safety grants is at the bottom of this press release.

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:

  • Training for all staff on Trauma Informed Care (TIC), Trauma Sensitive Schools (TSS), Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), Peaceful Warriors, PREPaRE, Threat Assessment and Active Shooter Response training (ALICE);
  • Secure the entry areas, sidelites, and interior classroom windows with shatter resistant film, updated doors and locks;
  • Allow for the remodeling of entrances and vestibule/visitor holding;
  • Install and/or upgrade public address system with fire and intruder alarms;
  • Install mobile-based software to be installed to effectively alert building occupants and community members of a threat;
  • Labeling exterior vinyl numbers on the exterior of all building so that first responders can identify a specific area.

“The Wausau School District thanks Governor Walker, Attorney General Schimel, and state legislators for the opportunity to apply for and be awarded funding through the Department of Justice’s School Safety Grant program,” said Dr. Keith Hilts, Wausau Schools Superintendent. “Our district has been, and continues to be, very proactive in the area of school safety and security. This grant funding aligns with one of the District’s Shared Key Interests, ‘Provide safe, secure, flexible, inviting, and well-maintained environments that nurture student well-being and enhance teaching and learning,’ and will help make our schools even safer for students and staff.” Wausau School District was awarded $406,194 through the School Safety Grant program on July 10, 2018.

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 how the School Safety Grant Initiative will create sustainable improvements in Wisconsin schools.

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.

“Wausau schools are safer today because of the $400,000 grant application approved through the Wisconsin Department of Justice School Safety Grant program,” said Wausau Police Chief Ben Bliven. “The Wausau Police Department is firmly committed to the safety of our children and we are grateful for this School Safety initiative to strengthen the security of our local schools.”

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
  • NAMI-WI
  • Wisconsin Association of School Boards
  • Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials
  • Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators
  • Wisconsin Association of School Nurses
  • Wisconsin 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.

List of schools awarded grants on July 19, 2018:

  • Abbotsford School District, $43,155;
  • Antigo Unified School District, $160,000;
  • Barron Area School District, $98,592;
  • Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran School (Germantown), $18,880;
  • Bloomer School District, $65,075;
  • Brown Deer School District, $42,678;
  • Calvary Baptist Christian School (Watertown), $17,557;
  • Chilton School District, $25,848;
  • Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District, $205,023;
  • Christ Child Academy (Sheboygan), $16,239;
  • Clayton School District, $62,339;
  • Coleman School District, $59,945;
  • Colfax School District, $45,322;
  • Cudahy School District, $138,168;
  • Darlington Community School District, $40,000;
  • Deerfield Community School District, $59,853;
  • Delavan Christian School, $19,173;
  • Evansville Community School District, $82,970;
  • Fall River School District, $40,867;
  • Fennimore Community School District, $51,182;
  • Flambeau School District, $61,856;
  • Fontana J8 School District, $19,654;
  • Fort Atkinson School District, $146,889;
  • Hayward Community School District, $120,261;
  • Horicon School District, $61,173;
  • Howard-Suamico School District, $189,381;
  • Hurley Area School District, $41,294;
  • Hustisford School District, $41,596;
  • Immanuel Lutheran Grade School (Marshfield), $19, 278;
  • Iola-Scandinavia School District, $43,510;
  • Juda School District, $26,895;
  • Kettle Moraine Lutheran High, $21,248;
  • Lake Holcombe School District, $40,514;
  • Little Chute Area School District, $83,746;
  • Lourdes Academy of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Inc., $34,343;
  • Loyal School District, $62,505;
  • Lutheran Urban Mission Initiative, Inc. (Milwaukee), $123,085;
  • Manitowoc Lutheran High School, $20,000;
  • Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, $20,000;
  • Mequon-Thiensville School District, $136,441;
  • Milwaukee Jewish Day School, $20,000;
  • Monona Grove School District, $148,568;
  • Monticello School District, $26,305;
  • Mosinee School District, $64,020;
  • Northwood School District, $58,888;
  • Norway J7 School District, $19,128;
  • Oakhill Christian School (Janesville), $17,490;
  • Oconto Falls Public School District, $122,496;
  • Pewaukee School District, $78,564;
  • Pittsville School District, $41,032;
  • Pius XI Catholic High (Milwaukee), $19,750;
  • Princeton School District, $21,500;
  • Rib Lake School District, $63,149;
  • River Falls School District, $140,000;
  • Rosendale-Brandon School District, $132,408;
  • Rosholt School District, $62,223;
  • Saint Francis of Assisi School (Manitowoc), $27,038;
  • Saint Joseph Parish School (Grafton), $19,455;
  • Saint Mary School (Burlington), $19,234;
  • Salem School District, $21,500;
  • Seymour Community School District, $86,729;
  • Shell Lake School District, $58,833;
  • Spencer School District, $42,217;
  • Spring Valley School District, $63,411;
  • SS Andrew – Thomas School (Potosi), $19,960;
  • St. Edward Catholic School (Appleton), $16,066;
  • St. John Bosco Catholic School (Sturgeon Bay), $16,345;
  • St. John the Evangelist School (Milwaukee), $19,205;
  • St. John’s Lutheran School (Lannon), $19,996;
  • St. Leonard School (Muskego), $19,850;
  • St. Mark Lutheran School (Eau Claire), $19,996;
  • St. Patrick School (Mauston), $19,960;
  • St. Thomas More High (Milwaukee), $21,727;
  • Stanley-Boyd Area School District, $82,204;
  • Stevens Point Christian Academy, $19,944;
  • Stockbridge School District, $63,879;
  • Suring Public School District, $38,502;
  • Thorp Catholic School, $2,280;
  • Thorp School District, $42,400;
  • Trinity Lutheran Grade School (Merrill), $19,594;
  • Trinity Lutheran Grade School (Neenah), $19,052;
  • Trinity Lutheran School (Caledonia), $19,968;
  • Trinity Lutheran School (Waukesha), $19,741;
  • Wabeno Area School District, $39,477;
  • Washington-Caldwell School District, $20,600;
  • Waterloo School District, $80,900;
  • Wauwatosa School District, $387,395;
  • Wisconsin Heights School District, $63,540;
  • Yorkville J2 School District, $20,810.

AG Schimel: Delivers keynote remarks at International Conference of Police Chaplains in Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Last night, July 12, Attorney General Brad Schimel delivered keynote remarks at the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC) annual conference in Lexington, Kentucky. Attorney General Schimel addressed more than 600 chaplains and police liaisons from across the country at the evening banquet on the final night of the conference, and was selected as keynote speaker because of Wisconsin’s first-of-its-kind model for training police chaplains and strengthening officer wellness.

Under Attorney General Schimel’s tenure, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has increasingly focused on efforts to improve mental and physical wellness among Wisconsin law enforcement by formalizing Wisconsin police chaplain training, suicide prevention efforts, training law enforcement executives in developing wellness programs, and stress management. Officer wellness programming is now included in all DOJ-run training seminars and conferences, including the Attorney General’s Summit, the Executive Training Series, and the Command College.

DOJ is considered a national leader in officer wellness. Multiple states have requested the agency’s officer wellness curriculum, in order to duplicate Wisconsin’s best practice; and in May 2017, the agency was considered a top finalist in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance’s National Officer Safety and Wellness Awards.

In March 2018, DOJ hosted the Law Enforcement Chaplains Certification Program, the first state Attorney General’s office in the United States to do so. The 12-course certification process, offered free of charge, covers topics such as death notification, stress management and ceremonies and events, confidentiality and legal liability, substance abuse, ethics, suicide, responding to crisis, officer death and injury, law enforcement family, and sensitivity and diversity. The curriculum is based on standards established by the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC).

Created in 1973, the ICPC is an international professional membership organization developing professional chaplains of different faiths through dynamic education and support.

AG Schimel: Joins Milwaukee medical examiner, police chief to warn public on dangers of synthetic cannabinoids

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel, along with Milwaukee County Medical Examiner Dr. Brian Peterson and Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales, is warning citizens about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoid (“fake weed”) use, as Wisconsin has experienced two deaths in Milwaukee County in recent days, which may be linked to the use of synthetic cannabinoids. Photos of synthetic cannabinoid products found in Wisconsin are attached.

“I’m making an appeal to any retailers who are selling these dangerous synthetic cannabinoids and demanding you pull them off your shelves immediately,” said Attorney General Schimel. “While it is too early to attribute the two most recent deaths to synthetic cannabinoids, evidence at the scene and symptoms exhibited by the victims point to synthetic cannabinoids likely being involved. If, after our investigation concludes, we determine the source of the substances involved are synthetic cannabinoids, we will work to prosecute anyone involved in delivering these deadly drugs.”

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services released a warning on June 21, 2018, as use of synthetic cannabinoids resulted in more than a dozen Wisconsinites requiring hospitalization for severe bleeding.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also issued warnings of severe bleeding and death related to the use of synthetic cannabinoids, as the cases have increased across the country. Illinois has had more than 160 cases and at least four deaths related to these drugs. The cases in Illinois were tested at a lab and found to be positive for Brodifacoum, which is a highly toxic chemical found in rat poison.

Although the exact cause of death has not been confirmed yet in the Milwaukee-area cases, the victims’ symptoms and initial law enforcement investigation indicate that the use of synthetic cannabinoids, laced with rat poison, resulted in the victims bleeding to death. An update will be provided after confirmation. Due to the high probability of a link between the two Milwaukee-area deaths and synthetic cannabinoids and the danger to public safety, law enforcement are issuing this urgent advisory today.

DOJ and local law enforcement are urging anyone using synthetic cannabinoids to cease immediately and destroy them. If you or someone you know experiences unexpected and prolonged bruising or bleeding, particularly with minimal trauma (such as shaving or brushing teeth), contact the Wisconsin Poison Center for guidance at 1-800-222-1222 or www.wisconsinpoison.org.

Synthetic cannabinoids can be found across the U.S. in convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores, and online. If you see them being sold, please contact your local law enforcement agency for follow-up.

Persons or businesses who manufacture or sell synthetic cannabinoids may be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties and imprisonment. DOJ recently resolved two cases involving retailers involved in the sale of synthetic cannabinoids and has one case pending. In one of the cases, a synthetic cannabinoid retailer was subject to a judgment that bars the retailer from selling or assisting in the sale of synthetic cannabinoid substances and requires them to pay $1,283,000 in civil forfeitures, assessments, and costs.

People who have used these drugs and experience severe or unexplained bleeding or bruising should call 9-1-1 or have someone take them to an emergency department immediately. If you have used these products and are not bleeding, you should still see a health care provider, as Brodifacoum can accumulate and remain in your system for a long period of time, and could still cause bleeding.

Individuals who cannot stop using synthetic cannabinoids should seek help from substance abuse treatment programs.

Synthetic cannabinoid products are sold under various names including:

· Black Mamba

· Bling Blang Monkey

· Bombay Blue

· Climax

· Cloud 9

· Fake Weed

· Genie

· Joker

· K2

· Kisha Cole

· Legal Weed

· Matrix

· OMG

· Phantom

· Red, Blue, or Yellow Giant

· Releaf

· Scooby Snax

· Spice

· Wet Lucy

· White Tiger

· Zohai

For more information on synthetic cannabinoids, please visit the CDC website.

AG Schimel: Joins pharmacists, grocers, retailers and manufacturers to announce anti-smurfing campaign

Attorney General Brad Schimel, retailers, and pharmacists join to educate community on illegal “smurfing” and its consequences

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel, along with representatives from Wisconsin Grocers Association, Alliance of Wisconsin Retailers, Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin, Alliance of Wisconsin Retailers, and Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), today announced the launch of Wisconsin’s anti-smurfing campaign at events in Green Bay and Wausau. The educational campaign will increase public awareness about the criminal enterprise known as “smurfing,” which refers to the purchase of over-the-counter (OTC) cold or allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE) for criminals who seek to manufacture methamphetamine with this ingredient.

The announcement comes shortly after the state implemented legislation passed last session that requires all PSE purchases to be entered into the National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPLEx, system. NPLEx is a multi-state, electronic data base that allows real-time blocking of PSE purchases. Illegal sales are flagged and immediately blocked and law enforcement can use the data to track meth operations.

“Meth use and production is threatening our state,” said Attorney General Schimel. “With the ongoing KNOW Meth public awareness campaign, Wisconsin’s elected officials, health care professionals, and law enforcement community are working hard to prevent meth use, and we’re excited to work with the state’s retailers, grocers, pharmacists, and medicine manufacturers to inform Wisconsinites that the purchase of PSE for anyone who intends to use it to make meth is a serious offense and one that could get you arrested and prosecuted.”

This initiative will serve as part of the KNOW Meth public awareness campaign, launched earlier this year by Attorney General Schimel, the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth, Marshfield Clinic Health System, and the Northwoods Coalition to fight meth use all across the state. The anti-smurfing campaign is an additional educational effort seeking to inform consumers of the serious risks and legal consequences of smurfing, in addition to its role in the illegal methamphetamine production process. The effort will include starkly worded posters that point out the consequences of buying medicine that will be used for meth production. The program is based on extensive research and message testing, and has already been adopted in several other states.

The Wisconsin Grocers Association, Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin, and Alliance of Wisconsin Retailers are teaming up with CHPA to distribute the posters that will be displayed across Wisconsin in locations that sell OTC medicines.

“Through this campaign, consumers will come face-to-face with the reality of smurfing’s impact, and the consequences it holds,” said Brandon Scholz, president of the Wisconsin Grocers Association. “The people of Wisconsin are coming together to fight the meth, and as retailers, we’re proud to be a part of that effort with our participation in the anti-smurfing campaign.”

“Pharmacists stand at the forefront of our state’s battle against meth production, especially since the introduction of NPLEx, and we understand the important role we serve as healthcare providers in Wisconsin communities,” said Danielle Womack, director of Public Affairs for the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin. “It’s vitally important that honest consumers maintain access to the cold and allergy medicines they need, and we know that, armed with the knowledge and information communicated through this anti-smurfing initiative, the great people of Wisconsin will stand together in the fight against meth production.”

“The manufacturers of OTC medications containing PSE take very seriously the diversion of our products into the production of methamphetamine,” said Mike Tringale, vice president of communications & public affairs for the CHPA. “We support efforts like this aimed at preventing illegal purchases while ensuring the protection of law-abiding citizens’ rights to the relief provided by OTC cold and allergy medicines. The most effective solutions often require the input and participation from all sectors of the community, and we believe that this anti-smurfing campaign will bring us one step closer to eliminating meth production in Wisconsin.”

Visit www.meth-knowtheconsequences.com to download campaign materials and learn more about anti-smurfing efforts

In 2006, the federal government passed a law mandating the placement of PSE-containing medications behind the pharmacy counter, and limiting purchased to 3.6 grams per day and 9 grams per 30-day period. The law also requires a purchaser’s signature in a logbook that is accessible by law enforcement.

In 2017, the state of Wisconsin passed legislation to become the 34th state to implement the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), a real-time electronic stop-sale system provided at no cost to taxpayers or retailers and used by law enforcement to block illegal sales of OTC cold and allergy medications containing precursors to methamphetamine. NPLEx has now been implemented in 35 states across the country, including Wisconsin.

AG Schimel: Pens summertime letters to voters

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Contact: (262) 528-2086

Explains how his faith, family and life experiences in Wisconsin help guide his decisions as Attorney General

[WAUKESHA COUNTY, WISC… ] Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel’s campaign is on a roll.

Just this month, the campaign announced it entered the summer with more than $1 million on hand. Last week, the campaign picked up the endorsements of 63 of Wisconsin’s 72 sheriffs, including 12 elected Democratic sheriffs. Now, on Wednesday, Schimel published a letter that provides an in-depth, first-person narrative that explains how his faith, family and life experiences as a Wisconsin prosecutor impact him and help guide the decisions he has made as the head of the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

A Wisconsin prosecutor for nearly 30 years, Brad Schimel’s experience is unrivaled in this race. The campaign has taken the unusual step of publishing such a detailed narrative because Schimel’s breadth and depth of experience can’t be boiled down to mere talking points.

Some excerpts:

On his career as an assistant district attorney
“I did everything there was to do as a prosecutor. I went on to try over 150 more jury trials–in every type of case a DA’s office sees. I was a hands-on type of assistant DA, and took every chance I could to ride with law enforcement and go to crime scenes. Law enforcement knew that they could count on me any time night or day to help out, whether I was officially on call or not.”

On working for victims
“…I have a number of those types of keepsakes in my office, and the small gifts I received from crime victims I helped are among my most treasured possessions. I have a small homemade chopper fashioned from bolts welded together that I received from a young man who had developmental disabilities. He was sexually assaulted and physically abused by a co-worker who resented that the employer hired people with disabilities at the company. He had a hard time communicating because of his disabilities, but I worked with him to help him be able to tell the jury what happened, and the defendant was convicted. The young man had seen pictures of my motorcycle in my office, and asked one of his other coworkers to make the little motorcycle for me. That little motorcycle on my credenza at work goes unnoticed by many who come to my office, I’m sure, but I cherish it.”

On getting justice for victims of sexual assault
“It was not just child victims we served in the Sensitive Crimes Unit. There were also adult victims of sexual violence. Like with child victims, the services available to adult victims needed improvement. I had an opportunity to work with the team at Waukesha Memorial Hospital to create a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program in Waukesha County. Adult sexual assault victims were being taken to the Sexual Assault Treatment Center in Milwaukee, which like the CATC, was an outstanding, but overwhelmed facility. We decided that the state’s third largest county should have its own SANE services, and thanks to the community service-oriented approach at ProHealth Care and some very talented people in our law enforcement and human services teams, we got it done.

“We also created a protocol for the handling of the Sexual Assault Kits that were collected by the SANE Nurses. As a result, when I ran for AG, I knew what to do to tackle our state’s 20-year problem of accumulated sexual assault kits that had not been submitted to the Crime Lab for testing. At DOJ, we put in place a process that will resolve that decades-old problem in less than three years. Even more importantly, we developed a statewide protocol that will prevent this from ever happening again.

“By the way, thanks to the protocol we put in place in Waukesha County years ago, the third largest county only had 39 unsubmitted kits that needed to be tested. Statewide there were over 4,100. At DOJ, I saw the value in constructing a comprehensive, victim-centered plan like we did in Waukesha.”

On addressing law enforcement wellness
“That revelation from Sandi inspired me to launch our first in the nation Law Enforcement Wellness Program at DOJ, which focuses not just on physical fitness, but more importantly on the emotional and psychological impacts of serving in law enforcement. Those cumulative impacts have resulted in law enforcement officers having shorter lifespans, higher divorce rates, and most tragically, we lose 4 times as many officers to suicide as to duty deaths. One of my most important missions is to change this. DOJ requires any conference we sponsor to have a wellness component. We have worked tirelessly to get every police department in the state to provide a full array of services to address officer wellness. We have developed a police chaplain credentialing program that is the only such program in America. I am proud of the great work we are doing to protect and serve those who protect and serve us.”

On his faith
“I respect people of all backgrounds and faiths, including those who choose not to believe in a higher power. My faith isn’t exclusionary. But it is a part of who I am, and I’m not ashamed of it. My Catholic faith guides me to serve others, and to try to be the best person, father, husband and public servant I can be.”

On his family
“Also, my family has been supportive, and without much recognition. There was one time when my wife and daughters did receive a formal recognition… in 2013 when the Schimel family received the Family Service of Waukesha award as Family of the Year. Sandi and I have been married 22 years, and she is my rock. Mackenzie is 17 and Hailey is 15 now, and I am so grateful to the girls for all that they have sacrificed so that I could pursue my calling.”

Schimel concludes his letter, “I know this note is very long, and a little unorthodox. But I figure if you care enough to come to this site, you are researching your options and deserve to know who I am, what motivates me, and how I go about my job as your Attorney General.”

To see the entire letter, click here.

AG Schimel: Provides nearly $5 million in school safety grant funding to 81 school districts

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel today announced 81 schools and school districts that combined will receive $4,771,686 from the first round of the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) School Safety Grant program. Recently, Attorney General Schimel announced plans for a second round of grant funding by utilizing the approximately $45 million in remaining school safety money available. The second round of funding will focus on advanced initiatives to bolster student mental health, the creation of local School Safety Intervention teams, and additional physical security upgrades. K-12 schools, both public and private, are encouraged to apply for the next round of grants, which will be awarded starting in October.

“We have no greater responsibility than providing safe school environments, free from violence,” said Attorney General Schimel. “DOJ, school officials, mental health professionals, and law enforcement are putting real solutions into place so kids can learn, teachers can teach, and families will feel confident that when they put their children on the bus in the morning, they are sending them to the safest schools in the nation.”

A list of schools and school districts that were awarded school safety grants on July 30, 2018 is at the bottom of this press release. More grants will be awarded to schools that applied for the first round of grant funding soon.

“The Eau Claire Area School District is deeply grateful for the safety grant,” said Dr. Mary Ann Hardebeck, superintendent at Eau Claire Area School District. “The grant promotes the well-being of our students and staff, which is critical to their sense of security and to a supportive learning environment. These resources will certainly help us in our longstanding partnership with local law enforcement to strengthen our safety plans and to complete projects developed to protect our students, staff and community. We have a close working relationship with the Eau Claire Police Department and Sherriff’s Office. We continue to work together to safeguard our campuses so that everyone can be safe in our schools. We very much appreciate the work that Governor Walker, AG Schimel, our local legislators and the entire DOJ Office of School Safety did to make these grants possible. “

In March 2018, the Wisconsin State Legislature and Governor Scott Walker to passed and signed 2017 Wisconsin 143 into law, establishing the DOJ Office of School Safety and providing $100 million for school safety. 735 schools and school districts, 97% of public schools and approximately 40% of private schools statewide, applied for the first round of funds, and all are expected to receive grant funding. Once all first round grant funds are approved, it is estimated that approximately $45 million will remain.

The second round of grant funding, utilizing the remaining $45 million, will advance baseline mental health and physical security improvements made in the first round of grant funding through advanced training for teachers on mental health; the creation of local teams of educators, counselors, and law enforcement to develop School Safety Intervention Teams that will assess threats and identify students in need of support; and additional physical security upgrades. Schools interested in applying for the second round of grant funding must submit a mandatory “intent to apply” to the OSS by August 13, 2018.

Schools applying for the second round of grant funding must agree to send 10 percent of full-time teachers and counselors to DOJ-approved 12-hour Adolescent Mental Health training by August 31, 2020, and schools may use grant funds to pay expenses incurred (tuition, travel, lodging, meals, substitute teacher pay, etc.). Schools applying must also establish a School Safety Intervention Team (SSIT), based on a model set by the U.S. Secret Service, which will engage in behavior monitoring, threat assessments, and intervention. Funding will also be available for more physical security improvements.

Schools and school districts that applied for the first round of grants are eligible for the second round of grants, and will apply for the second round through a simplified grant application process. Schools and school districts that did not apply for the first round of grants are eligible for the second round of grants, but will need to satisfy all prerequisites of the first round and second round of grant funding.

Under the second round of grant funding, grant funding will be awarded on a per-student formula, according to student enrollment as reported to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). No awardee will receive less than $10,000 nor receive more than $2.5 million, in order to ensure all applicants receive sufficient funding to make meaningful physical security improvements. The final award amount will depend on the number and size of schools that apply. Interested schools can find more information on the DOJ Office of School Safety website.

Highlights from the school safety grant applications[1] being awarded on July 30, 2018 from the first round of grant funding include such improvements as:

  • Training for all staff on Trauma Informed Care (TIC), Trauma Sensitive Schools (TSS), Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), Peaceful Warriors, PREPaRE, Threat Assessment and Active Shooter Response training (ALICE);
  • Secure the entry areas, sidelites, and interior classroom windows with shatter resistant film, updated doors and locks;
  • Install and or upgrade public address system management and controls; and,
  • Install interior and exterior surveillance cameras and recorders with a visual monitoring system.

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. 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.

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
  • NAMI-WI
  • Wisconsin Association of School Boards
  • Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials
  • Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators
  • Wisconsin Association of School Nurses
  • Wisconsin 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.

A list of all 735 schools and school districts that have requested grant funds in the first round of grant funding is available on the DOJ website. To date, OSS has reviewed all first-round applications. All schools that applied have either received their awards, or OSS is waiting for a response from the applicant. OSS understands that many delays on the part of applicants may be due to summer vacation and hours.

List of schools awarded grants on July 30, 2018:

  • Alma School District, $41,650;
  • Amery School District, $80,000;
  • Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine School District, $41,233;
  • Berlin Area School District, $58,870;
  • Black River Falls School District, $83,368;
  • Bonduel School District, $61,428;
  • Bruce School District, $56,312;
  • Butternut School District, $60,000;
  • Chetek-Weyerhaeuser Area School District, $50,604;
  • Christian Life School (Kenosha), $21,035;
  • Clinton Community School District, $65,153;
  • Columbus Catholic Schools (Marshfield), $71,927;
  • De Soto Area School District, $60,879;
  • Divine Mercy School (South Milwaukee), $15,708;
  • Eastside Evangelical Lutheran School (Madison), $20,595;
  • Eau Claire Area School District, $388,795;
  • Edgar School District, $58,618;
  • Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart, $14,500;
  • Elcho School District, (Elcho), $50,665;
  • Fall Creek School District, $63,970;
  • Florence County School District, $33,214;
  • Fox Valley Lutheran High (Appleton), $23,379;
  • Genoa City J2 School District, $35,307;
  • Germantown School District, $127,602;
  • Glendale-River Hills School District, $41,980;
  • Good Shepherd Lutheran School (East Troy), $20,009;
  • Granton Area School District, $41,470;
  • Hales Corners Lutheran Schools, $22,466;
  • Herman-Neosho-Rubicon School District, $39,490;
  • High Point Christian School (Madison), $17,000;
  • Holy Wisdom Academy (Milwaukee), $17,850;
  • HOPE Christian Schools (Waukesha), $140,000;
  • Hortonville Area School District, $122,229;
  • Hudson School District, $188,385;
  • Isthmus Montessori Academy (Madison), $20,484;
  • Janesville School District, $420,000;
  • Lakeside Lutheran High (Lake Mills), $20,989;
  • Linn J6 School District, $20,225;
  • Manawa School District, $44,596;
  • Marshall School District, $85,686;
  • Marshfield Unified School District, $160,000;
  • Mayville School District, $60,000;
  • NTC Christian Academy (Merrill), $19,993;
  • Omro School District, $86,096;
  • Plymouth Joint School District, $74,273;
  • Racine Christian School, $11,317;
  • Redeemer Lutheran Grade School (Fond du Lac), $20,345;
  • Regis Catholic Schools (Eau Claire), $100,945;
  • Rio Community School District, $36,867;
  • Sacred Heart Grade School (Reedsburg), $14,637;
  • Saint Alphonsus Grade School (Greendale), $19,999;
  • Saint Bernard Grade School (Watertown), $16,226;
  • Saint Charles Grade School (Burlington), $19,028;
  • Saint Eugene School (Fox Point), $19,880;
  • Saint John Lutheran School (Plymouth), $20,763;
  • Saint John’s Lutheran School (Portage), $20,436;
  • Saint Joseph Parish School (Prescott), $13,475;
  • Saint Matthew Elementary (Oak Creek), $22,400;
  • Saint Paul Evangelical Lutheran School (Lake Mills), $12,257;
  • Saint Paul Lutheran School (Stevens Point), $10,852;
  • Shawano School District, $85,725;
  • Shorewood School District, $102,804;
  • St. Anthony Catholic Montessori School (Menomonee Falls), $14,911;
  • St. Francis Xavier Catholic Schools (Appleton), $84,427;
  • St. John – St. James Lutheran School (Reedsville), $19,550;
  • St. John’s Lutheran School (Pardeeville), $8,460;
  • St. Martin Lutheran School (Clintonville), $15,660;
  • Stone Bank School District, $20,000;
  • Tomahawk School District, $63,990;
  • Tomorrow’s Children, Inc. (Waupaca), $16,529;
  • Trinity Lutheran School (Sheboygan), $20,233;
  • Twin Lakes #4 School District, $15,585;
  • Two Rivers Public School District, $79,405;
  • Union Grove UHS School District, $20,000;
  • Viroqua Area School District, $99,195;
  • Washburn School District, $64,545;
  • Wausaukee School District, $59,371;
  • Westby Area School District, $83,669;
  • Winnebago Lutheran Academy (Fond du Lac), $21,107;
  • Wisconsin Rapids School District, $249,060;
  • Yeshiva Elementary (Milwaukee), $20,000.

AG Schimel: Statement on Sun Prairie incident

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation and Office of Crime Victim Services have been assisting a large coalition of area law enforcement, EMS, fire departments, crime victim professionals and local leaders at the scene of a devastating Sun Prairie explosion and fire since late yesterday, Tuesday, July 10. Tragically, a Sun Prairie volunteer firefighter lost his life while protecting his community. Attorney General Brad Schimel released the following statement after learning of the community’s loss.

“My team at Wisconsin DOJ joins all Wisconsin citizens and first responders in mourning the loss of one of our courageous firefighters. This tragedy is a heartbreaking reminder that those who rush into danger to protect the public put their lives on the line for us every day. Our thoughts and prayers are with this brave public servant’s family and all of his colleagues in fire service.”

AG Schimel: Statement regarding death of Milwaukee police officer

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel issued the following statement after a Milwaukee Police Officer was killed in the line of duty:

“My heart aches for Milwaukee PD, the city, and the family and friends of an officer killed while executing a warrant. Warrant officers are the ‘tip of the spear’ in law enforcement; they are heroes, going after the most dangerous people in our communities. Today this city lost a truly brave hero and committed guardian of the city, and my prayers will be with all who knew him in the coming days.

Every day, the family of our officers watch their loved one leave the safety their home to protect us, not knowing if they will return.Tonight as we mourn the loss of this brave soul, and every day, I ask all Wisconsinites to pray for the safety of every Wisconsin law enforcement officer and their families.”

Aging & Disability Resource Center: The Wait for Long Term Care Services Is Finally Over

CONTACT: Laurie Ropson, Outreach Coordinator
Phone: 920-448-6458
Email: [email protected]

ADRC of Brown County to hold Celebration Event Wednesday, July 25, 9 a.m.

Green Bay, WI – ADRC of Brown County announced today the wait for 3,164 persons who needed long-term care services is a thing of the past. Over the past three years, ADRC has been dedicated to helping these older adults and persons with disabilities move off the wait list to the Family Care or IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct) program of their choice.  It’s been a long wait and a win-win for both taxpayers and persons on wait lists. Family Care and IRIS programs are long-term care programs that help frail elders and adults with disabilities get the services they need to remain in their homes. This comprehensive and flexible program offers services to foster independence and quality of life for members while recognizing the need for interdependence and support.

