Daily Archives: September 13, 2018

AARP Wisconsin: Wisconsin consumers putting their digital IDs at risk, says AARP survey

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MADISON, WISCONSIN – As data breach incidents proliferate, a new AARP survey finds that that an alarming number of Wisconsin residents have failed to take the basic precautions against identity fraud.

In response, AARP and the AARP Fraud Watch Network launched a campaign to raise awareness of identity theft risks and educate consumers on how to enhance the safety of their personal information.

Reports of data breaches have become commonplace – from Equifax to Target, Uber and Home Depot. According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, there have been more than 2,000 data breaches since 2015, impacting over 7 billion records. An eye-opening cover story in the September edition of the AARP Bulletin explains how some of this hacked personal information can end up for sale on the Dark Web.

While some security experts say almost all consumers have likely been affected in some manner by a data breach, AARP’s survey shows that many put themselves in even higher jeopardy due to their risky online behavior:

• Password Re-use – Half (51%) of adults have used the same password for more than one online account.

• Bank Account Access – Only 4 in 10 (44%) respondents reported having online access to all of their bank accounts.

• Credit Report – Half of adults (50%) reported that they have experienced fraudulent charges on their credit or debit card, yet very few (17%) have ordered a security freeze on their credit report.

• Digital ID Know-How – 6 of 10 adults (68%) failed a quiz testing their “digital identity IQ”.

“Our survey results indicate that a lot of people may feel overwhelmed, and have just given up,” said AARP Wisconsin State Director Sam Wilson. “Two-thirds of those surveyed said that given the number of data breaches that have occurred, they think it is inevitable that criminals will be able to exploit their credit at some point. But we are emphasizing that there are powerful things you can do to make sure that stolen data can’t be used against you.”

The AARP Fraud Watch Network campaign recommends people take these three steps to protect their digital identity:

· Order a Freeze – Put a security freeze in place with the three credit reporting bureaus so that no one can access your credit file or open a new credit account with your information. For a guide to the process, visit www.aarp.org/CreditFreeze. Traditionally there has been a fee for placing a freeze on your credit report, but beginning later this month the process is free thanks to legislation passed by Congress in May.

· Set up Digital Access – Set up online access to all of your financial accounts – bank accounts, credit cards, 401(k)s, etc. — and regularly monitor the accounts so you can stay up-to-date on all transactions and recognize any fraudulent activity that may occur.

· Use Separate Passwords – Make sure you use unique passwords for each of your online accounts. That way, if one account is hacked, it does not put your other accounts at risk. A good way to manage all of those unique passwords is to use a digital password manager. These services keep all your passwords secure and help you create different, strong passwords for each of your online accounts.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network launched in 2013 as a free resource for people of all ages. Consumers may sign up for “Watchdog Alert” emails that deliver information about scams, or call a free helpline at 877-908-3360 to speak with volunteers trained in fraud counseling.

The Fraud Watch Network website provides information about fraud and scams, prevention tips from experts, an interactive scam-tracking map, fun educational quizzes, and video presentations.

ABC of Wisconsin: Apprenticeship program reaches record high enrollment

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

A record 400 new contracted apprentices enrolled in Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin’s apprenticeship program this fall, bringing the program’s total number of active participants to 1,454 across 12 construction trades.

The enrollment numbers are the highest since the launch of ABC of Wisconsin’s apprenticeship program in 1987. The program has trained tens of thousands of workers over the years in carpentry, electrical, plumbing, roofing, HVAC, sheet metal, steamfitting, sprinkler fitting, heavy equipment operating, concrete finishing, heat and frost insulating and construction craft laborer.

“We are very excited to see such strong and growing interest in careers in the trades,” said John Mielke, president of ABC of Wisconsin. “Our apprenticeship program is helping the industry address skilled labor shortages and creating new family sustaining careers without the expense of a four-year college degree.”

ABC of Wisconsin apprentices “learn while they earn,” receiving paid on-the-job and in-class training for three to five years while working in their selected trade. The ABC Apprenticeship Program is certified by the state’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards and, just like a college degree, apprentices who complete the program earn a certification in their field. ABC hosts a graduation banquet each spring to salute those who have completed their apprenticeships.

In addition, apprentices from around the state have the opportunity to test their skills against each other during the annual ABC of Wisconsin Skill Competition. Winners of the statewide contest advance to compete against the top apprentices in the country at the National Craft Championships.

Learn more about apprenticeship and careers in construction at www.abcwi.org or www.buildyourcareerwi.org.

Conservatives for a Clean Energy Future: Wisconsin state leaders named clean energy champions

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Contact: Jeff Gaunt, 847-714-4014

Lt. Governor Kleefisch and Representative Novak recognized for leading on conservative energy policy solutions

MADISON, Wis. – Conservatives for a Clean Energy Future (CCEF), a national nonprofit focused on state-based clean energy efforts, today announced that Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and State Representative Todd Novak (R – Dodgeville) have been recognized as 2018 Conservative Clean Energy Champions.

CCEF’S Conservative Clean Energy Champions are state and local policymakers across the country who have shown consistent and exceptional support for conservative policy initiatives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch has been an ardent supporter of the state’s renewable energy sector. She has worked to educate the public and her fellow state leaders about the economic benefits of clean energy, highlighting the significant impact that affordable and reliable renewable sources like bioenergy and solar power have had on the growth of rural Wisconsin. Similarly, Representative Todd Novak has supported renewable energy development throughout the state and in his district, which is home to the Quilt Block Wind Farm. He is dedicated to helping position Wisconsin as an energy leader for decades to come, recognizing homegrown clean energy’s role in drawing investments and innovation to the state.

“Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Representative Todd Novak are strong conservative leaders dedicated to paving the way for a clean energy future,” said Mark Pischea, president of CCEF. “These Champions have been vocal supporters of conservative energy policy solutions that emphasize clean, renewable energy and energy waste reduction. It’s polices like these that spark true innovation, create jobs, protect ratepayers and grow the economy in states like Wisconsin.”

CCEF has recognized 44 Champions across 14 states. To learn more about the 2018 Conservative Clean Energy Champions, visit www.conservatives4energy.org.

DC Wrap: Ryan undecided on future after Congress, says businesses should ‘be patient’ through Trump administration tariffs

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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, Sept. 7-13

Part of the joy in so many families is introducing the new generation to hunting, to fishing, to hiking, boating, all sorts of things.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, touting Congress’ need to reauthorize the critical Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides federal dollars to further conservation efforts. The fund is set to expire Sept. 30. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir said in a statement to WAOW Baldwin “pretends she’s on the side of our sportsmen.”

My guess is they’re not really nuts about those efforts.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in comments to The Weekly Standard following a meeting with White House trade adviser Peter Navarro last week. Johnson, a co-sponsor of a bill that would limit the president’s ability to impose tariffs on the grounds of national security without congressional approval, told reporters the bill hadn’t come up during their meeting. But he said the administration’s “probably not real nuts” about the legislation.

This week’s news

— Speaker Paul Ryan says he still hasn’t decided what he’ll do after he leaves the House.

While the Janesville Republican says he has plans to be a volleyball coach come January, he added he’ll figure out the rest once his term is officially up.

Ryan also said he doesn’t have any regrets about his time in Congress, telling the crowd at a WisPolitics.com Q&A in D.C. yesterday he’s “really, really at peace with things.”

“I’m honored to have been able to get our team to put together an agenda, to take it to the country, then to have unified government and the opportunity to put this agenda in place,” he said.

And he touted a series of bills that cleared both chambers so far this session, including the tax overhaul effort, heightened defense spending and legislation to expand veterans’ access to VA-funded health care, among other things.

Ryan said while he’s leaving Congress, he “won’t divorce myself from politics and policy.”

“I’m a cause guy,” he said. “I’m going to be working on the causes I care about in some other capacity.”

 

— Ryan said companies affected by the tariffs should “be patient” as the Trump administration continues pursuing its trade policies.

While he said he doesn’t like tariffs, he agrees the U.S. needs trade agreements with its North American and European allies that “fit the 21st century.”

After that, he said, the U.S. can “rally the developed world” to put pressure on China to “play by the rules.”  

“So I think the idea and the strategy of — it’s hard ball, it’s tariffs, it’s tough talk — but if it results in good agreements with our allies and a unified developed world front to go get China to play by the rules, then that’s a pretty darn good outcome,” he said. “So I would simply say, be patient for that.”

Asked if the advice also applies to farmers, Ryan said yes, referencing recent conversations he’s had with Wisconsin ag producers who “like the end game and they like the fact that the president is trying to get a fairer deal at the end of the day for the country.”

— Ryan also blamed rising deficits on entitlement spending.

“The issue is entitlements,” he said. “It always has been and always will be.”

Recent CBO reports show over the first 11 months of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, the deficit was $895 billion, $222 billion higher than the last fiscal year.

But Ryan defended the tax cuts within the massive GOP tax overhaul package President Trump signed into law in December. Noting that revenues have increased 1 percent so far, he said the nation will see more corporations stay in the U.S. along with new jobs and better living standards that mean more “people that are coming of poverty and paying taxes.”

“Let’s keep our eye on the ball, which is we need to get control of our entitlement programs and the good news in that story is good reforms means we can better fulfill the mission of these important programs, health and retirement security, without bankrupting the country,” he said.  

See a CSPAN video of Ryan’s comments.


— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan says the idea of impeaching President Trump is largely a “moot conversation” given the current makeup of Congress and its leadership.

The Town of Vermont Dem, who in early 2017 brought up the possibility of impeachment on the House floor, told reporters at his Madison office this week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 election is “flowing extremely well” and the best thing Dems can do is let it run its course.

“I think this is the best way to let it happen, and let’s get as much information as possible,” he said. “But Paul Ryan’s not going to let this Congress do anything to affect this president, so it’s kind of a moot conversation in many ways.”

Asked about the prospect of impeachment if Dems win the House in November, Pocan said Congress would first need to “change some of the players” and then wait for more information from the Mueller investigation “that’s going to be most relevant” to continue talks around impeachment.

Both, he said, “are very likely to happen at this point.”

Hear Pocan’s comments to reporters.

See more in Monday’s PM Update.


— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy is again pushing legislation to remove gray wolves from the federal endangered species list.

The Wausau Republican, as well as U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, have been vocal in their support for delisting the gray wolf. The three last year introduced legislation that would nix gray wolves as endangered in various Great Lakes states and Wyoming.  

The Obama administration in 2012 first delisted the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2014, the wolves were returned to the federal endangered species list after a lawsuit, resulting in the end of wolf trapping and hunting.   

Duffy in a statement touted the effort, saying Wisconsin officials “know what’s better for our state’s ecosystem better than activist judges in Washington.”

“I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to delist the gray wolf because Wisconsin farmers deserve to be able to protect their livestock, and they should not suffer because of the decisions made by an overreaching federal government a thousand miles away,” he said.

 

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is calling on Speaker Paul Ryan and the House to include a permanent ‘Buy America’ commitment in the chamber’s water infrastructure legislation.

This standard would require water infrastructure projects funded through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund only use American-made iron and steel.

While the Senate version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which has passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee includes Baldwin’s permanent ‘Buy America’ requirement, it is not included in the House version of the bill.

In further efforts to advance this legislation in the House, Baldwin has sent a letter to President Trump, who has previously spoken in support of the bill, asking him to ensure that there is a permanent ‘Buy America’ commitment in the final version of legislation he receives from the House.

 

— Dem U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore has introduced a bill to expand federal dollars for implementing new water treatment technologies.

The legislation is a companion bill to U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s “Water Technology Acceleration Act,” and would look to bolster funding for state and local governments.

Moore, D-Milwaukee, said in a statement the bill would “ensure communities have the resources they need to test and implement new water technologies that keep our water clean and our children healthy.”

“Inaction is unacceptable at a time when thousands of cities across the country, including Milwaukee, have drinking water with unsafe levels of lead,” she said. “We must unlock this innovative research to solve our nation’s water challenges.”

 

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is calling on lawmakers to implement stricter limits on subsidy payments under the farm bill.

The La Crosse Dem’s call comes as members of the House and Senate have begun meeting to reconcile differences between the versions of the farm bill that cleared the chambers in June.

Kind in April had sent a letter to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office claiming wealthy farmers are reorganizing their operations to receive Title I subsidies, which are meant to provide price and income support to certain producers.

The CBO responded last week with a letter that Kind says “proves that Washington is lavishing huge taxpayer subsidies on millionaires and billionaires, leaving Wisconsin’s small and family farmers behind.”

“The Farm Bill’s Title I section is an unacceptable misuse of taxpayer dollars, and must be fixed before it leaves conference committee,” Kind said in a statement. “This is Washington incentivizing poor behavior.”


— Kind is also spearheading cosponsoring legislation aiming to expand mental health care access to veterans.

The “Veterans Mental Health Accessibility Act” would allow veterans to access mental health services through the Department of Veterans Affairs from hospitals and nursing homes. Veterans currently lose their priority status within the VA for mental health care after five years, according to Kind’s office.   

“Our veterans have earned and deserve the best quality care we can provide, including comprehensive mental healthcare,” Kind said in a statement. “This important bill will help provide Wisconsin veterans streamlined access to mental health services within the VA, and help the VA better address the needs of our veterans – regardless of when they served our country.”

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Sen. Tammy Baldwin hosts roundtable discussion with Wisconsin hunters

Baldwin touts the importance of federal outdoor program in jeopardy

Wisconsin U.S. Senate race: Leah Vukmir and Tammy Baldwin exchange barbs on Tomah VA scandal and health care

Wisconsin U.S. Senate race: Tammy Baldwin, Leah Vukmir headed to crucial stage of campaign

60 Percent of Baldwin’s Campaign Contributions Are from Outside Wisconsin

Flooding Update, Tariffs, Farm Bill With Rep. Ron Kind

Rep. Pocan not sure how much federal aid for flooding will come

Ron Johnson Talks Tariffs With Peter Navarro

Rep. Duffy discusses farm aid

Welders wanted: Military work drives need for skilled workers in Wisconsin

DNR: Season two of Wild Wisconsin web series launches just in time for archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons

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CONTACT: Sawyer Briel, DNR communications, 608-282-5334

MADISON – The world of hunting is changing, and Department of Natural Resources staff are hard at work to make sure Wisconsin’s hunters have the resources they need for a safe and successful deer season.

Wild Wisconsin is your ticket to enjoying the outdoors this fall. Web series segments, podcasts and more – all at your fingertips. With help from Vortex Optics, Mayville Engineering Company Shooting Sports and The Hunting Public, Wild Wisconsin is back for year two.

