Daily Archives: September 20, 2018

‘WisBiz: The Show’: Features Doyenne’s Heather Wentler, Tech Metrics and latest Tom Still commentary


Contact: Tom Still or Julie Johnson at 608-442-7557

MADISON, Wis. – The latest episode of “WisBusiness.com: The Show” features an interview with Heather Wentler of the Doyenne Group, who talks about women entrepreneurs and how to create more of them. Also, Liz Schrum presents Tech Metrics, which chart key indicators and events in the Wisconsin economy.

In a separate commentary, Tech Council President Tom Still talks about the Tech Council’s oldest and best attended events, the Early Stage Symposium, where companies have the chance to meet investors from Wisconsin and beyond.

Click here to view the biweekly show and Still’s commentary, produced by Red Arrow Production for the Tech Council and WisBusiness.com, as well as archives of past shows. The show is sponsored by UW-MilwaukeeBDO and Exact Sciences.

Miss a show? Visit our archives at https://wisconsintechnologycouncil.com/newsroom/wisbusiness-the-show/

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Announces $3.17 million in funding recommendations for seven affordable housing development proposals


 Casey Slaughter Becker, 608-267-8823

MADISON – Over $3 million in awards from the Dane County Affordable Housing Development Fund (AHDF) has been recommended for seven proposals in Madison, Sun Prairie, and Fitchburg, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today. Pending final approval by the Dane County Board, this year’s proposals could create 451 units of affordable housing, and 61 units of market-rate housing, for a total of 512 new housing units.

In addition to providing more affordable housing, this year’s recommended proposals seek to create more housing options for veterans, individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals re-entering the community from incarceration, individuals with developmental disabilities, and seniors. The resolution authorizing the awards will be introduced to the Dane County Board for their consideration on Thursday.

“Affordable housing is a critical component to increasing opportunity for all of Dane County’s residents,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “The public-private partnerships that the County’s Affordable Housing Development Fund creates continue to make a meaningful impact in this area.”

The Dane County Affordable Housing Fund had $3,173,508 in funding available in 2018. Eleven responses to this year’s AHDF request for proposals (RFP) were received, with the requests totaling over $6.3 million.

The largest recommended award this year is $1,043,963 to Gorman Company for their proposed Valor on Washington development at the former Messner property on East Washington Ave. in downtown Madison. The 59-unit development would be entirely comprised of two and three-bedroom units, providing a needed boost to the availability of family housing in Dane County.

50 of Valor’s 59 units will be targeted to persons earning 30-60% of the Dane County Median Income (DCMI), and all available units will target families with a veteran member of the household. In the event no veteran families are on the housing waitlist, families in need of affordable housing who meet remaining rental criteria will be able to apply.

The remaining recommendations for 2018’s awards are:

  • $34,352 to the partnership of Mirus and Movin’ Out for a 70-unit development on Acewood Blvd. in the City of Madison, with 59 units targeted to persons earning 30-60% of the Dane County Median Income DCMI. The development proposes 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units, with a target population of tenants who either have a permanent disability or income eligible veterans.
  • $591,346 to MSP for a 112-unit development on Cottage Grove Rd. in the City of Madison, with 95 units targeted to persons earning 30-60% of the DCMI. The development proposes 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units, with a target population of persons re-entering the community from incarceration, veterans, and/or individuals experiencing homelessness or at-risk of becoming homeless.
  • $403,200 to Stone House Development for an 80-unit development on South Fair Oaks Ave. in the City of Madison, with 68 units targeted to persons earning 30 – 60% of the DCMI. The development proposes 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units, with a target population of families that are experiencing homelessness or at-risk of becoming homeless, and veterans.
  • $403,513 to CommonBond for a 54-unit development on Tree Lane in the City of Madison, with 51 units targeted to persons earning 60% or less of the DCMI. The development proposes 1 and 2 bedroom units, with a target population of seniors and veterans, with some units targeted to individuals who have a permanent disability and are experiencing homelessness.
  • $300,000 to Gorman Company for a 64-unit development on Main St. in the City of Sun Prairie, with 55 units targeted to persons earning 60% of the DCMI. The development proposes 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units, with a target population of veterans and families with low-income.
  • $397,134 to J.T. Klein for a 73-unit development on Fish Hatchery Rd. in Fitchburg, with 100% of the units targeted to persons 55 and older earning 30 – 80% of the DCMI. The development proposes 1 and 2 bedroom units, with a target population of seniors.

The County’s Affordable Housing Development Fund  was created in 2015, and is part of the County’s commitment to address our housing gap by partnering to increase affordable housing units for people in need across Dane County.

Since 2015, the County has contributed to the anticipated creation of 1,020 units of affordable housing in municipalities throughout Dane County, with 36% of the units located outside the City of Madison.

The proposals for the 2018 Affordable Housing Development Fund were reviewed, and recommendations put forth, by a County staff team led by the County Executive’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

DC Wrap: Axios editor says ‘blue tsunami’ possible this election cycle; MU Law poll finds Trump’s numbers dipping


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. 14-20

This woman is willing to come forward and tell her story and we should listen to her.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in an interview with WTMJ-AM Milwaukee radio host Steve Scaffidi, saying the Senate Judiciary Committee should hear from California Professor Christine Blasey Ford and U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Ford is accusing U.S. Kavanaugh of sexual assault  while they were in high school. The committee later invited Ford and Kavanaugh to testify on the allegations.

Before the Judiciary Committee takes any further steps on a lifetime appointment to our highest court, the FBI must reopen its background investigation of the nominee to include this serious sexual assault allegation and ensure the Senate has all the facts.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin on Twitter Wednesday. The Madison Dem earlier in the week had said Ford and Kavanaugh should appear before the committee. Her new call came after Ford’s attorneys in a letter Tuesday night argued an FBI investigation should come before she appears before the committee to ensure senators are “fully informed,” per national media reports. The FBI had closed an investigation into Kavanaugh’s history, though Dems have urged the agency to reopen it.

This week’s news

— Axios Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Johnston says he’s anticipating this midterm cycle will mark a “blue wave” election, and he’s on the lookout for signs it may turn into a “blue tsunami.”

Johnston, who spoke at a WisPolitics.com luncheon at UW-Milwaukee’s Zilber School of Public Health this week, said while he had previously referred to the cycle as a “blue ripple” — denoting his team’s reporting the House would flip — further polls and data points make him “feel confident” a blue wave us on the way. And he’s watching to see if that could turn both the House and Senate, as well as possibly down-ballot races.

He also said Wisconsin appears to track with those broader, national trends in the upcoming general.

President Trump was the first Republican presidential candidate since 1984 to win Wisconsin. But now he’s under water, according to the polls.

Asked whether the midterms are about Trump, Johnston responded that “everything’s about Trump.”

“The way the White House has approached this election, they’re making it about Trump,” he said. “The way they’ve approached this election is not a base-broadening election but a get-out-the-vote election, making this about immigration, making this about the wall, making this about cultural issues to get those core Trump voters out.”  

And he referenced a focus group Axios conducted in Ohio last week of “change voters,” or voters who supported President Obama and then Trump, or Mitt Romney then Hillary Clinton.

Johnston noted the Obama-Trump voters largely were motivated by their desire for “something different,” and they said they “would be open to voting for Democrats” this cycle.

Meanwhile, he noted a “key group” of Trump voters that Axios had been struggling to model, known as the “never-Hillary independents,” are also trending more toward the Democrats now.  

Those voters, who voted for Trump because they didn’t want to support Clinton, are generally suburban and rural white men, Johnston said, though he noted tracking their income demographics has been difficult.

“That is a key sort of swing demographic, I think, and we found those also in the Trump-Obama voters and what we’re seeing in those is they are trending more towards Democrats now sort of as a vote against Trump and a vote against everything again,” he said.  


— The new Marquette University Law School Poll found President Trump’s numbers dipped from August.

Now, 42 percent of registered voters approve of his job performance, while 54 percent disapprove. In August, that split was 45-51.

Poll Director Charles Franklin in unveiling the poll results Tuesday noted that Trump’s standing with Republican voters had slipped. Last month, 87 percent approved of the job Trump was doing. But that dropped to 81 percent this month, which Franklin said was the first time Trump has dipped into the low 80s among Republicans during his presidency.

Among independents, Trump’s approval was unchanged at 41. But his disapproval number inched up to 54 this month, compared to 52 in August.

Meanwhile, Dem voters were more enthusiastic about voting this fall than Republicans.

Last month, 69 percent of Republicans said they were very enthusiastic to vote, compared to 67 percent of Dems. This month, 75 percent of Dems said they were very enthusiastic about voting, compared to 64 percent of Republicans. Other than last month, Dems have had an advantage on that question of between 4 and 10 points on this year’s previous surveys.

Franklin said that number typically will bounce around as the campaign season progresses.

— The poll also found House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, upside down with likely voters. Forty-two percent had a favorable impression of him, while 49 percent didn’t.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s split was 41-37.

Ryan isn’t seeking re-election this fall, and Johnson has said he doesn’t intend to run for a third term in 2022.

— In the U.S. Senate race, Dem U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin was backed by 53 percent of likely voters, while 42 percent supported GOP rival Leah Vukmir.

Last month, it was 49 Baldwin, 47 Vukmir.

Along likely voters, Baldwin’s favorability split was 48 percent to 40 percent, compared to 46-42 a month ago, while Vukmir’s was 26-38 after coming in at 30-29 last month.

The survey was in the field Sept. 12-16. The sample of 800 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. That included a pool of 614 likely voters that had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent points.

The sample was 46 percent Dem and 45 percent Republican. Last month, it was a plus-2 GOP sample.

See the poll results.


— Baldwin and Johnson have partnered on a bill to name a Milwaukee post office after of one of the city’s pioneering civil rights activists.

The legislation, introduced Tuesday, would designate a Milwaukee post office the “Vel R. Phillips Post Office Building” in honor of the former Wisconsin secretary of state who passed away earlier this year. A companion bill, authored by Milwaukee Dem U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, cleared the House last week.

In a statement this week, Baldwin, D-Madison, called Phillips — the first female judge in Milwaukee County and the first African American elected to statewide office in Wisconsin — someone who “paved the way for other Wisconsinites to help make a difference in people’s lives.”


And Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in a statement called the bill “just one meaningful way that we can honor her years of hard work and sacrifice.”


— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has called on Gov. Scott Walker and AG Brad Schimel to withdraw from a lawsuit seeking to eliminate the Affordable Care Act.

The La Crosse Dem’s request follows a lawsuit Wisconsin and 19 other states filed in federal court earlier this year. The lawsuit argued the ACA is invalid due to Congress’ decision to eliminate the act’s individual mandate under the GOP tax overhaul bill last year.


Schimel and Texas AG Ken Paxton later filed a preliminary injunction against the feds asking their request be granted by Jan. 1, 2019, when the individual mandate’s tax penalty is officially eliminated under the tax overhaul law.