ADRC of Brown County will hold an event to celebrate Wednesday, July 25th at 9:00 a.m. at the Grounded Café inside ADRC at 300 S. Adams Street, Green Bay, WI.  County Executive Troy Streckenbach, along with individuals & families currently utilizing Family Care/IRIS dollars, will join Devon Christianson, ADRC Director, in celebrating this milestone for the community.

These 3,164 Brown County residents currently rely on the Family Care and IRIS programs to get the personal care supports they need for daily functioning.  Providing this care in their homes gives them choice and provides dignity through the ability to live, work, and be an active part of the Brown County community.

Ms. Christianson, ADRC Director, states: “These programs reduce isolation and help our vulnerable neighbors stay active members of our community. With the growing number of older adults and adults with disabilities in our community, this funding and local support has never been more important.”

Family Care/IRIS programs not only provide a cost savings, but a priceless impact. As one older adult explained, “Every day an older person stays out of the nursing home, they save $241- that is $87, 965 a year! Every day a person stays out of a nursing home and lives at home is priceless to them.”

ADRC of Brown County is the entry point for application and enrollment into Family Care & IRIS programs.  These programs are designed to help persons who meet the financial and functional requirements get the help they need.

For more information, visit www.adrcofbrowncounty.org. Through its many programs, the Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Brown County provides the opportunity for persons to take a self-educated, proactive and personal approach to select services that maximize choice & maintain independence. Whether a person has $1 million dollars, or just $1 dollar, they still need to know what services are available, and how to pay for those services, in order to stay independent and active in the community. The ADRC is here to help them live their best possible life.

American Dairy Coalition: FDA Commissioner takes a stand on fake milk

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Media Contact:
Laurie Fischer
CEO
920-965-6070
[email protected]

July 17, 2018 — The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) applauds President Donald Trump’s head of the FDA, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, for taking action to provide consistency and clarity for consumers across the nation.

“An almond doesn’t lactate, I will confess,” Gottlieb said, referring to the fact that the agency’s current standards for milk reference products from lactating animals.

Shortly after ADC released “The Protecting Milk Integrity Initiative,” a new effort activated to advocate for the proper use of federally standardized terms established for the word “milk” on product labels, this announcement was made.

The current FDA Standard of Identity for Milk is stated in 21 CFR 131.110 as “lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows.”

In over 200 countries across the world, plant-based juices are not allowed to call their product “milk” on labels unless they are, in fact, derived from a mammal.

“As we see dairy farmers from across the U.S. suffering with low milk and other commodity prices, tariff uncertainty and lack of reliable labor force, this news finally provides a positive movement in the dairy industry,” said Laurie Fischer, CEO, American Dairy Coalition.

The FDA plans to issue a guidance document that will provide specific changes to their standards of identity policies for how milk is marketed.

As ADC has previously stated, the FDA will hold a public meeting on July 26, as well as allow a comment period, to address rules for addressing milk products.

It’s very important for dairy farmers and the dairy industry to testify at the public hearing and send in comments for the record. More information on the ADC’s Integrity Project and how you can assist, please visit the link below:

http://www.americandairycoalitioninc.com/the-integrity-initiative.html

American Dairy Coalition: Speaker Ryan: Unprecedented number of ag groups request your immediate action

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Media Contact:
Laurie Fischer
CEO
920-965-6070
[email protected]

July 23, 2018 — An unprecedented number of agriculture groups have endorsed the bipartisan AG and Legal Workforce Act. More than 200 agriculture groups support the bill including dairy, horse, cattle, sheep, chicken, pork, turkey, wine, aquaculture, corn, seafood and processing interests. They all believe the AG and Legal Workforce Act is the only solution for the foreseeable future to ensure a viable workforce. While a few out-liar agriculture groups do not support the bill, the time is now to provide agriculture with a reliable workforce.

Speaker Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin is the nation’s second-largest milk-producing state, with annual sales of nearly $5 billion (NASS, 2017 State Agriculture Overview). In order to sustain our existing operations, we must have the means to a legal visa program.

“It’s easy for some in agriculture who are currently allowed to use the H-2A visa program to attack and oppose the only foreseeable solution for the rest of us. Without a bill passing, we have nothing except fear and trepidation that we will continue to see stepped-up enforcement and distressed businesses,” according to Laurie Fischer, American Dairy Coalition.

In late June, House Leadership made a commitment to several members of Congress for a separate July vote on an immigration guest-worker bill that will allow all of agriculture, including dairy, poultry, cattle, pork, seafood, etc., to be part of a new visa program called the H-2C. The H-2C doesn’t just help one sector of the agriculture industry, but all of us and will allow immigrant workers to come out of shadows by providing them a legal visa — but only after they are vetted by Homeland Security.

The fact that the dairy industry has been suffering from a lack of federal immigration policy for over 30 years demands that the Speaker of the House must allow a vote this week.

The American Dairy Coalition’s 30,000 producers represented throughout the United States are strongly urging Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to bring the AG and Legal Workforce Act to the floor before the members of the House of Representatives leave Washington, D.C. this Friday.

As interior enforcement efforts continue, those who are left without any means to secure a legal workforce are facing disaster. It is now up to Speaker Ryan to decide if the U.S. will end up importing food and putting thousands of domestic jobs at risk or securing a legal workforce we desperately need.

The American Farm Bureau, the National Milk Producer Federation and many other National and State Associations are in support this bill.

Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin: AFP-WI to Senator Baldwin: Confirm Judge Kavanaugh!

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CONTACT: Joe Sangiorgio, [email protected]

Grassroots Activist Group Hails President Trump’s SCOTUS Nominee

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) today applauded President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court. AFP announced it will commit its full resources and permanent grassroots infrastructure to urging U.S. Senators, including Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, to confirm Judge Kavanaugh swiftly.

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

“Americans for Prosperity – Wisconsin enthusiastically supports the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to be the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh will be an outstanding Justice who will faithfully interpret the law rather than make law from the bench. President Trump deserves tremendous credit for following through on his promise to appoint such an impressive, well-qualified defender of the U.S. Constitution to the bench. In the coming weeks and months, AFP-WI will mobilize our army of over 137,000 grassroots activists to support this exemplary nominee. We call on Senator Tammy Baldwin to set partisan politics aside and confirm this fine jurist to the highest court in the land.”

Brett Kavanaugh, a graduate of Yale Law School and former clerk to Justice Kennedy, received bipartisan support in 2006 for his confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. During his 12 years on the federal bench, Kavanaugh has demonstrated a commitment to the rule of law and is widely respected for his principled approach to interpreting the Constitution as written.

Background:

Americans for Prosperity will commit seven-figures to a national campaign of paid advertising and grassroots engagement in support of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Door and phone scripts have already been deployed to Wisconsin and the first round of mail and door hangers will be deployed in the coming weeks. Later this month, AFP will be hosting events, tele-townhalls, and Facebook live conversations with key lawmakers about the proper role of the courts and the importance of confirming judges who interpret the law as written. AFP will also deploy similar grassroots efforts in West Virginia, North Dakota, Indiana, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Montana, Ohio, and Michigan.

Americans for Prosperity-WI: Praises Rep. Gallagher for Commonsense Trade Bill

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

AFP-Wisconsin Praises Rep. Gallagher for Commonsense Trade Bill

Green Bay Lawmaker Leads Bipartisan Effort to Protect American Jobs

Grassroots Activists Praise Measure as Part of National Pro-Trade Campaign

 

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) today commended U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher for introducing bipartisan legislation to require an up-or-down vote by Congress on barriers to free trade including tariffs. AFP’s support for the measure is the latest part of the group’s recently-announced multiyear, multimillion dollar campaign to champion the benefits of free-trade and the consequences of tariffs.

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

“Congressman Gallagher understands that free trade is an essential part of Wisconsin’s economy that leads to more economic growth, job creation, consumer choice, and affordable prices. Trade barriers like tariffs threaten the prosperity of all Wisconsinites because they stifle economic growth, destroy jobs, and make everyday goods more expensive. Congressman Gallagher’s commonsense bill will give Congress, as the elected representatives of the people, an important check on tariff policy that affects the lives and livelihoods of countless Wisconsin families. AFP-WI commends him for introducing this bipartisan legislation to protect American jobs and urges all members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation to sign on as co-sponsors.”

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin: Backs Dale Kooyenga for State Senate

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

 

Activist Group Hails Brookfield Assemblyman’s Principled Leadership

 

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin today announced it is supporting Assemblyman Dale Kooyenga’s bid to represent Wisconsin’s 5th District in the State Senate. The free-market activist group will be canvassing and making phone calls to encourage voters in the district to support Kooyenga.

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

“AFP-Wisconsin proudly and enthusiastically supports Dale Kooyenga to be the next State Senator for Wisconsin’s Fifth District. Representative Kooyenga has been a principled leader who has courageously stood up for his constituents in Southeast Wisconsin by defeating powerful special interest lobbyists in Madison. From working for health care affordability and access to fighting for quality education for all children, we can count on Dale Kooyenga to do the right thing. AFP-WI activists will work tirelessly between now and November to send this principled leader to the Senate where he can advance pro-growth, pro-freedom policies.”

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin: Praises Rep. Mary Felzkowski for health care reform work

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

Grassroots Activists to Canvass Tomahawk Assemblywoman’s District with Door Hangers

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) today announced a grassroots activist campaign asking constituents of State Representative Mary Felzkowski to thank her for her efforts to lower health care costs for Wisconsin families. The free-market policy group’s community organizing staff will lead local activists in the Assemblywoman’s district to place door hangers and inform  Felzkowski’s constituents about the benefits of the health care reform ideas she has championed, and to urge her to continue pushing for market-based reforms in health care.

You can view the door hanger HERE

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

“Representative Mary Felzkowski continues to impress our activists by taking on powerful special interests in Madison to lower health care costs for all Wisconsinites. She helped to pass ‘Right-to-Try’ legislation to give terminally ill patients access to potentially life-saving medicine and treatment. She kept faith with Wisconsin families and stood strong against powerful lobbyists with her bill to help low-income families receive dental care.  In the future, we hope she’ll continue to push for direct primary care reform and other ideas to help lower health care costs. The Badger State is leading the way as a model for the nation with high-quality, affordable health care for all and Mary Felzkowski is a big part of the reason why. We thank her for her leadership on these issues and encourage her to keep up the great work.”

Background:

AFP-Wisconsin Wants More Healthy Smiles!

AFP-WI Commends Gov. Scott Walker for Signing ‘Right-to-Try’ Legislation

Anderson campaign: We will not wait for Assembly to act – TeamGuv to accept Bitcoin campaign donations

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Contact: Phil Anderson

Anderson for WI Governor

Phone:  608-361-8608

Email:    [email protected]

 Madison, WI, July 19th, 2018 – Libertarian Party candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor will be accepting campaign donations in Bitcoin, starting July 19th, via https://www.teamguv.org/donate_cryptos

“We’ve set up a BTC donation portal, using FEC compliant BitPay,” stated Phil Anderson, Libertarian candidate for Governor. “We gave an opportunity for the WEC to rule, and they chose not to. We believe that based on the current statute, Bitcoin donations are allowable, as Bitcoin is, in fact, money. Some of the commissioners said so themselves.”

On April 24th, Anderson spoke to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, requesting guidance regarding cryptocurrency donations to campaigns. Current rules only allow for monetary and tangible assets as donations, although the previous rules did allow for intangible donations as well. The Wisconsin Ethics Commission declined to decide, forwarding the request for guidance to the Wisconsin State Assembly for further action. The Federal Elections Commission began allowing donations in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in 2014.

“We will comply, and be in compliance, with every donation limit and reporting requirement,” continues Anderson. “We will not allow the lack of appropriate interpretation of the current statute affect the First Amendment rights of those who want to show support and contribute. I have no faith in the Assembly to handle this fairly nor expeditiously. In the interests of the rights of our supporters, and in full knowledge that we are in compliance, we will begin receiving Bitcoin donations as of the approximately the 15th of July, on our website TeamGuv.org.”

Arnold campaign: The health of Milwaukee’s children should not be a partisan political issue

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While other communities praise the $4 million released by Governor Scott Walker to address solutions to eliminate lead in service water lines, Senator Chris Larson would instead rather attack the designated monies. As Republicans allocate funds to help eliminate this major health concern, Milwaukee Common Council Democrats and Democrat Wisconsin legislators, led by Chris Larson, continue to either remain quiet on this issue or seem to presume a press release is “action.” Isn’t this technically a “city” issue that hasn’t been resolved by the governing body whose responsibility it really is? Do we need to be reminded which party controls the City of Milwaukee? Even so, Democrats held power over this state for years; why was this not dealt with at the state level until now? If we’re going to be partisan, we might as well be precise.

When I am elected, I will continue to work with Governor Walker and the DNR to find available funding to put our children’s health concerns FIRST. We can continue to accomplish this with the unceasing budget surpluses that the Republican platform keeps raking in, now that the conservative policies that were put in place have had time to work (just like we said they would). Not only will I be more effective as a legislator at making this happen, I won’t be the one to complain when help actually arrives. It’s time to put people before Party.

Arts Wisconsin, League of Wisconsin Municipalities: Seek nominations for  2018 Arts in the Community Awards

Contact: Anne Katz, Arts Wisconsin
608 255 8316| [email protected]
The tenth annual Arts in the Community Awards, presented by Arts Wisconsin in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, honor communities and civic leaders around the state for championing the arts as integral to economic, educational and community vitality.  The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, August 31, 2018.  Visit www.artswisconsin.org for full nomination information.

The award winners will be recognized at the League of Municipalities’ annual conference in Wisconsin Dells on Thursday, October 25.   In addition, Anne Katz, Arts Wisconsin Executive Director, will lead a workshop  discussion on Wisconsin’s creative sector at the conference.  The awards are original works of glass art created by Matthew Heindl of Maatwerk Studio in Blue Mounds, WI.

Generous sponsors of the Awards (to date) are:
  • Redevelopment Resources of Wausau and Madison, WI, providing customized solutions for the development and redevelopment of communities.
  • Vierbicher Associates of Madison, Pewaukee, Prairie du Chien and Reedsburg, WI, providing consulting services to guide and deliver quality land and community development.
“The Arts in the Community Awards are a wonderful way to celebrate the visionary leadership in and for the arts in Wisconsin’s communities,” says Arts Wisconsin Board of Directors President Ann Huntoon.   “We’re proud to partner with the League of Municipalities to present these awards, and appreciative of the sponsors who make the awards possible.”
Arts Wisconsin is Wisconsin’s voice for the arts and leading community cultural development organization. Founded in 1992, Arts Wisconsin is the premier independent statewide membership organization speaking up and working for the arts, arts education and the creative economy across Wisconsin. The organization’s mission, to speak up, advocate for, and advance the arts, creativity and culture throughout Wisconsin, connects and serves the wide-ranging and creative constituency of people, organizations, businesses and communities making the arts come alive in every corner of Wisconsin.  More info at www.artswisconsin.org.
The League of Wisconsin Municipalities is a voluntary nonprofit and nonpartisan association of cities and villages that acts as an information clearinghouse, lobbying organization and legal resource for Wisconsin municipalities.  More info at www.lwm-info.org.
Previous Arts in the Community Award honorees are:
  • 2017:  Mark Elliott, Executive Director, Northwest Passage, Webster, and its cornerstone therapeutic arts program In a New Light, which uses photography as a medium for expression and healing, supported by the National Park Service and other national, state and local funders and exhibited in more than 40 locations locally and nationally; and Stephanie Samarripa, City of Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services, Milwaukee, which is committed to ensuring that public art is created in neighborhoods with, by, and for the residents of that neighborhood, reclaiming public space through art as sources of pride for residents and the community.
  • 2016: Creative Downtown Appleton, led by Josh Dukelow, community activist and radio host, and Paula Vandehey, Director of the City of Appleton Public Works; and Alan Nugent, business and cultural tourism leader and a founder of the Widespot Performing Arts Center and the Stockholm Merchants Association in Stockholm, WI
  • 2015:  The City of West Bend, for its commitment to promote the visual and performing arts in West Bend; and the Waunakee Creative Economy Initiative, for this Village-led, ongoing effort identify existing sources of creativity and innovation throughout the village, and foster their growth into a formidable sector of the local economy.
  • 2014:  Circuit Court Judge Joseph Boles and Pierce County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, based in Ellsworth, WI, for a program using a variety of arts disciplines as teaching tools to improve law enforcement training in de-escalating mental health crisis calls, and Reedsburg Mayor Dave Estes, Reedsburg City Administrator Ken Witt, and Reedsburg Chamber of Commerce Director Kristine Koenecke for support of Fermentation Fest – A Live Culture Convergence and the Farm/Art DTour. 
  • 2013:  Rice Lake Main Street Program, Rice Lake; and Sheboygan Performing Arts Foundation, Sheboygan
  • 2012:  State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, River Falls; State Sen. Bob Jauch, Poplar; Marlene Doerr Kreilkamp, Founder and former Director, SHARP Literacy, Milwaukee; and Anastasia Shartin, Visual Arts Director, The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson
  • 2011:  Bill Schierl, President, Arts Alliance of Portage County (now CREATE Portage County), Stevens Point; and Jeff Scrima, former Mayor, Waukesha
  • 2010:  Lois Smith,  founder of “Walls of Wittenberg,” Wittenberg; Julia Taylor, President, Greater Milwaukee Committee, Milwaukee; The Green Bay Neighborhood Leadership Council’s Beautification Committee, Green Bay; and The Hometown Gazette newspaper, Clayton
  • 2009 :  Carol Kratchowill, Vice President, Sauk County Art Association, Merrimac; and Menomonie Mayor Dennis Cropp and former Dunn County Board member B. Jane Hoyt, on behalf of the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, Menomonie.
Contact Anne Katz at Arts Wisconsin for more information, 608 255 8316 | [email protected].

Assembly Democrats: ADCC questions Republican Assembly candidate’s finance report

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Records show Tony Kurtz previously violated campaign finance laws in failed Congressional bid

Contact: Doug Hyant, (608) 258 9225, [email protected]

 

MADISON –As candidates across Wisconsin filed campaign reports earlier this week, Tony Kurtz, candidate for the 50th Assembly District, followed a concerning pattern of ignoring and flouting campaign finance law. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) has filed an ethics complaint against Kurtz this cycle for illegally soliciting donations and making expenditures without registering his campaign. This follows numerous campaign finance and ethics violations during Kurtz’ 2014 run for Congress.

 

“No one is above the law, and as a career campaigner, Mr. Kurtz knows better,” said Doug Hyant, the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee (ADCC)’s Executive Director. “Mr. Kurtz’ past, and now present, is filled with violations. How can we possibly trust his current report when it’s not clear he’s ever fully complied with campaign finance law?”

 

Kurtz, an Ohio native, moved to the 50thAssembly District shortly after his failed 2014 Congressional bid challenging Congressman Ron Kind (D-LaCrosse). Federal Election Commission (FEC) records from 2014[1]and 2015[2], respectively, show Kurtz attempted to subvert transparency and disclosure in his campaign filings and accepted excessive contributions. Mr. Kurtz failed to disclose important identifying information about donors who gave him more than $200, and in some cases, accepted donations exceeding federal contribution limits.

 

Federal election laws require that when candidates accept donations over $200, the candidate must report the amount of the donation, the date the donation was received, and the donor’s full name, mailing address, occupation, and employer.

 

Despite being given numerous opportunities to correct these errors, Kurtz refused. Eventually, after several missed filings, the FEC terminated[3]Kurtz’ Congressional committee.

 

“We should be able to trust that our elected officials are behaving ethically and following the law,” Hyant continued. “Wealthy donors and special interests shouldn’t be able to buy our elections, and they certainly shouldn’t be able to do it while hiding their identities from the public. The people of the 50thAssembly District deserve better from candidates asking for their vote in November.”

 

Kurtz is running unopposed in the Republican primary and will be facing Art Shrader and James Krus in the November 6thgeneral election.

 

Baldwin campaign: Despite facing unprecedented outside special interest spending, Tammy Baldwin for Senate raises record-breaking nearly $4.4 million in second quarter

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Contact: [email protected]

More than 33,000 new supporters join the campaign this quarter to stand up to special interests spending more than $10 million to beat Tammy Baldwin

WISCONSIN – Despite facing more outside spending than any Democratic Senator up in 2018, Tammy Baldwin for Senate today announced the campaign raised nearly $4.4 million in the second quarter of 2018, once again shattering previous records for a federal candidate in Wisconsin.

“Wisconsinites continue to support Tammy Baldwin at historic levels because they know that she does right by Wisconsin no matter what it takes, and no matter what powerful interests stand in the way,” said Tammy Baldwin for Senate campaign manager Scott Spector.

The strong second quarter for Tammy Baldwin for Senate was driven by more than 57,000 total grassroots supporters, including 33,000 new supporters this quarter. Over $1 million came in through small online donations, with grassroots donations averaging just $25. The campaign has raised more than $8 million in 2018 alone, with more than $7.2 million cash on hand to help build on its successful ads, “Roddy,” “Skyrocketing,” “Predator,” “Cheesy,” “Knock,” “Stories,” “Fierce,” and “Skills.”

Powerful special interests have already spent more than $10 million to beat Tammy Baldwin, more than any other Democratic Senator up for reelection this year.

Baldwin raised nearly $4.4 million in second quarter

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U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, announced Thursday she raised nearly $4.4 million in the second quarter, which her campaign said was a record for a federal candidate from Wisconsin during the reporting period.

Baldwin’s campaign did not say how much she spent during the reporting period. But her campaign said she finished with more than $7.2 million cash on hand to end June. She finished the first quarter with $7.8 million in the bank, meaning she spent more during the second quarter than she took in. Baldwin ran a series of TV ads during the three-month period.

By comparison, Dem Russ Feingold raised $4.1 million during the second quarter of 2016 as he sought a rematch with GOP U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, who pulled in $2.8 million during that three-month period.

The $4.4 million Baldwin raised comes after she reported $3.7 million in receipts for the first quarter of 2018. The campaign said that was also a record in the reporting period for a federal candidate from Wisconsin.

Baldwin has consistently outraised her GOP opponents over the past year. Republican Kevin Nicholson, a business consultant and former Marine, announced earlier this week that he raised more than $1 million during the second quarter. Fellow Republican Leah Vukmir, a state senator, has not announced her fundraising numbers for the second quarter.

Baldwin says she raised $1.2 million in pre-primary period

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U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s campaign says she raised nearly $1.2 million between July 1-25.

But the campaign did not provide figures for cash on hand or money spent over the pre-primary period.

The Madison Dem’s fundraising total for the period exceeds the just more than $1 million GOP U.S. Senate contender Kevin Nicholson pulled in over the second quarter of the year. It also outpaces fellow Republican candidate state Sen. Leah Vukmir’s $668,788 raised from April to June.

For comparison, in the 2016 election cycle, former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold over the same period brought in $780,000.

Barnes campaign: 2018 Supreme Court candidate Tim Burns endorses Mandela Barnes for lt. governor

Contact:
Justin Bielinski
[email protected]
414-208-9283

Madison: Former 2018 Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate and progressive champion Tim Burns announced his endorsement of Mandela Barnes for Lieutenant Governor today.

“Mandela is an experienced leader with strong progressive values, and I am proud to support his run for Lieutenant Governor. Recent events in Washington and Madison have shown just how important this election is for preserving civil rights, protecting our most vulnerable and standing up for workers. Mandela is the candidate we need to help elect Democrats up and down the ballot and give us the best chance to defeat Scott Walker this November,” said Burns.

Burns joins an impressive list of leaders and organizations endorsing Mandela, including Congressman Mark Pocan, Wisconsin State Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood, and dozens of others.

“I’m honored to earn the endorsement of Tim Burns,” said Barnes. “He’s a proven progressive who understands that all Democrats need to work together to ensure every Wisconsinite has a living wage job, quality healthcare, and great schools for our children.”

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: AFSCME endorses Mandela Barnes for lt. governor

Contact:
Justin Bielinski
[email protected]
414-208-9283

Milwaukee: AFSCME People, the political arm of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 32, representing the State of Wisconsin, today endorsed Mandela Barnes in the race for WI Lieutenant Governor.

AFSCME represents public employees in a variety of sectors across Wisconsin, and its members have been the target of conservative attacks from both the Walker administration and the United States Supreme Court, in the form of ACT 10, “Right-to-work,” and the recent Janus decision.

“I am proud to receive AFSCME’s endorsement and promise to work with them to improve the wages, benefits, working conditions, and quality of life for everyone.” Barnes said. “Wisconsinites have been living under the Janus decision on steroids since 2011, when Scott Walker pushed through Act 10. The rights of workers to bargain collectively is something that must be restored, and I am committed to doing what I can to make that happen as part of the new Democratic administration.”

The AFSCME endorsement is the latest in a string of support for the Mandela Barnes campaign from organized labor, including UAW, CWA, Teamsters, Ironworkers Local 8, and AFT Local 212.

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: Releases first video ads

Contact:
Justin Bielinski
[email protected]
414-208-9283

Milwaukee: The Mandela Barnes campaign has begun releasing its first round of video ads ahead of the August 14th Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor. The first video, a 3-minute piece called “Meet Mandela,” about growing up in the 53206 ZIP code and what great things are still possible in Wisconsin, has racked up over 20,000 viral views before the first ad buy.

Other, bite-sized video ads have started to debut as well, which outline Mandela’s platform “The Essentials of Opportunity.” Those essentials are healthcare, public education, environmental protection, and a fair economy.

“Meet Mandela” and all other campaign ads for Mandela Barnes will be available on the campaign website www.mandelabarnes.com as they are released. Interested press are encouraged to contact manager Justin Bielinski for further information or to schedule an interview with the candidate.

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: Wisconsin State AFL-CIO endorses Mandela Barnes for lieutenant governor

Contact:  Karen Hickey, 414-573-7579

With union roots, Barnes best understands issues facing working Wisconsinites

“Mandela Barnes grew up in a proud union family and understands the importance of having strong unions in order to sustain and grow Wisconsin’s middle class,” said Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.  “In the Assembly, Barnes prioritized working class issues like creating family-sustaining jobs, investing in our neighborhood public schools and ensuring Wisconsin families could have affordable health care. The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO is proud to support Mandela Barnes for Lieutenant Governor.”

“When Mandela Barnes saw budget cuts to our public schools and predatory lending practices hurting our communities, he stood up and ran for office in order to make a difference,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “Mandela Barnes has a clear vision to help the people of Wisconsin. As Lieutenant Governor, he will work to ensure our economy is one where all people can get ahead and have equal access to economic opportunity.”

Bebris campaign: Outagamie County Sheriff candidate releases plan for reforms to jail health care services

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 31, 2018 – Outagamie County Sheriff Candidate, Alex Bebris, released his 12-point plan for making changes to the delivery of health care services in the jail at an event held at the Appleton Public Library on Monday, July 30th. Bebris’ 12-point reform plan includes recommendations the were made by Dr. Johnny Wu, contracted earlier this year by the county to conduct an audit on the jail medication process and related medical care issues. The report prepared by Dr. Wu was presented to the public at the July 10th Public Safety Committee meeting and documented deficiencies in the current jail heath care system. These inadequacies in care included inmates not getting required medications, documentation shortcomings, and protocols in place by the jail’s contracted heath care provider, Correct Care Solutions, that are not up to national standards and norms.

“When I first read that report it was very troubling to me.” said Bebris. “The sheriff has a legal and moral obligation to make sure that the inmates in their custody are getting the treatment they need.”

During the event Monday, Bebris explained the process that went into crafting the plan. “In addition to taking some of the recommendations made by Dr. Wu, I listened to many of the citizens who got up to publicly speak about their own negative interactions with the system as well as incorporated my own knowledge and experience from previously running a county jail and serving on a state jail advisory board.” All of these components came together to form the 12-point document. “If my plan is implemented,” said Bebris, “the jail will operate under national accreditation standards and be a safer place for both inmates and staff while providing necessary care.”

Another aspect Bebris was troubled with was the cost of the services that Correct Care Solutions is providing. “In 2018, the county will spend $953,000 on jail heath care. That’s about 10% of the jail budget. With a system in place that is not working properly and has these deficiencies, are we getting value for our dollar? I don’t think so. We need to hold contracted vendors to a standard higher than this.”

Bebris’ 12-point plan is available to the public on his website, bebrisforsheriff.com and anyone interested in talking with him about the plan is invited to his meet-and-greet events scheduled over the next two weeks around the county.

Bebris campaign: To release plan to address jail audit

Outagamie County Sheriff Candidate to reveal a multi-point plan to address findings highlighted in the recent audit of the Outagamie County Jail at a public event on Monday July 30, 2018.

July 26, 2018 – Outagamie County Sheriff Candidate, Alex Bebris will hold a public event to reveal details on his plan to address the findings from the recent audit of the Outagamie County Jail. The event will be hosted at the Appleton Public Library in room AB on Monday July 30, 2018 at 2:30 pm. Public and press welcome. A group of citizens who have concerns about operations and healthcare in the jail will also be in attendance.

Alex Bebris has more than 30 years law enforcement experience in private, municipal and county agencies. His extensive background includes training at FBI’s Law Enforcement Development Program, Northwestern University school of Police Staff and Command as well as several federal certifications including Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Justice. For more information on this event or candidate Alex Bebris, please see BebrisForSheriff.com or call (920) 659-0249.

Bill Berrien: A defense bill is no place for endangered species act rollbacks

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

Protecting our nation’s environment and wildlife is important. So is protecting our national security. As a former Navy SEAL officer and a current trustee for the Wisconsin Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, I know that these two issues are not at odds. On the contrary, there are many examples of military bases/installations providing much needed habitat and protections for wildlife. However, this could soon change if some in Congress have their way.

Congress is working to finalize the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets annual funding and personnel levels as well as governs programs and policies for the Department of Defense (DoD).

Both the House and Senate have passed their own versions, and lawmakers are now getting ready for the formal conference between the two chambers (anticipated for later this month) to iron out differences between the two approved bills.

But amidst these deliberations of how to best fund our armed forces and national security are a series of proposals to undermine two of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws.

The House’s NDAA bill includes several riders seeking to weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The ESA-focused riders target the listings of three species — the greater sage grouse, lesser prairie chicken, and American burying beetle — putting arbitrary restrictions on possible future protections for the birds, while proposing the unprecedented and damaging step of legislatively delisting and outright banning ESA protections for the beetle.