Whether you prefer to watch all segments at once, catch one or two before your hunt, or listen to podcasts, Wild Wisconsin has it all. Topics range from public land hunting tips to chronic wasting disease and what it means for Wisconsin’s deer herd.

Wild Wisconsin main series segments – these segments provide a quick overview of helpful hunting-related topics:

Wild Wisconsin bonus segments – a more in-depth look at CWD, public land hunting and more:

For even more hunting content, be sure to check out the Wild Wisconsin: Off the Record podcast – topics covered include a deer hunting forecast, public land hunting guide and much more. You can find the podcast series on iTunes (search “Wild Wisconsin), Stitcher (search “Wild Wisconsin) and YouTube.

All web series segments and podcasts, along with wild game recipes and much more, can be found at dnr.wi.gov, keywords “Wild Wisconsin.” Be sure to follow DNR’s FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter pages for more Wild Wisconsin throughout Fall hunting seasons.

Evers campaign: Tony Evers raises more than $2.5 million in first month of general election

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Contact: [email protected]
(608) 501-2762

MADISON–Today, the Tony Evers for Wisconsin campaign announced that it has raised more than $2.5 million in the first month of the general election campaign.

“Wisconsinites are enthusiastic, engaged, and ready to vote for a change in November,” said campaign manager Maggie Gau. “While Scott Walker and Republican special interest groups are running desperate and disgusting smear campaigns, Tony has been focused on the issues that matter most to our families and building grassroots support for his positive vision for Wisconsin.  That’s translating into momentum in our fundraising and on the ground as we continue to push toward victory on Election Day.”

Since the beginning of the general election, the Evers campaigns has received more than 16,000 donations. Approximately 80% of Evers’ fundraising total is from Wisconsin donors.

Foxconn: Request for proposal calls for innovative upgrades to Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley in downtown Eau Claire

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For Immediate Release
September 13, 2018

Media Contacts: [email protected]

Office will serve as West Central Wisconsin hub for attracting talent and building supply chain partnerships, while adding to vibrant downtown community

Milwaukee, WI – Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn) announced today it has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Design / Build firms to provide design services to modernize and enhance Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley at Haymarket Landing on 200 & 210 Eau Claire St., and 4 South Barstow in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Foxconn is looking for a firm that can develop a state-of-the-art co-working space that reflects the innovative and cutting-edge technologies that the company’s transformational Wisconn Valley project and AI 8K+5G ecosystem will inspire and enable.

In addition to serving as an innovation center as part of the talent and innovation network that Foxconn is creating in Wisconsin, Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley will also house an incubator and laboratory for next-generation technological solutions.

“This announcement is another step forward in Foxconn’s commitment to creating talent and innovation hubs across Wisconsin,” said Dr. Alan Yeung, Director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives, Foxconn. “Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley will be home to 150 employees working together with our partners to create and apply technological solutions in a real-world environment to meet the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow. Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley will connect West Central Wisconsin to the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park in Mount Pleasant, allowing businesses, talent and academia in this region to be a part of this transformational project.”

Dr. Yeung added, “Establishing Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley and our request for ideas and design proposals to update and enhance this office are in line with our continued efforts to contribute to an attractive and vibrant environment for talent, innovation, business and the local community. We hope to do our part to inject new energy that will support the ongoing development of the downtown area through the addition of employees at Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley and the partners, suppliers and other tech companies that will be drawn to this new regional technology hub.”

As part of Foxconn’s “Wisconsin First” approach, Design / Build firms with strong track records in Wisconsin will be given preference in the RFP process. The RFP on Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley focuses on providing design and build services that include:

A “co-working’ environment where employees, companies and entrepreneurs work on innovative ideas and cutting-edge solutions, socialize and collaborate.
A “pipe-line” to attract and retain a technology-based workforce for Foxconn.
An “application area” for Foxconn’s 8K+5G technology.
A center for brand and culture building.
Completed proposals are due by 10:00am CDT on September 27, 2018, and are to be delivered to 611 E. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, WI, c/o Adam Jen. Foxconn’s goal is to occupy the finished space in as early as December 2018. To learn more about the RFP process please attend an information session on Tuesday, September 18th, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Pablo Center at the Confluence at 128 Graham Ave., Eau Claire, WI.

Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley is one of three Foxconn locations across Wisconsin in addition to the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park in Mount Pleasant. These include Foxconn’s North American corporate headquarters in downtown Milwaukee and Foxconn Place Green Bay.

Gov. Walker: Encourages nominations for the Fourth Annual Wisconsin Job Honor Awards

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – The Wisconsin Job Honor Awards is accepting nominations for their fourth annual event. The awards celebrate Wisconsinites who have overcome significant barriers to employment and the employees who hire them.
The awards are presented as part of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce’s Future Wisconsin Summit to be held at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center on November 28, 2018.

Nominations are due September 30 and can be submitted at http://www.jobhonor.org/wisconsin-nominate-employee-or-employer/.

Gov. Walker: Requests FEMA conduct damage assessments for flooding and tornado damage

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Walker has requested the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conduct a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) in Wisconsin beginning September 24, 2018 for flood and tornado damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure. This is the first step in requesting a federal disaster declaration.
“Many Wisconsin families are hurting following the devastating flooding and tornado outbreak that has impacted our state in the last three weeks,” said Governor Walker. “We want to get federal disaster relief as quickly as possible to help these families and communities recover.”

Teams from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will coordinate with state and local emergency management officials beginning the week of September 24 to view major damage to homes and businesses as well as public infrastructure such as roads, dams and bridges. The PDA will take approximately a week to complete. Once the PDA is completed, information gathered will be given to Governor Walker to use in his request to President Trump for a federal disaster declaration.

The state continues working with local officials to determine which counties FEMA will assess damage. Some counties are still waiting for rivers to drop below flood stage to view damage. Currently, major flooding is still occurring on the Rock River at Lake Koshkonong. The National Weather Service says it has crested but won’t be below major flood state until Friday or Saturday because it is a huge body of water and is slowly receding. Both the Fox and Rock Rivers will remain above flood stage through the end of next week.

Governor Walker reminds homeowners and businesses that sustained storm and flood damage to report it to 2-1-1 or contact their county emergency management by Friday. The information will be submitted to Wisconsin Emergency Management this weekend.

Gov. Walker: Seeks applicants for Waukesha County judicial vacancy

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today he is seeking applicants for appointment to the Waukesha County Circuit Court.

The new appointee will replace outgoing Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Patrick Haughney, whose resignation is effective November 6, 2018. The new appointee, should he or she choose to run, would be up for election in April 2019.

To apply, please submit the following:

Cover Letter

Resume

Two Writing Samples

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

All application materials must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, October 5, 2018. Following submission, you will receive an email confirming that we have received your application, and explaining the next steps.

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

Gov. Walker: Statement following the passing of former Brigadier General Robert A. Cocroft

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839
 
Governor Walker Releases Statement Following the Passing of Former Brigadier General Robert A. Cocroft
 
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released the following statement today after the passing of former retired Brigadier General Robert A. Cocroft.“I am sorry to hear of the passing of retired Brigadier General Robert A. Cocroft. I worked with him when I was Milwaukee County Executive, and I appreciate his service to our country, our state, and our community. Tonette and I send our prayers to General Cocroft’s family.”

Gov. Walker: Tours Metro Market in Milwaukee, thanks Kroger and Roundy’s Supermarkets for their commitment to Wisconsin

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

Roundy’s has 106 stores and more than 12,600 employees in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE – Governor Scott Walker today joined leaders from Roundy’s Supermarkets (Roundy’s), a subsidiary of the Kroger Company (Kroger), and the Wisconsin Grocers Association at Metro Market in Milwaukee to highlight the company’s 12,600 Wisconsin employees and its more than $300 million investment in its 106 in-state stores.
“Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has been below 3% for the last six consecutive months—a state record—because of employers like Kroger and Roundy’s who are committed to growing and investing in our state,” said Governor Walker. “We thank Roundy’s and Kroger for their commitment to Wisconsin workers, families, and our state.”

Roundy’s was founded in Milwaukee in 1872, and its Wisconsin-based stores include Metro Market and Pick ‘n Save. The company is a subsidiary of Kroger Company, the largest supermarket chain in the United States. In December 2016, Kroger pledged to invest more than $300 million into the company’s Wisconsin stores by 2018 including infrastructure, machinery, and technology updates.

“Soon after the merger with The Kroger Co., we visited Governor Walker to assure him that we would continue Roundy’s proud 146-year heritage and make a significant capital investment in our Wisconsin network of 106 stores,” said Jim Hyland, Roundy’s VP Communications and Public Affairs. “We are excited Governor Walker visited our Milwaukee Metro Market store to see firsthand the results of that investment and the enhanced shopping experience we are delivering to our customers.”

“The store tour of Metro Market gave the Governor a first-hand view of the investment Kroger and Roundy’s have made to upgrade and improve their stores across the State of Wisconsin,” said Michelle Kussow, Executive Vice President of the Wisconsin Grocers Association. “The town hall meeting at Roundy’s headquarters was a great way to learn of the issues that impact the grocery industry.”

Hutton campaign: Milwaukee police association endorses Rob Hutton for assembly

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Contact: Rob Hutton

(414) 380-9665

[email protected]

Milwaukee Police Association Endorses Rob Hutton for Assembly

Brookfield, WI – The Milwaukee Police Association, the organization representing Milwaukee’s police officers, has endorsed Rob Hutton in his re-election bid for the State Assembly.

“We proudly endorse Rob Hutton because of his commitment to helping local law enforcement,” said Mike Crivello, President of the Milwaukee Police Association. “In his time in the State Assembly, he has worked closely with police agencies to ensure they have the resources to protect the public they are sworn to serve. Rob is dedicated to serving his community and is the best choice to continue representing the 13th Assembly District.”

“I couldn’t be more proud to receive the endorsement of the Milwaukee Police Association,” Hutton said. “Officers face incredible challenges and dangers on a daily basis and I’m grateful to all law enforcement for their service. As a lawmaker, it is my responsibility to work at the state level to help them be as effective as possible”

James Madison Lecture Series with Dr. James O’Shaughnessy 🗓

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Contact: Kara O’Keeffe
608-261-9596
[email protected]org

September 13, 2018

James Madison Lecture Series to Focus on Thomas Jefferson’s Ideas About Higher Education

Milwaukee, Wis. – The Wisconsin Historical Society (Society), the Center for the Study of the American Constitution at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (CASC) and University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Libraries are pleased to welcome Dr. Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy as the presenter of the 2018 James Madison Lecture Series. The title of this year’s lecture is, “‘The Illimitable Freedom of the Human Mind:’ Thomas Jefferson’s Idea of a University.”

“Arguably more than any of the Founders, Thomas Jefferson’s ideas and contradictions resonate in 21st century America,” said Matt Blessing, state archivist at the Wisconsin Historical Society. “Jefferson’s vision for higher education is especially relevant and Professor Andrew O’Shaughnessy’s examination of Jefferson’s views will inspire anyone interested in higher education.”

The free lecture will take place on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, at 4:30 pm at the UW-Milwaukee Golda Meir Library, 4th-floor conference room

Thomas Jefferson regarded his founding of the University of Virginia as one of his three greatest achievements in life together with the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Dr. O’Shaughnessy will share how Jefferson’s ideas continue to have relevance to public education in our country to this very day.

Dr. Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy is Vice President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.

The James Madison Lecture is an annual lecture series on early American history co-presented by the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Center for the Study of the American Constitution at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  The Lectures honor the scholarly work of Dr. Merrill Jensen (1905-1980), an influential scholar of the American Revolution, beloved mentor and longtime faculty member of the University of Wisconsin – Department of History.  Funding for the Lectures is provided by the James Madison Lectures endowment which has been made possible by a generous bequest from the Estate of John A. Peters and many private donors.

This program is also generously supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

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

Madison Climate Action Team: Wisconsin Supreme Court grants review in Enbridge v. Dane County

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CONTACT: Peter Anderson, (608) 231-1100, [email protected]

Wisconsin Supreme Court Grants Review in Enbridge v. Dane County

The Supreme Court has agreed to take up Enbridge’s appeal of the May 24, 2018, Court of Appeals decision in Enbridge v. Dane County (backgroundhere). That decision effectively ruled that the Canadian pipeline company did not qualify for the budget amendment that sought to bar a county from requiring a pipeline company to purchase spill cleanup insurance.

The Supreme Court’s decision is surprising to say the least. Review by that court is rarely granted and is limited to cases of major import involving complex questions of law. The case at hand presents no such complex questions, involving only elementary rules of evidence taught in first-year law school.

The budget amendment in question—introduced anonymously at the 11th hour and benefiting only Enbridge, although the company denies any role in its drafting—attempts to bar a county from imposing an insurance requirement on a pipeline company only if the company meets a certain condition. That condition requires that the company already carry a specific form of insurance called sudden and accidental coverage. The Court of Appeals held that Enbridge had to produce its insurance policy so it could be determined if it has that coverage. Enbridge objects, insisting that it only need claim to have it, even though, in fact, it does not.

What could have legitimately caused the Supreme Court to consider this case worthy of review? The question is a matter of grave concern. At issue is a standoff between a county trying to protect its citizens from the costs of a catastrophic spill and a $130 billion foreign company accustomed to calling the shots. The Legislature appears to have done Enbridge’s bidding in adopting the budget amendment barring county action. Is the Supreme Court likewise bending to Enbridge’s will?

Back in 1873, an earlier chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Edward Ryan, warned of the danger from “vast combinations of unexampled capital,” asking “Which shall rule — wealth or man?” The Supreme Court’s decision to take up this case raises that same question.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Nicholson: Statement on comments disparaging MPS students

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 13, 2018

Contact: Brian Rothgery, 414-278-4230 or [email protected]

MILWAUKEE – County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson released the following statement regarding a recent Right Wisconsin article that singled out students of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) for disparaging comments.

“As a product of Milwaukee Public Schools and former MPS teacher, I am disgusted by the use of the word “convicts” to describe MPS students. This language not only degrades and dehumanizes some of the best and brightest children in our state – many of whom I have taught – but also perpetuates the hateful stereotype that inner city children are criminals, and therefore unworthy of respect.

“As an elected official it is my job to fight for everyone in our community, including our children, who are our greatest commodity. All students in Wisconsin – even those from the poorest ZIP codes – deserve more investment in their classrooms, their communities, and in their futures. All students are worthy of and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”

“Right Wisconsin owes all MPS students an apology. I stand with them in demanding one.”