In the filing, the two argued the ACA’s individual mandate forces individuals to purchase insurance they don’t need and compels states to spend millions to comply with the law.


Kind wrote in a letter this week to Walker and Schimel that the lawsuit’s success would “threaten the health care coverage for millions of Wisconsinites who live with a pre-existing condition” and put more than 220,000 Wisconsinites in jeopardy of losing health coverage they purchased through the ACA.


“It is unconscionable to think that the Governor and Attorney General would willingly put the lives of over half of our state at risk, all while forcing Wisconsinites to foot the bill for this appalling lawsuit,” Kind said in a statement earlier this week. “Instead of taking away health care for people with pre-existing conditions, we need to work together to improve the quality, affordability and accessibility of health care in Wisconsin.”


— The U.S. Senate has voted to pass bipartisan opioid crisis response legislation, which includes provisions from Baldwin.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 passed Monday on a 99-1 vote, with GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah opposed. It includes more than 70 provisions from multiple committees.

This comes at a time when opioid overdoses are killing more people in Wisconsin than car crashes — 883 in 2017, according to the Department of Health Services. For nearly 20 years, that number has been on the rise, with over seven times as many deaths in 2016 as in 2000.

And first responders last year transported nearly 1,000 Wisconsin seniors with suspected unintentional opioid overdoses.

The bill aims to provide new solutions to these and other drug-related problems in Wisconsin and around the country. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would authorize $7.9 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies.

Baldwin wrote several of the provisions as part of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

These include: the Opioid Response Crisis Act, which expands a targeted grant program; a provision to fight against infectious diseases related to opioids; and the RESTRICT Illicit Drugs Act, which would up preventative measures at international mail facilities.

“In Wisconsin, we have seen a growing problem of methamphetamine abuse in our state and a spike in fentanyl overdose deaths,” she said in a statement. “That is why I have worked to provide more resources and flexibility to help Wisconsin fight this epidemic, and to stop the flow of illicit drugs, like fentanyl, meth and illegal opioids, coming from other countries into America.”

The House and Senate will need to combine their versions of the bill before it’s sent to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

Johnson’s “Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues Act” was not included in the bill, but it’s possible it could be added to the final version in the conference committee. It aims to help the Drug Enforcement Agency to more quickly schedule fentanyl analogues as they’re identified.

“Communities across our state have been devastated by the scourge of opioid addiction. I’m pleased that the Senate came together in a bipartisan fashion to pass this important bill to combat the opioid epidemic on multiple fronts,” Johnson said in a statement. “To improve upon the work of the Senate, I will continue to work with my colleagues on the SOFA Act.”

Posts of the week


Marquette poll: Tammy Baldwin opens wide margin over Leah Vukmir in U.S. Senate race

Tammy Baldwin defends Tomah VA record and introduces veteran supporters, including Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel

PolitiFact Wisconsin examines Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s Supreme Court voting record

Rep. Kind hosts roundtable focusing on safeguarding rural economy

Pension Premium Relief for Charities Left Out of Tax 2.0 Package

VIDEO: Kind discusses trade, tariffs

Debate on new tax cuts undercut by GOP election pressure

Wisconsin Senators Introduce Legislation to Designate the Vel R. Phillips Post Office Building in Milwaukee

New bill seeks to delist gray wolves

New bill would give small businesses a $10 million exemption from online sales tax collection

Bill Would Put Brakes on US States‘ Rush to Tax Internet Sales

Democratic Governors Association: Former aides give Wisconsin Gov. Walker re-election headache



Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188

[email protected]

 “I have never seen a situation like this where there seems to be a building insurrection for a governor running for re-election,”

A new report out from the Associated Press highlights a problem Governor Scott Walker’s campaign is facing from an unusual source: former top members of his own administration. Not only have three former cabinet secretaries spoken out against Walker for putting politics ahead of what’s best for Wisconsin, but even former GOP Governor Tommy Thompson has criticized Walker on criminal justice issues.

Read excerpts from the AP’s reporting below or see the full story online HERE.

 Former aides give Wisconsin Gov. Walker re-election headache

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — As Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker fights for his political life, some of the most devastating attacks aren’t coming from Democrats. They’re coming from a handful of former top officials from his own administration.

Three former Walker Cabinet secretaries have blasted the two-term Republican incumbent publicly — not through anonymous editorials or off-the-record comments.

Former Corrections Secretary Ed Wall writes in a tell-all book that he was driven to the brink of suicide by the way Walker and others treated him. Former Financial Services Secretary Peter Bildsten said Walker was beholden to special interests and consumed by his political standing. And former Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said Walker isn’t telling the truth about road funding.

Even former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, long a supporter, distanced himself from Walker on prison overcrowding. Thompson said he regrets expanding the prison population as governor, even as Walker looks at building yet another prison and making his Democratic opponent’s plan to reduce the number of inmates a campaign issue.

“I have never seen a situation like this where there seems to be a building insurrection for a governor running for re-election,” said Dale Schultz, a former Republican state senator who spent 32 years in the Legislature. Schultz has been highly critical of Walker and other Republicans since retiring in 2015.

The criticism comes as polls show Walker is in a tight race with Democrat Tony Evers. Walker is seeking a third term after beating back a recall attempt in 2012 and a failed presidential bid in 2016. The race is being closely watched as a signal of GOP strength in Wisconsin after President Donald Trump put the state in the Republican column for the first time since 1984.

…Evers is rushing to capitalize on the family feuding. He has already cut two digital ads featuring Wall and Bildsten blasting Walker.

“I just think it is pretty powerful,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a former state lawmaker who has sparred with Walker for years. “Usually if someone does it they’re about to switch parties and run for office, or something self-serving. In this case, I don’t see that. These are people who are just seeing a wrong direction for Wisconsin. … Scott Walker’s starting to make Donald Trump look competent.”

…“People need to pay attention to what former administration people are saying,” Wall said. “My purpose in writing the book is not grinding an ax but to tell the truth. … There was a pattern of mistakes and dishonesty going on with this administration you should know about.”

Bildsten once was such a Walker believer that he joked at Walker’s first Cabinet meeting that he was going to tattoo Walker’s promise to create 250,000 jobs on his shoulder. But Bildsten left in 2015 amid what he said was a dramatic shift away from doing what is best for the state toward doing what is best for Walker politically.

“I became very frustrated with the influence of special interests,” Bildsten said.

Bildsten, who is semi-retired, said he’s voting for Evers.

Gottlieb was a Republican leader in the state Assembly before joining Walker’s administration in 2011. He left in 2015 and recently said that Walker was “not truthful” and “increasingly inaccurate” in comments about transportation funding, another hot topic in the race.

Democratic Governors Association: Scotty doesn’t know: Walker unable to answer on pre-existing condition protections


Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188
[email protected]

Governor Scott Walker, who signed off on a lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its protections for pre-existing conditions, has recently taken to preposterously telling Wisconsin voters that he wants to protect provisions of the very law he is seeking to overturn. But according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Walker gives no details on how state would ensure pre-existing coverage if Affordable Care Act is suspended.”

Earlier this week, Tony Evers called on Walker to protect Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions by dropping the state’s lawsuit. Walker has declined to do so.

“Walker’s been caught red-handed in one of the most absurd political two-steps in history,” said DGA Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “Walker has spent his eight years as governor working to undo the Affordable Care Act’s protections for preexisting conditions. Voters know whose side Walker is really on and see right through his pathetic campaign season claims.”

Dept. of Justice: Federal tax threatens to remove $30 Million from BadgerCare Plus


AG Schimel Files New Lawsuit Seeking a Restraining Order Against Trump Administration

MADISON, WIS. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a new lawsuit, along with a motion for a temporary restraining order,  to prevent President Trump’s Administration from taking more than $30 million from the Wisconsin Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (also known together as BadgerCare Plus). The filing is joined by Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kansas, and Nebraska.

“On behalf of Wisconsin, I will continue to fight to protect our healthcare dollars,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Our healthcare programs should not be overburdened with this illegal tax that threatens Wisconsin’s ability to care for those who need medical services the most.”

Wisconsin’s new lawsuit relates to the Health Insurance Providers Fee (“HIP Fee”), which is a tax imposed as part of the Affordable Care Act. Congress specifically exempted the states from paying the tax, yet the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have imposed the tax in such a way as to illegally require the states to pay it.

In 2016, Attorney General Schimel and five other states successfully sued to strike down a rule that allowed the HIP fee to be imposed upon the states. As a result of that ruling, the U.S. District Court recently ordered the federal government to repay $89 million to Wisconsin as a result of the HIP Fee imposed in years 2014, 2015, and 2016. Congress imposed a moratorium on the fee for 2017.

Despite this ruling, the IRS and HHS seeks to impose the tax again in 2018. For Wisconsin, the tax is due on September 25, 2018, and amounts to more than $30 million.

A copy of the lawsuit and the motion for a temporary restraining order are attached, along with a copy of Wisconsin’s affidavit in support of the motion, and a recent letter from Wisconsin to insurance companies that provide Medicaid and CHIP to Wisconsin residents.

Former U.S. Sen. Feingold lecture at the Nelson Institute 🗓

7:00 P.M.
800 Langdon St., Madison, WI
Free and Open to the Public
Attend what will be a fascinating lecture that will explore ongoing efforts to form a meaningful partnership between these two ecologically important regions.
Russ Feingold
This special event will include highlights from Feingold’s time as the United States Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Feingold will share photos and insights as well as outcomes from a 2015 conference that brought together environmental and scientific experts from around the world in an effort to explore areas of common concern and opportunity between the Great Lakes regions of North America and Africa.


Event Contact: Emily Reynolds

Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce: Asks Kimberly-Clark to delay Sept. 30 decision regarding closure of Cold Spring facility


Media Contact:
Raquel Lamal
Red Shoes
(920) 574-3253
[email protected]

APPLETON, Wis. (September 20, 2018) – The following is a statement from Peter Thillman, vice president of economic development for the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce: 

“For 146 years, the people and surrounding businesses of the Fox Cities and Kimberly-Clark have worked together to manufacture paper products that are known and recognized around the world. It’s on this foundation of our shared long-term history and partnership that we ask Kimberly-Clark to delay the September 30th decision regarding the possible closure of its Cold Spring facility.

While we are in the midst of a very contentious campaign season, the Fox Cities Chamber requests Kimberly-Clark to postpone their decision until November 30, 2018. The Fox Cities Chamber is requesting this extra time to allow our elected officials to work together in a bipartisan manner to pass AB 963 and ultimately save good family-supporting union jobs. Sixty extra days to preserve a 146-year manufacturing relationship is a reasonable request.

There’s too much at stake when it comes to potentially losing a valued partner like Kimberly-Clark. The East Central Regional Planning Commission calculated that the potential economic impact includes more than $106 million in annual lost payroll and the loss of a total 1,440 direct, indirect and induced jobs. In addition, the potential closure would have a devastating impact on the 230 companies within Kimberly-Clark’s supply chain that account for $56 million in annual sales. For the Fox Cities these few extra days will give our elected officials the opportunity to do the right thing for our communities and businesses.