Meanwhile, the NEPA-focused riders aim to weaken NEPA’s environmental and public process reviews for actions on federal public lands, including rolling back requirements on hard rock mining and allowing state and local reviews to supplant federal land management decisions.

What all these proposals have in common is that they have nothing to do with national security.

At their core, these are attacks on ESA and NEPA that jeopardize the effectiveness of both laws and open the door to similar erosions in the future.

Critical decisions about species and environmental protections should be based on science and made through a public process, not by legislative fiat from Congress.

These proposals, if included in the final bill, would undercut two of America’s most important environmental laws.

Weakening these protections is a bad idea in itself, but to bury these proposals in a massive and unrelated piece of legislation where they will unlikely see much debate is misguided.

Bedrock conservation and environmental laws like NEPA and the ESA are essential to conservation and a sustainable future.

Together these foundational environmental laws have given the public a greater voice in government decisions and conserved our fish, wildlife, and other natural resources for the benefit of future generations of Americans.

This legacy of leadership in environmental protection should not go backwards, especially in a bill intended to provide for our national security.

Please join us in calling on lawmakers NOT to include these provisions in the final NDAA bill.

Only then will we ensure both our national defense and environmental protections remain intact.

— Berrien, of New Berlin, is a former Navy SEAL and is a trustee for the Wisconsin Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

 

Bill Kaplan: Democrats need Wisconsin Trump voters

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

Trump governs by constant deception. His modus operandi includes inciting racial animus. For example, GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan called Trump’s 2016 attack against a Latino American federal judge “the textbook definition of a racist comment”. However, that was before Ryan became a Trump enabler and went mute. But the moral collapse of congressional Republicans doesn’t mean that Trump voters are invariably racist.

The New York Times said: “The swing of Obama voters to Mr. Trump proved a decisive factor in the 2016 presidential election. Of the more than 650 counties that chose Mr. Obama twice, about a third flipped to Mr. Trump. Many were in states critical to Mr. Trump’s win, like Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.” These voters are not racists. Voters told the Times “they chose Mr. Trump for the same reason they chose Mr. Obama: a deep craving for change and disgust with both political parties.”

Nothing is permanent. “Voters said they still liked Mr. Obama and that they voted for Mr. Trump because they didn’t want to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton. But they were still open to voting for Democrats – if the party could come up with the right candidates. For the most part, the midterm elections were not yet on their radars.” But Democrats need Wisconsin Trump voters to win in November.

Checks and balances are necessary to stop the erosion of democratic norms and hard-fought gains by regular folks. Both Trump and Walker are going backwards, while regular folks want to go forward toward economic security. A Trump voter who had previously supported Obama said Trump was “not there for the poor and the middle class” (Times). Same for Walker, with an increase in the Wisconsin poverty rate to 10.8 percent and still “short of the 250,000 new jobs … promised in his first four years” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Trump and Walker are on the same page, and regular folks who voted for them are getting shafted.

Rural Wisconsinites in counties that voted for Trump and Walker stood to lose their health coverage if the Affordable Care Act had been repealed. Worse, Walker’s refusal to expand Medicaid has meant that rural Wisconsinites missed out on health quality improvements (Times). Thirty-three states have used fiscal common sense and taken federal funding to expand Medicaid. Will Wisconsin be the last holdout?

Same for SNAP (food stamps). Trump, Walker and House Republicans are trying to fool voters that cuts and program changes are a “poverty-fighting system” (Speaker Ryan). No, their idea is to (racially) stigmatize the program as “welfare”. However, the Washington Post reported that the “changes to food stamps could especially sting rural Trump supporters” who depend on the program to buy groceries.

Finally, the escalating Trump trade war could devastate Wisconsin. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said 800,800 Wisconsin jobs supported by trade and state exports of over $1 billion are threatened by retaliatory tariffs. Trump says: “It’s going to all work out”. Walker muffled. Time for Wisconsin Trump voters to vote Democratic.

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

Bill Kaplan: Is Walker a Russian dupe?

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

My April 23 WisOpinion column, “The NRA, Russia and Governor Walker”, highlighted the connections between shady Russian operatives, including Maria Butina, the NRA and Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker. The story for Wisconsinites was based on crackerjack reporting from McClatchy, Politico, Time and the Washington Post. There is renewed interest nationally and in Wisconsin with the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s indictment of Butina on Monday, July 16. The story is above the fold on front pages of newspapers, broadcast by TV-radio and all over the web. Walker is in the spotlight.

Butina has been charged by DOJ “with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States” and for failure to register as a Russian agent. The DOJ said: “Butina worked at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government (Alexander Torshin) … to act as an agent of Russia inside the United States by developing relationships with U.S. persons and infiltrating organizations (e.g., NRA) having influence in American politics for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation”.

The New York Times reported: “The charges were filed under seal on Saturday (July 14), the day after 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted by (DOJ) for hacking Democratic computers to interfere with the 2016 (presidential) campaign. They were unsealed just hours after Mr. Trump stood beside Mr. Putin (in Finland) and said he saw no reason the Russian leader would try to influence the presidential election. Mr. Trump’s own intelligence chiefs have concluded otherwise. Together, the indictments portray a multifaceted effort by Russia to sway the election through computer espionage, personal overtures and the assistance of American intermediaries”.

Throughout the unfolding Russia scandal the former hawkish Walker has had the same dodged response: “I’ll leave that up to the people we elect to represent us in the federal government” (February); “I’ll leave that up to the people elected to federal office” (April) and “I’ll leave that up to federal folks” (July). However, Butina’s indictment has forced Walker’s hand. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported: Walker met Butina through the NRA, the FBI hasn’t “contacted” him and he greeted Butina in Russian because (Walker) “took Russian in college”.

However, there is more to Walker’s story. Butina and her handler Torshin developed a tight relationship with the NRA, including its president, David Keene (2011—2013). Former Wisconsinite Keene strongly supports Walker. The NRA has spent about $3.5 million to elect Walker (Wisconsin Public Radio). Moreover, McClatchy and Politico report that the FBI and the Federal Election Commission are investigating illegal Russian contributions to the NRA to help Trump. What does Keene know?

There’s more. “In April 2015, Butina and Torshin traveled to Tennessee to attend a political fundraiser for a political group backing the presidential campaign of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, then viewed as a leading contender for the GOP nomination. In July, she (Butina) attended Walker’s campaign kickoff in Wisconsin” (Time). Too many coincidences. Is Walker a Russian dupe or just a useful idiot?

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

Bill Kaplan: Russia scandal bombshell hits Trump

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

On Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein dropped a bombshell. The New York Times headline was damning: “12 Russian Agents Charged In Drive To Upset (20)16 Vote”. The Department of Justice (DOJ) said: “The indictment charges twelve Russian nationals (military intelligence officers) for committing federal crimes that were intended to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. … (They) engaged in a sustained effort to hack into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee, and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and released that information on the internet… .”

Moreover, these Russian agents “also conspired to hack into the computers of state boards of elections, secretaries of state, and U.S. companies that supplied software and other technology related to the administration of elections to steal voter data stored on those computers” (DOJ). The “voter data” was from 500,000 Illinoisans. Previously, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicated that Russians had tried to hack voter registration databases in 21 states, including Wisconsin. The DHS now suspects “that the Russians scanned all 50 states” (Politico).

Trump was briefed about the indictments before the NATO summit and his meeting with Russian President Putin on Monday. Nevertheless, Trump attacked Mueller’s investigation: “I (Trump) would call it the witch hunt. … It really hurts our relationship with Russia.” Mind-boggling! Trump’s dissembling and lies have been exposed.

Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin appropriately tweeted: “Russia attacked our American democracy to interfere with our elections. This isn’t a hoax and the special counsel’s investigation is not a witch hunt. It has produced results (with) more indictments today (32 so far, including 5 guilty pleas) and must continue. Putin directed this attack and should be held accountable.” However, Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson, after meeting with Russian officials in Moscow, said: “We’ve blown it (Russian election interference) way out of proportion.” Johnson has downplayed the scandal from the beginning. Jaw-dropping.

While Johnson was in Russia the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by North Carolina GOP Senator Richard Burr, “released a report finding Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election with a clear preference for helping Trump defeat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton” (Washington Post). And, other Republicans have stepped up to warn Trump not to fire Mueller. Former GOP Attorney General Dick Thornburgh (1988-1991) said: “Mueller is the right person to investigate Russia’s apparent assault on our democracy. … We must let him do his job.” In addition, former GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (2003-2007) said: “When Trump talks about firing the special counsel or his power to pardon himself, he makes it seem as though he has something to hide. … Congress must never abandon its role as an equal branch of government. In this moment, that means protecting Mueller’s investigation.”

There will be more bombshells. Most Republicans, including Speaker Ryan, have abdicated their oversight role. Where are Wisconsin GOP Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (institutionalist) and Mike Gallagher (former U.S. Marine)? Checks and balances are imperative.

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

 

Bill Kaplan: Trump and Walker are grifters

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

“Among the many ways in which Trump stands out in the lineup of modern American presidents is his aversion to using his bully pulpit to unify (our) diverse nation…. Rather, he stokes cultural divisions and cultivates tribalism under his slogan, ‘Make America Great Again’ ”(Washington Post). He tweets venom against immigrants, legal or not. Racism becomes a lightning rod for cultural and economic anxieties and fears. Trump even uses children as a political bargaining chip, separating families at the border. Why?

Trump never expanded his base. To counter Democratic enthusiasm and turnout, Trump bets that his manipulation of immigration issues revs up his supporters. And, Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker, supposedly “unintimidated”, is unwilling to stand up to Trump. Walker’s ever evolving stances on immigration, hitched to his presidential fantasies, left him “mum” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). However, many Wisconsinites and other Americans found their voices over the weekend in protests against detaining children.

No, Trump and Walker are not making our nation great again. The U.S. was already great before them. However, Trump has declared a trade war (tariffs) against Canada and Mexico, Wisconsin’s top markets for state exports. And, as if that was not enough, Trump has done the same to the European Union and China. Trump said: “trade wars are good and easy to win”. But there’s no real strategy, just chaos and confusion. Moreover, our trading partners are retaliating and raising tariffs which will hurt Wisconsin: cheese, cranberries, ginseng, Harley-Davidson, lawn mowers, toilet paper and more. Walker raised a muffled protest, while Wisconsin businesses and manufacturers howled.

Harley-Davidson said it would shift production of some motorcycles sold to Europe, to outside of the U.S., avoiding European retaliatory tariffs. Trump threatened Harley-Davidson, while Walker hoped that the Foxconn groundbreaking would change the narrative. However, reality intruded. Although Trump called the Foxconn factory the “eighth wonder of the world”, while Walker talked about “Wisconn Valley”, there was big trouble. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel headline said: “Foxconn scales back plans for its first factory in Mount Pleasant”. What other shoes will drop? Trump and Walker are grifters.

“Trump’s angry insistence that Harley’s products should be made in the United States is at odds with his own record as a businessman. His branded products – clothing, vodka, home goods and hotel amenities – were manufactured in at least 12 countries outside the United States, including China, Mexico and Indonesia …” (Washington Post). Worse, Walker’s spending binge on Foxconn will blow a hole in Wisconsin’s future. Over $4 billion of state aid (much of it in direct cash payments) and other state-local spending will haunt Wisconsin. How will education and roads be funded after the Foxconn giveaways?

Former Delaware Democratic Governor Jack Markell has proposed one way to stop states from racing to the bottom: “Congress should institute a federal tax of 100 percent on every dollar a business receives in state or local incentives that are directed specifically to that company.” All Wisconsin members of Congress should support this fiscally prudent and fair proposal.

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

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: Approves nearly $2 million for community projects

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

MADISON – The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) today approved nearly $2 million in State Trust Fund Loans to support nine 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:

  • Town of Brooklyn, Green County / Finance roadwork / $150,000
  • Village of Elk Mound, Dunn County / Purchase skidsteer / $40,000
  • Town of Holland, La Crosse County / Finance fire truck / $286,959.67
  • Hortonville Area School District, Outagamie County / Finance athletic field renovation / $980,000
  • Town of Knapp, Jackson County / Finance highway reconstruction / $100,000
  • Town of Mercer, Iron County / Purchase tractor / $35,000
  • Village of Pepin, Pepin County / Finance road projects / $165,000
  • Town of Rutland, Dane County / Finance capital equipment and roadwork / $140,000
  • Town of Wellington, Monroe County / Finance road and bridge projects / $75,000

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: Ty Bodden for the 59th Assembly District earns two pro-life group endorsements

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For Further Information Contact:
Ty Bodden for Assembly
(920) 624-2289

St. Cloud – Candidate for the 59th Assembly District, Ty Bodden, earns the endorsement from two pro-life organizations, Wisconsin Right to Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin.

Ty Bodden has issued the following statement in regards to the endorsements, “Having the support from organizations like Wisconsin Right to Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin is an immense honor. I plan on always defending the lives of the unborn by supporting and introducing pro-life legislation in Madison. I believe that life begins at conception and that under no circumstances should that life be taken away. I am ready to put up a fight for the unborn in the legislature.”

Ty Bodden’s other notable endorsements are Current 59th District Representative Jesse Kremer, Washington County Sheriff Dale Schmidt, Sheboygan County Sheriff Cory Roeseler, Owner of Steel Craft Corp in Hartford Gene Wendorff, Former Washington County Republican Party Chairman and one of the Co-Founders of the Washington County Republican Women, Jan Baldock, Rep. Andre Jacque, & Rep. Ron Tusler.

Boe campaign fundraiser 🗓

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Steve Boe for State Senate
Madison Fundraiser
July 16, 5-7 p.m.
Genna’s Cocktail Lounge
105 W. Main St. Madison, WI.
Suggested Contribution: $50
Contact: Nick Webber 715-651-7736, [email protected]
Donate Online: https://secure.actblue.com/entity/fundraisers/61127

Boivin campaign: Psychologist Brad Boivin issues a statement announcing his withdrawal from Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District primary

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Nashotah, Wis. – Psychologist Brad Boivin issues a statement announcing his withdrawal from Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District Primary:

“I decided to seek the Republican nomination for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District because of my strong belief in representative government and because Speaker Ryan’s announced retirement opened the door for someone like myself, who has served the needs of the community as a private citizen for more than twenty-five years, the opportunity to serve in the People’s House. However, given the current state of the race, and in the spirit of good stewardship, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy.

“After thoughtful consideration of all the remaining candidates, I have decided to endorse Mr. Bryan Steil. I believe Bryan is the one remaining candidate best suited to represent the people of the district and I will do what I can to contribute to the strength and viability of his campaign and to help build a Red Wall against the much-talked-about Blue Wave this November.

“Moving forward I will continue to advocate for the issues I believe in and will continue to work with state and federal representatives and agencies to inform sound public policy.

“To all those who supported me during this brief but meaningful journey, I say, ‘Thank you!’

Bolen campaign: James Bolen supports rebuilding of Superior Refinery and encourages growth

Cable WI – Yesterday, Husky Energy announced their plan to rebuild the Superior Refinery. In response, 25th Senate District Candidate James Bolen released the following statement:

“It’s great news for Northwestern Wisconsin. The Husky Energy refinery is an economic driver in this part of the state. Not only does it provide family supporting jobs but locally sourced materials such as asphalt to improve our infrastructure and LP to heat our homes.”

“The rebuilding process also brings an exciting opportunity – growth. I encourage Husky Refining to expand their Superior facility.”
“Wisconsin’s economy is thriving making it the opportune time for the company to further develop the refinery. As one of the largest employers in Superior, they can help us build a stronger North.”

James Bolen, a candidate for Wisconsin’s 25th Senate District has served as Executive Director of the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce for the past twelve years and on the Bayfield County Economic Development Corporation board of directors since 2011. James currently resides in the Cable area where his family owns and operates a resort on Lake Owen.

Bryce campaign: Racine Mayor Cory Mason endorses Randy Bryce

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

RACINE, WI – Today, Racine Mayor Cory Mason endorsed Randy Bryce to replace Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District, citing his commitment to building a bigger table for all.

“I am proud to be supporting Randy Bryce for Congress. We all know that Congress is packed with millionaires who often listen more to the high priced lobbyists and special interests in Washington, than their neighbors and small business owners back in their district,” said Racine Mayor Cory Mason. “Randy’s campaign represents the best chance for a working class person, who cares deeply about this community and our state, to represent the real world concerns of working families in Wisconsin.”

“This endorsement is an honor, especially coming from a lifelong public servant like Cory. Cory knows that the people in Racine deserve better representation then what they have been getting for the past 20 years. I know the struggles that working people in our district face because I have been struggling alongside them. I know that working families have been overlooked by politicians for too long, which is why we need to elect a working person to Congress,” said Randy Bryce. “I am ready to get to Washington and represent the people in this district, and I look forward to working with Cory to better serve the voters in Racine and all across Southeast Wisconsin. It’s time to build a bigger table. Our future depends on it.”

“Working Families Party is happy to see two of our strongest champions unite. We worked hard to help elect Racine Mayor Cory Mason and we are proud of the work he’s doing to make Racine a place where everyone can succeed,” said Executive Director of Wisconsin Working Family’s Party Marina Dimitrijevic. “Mayor Mason’s support of Randy Bryce for Congress demonstrates the strong confidence the community has in Randy and the desire to send a champion who is one of us to fight for all of us in Washington.”

Bryce campaign: Raised $1.2 million in the second quarter of 2018

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

RACINE, WI – Today, the Randy Bryce for Congress campaign released the results of their fundraising efforts in the second quarter of 2018. The campaign raised $1.2 million and has well over $2 million cash on hand. With nearly $6.05 million raised since the campaign’s launch, the Bryce campaign has raised more than any other Democrat running for Wisconsin’s First Congressional District in the past 20 years, with 4 months still to go. The majority of those donations came from small contributions, with an average contribution of $25. Since Ryan’s decision to not run for re-election, fundraising efforts for Bryce’s insurgent campaign have remained strong.

“When Paul Ryan dropped out of the race in the second week of April, some thought our fundraising would dry up– but Randy has a people powered campaign that is supported by hundreds of thousands of low dollar donations from hard working people across the district and the country. With nearly $6 million dollars raised, Randy’s campaign is giving a voice to the working people that our broken political system has left behind,” said communications director Julia Savel. “We’ve been on air throughout the district since the second week of March and have a strong grassroots program that communicates with voters every day. These factors, coupled with our campaign’s strong fundraising, has the GOP running scared.”

Bryce campaign: Randy Bryce statement on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

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

RACINE, WI — Today, Randy Bryce released the following statement on Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Associate Justice Supreme Court nominee.

“Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and the GOP played political games to steal a Supreme Court seat from the American people. The people of Wisconsin and the nation elected President Obama to a second term. We cast our votes to see his Supreme Court nominees confirmed and seated. Donald Trump is politicizing the court and dividing the country. He did it with the nomination of Neil Gorsuch and now he is doing it again with Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Another conservative on the court will have devastating effects on the progress made for all Americans. The reality is Roe v. Wade, LGBTQ rights, environmental protections, campaign finance reform, workers’ rights and the future direction of the United States are all at stake with the President’s latest nomination to the court. As Americans and Wisconsin’s working people we must do everything we can to prevent Judge Kavanaugh from taking Trump’s divisive agenda to the most powerful court in the country. We must right a wrong and seat Judge Merrick Garland instead of Brett Kavanaugh.”

Bryce campaign: Randy Bryce takes on the NRA in his campaign’s latest TV ad

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

RACINE, WI – Randy Bryce for Congress released the campaign’s latest television ad, Helmets, in which Bryce calls out the NRA profit machine and makes clear his vision for common sense gun reform.

“As a gun owner and veteran, Randy Bryce has a unique opportunity to share his vision for gun reform,” said Campaign Manager David Keith. “Before he wore a hard hat, Randy wore an Army helmet and qualified as an expert shot. He understands and respects the 2nd Amendment. He also believes the NRA distorts it, putting profit ahead of basic safety. People are waking up to this reality and our campaign is ready to lead on the issue of common sense reform.”

The ad, Helmets, can be seen here.

Bryce campaign: Randy Bryce unanimously endorsed by the Southern Wisconsin Building Trades Council

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For Immediate Release: July 10, 2018
Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]

RACINE, WI — Today, the Southern Wisconsin Building Trades Council, which is headquartered on Center Avenue in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, unanimously endorsed Randy Bryce for Congress in his campaign to replace Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District.

“Our hard working women and men who live and work everyday here in Southern Wisconsin believe Randy Bryce is the voice we need in Washington,” said Council President (and Rock County Board Member) Bob Potter. “For too long Paul Ryan and the Republicans have listened to everyone but Wisconsin’s working people. They do the billionaire’s bidding and take us for granted. Randy Bryce is one of us—he’s a working person who knows what the struggle feels like. He is ready to help us get a seat at the table, and we look forward to campaigning with him throughout the entirety of this election.”

“I want to build a bigger table, for all of us,” said Randy Bryce. “This endorsement is an honor. I know what the struggle is like for working people in this district, and I am ready to fight for the working people of Southeast Wisconsin in Congress. I will never let up in the fight to protect all that we stand for and what working families need.”

The Southern Wisconsin Building Trades Council is comprised of 21 Trade Unions and represents thousands of workers in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District.

Bryce campaign: Releases gun policy platform

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

RACINE, WI – Today, Randy Bryce released his comprehensive gun safety and reform platform. It includes mandatory background checks, a 48 hour waiting period, and a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons and military style weapons and accessories.

“As a gun owner and veteran, I understand the importance of the Second Amendment. I also know how necessary it is to have comprehensive gun reform. Too many politicians who are in the pocket of the gun lobby have said that anyone who speaks up for common sense gun reform is politicizing the situation– but I say protecting our children and our people from gun violence is a top priority for our elected leaders. Politicians and the NRA are putting profits ahead of people,” said Randy Bryce. “I am proud to have been endorsed by Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, who are leading the charge for more gun safety. The time for talk has long past–it’s time for action. And I’m going to fight to ensure we’re doing everything possible to keep people safe.”

Bryce will be holding a Student Activist for Randy canvass launch on Friday.

To view Randy’s most recent ad, “Helmets”, click here.

Bryce’s Platform on Gun Policy

Mandatory Background Checks- 97% of all Americans support a mandatory background check for all gun sales. Randy believes we should not be selling deadly weapons to people who have a history of violent criminal behavior, domestic violence and abuse, or dangerous mental illness. Background checks should be a federal requirement, with any purchase of a firearm…period.

Banning Semi Automatic Assault Weapons, Bump Stocks, and Military Style Weapons and Accessories- There are between 6 million and 10 million of these semi-automatic assault weapons in circulation in the United States. They are easily available for purchase and distribution, making community spaces like schools, churches, and concerts targets for gun violence and mass killings. Semi-automatic assault weapons have one purpose: to cause as much destruction and injury possible in the shortest amount of time. There is absolutely no need for semi-automatic assault weapons on our streets. If elected, Randy would call for a ban on the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons, as well as a ban on bump stocks and military style weapons and accessories.

Mandatory 48 Hour Waiting Period – A mandatory 48 hour waiting period can be critical to saving lives, especially for those suffering from dangerous mental illness. Anyone that is using a gun for recreational reasons should have no problem waiting two days to legally make their purchase. Currently, there is no federal waiting period for guns; it can only be mandated at the state level. Each year over 3,000 people that did not receive a background check or were deemed ineligible receive firearms through this provision. Randy would introduce legislation that would require a federal, mandatory 48 hour waiting period for all firearm purchases.

Closing the Charleston Loophole – The federal law has a loophole (otherwise known as the default provision or Charleston loophole) which allows gun dealers to sell a firearm after three business days–even if a background check was not completed. The gunman of the Charleston Church shooting was able to obtain his firearm because law enforcement needed additional time to complete their background check. Randy would introduce legislation to close the Charleston loophole to ensure that people undergo and complete a background check before a transfer or sale occurs.

Rejecting NRA Money and Influence – By the end of June 2018, there were already 154 mass shootings in this United States. While children, congregants, concert-goers and innocent people across this nation are killed by guns, politicians continue to take millions of dollars from the gun lobby that advocates for less-regulated gun laws. And they’ve shown one thing to be true–to the gun lobby, profits matter more than people. Randy has pledged to reject all gun lobby money and fight to remove their influence out of our electoral system in the interest of putting people first and making our communities safer.

Fully Funding Gun Violence Research – For decades, the federal government has refused to fully fund gun violence research to combat the epidemic in our country. While there are common sense solutions that we should absolutely not be waiting to implement, research into the causes of gun violence is imperative as we try to get to the root of the rising rate of gun violence in this country. By identifying the main causes of gun violence, we can be more effective and efficient in our strategies to end gun violence — and stop 33,000 Americans from being killed by guns every year.

Bryce campaign: Senator Bernie Sanders and Randy Bryce to hold a rally and canvass launch in Janesville

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

RACINE, WI – On Saturday, July 14, Randy Bryce will host a rally and canvass launch in Janesville with Senator Bernie Sanders. After the event, attendees will phone bank and head out to knock on doors throughout the First Congressional District.

WHERE:
United Auto Workers, Local 95
1795 Lafayette St, Janesville, Wisconsin 53546

WHEN:
Doors open at 4:15. The program will begin at 5.

DETAILS:
Media planning to attend are asked to RSVP through this link.

Bryce campaign: Statement on Bryan Steil’s first TV ad

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

RACINE, WI – Randy Bryce for Congress Campaign Manager David Keith released the following statement on Bryan Steil’s first TV ad.

“Yet again, it’s clear that corporate attorney Bryan Steil is eager to lie to working families in Southeast Wisconsin. Bryan claims he doesn’t care much about insider Washington politics—but as a former Capitol Hill staffer (and driver) Bryan has been groomed for years to head to Washington to join the politicians he so admires. Bryan’s just another rubber stamp for the shameful special interest agenda that has taken control of Washington. I am not sure what type of ‘Wisconsin style solutions’ Bryan is talking about, but adding a trillion dollars to the deficit by giving a massive tax cut to the millionaires and billionaires is not what the people in this district need or want. What working families in Southeast Wisconsin need is access to affordable healthcare and the social security they have been promised for years—not another politician that lies to their face.”

Bryce campaign: U.S. Sen. Sanders and Randy Bryce hold rally in Janesville

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

RACINE, WI – On Saturday, Senator Bernie Sanders will join Randy Bryce for a rally and canvass launch in Janesville.

“The working families in our district realize that Washington hasn’t been working for them. People across this district know what’s at stake this fall, and they are ready to elect a representative who will fight for Medicare for All, real infrastructure investment, and a government that works for everyone, not just the billionaires and special interests,” said Randy Bryce. “I’m proud to have Senator Sanders’ support and I look forward to talking to voters in Janesville with him this weekend.”

Bryce says he raised $1.2 million in Q2

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1st CD Dem Randy Bryce’s campaign says he’s raised $1.2 million over the second quarter of the year.

The ironworker also has “well over” $2 million in cash on hand as he heads into the Aug. 14 primary, according to a release from his campaign today.

Bryce’s campaign said he’s now raised more than $6 million, which it said is already the best fundraising haul for any Dem running for the 1st CD in the past 20 years.

Still, Bryce’s fundraising pace slowed from the first three months of the year, when he reported nearly $2.2 million in contributions and finished the period with almost $2.3 million in the bank.

Bryce’s campaign did not release how much he spent over the period.

Bryce’s new TV ad calls for sensible gun laws

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Dem 1st CD candidate Randy Bryce released a new TV ad today in which he calls for sensible gun policies.

In the ad, Bryce says before he wore a hard hat, he wore an Army helmet and qualified as an expert shot. He says he respects an American’s right to carry a weapon as he pulls a rifle from a case and loads it.

“I don’t respect the NRA profit machine that lets guns into the hands of criminals and the mentally ill time and time again. It’s time for sensible gun policy in America,” Bryce says as he lines up a shot with the rifle over a fence. A shot rings up as cans fly off a crate in a field and a casing falls to the ground.

A campaign spokeswoman said the ad is running on cable and broadcast, though the campaign isn’t disclosing which markets it’s airing in.

Campaign: Roys raised $650,000 over first six months of 2018

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Dem guv hopeful Kelda Roys announced today she raised $650,000 during the first six months of the year and finished June with more than $650,000 in the bank.

The haul brings Roys’ overall fundraising for the campaign to about $800,000 after she reported $147,671 raised during the final months of 2017. That includes a $96,200 personal loan.

Today’s release didn’t detail whether Roys donated any additional personal money to her campaign or how much she spent during the period. She finished December with $151,033 in the bank, meaning she spent about that much over the first six months of 2018.

Roys, a former state lawmaker, is the first Dem guv candidate to announce fundraising totals ahead of next week’s deadline.

The $650,000 raised eclipses what other Dem contenders raised during the last half of 2017. By comparison, Gov. Scott Walker raised $3.7 million over the final six months of last year.

Cheeks campaign: Maurice ‘Mo’ Cheeks declares candidacy for Mayor of Madison

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CONTACT: Jessica Lovejoy, (608) 318-3065

[email protected]

MADISON, WI – Maurice ‘Mo’ Cheeks today announced that he is beginning his 2019 campaign for Mayor of Madison. Cheeks, the current Alder from the 10th district, has served on the Madison Common Council since his election in 2013.

“The next mayor has the opportunity to shape the future of Madisonians for generations,” Cheeks said. “I am excited to announce that I am running for Mayor, because I am ready for that challenge.”

“Madison deserves a mayor dedicated to creating a future worthy of our next generation – one who has been standing up for our residents during this critical time of change in our country. In this transformational time for Madison, we must work together to harness the opportunity to build a community that is truly prosperous and equitable for all people from all walks of life. I’m eager to lead the effort to advance innovative solutions to our challenges and capitalize on the enormous opportunities presented by Madison’s rapid growth and diversification.”

“I am ready to bring my experience improving the daily lives of Madisonians to the mayor’s office. As an Alder and a community leader, I’ve lead on crime reduction, economic mobility, affordable housing, voting access, food access, transportation planning, and youth and education related issues. I believe that economic inequality is at the crossroad of all of these issues, and as your next mayor, I’ll partner with community advocates to build a forward-focused economy that maximizes opportunity and dramatically reduces the economic and racial inequality in our city.”

As well as serving as an Alder from the 10th District, Cheeks is currently the Vice President of business development at MIOsoft, a Madison-based data quality software company. In 2015, Maurice was named among the 25 Most Influential People in Greater Madison by In Business magazine and was later named among the 28 Most Influential African Americans in Wisconsin by Madison365.