Supervisor Nicholson represents the 5th District and was an MPS educator for several years.

One Wisconsin Now: Delivers testimony before federal government committee considering changes to student loan rules

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2018
MEDIA CONTACT
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
[email protected]
(608) 444-3483

KENOSHA, Wis. — One Wisconsin Now Program Director Analiese Eicher today delivered testimony at a public hearing before a federal negotiated rule-making committee convened by the U.S Department of Education. The committee has been tasked with proposing changes to rules governing federal student loans and accrediting higher education institutions, including for profit colleges, so that students can use their federal loans there to help finance their education.

Eicher opened noting:
“Since Secretary DeVos took office she has made every effort to reverse course on higher education rules meant to protect students and borrowers. Rules respecting state sovereignty and oversight of distance education have been delayed, student loan forgiveness for students defrauded by their institutions have been ignored and weakened, and the gainful employment rules protecting students who graduate from certain programs have been gutted.”

She instead urged the committee members:
“We need to strengthen, not weaken, federal and state oversight of our higher education system. Fewer protections for students and spending tax dollars on irresponsible institutions has historically shown to serve students and taxpayers poorly.”

Gov. Scott Walker also has a role to play when it comes to this issue. However, Walker has made things worse, not better by eliminating the Education Approval Board (EAB) in the 2017 state budget. The EAB was created in 1944 to oversee institutions like for profit colleges and to protect consumers. The functions of this formerly independent agency were transferred to the Department of Safety and Professional Services and experienced staff, including the executive director position, were either eliminated or not retained and were instead replaced by staff with no experience with the industry.

Concluding her testimony, Eicher said:
“Students and borrowers are not asking for much. They are asking to be treated fairly in a system that does not treat them fairly. Unfortunately the DeVos Department of Education and the Walker administration are moving to make the problems worse, not better.”

One Wisconsin Now: Student debt becomes WisGOP 2018 panic room issue

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2018
MEDIA CONTACT
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
[email protected]
(608) 444-3483

TV Ads and Back Channel Communications Don’t Make Up for Five Years of Blocking Common Sense State Plan to Help With Student Loan Debt Crisis

MADISON, Wis. — According to an email obtained by One Wisconsin Now, the office of Rep. John Nygren, the influential Assembly Republican chair of the budget writing Joint Committee on Finance, has been seeking information about a program in Connecticut that helps borrowers there refinance their student loans at lower interest rates. This after Nygren, Gov. Scott Walker and the entire Republican legislature have opposed the Democratic “Higher Ed, Lower Debt” student loan refinancing plan supported by Tony Evers and co-authored by former Rep. Mandela Barnes.

“Republicans have hit the panic button on student loan debt, admitting that their previous schemes that consisted of a website and Walker’s advice to call are bank are no solutions at all,” said One Wisconsin Now Program Director Analiese Eicher. “They’re desperately trying to cover up their failures before the election.”

From campaign television ads to back channel communications, Wisconsin Republicans are in a pre-election panic over their complete and utter failure to provide help for Wisconsin student loan borrowers. Eicher said the GOP’s concern is well earned — under Gov. Walker and the Republican controlled legislature Wisconsin has become a top ten state in the nation for the percentage of college graduates with student loan debt and for five years they’ve blocked a common sense solution to help borrowers refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage.

Just last week, Nygren’s Chief of Staff emailed an official in Connecticut seeking information about the student loan refinancing plan passed there which is in ways similar to the Wisconsin Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act, introduced by Democrats in the 2013, 2015 and 2017 sessions and supported by gubernatorial nominee Tony Evers. The plan would create a state authority to help borrowers refinance their student loans, just like you can with a mortgage. It would also extend a state tax break to payments on student loans that could provide an annual tax benefit of over $530 for an individual or $1,000 for a couple and provides additional consumer information about higher education loans.

Before the 2018 election season, Nygren was openly hostile to the proposal when given the opportunity to include the provisions of the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act in the state budget over which he has great influence as chair of the Joint Committee on Finance.

For his part, Gov. Walker has hit the airwaves with a campaign television ad promoting his latest student loan debt talking points. Eicher pointed out the plan Walker has proposed would provide no relief to any of the nearly one million student loan borrowers in the state today with a collective debt of $24 billion.

Walker’s pandering looks even worse when paired with his well documented, public opposition to the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act.

Eicher concluded, “TV ads and emails won’t solve the student loan debt crisis. Scott Walker and the Republican legislature have had many opportunities to take real action to help student loan borrowers, but all they’ve shown Wisconsin is that they can’t be trusted to help.”

Palzewicz campaign: Statement from Tom Palzewicz in response to the President on death toll in Puerto Rico

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 13, 2018

Contact: Austin Kieler, (262) 501-9880

Brookfield, WI — Tom Palzewicz, candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Wisconsin’s 5th District, today issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s tweet denying the official death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Today, Donald Trump has yet again proven himself unworthy of the office he holds. The President is denying the official death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico while peddling a pathetic conspiracy theory.

Instead of working to prevent another massive loss of life like we saw in Puerto Rico, he is defiling the memory of the nearly 3,000 American citizens who lost their lives on his watch. This is an appaling attempt to avoid responsibility and accountability.

This flagrant attack on truth and decency are yet another in a long line of actions that reveal Donald Trump is potentially unfit for the office of the President. His blatant disrespect for the truth and basic morality has put our country on a dangerous path that we cannot allow ourselves to continue on.

My opponent, 40-year incumbent Jim Sensenbrenner, has been complicit in the unraveling of the moral fabric of our great nation through his continued silence and refusal to stand against these constant attacks on decency. The future of our country is at stake, yet Rep. Sensenbrenner has clearly made the decision to put his Party before his country, and in doing so, has betrayed the very oath he’s taken every two years for four decades.

Tom Palzewicz is a Navy veteran and business owner who is running to bring responsible and common-sense solutions to Congress. The general election will be held Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

Rep. Crowley: Statement on passing of Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Robert Cocroft

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Contact: Timothy Schabo
(608) 266-5580

MILWAUKEE, WI – Rep. David Crowley (D-Milwaukee) issued the following statement on the passing of retired Brigadier General and veteran advocate Robert Cocroft:

“I am sorry to hear of the passing of General Cocroft. He was a devoted public servant; and the city of Milwaukee, state of Wisconsin, and our great nation will miss his presence.

“Born in Mississippi, General Cocroft moved to Milwaukee when he was just an infant, and represented the city well for the rest of his life. He was drafted into the Army in 1966, and became an infantry officer shortly thereafter. He served his country for more than 40 years, both on active duty and in the reserves. He was the deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, when he continued to look after the best interests of Wisconsinites who have served. He continued his mission as president and CEO of the Center for Veterans Issues for 14 years, as well as serving as director of the National Association for Black Veterans.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Jacquie, and his two children.”

Rep. Thiesfeldt: Kenosha Water Utility kicks off lead service replacement program

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Madison – Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) announced that on Sept. 18 he will be present at a ceremony in which the first state resident to benefit from Act 137 begins removal of lead pipes. This law, authored by Rep. Thiesfeldt and Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay), provides a mechanism for communities to provide financial assistance programs to replace customer-owned lead water service lines (laterals).

Homeowners are responsible for the laterals from their homes to the property line, while the city maintains the pipes from the property line to the water main. On Sept. 18, a local plumbing contractor is scheduled to replace a leaking lead pipe entering a home occupied by a couple and a young child. For this special occasion, the Kenosha Water Utility will host a press conference beginning at 11 a.m. outside the home, 4703 19th Ave. To commemorate this event, Representative Thiesfeldt will assist in pulling the first lead pipe out from the ground.

Rep. Thiesfeldt stated, “I’m extremely grateful to see positive action as a part of this new law. Thanks to the City of Kenosha for the invitation to attend and literally help ‘pull the lead out’! Hopefully this will be one of many more to come. I encourage all Wisconsin communities with large numbers of lead laterals to establish similar programs to assist their residents in removing these hazardous pipes.”

Rep. Vos fundraiser 🗓

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We’re having a pizza party in support of Speaker Robin Vos!
Come Join Us!
Oct. 15
5 p.m. onwards
Mike & Angelo’s Italian Restaurant
Host Level: $100
Suggested Contribution: $25
Please make checks payable to: Friends & Neighbors of Robin Vos 

Republican State Leadership Committee: To launch multi-platform issue ad campaign spotlighting Janet Bewley’s liberal record in Madison

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David James
[email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) will launch a multi-platform, multiple ad campaign reminding the people of Senate District 25 that Senator Janet Bewley has been out-of-touch with their values, siding with Madison liberals on issues related to illegal immigration, the Second Amendment, and taxes.  The issue ads will begin airing tomorrow in Senate District 25.

“The hard-left turn of national liberals has arrived in Wisconsin, and Senator Janet Bewley has bought into their radical agenda,” said RSLC President Matt Walter. “While in office, she has sided with the anti-gun lobby, supported increasing the gas tax and registration fee, and even voted against common-sense legislation to stop illegal aliens from getting government-issued ID cards.  The ad campaign will also educate residents on the pro-business, pro-job creation record of local chamber of commerce executive director James Bolen contrasting sharply with Senator Bewley’s failed record in Madison,” added Walter.

In 2016, prior to the defeat of Senator Julie Lassa (SD-24), the RSLC similarly aired issue-focused ads underscoring her “Missing in Action” status for Wisconsin’s working families.

The scripts for the RSLC’s new radio ads are below, along with links to the audio.  Digital advertising will run concurrent to the radio ads.

RSLC Ad on Bewley’s Liberal Tax and Spend Record

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Gg4MBUy2fw

Are you driving?  Hear that sound?  (car accelerator)

Well, every time politician Janet Bewley hears that sound, she thinks of this one.  (cash register).

Yep, Janet Bewley would support increasing the gas tax and your vehicle registration fee.  Heck, if Bewley had her way, she’d throw Wisconsin in reverse.  (tire screech)

Bewley has voted against budgets that hold the line on property taxes and freeze college tuition for folks like us.

Janet Bewley is just another tax and spend liberal.

But James Bolen wants to keep Wisconsin on the road to success.

As a small businessman and local chamber director, Bolen knows what it takes to balance a budget and create jobs.

That’s why Bolen wants to cut harmful taxes and regulations, keeping Wisconsin families moving forward.  Bolen knows it’s the engine of our economy that drives us all to success. 

So, call Janet Bewley at 608-266-3510.  Tell her to stop trying to put the brakes on our economy.

Paid for by Republican State Leadership Committee.

RSLC’s “Siren” Ad on Bewley’s Public Safety Record

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH2RcqHmnh0

How long would you be willing to wait for this sound to protect your family?

Politician Janet Bewley thinks you should wait and wait. 

Bewley sided with the anti-gun lobby… voting against a bill making it easier for people to protect their homes.

Bewley also sided with Madison liberals by voting against common-sense legislation to stop illegal aliens from getting government-issued ID cards.

And Bewley even opposed drug testing for welfare benefits.

(Police siren)

Janet Bewley’s record is too extreme.

One of us, James Bolen.

Bolen is a small businessman and community leader, not a politician.

Bolen is the director of a local chamber of commerce.  He’s creating jobs and millions in new investments for Northern Wisconsin.

That’s why Bolen shares our values… is a strong supporter of our Second Amendment rights and wants to protect our families and tax dollars.

So, call Janet Bewley at 608-266-3510 and sound the alarm on her liberal record.

Paid for by Republican State Leadership Committee.

Schimel campaign: Releases new TV ad

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Contact:
[email protected]
203-640-9208

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel released a new TV advertisement, “Connecticut,” as part of a series of advertisements named after the states where Democratic opponent Josh Kaul has previously lived. In this first ad, Schimel highlights the laundry list of Sheriffs that have endorsed him.

“Brad Schimel is an Attorney General of results,” said RAGA Communications Director Zack Roday. “Under his leadership, Wisconsin has led the nation in the opioid epidemic, elderly abuse, school safety, and now domestic violence prevention. Attorney General Schimel is the only candidate with the experience as a prosecutor and the only candidate to spend his entire life working for the people of Wisconsin. Wisconsin communities are safer because of Attorney General Brad Schimel.”

Watch the new ad, “Connecticut,” here: https://youtu.be/mQBovVY4CGQ

Sen. Carpenter: Kimberly Clark deal deserves September session Senate vote

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State Senator Tim Carpenter
(608) 266-8535

Madison – Today State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) sent the following message to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, and Senate President Roger Roth:

Dear Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Senate President Roger Roth,

Just as I cleared my calendar for the Foxconn deal Special Session on year ago yesterday August 12th, I will clear my schedule for a September Extraordinary or Special Session on the Kimberly Clark deal as requested by Governor Scott Walker.

I believe we owe Wisconsinites a roll vote on the Kimberly Clark deal.

Best wishes,

Tim Carpenter

Sen. Hansen: DOT secretary’s comments cast doubt on expanding I-41

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For Immediate Release Contact: Sen. Hansen
September 13, 2018 608-266-5670

Even Governor Walker says adding new lanes doubtful

(Madison)—Recent comments by Secretary of Transportation David Ross cast doubts on an a call by Governor Walker to expand I-41 from 4-6 lanes between Appleton and De Pere said State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay)

“Barely three weeks after Governor Walker ordered the DOT to evaluate the expansion of I-41 his own DOT secretary appears to have shut the door on any expansion when he said that a way to increase funding to repair local roads would be to take on fewer mega-projects,” said Hansen.

Speaking to members of the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce, Secretary Ross said new funds weren’t needed to fix local roads because funding could be shifted away from bigger “mega-projects” to local road projects.

The DOT secretary’s comments come just a little more than a week after Walker himself questioned the need for adding more lanes when rebuilding state highways.

“Obviously the Governor is in a tight spot right now. He’s in an extremely difficult campaign and he’s boxed himself in on the transportation issue by his refusal to consider any new revenue. So I would take anything he says about transportation in general and I-41 specifically with a very large grain of salt.”

According to reporting by the La Crosse Tribune state General Transportation Aid payments to local governments covered about 30 percent of local road work, but has fallen to about 18 percent now.

“I don’t see how the Governor squares this circle. Especially after he’s promised to give Foxconn over $3 billion in cash. There is no way that can be done and he can fully fund our schools, expand state highways and do all that needs to be done to maintain local roads.”

Sen. Johnson: Weekly Democratic radio address: Supporting families through a child care tax credit

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Contact: Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D – Milwaukee) (608)266-2500

MADISON – Today, Senator LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) offered the following weekly Democratic radio address on Supporting Families through a Child Care Tax Credit.