Thank you, Kimberly-Clark, for being a valued partner of the Fox Cities community. We hope that you will consider our request as a step forward in our shared future.”

Gov. Walker: Awards $7 million in broadband expansion grants


September 20, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

Preliminary grants have been awarded to serve 1,100 businesses and 14,000 homes

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker and the Public Service Commission (PSC) today announced $7 million in new Broadband Expansion Grant Awards. The 37 new grants will extend high-speed internet access to as many as 1,100 business locations and 14,000 residential locations. The awards announced today are preliminary. They will be finalized upon the issuance of the Commission’s written decision and the expiration of a 10-day appeal process.
“Because of the truly transformative power of broadband we are awarding more than $7 million to extend high-speed internet in Wisconsin,” said Governor Walker. “With these grants we are continuing to build on our investments into broadband throughout the state to ensure that Wisconsin families and businesses have access to technology and information they need to excel. Broadband access is revolutionizing education, health care, and business just like electrical revolutionized farming for my grandparents.”

Since taking office, Governor Walker has awarded 138 Broadband Expansion Grants totaling $20 million. These grants have been matched with $32 million in private and local dollars to assist with the build-out of an effective communication infrastructure for Wisconsin’s rural families, small business, the telemedicine industry, and our tourism industry.

Among the projects approved today is an extension of fiber optic service to Washington Island in Door County. Earlier this year, electric service to Washington Island was damaged by ice. Washington Island is planning to replace the damaged line with a new submarine power line this fall. The grant project approved today proposes to place a 24-strand fiber-optic cable within the new power line, lowering the cost for both the electric and communications services. As a result of this grant, the customers on Plum and Washington Islands will receive essential electric and broadband infrastructure.

This grant round provides awards to counties that had not received previously received a Broadband Expansion Grant. Counties receiving a grant award for the first time include Adams, Brown, Calumet, Green Lake, Lincoln, Outagamie, Racine, Richland, Sawyer and Waushara Counties.

Additional projects will continue to build out broadband service in Bayfield, Buffalo, Chippewa, Iron, Oneida, Pierce, Polk, Portage, Price, St. Croix and Walworth Counties. These are projects that have been implemented in stages over several grant rounds to provide a robust communications infrastructure for businesses and residents in those areas.

The grant applications approved today are:

Amery Telcom, Inc. d/b/a Northwest Communications Town of Turtle Lake project – $96,500 (grant award). This project proposes to build a fiber to the premises service past 5 businesses and 130 homes in the Town of Turtle Creek, in Barron County, just east of the City of Clayton.

Amherst Telephone Company Towns of Hull and Dewey Phase III project – $314,388. This project will build a fiber to the premises service to an additional 154 homes and businesses in the Towns of Dewey and Hull in Portage County.

Bertram Communications, LLC Shawano County fixed wireless project- $274,065. This project will build a build a fixed wireless service in rural areas of Shawano County in the vicinity of Shawano Lake and west of Shawano. The proposal would install antennas in nine service sites. There are 2,344 households and 110 businesses within the footprint of this project.

Bloomer Telephone Company Bloomer School District Phase II fiber project – $519,824. This project proposes to build a fiber to the premises service to 4 businesses and 251 homes and farms in the Town of Woodmohr, and the west side of the Towns of Eagle Point and Cleveland. This project will complete the build out of fiber service to residential locations in the Bloomer School District.

Bug Tussel Wireless, LLC Lafayette County fixed wireless project – $308,384. This project will build three wireless towers in the southern portion of Lafayette County, south of Highway 11. The fixed wireless service will reach 33 businesses and 162 homes within the footprint of the antennas.

Bug Tussel Wireless, LLC Town of Deerfield fixed wireless project – $102,983. This project will build one wireless tower in the Town of Deerfield in Waushara County. The fixed wireless service will reach 81 businesses and 229 homes within the footprint of the antennas.

Bug Tussel Wireless, LLC Little Green Lake fixed wireless project – $102,983. This project will build one wireless tower in the vicinity of Little Green Lake in Green Lake County. The fixed wireless service will reach 14 businesses and 257 homes within the footprint of the antennas.

Hagar Telecom d/b/a BEVCOMM Town of Diamond Bluff Phase II project – $179,582. This project will build a fiber to the premises service past 121 locations in the Town of Diamond Bluff in Pierce County. This project area is immediately north of the FY 2017 project area.
CenturyTel of Central Wisconsin d/b/a CenturyLink Seymour exchange project – $18,557. This project will install an upgrade in the Seymour exchange office and build a 500-foot fiber route to upgrade the DSL service in a project area along Isaar Road northeast of Seymour. The project will upgrade the DSL service for 3 businesses and 40 residences.
CenturyTel of the Midwest-Kendall, LLC d/b/a CenturyLink Mazomanie exchange project – $15,258. This project will install a 0.4-mile fiber route to a serving device on the south side of the Village of Mazomanie, near Howards Trail. The project will upgrade the DSL service for 5 businesses and 51 residences.

CenturyTel of the Midwest-Wisconsin, LLC d/b/a CenturyLink Mukwanago exchange project – $13,875. This project will install an upgrade in the Mukwonago exchange office and build a 0.5-mile fiber route to a project area northeast of the Village. The project will upgrade the DSL service for 21 businesses and 712 residences.

Chequamegon Communications Cooperative, Inc. d/b/a Norvado Town of Barnes Phase II project – $640,000. This project will build a fiber to the premises service in the Town of Barnes in Bayfield County. The fiber route will pass 9 businesses and 727 residences.
CTC Telcom, Inc. d/b/a Mosaic Telecom Lake Desair fiber project – $70,000. This project will build a fiber to the premises service in the vicinity of Lake Desair, northwest of Rice Lake in Barron County. The project will pass 33 homes.

Cochrane Cooperative Telephone Company Town of Milton Phase II project – $300,275. This project will build Phase II of the fiber to the premises service project in the Town of Milton in Buffalo County. In this phase, Cochrane will build service to 11 businesses and 84 residences located north of the Phase I project area.

Whitewater Wideband, LLC d/b/a Edge Broadband Town of Sugar Creek Phase II project – $217,952. This project will add to the FY 2018 Round 2 fiber project in Sugar Creek. This project will extend the fiber to the premises service past 61 businesses and 534 homes adjacent to Highway 12 just south of Lauderdale Lake in Walworth County.

E-vergent.com, LLC Town of Raymond fiber project – $56,336. This project will build a fiber to the premises service to an unserved subdivision in Racine County, west of I-94. The project will build past 19 homes.

Iron County Resource Development Association, Inc. Iron County fixed wireless Phase IV project – $53,275. This project will complete the funding of a tower outside of Mercer partially funded in the last round. This project will also build a new tower near Fisher Lake, northeast of Mercer. There are 3 businesses and 963 homes within the footprint of the towers.

Lakeland Communications Town of Eureka Phase II project – $168,000. This project will extend fiber to the premises service past 19 businesses and 93 homes in the Town of Eureka in Polk County.

LaValle Telephone Cooperative fiber project – $240,000. This project will build a fiber to the premises service in the Towns of Henrietta and Rockbridge, in Richland County southwest of LaValle, and in the Town of Seven Mile Creek, in Juneau County northeast of LaValle. The project will build past 6 businesses and 95 homes.

Marquette-Adams Telephone Cooperative, Inc. Towns of Dell Prairie and Newport project – $145,286. This project will build a fiber to the premises service in the Town of Dell Prairie, in Adams County, and the Town of Newport, in Columbia County. The project area is about 1 mile northeast of Wisconsin Dells. The project will build past 111 homes.

Brown County C-LEC, LLC d/b/a Nsight Teleservice Calumet County fiber route – $372,022. This project will build a 16-mile route connecting several communities in Calumet, Manitowoc, and Sheboygan Counties. Nsight will pass 108 businesses, 5 community anchor institutions, and 2 cellular towers.

Brown County C-LEC, LLC d/b/a Nsight Teleservice Town of Green Bay fixed wireless project – $113,112. This project will build a fixed wireless service in the unincorporated community of Champion, in the Town of Green Bay in northeast Brown County. This project will pilot the use of Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) wireless technology. There are 4 businesses and 163 homes within reach of the antenna.

Brown County C-LEC d/b/a Nsight Teleservice Washington Island fiber project – $104,331. This project will build a middle mile fiber route between Gills Rock, Plum Island, and Washington Island, at the northeast side of Door County. The broadband cable will be built into a submarine power line, and placed by Washington Island Electric Cooperative in one joint undertaking.

Ntera, LLC Town of Birch Creek project – $250,000. This project will build a fiber to the premises service in the vicinity of Lake Holcombe, east of the Chippewa River, in the Town of Birch Creek in Chippewa County. The project will build past 14 businesses and 262 homes.

Oneida County Economic Development Corporation Oneida County fixed wireless Phase V project – $117,500. This project will build six towers and install fixed wireless equipment on those towers. This will be the fifth phase of this build out in Oneida County. There are 267 businesses and 3,127 residences in the footprint of these towers.

Price County Telephone Company Town of Winter project – $46,040. This project will build a 4-mile fiber route and connect a fiber to the premises service to an underserved area in the Town of Winter in Sawyer County, about 12 miles west of Phillips. The project will build past 2 businesses and 31 homes.

Price County Telephone Company City of Phillips / Town of Worcester project – $257,898. This project will build 11 miles of new fiber south of Phillips, connecting fiber to the premises service to 39 businesses and 226 homes.

Reedsburg Utility Commission Town of Delton project – $137,722. This project will build a fiber to the premises service past 19 businesses and 134 homes adjacent to Highway 12 just south of I-90/94 at the Wisconsin Dells exit. This project area is northeast of RUC’s FY 2016 broadband project area.

Reedsburg Utility Commission River Valley project – $305,550. This project will build a fiber backbone through the Village of Spring Green and extend a fiber to the premises service to unserved areas in the Town of Spring Green. The project will pass 35 businesses, 8 community locations and 262 residential locations.

Somerset Telephone Company, Inc. d/b/a Northwest Communications Town of Somerset Phase III project – $63,000. This project will build a fiber to the premises service in the Town of Somerset in St. Croix County. The fiber route will pass 185 residences. This project will build a fiber route along the St. Croix River between the two prior broadband projects in the Town of Somerset, completing the conversion from copper to fiber service from Houlton north to the Polk County line.

Starwire Technologies, LLC Town of Clam Falls project – $159,800. This project will build FTTP service to an unserved area in the Town of Clam Falls in Polk County. The project will build a 16-mile fiber route past 15 businesses and 105 homes.

The Farmers Telephone Company, LLC d/b/a TDS Telecom Town of Beetown DSL project – $375,868. This project will improve DSL service in the Town of Beetown in Grant County. The project will build 7.8 miles of new fiber, install 17 news DSAs and upgrade 6 existing DSAs. The project will improve service for 27 businesses and 470 homes.