Locally, Cheeks currently serves as a non-profit board member for the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools, as well as Wisconsin’s largest co-worker space – 100state. Statewide, he serves as a founding board member of the Wisconsin Progress Institute, and on the Advisory Board of Wisconsin’s New Leaders Council. Nationally, Cheeks is an appointed Leadership Fellow with the National League of Cities, and a selected member of the NewDEAL Leaders.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin: Walker plan does not make up for cost of sabotage

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For Immediate Release– July 30, 2018

Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 [email protected]

Statewide: Governor Scott Walker is touting the approval by the Trump Administration of his complicated health insurance scheme that does not even begin to make up for the cost of ongoing efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Walker’s complicated scheme called “reinsurance” funnels $200 million in direct public subsidies to insurance companies in the hope that they would lower premiums for some consumers. The proposal does not require that health insurance companies pass on any savings to consumers, and even if they did it would only impact a small percentage of Wisconsinites.

Reinsurance will not help anyone who gets insurance at work or small businesses or most people who buy insurance on their own. Although Governor Walker claims it is focused on people who buy insurance on their own, it will not impact 83% of the Wisconsinites who buy health coverage through the ACA marketplace and receive tax subsidies. Reinsurance will not effect deductibles or copays. It will only modestly help the 17% of enrollees who make too much money to be eligible to federal tax credits

Walker’s press release touts a 3.5% reduction in premiums for some Wisconsinites who buy insurance on the ACA marketplace, a much lower number then what was claimed when the proposal was introduced. But according to the Urban Institute just two of Donald Trump’s acts of sabotage, refusal to enforce the individual mandate and the extension of short term “lemon” health plans will increase premiums by 18.2%.

There are a number of far more effective policy changes that would make health coverage much more affordable if we deployed the full power of state government.

Opening BadgerCare to everyone in Wisconsin as a public option would reduce premiums and deductibles by an average of 38%. It would also help people who buy insurance on their own and small businesses, most of whom cannot afford to provide coverage to their employees.

Reversing Walker’s decision to turn down the Medicaid expansion money in the ACA could reduce premiums by about 7%.

Reversing the Walker Administration’s decision in May to continue to allow the sale of substandard “lemon” plans in Wisconsin could reduce premiums by as much as 10%.

In addition, although Walker has decided to tout what he is doing to stabilize the ACA, he approved the filing of a lawsuit by the Wisconsin Attorney General that would strike down the law, taking health care away to nearly 200,000 Wisconsinites.

“Scott Walker now finds it politically convenient in an election year to pretend to care about health care costs, but 7 years of sabotage of the ACA reveals that he has been more than willing to play politics with the lives of Wisconsinites who do not have good coverage at work,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “More corporate subsidies are not the answer. It is a simple truth that only “we the people,” through the agency of our own democratic government, can guarantee health care to everyone in Wisconsin.”

Link to news release https://www.citizenactionwi.org/walker_plan_does_not_make_up_for_cost_of_sabotage

Citizens Utility Board: MGE rate settlement delivers big win, savings for customers in 2019

Contact: Tom Content
Executive Director
Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin
(414) 550-4712
[email protected]

Electric bills for customers of Madison Gas and Electric Co. are poised to fall under a far-reaching settlement negotiated by MG&E, the Citizens Utility Board and other energy stakeholders.

Under the agreement, which MG&E is filing with the state Public Service Commission, MG&E’s electricity costs are poised to drop by about 2%, or more than $7 million, in 2019 and remain at that lower level in 2020.

“Bringing costs down is critical for customers in Wisconsin, where power rates consistently rank in the top 15 in the country,” said Tom Content, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin. “Entering into settlement discussions, we challenged MG&E to think beyond just holding rates flat – asking the utility to look for opportunities to reverse the trend of seemingly ever-increasing utility rates in Wisconsin. We view this settlement as a down payment toward sustained savings for customers.”

MG&E has delivered a quality first step in that direction. There’s a lot for customers to like about this deal: Not only will MGE customers see lower rates, they will also see no move to increase the fixed charge on customers’ monthly bills over the next two years. Stopping the trend of increasing customer charges has been a priority for CUB and CUB members,” Content said.

The settlement is the second to be filed by a utility with the PSC this year under the settlements legislation that the Legislature adopted early this year. CUB and Wisconsin Power & Light Co. (Alliant Energy) reached an agreement in May that keeps WP&L’s overall rates and the fixed customer charge unchanged for the next two years.

“Customer charges send the wrong signals to customers interested in saving on their bills by becoming more efficient,” said Content. “We’re glad that we’ve made progress with both MGE and Alliant Energy’s WPL utility on this issue. It’s clearly a win for customers.”

Under the settlement, MGE will also accelerate the depreciation of certain, older, fossil fuel power plants.

“We’re happy that the settlement negotiation process provided an opportunity to explore new ways of managing MG&E’s costs, and ultimately the rates the utility’s customers pay. We hope that getting some of these older, less efficient, power plants off the utility’s books a few years sooner than expected will provide opportunities to continue to lower MG&E’s rates, or allow for investment in lower cost, cleaner power,’’ said Content. “MG&E has taken a step in the right direction by lowering rates for the next two years, and we hope that trend continues.”

As part of the settlement with MG&E, the utility and CUB will continue to work together to design innovative rate options and alternatives that aim to replace high fixed charges with different and better options for customers in and near Madison. MG&E has also pledged to continue to explore new product offerings that expand customer service options and allow customers greater opportunities to reduce usage during times of high electricity costs.

More information about those alternatives is expected to be available later this year, once the details of the new pilot rate options have been ironed out. The proposed settlement and new rate options must still be approved by the PSC. The PSC will review the settlement proposal in the coming months, after allowing stakeholders that did not sign on to the agreement to weigh in on whether they support or object to it.

Savings linked to corporate tax reform enacted last year by Congress helped make this year’s settlements possible. What also helped make the settlements work was the willingness by MG&E and WPL to work with CUB early on and in a process that allowed for plenty of give and take, Content said.

“The settlements that CUB has signed on to this year with Alliant and MG&E were only possible because these utilities were willing to negotiate openly and honestly and then provide all parties whatever information was needed to be assured that a good deal had been struck,” Content said. “Whether you judge them by the end product or the process, these deals are clearly a win.”

City of Madison: Permanent sculpture to be placed in Elver Park

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Madison Arts Commission recently awarded Makeshift Festival a $15,000 Art in Public Places grant to place a permanent sculpture in Elver Park on Madison’s west side. The piece, entitled Momental from recent UW MFA Graduate Jeffrey Repko will be placed in Elver Park, 1250 McKenna Boulevard after consultation with Madison Parks staff.

“Repko’s work is very much about unique, complex pieces coming together in a colorful, playful assemblage to create an interconnected system capable of change and growth. These qualities make the work much like Madison itself, a place where unique communities make up the complex assemblage that makes our city so special. I hope Momental not only exudes the element of play so prevalent in Elver Park but is also a reminder of the interactions and awareness necessary for growth.” said Bethany Jurewicz, co-founder, and curator of Makeshift Festival.

Makeshift Festival, an event organized and presented by the Madison Parks Foundation, was founded in 2017. It is a one-day festival that highlights the creative use of public space using Madison’s extraordinary parks as a backdrop for visual and culinary arts. In its inaugural year, it brought more than 3500 people to Olbrich Park.

“While Makeshift Festival is by definition ephemeral, a long-term goal of ours is to facilitate the placement of permanent art in our parks. We’re beyond excited that the Madison Arts Commission grant will allow us to do that in just our second year,” said Bob Hemauer, co-Founder of Makeshift Festival and Madison Parks Foundation Board Member. “We’re especially excited to have Elver Park be the home to the first piece. We believe in bringing art to all Madisonians, so it was important to us to have its home be somewhere in Madison that isn’t already dense with public art.”

“Through the Madison Parks Foundation and Makeshift Festival, we are honored to receive this grant from the Madison Arts Commission. Art in public spaces provides an opportunity for cultural interaction while making our parks more interesting and offering contemplative spaces,” said Eric Knepp, Madison Parks Superintendent.

“The Madison Parks Foundation exists to enhance our amazing parks, and we’re thrilled to be able to help make Elver Park even more special,” said Stephanie Franklin, Executive Director of Madison Parks Foundation.

This year’s Makeshift Festival will be held on Sunday, August 12 from 1 to 7 pm on the island at Tenney Park, 1330 Sherman Avenue. More than 15 restaurants and 20 artists from around the Midwest will be represented. All dishes are affordably priced at $7 or less. Admission is free.

Pending the Board of Park Commissioners approval, “Momental” will be installed in the Spring of 2019.

Contacts

· Bob Hemauer, co-founder/director Makeshift Festival (608) 335-8282 [email protected]

· Bethany Jurewicz, co-founder/curator Makeshift Festival (917) 921-0171 [email protected]

Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative: Issues statement on governor’s announcement

CGHC Contact: Melissa Duffy, 414-847-9501
[email protected]

Today, Governor Walker announced that the federal government has approved Wisconsin’s plan to create a reinsurance program to help stabilize Wisconsin’s individual health insurance market. Cathy Mahaffey, CEO of Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative (CGHC), issued the following statement on the governor’s announcement:

“I applaud Governor Walker for his efforts to improve the market for individuals and families buying health insurance on their own,” Mahaffey said. “This will have a positive impact on premiums for our members, particularly those that have suffered high premium increases resulting from the volatility of the market and unanticipated changes to the Affordable Care Act.”

Congressional Leadership Fund: Poll: WI-01 Democrat primary tied between two terrible candidates

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Contact: (202) 909-2446

WI Democrats face choice between a deadbeat dad who has been arrested nine times and a candidate who calls ICE officers “thugs”

WASHINGTON – On the heels of the first Democratic primary debate in WI-01, Congressional Leadership Fund (@CLFSuperPAC) released polling showing a tie in Wisconsin’s First District Democratic primary. The choice is between Randy Bryce, a deadbeat dad who has been arrested nine times, and Cathy Myers, a candidate who not only wants to dismantle U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but calls ICE officers “thugs.”

“Just like Democratic primary voters, CLF is having a tough time deciding which candidate will be more fun to defeat in November,” said Corry Bliss, CLF Executive Director. “Wisconsin Democrats have a difficult choice between a deadbeat dad who has been arrested nine times, or a candidate who not only wants to dismantle ICE, but calls ICE officers ‘thugs.’ We’re looking forward to defeating whoever comes out of the primary.”

The poll surveyed likely Democratic primary voters and was conducted July 8 – 9, 2018. See full poll results and methodology below:

WI-01
2018 Democratic Primary Election Poll
July 2018

What is your opinion of Cathy Myers?

Favorable: 25%
Unfavorable: 15%
No opinion: 60%

What is your opinion of Randy Bryce?

Favorable: 38%
Unfavorable: 26%
No opinion: 36%

The candidates in the August 14th Democratic Primary Election for United States Congress are Cathy Myers and Randy Bryce. If the election were held today for whom would you vote?

Cathy Myers: 34%
Randy Bryce: 33%
Undecided: 33%

Survey conducted July 8 through July 9, 2018. 1,020 likely 2018 Democratic Primary Election voters participated in the survey. Survey weighted to match expected turnout demographics for the 2018 Democratic Primary Election. Margin of Error is +/-3.06% with a 95% level of confidence. Totals do not always equal 100% due to rounding.

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Congressional Progressive Caucus: Releases annual People’s Budget

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 24, 2018
Contact: Ron Boehmer 202-225-2906

“A Progressive Path Forward” invests in a future where all Americans can succeed, not just those at the top

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), led members of the CPC in introducing the FY 2019 People’s Budget: A Progressive Path Forward. The People’s Budget creates a blueprint for a government that invests in our communities, not corporate CEOs, by making bold investments in health care, infrastructure, education, and other areas that face steep cuts in the Republican budget.

President Trump and Congressional Republicans want Americans to believe that we must slash funding for vital cornerstones of our society, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, to pay for their tax handout to corporations and the extremely wealthy. The Congressional Progressive Caucus knows that this is a false choice, and recognizes a path forward for our country that will put workers and everyday families first. The People’s Budget provides a progressive pathway to building a strong economy so working families can prosper.

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus prides itself on standing up for all Americans, not just those at the top. However, under President Trump and Speaker Ryan, we’ve seen tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, while working families are left with the bill,” said Rep. Mark Pocan, Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “The People’s Budget: A Progressive Path Forward is a roadmap for all Americans to succeed. By investing in education programs and universal childcare, we can expand economic opportunity for more working families across the country. And by expanding protections for workers and strengthening our social safety net, we can ensure that all Americans have a fair shot. We must stop the Republicans from further rigging our economic system against working families and the People’s Budget is the right way to do so.”

“Our progressive budget shows the American people that it is possible to be a country that empowers workers and cares for the sick, elderly and disabled; while making the long-term structural investments that provide a pathway to the middle class for those who have been left behind,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “A fair budget starts by ending the Republican and Donald Trump rigged economic system that favors big corporations and the wealthy and puts the focus back on workers, returns power to the people, and empowers communities across the country through real investments and bold policies. Our budget paints a very different picture than the cruel Republican budgets, and provides a real path to economic opportunity and economic prosperity for our nation.”

“Budgets are so much more than a spreadsheet of dollar figures – they are a declaration of our values. It’s a promise about who we are, what we care about and what we’re willing to stand up for. The budget championed by President Trump and my Republican colleagues might work well for those who have membership to Mar-A-Lago, but working families have gotten the short end of the stick. The People’s Budget is a promise is to stand up for the American people and never back down,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, First Vice-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “It works to make our nation the kind of place that we want it to be – where immigrants are valued; human rights are respected regardless of religion and citizenship status; threats to our environment are confronted; schools are properly funded; infrastructure is strong; voter rights are protected; and families can make ends meet.”

“The President and Congressional Republicans have made their agenda clear: enriching billionaires on the backs of everyday families,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13). “The optimistic, progressive People’s Budget stands in stark contrast to Republicans’ cruel agenda. Our budget is focused on helping American families by investing in good jobs, creating pathways out of poverty and rebuilding our schools, bridges and public transit. I am proud to stand behind this bold, forward-looking proposal that puts people first.”

“I’m proud to support the People’s Budget because it makes our tax code work for working people, not our nation’s millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy Republican donors. We must build a 21st century economy that supports middle class families and families working to get into the middle class so they can achieve the American dream,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09). “We can do this by investing in health care, education, workforce training, research and development, and 21st century infrastructure. Our budget puts people over profits. It holds corporations – like pharmaceutical companies – accountable to ensure that American families can afford a healthy and prosperous life.”

“As a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Taskforce, I am proud to stand with my colleagues to unveil our plan that demonstrates our commitment to the American people and provides them with an opportunity to succeed,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “The CPC People’s Budget is a budget that works for all Americans and not just the wealthy or top one percent. Our budget is a roadmap for success for America’s families, students, our economy and our nation.”

“This budget recognizes that those at the top bear a responsibility to pay their fair share. And it puts a stop to costly tax incentives that encourage corporations to outsource American jobs abroad,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-35). “It will lead to lower health care costs by authorizing Medicare to negotiate with price-gouging drug companies. Unlike the Republican tax scam which lavished benefits on the wealthy few and large multinational corporations, CPC puts working families first.”

“The CPC’s People’s Budget invests heavily in sorely needed public investments, including infrastructure, education, child care, and health care,” said Hunter Blair, Budget Analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. “The CPC budget has always included a bold proposal to boost infrastructure spending, and that is true again in this year’s People’s Budget, which increases infrastructure investment to around two trillion dollars. These investments would create jobs, boost productivity, and help lead to a more equal economy.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus – the largest values-based caucus among Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives with 77 members – releases a budget each year that expands opportunity for all Americans, starting with our most vulnerable communities. This year, more than 30 organizations endorsed the People’s Budget, representing issues ranging from the environment and diplomacy, to health care and the economy, among others.

The full budget is available here.

The executive summary of the budget is available here.

Conservative vets group announces TV ad hitting Baldwin for failing to ‘show up’

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The conservative Concerned Veterans for America today announced a nearly $1 million buy on TV and digital knocking U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin for failing to “show up” at “important meetings.”

The spot, which the group said will air in several Wisconsin markets, opens with an empty chair and the U.S. Capitol in the background. The narrator says leaders are counted on, particularly when “lives are at stake.”

“But Tammy Baldwin missed over 70 percent of important meetings,” saying her chair sat empty 100 times on a committee “responsible for investigating fraud, incompetence, corruption, problems like the Tomah VA scandal.”

“Could Baldwin have uncovered abuses sooner?” the narrator says to close the spot. “We’ll never know because Tammy Baldwin didn’t show up.”

The group declined to release specifics of the ad other than it starts Thursday and will run for three weeks.

Curate’s technology helps boost customers’ timing for business opportunities

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Imagine the ability to predict where industry leaders will build their next headquarters. Well, Curate CEO and Co-founder Taralinda Willis did just that.

After learning that tech giant Foxconn was headed to Wisconsin, Willis and her team predicted that the new plant would be in Racine County. Soon after, news broke that Foxconn had selected a site within the county.

Curate uses data-mining technology to gather information from meeting agendas and minutes from cities, counties and school board websites from across the Midwest.

“We use software to ‘read’ these documents in our database, a lot like a human would read and understand text,” Willis said. “The software helps us identify early information about upcoming projects, shared with our customers in an interactive website.”

After working as a project manager for the University of Wisconsin’s Union South construction from 2010 to 2011, Willis saw firsthand how contractors and vendors missed big opportunities because of timing issues. For example, vendors would call to bid on projects, only to find out they were too late. However, all the information they needed was publicly available.

Willis teamed up with her husband, Dale Willis, who developed the software, to address this need in the marketplace and offer businesses these early insights.

See more at WisBusiness.com

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Announces PARC & Ride grant program

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Stephanie Wilson Miller
Communications Director
Dane County
608.267.8823 o
920.470.4618 c

Program Helps Municipalities Build Bike Trails

Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced that the PARC & Ride grant program is back and the County is now accepting grant applications. This grant program provides matching grants to communities interested in expanding trail interconnectivity throughout Dane County. The 2018 Dane County Budget has $500,000 in matching funds available through the PARC & Ride grant program. Towns, villages, cities and other governmental units are eligible to receive up to 50% of the project costs to offset bike trail design, engineering, and construction costs.

“Dane County has some of the best bicycle trails in the country,” said Dane County Executive Parisi. “Access to see and enjoy our landscapes is one of the many reasons people love living in Dane County.”

The program offers an excellent opportunity for Dane County to work in partnership with municipalities on developing and enhancing bicycle facilities throughout Dane County. Grants will be awarded for capital projects that expand bike trail interconnectivity, create destination-oriented regional bike trails and improve bike safety.

To be eligible for funding, trail projects must provide a regional trail connection as identified in the Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan. Eligible projects include the development of off-street shared-use trails including amenities and support facilities, such as trailheads/parking areas, signage, and safety facilities.

Grants provided by the program are also intended to advance the implementation of bicycle wayfinding signage on bikeways throughout Dane County. All projects funded through the program will be expected to incorporate bicycle wayfinding signage that follows the guidelines found in the Dane County Bicycle Wayfinding Manual. Having bicycle wayfinding signage on our bikeways will improve navigation for bicyclists while also highlighting parks, communities, and other destinations that are reachable by bike.

Grant applications to the PARC & Ride program are due Monday, October 1st, 2018. The grant guidelines and application forms are also available online at: www.danecountyparks.com/Information/Grants.

According to the Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization, there are over 645 miles of bike facilities in Dane County. In addition to the Lower Yahara River Trail, the County is also working to complete the Glacial Drumlin Trail, and providing dollars in partnership with the Town of Westport and others for a new North Mendota Trail to help provide safer cycling.

In 2011, Dane County Executive Parisi started the PARC (Partners for Recreation and Conservation) grant program, which the PARC & Ride program was built on. Since the inception of the programs, $2.8 million in county funds have been awarded to local municipalities and non-profit organizations for developing bike facilities.

 

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Announces retirement of Mickey Beil

Today Dane County Executive Parisi announced the retirement of Mickey Beil, Dane County’s Legislative Lobbyist. Beil has served 30 years in the Wisconsin legislative arena including 17 for Dane County. Her last day for the County will be August 31, 2018.

“Mickey has been a true advocate for the citizens of Dane County and the values we hold dear,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Mickey is a tireless public servant, advocate for justice and a friend.”

“As Mickey moves on to her well-earned next adventures, I want to thank her for her dedication to Dane County,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan. “Mickey’s experience in the legislative arena and knowledge of County government have been a boon to Dane County. Her fierce advocacy will be missed.”

Mickey started her career in 1974 as a Special Education Teacher at Freeport High School, Freeport, IL. She worked in the Illinois legislative and political action arenas before moving to Wisconsin.

“It was an honor to serve the citizens, elected officials and dedicated public servants of Dane County,” said Beil. “We have the best staff in the state of Wisconsin and we are rich in great people.”

Dane County Exec. Parisi: County to remove slow, no wake restriction for Lake Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa

Restriction To Be Removed July 10th at Noon

Dane County is removing the slow, no wake orders on Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa effective Tuesday July 10th at noon. Slow, no wake remains in effect for Squaw Bay (Lake Monona).

Due to the dry weather and mitigation efforts to improve flow in the Yahara River, the Yahara Lake levels have been declining at great rates.

For questions regarding slow, no wake call Land and Water Resources Department at 608-224-3730.

DATCP: Producer-Led Watershed Protection grant applications now available for 2019

Media Contacts:  Donna Gilson, (608) 224-5130, [email protected]
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, (608) 224-5020, [email protected]

MADISON – Groups of Wisconsin farmers can now apply for the Producer-Led Watershed Protection grants for 2019. Applications will be accepted through Monday, Sept. 17.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will award grants to producer-led groups that focus on ways to prevent and reduce runoff from farm fields and farmsteads. Each group is eligible for up to $40,000 a year, with a total of $750,000 available in this round of funding. Applicants must find or contribute matching funds at least equal to the grant request.

The grants are intended to help farmers find solutions best suited for their particular watersheds, based on topography, soil type, types of operations and other factors that differ among regions of the state and work to increase farmer participation in these voluntary efforts.

Both newly formed and established groups may apply.

Applicants must be groups of at least five farmers whose farms are in the same watershed. Each farm must have produced at least $6,000 in gross farm revenue last year, or $18,000 over the past three years. Each group must partner with DATCP, the Department of Natural Resources, a county land conservation committee, the University of Wisconsin-Extension, or a nonprofit conservation organization, and work with other producers in the watershed to voluntarily reduce runoff pollution from farm operations.

A few examples of projects include:

  • Startup work such as watershed planning and bringing in experts to speak about soil and water quality issues
  • Incentive payments to farmers to do soil testing and nutrient management planning, plant cover crops, install grassed waterways, and other conservation activities
  • Develop new approaches to manure storage and applications
  • Host conferences, workshops or field days to engage additional farmer participation

Grant funds cannot pay for real estate, loans, equipment purchases, out-of-state conference or travel or lobbying.

Application materials are available at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/ProducerLedProjects.aspx. Applications will be accepted only via email in Microsoft Word format. Farmers with questions should contact Rachel Rushmann, [email protected], (608) 224-4622.

DATCP: Wisconsin military families: Be on guard to scams

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Media Contact: Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON – The last thing soldiers should have to worry about during a deployment is whether or not their family members are getting ripped off back home. Yet there are bad actors who specifically target military families with their scams.

July is Military Consumer Protection Month, and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is pleased to honor our service members by sharing ways the Bureau of Consumer Protection can help protect you and your family from scams and identity theft.

“While facing the same risks of scams and identity theft as the general public, military families are also targeted by criminals who use the military lifestyle to find openings for additional scams,” said Michelle Reinen, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

In fact, an AARP study found that veterans have lost money to scammers at more than twice the rate of civilians over recent years. According to the survey, nearly 80% of the veteran respondents reported having been targeted in a scam that was “seeking to take advantage of their status as a military veteran.” Some of the common ways military members are targeted include donation requests to support fellow veterans and pitches for help in taking advantage of “little-known government programs” that could supposedly result in a cash payout or payment for medical devices.

Identity theft is another serious risk, with scammers seeking to collect the personal information of service members through “phishing” operations. These phishing ploys may involve phony job postings or housing rental ads that claim to be seeking veterans; imposter phone scams where a caller falsely claims to be with the VA or another veterans’ support organization; or fake support services that set up operations using phone numbers that are nearly identical to those used by legitimate organizations.

Some DATCP resources available to support military families with consumer protection issues include:

  • DATCP fact sheets. Available on the DATCP website, these factsheets go into great detail on a wide range of consumer issues like telemarketing scams, home improvement, job scams, false advertising, landlord/tenant rights, and much more.
  • Consumer Protection Hotline. Available weekdays from 7:45am to 4:30pm to answer your consumer protection-related questions and guide callers toward references that can help. Reach the hotline at 800-422-7128 or [email protected].
  • Identity Theft Assistance. The Consumer Protection Bureau has staff who help identity theft victims mitigate the potential damage to their identities and credit histories. If your family or friends believe they may have had their identities misused, start the mitigation process by visiting theidentity theft protection section of the DATCP website or by contacting the Consumer Protection Hotline.
  • Presentations. If you are involved with a group serving the needs of service members or veterans and would like a presentation on current consumer scams or identity theft, please let us know.Request a Consumer Protection Bureau presentation on the DATCP website.
  • File a Complaint. If you are having difficulty resolving an issue or believe that you may have been targeted or victimized by a scammer, file a complaint with DATCP online or contact the Consumer Protection Hotline.

Connect with us at www.facebook.com/wiconsumer or www.twitter.com/wiconsumer.

DC Wrap: House fundraising roundup; Baldwin introduces bill to broadcast Packers games in all Wis. counties

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, July 13-19

It’s not a serious effort by [House Speaker Paul Ryan] to have a vote on it, so we’re not going to give him a serious vote. We’re not going to accept it on his very cynical terms that he’s put this out there for. We are fully committed to advancing this bill but we’ve got a lot of education to do.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, in an interview with WisPolitics.com Friday after saying he will vote against his own bill to abolish ICE. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he intends to bring it up for a vote. Meanwhile, national media reports this week show House GOP leaders have ditched the plan to hold a vote on the measure.

See more of Pocan’s comments in Friday’s Report.

The stakes are too high for the American people, who do not want the Supreme Court to advance a political agenda to overturn the law of the land on health care for people with pre-existing conditions, women’s reproductive health, and the constitutional rights and freedoms of all Americans.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, who said she wouldn’t support President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court. But U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, has praised Kavanaugh  as someone who would interpret and apply the law, rather than alter it.

See a WisPolitics.com story on Johnson’s comments to reporters last week.

As I’ve said all along, (Russian President) Putin is not our friend. He brought war to Ukraine, used chemical weapons on UK soil, and as we know from our intel community, tampered with our democracy. Russia, not the U.S., is responsible for current tensions and we must continue pushing back.
– U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, on Twitter following President Trump’s rebuke of the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and belief that both countries are responsible for the deterioration in their relationship. Trump’s remarks came in a joint news conference with Putin on Monday.  

This week’s news

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has the biggest warchest heading into the August primary of all sitting Wisconsin congressmen seeking re-election this year.

The La Crosse Dem has $3.1 million in the bank, according to his report filed this week with the FEC, after raising $364,728 over the second quarter of the year. He also spent $238,029 over the period, which ran from April 1 to June 30.

Meanwhile, GOP opponent Steve Toft, a retired army colonel from Osseo, raised $62,724, spent $58,369 and has $107,507 in the bank.

— House Speaker Paul Ryan returned some $4 million in contributions to donors over the last quarter, following his mid-April announcement he won’t be seeking re-election.

While his report notes he raised $43,840 over the period, his net contributions were negative $4.37 million.

Under federal elections law, an FEC spokesman told WisPolitics.com today, candidates that aren’t running again are obligated to return any contributions they receive after announcing their retirement. Ryan, R-Janesville, made his announcement April 11.

Candidates are also required to refund donors who gave money specifically earmarked for an individual’s general election bid, the FEC spokesman said, though campaigns can keep donations designated for the candidate’s primary election.

Ryan also spent $281,003 and ended Q2 with $6.4 million in the bank.

— Meanwhile, potential Ryan successors were busy raising campaign cash.

1st CD Dem candidate and ironworker Randy Bryce raised $1.2 million over the period, spending $1.3 million and finishing with $2.15 million cash on hand.

Dem Cathy Myers, a longtime teacher, raised $365,684, spent $371,029 and had $153,296 in the bank.

On the GOP side, Bryan Steil pulled in $659,433 over the 10 weeks after he got into the 1st CD race, an amount that his campaign previously said is a new record for the initial fundraising period of a first-time House candidate from Wisconsin.

Steil, an attorney for a manufacturer, also spent $40,435 and had $618,998 cash on hand.

Fellow Republican Nick Polce, a former Army Green Beret who announced in November plans to challenge Ryan, raised $19,000, spent $18,026 and had $8,464 in the bank.

GOP candidate Kevin “Adam” Steen raised $10,115, spent $8,490 and had $5,375 cash on hand.

Steen, who lives in Wheatland and works as an applications engineer at equipment manufacturer Putzmeister in Sturtevant, announced a bid after Ryan said he wouldn’t seek re-election.

And Paul Nehlen, who lost to Ryan by 68 points in the 2016 GOP primary, raised $9,071, spent $20,234 and logged $12,481 cash on hand.

GOP challenger Jeremy Ryan didn’t have a report up at the FEC site.

In other Wisconsin congressional districts:

2nd CD

U.S. Rep Mark Pocan raised $129,798 over the second quarter of the year, spent $90,138 and had $485,520 in the bank.

The Town of Vermont Dem is running unopposed for re-election.

4th CD

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, raised $185,243, spent $130,483 and had $93,731 cash on hand.

In the upcoming primary, Moore is facing former state Sen. Gary George, who previously challenged her in 2014, when he took 28.7 percent of the vote, and 2016, when he logged 15.3 percent. George’s report wasn’t yet up on the FEC site.

Republican contenders Cindy Werner and Timothy Rogers also didn’t have reports filed at the site.

5th CD

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner outraised his Dem challenger Tom Palzewicz by more than $16,000 this quarter.

The Menomonee Falls Republican brought in $56,628 and spent $45,521, finishing with $525,092 cash on hand.

Palzewicz, a U.S. Navy veteran and former small-business owner, raised $40,205 and spent $29,893. He finished the quarter with $36,932 in the bank.