The audio file of this week’s address can be found here:

A written transcript of the address is below:

“Hello. I’m State Senator LaTonya Johnson.

“Wisconsin has many great child care providers who offer exceptional services to families in our community. As a former child care provider myself, I have seen first-hand the positive impact having a safe, quality place for children to thrive can have on a child’s life and on a parent’s ability to work.

“But Wisconsin families are facing a huge crisis with child care costs soaring. In fact, only about one in five families are able to afford infant care in our state with an average cost of over $11,000 per year. That’s more than one year of tuition at a UW system school.

“For too many families, quality child care isn’t just unaffordable, it’s nearly impossible. Families with an infant and a four-year-old spend nearly a third of their income on child care alone.

“That’s why Wisconsin Democrats are proud to support legislation to provide Wisconsin families with a child care tax credit. Under our proposal, a family with one child would be given an income tax credit of up to $1,050 and a family of four or more would see a tax credit of up to $2,100.

“Through targeted tax relief, we can help support hardworking families while also ensuring our child care providers are able to retain workers dedicated to the development and safety of our children.”

Sen. Larson and Rep. Bowen: Call on gun manufacturers to prioritize “smart gun” technology and other gun safety measures in order to reduce gun violence

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Sen Larson

September 13, 2018 608.266.7505

Rep. Bowen

608.266.7671

Milwaukee, WI – Today, Senator Chris Larson and Representative David Bowen in coordination with other elected leaders across America sent letters to major gun manufacturers that provide firearms to government agencies requesting information about plans to prevent gun violence through “smart gun” technology and gun safety measures.

“States and municipalities spend vast resources annually on guns and ammunition for all levels of law enforcement and as major customers of these companies we deserve answers to the basic question of efforts to increase gun safety. As our nation reels from an ongoing epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings, we believe the manufacturers of firearms should be providing us with information on what technologies they are developing to make sure guns aren’t used by the wrong people, what plans they have to deal with “bootlegged” 3D firearms, and what accountability they require of their distributors and dealers.” Said Larson.

“If every state takes a strong stand in demanding safer, smarter guns from these manufacturers we can spark an industry wide examination of this issue. We know that technology exists that prevents a gun from being fired when it’s out of the possession of the gun’s owner. We also know that firearm producers can prioritize the research, development, and marketing of these products in order to help stem the illegal and deadly use of their weapons,” added Bowen.

“It is beyond time for real change to happen regarding guns in America and that change not only needs to come through federal and state action, but also from manufacturers making a safer product. The fact is, that if gun manufacturers can produce firearms that can only be fired by the registered owner, and prevent illegal use, then that is precisely what they should do,” Larson concluded.

Sortwell campaign fundraiser 🗓

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Fundraiser for Assembly Candidate Shae Sortwell
with special guest 
Majority Leader Jim Steineke
Oct. 1

Mackinaws
5:30 p.m.
Please RSVP to [email protected] or (920) 366-4398
Suggested donation: $50
Please make check payable to: Taxpayers for Shae Sortwell 

Speaker Ryan: Announces departure of Tommy Andrews

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CONTACT 
AshLee StrongDoug Andres
202-225-0600

Speaker Ryan Announces Departure of Tommy Andrews

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today announced that Tommy Andrews, his director of members services, will be leaving the speaker’s office at the end of this week. Andrews, a veteran of two speakerships, has accepted a role in legislative affairs at the White House.

“One of the best things John Boehner did for me was leave behind a Cincinnati guy from his staff named Tommy Andrews. Tommy helped with a seamless transition and has become a critical part of my team. While he served two speakers with distinction, members of the conference know that he truly worked for all of them. Generous, warm, and unfailingly kind, Tommy has a servant’s heart. Beloved by members and staff alike, he has time for everyone and never encountered a problem he couldn’t solve. Tommy has been a ubiquitous part of this Republican majority, and he’s simply made the House a better place. Tommy’s one of the good guys. The House will miss him, but I am grateful for his time here and know that he will continue to serve this country well.”

Speaker Ryan: Full Text: Speaker Ryan’s address at the Reagan Institute on advancing American leadership

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2018
https://spkrryan.us/2NbkC9Z

CONTACT
AshLee Strong, Doug Andres
202-225-0600

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave an address to mark the launch of The Ronald Reagan Institute in Washington, D.C. His speech, entitled “Advancing American Leadership,” laid out a bold vision for the future of American leadership in the world. In his remarks, he spoke about the importance of military primacy, free trade, pro-growth economic policies, and moral leadership.

His remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

Thank you, Fred.

Before I begin, I know that we are all thinking about the families and communities in the path of Hurricane Florence. Our prayers go out to them.

I just want people in the affected areas to know that Congress stands ready to assist in any way we can.

It is an honor to be here today, and to help welcome the Reagan Institute to Washington.

Roger came by the office last week, and gave me an overview of all the plans for the Institute. It is truly impressive.

If I may offer one suggestion. It would be that you replicate the Irish pub from the Museum. We could always use more of those in Washington.

The chance to be part of this means a great deal to me.

You see, I grew up in a fairly apolitical household in Janesville, Wisconsin.

My parents voted, but they didn’t talk much about politics or politicians. It just wasn’t their thing.

There was, however, one exception. My dad was taken with the story of an Irish guy who grew up on the shores of the Rock River, just downstream from where we lived.

He admired how President Reagan came from modest means to become president. Whenever Reagan appeared on the news, my dad would nod approvingly—a high compliment from him.

One of my first political memories, in fact, is from a night in February 1981. After dinner, my dad turned on the television and had us watch Reagan’s first address to Congress.

I remember vividly how President Reagan smiled, even as he laid out all that we were up against. One passage in particular toward the end has always stuck with me. He said:

“Together, we can embark on this road, not to make things easy, but to make things better. . . . There is nothing wrong with America that together we can’t fix.”

It is just so motivating to me.

President Reagan never let us forget how special America is. He called on us to cherish the timeless principles that make us special: freedom, free enterprise, self-determination.

And he embraced the hard work it takes to preserve these things.

He knew we had it in us. And he knew it could be done.

That speaks to what I think is one of the most important things we can do as leaders.

Most days, we tend to lurch from crisis to crisis, whether real or manufactured. But we need to have the ability to look around the corner, and plan for what’s ahead.

In that spirit, today I want to talk about how President Reagan’s legacy can guide us in advancing American leadership in the world.

Democracy has really been taking it on the chin lately. There is no question about that.

All that triumphalism after the Cold War, all that talk about ‘the end of history’—it feels like ancient history at this point.

But we have been here before.

If there was ever a moment when we needed the clarity of President Reagan’s vision and example, it is now. We need to renew, relearn, relitigate the principles he advanced, and apply them to the problems of the day.

Foreign policy, as you know, is rarely if ever black and white. But we are at our best when we are clear about what we are for, and clear-eyed about what we face.

We have illiberal regimes, Russia among them, testing us with thuggery and aggression.

And we have Islamist extremists, including al-Qaeda and a depleted but still operational ISIS, plotting attacks on Western capitals.

But amid all of this, we need to pay more attention to the direct challenge that the China model poses to democratic capitalism.

I see this as the big test, the generational-defining challenge for us as a country.

China has a communist system based on centralized power, but it manages to give off this hint, this veneer, of 21st-century capitalism, even as it resorts to repression of its people and intellectual theft from its competitors.

It pushes these designs beyond its borders with infrastructure investments in Africa and Asia. It is in the midst of a military buildup that has already begun to shift the balance of power in the Pacific.

And now China has made its ambitions clear. It offers itself to the world as a new model of efficiency. It actively seeks to replace our system of democratic capitalism as the best operating system for society. A “new era,” President Xi calls it.

We know our system can be inefficient and slow to respond, with all the intervening politics and turbulence. You get that with self-government.

This is what China hopes to exploit. And yes, it is easier to plan from era to era when you consolidate power indefinitely.

The choice here is rather straightforward.

We can allow China to overtake us—not just in the global economy, but in the world order—and see more countries slide in the direction of the autocrats.

Or we can do as President Reagan did. We can choose to lead. We can together embark on the road that’s not easy. This means showing that our way of doing things still has juice—that it is still the best way to lift people up and keep the peace. In fact, China has already enjoyed many benefits from this system.

So the task for us, and what I have made the mission of my time as speaker, is building up our country’s resilience, our antibodies. We want our institutions—economic, military, and political—to be sturdy enough to adapt to change, and withstand the inevitable ups and downs.

It is my hope that a strong and confident America may convince China that their best path is to peacefully rise with us—even though history suggests otherwise.

That is to say, that global affairs, like life, does not need to be a zero-sum game.

An America, standing up to illiberal regimes with the one hand, while extending an open invitation with the other to join our path to freedom is more likely to succeed when we are strong and secure.

The good news is, we are already taking steps in this direction.

Earlier this year, the administration’s National Defense Strategy declared its ‘most far-reaching objective’ to be addressing China’s ascendance.

For most of this decade, our military was forced to operate under a budget sequester that hollowed out our forces. It did not take long until we were confronted with a staggering readiness crisis.

Now you know the old adage: if you want peace, prepare for war. Our military primacy is essential to deterring our adversaries and protecting our interests.

But these cuts had us falling so far behind, we could barely protect our own troops. Stories proliferated of aging equipment and maintenance lapses.

This crisis cost us lives: In 2017, we lost four times as many service members in training accidents and incidents as we did in combat.

Earlier in the year, we finally put a stop to these cuts. With a new budget agreement, we are now fully funding our national defense at the levels requested by Secretary Mattis, and for a military redesigned by our National Defense Authorization Act.

It is the biggest increase in defense spending in 15 years.

As part of this strategic buildup, we are increasing the size and lethality of our forces, streamlining the acquisition process to make it leaner and more efficient, and modernizing our nuclear deterrent. We are investing in new capabilities to address cyber threats.

And we are expanding our security cooperation in the region. These are commitments we can make more confidently now that we are rebuilding our military.

This is only a start. A buildup has to last for it to be effective.

But we have gone from a politics-driven to a mission-driven military budget. This will bolster our national defense for years, if not decades to come.

Now, we too often think about peace through strength only in terms of military might.

This discounts the value of our economic partnerships with allies. I mean those built on a foundation of free trade.

I am an unapologetic free-trader. I believe tearing down trade barriers produces economic benefit to both us and our trading partners.

But lost in the economic debate is how free trade agreements also promote stability and order.

They allow us to expand our spheres of influence. They boost our allies. And they counter our adversaries.

Nowhere is this more relevant today than in the Asia-Pacific region.

This is yet another place where China, and nations like it, are trying to assert their version of economics. Anti-capitalist and fueled by cronyism.

I’ve said before and will say again. The TPP agreement that the previous administration negotiated was a flawed one, but the broader goal was correct: to assert U.S. economic leadership in a rapidly developing region and make sure the United States, not China, is the driving force.

Right now, many countries are making a choice about how to bring their developing economies into the new century. And if they follow our lead, the growth of freedom and free enterprise will continue.

I believe our friends want to side with us in a free-market, liberalized system. They just need to know that the U.S. will be there for the long haul.

We must understand: The rules of the road for the 21st century economy are being written right now.

Privacy, intellectual property, the way capital moves across borders today–these are all critical issues for the coming decades.

So the question is: Will we set the tone or will it be others who don’t share our values or ideals?

Strong trade agreements and economic partnerships set a high standard and bring our allies into the fold—and they make us more secure.

In short, free trade must be always be an active instrument of American leadership.

America’s ability to lead also depends on having a dynamic economy that can be a global force.

For the first time since President Reagan in 1986, we came together to overhaul our tax code. We went from having one of the worst tax codes in the industrialized world to one that can compete with anyone.

Now we see capital trapped overseas finally coming back to our shores. Confidence is surging to record levels. Small businesses are expanding. Manufacturing activity is booming.

We are making our workforce more competitive, too, most recently by overhauling our career and technical education system.

This is going to make it easier for people to get the skills and training they need to fill in-demand jobs.

It is one of those less-heralded reforms that doesn’t get much press attention, but will pay dividends years down the road.

We have also worked to ensure our energy independence, including lifting our decades-long ban on oil experts.

America is now the world’s largest oil producer, and we are set to be a net energy exporter within the next five years.

All of this is about revitalizing the growth and upward mobility at the heart of a free economy, and we are back on that path now.

There is one other big thing we need to get right. And this is an area where the Institute can make a great impact.

It goes back to how President Reagan handled his visit to China in the spring of 1984.

At the close of a six-day visit, he spoke to students at Fudan University in Shanghai about the values of freedom and democracy.

Yet in some quarters, Reagan was actually criticized for going to a communist country and extolling free markets and his faith in God, what he called “my own values.”

In response to those critics, Secretary Shultz, as only he could, said that the president “is the same man whether he’s in Washington, Peking, London or wherever he is, and personally, I like it that way.”

Ladies and gentlemen: We have to be ambassadors for what we believe, wherever we are, without equivocation.

A set of policies is not what convinces people to side with us—it is the idea of America that draws them to us. It is the idea of a country where the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life. That is where our true power lies.

I think back to earlier this year, when I was in Prague to commemorate the 100th anniversary of U.S.-Czech relations.

I noticed that the street right in front of the ambassador’s residence is named after Ronald Reagan.

One of many such tributes to him in the region, of course.

But there is real affection behind it. The people there—especially those who remember what it was like before—talk about his leadership, his rhetoric, how he stood up for them.

They speak of him with reverence, yes, but also with such warmth, almost as if they knew him personally.

It is an intimate bond that comes from the common humanity that freedom brings out in us. We are connected by our aspirations, by our potential.

That is why Congress maintains bipartisan commitments to supporting liberty and democracy around the world, particularly through organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute.

We work together across party lines to promote human rights, fight global trafficking, and support economic development.

We advance global health initiatives such as PEPFAR, which now supports more than 14 million people with HIV treatment. This work is done mostly out of the spotlight, but is absolutely vital to U.S. interests.

As you know, my time in public service is running short.

I look forward to thinking more about these issues. And this Institute is sure to play a vital role in the discussion.

People need to be reminded that we have it in us, that we know what has to be done.

President Reagan charted the right course—it’s peace through strength, pro-growth economy, clear moral leadership. It is not a new or magic formula.

What is needed is a new willingness to think big, go bold, and see things through. To show the largeness of spirit that this moment requires.

It will take that belief in ourselves that President Reagan instilled in the hearts of so many fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, watching at home on television, glimpsing the future.

It is this article of faith which we celebrate as we bring his vision to our capital city once more.

Thank you all for having me here today.