Town of King Charter Communications cable project – $372,223. This project will extend Charter Communications cable facilities in the Town of King, in Lincoln County just east of the City of Tomahawk. The project will build past 10 businesses and 247 homes (and 57 vacant lots).

Town of Nashville Northwoods Connect fixed wireless project – $56,000. This project will build two wireless towers in the Town of Nashville in Forest County. The broadband service provider is Northwoods Connect, and this project will complement the Northwoods network in Oneida County. The fixed wireless service will reach 20 businesses and 485 homes within the footprint of the antennas.

Town of Watertown Netwurx Internet, LLC fixed wireless project – $150,690. This project will build a fixed wireless service in three townships (Farmington, Ixonia and Watertown) in Jefferson County. There are 106 and 1,330 residences located within the project area. This broadband service will provide a speed of up to 30 / 15 Mbps.

Town of Sun Prairie UpNetWI, LLC fixed wireless project – $25,004. This project will build a fixed wireless service to a neighborhood in the Town of Sun Prairie, south of the City of Sun Prairie. There are 7 businesses and 74 homes within the footprint of the antenna. The provider is UpNetWI, LLC.

Vernon Communications Cooperative Vernon County Phase III fiber project – $309,294. This project is Phase III of Vernon Communications Cooperative’s fiber build out within the Viroqua telephone exchange. This phase will build past 20 businesses 144 homes in rural Vernon County.

Gov. Walker: Seeks applicants for Milwaukee County judicial vacancy


Office of Governor Scott Walker
September 20, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839
Gov. Walker: Seeks applicants for Milwaukee County judicial vacancy
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today he is seeking applicants for appointment to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.The new appointee will replace outgoing Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Mary Kuhnmuench, whose resignation is effective January 4, 2019.  The new appointee, should he or she choose to run, would be up for election in April 2020.

To apply, please submit the following:

Cover Letter


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 12, 2018.  Following submission, you will receive an email confirming that we have received your application, and explaining the next steps.

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

Grothman campaign: Releases first radio ad: “Yael”


Contact: Timothy Svoboda, (920) 375-1217 or [email protected]

(Fond du Lac, WI) – Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) today released his first radio advertisement of the season. The 60-second spot highlights Grothman’s passion, sensitivity and drive to help individuals with disabilities find work.

Featured in the piece are Dallas and Yael Kerzan, Sixth District residents who have been working with Grothman for well over a year to spread awareness of his bill, the Workplace Choice and Flexibility for Individuals with Disabilities Act. This bipartisan bill will reverse a misguided Obama-era Department of Education rule that severely limits workplace choices for individuals with disabilities. Yael’s disability has not hampered her desire to help others, while remaining an active, contributing member of the community.

“Yael is an inspiration.” Said Grothman. “She and her her mother, Dallas, have done a tremendous job spreading awareness of the challenges individuals with disabilities face in the workforce. I am honored to join them in their mission to expand career opportunities for individuals with disabilities.”

Link to the audio: http://www.glenngrothman.com/radio-yael/

Background: Under the Obama administration, the Department of Education issued a rule that stated individuals with disabilities, after high school, cannot work with their local vocational centers to find work at a facility specifically designed to allow them to thrive. Rep. Grothman’s legislation would reverse this rule, making it possible for these individuals to get the help they deserve and find jobs that will give them a sense of pride.

Work centers are facilities that are specifically designed to both give work opportunities to individuals with disabilities, and care for their unique needs. The caring staff found in work centers operate as mentors, friends and caretakers for the unique employees who work there.

Milwaukee County Board: Resists review of homelessness funding


For Immediate Release: September 20, 2018

Contact: Deanna Alexander

414-939-9339 or [email protected]

Resolution to House County’s Remaining Homeless Not Scheduled

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee County Supervisors Deanna Alexander, Patti Logsdon, and Sylvia Ortiz-Velez wrote and submitted to the County Board, a resolution aimed at helping to house the part of Milwaukee’s homeless population that federal funding is unable to assist. No committee chair was willing to schedule that time-sensitive resolution, file 18-686, for a hearing in time to help arrange housing before the end of the year. The Supervisors have issued the following joint statement:

“While the county has done a markedly good job of reducing chronic homelessness, there are many who the county does not currently have resources allocated to help. For example, those who have settled in a tent city[1] located in MacArthur Square, which is owned by the City of Milwaukee and referred to as “dead-zone” property[2], would have received housing and other community services.

“The resolution would have equipped the Milwaukee County Housing Division to respond to the needs of the homeless who are left out in the cold by the red tape of federal funding, which only helps to address a very specific definition of “chronic homelessness.” Most importantly – the resolution would have provided safe housing under the Housing First practice model, before the coming winter sets in, rather than waiting until mid-2019, or providing no assistance at all.

“We thank Supervisor Felicia Martin for stepping forward to support the resolution, but remain frustrated on behalf of the public that the ideas proposed were not even given the opportunity to be heard.”

New Walker ad says Evers would put jobs at risk


Gov. Scott Walker says in his latest TV ad that Dem rival Tony Evers would put jobs “at risk” and the state “can’t afford to turn back now.”

The ad, Walker’s 20th of his re-election bid, is his first since the latest Marquette University Law School Poll found Evers with a 5-point lead among likely voters.

In the spot, Walker talks directly into the camera, noting with “all of the attack ads these days, it’s easy to forget that more people are working this year than ever before, our schools are some of the best in the nation, and property taxes, they’re lower than when we started.”

Last week, Walker started one new ad that accused Evers of wanting to release violent criminals as part of a plan to cut the prison population in half and another featuring Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch seeking to refute the charge he wanted to strip protections for those who have pre-existing conditions.

In the new ad, Walker says Wisconsin is moving forward, but Evers would raise property and income taxes and hike the gas tax by as much as a dollar a gallon.

“And that would put our jobs at risk,” Walker says to close the spot. “Wisconsin is working. We can’t afford to turn back now.”

Shortly after Evers won the August primary, Walker suggested the state superintendent would raise the gas tax by a dollar. Evers initially said everything was on the table to address transportation, but later said it was a lie to suggest he’d quadruple the gas tax.

Palzewicz campaign: Releases new video


Contact: Austin Kieler, (262) 501-9880

Brookfield, WI — Tom Palzewicz’s congressional campaign in Wisconsin’s 5th District released a new campaign video today, highlighting Jim Sensenbrenner’s 40-year incumbency.

“This video tells a story,” said Austin Kieler, Campaign Coordinator. “It shines a spotlight on the 40 years that Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner has been in office and just how out of touch he is from average Wisconsinites. The status quo hasn’t been working, and the voters in the 5th district know it.”

The new video explores challenges to the 40-hour workweek, that 40% of Americans have little retirement savings, and that there are 40 million Americans in poverty, and Sensenbrenner’s attacks on Social Security and Medicare. Palzewicz also discusses his positive agenda for change and his experience in small business and as a Navy veteran.

The Palzewicz campaign will be using this video in conjunction with an extensive digital ad buy to spread the word about Tom’s candidacy and let the residents of the 5th Congressional District know they have a real alternative to 40-year incumbent Jim Sensenbrenner.

Project Rise: How Milwaukee County Is rewriting futures with an innovative youth justice model


MEDIA CONTACT: Karina Henderson
414.278.4216 (office) | [email protected]milwaukeecountywi.gov
Using a community-based, evidence-driven approach, Milwaukee County seeks to change lives and build community through its approach to youth justice

MILWAUKEE, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018 – Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele wants to tell the story about how Milwaukee County is changing lives and strengthening communities with its innovative approach to youth justice. Called Project Rise, the collaborative, evidence-driven strategy has inspired several initiatives to transform the County’s approach to youth justice.

This transformation ties in with Abele’s commitment to addressing racial equity issues, both within Milwaukee County government and throughout our community. As part of its individualized approach, Project Rise seeks to cut through perceptions that can lead to disparities in the treatment of youth of color within the justice system, and preserve the focus on their individual needs.

“Building safer neighborhoods is always the main goal when it comes to our youth justice system, but we also recognize that the children who enter the system are still growing and maturing,” Abele said. “A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for youth justice. As research increasingly shows, the best way to support and empower young lives is through individualized and holistic services based on their specific circumstances. We need to start seeing our youth as individuals with unmet needs – and as people who we all want to play a meaningful and positive role in our community.

“Project Rise is a comprehensive, new approach that incorporates everything that we know works. We believe that by taking the Project Rise approach, we can help rewrite kids’ futures,” he added.

A part of the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) has spearheaded numerous initiatives as part of Project Rise, including:

  • Enhancing collaboration throughout Milwaukee County and with state leadership
  • Addressing racial disparities in the Milwaukee County youth justice system through evidence-based practices and increased transparency;
  • Creating a data-driven system to evaluate each youth offender and to align sentencing, programs and services to each individual’s needs;
  • Expanding community-based alternative programming; and
  • Implementing rehabilitation-focused programs designed to reduce recidivism among youth.

“With Project Rise, we started to re-evaluate our goals and then find the best way to achieve them,” said DHHS Director Mary Jo Meyers. “We wanted to help every young person find a path toward achieving healthy, meaningful lives. We are not ignoring the impact of their crimes; rather, we are seeking to address the root causes, work toward restorative justice for those impacted by their crimes – and prevent their crimes from permanently defining their lives.

“It may seem odd to say that taking an evidence-based, data-driven approach to youth justice is innovative, but the fact is that this is not how every community treats the kids who come into the system. The more success we build with this strategy in Milwaukee County, the more we hope it can serve as a model nationwide,” she noted.

With trauma-informed care, evidence-based practices, and supports and services that match each child’ individualized needs, Milwaukee County provides integrative solutions that teach life skills, provide school support, job coaching, financial advice and more to set them up for success and prevent recidivism. These solutions can empower youth and their families toward positive futures.

“We know that we must understand the full context of the life experiences of each youth in order to be most effective in helping them,” said Mark Mertens, DYFS administrator. “Project Rise is important in recognizing the specific needs of youth and providing them with resources that empower them to make better choices and be their best selves.”

Whenever possible, DYFS provides youth with alternatives to corrections, including:

  • Programs that serve youth as a diversion from entry into the youth justice system, as an alternative to detention while court is pending
  • Secure detention services, intake assessment, case planning or compliance supervision
  • Community-based service following disposition to court-ordered supervision or as support during re-entry into the community

“The evidence is clear: Support and healing produce better outcomes for kids in our youth justice system and for our community. I firmly believe that Project Rise is integral in making our community safer,” Abele concluded.

Additional information is available at county.milwaukee.gov/ProjectRise.