Republican challenger and Waukesha pediatrician Jennifer Hoppe Vimond raised $12,000, spent $1,251 and had $10,749 cash on hand.

6th CD

Democrat Dan Kohl again outraised incumbent U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, his second quarter FEC filing shows.

Kohl, the nephew of former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, raised $425,207 and spent $121,790, finishing the quarter with more than $1.1 million cash on hand.

Grothman raised $264,850, spent $100,139 and finished the quarter with $871,126 in the bank.

Since getting into the race in June 2017, Kohl has outraised Grothman for four straight quarters.

7th CD

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy raised $394,563 over the quarter, making him the top fundraiser for direct contributions among Wisconsin House members.

The Wausau Republican also spent $189,717 and finished with $2.6 million cash on hand.

Dem Brian Ewert, a doctor from Marshfield, raised $61,695, spent $66,252 and finished with $110,659 in the bank.

U.S. Navy veteran and Democrat Margaret Engebretson, of Superior, raised $14,868 and spent $17,592. She finished with $5,993 in the bank.

8th CD

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher rivaled Duffy in fundraising, raising $384,037 over the quarter.

The Green Bay Republican also spent $256,455 and finished the period with more than $1.3 million in the bank.

Dem challenger Beau Liegeois, an assistant DA in Brown County and member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, raised $67,496 between April 1 and June 30. He also spent $40,755 and had $59,144 in the bank.

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has introduced legislation to let Wisconsinites in all media markets watch Packers games.

The Madison Dem introduced the “Go Pack Go Act” that would require cable companies to provide in-state programming to Wisconsin municipalities that fall in out-of-state media markets.

According to Baldwin, 13 counties and nearly 400,000 people reside in Wisconsin but are covered by Minnesota or Michigan media markets.

In a fact sheet prepared by her office, Baldwin argued that “these Wisconsin residents may therefore lack access to programming most relevant to their Wisconsin communities – such as local news, information about local and state government, and sports.”

“My Go Pack Go Act would give Packers fans in every Wisconsin county the opportunity to watch Packers games and cheer on our beloved green and gold,” she said in a statement.

Baldwin’s holding a news conference in Green Bay Friday to tout her bill.

The effort isn’t a new one. U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in 2016 introduced a similar measure.

— Baldwin is also calling on the Pfizer CEO to keep current price reductions on medications.

The pharmaceutical company reduced their prices last week after an initial increase on July 1. The reductions would expire by the end of the year or sooner if the Trump administration implements its prescription drug blueprint. Baldwin says these reductions should be permanent.

“Instead of playing games with the costs of prescription drugs that millions of Americans depend on, you should make a firm and clear commitment to permanently roll back prices,” Baldwin said.

In a letter to the company’s CEO, Baldwin asked Pfizer to clarify the timing of the price increases and the need to increase certain drug prices over others.

“Transparency and accountability are critical first steps in tackling the complex problem of high drug prices…I ask that you commit to providing more information on this,” Baldwin wrote.

Earlier this year, Baldwin joined Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in advocating for U.S. policy to reduce drug prices. The pair also introduced the “FAIR Drug Pricing Act” to increase the transparency standards by which pharmaceutical companies would have to abide.

— Baldwin and Senate Health Committee Dems are calling for an oversight hearing on reuniting families that were separated at the southern border.

Baldwin and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., authored a letter on behalf of the Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee asking for a hearing to better understand how the Department of Health and Human Services plans to reunite families separated under the “zero tolerance” policy at the border.

“With many children still in the care of ORR [the Office of Refugee Resettlement] and awaiting reunification with their families, including parents who may have been deported to their countries of origin, we believe the Committee must take the opportunity to understand how the Department intends to expeditiously complete the remaining reunification efforts,” the senators wrote.

— Wisconsin manufacturing and agricultural business leaders during a Milwaukee hearing this week told U.S. Sen Ron Johnson they’re already feeling economic damage from a trade war between the U.S. and Canada, China, the European Union and others.

Manufacturing representatives said yesterday they’re seeing price hikes of between 35 percent and 40 percent on steel and aluminum raw materials from not only foreign sources but from domestic suppliers that have also raised prices due to increased demand.

Several participants noted ramping up domestic production takes a long time, and U.S. suppliers have not announced commitments to do so, partly due to the uncertainty over how long the tariffs will be in place.

Husco International CEO Austin Ramirez said tariffs have cost the company $1 million per month.

He said exports support 100 jobs in its U.S. operations, which are at risk because it would be more efficient to produce the products overseas to avoid tariffs.

Ramirez said if the company knew the tariffs were permanent, it could adjust operations accordingly.

“Today, business is frozen, because these tariffs might go away tomorrow; they might go away in two months; they might be permanent, and it really handcuffs us from restructuring our business for whatever the new reality might look like,” Ramirez said.

See more at WisBusiness.com.

— A bill from U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore aiming to change regulatory practices for small businesses passed the House this week with broad bipartisan support.

The legislation was part of a package of 32 other bills — including one from U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau — that include a series of provisions to let small businesses more easily access capital, among other things.

Moore’s legislation, called the “Investment Adviser Regulatory Flexibility Improvement Act,” would require the Securities and Exchange Commission to change its definition of a “small business” that would then include more small advisory firms. That in turn, according to national media reports, would lead the agency to consider those firms when assessing regulations.

Duffy’s bill, meanwhile, deals with international insurance standards and their consistency with domestic ones.

The package cleared the House Tuesday night on a 406-4 vote, with all members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation voting yes. It now heads to the Senate.    

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher’s resolution to rebuild and modernize the Marine Corps also cleared the House.

The bipartisan resolution from Gallagher, a former Marine, passed with unanimous approval Tuesday.

“My hope is that this resolution will strengthen my colleagues’ commitment to passing a budget and providing the Marine Corps with the stable, robust, and on-time funding it critically needs,” the Green Bay Republican said in a statement.


— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is calling on Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to reinstate policies requiring tax-exempt groups to provide certain donor information on their annual forms.

The IRS and Treasury Department on Monday released guidelines that wouldn’t require certain 501(c) groups to provide donors’ names and addresses on annual forms they submit, per national media reports.  

Kind, D-La Crosse, in a letter to Mnuchin Wednesday called for more accountability and transparency at a time when it’s “critically needed in our political process.”

“Instead of giving meag-donors more ways to influence elections, we should be striving to boost the transparency of campaign donations so the American public can know exactly which people are behind these contributions,” he wrote.

— Speaker Paul Ryan named U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy to the House-Senate conference committee to hammer out the two chambers’ differences on the farm bill.

Duffy, R-Wausau, is the only Wisconsin Republican on the conference committee.

See the release.

— Duffy has also introduced a bill to create a new ag guestwork program.

Duffy in a statement said his “Ag and Legal Workforce Act” would “ensure that our farmers have access to the experienced workforce they need for their farms to not only survive, but to thrive.”

Posts of the week

ICYMI

‘UpFront’: Pocan slams Trump administration’s efforts to reunite families separated at border

Bernie Sanders, Tammy Baldwin Rally Supporters In Eau Claire

Tammy Baldwin makes outstate push appearing alongside Bernie Sanders at Eau Claire rally

Wisconsin Voters Chose Trump. Will They Keep Tammy Baldwin?

Tammy Baldwin wants “permanent” price cuts for Pfizer’s drugs

Trump tariffs: Wisconsin manufacturers hit by trade policies discuss plight with Ron Johnson

Wisconsin Growers, Manufacturers Give Earful To Johnson On Trump Tariffs

Sen. Johnson: Putin wrong about Russia election meddling

GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Leah Vukmir’s Pants on Fire claim about Mark Pocan proposal to abolish ICE

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

Wisconsin congressional leaders blast Putin over Russian election meddling: ‘Russia is not our ally’

Wisconsin Republicans chastise Russia, but refrain from criticizing Trump’s remarks

Money in politics: Mike Gallagher outraises Beau Liegeois in 8th Congressional District race

DC Wrap: Sensenbrenner’s office says eminent domain bill that cleared House wouldn’t impact Foxconn

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, July 20-26

I think when you look at President Trump, you have to look at what he does, not what he says.
– U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, on “Upfront with Mike Gousha,” a WisPolitics.com partner. He also said it’s “a good thing” President Trump is talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that Trump’s overall policy toward Russia is positive.

See a write-up of the interview.

Bottom line with the Progressive Caucus, while the largest values-based caucus in Congress is probably not been seen as having the biggest muscle flexed, right now we’re working out, and getting sweaty and doing all the work it takes to be ready for January. So I think this organization should by January be completely ready so that whether we take the majority or not, we are going to be in a very different position than the caucus has ever been before.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, in a news conference after unveiling the group’s People’s Budget. The document calls for making a $2 trillion investment in infrastructure; raising taxes to 49 percent for those earning more than a billion dollars; and letting states move to single-payer health care systems, among other things.  

This shallow political stunt stands in the way of justice and does nothing more than deepen mistrust and division in this country.
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, in a tweet following news Wednesday night that articles of impeachment had been filed against Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. No other Wisconsin House members responded to requests for comment sent late last night, but a House GOP aide said the way the situation is “being handled at this point is not privileged. That could change.”

 

This week’s news

— A bill from U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner to limit the state and federal governments’ eminent domain power regarding economic development has cleared the House.

Still, Sensenbrenner’s office said it doesn’t anticipate the ““Private Property Rights Protection Act” — if signed into law — would affect Foxconn’s current development project in southeastern Wisconsin, but did not elaborate.  

The bill would prohibit state and local governments that receive federal economic development funds from using economic development as a justification for taking property from one person and giving to another private entity. It passed the chamber on a voice vote.

According to the legislation, any state or local government that violates this prohibition would be ineligible to receive federal economic development funds for two years. Additionally, the legislation would bar the federal government from exercising eminent domain powers for economic development.

Sensenbrenner said in a statement that this legislation would restore individual private property rights put in jeopardy by the 2005 Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London, which established that the taking of private property to sell for private development qualified as “public use” under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause.

“The framers of the Constitution would be horrified by the paradigm created by Kelo: a government free to seize and transfer private property from individuals with fewer resources to private entities with more,” he said.

The Menomonee Falls Republican emphasized in a speech on the House floor the need to stop the country’s “long history of eminent domain abuses, particularly in low-income and often predominantly minority neighborhoods.”

“The protection of property rights is one of the most important tenets of our government,” Sensenbrenner said. “The Private Property Rights Protection Act is needed to restore to all Americans the property rights the Supreme Court invalidated.”

— Wisconsin’s U.S. senators are knocking President Trump’s tariffs. But they aren’t taking a firm stance on the administration’s announcement of a $12 billion emergency relief package for farmers.

The package, announced by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture this week, was developed at Trump’s request in order to stave off the impact of retaliatory tariffs imposed by several countries in response to the administration’s trade policies.

The plan includes measures to make incremental payments to producers of certain food products; buy surplus product; and provide aid in developing new export markets.

After news of the Trump administration’s aid package broke, GOP U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson backed the president’s efforts to address Chinese trade practices but knocked the “self-inflicted damage” the American economy has suffered due to the ongoing trade dispute with several of the country’s trading partners.

“Instead of throwing money at a problem we’ve helped create, the better option is to take action to make it easier for our farmers — and manufacturers — to sell their goods at fair prices to consumers around the world,” Johnson said.

The statement follows comments the Oshkosh Republican made to Politico Tuesday likening Trump’s trade policies to a “Soviet-type economy.”

A Johnson spokesman, however, didn’t say specifically whether he supports or opposes to $12 billion relief package.

Dem U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin also joined Johnson in criticizing the effects of the tariffs on Wisconsin’s agricultural industry.

Baldwin before the announcement Tuesday wrote a letter to several administration officials railing against the effects of the tariffs on Wisconsin farmers and calling on the administration to give “immediate support” to farmers affected by retaliatory tariffs and to “include a strategy to maintain the strength of agricultural exports.

But a spokeswoman after the announcement didn’t respond to questions on whether the senator supports or opposes the $12 billion measure.

“Our farmers are struggling and trade wars are not helping, they are hurting our Wisconsin economy. That’s why I called on the Trump Administration to use the authority Congress provided to take immediate action to support Wisconsin farmers and to put in place a plan to maintain the strength of agriculture exports,” Baldwin said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

— Baldwin this week also touted the House’s passage of her bill aiming to boost palliative and hospice care.

The “Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act” would provide additional training for palliative medicine and bolster research in the area.

“It’s time for the Senate to take action and get this done so we can help grow and sustain our health care workforce to safeguard and improve the quality of care for the growing number of patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses,” she said in a statement.

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher has introduced legislation aiming to end the “excessive amount of time” members of Congress spend fundraising for reelection rather than working on behalf of their constituents.

The Green Bay Republican and U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., introduced last week the “Go to Washington, Go to Work Act” that would prohibit members of Congress and congressional candidates from attending, speaking and participating in political fundraising activities while Congress is in session.

If enacted, the legislation would apply to candidates for Congress and sitting members of the House and Senate, but it would not influence state or other local elected offices.

Gallagher said in a statement that members of Congress have strayed from the principle that government should be by and for the people and not for government special interests. This deviation, he said, has made the country’s problems worse and limited the public’s trust in government’s ability to fix them.

“The common sense reforms in this bill are critical to helping reduce the influence of money in politics and get Congress working again,” he said.

The first-term rep has introduced other initiatives aiming to overhaul congressional practices, including legislation that would limit House representatives to serving no more six terms and senators two.

Gallagher also sponsored the “Do Your Job Act” aimed at increasing congressional productivity by putting limits on congressional recesses and adjournments prior the passage of spending bills.

— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson sent a letter to President Trump requesting a prompt response to Gov. Scott Walker’s call for federal disaster relief assistance in northwestern Wisconsin.

In the letter sent this week, the Republican congressmen said they support Walker’s aid request following heavy June flooding in Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Clark, Douglas and Iron counties that killed two Wisconsinites and damaged public roads and buildings.

The pair said in the letter that the federal damage assessment of the area revealed the total cost of debris clearance, emergency protective measures and damage to public infrastructure was in excess of $13.1 million, adding the “severity” and impact of the damage “warrants the use of federal resources to facilitate recovery operations.”

“We fully support Governor Walker’s request for federal assistance in this difficult time,” they said in the letter.

Walker last Friday sent a letter to Trump asking for a federal disaster declaration for the six counties.

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is calling on Gov. Scott Walker to add staffers to the state Elections Commission ahead of the upcoming elections.

The La Crosse Dem wrote in a letter Wednesday the state “must ensure all efforts are being made to defend our elections from foreign adversaries” following Russian attempts to hack Wisconsin’s election system before the 2016 general election.  

The commission previously tried to get approval for three new staffers it said were necessary to ensure election security. But the feds later this spring allocated $7 million in elections security funding to the state, leading to the commission to withdraw its request. Instead, the commission looked to use part of the grant to hire six new staffers.

But a recent Wisconsin State Journal report notes the Department of Administration hasn’t yet hired for those positions, according to two commissioners.

In the current state budget, the Legislature had approved adding five additional positions to the commission, but Walker vetoed those.


— Kind has also signed onto a bill to increase access to substance abuse treatment centers.

The bill, called the “Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion (CARE) Act,” would increase the number of Medicare-funded treatment centers and develop a $50 million youth inpatient addiction treatment grant program aimed at assisting those under 21.

“The Medicaid CARE Act targets two important tools to combat Wisconsin’s growing drug epidemic: prevention and treatment,” Kind said in a statement.

Posts of the week

ICYMI

‘UpFront’: Grothman praises Trump’s Russia policy

Ron Johnson on aid to tariff-hit farmers: ‘Becoming more like a Soviet-type economy here’

Johnson blasts Trump on trade, calls it ‘Soviet’ economy

‘Like a Soviet-type economy’: GOP free traders unload on Trump

Ron Johnson vows oversight of Trump’s family unification effort

Baldwin joins Johnson in writing Trump letter over tariffs

Sen. Tammy Baldwin Says Thousands Of Wisconsinites Can’t Watch Packers On TV

Challenger Leah Vukmir cites 22-year-old vote in attack on Tammy Baldwin over pledge, flag anthem

Area congressman share thoughts on President Trump’s comments in Helsinki

Gary George vs Gwen Moore, and 2 Republicans face off, in congressional primary

Nancy Pelosi pushes for national health care plan during Milwaukee visit

GOP Rep. Sean Duffy Attacks American Trading Partners Committing ‘Economic Terrorism’ Against the U.S.

Rep. Duffy: Countries Committing ‘Economic Terrorism’ Against US With Tariffs

Dem 19th SD candidates talk education, transpo funding, constitutional carry

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Dem 19th SD candidate Dan Grady envisions a Wisconsin where marijuana is legal and governed under a three-tier system, similar to the one that dictates the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol.

Grady, a co-founding member of the Wisconsin Homebrewers Alliance who currently works as an accountant, said he’d use the new tax revenue to fund three of his major priorities: health care, schools and roads.

“I think we have a good model there (with alcohol), and I think we can look to other states as to what the correct rates are,” he said. “But I think there’s too much money to be left on the table for not doing it.”

The 50-year-old third-term Outagamie County supervisor is one of two Dems seeking to unseat Senate President Roger Roth, R-Appleton, this fall.

The other is Outagamie County Dem Party Chair Lee Snodgrass, 49. Snodgrass, who works as a communications director for the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes, also highly prioritizes education — she’s interested in the “K-16” system, she said in the interview — and health care, but also the environment, which she noted is an “economic driver for Wisconsin.”

“We need to keep Wisconsin a place where millennials want to come back to,” she said. “And part of that is the wonderful natural resources that we have here to take advantage of.”

For both candidates, this is their first time running for state office. Still, each has extensive experiencing working on Dem campaigns.

Snodgrass, who’s chaired the Outagamie County Dem Party since her term started in January 2017, worked on U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s first state Assembly race, as well as former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold’s first Senate bid. She also said she’s been more recently involved in several City Council campaigns.

Meanwhile, Grady has worked on the campaigns of Feingold, U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl and Outagamie County Exec. Tom Nelson. He also worked on Kohl’s staff in Washington, D.C., for four years.

Although both candidates prioritize education, the two have slightly different views on the state’s ongoing UW System tuition freeze.

Grady says he’d be likely to support continuing the five-year cap on tuition — if the state backfills it with GPR.

“We can’t just keep cutting away at our departments. They’ve cut all the fat that they can from the UW,” he said. “Now they’re cutting from the real meat of the university.”

But Snodgrass was more hesitant about backing it. While she knocked the freeze as “misleading,” she said she’d “be more open to it” if the state funded it.

“How is a freeze going to benefit a family if that child is going to be in school an extra semester or an extra year even, and not be able to complete that degree in four years?” she said. “I think that’s a bit of a ploy.”

On other issues:

*Transportation funding: Snodgrass says the state should be tackling road funding in a separate bill — not rolled into the budget.

“I think it might be easier to hammer that out,” she said.

Snodgrass said tolling is off the table for her. She was more open to raising the gas tax and vehicle registration fees — though she said lawmakers should “use caution” when considering those options and worried indexing the gas tax to inflation could create a burden on certain individuals in the state if it’s raised while the minimum wage remains stagnant.

But Grady said he would support a 5 cent gas tax hike, before again indexing, which pegs the gas tax to the cost of living. He said while he’d consider raising vehicle registration fees, with communities across the state implementing wheel taxes, he’d prefer to look at other funding options — such as legalizing and taxing marijuana to raise more revenue — first.

Tolling, he said, would just “increase the cost of business” as well as the costs for residents.

Snodgrass also said the state should be considering creating regional transit authorities, among other solutions. RTAs 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.

*Constitutional carry: The two also said they would vote against legislation that would allow someone to carry a concealed weapon without first obtaining a permit or going through any training if it comes back around and they’re in the Legislature.

Both also stressed the importance of and need for firearm training.

And Snodgrass likened the “gun violence health crisis” in the nation to the opioid crisis.

“You don’t hear anyone clamoring to put more opioids on the street to combat the opioid epidemic, so I’m not sure why more guns on the street would reduce gun violence,” she said.

Hear Grady’s interview:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/180718_grady/s-ez56i

Hear Snodgrass’:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/180718snodgrass/s-8iwOa

Dem guv candidate forum 🗓

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WORT 89.9 FM, Isthmus, The Progressive magazine, and the Madison Public Library are sponsoring a candidate forum for all Democratic candidates for the Wisconsin gubernatorial primary. All 8 campaigns have confirmed attendance.

Date: Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Time: 6:30 p.m. Candidate Meet & Greet

7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Live Broadcast

Location: Madison Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin St., Madison, Wisconsin

3rd Floor Community Room

The forum will be emceed by Dylan Brogan of Isthmus, with questions posed by Isthmus Editor Judith Davidoff, The Progressive Managing Editor Bill Lueders, and WORT FM News Director Molly Stentz.

The forum will also be broadcast live on WORT 89.9 FM to more than a dozen counties in southern Wisconsin. WORT will provide a live audio feed available to any station wishing to simulcast.

Voters can also watch the event online at https://www.facebook.com/IsthmusMadison/

The event is free and open to the public.

The primary election is Tuesday, August 14.

For more information, contact Molly Stentz at 608-321-9586.

Dem guv candidates knock Foxconn deal, pledge to cut prison population during first televised debate

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Dem candidates for governor, meeting Thursday for the first time in a televised debate ahead of next month’s primary, slammed the state’s incentive package for Foxconn and pledged to reduce the Wisconsin’s prison population.

They also prodded each other on women’s rights and one even asked a rival his favorite beer.

The eight candidates took a few shots at each other in the debate, but largely avoided any serious blows.

The moderators asked the candidates several yes or no questions, including whether they would seek to kill the state’s $3.5 billion state package for Foxconn, which is building a plant in Racine County to build LCD panels. Only state Superintendent Tony Evers and attorney Josh Pade didn’t raise their hands to indicate their support for nixing the deal.

Later, Milwaukee attorney Matt Flynn pressed Evers on the package. Declaring he would “kill the Foxconn deal,” Flynn noted Evers has no experience as a commercial litigator and suggested he was just repeating what he’d heard from others.

Evers countered it was a “horrible deal” and “we’re giving them way too much.” He supported reworking the contract.

“The bottom line is we have to have a plan ‘B’,” Evers said. “I can’t sit up here and tell the people of Wisconsin, by the way, this isn’t going to happen. They’re already there. Since they’re already there, we have to make sure the people of Wisconsin are treated fairly.”

The eight candidates stood behind podiums on a stage at UW-Milwaukee in the debate hosted by a media coalition that included WTMJ-TV, WUWM-FM, WGBA-TV, WisPolitics.com, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the USA Today Network. WTMJ news anchors Charles Benson and Shannon Sims, along with WUWM’s Mitch Teich, posed questions to the candidates, focusing on the same topic to only a couple of participants before moving onto other issues. In addition to asking yes or no questions via a show of hands, the debate included a period in which the candidates asked each other questions.

Flynn was asked about calls from Dem state Reps. Melissa Sargent and Chris Taylor, both of Madison, to drop out of the race due to his defense of the Archdiocese during the priest sexual abuse scandal.

He defended his work, saying he helped ensure the problems don’t happen again, and said the two were repeating Republican lies and dismissed calls from what he said is the party “elite” to leave the race.

Sargent fired back on Twitter that she wasn’t “afraid of a bully.”

“@ForwardWFlynn represents the old guard establishment and the Democratic Party of 30 years ago. He’s having a hissy fit because two progressive, women leaders are calling him out for shielding priests who raped children. @ChrisTaylorWI @RepSargent,” she wrote.

Several candidates in the race have indicated their support for halving Wisconsin’s prison population. Benson noted the Department of Corrections says two-thirds of offenders now incarcerated are violent and pressed former state Rep. Kelda Roys which of those prisoners she would release.

“It’s not about who we’re releasing. It’s about making sure people receive just punishment for their crimes,” Roys said, adding the state needs to address things like substance abuse for those incarcerated to help them successfully transition into society after their release.

Mahlon Mitchell, the chief of the statewide firefighters’ union, said he wants to end truth-in-sentencing, which largely eliminated parole to ensure those sentenced serve the full terms they receive. He also wants to eliminate crimeless parole revocations. Mitchell, the only African-American in the field, noted he’s raising two black children in the worst state in the country to do so. He also took a shot at Gov. Scott Walker for his plan to move to regional youth prisons after allegations of abuse at a facility in northern Wisconsin.

“We have two Walkers. We have Gov. Walker who legislates and governs one way, and we have candidate Walker who’s now acting like a moderate Republican,” Mitchell said.
He also said Walker “doesn’t give a” before a pause and adding “crap about the people of Wisconsin.”

Pade said he would ensure that people such as low-level drug offenders are not sent to prison and that opportunities exist the help ensure people don’t take up a life of crime. He also said he would make changes to parole and the way prisoners are reintegrated into society. He said he also supports allowing people to have their records expunged at any time. Currently, the opportunity to have a record expunged is only offered at sentencing.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said he would refuse a request from Trump to send National Guard troops to the U.S.- Mexico border.

“It’s not going to happen on my watch in the state of Wisconsin,” Soglin said, later adding, “because we are not sharing those values of hate and distrust and divisiveness that Donald Trump, with the compliance of Scott Walker, brings to this country.

During a section where candidates could ask each other questions, Mitchell asked McCabe what his favorite beer was, after asking, and then scratching, a question about what McCabe would do to bridge the rural-urban divide.

McCabe replied Spotted Cow, then addressed rural-urban divide issue. McCabe noted he grew up on a dairy farm, but said he tells those in rural areas that the state can’t do well if Milwaukee is failing, and that rural areas must also succeed to help the state succeed.

Pade asked Roys what she would do for women if elected.

Roys said she has been “a champion of women’s rights” throughout her career.

“I cannot believe the type of peril that we are facing right now, where it looks like my daughters may have fewer rights than my mother and my grandmother,” Roys said.
She blasted Trump, saying he was “hell bent” on nominating a justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

She pledged to work to end the state’s abortion ban, and said she would pardon anyone convicted under the law, which is now not enforced due to Roe v. Wade.
McCabe was alone among candidates on the stage who declined to say he would back whomever is the eventual nominee.

“It’s a mistake to make a party loyalty pledge,” McCabe said. “It sends the wrong message to voters. It says that you all think that party comes before everything.”
Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, of Alma, stressed her rural roots and dairy farming background. She said she lives in an area where “internet comes at a slow walk” and people need guides for where to find a cell phone signal.

She also noted she has won three times in a district that voted for Walker three times and also backed Trump.

“I know what it’s like to run against a popular Republican incumbent and win,” Vinehout said.

State GOP Executive Director Mark Morgan knocked the Dem candidates, saying they would erase Walker’s reforms.

“Tonight, each of the Democrats running for governor offered nothing but promises to undo these reforms and undo the Wisconsin comeback – taking us back to the days of double digit unemployment, record job losses and massive tax increases. Hard-working Wisconsin families can’t afford the Democrats’ dangerous race to the left,” Morgan said.

Dem treasurer candidate Godlewski promises to be watchdog in first TV ad

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Dem state treasurer candidate Sarah Godlewski is going up on TV in the Madison market starting Thursday with a spot that proclaims she’ll be a “watchdog for your money.”

Godlewski says in the ad when it “comes to finance, we gotta double check everything, even the small stuff.” The spot shows her giving a dollar bill to two girls running a lemonade stand for 25 cents a glass. When they only give her 50 cents in change, she motions for them to give her the rest.

She adds that’s what she does for her small business and her work for the Defense Department saved taxpayers “tens of millions of dollars.”

“In Wisconsin, we saved this office to double check the Legislature and make sure companies like Foxconn hold up their end of the bargain,” she says before closing the spot. “As state treasurer, I’ll be the watchdog for your money, and you can take that to the bank.”

Godlewski is in a three-way primary Aug. 14 with former Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass and Cynthia Kaump, who worked in the office under GOP Treasurer Kurt Schuller.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: Grothman must immediately clarify stance on pre-existing conditions

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In response to President Trump nominating Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court, DCCC Spokesman Evan Lukaske issued the following statement calling on Representative Glenn Grothman to state his position on the constitutionality of protections for people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, cancer and diabetes:

“A Supreme Court that ignores the will of the people and only represents the wealthy and largest corporations is a threat to all hardworking men, women and children. Grothman must immediately clarify his positon on whether protections for people with pre-existing protections like cancer, asthma and diabetes are constitutional.

“Voters deserve to know where Grothman stands on critical, life-altering issues that impact their health and livelihoods, and a failure to speak out is further evidence that Grothman stands with the Republican Party over what is right for his constituents.”

Democratic Governors Association: Panic! At the Conference: Republicans freak out in Santa Fe

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Contact:
Jared Leopold, 202-772-5600
[email protected]

The GOP’s election anxiety was on full display this past weekend National Governors Association conference in Santa Fe. But don’t just take our word for it.

The New York Times reported, “there was no mistaking the deflated demeanor of a number of [Republican] governors in Santa Fe.”

And here’s what the Republican governors themselves had to say (when they weren’t too busy trying to hide from the press):

  • “It does feel very much like 2010 reverse to me right now. There’s a lot more conviction about voting on the Democrat side than our side, which is a concern to us.” -Republican Governors Association Chair Governor Bill Haslam.
  • Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who won the governorship on the strength of the 2010 Obama backlash, bluntly acknowledged he and other Republicans could be facing ‘a blue wave,’ noting that ‘the wind nationally isn’t at our back.’”
  • “‘There’s energy on the left, there’s anger on the left and there’s some signs of organization,’ said Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, who is facing a competitive re-election bid.”
  • “Those who did come were candid about the difficulties Mr. Trump’s divisive behavior and nationalist policies on issues like trade and immigration had created for the party. ‘Every ad is about immigration or a border wall,’ Mr. Haslam, who is leaving office next year, said with dismay about the Republican primary to succeed him. ‘The conversation has changed.’”
  • “Republican governors at the summer meeting in New Mexico — largely those in safe races or not on the ballot this year — also said they feared the party could face blowback over Trump on the state level. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert criticized Trump’s refusal to blame Russia for meddling in the 2016 election. ‘I don’t know whether he believed that or it just came out of his mouth without a filter and now he’s going back and changing his mind, I don’t know,’ Herbert said. He also pointed to the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies — including family separations at the border — as politically problematic. ‘We’re a little bit more moderate in Utah than some of the rhetoric that’s out there,’ Herbert said.
  • “South Dakota Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard said he fears the political fallout of a trade war in rural states. ‘I worry that our trade imbalances and the aluminum and steel are resulting in problems for our farmers.’”