Speaker Ryan: House passes America’s Water Infrastructure Act

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2018
https://spkrryan.us/2p3ExJB
CONTACT
AshLee Strong, Doug Andres
202-225-0600

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the passage of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act:

“Every community depends on water infrastructure. America’s water infrastructure not only facilitates commerce within our borders, but it connects U.S. producers and consumers with the international marketplace. With this bill, the ports, dams, and waterways that keep America running will receive the improvements they need.

“Through the Water Resources Development Act, we are authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies to undertake projects to upgrade water infrastructure. This legislation backs local decision-making with federal resources to ensure communities are best served. And it removes hurdles to project completion to cut down on delays and promote efficiency. This is yet another piece of the House’s agenda to make sure our nation’s infrastructure streamlines transportation, supports our dynamic workforce, and promotes our competitiveness worldwide. I commend Chairman Shuster and the members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Chairman Walden and the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee for their work on this bipartisan measure.”

Speaker Ryan: Touts resources for veterans, national security in first minibus package

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September 13, 2018 | Speaker Ryan Press Office | https://spkrryan.us/2x7T3nU

Summary: During the weekly Republican leadership press conference, Speaker Ryan urged support for the first minibus appropriations package, which the House will consider this afternoon. He emphasized the critical House priorities included in the bill, emphasizing the resources it provides to Veterans Affairs and the vital funding it puts toward bolstering national security.

Opening Statement:

“First off, I want to say that we’re thinking of the people in Hurricane Florence’s wake, the people in the Carolinas.

“I know coastal folks don’t need mainlanders telling them how to handle a storm like this, but I would be remiss if I did not tell folks: Please listen to your local officials. Please encourage people to follow all local emergency orders.

“Our thoughts and our prayers are with the people in the path of this hurricane.

“We’re going to keep monitoring this storm, and Congress stands ready to assist the people who will be in these affected areas in any way that we can.

“Now, we’re here because we’re doing some really important things on the floor today.

“This minibus conference report is a national security bill. It is a veterans bill.

“It provides critical funding to rebuild our military infrastructure, it strengthens our electrical grid, and it supports our nuclear weapons programs.

“It puts historic resources behind the reforms that we’ve made to improve health care at the VA.

“That is a critical part of our Better Way agenda that is getting executed and implemented today.

“And—I cannot stress this enough—this represents a return to our most basic responsibility around here: passing appropriations bills.

“Since we are doing this, this is the first time since 2007 that the House and the Senate will send multiple appropriations measures to the president’s desk on time.

“So we are actually seeing a restoration of regular order, which is something that is extremely important to make the House and the Senate work well.

“This is how it should always be done. But it hasn’t been this way for a long time. So it really is a big step in the right direction, and we are going to build on this.

“Lastly, this has been another good week—a great week—for economic news.

“Yesterday, we got news that median household income has increased to a record high.

“This comes on the heels of Friday’s report showing wages had their biggest increases since 2009.

“The bottom line is this: Americans are earning more. Their finances are improving. People are better off.

“This is what matters. We can do a lot of work here in Washington, but what really counts is how these policies improve people’s lives.

“And here we see yet another sign that we are on the right track. That the policies we have put in place in this Congress are indeed improving people’s lives.

“You can learn more about this by going to better.gop.”

THU AM Update: Evers says he’s raised more than $2.5M since primary

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THU News Summary: Walker says Evers would put ‘everyone at risk’; Baldwin, Vukmir trade jabs over health care, veterans

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THU PM Update: Fitzgerald urges Shilling to gauge support among Dem caucus for Kimberly-Clark incentive package

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U.S. Rep. Gallagher: Votes to strengthen port of Green Bay, repair lower Fox River

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Contact: Madison Wiberg, [email protected]

House Sends Water Resources Infrastructure Bill to Senate with Unanimous Vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the House unanimously passed the bipartisan, bicameral America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. The piece of legislation authorizes locally driven infrastructure improvements to be carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on our harbors, ports, locks, dams, inland waterways, flood protection, and other water infrastructure. The bill also addresses storm water and wastewater infrastructure improvements, reauthorizes and strengthens the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, and incorporates substantial portions of the Drinking Water System Improvement Act to help modernize the country’s aging drinking water infrastructure.

Rep. Mike Gallagher: “Today we took an important step in modernizing our nation’s water transportation network, including our ports, dams, and inland water ways in Northeast Wisconsin. This bipartisan bill authorizes key water infrastructure projects along the Great Lakes, which will help 8th District manufacturers and agricultural producers stay competitive in the global economy. It also supports local ecosystem restoration projects aimed at protecting Green Bay and Lake Michigan from the threat of invasive species.”

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA): “Water Resources Development Acts – WRDAs – are critical to building the infrastructure that moves goods, grains, resources, and energy products throughout the entire Nation, from our coasts to the interior, and everywhere in between. WRDA, as included in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, will ensure that we stay economically competitive with other countries.”

Key Highlights for Northeast Wisconsin:

Provides Community Resources:

· Assists small, rural, Tribal communities and low income households with technical assistance in meeting their clean water needs.

· Provides communities with additional resources for combating sewage over flows.

· Ensures on-the-job training, skills development, and apprenticeships in the water utility sector as well as connecting students to career paths in the water utility sector.

Modernizes Drinking Water Infrastructure:

· Brings greater investment in and modernization of the country’s aging drinking water infrastructure.

· Authorizes more than $4.4 billion over three years for the state drinking water revolving loan fund program.

· Improves accountability by aiding states and utilities with compliance and asset management.

· Protects communities by updating antiterrorism and resilience measures at public water systems.

· Enhances transparency for consumers about the quality of their drinking water

Promotes Fiscal Responsibility:

Fully offsets new authorizations with de-authorizations.
Sunsets inactive project authorizations to prevent future project backlogs.
Reduces the inventory of projects that are not needed for the missions of the Corps.

Click here for more information about the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.

U.S. Rep. Kind: Announces $1.7 million grant for Chippewa Valley regional airport

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 9-13-18

Contact: Aaron White

Phone: 202-225-5506, [email protected]

Federal Aviation Administration grant will help reconstruct airport runway

Eau Claire – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind announced a $1,697,698 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration for the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport. The grant funds will be used to reconstruct 900 feet of the airport’s runway, which is in need of major repairs.

“Wisconsinites depend on our great regional airports to travel across the state, and across the country,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “This grant will help ensure the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport can continue to provide safe service to people across western and central Wisconsin, and bolster travel and tourism within the Chippewa Valley.”

“These grant funds will be used to ensure critical infrastructure like Runway 14/32 will continue to be a valuable and safe asset to aircraft accessing the Chippewa Valley through the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport,” said Charity Zich, Chippewa Valley Regional Airport Director. “Support from Congressman Kind for the user fee funded program that provides these grant funds is essential to ensuring the long-term viability of this Airport and all of the Airports in the State of Wisconsin.”

The Chippewa Valley Regional Airport will receive $1,697,698 in funding. Find the full grant announcement here.

U.S. Rep. Kind: Calls on Governor Scott Walker and FEMA to expedite assistance to Wisconsinites impacted by flooding and severe storms

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 9-13-18

Contact: Aaron White, Phone: 202-225-5506 or [email protected]

Assistance for Wisconsin communities at risk of being delayed by Hurricane Florence

La Crosse – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Governor Scott Walker to expedite damage assessments and request a disaster declaration for Wisconsin communities impacted by recent flooding and severe storms. This comes as Hurricane Florence moves closer to hitting many East Coast states, potentially slowing the movement of recovery funds from FEMA and other departments with discretionary emergency funding.

“I’m calling on FEMA and the Governor to work with a sense of urgency in finishing damage assessments in Wisconsin, and to request a disaster declaration for Wisconsinites impacted by flooding,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “With a major hurricane moving closer to the East Coast, it’s important that we hurry to get our requests in or we could end up at the back of the line.”

Communities across La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford, Richland, Monroe, Juneau and Adams counties have faced multiple days of flash flooding, washouts, mudslides and extreme wind. Homes, farmland, businesses, and roads have been destroyed. Recent assessments reach $209 million of damage (and counting) in Wisconsin.

Immediately after the first round of storms and flooding, Rep. Kind and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin called on President Donald Trump to put the full support of the federal government behind cleanup and recovery efforts in Wisconsin, and requested additional assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for damage assessments, road and bridge repair assistance from the Department of Transportation (DOT), and farm and crop damage assistance from the Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Rep. Kind’s office can help Wisconsinites work with federal agencies after flooding and severe weather. More information can be found by calling toll-free: 1-888-442-8040 or by visiting kind.house.gov.

Homeowners are also encouraged to report damage to homes and property by calling 211, or their county emergency management offices. Farmers should report all crop, livestock deaths, land, and building damage to their county’s Farm Service Agency as quickly as possible. A list of county Farm Service Agency offices can be found here, or below.

Read the letter to FEMA here.

Read the letter to Governor Scott Walker here.

U.S. Rep. Moore: House passes Moore’s bill to designate ‘Vel R. Phillips Post Office Building’

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Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Gwen Moore’s (WI-04) bill to designate the facility of the US Post Office located at 2650 North Doctor Martin Luther King Drive in Milwaukee as the “Vel R. Phillips Post Office Building” passed the US House of Representatives. Last night, Congresswomen Moore delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of her bill:

Congresswoman Moore. Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the House is going to take up and, hopefully, pass legislation that I’ve introduced to honor a Wisconsin hero and one of my sheros Vel. R. Phillips. The bill would designate a post office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in her honor.

Vel was the first of so many things: the first African American and the first woman to become an Alderman in the City of Milwaukee; the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School; the first African-American judge in Milwaukee County; the first and only African American to win election statewide in Wisconsin. But her life and contributions cannot simply be summed up by adding up her many firsts. Such an approach gives short shrift of her local and national impact. For you see, Mr. Speaker, she was a soldier for social justice in the national movement for desegregation in housing and the open housing movement.

I first met Vel when I was 16 years old and she was the judge in an oratorical contest, that encounter has had a lifelong impact on me. Vel passed away earlier this year in her 90s but her legacy of love, service, and commitment lives on, and thank you so much, Mr. Speaker, for your indulgence. I yield by the balance of my time.

U.S. Rep. Pocan: House Democrats condemn Trump administration’s actions harming the Palestinian people

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 13, 2018
Contact: Ron Boehmer 202-225-2906

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) today released the following statement condemning the Trump Administration’s recent actions harming the Palestinian people.

“We are alarmed by the Trump Administration’s blatant attempts at exacerbating the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories. The punitive measures employed by President Trump are intended to use the Palestinian people as pawns on the negotiating table for his administration’s failed attempts to bring stability to the region.

“In the last month, the Administration has slashed $25 million of US assistance to the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, rescinded $200 million in Congressionally allocated humanitarian aid to Gaza and the West Bank, and halted all U.S. funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). By cutting these important aid programs, the Trump Administration will only exacerbate tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians, while further diminishing opportunities for lasting peace.

“Further, the Trump Administration has failed to push back on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demolitions of Palestinian communities in the West Bank, like Khan Al Ahmar. We must remind our ally, Israel, that approving the destruction and upheaval of Palestinian communities slowly deteriorates the prospects for a peaceful and just resolution to the conflict.

“Finally, as we recognize the 25th anniversary of the Olso Peace Process, the Trump Administration’s decision to shut down the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) offices in Washington, DC, is just another signal to Israelis, Palestinians, and the American people that they are not serious about engaging in the difficult diplomatic work it takes to achieve a lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. The administration’s refusal to endorse a two-state solution, provocative relocation of the U.S. Embassy and attempts to undo Palestinian refugee status severely undermines the United States’ ability to play a constructive role in addressing the conflict. We urge the Trump Administration to put the lives of the Israeli and Palestinian people above politics.”

U.S. Rep. Pocan: Introduces bill to place moratorium on ag mergers

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 13, 2018
Contact: Ron Boehmer 202-225-2906

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) today introduced legislation that would impose a temporary moratorium on mergers and acquisitions between large farm, food, and grocery companies, as well as establish a commission to strengthen antitrust enforcement in the agribusiness industry. The Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act of 2018 would seek to address the unprecedented concentration in the agriculture and food sectors, which is squeezing small family farmers, driving down wages for workers, and hurting rural communities.

In the last two years, chemical and seed company acquisitions and mergers have resulted in just three companies controlling two-thirds of the crop seed market. Further, over the last 30 years, market concentration has grown to the extent where the four largest multinational corporations now control of 71% of the pork market, 85% of the beef market, and 90% of the grain market. As big-agricultural firms expand, shares of profits for farmers continue to drop, and over the last 5 years, net income for American farmers has dropped by more than half.

“Out-of-control consolidation has enabled agricultural firms to control prices at every stage of the food chain, from farming to distribution, and Congress must do more to allow local farmers and food systems to be competitive, while establishing greater market transparency for the American consumer,” said Pocan. “Today, corporate profits are soaring, but many middle-class families and farmers continue to struggle. Establishing a moratorium on ag-mergers will not only strengthen our antitrust laws, but it will also expand economic security and opportunity to more of our communities.”

“Today, a small number of giant companies control every link of our food chain. Consolidation has now reached a point where the top four firms in almost every sector of the food and agriculture economy have acquired abusive levels of market power. As a result, the U.S. is losing farmers at an alarming rate, agricultural jobs and wages are drying up, and rural communities are disappearing,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).

The bill, modeled after a similar proposal introduced 20 years ago by the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, would also establish a commission to study ways to strengthen antitrust oversight of the farm and food sectors and recommend improvements to merger enforcement.

Pocan’s bill is the companion legislation to a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and is supported by more than 110 organizations. The bill has 5 original co-sponsors in the House, including U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Ro Khanna (CA-17), and Chellie Pingree (ME-01).

U.S. Sen. Baldwin: Health care experts and patient groups support Senator Baldwin’s legislation to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of junk insurance plans 

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Contact: [email protected] 202-224-6225

Health Care Experts and Patient Groups Support Senator Baldwin’s Legislation to Overturn the Trump Administration’s Expansion of Junk Insurance Plans 

Top health care groups strongly support Baldwin’s resolution of disapproval 

Trump’s junk insurance plans don’t have to provide health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, 16 of the top health care organizations in America, representing tens of thousands of the nation’s physicians, patients, medical students and other health experts are voicing strong support for U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s legislation to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of junk insurance plans.

Senator Baldwin’s effort is supported by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), American Heart Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, National Women’s Law Center, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Association, American Psychiatric Association, Residential Eating Disorders Consortium, Protect Our Care and Families USA.