Rep Hintz: Foxconn deception continues



September 20, 2018

Contact: Aaron Collins, 608.266.2254

Foxconn “sneak peek” appropriates images lifted from Google search

MADISON – This week, Foxconn released a “sneak peek” video of their future campus in Mount Pleasant. The 4-minute video is supposed to give an overview and virtual reality tour of the future complex. However, a basic Google image search reveals the video uses images that appear to just be randomly lifted from the internet, passing them off as representations of the future Foxconn site. For example, an image of a “community park” on the Foxconn campus can actually be identified as the City Park in Bradford, UK. Additionally, the model still shows a Generation 10.5 facility which Foxconn has confirmed is no longer being built, instead opting for a smaller scale Generation 6 facility. This model includes the Corning glass production facility planned for the large panel Generation 10.5 production. Both Corning and Foxconn have made clear there will not be a glass substrate facility on the campus. Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) released the following statement on these aspects of the video:

“Foxconn’s plans are so incomplete they don’t know what they’re building or where they’re building it. The fact that Foxconn is using stock images from a town in England demonstrates the Walker Administration and Foxconn are more interested in selling a fantasy in an election year than they are telling the taxpayers what is happening with their money.

“While the picture from England is embarrassing for the Walker administration and Foxconn, the lack of long-term planning is a serious issue. With up to $4.5 billion dollars in public costs associated with this project, Wisconsin taxpayers deserve transparency. Instead, Governor Walker has turned over the keys to our state’s future to a company drawing up blueprints with a Google image search.”

Rep. Bernier: Attends election security meetings


Contact: Rep. Kathy Bernier
September 18, 2018 (608) 266-9172

Cyber-Security, Infrastructure and Information-Sharing Among Discussion Points

Madison — Election security before the midterm elections is at the forefront for policymakers. In the last two weeks, Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie) has attended two national conferences focused on election security.

The first conference, hosted by the bi-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), in Indianapolis, titled “Elections Security: States Teaming Up,” was designed to connect policymakers from states in the Great Lakes region to better understand the current election security environment and to exchange ideas on how to strengthen state laws regarding how Americans vote. The meetings specifically focused on potential foreign and domestic cyberthreats, the human factor in securing elections, voter registration systems, voting itself and communications strategies.

The second conference, hosted by Missouri Secretary of State, Jason Kander, in St. Louis, brought together Secretaries of State from across the nation as well as other chief election officials for a two-day conference titled “National Election Security Summit.” National, state and local election authorities joined officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Elections Infrastructure — Information Sharing and Analysis Center, security professionals, election experts, and other industry leaders to learn and share tangible best practices. These security discussions provided attendees useable steps to mitigate threats and identify vulnerabilities as election authorities gear up for the 2018 mid-term elections.

“These conferences were timely and provided a wealth of information and shared best practices,” Rep. Bernier said. “The expertise and professionalism of election administration personnel across the country is hard to deny. There are some really smart people working on these issues. They really do have a passion for protecting our Republic and outsmarting enemies who might attempt to disrupt our elections.”

During the meetings, Rep. Bernier and attendees worked with election experts to navigate assistance available from federal and other resources. A key theme was the role all public officials play in bolstering voter confidence in elections based on best practices and setting security standards for the future. “As Chair of the Assembly Campaigns and Elections Committee, I have scheduled an Informational Hearing related to election and cyber-security for September 26 th ,” Bernier said. “I feel Wisconsin citizens should have an opportunity to hear how our election officials are effectively dealing with threats.
It will also give election officials a chance to highlight safeguards already in place and to show Wisconsin is fully prepared to execute a secure election this November.”

Rep. Hebl: Statement on Emergency Rule 1820, regarding CWD containment



September 20, 2018 Rep. Gary Hebl, (608) 266-7678

(MADISON) – Today Rep. Hebl issued the following statement on Emergency Rule 1820, which Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules Co-Chair Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater) would like to suspend:

As legislators, we should do what we can to help limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). This Emergency Rule, while having less-than-ideal timing, is a step towards containing CWD. We should not be punting the issue until next session to have the next legislature do what we can start to do now. Any delay in dealing with CWD is going to exacerbate the problem.

I saw it suggested that the proper way to handle this would be “completing it through the normal rule process in the lead-up to the 2019 deer season…paired with legislative action to appropriate more money for CWD testing.” The fact is, legislative action was taken- Democrats introduced multiple bills this session, including Assembly Bills 374 and 474, which addressed the issues being debated in this rule.

These bills would have implemented additional requirements for deer farms and appropriated $200,000 for Fiscal Year ‘17 and Fiscal Year ‘19 to manage and test for CWD. Neither bill received a hearing, and when Democrats tried to force a floor vote on AB474, the majority party refused to even consider the legislation. That is why I believe we should act as soon as we can, and not trust that a future Legislature will do what the current Legislature has refused.

The hearing on Emergency Rule 1820 is set for Monday, October 1st at 10:00am.

Rep. Petersen fundraiser 🗓

Fundraiser for Rep. Kevin Petersen
with special guest Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch
Wednesday October 3, 2018, 5-7pm
Clear Water Harbor Restaurant & Bar/ Boathouse
N2757 County Trunk QQ
Waupaca, WI 54981
RSVP Appreciated to [email protected]
Suggested Donation $40/per person
Please make checks payable to: Petersen for 40th Assembly
P.O. Box 227
Waupaca, WI 54981

SafeNet: Technology veterans Jason Dobbs and Kelli Schnieder named to head SafeNet consulting


Contact Jeff Bentoff
[email protected] | (414) 465-8710

Fast-Growing Tech Consulting Firm to Expand Types of Services in Milwaukee,
Minneapolis-Area Offices

Minnetonka, Minn. (Sept. 20, 2017) – Software development and management consulting
firm SafeNet Consulting has promoted Vice President And General Manager Jason Dobbs
and Executive Vice President Kelli Schnieder as managing partners to head the rapidly
growing technology company and spread its diverse services across its offices. As managing partners, Dobbs is in charge of business development and technology across
the business, and Schnieder heads operations and delivery company-wide.

Founded in 1994, SafeNet is headquartered in Minnetonka, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis,
where Schnieder is based, and operates a major office in Milwaukee, where Dobbs is
located. SafeNet employs about 90 people split evenly over its two locations and provides
consulting to numerous businesses, including many top corporations. Dobbs and Schnieder said they plan to broaden the services SafeNet offers across the two offices. The Milwaukee office currently focuses on cloud service offerings, user experience and emerging technologies, with the Minnetonka office known for its management consulting and data and analytics services.

The appointments follow the recent resignation of former CEO Brad Zepecki, who had been
with the company since 2010. Dobbs, who has served in a number of leadership roles at the company, said, “Working with Brad at SafeNet since 2011 has been highly rewarding, and I’m looking forward to continuing our consultant-first approach to servicing our clients.”
Schneider, who joined SafeNet earlier this year, said, “I’ve enjoyed getting to know SafeNet’s culture and talented consultants. I’m excited about the opportunity to leverage that talent in both markets.”

Major clients served out of the Milwaukee office include Johnson Controls Inc.,
Northwestern Mutual, Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee Tool and Master Lock. Top clients in
the Minnetonka office include UnitedHealthcare, Health Partners, Syngenta, Boston
Scientific and Hennepin County.

The privately owned company generated $14.5 million in revenue in 2017. The Milwaukee
Business Journal named it one of the fastest-growing firms in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
Zepecki remains committed to the technology scene in the greater Milwaukee area. One of
his first new projects is creation of the non-profit organization Code The Way, which will
connect high school students to project-based learning opportunities writing custom
software for non-profits.

Headshots of Dobbs and Schnieder can be downloaded at

Sen. Larson: Statement on the state of education in Wisconsin



September 20, 2018 608.266.7505

Milwaukee, WI – Today, Senator Larson released the following statement regarding the State of Education in Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin was once, and will again be, a national leader on public education. We are a state that knows the importance of a robust and well-funded public education system and we are a state that values our educators. We can restore our position as an education innovation leader and restore our reputation of forward thinking when it comes to educating our children.

I support Tony Evers’ plan to address these inadequacies and to again ensure Wisconsin is a leader in public education. We must address the systemic issues affecting student performance by rededicating adequate funding for special education, mental health, wrap-around services, and funding a statewide 4K program.

Legislative Democrats know that the future of our state depends on high quality public education and we have fought tooth and nail to reverse the damage done by Governor Walker and GOP leaders in the legislature.

Over the Lost Walker Decade, Wisconsin has seen $1 billion cut from our neighborhood public schools, of which $183 million still remains unrestored. This trend of deliberate noninvestment has led our state to fall behind the national average of per pupil spending and has resulted in a teacher shortage crisis in Wisconsin. In fact, system wide the University of Wisconsin Schools have seen an 18% decrease in enrolment in education programs.

Legislative democrats plan to fix the teacher shortage by restoring the dignity that should come naturally to those who dedicate their lives to instructing our children and ensuring we continue to have a well-educated and successful community. We additionally commit ourselves to listening to taxpayers in addressing the funding flaws that plague districts across the state. Above all else we believe that each and every one of our kids deserve a school, and a state, that values them.”

Sen. Miller: Weekly Democratic radio address: Governor’s false claim on pre-existing conditions


Contact: Sen. Mark Miller (D – Monona) (608)266-9170

MADISON, WI – Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona) offered the weekly Democratic radio address today.

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

A written transcript of the address is below:

“Hello, this is Senator Mark Miller with this week’s democratic radio address.

“In this week’s necessary fact check, we look at the Governor’s claim to be the defender of pre-existing conditions.

“Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are prohibited from denying health insurance to persons with pre-existing conditions. The Governor is falsely claiming that he is the protector of this provision that allows our neighbors who have had the misfortune to have been sick in the past to purchase health insurance today at reasonable cost. This claim by the Governor is blatantly not true.

“Instead of protecting the ability of Wisconsinites to get health insurance without regard to pre-existing conditions, the Governor, together with his Lt. Governor and his Republican Attorney General and with the support from the Republican majority in the legislature, joined a lawsuit seeking to overturn the very protections that many in Wisconsin depend on.

“We rate his claim: false.”

Sen. Testin: Weekly GOP radio address: Health care


Senator Patrick Testin September 20th, 2018
(608) 266-3123

Few people look forward to visiting a hospital – but we all want the peace of mind that comes from knowing treatment is available when we need it most.

Hi, I’m State Senator Patrick Testin from Stevens Point, and today I want to talk about what Republicans are doing to make health care more affordable and accessible in Wisconsin.

This summer, Governor Walker worked with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services to launch the Health Care Stability Plan. This plan will help people on the federal exchanges who have claims in the $50,000-$250,000 range, lowering premiums by an average of 3.5% and preventing further spikes in cost in 2019.

At the same time, Republicans have passed legislation that won support from both parties to give our rural health care workforce a much-needed boost. It shouldn’t matter whether you live in Tomah or in Madison. All Wisconsinites should have access to high quality, well-trained medical professionals. That’s why we created grants for hospitals and clinics to train the workers who provide front-line medical care in rural areas. Newly trained practitioners will be joining their colleagues to ensure that high quality care is available in all corners of the state.