Democratic Governors Association: Video: Late night hosts highlight Scott Walker’s ties to arrested Russian operative

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Contact:

Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188

[email protected]

Last night, late night hosts Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel highlighted Governor Scott Walker’s ties to recently arrested Russian operative Maria Butina.

Yesterday, Walker’s campaign refused to either confirm or deny whether Walker was the candidate referenced in an FBI affidavit related to Butina’s arrest. While running for President in 2015, Walker met with Butina and spoke with her in Russian. She also attended his presidential campaign launch.

Watch what late night tv had to say about Walker’s ties to Butina:

Stephen Colbert:

Jimmy Kimmel:

Democratic gubernatorial forum 🗓

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COUNTY EXECUTIVE CHRIS ABELE HOSTING DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE FORUM

Abele invites Milwaukee County residents to attend public forum

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele will host a public forum for the Democratic candidates for governor on Friday, August 3rd from 1pm to 3pm to facilitate a discussion about issues facing Milwaukee County, including the state funding formulas and lack of resources available to Milwaukee County and other local municipalities.

Milwaukee County taxpayers are contributing more of their tax dollars to the state of Wisconsin every year, but fewer of those tax dollars are being returned to the county. This year, Milwaukee County will send $250 million more to the state government than they did in 2007. At the same time, Milwaukee County receives $150 million less in state funding. This imbalance is not sustainable, and it is not fair to Milwaukee County taxpayers. If a solution to this funding problem is not found, Milwaukee County could see severe cuts in public safety, public transit, County Parks, and other vital social services in the future.

This problem is not unique to Milwaukee. In fact, similar trends can be found in Waukesha and many municipalities and counties across the state. This is not a partisan problem, and Milwaukee County voters have started asking candidates running for state office in 2018 to present their ideas to help Milwaukee and local governments across the state address their funding issues.

Abele hopes that this forum will further a discussion toward finding a solution to this funding imbalance that works for Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin – so the city, county, and state can grow and thrive together. The public is invited to attend.

Who: Host: Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele

Candidates attending: Tony Evers, Matt Flynn, Mike McCabe, Mahlon Mitchell, Josh Pade, Kelda Roys, Paul Soglin, Kathleen Vinehout

Candidates have been randomly assigned into two groups. The first group of candidates will participate from 1:00pm until 2:00pm, with the second ground participating from 2:00pm until 3:00pm. The first group to participate will be Tony Evers, Mike McCabe, Paul Soglin, and Kathleen Vinehout. The second group will be Matt Flynn, Mahlon Mitchell, Josh Page, and Kelda Roys.

Where: Ward4, 313 N Plankinton Ave. Event will be held in the second floor galleria.

When: Friday, August 3rd from 1:00pm – 3:00pm.

RSVP: Please confirm your attendance at this forum by contacting Andy Suchorski at (414) 213-8838 or [email protected]

Dems knock body camera delays at prisons, DOC says moving ‘quickly as possible’

Dems are slamming the Walker administration for a delay in implementing body-worn cameras as the state’s maximum security prisons.

But the Department of Corrections fired back it’s moving “as quickly as possible” to deploy the cameras for officers working isolation units at six prisons.

DOC Secretary Cathy Jess told lawmakers earlier this week the agency had yet to implement body-worn cameras, in part, because of an industry shortage of raw materials that had delayed agency efforts to obtain them.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, sought to tie the delay to other issues within DOC, including problems at the youth prisons in northern Wisconsin, accusing Gov. Scott Walker of continuing to jeopardize “the safety of correctional officers and inmates across our state.” She said staffing shortages at state prisons mean guards are “forced to gamble with their personal safety every single day.”

“I don’t understand how this administration continues to bungle even the most basic tasks like purchasing safety equipment,” she said.

But Corrections spokesman Tristan Cook said the agency “conducted a deliberate, rigorous, and comprehensive process” to implement body-worn cameras after the 2017-19 state budget funded them. He said the order was placed in early April, and the agency is still waiting for it to be filled.

“Nothing is more important to the Department than the safety and security of our employees,” Cook said.

The 2017-19 state budget funded body cameras and required the agency to report on efforts to implement them.

But Jess wrote Monday to the co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee the agency had not yet implemented them due to delays in receiving the cameras and related equipment. Once funding was authorized, Jess wrote, the department had to decide what features it wanted and then “a lengthy procurement process followed” before the contract was awarded.

DOC now expects to have body-worn cameras installed at four adult institutions by the end of calendar year 2018 with the other two during the following year.

The guv’s budget included $591,400 in general purpose revenue to purchase the cameras for correctional officers in restrictive housing units at the state’s maximum security prisons. The money was intended to cover cameras, docking stations to charge them and installation at the six sites.

Monday’s letter detailed plans for 200 cameras at the six institutions.

The Joint Finance Committee added a requirement to the budget that DOC report by July 1 each institution where the cameras were being utilized, the number at each prison, and the number of staff and inmate assaults reported since the implementation of the cameras in restrictive housing.

Jess wrote the agency can’t meet the committee’s request for a report on assaults, because the cameras haven’t been implemented.

State Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, knocked the agency for not bringing the issue to the lawmakers’ attention earlier, asking what the consequences were from the delay.

Asked about criticisms of the delay, Walker spokeswoman Amy Hesenberg said, “Governor Walker believes our law enforcement officers and corrections officers should have body cameras.”

Dept. of Administration: Transit Capital Assistance grants available from Volkswagen funds

Contact: DOA Communications, (608) 266-7362
 

Dept. of Administration: Transit Capital Assistance grants available from Volkswagen funds

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) is accepting applications for the Transit Capital Assistance Grant Program to fund the replacement of eligible public transit buses under the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust.

Volkswagen admitted to violating the federal Clean Air Act by selling diesel engine vehicles that utilized software designed to cheat on federal emissions tests. Judicial settlements require Volkswagen to pay more than $2.9 billion into an Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund. The State of Wisconsin is a designated beneficiary and will receive $67.1 million over the next 10 years to offset the excess pollution emitted by affected Volkswagen vehicles.

 

2017 Wisconsin Act 59 established the Transit Capital Assistance Grant Program to competitively award up to $32 million of Volkswagen Trust funds to replace eligible public transit vehicles. The grant program will fund the replacement and scrapping of 1992-2009 engine model year class 4-8 public transit buses with new replacement diesel or alternate fueled buses. The program gives preference to communities or routes that DOA determines are critical for connecting employees with employers.

 

A full announcement and application are available on the DOA website athttps://doa.wi.gov/Pages/vwsettlementwisconsin.aspx. Written questions regarding the grant program must be submitted by August 3, 2018 and applications are due by September 28, 2018.

Dept. of Administration: Wisconsin on great financial footing to win 21st Century

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Contact: DOA Communications, (608) 266-7362

With the state’s employment at an historic high, unemployment at an historic low, and companies like technology manufacturing giant Foxconn and paper industry leader Green Bay Packaging choosing Wisconsin to locate or expand operations, Wisconsin is well on its way toward winning the 21st century.

Thanks to common-sense reforms, smart fiscal management and continuing economic growth, our state budget has entered a new fiscal year in an outstanding position.

Both property and income taxes are lower this year than they were in 2010, and we have ended every fiscal year since 2011 with a surplus, including a larger-than-expected surplus that allowed more than a half-million Wisconsin households to receive a $100 per-child sales tax rebate in recent weeks. Looking ahead, the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday will run from August 1 – 5, 2018, helping families save money when they buy school clothing, computers and supplies.

In the current state budget, we eliminated the state property tax for the first time since 1931 and we continued to deliver income tax relief, all while managing our state’s finances in a smart, effective and prudent fashion that also allowed us to make record investments into K-12 education. Working in partnership with the Wisconsin Legislature, the state has delivered thousands of dollars in income and property tax relief to typical Wisconsin families since the Governor took office.

Today, our state’s budget and financial outlook are strong. Consider the following:

  • Wisconsin is paying off more debt than it is taking on to the point where outstanding obligations are the lowest they have been in nearly a decade and dropping.
  • Good debt management and taking advantage of low interest rates has allowed taxpayers to realize $633.7 million of debt service savings since 2011.
  • Of the $137.5 million added to our current budget surplus in the last state general fund update, $77.8 million of that was debt service savings.
  • The state’s revenues are higher than previously estimated, the state’s rainy-day fund is at the highest level ever, and it is also estimated to exceed $300 million at the end of this fiscal year.
  • Wisconsin received bond rating upgrades from three national agencies over three months in 2017.
  • The state has had the lowest new bonding authorized in back-to-back budgets in at least two decades, and total debt obligations have declined in four of the past five years. The state’s long-term outstanding obligations are some of the lowest in the country.
  • The state’s pension system is fully funded and strong, creating long-term budget flexibility to make additional investments in our priorities.
    Our good fiscal management has also allowed for the inclusion of more than $6 billion for transportation, including the largest increases for local governments to fix roads, repair bridges and fill potholes in at least two decades.

Reducing the tax burden, historic investments in education and roads, and good fiscal management have contributed to the historic positive results for Wisconsin. The unemployment rate is at a record low, employment is at an all-time high and the state’s per capita GDP growth rate ranked 11th highest in the nation from 2010-17.

The state’s finances are in great shape, and we are ready to win the 21st century.

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Harsdorf sends letter asking FDA to enforce food labeling

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Release Date: July 17, 2018

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

MADISON – Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Sheila Harsdorf today sent a letter to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, expressing concern over the agency’s policies on food labeling. With an increasing number of plant-based products being marketed as milk, it is critical that FDA enforce labeling that provides clear and transparent information to consumers.

“Given agriculture’s many contributions to our state and national economies, upholding standards of identity is critical to the industry as well as beneficial to consumers,” said Harsdorf. “Without prompt action and enforcement by the FDA, we will continue to see more and more mislabeling of products, such as milk, that do not meet the FDA’s own definitions.”

In the letter, Harsdorf noted that regulators in other countries, for example, are enforcing their standards and definitions not allowing plant-based products to be labeled or marketed as milk. She emphasized that it is imperative that the United States do the same in order to not be placed at a competitive disadvantage.

“As a nation, we need honesty and accuracy in the labeling of food products and consistency in enforcement of existing standards,” added Harsdorf. “As food innovations continue to emerge, it is essential that standards of identity and labeling requirements are clear and enforced to maintain the integrity of the agricultural industry and clarity in the marketplace for consumers.”

Dept. of Corrections, Hometown Heroes: Host first-ever camp reunite

FOR DOC: DOC Communications, 608-240-5060
[email protected]

FOR HOMETOWN HEROES: Neil Willenson, 414-350-4083
[email protected] 

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Corrections partnered with Hometown Heroes to host a week-long summer camp for children of women incarcerated at Taycheedah Correctional Institution. The camp incorporates a trauma-informed approach, enabling children to build resilience and spend time with other children who have incarcerated mothers.

First Lady Tonette Walker and Fostering Futures are leading the way in integrating Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) principles into state government. The DOC has taken on these transformative efforts by identifying different opportunities to implement TIC. TIC is built on the idea that by understanding, preventing and addressing adversity, toxic stress and trauma, individuals and organization build resilience, resulting in improved outcomes for both consumers and staff.

Thirty-eight children and 25 inmates took part in the camp, which took place June 24 – 30. The campers stayed at Turning Rivers, a Department of Natural Resources-owned property in the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Turning Rivers includes a number of activities for campers, including swimming, dance, arts and crafts, archery, kayaking, fishing, and climbing. The children also participated in two half-day visits to Taycheedah Correctional Institution to spend time with their mothers, allowing them to spend time as a family.

An estimated 5 million children nationally, including 88,000 children in Wisconsin, have had at least one incarcerated parent. Prior to Camp Reunite, 25% of the campers had never visited their parent at Taycheedah Correctional Institution. By helping campers cope more effectively with their parent’s incarceration, DOC’s hope is for them to increase their resilience and maintain their success in the community, avoiding the path that led to their mother’s incarceration.

DOC Secretary Cathy Jess said: “From the moment an inmate steps into one of our facilities, our focus is on providing pathways that enable them to succeed in the community. As many incarcerated women have children, we recognize that maintaining a bond between mother and child is critical for the inmate’s eventual release to the community. This camp is an innovative approach which benefits both mother and child, with the hope that both will lead crime-free lives in the community.”

Camp Reunite Co-Founder Neil Willenson said: “For many of the children, Camp Reunite was the first place they could speak openly about having an incarcerated mother, as many children experience stigma and shame regarding their parent’s incarceration. Camp Reunite cannot change the fact that these children have an incarcerated parent, but we can instill resiliency, coping, and conflict resolution skills that can positively affect their lives for decades to come. ”

Dept. of Corrections: Minimum-Security Inmates Complete Technical College Certificate Program for Construction

FOR DOC: DOC Communications, 608-240-5060
[email protected]

FOR MADISON COLLEGE: Cary Heyer, 608-246-6443
[email protected]

MADISON – Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Department Secretary Cathy Jess joined Madison College President Jack E. Daniels, family, and friends to congratulate 11 Wisconsin Correctional Center System inmates graduating from Madison College’s Construction Essentials certificate program.

The Construction Essentials certificate program is a 15-week, 11-credit program which provides basic instruction in construction processes. Inmates also earn the OSHA-30 certification, which is required for construction workers. With this credential, inmates are qualified to work as shop helpers and construction laborers.

The inmates, who are from Oregon Correctional Center and Thompson Correctional Center, represent part of the Department’s efforts to train inmates nearing release for in-demand careers in the community.

With Wisconsin’s unemployment under 3% for the last five months and more people working in Wisconsin than ever before, the Department is helping employers meet the need for skilled workers by devoting significant resources to increase educational and vocational opportunities for inmates. This includes hosting short-term intensive academies across Wisconsin with area technical colleges in fields like construction, welding, CNC machining, and industrial maintenance.

“Especially at a time when home prices are at record highs and construction growth is strong (thanks to Foxconn and other major economic developments), we need talented individuals entering the construction industry,” said Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. “Today’s graduates will reenter society ready to earn a wage and pay taxes as they make positive contributions toward building Wisconsin.”

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 previously partnered with Madison College to provide vocational training in industrial maintenance. Of the 17 inmates who completed training, 14 have released into the community and all 14 have found employment, including 10 who found employment in relevant fields.

“Given that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has been under 3% for the last five months and a record number of people are working, many employers are seeking skilled workers to fill open positions,” Secretary Cathy Jess said. “We recognize that academies like this provide inmates an opportunity to learn an in-demand trade and learn skills employers are seeking in the community. Through this effort, our hope is to enable inmates to live crime-free lives and connect employers with motivated, hardworking employees.”

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

“This ceremony reflects our mission to provide open access to quality higher education,” said Dr. Jack Daniels, president of Madison College. “Note those words, ‘open access,’ which includes individuals such as today’s graduates who deserve a second chance and have worked hard to earn the necessary credentials to gain the skills that will make them employable, contributing members of our community.”

Dept. of Justice: AG Schimel announces plans for remaining school safety funds; provides nearly $5 million in school safety grant funding to 67 school districts

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel today announced plans for a second round of grant funding by utilizing the approximately $45 million in remaining school safety money available. The second round of funding will focus on advanced initiatives to bolster student mental health, the creation of local School Safety Intervention teams, and additional physical security upgrades. K-12 schools, both public and private, are encouraged to apply for the next round of grants, which will be awarded starting in October. Attorney General Schimel also announced today a list of 67 schools and school districts that combined will receive $4,912,591 from the first round of the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) School Safety Grant program.

“In the first round of grant funding, schools and law enforcement worked fast to identify the greatest security needs in our schools,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “After the last grant is awarded, nearly one million children will be safer because they attend schools that received baseline security upgrades and mental health training. But because local partners did such a great job in the first round, we still have $45 million remaining, allowing us to create schools with advanced mental health training and intervention teams, to stop the violence before it happens.”

A list of schools and school districts that were awarded school safety grants on July 24, 2018 is at the bottom of this press release. More grants will be awarded to schools that applied for the first round of grant funding soon.

In March 2018, the Wisconsin State Legislature and Governor Scott Walker to passed and signed 2017 Wisconsin 143 into law, establishing the DOJ Office of School Safety and providing $100 million for school safety. 735 schools and school districts, 97% of public schools and approximately 40% of private schools statewide, applied for the first round of funds, and all are expected to receive grant funding. Once all first round grant funds are approved, it is estimated that approximately $45 million will remain.

“As ‘Back to School’ season is fast approaching, it’s incredibly timely to see Attorney General Schimel and the Department of Justice continuing to follow through on our legislative promises from this spring to keep our kids and school safe,” said Rep. Jim Steineke. “With these crucial resources, school districts in my district and throughout the state will be able to have even more certainty that they are providing safe learning environments for each and every one of our kids.”

The second round of grant funding, utilizing the remaining $45 million, will advance baseline mental health and physical security improvements made in the first round of grant funding through advanced training for teachers on mental health; the creation of local teams of educators, counselors, and law enforcement to develop School Safety Intervention Teams that will assess threats and identify students in need of support; and additional physical security upgrades. Schools interested in applying for the second round of grant funding must submit a mandatory “intent to apply” to the OSS by August 13, 2018.

Schools applying for the second round of grant funding must agree to send 10 percent of full-time teachers and counselors to DOJ-approved 12-hour Adolescent Mental Health training by August 31, 2020, and schools may use grant funds to pay expenses incurred (tuition, travel, lodging, meals, substitute teacher pay, etc.). Schools applying must also establish a School Safety Intervention Team (SSIT), based on a model set by the U.S. Secret Service, which will engage in behavior monitoring, threat assessments, and intervention. Funding will also be available for more physical security improvements.

“Our children are one of our most precious resource. Attorney General Schimel and Governor Walker understand that. The ability to have some funding and support for our schools to work with us in law enforcement helps create a safer learning environment for our children and teachers,” said Menomonee Falls Police Chief Anna Ruzinksi.

Schools and school districts that applied for the first round of grants are eligible for the second round of grants, and will apply for the second round through a simplified grant application process. Schools and school districts that did not apply for the first round of grants are eligible for the second round of grants, but will need to satisfy all prerequisites of the first round and second round of grant funding.

Under the second round of grant funding, grant funding will be awarded on a per-student formula, according to student enrollment as reported to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). No awardee will receive less than $10,000 nor receive more than $2.5 million, in order to ensure all applicants receive sufficient funding to make meaningful physical security improvements. The final award amount will depend on the number and size of schools that apply. Interested schools can find more information on the DOJ Office of School Safety website.

“Seton Catholic Schools is proud to be a recipient of the school safety grant from the Wisconsin Department of Justice Office of School Safety,” said Don Drees, president of Seton Catholic Schools. “Every student deserves to attend a safe school. These funds will enhance the safety of our buildings, providing a safe space for our students to learn and grow. These enhancements will further protect our teaching staff and provide peace of mind to parents. This effort would not have been possible without the partnership of local law enforcement. I extend my deepest thanks to the departments and officers who assisted in assessing our schools during the grant process.”

Highlights from the school safety grant applications[1] being awarded on July 24, 2018 from the first round of grant funding include such improvements as:

  • Training for all staff on Trauma Informed Care (TIC), Trauma Sensitive Schools (TSS), Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), Peaceful Warriors, PREPaRE, Threat Assessment and Active Shooter Response training (ALICE);
  • Secure the entry areas, sidelites, and interior classroom windows with shatter resistant film, updated doors and locks;
  • Engage CESA 10 support for project and safety plan updating and implementation;
  • Install door position monitors, external and internal security cameras;
  • Enhance emergency communications among staff and 911 dispatchers; two-way radio and two-way hallway mirrors;
  • Allow for the remodeling of entrances and vestibule/visitor holding;
  • Purchase and utilize the STOPit anonymous reporting system.

“We would like to extend our sincere ‘thank you’ to all that were involved in this process,” stated Kaukauna School District Superintendent Mark Duerwaechter. “These upgrades will be welcome additions to the regular work already being done in all of our buildings to ensure the safety of our students.”

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. 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.

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
  • NAMI-WI
  • Wisconsin Association of School Boards
  • Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials
  • Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators
  • Wisconsin Association of School Nurses
  • Wisconsin 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.

A list of all 735 schools and school districts that have requested grant funds in the first round of grant funding is available on the DOJ website. To date, OSS has reviewed all first-round applications. All schools that applied have either received their awards, or OSS is waiting for a response from the applicant. OSS understands that many delays on the part of applicants may be due to summer vacation and hours.

List of schools awarded grants on July 24, 2018:

  • Almond-Bancroft School District, $61,579;
  • Bay City Christian School (Green Bay), $20,000;
  • Belleville School District, $77,611;
  • Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran School (Menomonee Falls), $20,430;
  • Bethlehem Lutheran School (Sheboygan), $19,942;
  • Boscobel Area School District, $54,906;
  • Cambria-Friesland School District, $39,993;
  • Chequamegon School District, $99,738;
  • Clintonville Public Schools, $83,860;
  • Crandon School District, $60,000;
  • Cuba City School District, $60,000;
  • Divine Redeemer Lutheran School (Hartland), $23,650;
  • Divine Savior Catholic School (Kiel), $16,186;
  • Divine Savior Holy Angels High (Milwaukee), $21,714;
  • Dodgeland School District, $57,796;
  • Drummond Area School District, $63,378;
  • Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah School District, $40,000;
  • Elkhorn Area School District, $138,994;
  • Ellsworth Community School District, $54,751;
  • First Evangelical Lutheran School (Elkhorn), $19,526;
  • Gibraltar Area School District, $60,000;
  • Gillett School District, $61,200;
  • Grantsburg School District, $68,590;
  • Hamilton School District, $148,208;
  • Highland School District, $62,100;
  • Holyland Catholic School (Malone), $19,890;
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary Grade School (Monona), $20,000;
  • Jefferson School District, $88,219;
  • Kaukauna Area School District, $146,240;
  • La Casa de Esperanza Charter School (Waukesha), $23,153;
  • Linn J4 School District, $16,224;
  • Lodi School District, $105,140;
  • Manitowoc School District, $227,080;
  • Marathon City School District, $62,924;
  • Marion School District, $41,580;
  • Norris School District, $20,653;
  • North Cedar Academy (Ladysmith), $19,988;
  • North Lakeland School District, $20,000;
  • Northland Lutheran High School (Kronenwetter), $17,382;
  • Osceola School District, $98,491;
  • Osseo-Fairchild School District, $58,688;
  • Our Redeemer Lutheran School (Delavan), $20,423;
  • Our Savior Evangelical Lutheran School (Grafton), $20,685;
  • Pepin Area School District, $40,540;
  • Randolph School District, $49,015;
  • Random Lake School District, $59,820;
  • River Valley School District, $85,850;
  • Saint Henry Grade School (Watertown), $20,000;
  • Saint Joseph Grade School (Menomonie), $18,124;
  • Saint Luke Grade School (Plain), $19,970;
  • Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception (Greenville), $20,101;
  • Saint Mary Parish School (Hales Corners), $19,994;
  • Saint Mary Parish School (Menomonee Falls), $12,511;
  • Saint Paul Lutheran Grade School (Sheboygan), $19,971;
  • Saint Rose & St Mary Grade School (Clintonville), $10,885;
  • Sauk Prairie School District, $126,986;
  • Seton Catholic Schools, Inc. (Milwaukee), $295,771;
  • Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School, $19,825;
  • St. Joseph Grade School (Dodgeville), $20,068;
  • Sun Prairie Area School District, $300,000;
  • Trinity Lutheran Grade School (Mequon), $19,740;
  • Trinity Lutheran School (Athens), $18,033;
  • Watertown Unified School District, $188,632;
  • Waupaca School District, $119,489;
  • Webster School District, $62,488;
  • Weyauwega-Fremont School District, $86,672;
  • Whitewater Unified School District, $100,063.

Dept. of Justice: AG Schimel improves criminal justice system transparency with access to data on sexual offenses

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MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the launch of new interactive data dashboards regarding criminal sex offenses with incident-level details, in order to improve transparency in criminal justice data for citizens, policy-makers, and researchers.

“We cannot forget that behind all of these numbers are survivors; survivors who have gone through one of the most traumatic events somebody can experience,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “Making this information easily available to the public is critical to creating evidence-based decisions in the criminal justice system that will improve outcomes for survivors of crimes and initiate prevention methods to prevent others from becoming crime victims. As society is taking a more critical look at sexual assault occurring in our society, it is so important that the public have access to this data set. We’re grateful to survivors who came forward. Without their help, we could not hold offenders accountable and make our communities safer.”

The interactive data dashboard on sex offenses is the first Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) dashboard developed offering incident-level detail. Users can view the number and rate of six different sex offenses reported by each law enforcement agency over the last 5 years. Additionally, incident-level details including weapons, locations, victim and offender demographics, and the relationships between victims and offenders is available per county, year, and type of sex offense. Previously, only aggregate-level information for rape offenses and arrests was available. View the sex offense data dashboard at https://www.doj.state.wi.us/dles/bjia/ucr-sex-offense-data.

Data from 2013-2017 are currently available on the dashboard, and the data will be refreshed quarterly. Additional information regarding the six sex offenses and methodology are available on the dashboard page. These data are based on sex offenses reported by Wisconsin law enforcement agencies to the BJIA through the Wisconsin Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, using definitions of offenses as defined by the FBI. Law enforcement agencies are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of the data submitted under the UCR program.

This data dashboard was developed by the DOJ Bureau of Justice Information and Analysis (BJIA), which works to inform criminal justice policy and practice by conducting objective research, analysis, and evaluation of information. BJIA first launched interactive data dashboards in 2016. Other dashboards currently available, which include data from 2013 to 2017, are arrests by location, arrest demographics, offenses by location, and offense and arrest data by agency.

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

https://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/ag-schimel-improves-criminal-justice-system-transparency-access-data-sexual-offenses

Dept. of Military Affairs: National Guard, Wisconsin Emergency Management to conduct disaster exercise

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CONTACT: Lt. Col. Mickey Kirschenbaum | [email protected] | 702-426-9288

by Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs

VOLK FIELD, Wis. — A natural disaster can strike any time, and the National Guard, along with state and county emergency management agencies, will conduct a disaster readiness exercise called PATRIOT North, beginning Tuesday, July 17.

PATRIOT North is a joint agency civilian and military exercise, sponsored by the National Guard Bureau (NGB), taking place at Fort McCoy Total Force Training Center and Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, Wisconsin, July 17-19. This training exercise — designed to require civilian emergency management and responders work with military entities in the same manner that they would during disasters — will test the Wisconsin Emergency Management and National Guard’s abilities to support response operations based on simulated emergency scenarios such as an earthquake creating collapsed buildings, mass casualties and the need for search and rescue along with injury evacuations.

“Many Guardsmen haven’t had the opportunity to work in this type of environment and PATRIOT gives our Soldiers and Airmen a chance to hone their skills to respond to a natural disaster and work with emergency management agencies,” said Lt. Col. Roger Brooks, exercise director for PATRIOT. “This exercise will help all of us prepare for any disaster.”

Brooks added residents in parts of Juneau and Monroe counties may see an increase in military equipment moving along roads and interstates, as well as aircraft flying, during the exercise.

Nearly 900 civilians, volunteers and National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from more than 20 states are supporting this year’s exercise. Other partners participating include Mile Bluff Medical Center, Team Rubicon, The Salvation Army, FEMA and the Civil Air Patrol. The exercise provides the National Guard an opportunity to improve cooperation and relationships with its regional civilian, military and federal partners in preparation for emergencies and catastrophic events.

Dept. of Military Affairs: Registration now open for 6th annual Governor’s Cybersecurity Summit

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WI HOMELAND SECURITY COUNCIL RELEASE

CONTACT: Andrew Beckett | [email protected] | 608-242-3211

by Homeland Security Council

MADISON, Wis. — More than 5,200 people in Wisconsin reported being a victim of a cyber crime last year, which the FBI says resulted in the loss of more than $15.8 million dollars. That’s why government, business and academic leaders are coming together to discuss how to combat this growing threat to our state at the 2018 Governor’s Cybersecurity Summit.

Registration is now open for the Governor’s Cybersecurity Summit, which will be held on Monday, Sept. 10 at the Gordon Dining and Event Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The summit will bring together national cyber security experts, government and academic leaders, and the business community to share knowledge and experience in finding new ways to protect our digital infrastructure and address the emerging challenges of cybersecurity.

“Cybersecurity is critical to all aspects of our society and we must continually improve our capability and capacity,” said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general and Homeland Security advisor. “We are pleased to once again be bringing together several nationally recognized cybersecurity experts to discuss strategies for responding to cyber threats.”

Featured speakers at the summit will include Christina “CK” Kerley, who will talk about adapting to changes and trends in technology. Alex Holden of Hold Security will also provide an insider’s view of the cyber threat landscape. Panel discussions will focus on filling the growing needs of the cybersecurity workforce and Wisconsin’s recent Dark Sky exercise, which simulated how multiple agencies would respond to a massive failure of the electric grid.

“Cybersecurity attacks and threats do not respect boundaries and they are becoming more complex and frequent,” said Wisconsin’s Chief Information Officer, David Cagigal. “Therefore, there is a greater dependence on public and private partnerships to ensure even our weakest links are protected.”

College students who may be interested in filling these critical jobs are encouraged to attend the 2018 Summit. They will gain valuable career insight and can network with industry professionals.

Wisconsin’s 6th Annual Governor’s Cybersecurity Summit is coordinated by the Wisconsin Department of Administration and the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs. To register, visit https://wigcot.eventsair.com/QuickEventWebsitePortal/cybersecurity18/cybersummit18.

Dept. of Safety and Professional Services: Announces relocation of Madison office

The DSPS Madison office has relocated to the Hill Farms State Office Building, 4822 Madison Yards Way, Madison, WI  53705. Our reception area is located on the 2nd Floor.  Please note all walk-in counters have resumed operation at the new location.  Our phone number will remain the same.

Please click here for a map of our new building and parking structure.

Dept. of Transportation: Have the proper ID to vote? If not, start the process for a free ID from DMV

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
608/266-3581, [email protected]

The Wisconsin 2018 partisan primary is weeks away and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) wants to be sure people know how to obtain identification, free of charge, that is valid for voting.

Most persons already have valid identification for voting purposes (driver license, identification card, military or student ID card, passport, etc.). There is no separate “voter ID.” Anyone unsure if their identification meets the requirements should visit the Wisconsin Elections Commission website to check.