 “Senator Baldwin’s effort is another avenue by which lawmakers can and should take action to protect health care coverage for cancer patients, survivors and all those with serious medical conditions,” said Chris Hansen, President of ACS CAN. “The final short-term health plan rule threatens to split the insurance market and weaken critical patient protections. These short-term plans will be able to charge people more for coverage based on their pre-existing conditions or deny them coverage outright. We urge Congress to support Senator Baldwin’s resolution and take immediate action to protect patients and the insurance market. Cancer patients and survivors must have access to high-quality, affordable insurance that provides comprehensive coverage, and ACS CAN stands ready to work with all lawmakers in this effort.”

 “The Administration’s decision to expand short-term health plans will leave cancer patients and survivors with higher premiums and fewer insurance options. Even worse, people diagnosed with cancer while on a short term plan soon discover that these plans fail to cover even life-saving cancer treatments. If patients on short term plans can get access to cancer therapies at all, they will often be left with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society appreciates Senator Baldwin’s resolution to protect people with cancer and other pre-existing conditions by overturning the expansion of junk insurance plans,” said Gwen Nichols, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

 “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) applauds Senator Baldwin’s leadership in standing up for patients. Her work to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term, limited duration insurance (STLDI) plans is critically important to all Americans,” said Lisa Hollier, MD, MPH, President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Ob-gyns see firsthand how inadequate coverage hurts our patients. These STLDI plans are full of holes, leaving patients uncovered if they have preexisting conditions or need maternity care. We urge policy makers to follow Senator Baldwin’s lead in protecting the health of mothers and babies. We must not turn back the clock on women’s health!”

 “All children deserve access to health care coverage that meets their unique needs. Short-term, limited duration health plans do not meet this standard and expanding their availability could lead to higher costs, less services, denied coverage and limited access to appropriate providers. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges policymakers to expand access to quality and affordable health coverage, not create additional barriers to care that fall short for children and families,” said Mark Del Monte, JD, CEO/Executive Vice President (Interim) of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

 “ACP strongly opposes the administration’s recent changes that would expand short-term, limited duration insurance (STLDI) plans. Expanding their use will erode essential patient protections, drive up premiums for consumers seeking coverage through the health insurance exchanges, and make quality care inaccessible for millions of Americans. ACP supports Senator Baldwin’s resolution that attempts to reverse the administration’s new rule and prevent the harm it would cause patients,” said Dr. Ana María López, MD, MPH, FACP, President of the American College of Physicians.

 “Short-term, limited duration health plans provide no assurance that patients will have meaningful insurance. Because they don’t have to comply with Affordable Care Act requirements, these plans will be allowed to exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits; to vary premium rates by gender, health status, and age; and to potentially put individuals and families at significant financial risk. The American Academy of Family Physicians is working to safeguard Americans’ access to affordable, meaningful coverage and we welcome efforts to ensure the national health policy meets this goal,”said Michael Munger, MD, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

 “Senator Baldwin and her colleagues are showing true leadership by working to stop President Trump’s expansion of junk insurance plans in its tracks,” said Brad Woodhouse, Executive Director of Protect Our Care. “If the GOP truly cared about protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, they would join their colleagues on this resolution in taking concrete action to preserve the protections and essential health benefits that tens of millions of Americans depend on — and they would do so immediately.”

 “The Trump Administration wants to turn back the clock on protections for health care consumers established by the Affordable Care Act. A new regulation finalized over the summer makes it legal to sell junk insurance under the guise of ‘short-term insurance.’ The regulation redefines ‘short-term’ plans so that they can last for up to a year and be renewed in future years,” said Shawn Gremminger, Senior Director of Federal Relations at Families USA. “Fully 90 percent of Americans support maintaining guaranteed coverage for people with preexisting conditions, yet these regulations allow insurance plans that can deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions; can charge higher premiums of any amount based on age, gender, medical history; and deny coverage essential benefits, including maternity care, prescription drugs, and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. Families USA is proud to support S.J.RES.63, which would protect America’s families by stopping this disastrous rule from going into effect.”

 Congressional Review Act (CRA) disapproval resolutions that obtain the support of 30 Senators on a discharge petition force a vote on the Senate floor. Senator Baldwin has the support needed to file a discharge petition and force a vote under the CRA on her resolution to overturn the Trump Administration’s expansion of junk insurance plans. A simple majority vote in the Senate would pass the resolution and send it to the House of Representatives.

 Baldwin’s resolution is cosponsored by 45 Senators including, Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Doug Jones (D-AL), Angus King (I-ME), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

U.S. Sen. Baldwin: Statement on water infrastructure legislation

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For Immediate Release

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Contact: [email protected], 202-224-6225

Speaker Ryan Fails to Keep President Trump’s Promise on Permanent Buy America Commitment

House Moves to Five Year Buy America Provision

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which was voted on in the House today.

The Senate version of the water infrastructure legislation included Senator Baldwin’s permanent Buy America requirement, which earned President Trump’s support. The House-passed legislation included no Buy America requirement. In House-Senate negotiations on the final 2018 WRDA, the House would only agree to move from the current one year Buy America standard to a five year extension, which passed the House today. The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation in the next few weeks.

“I strongly believe American workers should build our infrastructure with American products, and taxpayers’ money should not be spent to support foreign workers. A five year Buy America standard is better than the status quo, but Speaker Ryan and the House failed to keep President Trump’s promise. Our American manufacturers and workers deserve a permanent Buy America commitment from Washington that rewards their hard work. I’m going to continue my work to ensure that we are doing right by them by making sure that America is buying what Wisconsin makes with a permanent Buy America standard,” said Senator Baldwin.

The last time WRDA was reauthorized in 2016, a permanent Buy America commitment was included in the Senate but Speaker Ryan and House Republican leadership stripped it from the water infrastructure bill that would eventually pass into law. The Hill reported that Speaker Ryan was “actively pushing to strip the provision from the bill” and did so after the urging from, “lobbyists for several large foreign steelmakers,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

On April 18, 2017, while visiting Kenosha, local media asked President Trump if he supported Senator Baldwin’s permanent Buy America standard, the Made In America Water Infrastructure Act. President Trump said “I do,” and also said, “I agree with her 100 percent.”

Last week, Senator Baldwin sent a letter to President Trump calling on him to back up his words with action on a permanent Buy America commitment in final legislation that goes to his desk. In her letter to President Trump, she urged him to call on Speaker Ryan and the House to include a permanent Buy America commitment in the legislation that goes to his desk. President Trump did not call on the House to keep his promise.

Senator Baldwin has long-championed stronger Made in America standards to ensure that American workers and products are prioritized, especially when U.S. taxpayer dollars are used.

Senator Baldwin’s Made in America Water Infrastructure Act requires that 100 percent American-made iron and steel is used in water infrastructure projects funded by the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The DWSRF is a federal-state partnership that acts as an infrastructure bank to help ensure safe drinking water in all 50 states and territories. This reform would require all of these projects to use American-made iron and steel. Eligible projects include improving drinking water treatment; fixing or replacing old pipes; improving the source of the water supply; replacing or constructing finished water storage tanks; or any other infrastructure projects needed to protect public health. Baldwin’s Made in America Act identifies federal programs that fund infrastructure projects not currently subject to Buy America standards and ensures that materials used in these federal programs, including steel, iron and aluminum, are domestically produced. When certifying that materials used in construction are ‘Made in America,’ the bill requires the Department of Commerce to ensure that American jobs are supported. She also introduced the Made in America Shipbuilding Act, which strengthens Buy American requirements for the federal government’s purchase of ships by expanding current law to cover all federal agencies, all classes of ships and substantially more shipboard components, including items made in Wisconsin.

An online version of this release is available here.

UW System: Testifies in support of federal financial aid for students in UW Flexible Option program

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Heather LaRoi, UW System
608-265-3195, [email protected]

MADISON – The University of Wisconsin System on Thursday urged the U.S. Department of Education (DoEd) to rewrite regulations governing the federal student financial aid programs to ensure students participating in its innovative UW Flexible Option program have access to federal financial aid.

Laura Kite, assistant dean for student services for UW System’s Continuing Education, Outreach, and E-Learning, told DoEd officials that federal regulations for student-teacher interaction and for defining credit hours should be revised.

“We believe to be successful we must be innovators,” Kite said. “To be innovators we need our partners, like the U.S. Department of Education, to remove rules and regulatory barriers to innovation.”

The DoEd held the third of three hearings about the federal financial aid programs Thursday at Gateway Technical College in Sturtevant. The others were in Washington, D.C., and New Orleans. The agency is soliciting information on program regulations and creating a negotiated rulemaking committee to discuss updating aid program regulations. Department officials intend to present proposed regulatory language at the committee’s first meeting.

Under the pioneering Flexible Option program, students master competencies rather than accumulate credit hours. They progress toward degrees at their own pace, receiving a high-quality education at a lower cost than a traditional on-campus or online program. About 300 students have already graduated.

Kite told federal officials that two areas of aid regulation need modernization.

One centers on the amount of time faculty spend with students, or “regular and substantive interaction.” While originally conceived to protect students and taxpayers by insuring against unscrupulous providers, Kite said, regulations have not kept pace with current instructional methods.

The regulations, she said, should focus on student outcomes. “New models like CBE (Competency-Based Education) that support student learning should be recognized and encouraged through new regulations,” Kite said.

The other area that needs updating is the definition of credit hour, Kite said, which is tied to semesters or terms and not outcomes. Credit hours don’t recognize the kind of learning that takes place under CBEs, she said. Instead, federal regulations should recognize the delivery of financial aid based on the mastery of subject matter.

“We colloquially call this a ‘paycheck model’ of disbursement, because if a student completes more work at the mastery level within a month, say, they could then receive an amount of aid commensurate with the amount of work completed,” Kite said.

The University of Wisconsin System is one of the largest university systems in the U.S., with 13 four-year universities and 13 two-year branch campuses serving about 170,000 students with 39,000 faculty and staff.

UW-Milwaukee: Foxconn ramps up recruitment withFoxconn Day at UWM

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Michelle Johnson, [email protected], 414-229-7490
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MILWAUKEE _ Foxconn and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are enhancing their partnership with Foxconn Day at the Milwaukee campus on Sept. 17.
Students and members of the general public are invited to learn more about Foxconn and its employment opportunities at the event. Jobs in a wide range of fields, including engineering, computer science, supply chain and human resources, are available across different job levels.
Foxconn is creating 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, where the company is building a state-of-the-art science and technology park in Mount Pleasant for the fabrication of display screens and research and development of advanced display technologies for use in a wide range of applications in the fields of education, entertainment, health care, advanced manufacturing systems, office automation and interactive retail and safety. The park also will be a center for research and development related to semiconductor processing technologies on glass and the AI 8K+5G ecosystem Foxconn is building in Wisconsin.
Foxconn and UWM announced in June the company’s first Wisconsin co-op program. It will send 10 students from UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science to Taiwan in February to study at Chung Yuan Christian University and work at a Foxconn facility there through June 2019. UWM students can learn more about this opportunity during Foxconn Day at UWM.
Winnie Tu, director of business administration at Foxconn, said: “We are committed to supporting Wisconsin by expanding the existing strong talent pool and nurturing knowledge workers in the state. Foxconn is focused on creating a vibrant industry environment and contributing to Wisconsin’s transformation into a global technology hub. Foxconn Day at UWM is an important step in this process and will build on the International Engineering Co-op relationship we established with the university earlier this year. We look forward to welcoming the first cohort of students to our Wisconsin campus and to Taiwan next year, and to future collaboration with additional higher education partners as part of our shared goal of attracting the best and brightest minds to Wisconsin.”
Foxconn Day will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17, in the Wisconsin Room of the UWM Student Union, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd. Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives, will give a brief keynote talk at 11:30 a.m. followed by remarks from UWM Chancellor Mark Mone. There will be an opportunity for media members to interview these leaders immediately after their comments.
“We are delighted to pilot Foxconn’s co-op program and to host Foxconn Day at UWM,” said Brett Peters, dean of UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science, which is helping organize the event. “This is a tremendous opportunity not only for our students, but for Wisconsin’s workforce, to address these next-generation manufacturing needs and the growing demand for graduates in engineering and computer science, who will be leaders in Wisconsin’s technology-oriented future.”
Foxconn Day will include video and brief, hourly speaker presentations, as well as Foxconn technology displays. Participants also will be able to learn more about Foxconn’s Smart Cities-Smart Futures initiative. This is the first of several Foxconn recruiting events planned at UWM this fall and the only one open to the general public. For more information, visit uwm.edu/engineering/foxconnday.
About Foxconn Technology Group
Established in 1974, Foxconn Technology Group (“Foxconn”), is the global leader in manufacturing services for the computer, communication, and consumer electronics (3C) industry. A multinational company headquartered in Taiwan, Foxconn offers many of the leading U.S. and international companies in electronics a one-stop integrated manufacturing solution. Foxconn generated total annual revenue of $158 billion in 2017 and was ranked No. 27 on the 2017 Fortune magazine Global 500. The company has facilities in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Foxconn is leveraging the potential of cloud computing, mobile devices, the Internet of Things, Big Data, artificial intelligence, networks, and robotics and automation, in its transformation as a leading high-tech enterprise and industrial Internet company. The company has research centers and testing laboratories internationally and has received more than 83,500 patents worldwide. In addition to maximizing value creation for customers, Foxconn is also dedicated to enhancing the concept of environmental sustainability in the manufacturing process and serving as a best-practices model for global enterprises.

Vukmir campaign: Baldwin fires top staffer over Tomah and attempts to buy her silence

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Contact: Jessica Ward, (608) 213-5939
Baldwin Fires Top Staffer Over Tomah And Attempts To Buy Her Silence  
Brookfield, Wis. — After learning about the abuses at the Tomah VA, failing to release the report and admitting there was wrongdoing, Senator Baldwin proceeded to fire her deputy state director who she claimed Senator Baldwin was culpable.

After firing her staffer, Baldwin proceeded to offer her a taxpayer-funded settlement, which would have come with a gag order preventing her from discussing anything about the Tomah VA with the public.

Baldwin’s decision making begs the following questions: What did Tammy Baldwin know? Why did she fire a top aide? And why did she offer a taxpayer-funded settlement to keep her staffer silent?

“Senator Baldwin let our veterans down and fired a high-ranking staffer in her office in an attempt to shift the blame onto someone else,” said Leah Vukmir campaign manager Jess Ward. “Then after the fact, she attempted to bribe her staffer to keep her quiet. Senator Baldwin should be ashamed of her unwillingness to take responsibility for her own failures — all to protect her political career.”