Wisconsin has a tradition for providing some of the highest quality care in the country, and my Republican colleagues and I are committed to protecting and growing that strong reputation now and in the years to come. Thanks for listening, and may you all be well and have good health.

Steil campaign: Kenosha Professional Police Association board endorses Steil


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 20, 2018
Media Contact: Andrew Iverson, Communications Director

JANESVILLE, Wis. – First Congressional District candidate Bryan Steil announced today the endorsement of the Kenosha Professional Police Association board of directors. The endorsement adds to the list of law enforcement officials and organizations supporting Steil. On Wednesday, all six sheriffs in the First Congressional District, both Democrats and Republicans, endorsed Steil.

Bryan Steil: “I am proud to have the trust and confidence of the Kenosha Professional Police Association board of directors. These officers put their lives on the line to fight crime and respond to the needs of Kenosha every day. Their bravery is an inspiration. In Congress, I’ll stand up for law enforcement and their work to protect our community.”

Pete Deates, President, Kenosha Professional Police Association: “The Kenosha Professional Police Association board of directors is proud to endorse Bryan Steil. Bryan has our back and we have his. Bryan is committed to public safety and standing up for families in Kenosha and throughout the district.”

Bryan Steil won the Republican nomination for the First Congressional District on August 14 with over 51 percent of the vote in a five-way contest. Steil is running for Congress to fight for American workers and prepare our workforce for the jobs of the future. Steil is a member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and has a strong background as a business leader. For the past nine years, Steil has worked for manufacturing companies in Rock County and has learned the importance of fiscal discipline and risks of government red tape. Steil was born and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin, where he currently lives.

Survival Coalition: Transportation survey shows critical needs for people with disabilities and older adults statewide


Survival Co-Chairs:

Beth Swedeen, [email protected]; (608) 266-1166;
Kristin M. Kerschensteiner, [email protected]; (608) 267-0214;
Lisa Pugh, [email protected]; (608) 422-4250

People can’t work; get to medical appointments; get where they need to go
The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations recent statewide survey of older adults, people with disabilities, and their family members reveals major transportation gaps in Wisconsin communities. The Coalition conducted the survey in July and August of 2018. 500 people from across the state responded.

Survey results underscore how transportation is a critical—and largely unmet—need that impacts every aspect of people with disabilities and older adults’ lives.
“People with disabilities and older adults are forced to choose where they go and what they can do based on whether they can get a ride,” said Beth Swedeen, Survival Coalition co-chair. “Access to transportation is limiting quality of life for people who are not able to drive and/or own their own vehicles.”

Survey respondents report lack of transportation options as well as the limitations and challenges associated with existing transportation options impacts their ability to keep or get a job (54% ), live where they would like (50% ), get to medical appointments (61%), stay connected to their families (58%), get around and participate in their communities (83%), eat healthy (38%), vote (37%), and find care providers who can get to their homes (27%).

More strikingly, the survey found that:
72% of respondents have trouble finding transportation at least 30% of the time they need it. 45% of respondents can’t get where they need to go 50% of the time 15% of respondents can’t get where they need to go 70% of the time. 70% of respondents indicated the transportation they currently depend upon, whether it be family
member rides, current bus service or other options is fragile and if something in their life changed unexpectedly, they would likely be left sitting at home with no ability to get anywhere at all.

“Many families are struggling to make sure their loved ones are included in the community and have opportunities to work, pursue their interests, and be as independent as possible,” said Lisa Pugh, Survival Co-Chair. “Too often transportation is the limiting factor, and families are unable to provide all the transportation that is needed themselves.”
Almost 70% report routinely having to rely on family or friends for rides. Public transportation (40%), paratransit/specialized transit services (27%), transportation provided by Family Care or IRIS (23%), NonEmergency Medical Transportation (15%), volunteer drivers (13%), county human service/ADRC transportation programs (12%), and shared ride services (8%) were able to be routinely used by some respondents.

Ironically, at least as many or more respondents reported that individual transportation options do not exist in their community. 43% do not have access to public transit systems, 44% do not have volunteer driver programs operating in their area, 38% have no ride share services available, 28% reported they do not have access to county human service/ADRC transportation programs, 24% do not have access to paratransit, 24% did not feel Non-Emergency Medical transportation was available, and 24% reported
no access to transportation provided by Family Care or IRIS.

“These survey results highlight the transportation challenges that advocates consistently hear about from families and people with disabilities and give a clear indication of the policy problems that need to be addressed,” says Kit Kerschensteiner, Survival Co-Chair. “Large areas of the state have limited transportation options. And survey respondents are telling us that many of those transportation options don’t exist at all in their communities, are unaffordable, unreliable, unavailable at times they need them, or do not go where people need to go.”

A sampling of quotes from survey respondents across the state (see next page) illustrate common themes echoed by many survey participants. Full survey results are available online at http://www.survivalcoalitionwi.org/wpcontent/uploads/2018/09/wi-transportation-survey-infographic.pdf

These survey results show that the administration and legislature must immediately prioritize and invest in regional approaches that increase transportation options and capacity, initiatives that expand access to transit and other modes of transportation at affordable prices, and pilot projects that address challenges faced by people with disabilities and older adults. Additionally, Survival Coalition requests dedicated appropriations to increase transportation access in communities where public transit does
not exist.

In their own words: how transportation is affecting the daily lives of
people with disabilities and older adults.

Arranging rides for everything I need (not what I want!) is hard, expensive and gives me almost no emergency options if a ride doesn’t show up. I have a great family and thankfully my parents are semi-retired and do a lot of my transportation but if something happened to them I would probably loose my job, my apartment and my ability to live an independent life.
–Julie from Brookfield

Dan and I — both 80+ — can still get around with car, and we both also use public transportation. Bus stops near our home, but to get most places, we need to transfer to three buses, even for locations less than 15 min by bus. Our daughter, 44, lives in a group home because of her various disabilities. She has long used Paratransit, which is not always dependable in terms of pick-up and drop-off times; is not always reliable; does not always work on weekends or after hours; does not cross county lines; and is very costly. Given our ages, we know what we might be experiencing in a few years.
–Jacqueline from Brown Deer

Currently living with my family and have difficulties getting home when I need to. Unable to go to things at night because there isn’t transportation available to get home. Limits work, education, socializing, and volunteering.
–Brenda from Platteville

My current transportation to and from my job cost me almost as much as I earn there.
–Nick from Cross Plains

My son relies on family and older (retired) adults to get him where he needs/wants to go. I have worked part time only so I can give my son rides when he needs them. If he had other transportation available, it would give me more flexibility in the type of job I can have, and it would give my son more options to live with friends in a different town if he wanted to do that.
–Pat from Prescott

Attempting to work, go to school full-time, volunteer and be active within the community is
tremendously difficult. There are many opportunities I have had to miss out on. I can’t take night classes and I have very limited employment opportunities (only Monday-Saturday first shift is an option). The lack of transportation makes my life tremendously stressful and has a very negative impact on my mental and physical health. I have to spend hours traveling on the bus what could be accomplished in a 10 minute car ride. I feel exhausted and left out of my community.
–Andrew from Oshkosh

Access to rides on weekends severely limited, and cost-prohibitive. Community events and friend visits often foregone because no funding for “non-essential” trips. Fixed route bus system only in small city vicinity. Connecting cab rides so unreliable people have lost jobs. If needing accessible transportation in our town, better plan your whole life from 6:30 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. weekdays, within City Limits.
–Marelene from Amhurst Junction

Currently the bus service in the area does not operate on weekends or does not reach
destinations such as my doctors office or work location. The other options are not always
available or affordable.
–Lisa from Schofield


THU AM Update: New Walker ad; Evers to deliver State of Education address today

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THU News Summary: Walker knocks Evers’ past union support; guv shrugs off former Cabinet secretaries’ public hits

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THU PM Update: Evers calls for reinvesting in K-12 in State of Education address

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U.S. Rep. Kind: Cosponsors bipartisan bill giving students more transparency when choosing a college or technical school


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

La Crosse – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind cosponsored the bipartisan College Transparency Act, which will enable students and families to make more informed choices about their post-secondary education options.

“Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District is home to six UW-system schools, four technical colleges and one private university, all of which offer Wisconsin students outstanding, and unique, opportunities to earn a degree and a better life,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “The bipartisan College Transparency Act will help students choose the school that best fits their needs, and will give families peace of mind when making this important investment.”

The College Transparency Act will give students and families access to reporting focused on student outcomes at the higher education institution, such as enrollment, completion rates, and job placement success across colleges and majors, while ensuring the privacy of individual students is protected. This will point students toward the best school for their individualized educational needs, learning style, and desired outcomes.

Currently, students have little access to institutional success rates catered to their major or programs of choice, unless provided by the school. This bill will update the reporting process to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and allow students to access accurate, detailed reports on multiple post-secondary institutions for comparison.

U.S. Sen. Johnson: Introduces bill to address family separation issue



Ben Voelkel (202) 228-0071

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has introduced the Families Act, legislation to address family separation at the border. The bill restores the Obama administration’s policy of detaining families to deter illegal immigration and strengthen border security.

“In dealing with families illegally crossing the border, our broken immigration system leaves law enforcement with only two options — both of them bad. They can either enforce the law, which practically requires children to be separated from parents, or they must revert to a policy of ‘catch and release.’ The Families Act addresses this specific problem by overriding the court decision that has produced the current lose-lose situation and by providing the resources to expeditiously adjudicate asylum claims. I hope all my colleagues on the committee – Democrat and Republican – will continue to work with me in good faith to advance a bill that finds common ground and a workable alternative to the unacceptable status quo.”

The Families Act seeks to address four goals identified at the committee’s hearing on the issue Tuesday and at a bipartisan meeting last month:

  • Secure our borders
  • Enforce our immigration laws
  • Maintain reasonable asylum standards
  • Keep asylum-seeking families together

The bill text can be found here.

Vukmir campaign: The terrible truth about Tammy Baldwin and the Tomah VA

Contact: Jessica Ward, (608) 213-5939
Dan O’Donnell on Thursday outlined the entire story behind Tammy Baldwin’s complete failure for Wisconsin’s veterans at the Tomah VA and the extreme lengths she went to cover up the scandal.

“The painful, terrible truth about Tammy Baldwin and the Tomah VA is that no matter the reason–whether indifference or negligence–Baldwin did nothing.  She did nothing even though she was the only member of Congress who could have.  She did nothing even though her office was the only one in Congress that knew everything in the damning IG report.

“And an even more painful, more terrible truth about Tammy Baldwin and the Tomah VA is that she did nothing and then did everything she could to cover it up.”

Read the entire explosive story here.

The Terrible Truth About Tammy Baldwin And The Tomah VA

Dan O’Donnell, WISN
Sept. 20, 2018In September of 2011, Congressman Ron Kind received an anonymous letter detailing concerns about the over-prescription of opiate and opioid painkillers at the VA facility in Tomah.  Almost immediately, Kind’s office forwarded the letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s Office, which launched an investigation.