For persons who need identification to show at the polls for voting, DMV offers free Wisconsin IDs and has a process, called Voter ID Petition Process, if the required documents needed for an ID are not readily available. This process, available free of charge, can be used to quickly obtain a receipt valid to take to the polls for voting while the remaining documents or verifications are obtained. A list of the required documents is available at wisconsindmv.gov.

Anyone with questions related to obtaining an ID to vote should call DMV’s Voter ID hotline at (844) 588-1069. Any questions regarding voter eligibility, poll locations, voter registration information or other election information should be directed to the Wisconsin Elections Commission at http://elections.wi.gov/

Start now at wisconsindmv.gov or at a local DMV Customer Service Center. To find a DMV, check hours, services and wait times, visitwisconsindmv.gov\centers.

Dept. of Transportation: Students take stand for safe driving

[email protected], (608)266-3581

“Leave your phone alone until you get home,” is the message of a new public service announcement hitting the airwaves throughout Wisconsin. It was scripted, filmed and produced by middle school students from Indian Community School as part of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Inter-Tribal Task Force One Day Media Camp.

The message takes on additional importance for young people amid the “100 deadliest days” between Memorial Day and Labor Day when crashes involving teenage drivers increase. Over the past five years, statewide records indicate that teenage drivers are behind the wheel for roughly 13 distracted driving crashes every day statewide during the months of June, July and August.

“It is inspiring and encouraging to see young people actively engaged in discussions about what it takes to be a safer driver,” WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross said. “No matter who is behind the wheel, distracted driving creates a danger for us all, and we ask that all motorists keep their focus on the road.”

Some of these crashes are deadly. Of the 5,968 teenage distracted driving crashes reviewed in the summer months of 2013-2017, more than 1,949 led to injuries and 11 were fatal. Distracted driving crashes increase overall in summertime, but teenagers see a larger percentage jump (up 18 percent) compared to all other months of the year.

“There are no words to fully describe the loss of a loved one in a traffic crash,” Superintendent JD Lind said. “One death is one too many and we’re encouraged to see this group of dedicated young people trying to do something about it.”

Distracted driving is just one concern out on the road, as alcohol, aggressive driving and failure to use seatbelts are common examples of other factors involved in the 101 summer-month crashes with teenage drivers over the past five years.

“The phone is just one part of this, but it’s become such an increasingly common part that we felt that’s where we’d be best to focus our attention,” said the students from Indian Community School in Franklin, WI. “It’s horrible to think about a parent, friend or older brother or sister never coming home because of a call or a text.”

The ad can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/0Uq6hLTB1KY

The One Day Media Camp paired the students, ages 10 to 13, with a professional creative firm to get hands-on training in all elements of video production, from scripting to lighting and final production. Because Native Americans in Wisconsin and nationwide are among those at highest risk to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash, WisDOT’s Inter-Tribal Task Force created the One Day Media Camp to help enhance discussions of safety in tribal communities.

Dept. of Workforce Development: ‘Hiring Our Heroes’ seeks to connect transitioning veterans with corporate employers

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  

DWD joins U.S. Chamber to promote Corporate Fellowship Program

MILWAUKEE – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) on Monday partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative to highlight their Corporate Fellowship Program with representatives from more than 30 Wisconsin businesses in attendance. The program serves as a talent pipeline that connects transitioning military veterans with corporate employers.

“We are pleased to partner with Hiring Our Heroes to take steps to explore the launch of the Corporate Fellowship Program in Wisconsin and provide businesses with another effective way to attract talented veterans,” said DWD Deputy Secretary Chris Hagerup, who participated in the event.

The Corporate Fellowship Program matches transitioning service members with management-level or equivalent civilian careers prior to their separation from the military. The 12-week program provides opportunities for hands-on corporate training, mentoring and earning certifications while helping employers tap into a pool of talented individuals.

“Veterans’ strong commitment to serving others aligns well with the Oshkosh Corporation Family in our commitment to build vehicles that protect and support the mission of the warfighter and fire fighters, and those working to build and keep our communities clean,” said Robert H. Sims, Oshkosh Corporation Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. “Oshkosh Corporation is proud to be a Military Friendly Employer and Glassdoor Best Place to Work. We are dedicated to providing career opportunities and a support network for our more than 800 military team members.”

The Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program has graduated nearly 800 military veterans nationwide and has more than 150 participating employers, including Oshkosh Corp., Boeing, Prudential and Starbucks.

“We look forward to working alongside the state of Wisconsin to connect their businesses with the tremendous talent found in our transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouse fellows,” said Eric Eversole, Vice President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President of Hiring Our Heroes.

Other sponsors of the event were the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.

More information about the program can be found at HiringOurHeroes.org/fellowships.

Dept. of Workforce Development: Announces Wisconsin Fast Forward grant awards

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 31, 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

Six awards made to support workforce training programs across multiple industries

MADISON – Today, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced six contracted grant projects that were awarded through Governor Walker’s flagship Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) worker training grant program. Those projects will serve eight Wisconsin businesses and train over 400 workers. In total, DWD awarded over $1.3 million in funds.

“With Wisconsin’s booming economy providing more opportunities to Wisconsin workers than ever before, the WFF program allows new and incumbent workers to skill-up and skill-in to rewarding careers,” DWD Secretary Ray Allen said. “The innovative worker training programs funded through this award will not only benefit the workers involved but will help the involved employers grow their own pipeline of skilled talent, allowing them to remain competitive for years to come.”

Grant funding was provided for the following projects:

· Pierce Manufacturing was awarded $112,750 and will partner with Fox Valley Technical College to provide training to 80 incumbent workers leading to an Electrician Certificate. Training will consist of a combination of 40 hours of classroom instruction and six months of on-the-job training.

· Nestle USA was awarded $400,000 to develop curriculum and provide training for 45 incumbent new hire and 77 incumbent workers for a total of 122 trainees. Training will consist of a mix of classroom and on-the-job experience. New hires will receive approximately six months of training and incumbent workers will receive 11 weeks.

· Schneider National Carriers will provide training for 100 unemployed workers, partnering with one of three external training providers (Fox Valley Technical College, Heavy Metal Truck training and 160 Driving Academy) where trainees will complete a customized truck driving course prior to attending Schneider’s finishing school. Training will be a combination of classroom and on-the-job instruction.

· The Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin was awarded $386,000 and is partnering with UW Health to train 33 unemployed and 27 incumbent workers for a total of 60 trainees. The individuals will be trained as Certified Medical Assistants for placement at UW Health or other partnering organizations including SSM and Unity-Point-Meriter. Trainees will receive eight hours of classroom instruction per week for 22 weeks followed by 16 hours of clinical instruction for 24 weeks.

· Rosewood Dairy received a grant totaling $49,850 to help develop curriculum and provide training to one unemployed and one incumbent worker for a total of two trainees. Additionally, Rosewood will partner with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College for math and soft-skill courses and seminars provided by the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin for food safety and sanitation. Trainees will be trained to be Cheesemakers and receive 20 months of training.

· The Next Door Foundation was awarded a grant in the amount of $59,120 to partner with Madison College to train 48 unemployed workers. Trainees will receive 120 hours of formal early childhood training required for the Child Development Associate credential as well as completing a practicum.

For more information on the Wisconsin Fast Forward program visit http://wisconsinfastforward.com/

Dept. of Workforce Development: June unemployment rates decline in 70 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties over year

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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

 

40 Wisconsin counties, 17 cities experience or tie lowest June unemployment rate on record

 

MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates of unemployment and employment statistics for metro areas, major cities and counties in Wisconsin.  The estimates include updates to May 2018 and preliminary estimates for June 2018.  These numbers are not seasonally adjusted.  The estimates show:

  • Metropolitan Statistical Areas: Preliminary June 2018 unemployment rates declined in 11 of the states 12 metro areas over the year from June 2017 to June 2018, and stayed the same in one.  The rates ranged from 2.8 percent in Madison to 4.1 percent in Racine.  Four metro areas — Eau Claire, Janesville-Beloit, Racine and Wausau – recorded or tied their lowest June unemployment rate on record (1990).
  • Municipalities: Preliminary June 2018 unemployment rates decreased or stayed the same in 28 of Wisconsin’s 32 largest cities over the year from June 2017 to June 2018.  The rates ranged from 2.7 percent in Fitchburg and Sun Prairie to 5.0 percent in Racine and Beloit.  Seventeen Wisconsin cities experienced or tied their lowest June unemployment rate on record (1990).
  • Counties: Preliminary June 2018 unemployment rates declined or stayed the same in 70 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties from June 2017 to June 2018.  The rates ranged from 2.5 percent in Lafayette to 6.3 percent in Menominee.  Forty of the state’s 72 counties experienced or tied their lowest June unemployment rate on record (1990).

The release of June 2018 local rates follows last week’s release of BLS monthly statewide estimates which showed that Wisconsin maintained an unemployment rate under 3 percent for five consecutive months for the first time in state history.  Additionally, Wisconsin currently has record numbers of people employed and participating in the state’s labor force. The data also showed the state added 17,600 manufacturing jobs from June 2017 to June 2018, ranking 2nd nationally for most manufacturing jobs added over the year and 1st in the Midwest.

When compared to other states, Wisconsin ranks in the top 10 nationally in numerous measurements:

  • Wisconsin ranks 2nd nationally in manufacturing jobs added in 2018
  • Wisconsin’s ranks 9th nationally in number of manufacturing jobs added since 2010
  • Wisconsin’s addition of 5,500 private sector jobs from May 2018 to June 2018 ranked 14th nationally
  • Wisconsin’s addition of 1,300 construction jobs from May 2018 to June 2018 ranked 8th nationally
  • Wisconsin’s construction growth rate of 1.1 percent from May 2018 to June 2018 ranked 10th nationally
  • Wisconsin’s addition of 7,400 total non-farm jobs from May 2018 to June 2018 ranked 11th nationally and 3rd in the Midwest
  • Wisconsin’s unemployment rate of 2.9 percent ranked 7th lowest nationally and 2nd lowest in the Midwest, trailing only Iowa
  • Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate of 68.9 percent ranked 5th highest nationally
  • Wisconsin’s year over year manufacturing growth rate of 3.8 percent ranked 6th nationally and 2nd in the Midwest

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 state’s WisConomy website.

Dept. of Workforce Development: Wisconsin sees reduction in worker’s compensation rate for third consecutive year

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 10, 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 Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance Monday approved an overall 6.03% rate decrease for Worker’s Compensation premiums for businesses, effective Oct. 1, 2018. This is the third consecutive year Worker’s Compensation rates have declined, following an 8.46% decline in 2017, and a 3.19% decline in 2016.

“This is just another indicator that Wisconsin’s investments in its employees’ occupational safety is paying off,” Governor Scott Walker said. “Not only are employers seeing reduced premiums, but efforts to reduce workplace injuries help achieve a healthy labor force, resulting in a decline in rates for the third consecutive year.”

Worker’s Compensation rates are adjusted yearly by a committee of actuaries from the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau. The committee studies the prior losses (claims) of hundreds of categories and professions throughout the state’s employment pool and submits a rate recommendation to the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, which has final approval over the rates.

“A safe workplace results in a more productive and profitable one for employers,” Commissioner of Insurance Ted Nickel said. “Employers are recognizing the relation between their employees’ safety and the savings that ensue as premiums continue to decline.”

These savings will allow Wisconsin businesses to continue to strengthen their profitability while at the same time ensuring a safe work environment, according to Department of Workforce Development Secretary Ray Allen.

“The Wisconsin business community has much to be proud of,” Secretary Allen said. “With a record low unemployment rate of 2.8 percent and what is now a three-year decrease in Worker’s Compensation rates, employers and employees alike are thriving. With a record number of people working right now, keeping our current employees safe and in the workforce is a major factor in keeping our labor force participation high.”

Allen said the collaborative effort to promote safety also extends to the positive working relationship of the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council, which is made up of representatives from management and labor. The Council recommends changes to law to ensure it keeps up with today’s industries and trends.

Most employers in Wisconsin are required by law to have Worker’s Compensation insurance. Customers with question about the law may contact DWD’s Worker’s Compensation Division by calling 608-266-1340 or visiting the DWD website at https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wc/.

Questions about the development of the rates can be directed to the Wisconsin Compensation Ratings Bureau at 262-796-4540 or online at https://www.wcrb.org/wcrb/wcrbhome.htm.

DHS now projecting $102.4 million GPR surplus in Medicaid fund by mid-2019

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DNC: Announces organizing investment in Wisconsin base communities ahead of November elections

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Today the Democratic National Committee is announcing a $150,000 grant to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to help with base community organizing ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Specifically, this investment will be used to increase organizing capacity in communities of color, including African American, Latino, and Hmong communities in Milwaukee and Dane Counties, as well as outreach to Native American communities around the state.

Combining traditional boots-on-the-ground organizing with innovative digital and technological tools, these investments will support the DNC’s IWillVote initiative, which aims to reach 50 million voters by Election Day. This new investment is in addition to the $100,000 already awarded to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin through the State Party Innovation Fund.

Most recently, the DNC announced a multimillion-dollar investment, which includes a nationwide cell-phone acquisition, a complete overhaul of the party’s data for voter-registration targeting and further data investments for the party’s voter-protection efforts. As part of the DNC’s IWillVote program, the DNC plans to launch a six-figure digital ad buy across the country to encourage Americans — with a focus on sporadic voters, especially those who dropped off in 2014 from 2012 — to commit to vote this November.

“The new DNC has been working tirelessly to support our state parties, motivate voters to get to the polls, and organize around issues that matter for country’s future,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez. “We are investing in our base communities and putting organizers on the ground across the country because we know that’s the only way we’ll win. This investment will help ensure that Democrats are talking to voters in every community, and make sure that activists and candidates have the new tools and resources they need to succeed. The DNC is proud to partner with our state parties to expand our engagement in all communities and support Democratic candidates running up and down the ticket.”

“Wisconsin Democrats are committed to fighting for working families and ensuring we make the necessary investments to move our state forward. We’ve seen the lengths Scott Walker will go to deny Wisconsinites their right to vote, and our work to reach out to our young voters and communities of color to ensure that their voices and concerns are heard at the polls is more important than ever,” said DPW Chair Martha Laning. “The recent elections have shown us that Wisconsin voters are rejecting the Republican agenda and they’re hungry for Democratic leaders who share their values. Wisconsin Dems are focused on talking to people across the state about solutions that will improve their lives, like new investments in our public schools, ensuring clean drinking water, fixing our roads and reducing health care costs. We’re lucky to have a champion like Chair Perez and the collaborative help of the DNC, which shares our commitment to mobilizing voters in every corner of Wisconsin and electing Democrats up and down the ticket in November.”

To date, the DNC has awarded 41 states and territories with grants through the State Party Innovation Fund. This is in addition to the $10,000-a-month investment that state parties receive through our Every ZIP Code Counts program.

Door County Economic Development Corporation: SCEDC executive joins Door County Economic Development as executive director

Door County, USA – The Board of Directors of the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) selected Jim Schuessler to be the next Executive Director of the organization, following a search throughout Wisconsin and surrounding states. Schuessler will replace DCEDC Executive Director Caleb Frostman, who resigned earlier this spring. Schuessler will assume his duties July 16.

Schuessler presently serves as business development manager for Sheboygan County Economic Corporation (SCEDC), in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, focused on business retention and expansion, entrepreneurial development, non-traditional finance, and workforce development solutions.

“Door County markets its economic development efforts as enabling ‘Business by Nature,’” stated Schuessler. “Aside from Door County, there aren’t many places on earth that would catch my attention to consider leaving such a wonder place as Sheboygan County,” he added. “Working with the DCEDC board and talented team, it will be my goal to understand the needs of the business community and execute strategies that will nurture a vibrant and expanding economic ecosystem.”

Prior to his emphasis in economic development, Schuessler, a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Platteville, spent two decades in television, working up the ladder from sales to group president of a company with $400 million in revenues. Upon the sale of the television group he and his wife Karla, who works in education, moved home to Wisconsin in order to rear his three children in the positive educational environment offered here. Prior to joining SCEDC four years ago, he served as Executive Director for Forest County Economic Development Partnership.

DCEDC Board Chair Darren Voigt (Bank of Luxemburg) stated, “We had a highly qualified pool of applicants and are very excited to bring Jim to Door County and DCEDC. His background and experience really impressed the search committee. The Board also appreciates the leadership provided by retired DCEDC Executive Director Bill Chaudoir who served the organization in the interim.”

Schuessler praised the team at SCEDC and the track record of success over the past several years. “I thank (Director) Dane Checolinski for taking a chance on me, and his partnership as we accomplished many things over the past four years. Our entry into entrepreneurship, which to date has engaged hundreds of prospective and existing entrepreneurs, plus our innovative workforce solutions are among the things I’m most appreciative of helping catalyze. The addition of Joe Sheehan will help lead the organization to even greater heights, especially with the planned development of FreshTech, the innovation district to be located in the City of Sheboygan.”

DOR: On October 1, out-of-state sellers will be required to collect sales tax

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CONTACT: Patty Mayers, Communications Director

608.266.2300 or [email protected]

Last month, the United States Supreme Court ruled in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., a state can now require online and other remote sellers with no physical presence in that state to collect and remit the applicable sales or use tax on sales delivered into that state. Wisconsin will require collection beginning on October 1, 2018, consistent with existing Wisconsin statutes, which require all sellers to collect sales or use tax unless limited by federal law.

Standards for administering sales tax laws for online and other remote sellers will be provided by administrative rule. The rule will be consistent with the Court’s decision in Wayfair, which approved a small seller exception for sellers who do not have annual sales of products and services into the state of (1) more than $100,000, or (2) 200 or more separate transactions.

Wisconsin businesses, especially Wisconsin small businesses, will no longer be operating at a competitive disadvantage to out-of-state competitors that will now be required to collect the tax.

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue is notifying businesses and tax practitioners about the changes resulting from the Wayfair decision. More information about online and remote sellers collecting sales tax is available on the department’s website. https://www.revenue.wi.gov/Pages/Businesses/remote-sellers.aspx

DOR: Online sales tax rule will include exemption for smaller retailers

The Department of Revenue’s administrative rule to allow the state to begin collecting the sales tax on some online transactions will include an exemption for smaller retailers.

The DOR’s announcement yesterday is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that cleared the way for states to begin collecting the sales tax from online and remote sales involving retailers with no physical presence in their states.

That means retailers must have annual sales of at least $100,000 in Wisconsin or at least 200 transactions before having to collect the sales tax.

The Walker administration told WisPolitics.com on Monday that it planned to begin collecting the tax Oct. 1 and was in the process of notifying retailers.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau on Monday released a memo projecting the state could collect an additional $90 million in the current fiscal year if it began collecting the tax Oct. 1. It would then bring in an estimated $120 million annually.

Agency spokeswoman Patty Mayers said DOR isn’t sure how many retailers will be impacted by the anticipated rule. She added the agency plans to use both the regular administrative rule process and the emergency option. Emergency rules can be put in place quicker and remain in effect for 150 days with the option to extend it twice for up to 120 days each time.

See the DOR release:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/dor-on-october-1-out-of-state-sellers-will-be-required-to-collect-sales-tax/

DOR: Wisconsin sales tax holiday starts next week

CONTACT:  Patty Mayers, Communications Director
608.266.2300 or [email protected]

State’s first ever sales tax holiday runs August 1-5 

Starting next Wednesday, August 1, Wisconsin shoppers will enjoy a five-day sales tax holiday.  During this time, they will not be charged state and local sales tax on a variety of items including clothing, computers and school supplies.

“Due to sound fiscal management and a strong economy, the state had almost a $400 million budget surplus,” said Department of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler. “Governor Walker and the Wisconsin State Legislature have determined that some of that surplus should be returned to taxpayers in the form of a sales tax holiday.”

During the Sales Tax Holiday, purchases of these items are not taxable:

  • Clothing – sales price of each item must be $75 or less
  • Computer purchased by a consumer for their personal use – sales price of each computer must be $750 or less
  • School computer supplies purchased by the consumer for their personal use – sales price of each item must be $250 or less
  • School supplies – sales price of each item must be $75 or less
  • Many other items are also included. For a complete list check out www.revenue.wi.gov/taxholiday

The sales tax holiday will be particularly beneficial to families doing back-to-school shopping, but all taxpayers will be able to make purchases of eligible items without paying sales tax.

DSCC: Steil must immediately clarify stances on Roe v. Wade & pre-existing conditions

In response to President Trump nominating Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court, DCCC Spokesman Evan Lukaske issued the following statement calling on Bryan Steil to state his position on whether Roe v. Wade should be overturned and the constitutionality of protections for people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, cancer and diabetes:

“A Supreme Court that ignores the will of the people and only represents the wealthy and largest corporations is a threat to all hardworking men, women and children. Steil must immediately clarify his positons on overturning Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose, and whether protections for people with pre-existing protections like cancer, asthma and diabetes are constitutional.

“Voters deserve to know where Steil stands on these critical, life-altering issues that impact their health and livelihoods, and a failure to speak out is further evidence that Steil stands with the Republican Party over what is right for his constituents.”

DSCC: Vukmir & Nicholson still want to use courts to slash coverage for pre-existing conditions

Contact: Lauren Passalacqua, David Bergstein – 202-545-3567

Roughly one month ago, on June 7, Republicans announced they would use the court system in their ongoing efforts to spike health care costs and slash coverage — but Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir are still backing the GOP’s lawsuit making coverage for pre-existing conditions unconstitutional.

To mark this anniversary, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman David Bergstein released the following statement:

“Republicans like Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir will use every tool they have — from the Senate to the courts — in order to increase health care costs for hard working Americans and threaten critical coverage for pre-existing conditions. For one-month voters of every political persuasion have spoken out against the GOP’s efforts to make coverage for pre-existing conditions unconstitutional, but all Nicholson and Vukmir care about is advancing their own self-serving political agenda.”

DWD: Awards three grants to fund employee resource networks that support nearly 2,900 workers

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

Awards funded through Governor Walker’s Wisconsin Fast Forward program

MADISON – Today, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced three Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants that will fund Employee Resource Networks (ERN) – public/private partnerships with the goal of uniting businesses and community partners to improve job retention and advancement for entry-level, low-wage, and low-skilled workers.  A distinguishing feature of an ERN is that participating businesses pay a share of network costs in exchange for membership.

“Through these partnerships, workers will have on-site support in the form of a case manager or success coach, providing assistance in the form of employment support service to address various barriers to continued employment, improve worker performance and increase workforce retention for local employers,” DWD Secretary Ray Allen said.  “With Wisconsin’s unemployment rate at a historic low of 2.8 percent, ensuring that individuals remained employed while reducing costs for businesses due to turnover is another way we are supporting and growing Wisconsin’s workforce.”

The grant contracts announced today include:

  • DWD awarded $25,321 to Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington Workforce Development, Inc, (WOW WDI) to develop and pilot an ERN in Waukesha and Ozaukee counties, in partnership with local non-profits, workforce programs, economic development resources and employee partners.  Employee partners include Felss Rotaform LLC, Generac Power Systems Inc., Jorgensen Conveyors Inc., SPX Transformer Solutions Inc., and Weldall Manufacturing Inc.
  • Workforce Resources, Inc., of Menomonie received $43,959 to support its Eau Claire Employee Resource Network pilot.  In partnership with American Phoenix Drylock Technologies, United Way of Greater Chippewa Valley, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Chippewa Valley Technical College and the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Resource will provide employment support services to address various barriers to continued employment, to improve worker performance and to increase workforce retention.
  • The Next Door Foundation, Inc., of Milwaukee has received $89,700 to support its Early Head Start Childcare Partnership Employee Resource Network pilot for childcare providers engaged in its Federal Early Head Start Childcare Partnership grant.  Working with Employ Milwaukee, Milwaukee Area Technical College, local non-profits workforce programs, economic development resources and employer partners, Next Door Milwaukee will offer its childcare providers training and employment support services to address the barriers to continued employment, to improve worker performance and to increase workforce retention.

The Wisconsin Fast Forward program is a nationally recognized, innovative talent development solution driven by Wisconsin businesses to train and retain highly skilled workers.  Under Governor Walker’s leadership, more than $200 million has been invested over the past four years and over $140 million was included in the current biennial budget to support workforce development, including funding to expand the Fast Forward program to support the development of innovative training solutions to meet regional workforce demands.

For more information, visit http://wisconsinfastforward.com/

Earth Rider Brewery expanding around Lake Superior

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Earth Rider Brewery is making moves to expand its reach around the edges of Lake Superior and beyond.

 

“We’re planning a phased approach to expansion with the success of the Earth Rider beer brand finding its niche in the area,” CEO Tim Nelson told WisBusiness.com.

 

The company started making beer last year with a $100,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and expanded capacity in April of this year to keep up with growing demand for the company’s beer. Nelson recently opened a $1.5 million funding round, per a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

“This is part of our growth plan,” he said, noting that as the company gains more ground, “we can accept more fermenters and tanks… we can plug those in as needed.”

 

When Earth Rider launched in November 2017, it became the first local brewery in Superior since Northern Brewing shut down in 1967. The project involved over $2.5 million in private investment, with support coming from the City of Superior, the Douglas County Revolving Loan Fund, the Entrepreneur Fund, Nelson himself and others.

 

Earlier this year, the company brought in new machinery for fermentation and other processes which was made by W.M. Sprinkman Corp., a Waukesha steel manufacturer.

See more at WisBusiness.com.

Elections Commission: Absentee voting underway for Aug. 14 partisan primary

CONTACT: Reid Magney, 608-267-7887

MADISON, WI – Absentee ballots are available statewide for the August 14 Partisan Primary, and many municipalities are now offering in-person absentee voting during regular business hours, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Voters who wish to cast an absentee ballot in person should contact their municipal clerk’s office for information about what days and hours they are open for in-person absentee voting, said Meagan Wolfe, the commission’s interim administrator. “If your municipal clerk doesn’t have regular hours scheduled, you can make an appointment to vote absentee.”

“Voters can also request an absentee ballot by mail by contacting their municipal clerk, or by visiting https://myvote.wi.gov,” Wolfe said. The deadline to request a mailed absentee ballot is Thursday, August 9, but the commission recommends making your request as early as possible to account for possible delays in mail delivery. All absentee ballots must be returned to the municipal clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Wisconsin law does not set a specific starting date for in-person absentee voting, which gives clerks a great deal of discretion in when and where to offer in-person absentee voting. The last legal day for in-person absentee voting is Saturday, August 11, though in many places the last day will be Friday, August 10. Some larger cities like Madison and Milwaukee offer multiple locations, while others offer it only at the clerk’s office.

In the August 14, 2018 Partisan Primary, voters will choose major party nominees for Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, U.S. Senator, Representative in Congress, State Senator and State Representative. Voters in some counties may have primaries for Sheriff, Clerk of Circuit Court and Coroner, as well as local referenda.

Voters can see who is on their ballot at https://myvote.wi.gov. For more information about absentee voting, visit http://elections.wi.gov/voters/absentee.

Eloise Anderson: Parents’ Day: Helping parents work, so children can succeed

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

This past Mother’s Day about $1.9 billion dollars’ worth of flowers and $2.2 billion dollars in ties and other clothing items were spent to purchase gifts on Father’s Day. So, why is it that Parents’ Day, held on the fourth Sunday in July, usually passes without anyone noticing?

While Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are wonderful tributes to the individual parent, it is Parents’ Day that should be more meaningful because it recognizes that kids do better when both parents are active and engaged in their lives.

Parents’ Day is also an opportunity for us to evaluate what we are doing to uplift and help parents serve as positive role models. At the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is it our job to make sure that parents who are struggling to find a job or stay employed get the support they need to flourish in the workforce and set a good example for their children. In my opinion there are few better ways for parents to be good role models than by showing their children that through hard work, they can achieve almost anything.

One of the greatest barriers to steady employment for low-income couples and single parents is the ability to find affordable child care. The cost of care is an issue for many families, but for low-income parents it can be especially burdensome. Recently, Governor Walker announced significant targeted rate increases to the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy to take effect on October 1, 2018 with an additional general rate increase implemented in January, 2019. These rate increases continue Governor Walker’s significant investments in early childhood education following his lifting of the child care rate freeze imposed in 2006, and his reform to end the “benefit cliff” in child care assistance, so that parents receiving assistance are always better off taking a raise or accepting a promotion.

Helping low-income parents afford child care is just one way Wisconsin is ensuring that every parent who wants to work has a support system that allows them to enter, stay, and advance in the workforce.

While their probably won’t be many gifts exchanged on Sunday, if we all take a moment to think about what we are doing support parents in our community and commit to giving them a helping hand, this Parents’ Day will be more impactful than any bouquet of flowers or even the most expensive neck tie.

– Anderson is secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin: Domestic violence survivor threatened by ICE, End Abuse and RISE call on agency to stop the intimidation immediately

CONTACT: Chase Tarrier, Public Policy Coordinator
End Domestic Abuse WI
[email protected], 608.237.3985

Representatives of End Domestic Abuse WI, the statewide coalition representing domestic violence shelters across Wisconsin, and RISE Law Center, a legal aid office for immigrant and undocumented survivors of violence, expressed outrage at recent actions taken by ICE representatives against María Portgual, a survivor of domestic violence who has lived in Wisconsin for over 20 years. Directors from the two organizations emphasized the appalling nature of ICE’s use of threats of deportation against a victim of domestic violence in order to locate her abuser, a man with whom she has had no contact in over a year.

“A survivor of domestic violence being threatened by ICE with deportation and separation from her daughter in order to locate her abuser is one of the most egregious examples of re-traumatizing and cruel enforcement tactics that we have ever seen in this state,” said Patti Seger, Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse WI. “The fact that ICE is using fear, intimidation and threats of family separation against undocumented families is appalling in its own right, but it is truly hard to put into words just how disturbing it is to see these tactics used against a victim of domestic violence because of the actions of her abuser. ICE’s use of threats against this victim not only blame her for the abuse she experienced, but could threaten her safety by forcing her into contact with her abusive husband.”

The two organizations are supporting their allies at Voces de la Frontera by calling on ICE Regional Director Ricardo Wong to meet with a delegation of families threatened by ICE, and to clearly and publicly state that ICE will immediately stop threatening María with detention and separation from her daughter.

“María Portgual has had a pending U-Visa application for over three years, so there is absolutely no excuse for ICE to target her with threats to locate her abuser” said Gricel Santiago-Rivera, Executive Director of RISE Law Center. “While María is not one of our clients, we help survivors process U-Visas regularly at our organization to protect them from deportation while they work with law enforcement to hold violent offenders accountable. The idea that ICE would punish a survivor for bravely stepping forward and working with law enforcement by threatening her with deportation is inhumane and absurd. This injustice must stop immediately and this survivor must receive assurance that she will not be targeted for deportation because of the actions of her estranged husband.”