BACKGROUND …

Days after initial reports that Baldwin failed to act on the issues at Tomah, she fired her Deputy State Director, Marquette Baylor, “without explanation.” “Under fire for her office’s inaction over alleged overmedication at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin abruptly ousted one of her top state staffers late last week. Marquette Baylor — deputy state director for Baldwin and chief of her Milwaukee office — was let go on Thursday without explanation. Baylor has been offered a cash payout as part of a severance package if the former aide agrees to keep her lips zipped. ‘It looks like they’re trying to pin the blame on her,’ a source said of Baylor’s dismissal by Baldwin.” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel1/26/15)

Baldwin offered a top staffer a taxpayer-funded settlement, but it required silence regarding Tomah.  “A former top staffer to U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has rejected a proposed severance deal that would have required her to remain silent regarding what she knew about the problems at the troubled Tomah VA Medical Center. … ‘The deadline has passed, and Marquette rejected the offer,’ said one source close to Baylor.  A second source said the issue is now ‘in the senator’s court.’  ‘Marquette didn’t want to be hogtied by the deal,’ the second source said. ‘She can now move on without any restrictions.’” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 1/26/15)

Baldwin wouldn’t even disclose that she fired a top aide or that she offered her a taxpayer-funded settlement.  “Baldwin and her staff won’t even acknowledge terminating Baylor. More important, they won’t disclose the proposed five-figure severance deal offered to Baylor that would have required her to keep quiet about the Tomah mess.”  (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 1/26/15)

Vukmir campaign: Former Baldwin and Kohl aide alleges a political cover-up by Tammy Baldwin

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Contact: Jessica Ward, (608) 213-5939

FULL REPORT

Former Baldwin and Kohl Aide Alleges A Political Cover-Up By Tammy Baldwin

Brookfield, Wis. — After firing her deputy state director and offering her a taxpayer-funded settlement to remain quiet, an ethics complaint was filed against Senator Tammy Baldwin.

While the complaint was dismissed, Marquette Baylor, a top aide to Senator Baldwin and Senator Kohl, clearly believed there was a political cover-up by Senator Baldwin and her office.

“Marquette Baylor was a top aide to Senator Baldwin who, according to Ms. Baylor, Baldwin blamed for failing to address the crisis at Tomah,” said Leah Vukmir campaign manager Jess Ward. “Wisconsin voters should read Marquette Baylor’s full report and judge for themselves if Senator Baldwin is responsible for letting our veterans down at Tomah.”

BACKGROUND …

United States Senate Select Committee On Ethics  
The Complaint of Marquette Baylor against Senator Tammy Baldwin
April 20, 2015

I, Marquette Baylor, bring this Ethics Complaint against my former employer, Senator Tammy Baldwin, for making false statements and representations to cover up actions by her Chief of Staff and protect her political career. In support of this Ethics Complaint, I hereby state as follows:

Introduction 

1. In late January, 2015, the public learned that Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office had obtained an inspection report from the Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General (“VA OIG”) concerning alleged overmedication and abuse at the VA hospital in Tomah, Wisconsin. The public also learned that Senator Baldwin and her senior aides did nothing to protect Wisconsin veterans from the danger and abuse detailed in the report.

2. After the public outcry, Senator Baldwin immediately sought to place the blame squarely on me. She instructed her Chief of Staff, Bill Murat, to fly to Milwaukee, fire me, and offer me a severance package that required me to stay quiet. Murat then moved into damage control, meeting with individuals in Wisconsin and telling them that the inaction was my fault. When I rejected the severance package, Senator Baldwin revised her plan. She hired a high- powered law firm, paid that firm to prepare an internal report for her – at no point requesting to interview me or ask me questions – and used that report to further deflect blame toward me while protecting those truly at fault.

3. As further detailed in the following sections, in August of 2014, constituent services representatives (“caseworkers”) in the Milwaukee office identified broad-scale misconduct in multiple VA Medical Centers. At my direction, a caseworker elevated the VA misconduct issue directly to the State Director, Doug Hill, and the Legislative Director, Daniel McCarthy. Months passed without critical guidance. Later, in November of 2014, I was informed of the VA OIG report regarding the over-prescription practices at the Tomah VA Medical Center. My staff and I immediately developed an action plan and sought approval from Hill, the State Director, and Murat, the Chief of Staff. Despite repeated requests for approval of the proposed action plan, our efforts were rejected by Murat. My staff and I eventually prepared memorandums directed to the Senator herself. These memorandums were either ignored by the Senator or were withheld from her by Murat.

4. Senator Baldwin and her staff have disparaged the truth in order to cover up Murat’s actions and to protect her political career. Had Murat, as the Chief of Staff, allowed me and other individuals to properly perform our roles, the issues surrounding the Tomah VA Medical Center would have been identified and addressed long ago. By attempting to place the blame at my feet, Senator Baldwin has concealed the truth, made false statements, and mischaracterized my service as the Deputy State Director. Her actions to cover up Murat’s willful misconduct are unbecoming of a United States Senator. She has acted unethically.

5. I make these allegations with reluctance. With over a decade of public service and loyalty to policymakers and constituents in Wisconsin, I am reluctant to challenge a United States Senator. I am also reluctant to enter the spotlight, knowing that my actions will be viewed critically, and in hindsight. But given the events in recent months – the misinformation campaign designed to protect the Senator and her Chief of Staff – this reluctance must yield. It must yield to defend my name and reputation from unjustified attack. And it must yield to bring focus to where it should have been all along: the veterans who receive care by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Background 

6. Respondent Tammy Baldwin is a junior United States Senator for the State of Wisconsin. As a member of the United States Senate, Senator Baldwin represents constituents in Wisconsin and is responsible for ensuring that their concerns and issues are handled. Senator Baldwin must also act ethically and in accordance with the Senate Code of Official Conduct, the rules and regulations of the United States Senate, and applicable state and federal laws.

7. During the relevant period, Senator Baldwin’s Chief of Staff was (and continues to be) Bill Murat, and her State Director was Doug Hill.

8. I have lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin since November of 1996. Prior to my work for Senator Baldwin, I worked for former United States Senator Herb Kohl for more than ten years. During that time, I performed my role with distinction and without any incident or question into my skill or work ethic as an employee. Senator Kohl occupied the seat now occupied by Senator Baldwin.

My Role as Deputy State Director for Senator Baldwin 

9. I began work for Senator Baldwin as a Deputy State Director in June of 2013. In that role, I generally assisted the State Director with various oversight tasks in the Senator’s Milwaukee Office. A substantial portion of my time was committed to building relationships with community leaders, creating a presence for the Senator in Milwaukee, and relocating the entire Milwaukee office operation.

10. Shortly after assuming the role of Deputy State Director, I immediately encountered communication, personnel, and transition difficulties between and within Senator Baldwin’s various offices. These difficulties arose from the overall lack of office structure and protocols, unstated and changing job responsibilities, and the lack of standard operating procedures and training for the staff. The absence of basic standard operating procedures, as well as restrictions imposed by Murat that limited my ability to create or implement essential policies and procedures, significantly inhibited the staff’s daily operations.

11. The absence of defined policies and the inability to create policies stood in stark contrast to my experience working for Senator Kohl. My immediate goal, therefore, was to establish my authority to create policies or, alternatively, obtain guidance on what specific policies should be implemented. Despite explicit requests to my supervisors, Murat and Hill, no authority or guidance was provided until November 5, 2014.

12. Without specific guidance from my supervisors, I instructed the caseworkers to act as advocates for constituents: heed their concerns, investigate their complaints, inquire into solutions, and take necessary steps to resolve their issues. The state constituent services function group consisted of five caseworkers, one of which was part-time and located in the Madison office. The three caseworkers with the heaviest caseloads handled immigration, social security, Medicare, and VA issues. Those three workers averaged approximately 120 to 150 open cases on a weekly basis.

13. Because of my significant responsibilities to develop and maintain relationships outside of the office, I instructed caseworkers to elevate problematic cases to my attention based on their professional judgment. In addition to cases brought to my attention, I would provide a weekly constituent services report to all staff highlighting trending issues of concern, impactful stories, and cases that required legislative action, along with the number of cases opened, closed, and pending.

On January 21, 2014, Hill, the State Director, informed me that my position was being changed to Deputy State Director of Constituent Services. In an email to me and Todd Crouch, another Deputy State Director, Hill stated that the “basis for this reorganization comes in large part from . . . the important input that you have shared with Bill and me over the last year. I know that there has been frustration at times on not having a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities and reporting structure.”

I embraced the change to Deputy State Director of Constituent Services because it would more directly focus my strength and expertise from my previous experience under Senator Kohl. My role as the new casework supervisor for Senator Baldwin required leadership, organization, and openness in order to respond to and assist constituents from all 72 counties. The constituent services function group met twice-monthly through August, 2014, and monthly thereafter to discuss cases in general, plan solutions for addressing constituent concerns, and address any longstanding cases.

16. Despite the change in organizational structure, I continued to lack authority to create and implement much-needed policies and did not otherwise receive operating procedures from Hill or Murat for nearly ten months.

17. On November 6, 2014, based on my longstanding requests for clearly defined expectations and the authority to fulfill those expectations, I met with Hill and Murat by video teleconference to discuss my specific functions and handling of the team I had been assigned. In the meeting, which lasted approximately an hour, Murat indicated that he would like case listings to be reported to him in a different format. Given the brevity of the meeting, however, no standard operating procedures on the handling of cases could be established.

18. Only after the discovery of the VA OIG report did Hill and Murat entertain my input with regard to parameters on how caseworkers should handle constituent requests. Hill and Murat specifically granted me authority to establish protocols during a meeting on November 19, 2014. During the meeting, Murat indicated that caseworkers should not be contacting federal agencies, noting that Senator Baldwin had never made a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request in 20 years.

19. The guidance finally obtained in November, 2014, was too late and could not compensate for severe short-fallings by Murat, the Chief of Staff. Indeed, despite the lack of clear job responsibilities and the significant limitations placed on my ability to manage caseworkers, the constituent services team identified and elevated issues concerning VA misconduct many months before any action was taken. These efforts were rebuffed by Murat until it was too late.

Vukmir campaign: ICYMI: Leah outlines Tammy Baldwin’s Tomah cover-up with Jay Weber

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018

Contact: Jessica Ward, (608) 213-5939

Nurse and military mom Leah Vukmir joined Jay Weber on 1130 WISN on Thursday morning to talk about how Tammy Baldwin let us down at the Tomah VA by looking out for her political career more than our veterans.

Listen to the interview here
Some highlighted quotes are below:

“As a nurse and as a military mom, this makes me so upset to think that Tammy Baldwin ignored our veterans. She let our veterans down and trust me, I’ve been talking to veterans all over the state and they are fully aware of how she let them down.”

“She requested this report because she heard from a constituent that there were problems at the Tomah VA. Unfortunately, after she learned what was in the report, she didn’t act on it. And why? We know why — because she was trying to cover for the Obama administration that was failing our veterans.”

“She did nothing. She wanted to save her political career. She wanted to protect the Obama administration. I think that is absolutely unconscionable.”

“If she did nothing wrong there would’ve been no reason to fire staff or offer a taxpayer-funded settlement to silence her aide. This is a cover-up that resulted in a veteran losing his life. Our veterans deserve better care.”

“Tammy Baldwin will go to any length to protect her DC swamp paycheck.”

“We need somebody who will go to Washington, who will listen to their constituents, who will care about their constituents, who will follow through and do the right thing. And Tammy Baldwin hasn’t done that.”

“I will think of all veterans as I think of my son because I know what that commitment is like. I know what it means because I’ve seen it through his eyes. And they have my word.”

“We need to make sure that those that put their lives on the line have the best opportunity to receive the care that they deserve. I will certainly be put in a position to do that — the combination of being a military mom and a nurse, understanding exactly the type of care that they need and they deserve.”

Walker campaign: ICYMI: Scott Walker proposes new graduate tax credit to help make college more affordable

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 13, 2018
Contact: Austin Altenburg
[email protected]

[Madison, Wis.] – On Tuesday, Scott Walker’s campaign released a new policy proposal and corresponding statewide TV ad to make college more affordable and keep our graduates here.

The New Graduate Tax Credit of up to $1,000 per year for up to five years works to keep our kids close to home and helps build our state’s workforce – it is targeted toward college graduates who will live and work in Wisconsin. The tax credit is in addition to Scott Walker planning to freeze in-state tuition for another four years, after freezing it for the previous six.

Read more from The Cap Times here or find excerpts below:

Scott Walker proposes $5,000 in tax credits for college graduates who stay in Wisconsin
By Jessie Opoien
The Cap Times

Wisconsin college graduates who live and work in-state would be eligible for up to $5,000 in tax credits under a proposal Gov. Scott Walker released in more detail on Tuesday.

Walker first floated the idea of offering tax credits to alumni of Wisconsin-based institutions last month. His campaign released a policy paper outlining the plan in more detail on Tuesday, along with a statewide TV ad promoting the proposal.

Walker’s plan calls for a refundable tax credit of $1,000 per year, for up to five years, for college graduates who completed their education at a college or university located in Wisconsin. The credit would be available to students who attended a University of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Technical College system school, a private not-for-profit college, or a for-profit institution.

To receive the credit, graduates would need to have earned a degree beyond a one-year degree or certificate, live in Wisconsin for at least one year after graduation, and have earned income in Wisconsin. The credit could only be claimed for one continuous five-year period, and would not apply retroactively to previous graduates. …

“The New Graduate Tax Credit ensures Wisconsin’s graduates and Wisconsin residents receiving their postsecondary education out of state have an incentive to stay in Wisconsin, or return home to Wisconsin upon graduation,” the campaign’s policy paper reads.

In a new ad launched Tuesday, Walker stands at the front of a college classroom asking students if they’re worried about paying for college and if they have student loan debt. In addition to the tax credit proposal, he touts his administration’s six-year freeze of UW System tuition, which he has proposed extending for another four years. …

Walker campaign: Statement on rescheduling of WBA debate with Tony Evers

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Contact: Austin Altenburg
[email protected]

[Madison, Wis.] – The Walker campaign released the following statement on the announcement today by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association that it was changing the date of its gubernatorial debate from Oct. 5 to Oct. 19 after the Evers campaign said it had a scheduling conflict.

“Scott Walker is ready to have an honest discussion about our state’s future and his vision to keep Wisconsin working for generations to come,” said campaign spokesman Brian Reisinger. “That’s why he promptly agreed to two debates on October 5 and 26 — and why he’s willing to change the date of the WBA debate following the request of the Evers campaign.”