For three years, the Inspector General’s office looked into prescription practices and eventually concluded that three different practitioners in Tomah ranked in the Top 10 in the region for most opiate prescriptions written.  Even though the Tomah facility was tiny compared with much larger facilities in the Midwest–including those in Milwaukee and Chicago–doctors there were prescribing opiate and opioid painkillers at a much higher rate.

Still, Dr. John Daigh, the Assistant Inspector General for Health Care Inspections, did not find conclusive evidence of criminal activity or illegal practices, so he closed the investigation in March of 2014 without releasing a public report.  He did, however, release an “administrative closure” report to and briefed officials from the VA facilities in both Tomah and Chicago on his findings, which sounded the alarm about rampant over-prescription and unchecked drug-seeking behavior of patients.

At around the same time, a constituent contacted Senator Tammy Baldwin with concerns over prescription rates at the Tomah facility.  On April 7th, Baldwin wrote to its medical director, Dr. Mario DeSanctis.  He responded that everything was fine, but five months later, the VA Inspector General forwarded a copy of its damning report on the facility to Senator Baldwin’s office.

The very next day, August 30th, 2014, a 35 year-old Marine Corps veteran named Jason Simcakoski died from an opiate overdose.

“There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t relive that morning,” Jason’s father Marvin Simcakoski said at a hearing the next year.  “I regret leaving my son in his room that morning, only to get a call hours later that he stopped breathing.  I can’t get that thought out of my head.  I wish I would have been there for him.  I loved Jason and still do with all my heart and miss him every day.”

Jason’s death also devastated a Tomah VA employee; a combat veteran (and former VA patient) named Ryan Honl, who had just started working as a secretary at the facility two weeks earlier.  In the days after Simcakoski’s death, Honl says his coworkers told him about major problems with over-prescription…and that the VA was covering them up.

“It hit me hard,” he told WISN 12 News.  “Just knowing that if the VA hadn’t swept that under the rug, Jason would be alive today.”


A month later, Honl decided to blow the whistle on what he had seen and heard at the facility and contacted then-VA Secretary Robert McDonald as well as Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind and Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin.  Johnson’s office opened a case file on the matter, but neither Kind nor Baldwin ever acted on the tip, with Kind saying it wasn’t properly entered on his website and no one from his staff ever received the message.

Honl was furious and, after he quit working for the VA in disgust in mid-October, made it his mission to expose the problems there.

“If they’re hiding reports and not giving upper leadership the full picture of the gravity of things–not just at Tomah but across the board–then what’s going to happen is nothing,” he later recalled.

And nothing did happen.  But Honl was persistent and continued sending email after email hoping for an answer.  Coincidentally, on Veteran’s Day 2014, he learned from a friend that back in August Baldwin’s office was sent a copy of the Inspector General report that he felt the VA was trying to hide.  After persuading his friend to give him a copy of that report, Honl grew enraged by what he read.

He kept sending emails, but when they too went unanswered, he went public, sharing the Inspector General report with the Center for Investigative Reporting.

“The report verified everything people had been talking to me about since I blew the whistle,” Honl said. “Excessive prescribing of narcotics, drug diversion, people not using their narcotics, a physician in 2009–Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick–who raised concerns about [Tomah VA Chief of Staff Dr. David] Houlihan’s prescribing practices, was terminated, and went home and committed suicide.”


Eleven days after the Center for Investigative Reporting broke the story, USA TODAY revealed that Baldwin had obtained a copy of the IG report in August but had done nothing, even after a flood of emails from Honl.

“It is very disconcerting that a United States Senator would have been able to read the report and yet government still has allowed the Tomah leadership to ruin lives and run good doctors and physicians out of the facility,” he wrote on Nov. 24.

The next day, he forwarded an article from Georgia about a vet hooked on morphine saying: “This thing is going to hit home pretty soon in Tomah. Just making you aware.”

A week later, he emailed again recounting a conversation he had had with another member of Baldwin’s staff who he said told him to be patient and to let the senator’s staff “take your time doing something about it because there is a ‘process’ that must be followed.” Honl said Monday the aide also told him not to talk to the press.

That, it would seem, was an interesting request.  Was there already an effort to keep the matter quiet since it was clear that Baldwin herself and her senior staff were not responding to the messages they had been receiving for a month?

“My question is, how long do veterans who are addicted to opiates at the Tomah VA, that are also flooding the streets of Tomah, have to wait to receive proper treatment,” he wrote Dec. 2. “When will Senator Baldwin say ‘enough is enough’ and push for better treatment of veterans and a better culture free of intimidation and retaliation in Tomah and VA wide for those who whistle-blow?

“Is it really going to take the media to shame Senator Baldwin and the VA to finally give veterans the proper care they deserve and employees a safe place to question leadership about unethical practices?”

On Dec. 4, Honl forwarded another article, this one about lawmakers in Minnesota calling for an investigation of a veterans’ facility there. “Do you think Senator Baldwin could step up and do what (they) did in Minnesota?” he wrote. On Dec. 21, he asked Helbick again to please make the senator aware of his suggestions.

When she still had not taken public action in December, Honl sent a message to her staffer with the subject line: “Final plea for Help from Senator Baldwin.”

“All we ask is that our senator publicly support our desire to have an open forum rather than remain silent publicly, which is what the VA does in hiding reports from the public,” Honl wrote.

Baldwin did not respond to any media inquiries after the story revealed her inaction, but in private, she was in panic mode.  Her Chief of Staff, Bill Murat, flew in from Washington to try to quell the growing controversy and met with Honl in an effort to placate him.

The blame, Murat explained, lay not with Senator Baldwin, but with her top aide in Wisconsin, a longtime Democratic Party operative named Marquette Baylor.  She, not Baldwin, failed to respond to Honl’s emails.  She, not Baldwin, failed to act on the IG report.

And she, not Baldwin, should take the blame.

Baldwin’s office fired Baylor on January 22nd and offered her a severance package in exchange for her silence.  Two days later, Baldwin met with the family of Jason Simcakoski, the Marine who died a day after her office received the IG report.

“She said (she’s) so sorry for our loss, and that she takes very serious those things, but not, ‘Sorry for not reading the report,’” Simcakoski’s widow Heather told USA TODAY.

On February 18th, as the controversy over her inaction continued to swirl, Baldwin hired attorney Marc Elias–a well-known Washington “fixer” who worked extensively with Hillary Clinton–to help with her crisis management.

Only after he was hired did she finally speak publicly about the scandal for the first time on February 25th…more than a month after her involvement was revealed.


On March 13th, Baldwin released a report from Elias indicating that “mistakes were made” and punished two of her top aides, including Murat.  As The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:

Bill Murat, her veteran chief of staff, will take a one-time cut of more than $14,000 this year. He earns $169,000 annually.

In addition, Doug Hill will lose his job as Baldwin’s state director to become her outreach boss. Hill’s salary will be sliced from $131,300 annually to $80,800 a year — a cut of more than $50,000.

Earlier, Baldwin fired her deputy state director and bumped another staffer from handling veterans issues for the Wisconsin Democrat. His pay was not reduced.

Baldwin hoped that this would be the last word on the matter, but the following month, Marquette Baylor filed an ethics complaint against her, alleging that Baldwin had used her as a scapegoat for her own inaction.

According to that complaint, Baylor and her staff in Baldwin’s Milwaukee office acted on the IG report as soon as it came in on August 29th.

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.

Baylor was furious, alleging that “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,” she wrote. “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.”

Baylor responded directly to allegations in Elias’ report that her team had failed to relay the IG report on to senior Baldwin staff.

A glaring defect in the report, however, is the inexplicable actions by Murat to prevent action on the VA issues identified in the November 24, 2015, December 12, 2015, and December 17, 2015 memorandums, including my persistent requests for an action plan. Indeed, the report appears to excuse Murat for his obstructionism on the ground that the memorandums also touched on“broader VA-related issues.” Ultimately, the report states that “many” of our recommendations“never reached Senator Baldwin,” suggesting that the Senator did see at least some of our recommendations for action, yet did nothing.

In this, Baylor is correct.  If some of the recommendations did reach Baldwin, as Elias’ report indicated, then why didn’t she act on them?  Why did she do nothing even after receiving information that something was so amiss at the Tomah VA facility that her Milwaukee office was recommending action on it?

“Ultimately, it is telling that Elias and his firm never asked to interview me or submit questions about the circumstances and events surrounding the VA mistreatment issues,” Baylor added.  “Their so-called ‘external’ review was bought and paid for by the Senator’s campaign, and the report they produced is a one-sided, incomplete, and misleading narrative of what occurred.”

Despite this firsthand account of Baldwin’s negligence, the Senate Ethics Committee dismissed Baylor’s complaint, finding that she did not “provide evidence of a violation of law.”  With that high of a bar to clear for disciplinary action, it was unsurprising that Baldwin escaped punishment, but Baylor’s complaint painted a clear picture of a Senate office in disarray–far more concerned with image than action and desperately focused on self-preservation once threatened with the consequences of its inaction.

Just a day before that decision came down, memos obtained by USA TODAY showed that Baldwin’s inaction wasn’t the only inaction that allowed over-prescription in Tomah to continue:

Lin Ellinghuysen, president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees that represents Tomah employees, outlined the issues in an April 2009 memo that is marked as having been “hand-delivered” to Rep. Ron Kind, then-congressman Dave Obey and then-Sen. Russ Feingold.

“(M)any of the Veterans served at this facility are prescribed large quantities of narcotics,” she wrote, adding that it had become a “significant” and “serious” concern.

Ellinghuysen also said the center’s chief of staff at the time, Dr. David Houlihan, was ordering as many as 1,000 narcotic tablets per month for a single patient, and that pharmacists who raised concerns were disciplined and fired.”

Many of the patients call Dr. Houlihan ‘The Candy Man’ because of the easy access to narcotic drugs/medications at this facility,” she wrote.

Like Baldwin years later, however, fellow Democrats Russ Feingold, Ron Kind, and Dave Obey did nothing, allowing the Candy Man to keep over-prescribing opiates until, eventually, over-prescription killed Jason Simcakoski.

Would he still be alive today had those Democrats acted on the report that had been hand-delivered to them?  Could the over-prescriptions have been stopped had Senator Baldwin acted on the IG report as soon as her office had gotten it?

While those questions are likely to forever remain unanswered, Baldwin’s negligent response to the scandal essentially ended with a fittingly quiet coda.  In January of 2017, after the new Congress was sworn in and committee assignments were handed down, Baldwin quietly left the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which has direct oversight of the Tomah VA.

She didn’t put out a press release or make a statement about why she was leaving; she simply abandoned her responsibility for oversight of the Tomah VA facility without any sort of an explanation.

It wasn’t the first time she did so.