Members of the media are encouraged to attend a press conference regarding the case at 5pm at this evening at Madison Christian Community, located at7118 Old Sauk Rd, Madison, WI 53717. Speakers at the event will include María Portgual and other families under threat of separation by ICE, as well as representatives of Voces de la Frontera, Dane Sanctuary Coalition, Latino Consortium for Action and others.

Evers campaign: Legislative leaders endorse Tony Evers for governor

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MADISON –Just over one month before the August 14 Democratic primary, Tony Evers is proud to announce three more legislative endorsements for his gubernatorial campaign. State Rep. Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha), State Rep. Daniel Riemer (D-Milwaukee) and State Rep. Don Vruwink (D-Milton) have all endorsed the three-time statewide elected State Superintendent.

“I’m pleased to endorse Tony Evers in the race for Governor. In a grueling primary, he has clearly risen to the top, among many fine candidates. More important he has demonstrated his ability to win a statewide election, having won 70 out of 72 counties in his most recent contest. Tony has a long history in Wisconsin as a genuine and capable public servant. That’s what we need to win this race,” Rep. Ohnstad said.

“Wisconsin faces some serious challenges ahead given Scott Walker’s gross mismanagement of our state. We need a governor that is ready to hit the ground running on day one. Tony is the only candidate with statewide executive experience, and he has a strong track record of working with the Legislature to get things done,” said Rep. Riemer.

“I’m supporting Tony Evers for Governor because it’s time for our rural schools and rural communities to once again have a champion in the Governor’s office. Just look around, Scott Walker has left our rural communities behind,” Rep. Vruwink commented. “Tony understands the uphill battles too many rural communities face because he’s lived it. He has the knowledge, relationships and leadership skills to help rural Wisconsin grow and thrive once again.”

In addition to the endorsements of Ohnstad, Riemer and Vruwink, Evers has also been endorsed by former gubernatorial candidate and State Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire), State Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Mount Horeb) and State Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona).

Evers campaign: Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson endorses Evers for governor

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MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee County Clerk George L. Christenson announced his endorsement of Tony Evers for Governor of Wisconsin today.

“Tony Evers has a strong track record serving the citizens of Wisconsin as State Superintendent of our public schools,“ said Clerk Christenson. “His experience is what sets him apart from the crowded field of gubernatorial candidates. I believe he is the right person at the right time to be the next Governor of the State of Wisconsin.”

Evers, who has been endorsed by US Senator Herb Kohl, also earned the support of former primary opponent, Rep. Dana Wachs, who exited the race just over one week ago. Evers also announced the endorsement of former Congressman Dave Obey last week Monday.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not interested in sitting on the sidelines. Wisconsin’s future is at stake,” stated Christenson. “I did my homework and chose the candidate I believe has the best chance of winning in November.” Evers has won statewide three times, most recently winning one year ago with 70 percent of the vote and winning 70 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

As Clerk for Wisconsin’s largest county, Christenson’s endorsement adds to the momentum Evers gained from a recent Marquette University poll that shows him leading all Democratic candidates. George Christenson is the second County Clerk to endorse Tony Evers. Scott McDonell, Clerk of Wisconsin’s second largest county, Dane, endorsed Evers early on.

Clerk Christenson cited Evers’ passion for education, his understanding of economic development and infrastructure needs, commitment to protecting natural resources, administrative experience and statewide name recognition as the leading factors for his support.

“Tony Evers has been a champion for our children and our schools,” Christenson said. “He has demonstrated his clear commitment to progressive values and has what it takes to be an effective leader for the State of Wisconsin. This is why Tony has my support,” Christenson concluded.

The Wisconsin 2018 Fall Primary election will be held on Tuesday, August 14.

Evers campaign: Releases new TV ad, ‘Vision’

MADISON – Fresh off last week’s NBC News and Marist Poll showing Evers with a double-digit lead over both the Democratic primary field and Governor Scott Walker, Evers is releasing his first television ad which will begin airing Tuesday, July 31.  There are just over two weeks until the August 14 primary.

The ad begins with Evers saying, “If we’re going to beat Scott Walker, we need a stronger vision for our future.” He goes on to highlight his experience as State Superintendent and his vision to provide a quality education for every kid in Wisconsin, no matter their zip code.  Evers outlines his support for strong investments in early childhood education, our public schools and training for Wisconsin’s workers.

Watch the TV ad, “Vision” here:   https://youtu.be/evIIeTz6bd8

It will air in markets across Wisconsin on television and digital channels.

Evers in first TV ad pledges to ‘invest in our kids’

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Dem guv candidate Tony Evers is pledging to invest more money in education while taking a shot at Foxconn in his first TV ad.

The 30-second TV ad features the state superintendent talking to a room full of supporters, saying the way to beat Gov. Scott Walker is creating “a stronger vision for our future.”

“Instead of investing a billion dollars in handouts to companies like Foxconn, I’m going to invest in our kids and our workers,” he said.

The ad then shows shots of Evers interacting with students and parents on a playground, as the narrator says Evers as guv would invest in public education, early childhood and technical training.

“What’s best for our kids is best for our state,” Evers says to end the ad. “That’s why I’m going to make sure that every kid gets a great school no matter what the zip code.”

The ad will start airing tomorrow, according to the campaign.

Ewert campaign: Statement about Congressman Duffy

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Contact- David Hile 612-559-0298
Marshfield WI- Dr. Brian Ewert has released a statement on Congressman Duffy’s lack of reaction to President Trump’s comments with Russian President Putin.
“Over the past few days, I have waited to see if Congressman Duffy would join the bravest of his colleagues and condemn the comments made by President Trump in regards to NATO and Russia. Congressman Duffy has remained silent.
An attack on NATO is an attack on the devotion of the greatest generation, who drove back the forces of totalitarianism in Europe, securing a better future for the world. We owe it to that generation and their legacy to support the coalition they formed to keep the forces of evil at bay.
Putin is a dictator by any definition of the word. He is a leader who sees the rise of democracy as a threat to his power. The beacon of hope, the shining city on the hill, that is America is a threat to his need to control as much of the world as possible. It is clear that for him the Cold War never ended, and he is more than happy to prolong it.
If a congressman is unable to stand up against a dictator, unable to defend the unprecedented accomplishments of the greatest generation, then he is unworthy of the high honor of representing the 7th District. The people of the 7th deserve a congressman that will speak out against threats to our freedom. They deserve a congressman brave enough to speak out against a president of his own party. They deserve someone who will lead, instead of follow.”
Thank you,
David Hile
Campaign Manager
Ewert for Congress
612-559-0298

 

EXPO: Prison reform even at DOC office tomorrow

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Contact: Jerome Dillard (608) 320-0188

Protest planned for:

Tuesday, July 3rd at 11:30am

WI Dept. of Correction
3099 E. Washington Ave. Madison, WI

Members of many faith a civic communities, led by EXPO (EX-incarcerated People Organizing), MOSES, WISDOM, the ACLU and the Gamaliel Network, will gather on Tuesday to call for justice for community leader, Minister Caliph Muab-El

Caliph has been imprisoned by the state of Wisconsin since February 7, 2018, even though he has not been charged with a crime. Minister Muab-El was detained because of a single, third-party accusation, which the Dane County District Attorney’s office found to be baseless.

There has not even been a hearing regarding Caliph’s imprisonment. A hearing, scheduled for May 1, was not completed because of Department of Corrections logistical issues. In the meantime, because he is being held on a “revocation hold,” Mr. Muab-El has no right to bail.

“This isn’t just about Caliph,” says EXPO Lead Organizer, Jerome Dillard. “This story is repeated thousands of times every year in Wisconsin. The DOC locks people up who have not been convicted of a new crime. Even if they are not one of the 3,000 people sent back to prison for a crimeless revocation, people lose their jobs, lose their apartments, miss their car payments because of baseless ‘holds’ like this. The DOC acts this way because no one holds them accountable. This has to stop.”

First Lady Walker: Addresses the impact of childhood trauma at Washington D.C. forum

Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

WASHINGTON – First Lady Tonette Walker today spoke at the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy Forum about how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can impact a child’s well-being throughout their lives and how schools can support these children by practicing Trauma-Informed Care (TIC). The forum is entitled: Addressing Trauma in School-Aged Children and it brings together experts, policymakers, academics, and organizational leaders.

“We need to help children who have experienced toxic stress in their lives overcome their past by building resiliency and increasing their social support network,” said Mrs. Walker. “By coming together to discuss the importance of Trauma-Informed Care, we are moving in the right direction to make Wisconsin and our entire country trauma-informed.”

46 million children in the United States have been affected by trauma in the form of violence, crime, and maltreatment. Research shows a correlation between the number of ACEs a child experiences and negative outcomes later on in life including juvenile offending, higher rates of depression, and chronic health problems.

Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Policy works to identify important national health policy issues by drawing on experts from various fields. Mrs. Walker was joined on stage by Ellen Pais, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Education Partnership; Kiersten Stewart with Futures Without Violence; Sharon Hoover from the University of Maryland School of Medicine; and Sandra Wilkniss with the National Governors Association.

Mrs. Walker has been a trailblazer in incorporating Trauma-Informed Care throughout Wisconsin and the nation. She worked in collaboration with Fostering Futures to successfully implement TIC across multiple Wisconsin agencies, county human service systems, and tribal nations. She worked on the federal level to help draft House Resolution 443 and Senate Resolution 346, which both aim to increase the promotion and implementation of TIC. As a result of her efforts, May was recognized as Trauma-Informed Care Month.

First Lady Walker: Emphasizes the importance of Trauma-Informed Care in school safety

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

Welcomes U.S. Secretaries DeVos and Azar to Adams-Friendship School District

MADISON – First Lady Tonette Walker today welcomed U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to Wisconsin for the Federal Commission on School Safety’s visit to Adams-Friendship School District. The focus of the event, “Transforming School Climate and Culture to Meet the Behavioral Health Needs of Students” incorporates Trauma-Informed Care (TIC).

“Some students fall under the radar by being quiet and keeping to themselves—but, by building strong relationships with every student, we can be more proactive and recognize distress before it escalates,” said Mrs. Walker a long-time advocate of TIC. “The importance of emotional and psychological safety is a critical component to keeping our schools safe. This goes above and beyond physical safety and allows us to look deeper on how to help all of our students.”

The Federal Commission on School Safety was created in March 2018. Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education leads the Commission, which is charged with keeping students safe at school. The Commission looks at a range of issues including social emotional support, school safety infrastructure, discussion on minimum age for firearm purchases, and the impact that video games and the media have on violence. The Commission has been holding formal commission meetings, field visits, and listening sessions to learn about best practices in school safety.

Members of the Commission who were in attendance at today’s event included Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education and Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Mrs. Walker has been a trailblazer in incorporating TIC throughout Wisconsin and the nation. In collaboration with Fostering Futures, she has led efforts TIC transformation across multiple Wisconsin agencies, county human service systems, and tribal nations. She has worked on the federal level to pass House Resolution 443 and Senate Resolution 346, which both aim to increase the promotion and implementation of TIC. As a result of her efforts, May was recognized as Trauma-Informed Care Month.

First Lady Walker: Promotes the importance of trauma-informed care at Congressman Mike Gallagher’s ‘Youth Voices: A Trauma-Informed Perspective’ panel

Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

GREEN BAY – First Lady Tonette Walker today participated in Congressman Mike Gallagher’s (WI-8) panel “Youth Voices: A Trauma-Informed Perspective” to discuss the critical role Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have in influencing a child’s behavior and life. The panel focused on how to expand the reach of Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) to more areas, especially foster care.

“Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress are a root cause or exacerbating factor of many of our biggest public health issues,” said Mrs. Walker. “This is certainly the case for children in foster care and our state’s need for supportive and skilled foster parents is growing. I hope that people who generously step up to become foster parents are willing to learn about the impact of ACEs and gain the TIC skills that will improve outcomes for these kids.”

In addition to Congressman Mike Gallagher, other panelists discussing TIC included Wisconsin State Assembly Representative Paul Tittl and Representative Joel Kitchens.

There are almost 8,000 children in Wisconsin who have been placed in out-of-home care due to neglect or abuse as of 2017. Children in the child welfare system have a higher likelihood of experiencing more ACEs which increases the need for TIC.

Earlier this year, Governor Scott Walker signed 11 bills as a part of a bill package created by the 2017 Speaker’s Task Force on Foster Care to help improve outcomes for children in Wisconsin’s foster care system. TIC is an approach that has been recognized as essential in helping these children and families.

Mrs. Walker has been working to spread information and knowledge about TIC since 2011. Her efforts have resulted in several state agencies, county human service systems, and tribal nations adopting TIC.

Flynn Assembly campaign: Statement on fundraising numbers

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Greenfield – Erica Flynn, candidate for the 84th Assembly District released the following
statement in regard to the campaign’s fundraising numbers for the last reporting period:

“I am so thankful to all of the contributors who have invested in my campaign for state
representative. The response we have seen proves that people want new leadership in Madison.

Our finance report shows that our campaign is truly a grassroots effort, with over 320 individual
donors at an average of $48 per contribution.”

The finance report was submitted to the Ethics Commission on July 13.

Erica Flynn is a Democrat running for State Assembly in the 84th Assembly District. Her
legislative priorities include expanding health care to all Wisconsinites, restoring funding to
public schools and universities, and improving our local roads and infrastructure.

Flynn campaign: Archbishop Rembert Weakland: Flynn and attorneys not involved in transfers

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Contact: Bryan Kennedy – (414) 517-3864

(Milwaukee) – In recent months, Republicans and some Democrats have claimed that gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn was responsible for transfers of abusive priests when Flynn was a litigation partner at Quarles and Brady and served as counsel to the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

Retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland confirmed that neither Flynn nor any lawyers were involved in transfers of abusive priests. Click here to read Weakland’s email statement.

Matt Flynn responded, “Thank you to Archbishop Weakland for confirming that neither I nor any lawyers were involved in the reassignment of priests who had been accused of abuse of minors. Allegations by Republicans, some Democrats, and others to the contrary are false.”

Flynn campaign: Files strong fundraising report for first half of 2018

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Contact: Bryan Kennedy – (414) 517-3864

Democratic challenger has raised nearly $700,000 since the start of the campaign

(Milwaukee) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn’s campaign today announced it raised $687,569.10 between October 10, 2017 and June 30, 2018. The campaign has filed a strong fundraising report with $403,462.77 on hand.

“The fundraising report is very good news for our campaign,” said Flynn. “Now more than ever, Wisconsin needs a governor with the guts to take on the Russians, take on Foxconn, and take on the special interests of the Republican donor cartel. I’m ready to do it and move Wisconsin Forward again.”

Flynn campaign: Matt Flynn announces plan to create new Office of Non-Profit Liaison

Contact: Bryan Kennedy – (414) 517-3864

(Milwaukee) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn today announced a plan to create a new office of a Non-Profit Liaison to support philanthropic causes in Wisconsin.

“Philanthropic organizations in Wisconsin support tens of thousands of people every year,” said Flynn. “Providing education, health services, affordable housing, and many others, many people couldn’t survive without their support. As a result, it is time to work more closely with these organization by creating an office specifically tasked with working with them.

“Most non-profits know what they need and know how best to address the problems they tackle. Rather than stepping on toes, it is vital that the government works with them to provide what support and funding it can.

“Given the significant growth of the non-profit sector in Wisconsin over the past forty years, which now includes more than 30,000 registered charitable organizations, it requires a cabinet-level position devoted entirely to the health of the non-profit sector in the state. Rather than dealing with numerous state agencies, non-profit organizations should be able to communicate with one state leader, appointed by the governor, who will focus on their collective needs and goals.

“By creating this position, I would be publicly recognizing, on a sustained basis, the important contributions that these non-profit organizations make by giving the non-profit sector a direct line of communication to me as governor and a seat at the governor’s table.”

Flynn campaign: Matt Flynn blasts Scott Walker for meeting with Russian spy

Contact: Bryan Kennedy – (414) 517-3864

Flynn says now, more than ever, we need a governor we can trust to stand up to America’s enemies and adversaries

(Milwaukee) – Today as President Donald Trump betrayed our country in his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the U.S. Department of Justice arrested Maria Butina and charged her with conspiracy to act as a Russian agent. Butina has been in the United States posing as a gun-rights activist with the National Rifle Association (NRA). In 2015, shortly before he launched his failed presidential campaign, Scott Walker met with Butina and allegedly greeted her in Russian.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn released the following statement condemning Trump and Walker for putting Russian interests over American interests.

“As I have said since the start of this campaign, Donald Trump is betraying our country to the Russians and it is destroying our democracy. Scott Walker has betrayed Wisconsin to the Republican donor cartel.

“Trump is the tip of the spear of Russian military intelligence. He is on the take, and blackmailed by the Russians. It is more important than ever before that we have leaders who are ready and willing to stand up to Russia. We need a Democratic governor to protect our liberties from the Trump/Walker axis.

“When I served with the Sixth Fleet in the Navy, we stood up to the Russians. And we have to stand up to them now. I am ready to defend our state, our country, our constitution, and our elections from Vladimir Putin and the Russians as governor.”

Flynn campaign: Matt Flynn to launch first campaign ad this week

Contact: Bryan Kennedy – (414) 517-3864

(Milwaukee) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn will launch his first television advertisement of the campaign this week. In the spot, titled “Only Candidate”, Flynn distinguishes himself as the only candidate with a plan to stop Foxconn.

“I am excited to release my first campaign ad which will show Wisconsin Democrats why I am the correct choice to take on Walker in the fall,” said Flynn. “This election is too important to sit out, and we need a candidate who is ready and willing to stand up to Donald Trump and Scott Walker. I’m the only veteran in the race and the only one with a plan to stop Foxconn.”

The Flynn campaign added the commercial to his YouTube page. It can be seen here.

Flynn continues to defend archdiocese work

Dem guv candidate Matt Flynn is continuing to defend his work for the Milwaukee Archdiocese, insisting reporters were misreading a deposition from the former archbishop in which he testified the lawyer kept a list of priest accused of sexually abusing minors.

Flynn told reporters yesterday that the list referenced a list of lawsuits against the archdiocese and didn’t show that he was aware of priests who were transferred to other parishes after being accused of abuse.

He also insisted a priest later defrocked for abusing minors had mischaracterized their 1993 meeting after the Rev. Marvin Knighton was accused of abusing a minor. Flynn denied ever giving the then-priest advice to wait it out and see if the boy filed a complaint.

And Flynn, who said he has put more than $140,000 of his own money into his guv campaign, railed against “elites” in the Dem Party and the GOP that he said are pushing the story over his work with the archdiocese. When pressed on his comments about elites, the Yale-educated attorney and former state Dem chair said he won’t apologize for his personal money.

“Most people didn’t work as hard as I did,” Flynn said on a conference call.

Flynn also told reporters he was “tired of people complaining and moaning that they don’t have a lot of money.” Flynn insisted he was talking about elites he said were making the guv race a “victimology seminar.”

Flynn hosted the conference call Monday to tout a statement from Rembert Weakland, who was archbishop of Milwaukee from 1977 to 2002 and has been accused of covering up allegations of sexual abuse by priests. In the email, Weakland laid out the procedure regarding priests accused of pedophilia, including that members of the personnel board made suggestions to the archbishop on where they thought the priests could be assigned. The archbishop made the final decision and the “lawyers were not involved.” Those reassigned were to have no ministry to youth, he wrote.

But just before the call, the state GOP released a 2003 letter from the Rev. Marv Knighton, who wrote that he met with Flynn after he was accused of abusing a minor and saw the child’s father in a grocery store. Knighton said Flynn suggested he “simply wait to see” if a report was filed. After a couple of weeks, Flynn told Knighton “not to worry about it” and it would be “too much of a hassle” when the then-priest wanted Flynn to meet with the accuser.

Flynn fired back the letter was “self-serving” and written 10 years after the meeting. He added he represented the archdiocese, not Knighton and didn’t offer the former priest any legal advice.

“I would never say that. I never said that,” Flynn said of Knighton’s suggestion he believed a meeting with the accuser’s family would be a hassle.

Knighton was dismissed from the priesthood in 2011 following a church trial that found him guilty on two counts of abuse. GOP spokesman Alec Zimmerman said the letter showed Flynn “lied about his role protecting these dangerous predators.”

Flynn said he didn’t believe Knighton’s proclamations of innocence 25 years ago and called his account of the meeting untrustworthy.

Flynn defended the credibility of Weakland, who admitted to a relationship with a man who the archdiocese paid $450,000 to settle a claim against the archbishop over the affair.

He also rejected the suggestion a Weakland deposition from 2011 showed he participated in the reassignment of priests who had been accused of abuse.

According to the deposition, Weakland was asked if he remembered the first time he compiled a list of those who had sexually abused minors or asked one to be put together. Weakland said he never kept a list himself, but Flynn “would have a list, and so at least I would have a list from him.”

Flynn insisted that list referenced claims against the archdiocese, not abusive priests, and told reporters they were misreading the deposition because they hadn’t attended law school.

Milwaukee Father Dominic Roscioli, in a statement released by a group representing the survivors of priest abuse, denounced Weakland’s letter. He added no one was claiming Flynn signed the transfer order of a priest, saying he didn’t have that power as a lawyer for the archdiocese. Instead, Roscioli argued Flynn was involved in the transfer practice and advised Weakland about priests before and after they were moved.

“It was wrong for Flynn to cover up sex crimes against children,” Roscioli said. “Church officials who have done so should resign or be removed from office. And for the same reason, Matt Flynn should end his campaign for governor of Wisconsin.”

Read the Knighton letter the GOP released:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/180723Knighton.pdf

Read the Weakland deposition; the section mentioning Flynn is on page 12:
https://www.andersonadvocates.com/Documents/Key_Milwaukee_Documents/Final_Weakland_Deposition.pdf

Flynn in first TV ad plays up pledge to end Foxconn deal

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Dem guv candidate Matt Flynn is playing up his commitment to end the state’s deal with Foxconn in the first TV ad of the primary.

The 30 second ad opens with Flynn standing beside the other seven Dem gubernatorial candidates, who all gradually disappear into the background as the Navy veteran highlights his standing as the only vet in the race — “and the only one taking a stand to stop the Foxconn deal.”

“Scott Walker’s corrupt 4.5 billion dollar corporate welfare giveaway to a Chinese company, all while Trump and Walker put Harley Davidson jobs at risk,” Flynn says.  

He also pledges to go to court on his first day as guv and stop the Foxconn deal, adding he’ll use the money that would have gone toward the Chinese tech company for schools, roads and health care.

“Democrat Matt Flynn, beating Walker, stopping Foxconn,” a narrator says to conclude the ad. “Let’s win with Flynn.”

The ad is airing on broadcast and cable starting Friday, campaign manager Bryan Kennedy said. It’s running in four markets, including Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay. The buy, he said, is more than $250,000.  

Former Rep. Pridemore: Endorses State Senator Leah Vukmir for the office of US Senator from the State of Wisconsin

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Press Release: For Immediate Use
Date: July 30, 2018
Subject: Leah Vukmir Endorsement

I have worked with Senator Vukmir both in the Wisconsin Assembly and the Senate. She has stood up for conservative principles for the entire time I have known her. She didn’t get the reputation for being an “iron lady” for sitting on her hands like the current occupant of the US Senate seat has. Senator Vukmir will stand up for what is right even if her position goes against leaderships wishes. We should all be proud to have her representing us in the US Senate as much as we did when she represented us in the Wisconsin Senate.

The battle in the primary has been long but enlightening. Although Senator Vukmir’s
competition has demonstrated a good current knowledge of the national issues, he has
exposed himself as being indecisive early on with tough issues like abortion. He has repeatedly declined to speak to me privately after personally promising to do so when I was only trying to help a fellow comrade in arms. I can’t trust someone who has no voting record, no record of supporting his new party or a record of accomplishments outside of the military.

I will gladly cast my vote for Leah Vukmir on August 14 because she will be well positioned to defeat the current incumbent who has proven to be ineffective, a super partisan, and certainly unrepresentative of Wisconsin values.

Don Pridemore
414-550-2175

Former state Sen. Mike Ellis passes away

Former Sen. Mike Ellis, who spent 44 years in the state Legislature, has passed away, according to Sen. Roger Roth, who succeeded him for his Appleton-area Senate seat.

“Someone once told me that Mike Ellis wasn’t just the leader of the Senate, he was the Senate,” Roth said. “No matter what was happening in the Capitol, Mike knew about it and was already working it out. He has left a lasting impression on this state because of his strong personality and dedication to public service.”

Gov. Scott Walker in a statement called Ellis “a giant in the Legislature and a bigger-than-life personality in Wisconsin politics.”

Ellis, 77, was elected to the Assembly in 1970 and the Senate in 1982. He served as the Senate’s president, minority leader and majority leader.

Forward Kenosha, Kenosha County Dem Party: Host 1st CD Dem primary forum

Kenosha, WI – In an effort to inform the first Congressional District voters ahead of the August 14th primary election, Forward Kenosha and the Kenosha County Democratic Party are hosting the Congressional District 1 Democratic Primary Forum between Cathy Myers and Randy Bryce. Myers and Bryce are set to face-off in the August 14th primary for the chance to run for the seat currently held by Paul Ryan.

WHO: Forward Kenosha and the Kenosha County Democratic Party host candidates Cathy Myers and Randy Bryce; moderated by WGTD’s Len Iaquinta

WHAT: Congressional District 1 Democratic Candidate Forum

WHEN: Wednesday, July 11th – 6:30 to 8:00 pm

WHERE: UAW Local 72 Hall, 3615 Washington Rd., Kenosha WI 53144

“With few opportunities for CD1 constituents to see these candidates side-by-side prior to casting our votes in the primary, we are happy to provide this opportunity to hear Randy Bryce and Cathy Myers talk about the issues that are important to us. It is critical that as voters we understand the strengths of both candidates so we can choose the individual who will best represent our needs in Washington,” said Jodi Muerhoff, Acting President of Forward Kenosha.

“The Kenosha County Democratic Party is pleased to cosponsor this forum that will give the constituents of the 1st Congressional District an equal opportunity to hear both candidates before the August 14th Primary Election. It is important that voters hear each candidate’s stance on the issues in this crucial election,” said Sally Simpson, Treasurer of the Kenosha County Democratic Party.

Foxconn opening innovation center in Green Bay

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Foxconn will have a presence in Green Bay through a recently announced innovation center, employing as many as 200.

 

According to a release from the company, this move will help forge connections with potential partners for Foxconn’s supply chain in the Green Bay area.

 

Foxconn said Friday it has reached an agreement to purchase the WaterMark building, a 75,000-square-foot, six-floor office building located near the Fox River. The company says it will close on the property soon, and plans to open the innovation center later this year.

 

This comes on the heels of Foxconn’s groundbreaking ceremony for its $10 billion manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant. Gov. Scott Walker’s office says the project has an expected $7 billion annual economic impact on the state.

 

Jerry Murphy, executive director of economic development group New North, says the Green Bay facility will benefit the entire 18-county northeast Wisconsin region.

 

“We’ve always believed that the benefits of Foxconn would reach into the New North,” Murphy said. “We’ve seen some of that through the initial awarding of contracts. Today’s announcement takes things to another level.”

 

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, says the new center “will have a direct effect on startups and emerging companies as well as technologies that can be adopted by those companies.”

 

“To me, it’s further evidence of their intent to be a statewide company,” he told WisBusiness.com. “Certainly, they have a big footprint in southeast Wisconsin, but they’re showing every sign they want to be involved with the rest of the state.”

See more at WisBusiness.com.

Foxconn Technology Group: Issues request for proposals for upgrades and modernization of company’s North American corporate headquarters in downtown Milwaukee

Office Will Serve as Important Link to Innovation Centers Across Wisconsin, Play Vital Role in Talent Recruitment and Development Efforts, and Showcase the Vibrant AI 8K+5G Ecosystem that Foxconn is Building

Milwaukee, WI – Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn) announced today it has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for architects and engineers to provide design services to modernize and enhance its North American corporate headquarters at 611 E. Wisconsin Ave. in Downtown Milwaukee.

“Beginning the RFP process on our North American corporate headquarters is an important step forward in Foxconn’s progress in Wisconsin,” said Dr. Alan Yeung, Director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives for Foxconn.  “We are looking for a firm that will support our vision for this key facility and provide design possibilities for the building that both showcase Foxconn’s continuing innovation in leading-edge technologies that AI 8K+5G will enable and the continued development of the transformational Wisconn Valley project.”

Dr. Yeung continued, “With its own innovation center, our Milwaukee headquarters will help us connect entrepreneurs and startups with the advanced technology being developed and produced at the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park campus in Mount Pleasant.  The headquarters will also serve a vital role in linking our Mount Pleasant campus with our other statewide innovation centers and potential supply chain partners across Wisconsin.  Recruitment will be a key focus of employees working at the headquarters as Foxconn strives to attract the best and brightest talent to work for the company.  To make that recruitment successful, we need a state-of-the-art facility as our headquarters.  The 611 is a great building in a great location in a great city, and we want to enhance and modernize it for the future.”

The seven-story 611 building is approximately 145,000 square feet, sits on two acres and was purchased by Foxconn from Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. in June.  About 500 personnel will work from the facility.

Dr. Yeung said that Wisconsin architectural and engineering firms will be given preference in the RFP process.  He added, “Foxconn is committed to our ‘Wisconsin First’ approach, which gives priority to companies with a strong track record and operations in Wisconsin.  We look forward to our continued partnership with companies around the state as we collaborate with the business community and other local stakeholders to realize our shared goal of contributing to Wisconsin’s transformation into a global hub for high-tech companies.”

The RFP on the North American headquarters focuses on providing services that include:

  • Sustainable design features
  • Building improvements required for multi-tenant occupancy
  • “Smart Building” alternatives
  • Implementing energy efficiency components
  • Renovation or build-out of workspaces
  • Improvements to “refresh” building finishes and work environment
  • Lighting alternatives (architectural and security)
  • Interior and exterior signage

Final selection of the chosen firm is expected to take place in September, with work slated to begin later that month.  In addition to work on the North American headquarters, the selected firm may be considered for work on other Foxconn projects in Wisconsin.

The Downtown Milwaukee building is one of three Foxconn locations across Wisconsin in addition to the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park in Mount Pleasant.  Foxconn also has announced plans to establish offices in both Eau Claire and Green Bay.