Walker says Kimberly-Clark package needs bipartisan backing to pass Senate

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Gov. Scott Walker says an incentive package that could help keep open one of Kimberly-Clark’s plants in the Fox Valley could only pass the Senate if it receives bipartisan support.

Walker took to Twitter last night to tout an effort to “save plenty of good-paying jobs.” That followed a WisPolitics.com report yesterday morning showing the company wants the Legislature to sign off on the bill by the end of the month.

“The only plan that can pass the Senate before 9/30 is the bill that passed the Assembly, and the only way to pass it is with votes from both parties,” he wrote in a Tweet.

The package has been hung up in the state Senate with critics expressing concerns at both the price tag and the precedent such a package would set to companies considering layoffs.

A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said Walker hasn’t spoken to the La Crosse Dem in months. And Shilling in a statement knocked Senate President Roger Roth, who’s pushing the package and whose Appleton-area district includes the plant.

“As the Senate President, Sen. Roth has the power to make change yet we’re seeing little activity from his office as he fails to rally votes in his own caucus,” Shilling said.

Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, met with Kimberly-Clark officials on Friday to “discuss pending legislation and tour the facility,” per a Walker spokeswoman.

A Fitzgerald previously said the senator had told the company its Sept. 30 deadline would be hard to meet because of challenges bringing back his caucus for a vote at this time.

After Kimberly-Clark announced in January plans to shut down two Wisconsin plants, GOP lawmakers announced a package with Foxconn-like incentives to keep the facilities open. It would boost tax credits for job retention to 17 percent, up from the current 7 percent. Kimberly-Clark would also get refundable tax credits for 15 percent of capital expenditures, up from the typical 10 percent, over a five-year period. The company would also get a five-year sales tax exemption on those expenditures.

The Assembly signed off on the bill in February. Kimberly-Clark has since announced it reached a deal with the United Steelworkers that, paired with the state incentives, would keep one plant open.

WILL: Urges feds to inject federalism into higher education accreditation

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Testimony urges competition to achieve reform, spur innovation
September 13, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI – WILL Deputy Counsel and Director of Regulatory Reform and Federalism, Lucas Vebber, submitted testimony urging the federal Department of Education to undertake bold reforms to regulations implementing Federal Student Aid programs.

The Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education recently announced plans to convene a negotiated rulemaking committee to prepare regulations for the Federal Student Aid programs authorized under the federal Higher Education Act. Unfortunately, federal law limits who can partake in that committee and largely limits it to parties who are committed to maintaining a broken status quo. Colleges and universities, in order to maintain accreditation, are then beholden to this status quo resulting in little innovation or competition. WILL is encouraging the federal Education Department to shake up this committee and encouraging the embrace of the principles of competitive federalism as they work to improve regulations. Under the current system, too much power is vested in the hands of regional accreditors. More competition and more innovation, not less, is what is needed.

The testimony reads in part:

“The current system is almost entirely controlled by the federal bureaucracy. Regional accreditors who have been approved by ED set accreditation standards and work with higher education institutions to determine if they’re being met. A loss of accreditation would essentially force most any institution of higher learning to close down. In this way, those institutions are beholden to their accreditor. This connection between institutions of higher education and their accreditors is what largely maintains the status quo. Injecting competition or alternatives into this process would free institutions to move toward innovation, and would encourage new participants to engage in the area of higher education.”

The testimony can be read in full here.

Wisconsin Historical Society: Gundersen Health System Archives Awarded the 2018 Governor’s Archives Award for Archival Achievement

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

La Crosse, Wis. – The Wisconsin Historical Society is pleased to present Gundersen Health System Archives with the 2018 Governor’s Archives Award for Archival Achievement. An award presentation will be held on Monday, September 17, 2018 at Gundersen Health System (1900 South Avenue, La Crosse, WI 54601) in the John & Nettie Mooney Library & Gundersen Archives, Level 1, Hospital, from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

“Gundersen Archives is receiving this award for the rescue and preservation, arrangement and description, digitization, and archival outreach involving the records of the Gundersen Clinic, Lutheran Hospital and the School of Nursing,” said Matt Blessing, State Archivist for the Wisconsin Historical Society. “The work that they’ve done is integral to the history of medicine in Wisconsin and the history of western Wisconsin.”

There will be a short ceremony followed by brunch, a demonstration and tours. Guests will have a chance to see a demonstration of the Gundersen Family Letters Database and to see the archives office and storage as well as several historical displays.

Gundersen Health System is a major employer in the La Crosse metropolitan area with a rich history in the region. In the late 19th century, Dr. Adolf Gundersen, a Norwegian immigrant, became the city’s leading physician. Six of Adolf’s seven sons became physicians, while four of his sons joined their father at the Gundersen Clinic and helped to launch the practice into prominence in Wisconsin’s medical history.

In 2013, Dr. A. Erik Gundersen and Kay Cimpl Wagner, MLS, began an effort to save Gundersen Health System historical documents and medical artifacts from an unstable storage building. Among broken and discarded furniture, Gundersen and Wagner identified unique photographs, letters, printed materials, and medical apparatus that will help tell the story of modern medicine in La Crosse. One treasure included more than 2,300 letters — the correspondence between Adolf Gundersen, his wife and other family members. Many letters were handwritten in Norwegian and date to 1893.

Wagner consulted with professional archivists throughout the region to learn about best practices in archival administration. For the next several years, she and Gundersen cleaned, identified, and inventoried materials; then selectively scanned and digitized materials. Moreover, Gundersen Health System has supported the development of an oral history program that captures the memories of long-term medical staff. To date, 37 interviews with emeritus physicians have been conducted.

The Gundersen Health System Archives formally opened in late 2017. The Gundersen Archives is now accessible to staff and the public, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In addition, the Gundersen Health System has supported the development of a permanent “history wall” in a heavy-traffic section of the La Crosse hospital, and the Gundersen Archives supports several rotating historical displays.

The Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board (WHRAB) and the Wisconsin Historical Society award the Governor’s Archives Award to individuals, programs or organizations that have made significant contributions to preserving or increasing the availability of original historical documents in any format.

For more information visit wisconsinhistory.org.

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters: 81 candidates in Wisconsin take ‘Clean Energy for All’ commitment, promising 100 percent clean energy by 2050

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CONTACT: Ryan Billingham, Communications Director, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, 608-208-1129 (office), 608-213-6972 (mobile/text), or [email protected]

Moving to clean energy will improve Wisconsin’s health, create more sustainable communities

MADISON – Today, as part of a nationwide effort, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters announced that 81 candidates running across the state this November have committed to the Clean Energy for All goal to move Wisconsin to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

These clean energy champions include statewide candidates Tony Evers, governor; Mandela Barnes, lieutenant governor; Sarah Godlewski, state treasurer; more than 50 state assembly candidates and more than 15 state senate candidates. Similar announcements by the League of Conservation Voters and other state affiliates within the Conservation Voter Movement are happening today for a total of 1400 candidates across the country.

“All across our state, people are demanding common-sense clean energy solutions in our homes, our vehicles, our businesses, and more to protect our health and create more sustainable and thriving communities,” said Executive Director Kerry Schumann. “Clean energy is a winning issue and a win for all of us, and we are proud to work with these candidates to ensure clean energy and pollution-free communities.”

“This in an unprecedented level of commitment to clean energy,” said Sara Jordan, LCV’s Clean Energy for All campaign manager. “In the absence of leadership from Washington to address climate change, state and local leaders are listening to the majority of people who want action on climate change. The candidates who are making this commitment are showing they are ready to step up,” “We’re excited that over 1400 candidates from coast-to-coast are committing to achieve clean energy for all by 2050.

The Conservation Voter Movement, made up of LCV and 30 affiliated state organizations, launched Clean Energy for All in March 2018. The network-wide effort was created to move our country closer to 100 percent clean energy and pollution free communities by 2050. In addition to the commitment, the Clean Energy for All campaign works to win ballot initiatives that promote clean energy and reduce pollution, encourages state and local lawmakers to break down the barriers to clean energy, and pushes for smart investments that reduce air pollution.

For more information on the Clean Energy for All commitment visit: cleanenergyforall.org.

WisDems: Brad Schimel implemented new DOJ secrecy requirements one month after Josh Kaul announced run

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Contact: Courtney Beyer, [email protected]

BREAKING: Brad Schimel Implemented New DOJ Secrecy Requirements One Month After Josh Kaul Announced Run

MADISON — The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke news this morning that just a month after Brad Schimel’s Democratic opponent Josh Kaul got into the AG race, Schimel scrambled to implement a new policy at the Department of Justice requiring employees to sign non-disclosure agreements that would silence them even if they left Wisconsin.

Whether he’s trying to hide records of his travels to a hate group’s conference or implementing policies to keep his failures secret, Brad Schimel has created a culture of secrecy at his Department of Justice. Wisconsin needs a new attorney general who is committed to transparency and fighting corruption,” said DPW spokesperson Courtney Beyer.

This isn’t the first time Brad Schimel has been caught attempting to keep Wisconsin taxpayers in the dark:

  • Brad Schimel tried to hide from taxpayers the fact that he used state money to fly his staff to a conference hosted by a known hate group.

  • He then refused to disclose what remarks he delivered on this taxpayer-funded jaunt.

  • Despite legal action, he refused to release training videos he made during his time as a local prosecutor that could have contained inappropriate content.

WisDems: Shot/Chaser: Walker’s “extremely positive campaign”

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For Immediate Release
September 13, 2018
Contact: Alex Japko, [email protected]

SHOT: Today in Milwaukee, Scott Walker claimed to be running a positive campaign:

“We’ve run an extremely positive campaign. I think if you turn on TV, if you listen to the radio or you look at other advertisements, you’ll see that almost every ad directed at me is a negative one. You’ll see the ads we talk about are ads talking about our plan to keep Wisconsin working for generations to come.”

CHASER:

Link here

WisDems: Vukmir stands by votes against oral chemo, as medical professionals criticize Vukmir for siding With insurance companies over patients

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For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Contact: Brad Bainum, [email protected]

Wisconsin medical professionals yesterday held a press conference to highlight Vukmir’s votes against oral chemo coverage

Vukmir has continued to defend being the only Wisconsin state Senator to vote against the bill twice

MADISON — Despite criticism from Wisconsin medical professionals, Republican Senate candidate Leah Vukmir, in an interview this morning with WISN radio’s Jay Weber, yet again defended her votes against making insurance companies cover Wisconsinites’ oral chemotherapy treatments — the fourth time that Vukmir has defended her votes.

This morning, Vukmir pointedly refused to answer Weber when he asked her to explain the reason for her opposition to expanding oral chemotherapy coverage — twice ducking Weber’s question to that effect.

In the past, however, Vukmir has been much more forthcoming, openly admitting that she voted against oral chemotherapy coverage precisely because she didn’t want to burden her powerful insurance companies backers, even if it meant blocking sick Wisconsinites from getting the medicine they need, according to the Capital Times:

Vukmir was one of just two state senators who opposed [the bill]. She said at the time she voted against it because she opposed imposing mandates on insurers.
Amid Vukmir tripling- and quadrupling-down on her votes to block oral chemotherapy coverage, Wisconsin medical professionals yesterday held an event in Madison, criticizing Vukmir’s record of putting powerful special interests over hardworking Wisconsinites.

Here are some highlights, via the Capital Times:
“A group of Baldwin supporters, which included health care professionals, gathered Wednesday at the state Capitol to criticize Vukmir for her 2014 vote in the state Senate against a bill that required insurers to cover oral chemotherapy. Vukmir is challenging Baldwin to serve in the U.S. Senate.”

“‘As a nurse, I’m shocked a fellow nurse would vote against requiring insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy. I just cannot condone this,’ said Amy Bevington, a Madison nurse.”

“Jay A. Gold, a Madison preventative health specialist, said he thinks Vukmir’s argument that people with pre-existing conditions would still be covered if Obamacare is repealed is ‘a lot of bull.'”

“‘There was no more important point in the ACA than to keep insurers from denying insurance to people because of pre-existing conditions,” Gold said. ‘For Leah Vukmir to say that she’s going to maintain coverage for pre-existing conditions by eliminating the very thing that gave them coverage, it makes no sense.'”

WisDems: Walker ducks roads questions in Milwaukee, his administration’s plan fops in La Crosse

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For Immediate Release
September 13, 2018
Contact: Alex Japko, [email protected]

Sec. Ross Admits Walker Neglected Roads, Mum on Gottlieb Criticism

Scott Walker was in Milwaukee this morning, and once again, he refused to take responsibility for his failure to fix Wisconsin’s roads. When asked about the “Scottholes” campaign, Walker proceeded to blame his predecessor while claiming that he’s “made significant investments in transportation and we will do so going forward.”

But that doesn’t exactly square with what Walker’s Transportation Sec. Dave Ross said in La Crosse Tuesday night. In a forum with the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce, Ross admitted that Walker hasn’t properly addressed the roads issue:

From the La Crosse Tribune report:

Wisconsin Transportation Secretary Dave Ross acknowledged Tuesday that the state has not adequately funded local roads, but he says the solution doesn’t involve increasing the revenue stream.

And even though some in Walker’s administration can admit they have a roads problem, they still have no solutions. La Crosse officials panned Ross’ plan to slice “the funding pie differently” without actually increasing funding:

The pie-slicing strategy suggested by Ross didn’t sound like a viable solution to La Crosse County Board Chair Tara Johnson and Highway Commissioner Ron Chamberlain…

“I have to disagree with the secretary on the funding stream issue,” Chamberlain added. “We haven’t seen inflationary increases to keep up with inflation. Simply reallocating existing funds does not address that issue.”

Wisconsin’s roads problem has been one long headache for Walker’s campaign. Just last weekend, Walker’s former Transportation Sec. Mark Gottlieb slammed Walker for his comments on highway expansion. When asked on Tuesday, Ross refused to push back on Gottlieb’s criticisms at all.

“For eight years, Scott Walker failed to fix Wisconsin’s roads, and it’s clear he’s all out of ideas,” said DPW spokesperson Alex Japko. “The Walker strategy is clear: he ducks questions while his administration pushes phony policies. But Wisconsinites – including his former transportation secretary and local officials – aren’t buying it anymore.

WisPolitics Midday – September 13, 2018

In today’s WisPolitics Midday Update:

  • Fundraising update for Dem Gov candidate Tony Evers
  • Gov Walker calls on the legislature to pass Kimberly-Clark incentive package.
September 14, 2018 | September 12, 2018
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