Then, while continuing to pay her “fixer” Marc Elias’s firm, Perkins Coie, she went right back to damage control in preparation for her run for re-election.  In early 2018, a pro-Baldwin Super PAC even started running ads touting her work on veterans and the VA.


Two months later, Baldwin herself sought to gain sympathy on the issue by talking for the first time about her late mother’s opioid addiction.


Tellingly, Baldwin never mentioned the VA scandal during her discussions about her mother’s addiction and none of the media outlets covering them pressed her on the issue and the obvious question it raised: Why, if Baldwin has such a deep, personal connection to opiate addiction did she turn a blind eye to opiate over-prescription in Tomah?

Her aide, Marquette Baylor, perhaps understanding this connection, said she worked tirelessly to get information about the IG report to Baldwin and to formulate an action plan.  Why didn’t Baldwin enact it even though the report she commissioned on the matter admitted that she had gotten at least some of Baylor’s suggestions?

The answer appears to be painfully obvious.  The discussion about her mother’s addiction, like the Super PAC ads and Marc Elias’s scapegoating of Baylor before them, were yet another attempt at deflecting blame for Baldwin’s inaction.

The painful, terrible truth about Tammy Baldwin and the Tomah VA is that no matter the reason–whether indifference or negligence–Baldwin did nothing.  She did nothing even though she was the only member of Congress who could have.  She did nothing even though her office was the only one in Congress that knew everything in the damning IG report.

And an even more painful, more terrible truth about Tammy Baldwin and the Tomah VA is that she did nothing and then did everything she could to cover it up.

Read the full story about the Tomah VA here
Leah Vukmir is a nurse, military mom and proven leader who has cut taxes by $8 billion and helped Wisconsin hit record-low unemployment. She is running for the U.S. Senate to bring the Wisconsin Way to Washington.

Walker campaign: Launches first TV ad contrasting Scott Walker’s record with Tony Evers’ plans to take us backward


Contact: Austin Altenburg
[email protected]

Campaign continues case against Evers’ record of siding with unions over hard-working families

[Madison, Wis.] – The Walker campaign on Wednesday launched a new TV ad featuring the governor outlining a strong record of results and – for the first time – directly addressing Tony Evers’ plans to raise taxes on hard-working families and laying out why Evers’ policies would take Wisconsin backward. This ad extends the message on Wisconsin’s comeback – and the taxes Tony Evers would raise that would reverse our progress after his long history of being bankrolled by the unions.

Tony Evers’ plans to raise property, income and gas taxes have been extensively reported in the news media – all three of which would put Wisconsin’s jobs, and the success we’ve seen under Scott Walker’s bold leadership, at risk. The governor has been able to make record actual-dollar investments in our priorities without raising taxes, while Evers has laid out plans that would lead to tax increases on hard-working families. Scott Walker has a positive vision for Wisconsin’s future that builds on our record of results – with more of the governor’s bold reform, we can keep Wisconsin moving forward.

You can watch the ad, entitled “Can’t Afford to Turn Back Now,” here. You can find more details on Evers’ plan that would take Wisconsin backward here. The ad begins:​

Scott Walker: With all of the attack ads these days, it’s easy to forget that more people are working this year than ever before, our schools are some of the best in the nation — and property taxes, they’re lower than when we started.

We’re moving Wisconsin forward.

Tony Evers, well he’ll raise property taxes, raise income taxes and raise gas taxes by as much as a dollar a gallon. And that would put our jobs at risk.

Wisconsin is working. We can’t afford to turn back now.

The spot will run on television as well as on a range of online and social media platforms. It is the latest in a series of ads the Walker campaign is running on the governor’s strong record of getting positive things done and his plans for more bold reform to keep Wisconsin working for generations to come.

Walker campaign: VIDEO: Walker Campaign unveils Child Care Tax Credit policy proposal to make child care affordable


Sept. 20, 2018
Contact: Austin Altenburg
[email protected]

TV ad included in policy rollout to highlight how Child Care Tax Credit will make child care more affordable

[Madison, Wis.] – Scott Walker today revealed the third policy proposal of his agenda to keep Wisconsin working for generations to come, describing his plan to offer a Child Care Tax Credit – an initiative designed to make child care more affordable for Wisconsin’s working families. As part of the governor’s policy rollout, the Walker campaign launched its next statewide TV ad and provided a policy paper detailing the proposal that the governor will be discussing across the state over the next few weeks.

The cost of child care continues to go up in Wisconsin, often the largest expense families see each month. With almost 69 percent of Wisconsin working and unemployment at or below 3 percent for the seventh straight month, Wisconsin cannot afford for child care to be a barrier to the workforce for Wisconsin’s families.

You can watch the ad on the governor’s policy proposal, entitled “Great Place for Children and Families” here. You can find more details on the plan in the Policy Paper here. The ad begins:​

Scott Walker: Hi, I’m Scott Walker

And this, this is our future.

We want Wisconsin to be a great place for children and families, so we made historic investments in schools – $200 more a year for every student.

And lower property and income taxes – to help families make ends meet.

But the high cost of child care can be a real burden on working families.

Our plan provides a tax credit on up to $6,000 to help with child care.

Together, we can keep Wisconsin working for generations to come.

The spot will run on television as well as on a range of online and social media platforms. It is the latest in a series of ads the Walker campaign is running on the governor’s strong record of getting positive things done and his plans for more bold reform to keep Wisconsin working for generations to come.

Walker campaign ads have highlighted the governor’s record on building our workforce, investing in education, jobs and the economy, Foxconn’s statewide economic impact, bringing down health care costs, support for rural communities, efforts to help students with disabilities, fighting the opioid epidemic, and more.

Key Facts on Scott Walker’s Record in Making Child Care Affordable
The Child Care Tax Credit will be available to all Wisconsin families who have qualifying child care expenses and earned income. Scott Walker’s proposal creates a nonrefundable tax credit for expenses tied to child care and dependent care expenses.

Before Scott Walker took office, Wisconsin’s property taxes had increased by 27 percent in the decade prior to 2011. Now property taxes are lower than they were in 2010 and the state property tax has been eliminated.

Scott Walker’s $100-per-child tax rebate helped to give back over $94.2 million to almost 558,000 of Wisconsin’s families and the recent Sales Tax Holiday helped Wisconsin’s families stretch their paycheck a little further.

Scott Walker’s pro-jobs agenda means Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has been at or below 3 percent for a record seven straight months, and this year Wisconsin had more people working than ever before.

Scott Walker has made numerous improvements to Wisconsin Shares, which provides monetary assistance for child care to Wisconsin’s low-income families. These improvements include lifting the child care rate freeze and increasing the amounts received by child care providers.

Scott Walker also eliminated the child care benefit cliff, allowing individuals to seek better jobs and higher wages without fear of losing their child care benefits.

Walker touts proposed childcare tax credit


Gov. Scott Walker’s latest TV ad touts a new proposal to provide a tax credit of up to $6,000 to help cover the cost of childcare.

The proposal was included in the Department of Revenue’s budget request, which was released Monday.

In the ad, Walker introduces himself and says, “this is our future” as the ad shows a young boy.

The ad then shows Walker surrounded by kids in a daycare setting as he says, “We want Wisconsin to be a great place for children and families” before touting “historic investments” in schools, along with lower property and income taxes “to help families make ends meet.”

But Walker notes the cost of “child care can be a real burden on working families” and says he has a plan to provide the credit of up to $6,000 without offering other specifics.

“Together, we can keep Wisconsin working for generations to come,” Walker says to close the ad.

It’s the 21st ad of Walker’s re-election campaign and the second he released Thursday.


Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection: Three new ag enterprise areas to be designated Jan. 1

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

Three Rivers: Brian Haase, Waupaca County Conservationist, 715/853-3538, [email protected]
Farming for the Future: Cassandra Fowler, Zoning & Environmental Specialist, 715/538-2311, [email protected]
Town of Troy: Dan Pearson, Town of Troy Chairman, 715/425-9488, [email protected]

MADISON – Wisconsin will add another 185,000 acres in Agricultural Enterprise Areas with the designation of three new ones, including what will be the second largest AEA in the state.

The new acreage will become official Jan. 1. Wisconsin will then have 37 agricultural enterprise areas, or AEAs, in 26 counties, 108 towns and the Bad River Reservation.

The new AEAs will be in Trempealeau County’s Town of Arcadia; St. Croix County’s Town of Troy; and six townships in northwest Outagamie and northeast Waupaca counties.

AEAs are part of the farmland preservation program administered by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. They are intended to keep land in agricultural use and promote agricultural economic development appropriate to each area, by preserving established agricultural infrastructure – land, public services and businesses that serve farms, as well as farms themselves. Landowners in AEAs are not subject to any new land use regulations.

Designation can provide some certainty for farmers and agribusinesses that agricultural infrastructure will remain into the future, so they can invest with confidence. It also makes landowners eligible to claim the farmland preservation tax credit if they agree to keep their land in agricultural use for at least 15 years and meet conservation standards.

For an AEA to be designated, at least five landowners, in partnership with their local government, petition DATCP for the designation.

The new AEAs are:

Three Rivers AEA, including almost 111,200 acres in Waupaca and Outagamie counties, takes in lands in the towns of Bear Creek, Deer Creek, Maple Creek, Union, Little Wolf, Lebanon and Matteson.

It becomes the state’s second largest AEA, after Heart of America’s Dairyland AEA in Marathon and Clark counties. Petitioners want to encourage long-term farm succession planning, allow for responsible residential development that lets farmers raise capital or have their families build homes on the farm, and explore opportunities for farmers to take advantage of their proximity to Fox Valley markets.

Farming for the Future AEA in Trempealeau County, encompassing almost 63,000 acres in the town of Arcadia. Dairy, beef and poultry are the primary agricultural commodities produced here. Petitioners aim to preserve prime agricultural lands in an area near several sand mining operations, promote local food processing and local food sales, and improve public roads for agricultural transportation.

Town of Troy AEA in St. Croix County, covering 10,800 acres where agriculture is focused on row crops, pasture and dairy. This is an area of high density residential development between Hudson and River Falls. Petitioners want to protect farmland while creating guidelines to allow compatible land uses to exist alongside working farms, and increase use of the town’s transfer of development rights program.

Landowners outside designated AEAs who want to participate should work with their neighbors and local governments to petition for AEA status. For more information, go to farmlandpreservation.wi.gov.

This is the ninth round of AEA designations. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has authority to designate up to 2 million acres as AEAs. Find more information about AEAs at datcp.wi.gov, search for “AEA”.

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development: Wisconsin adds statistically significant 36,300 private-sector, 22,500 manufacturing jobs over year


CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce

On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

 For 7th consecutive month, state’s unemployment rate stands at 3% or less          

MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revisions for July 2018 and preliminary estimates for August covering the employment and job statistics for the state of Wisconsin.  Wisconsin added a statistically significant 36,300 private-sector jobs from August 2017 to August 2018, with 22,500 manufacturing jobs added over the same time period.  The state also added a statistically significant 44,200 non-farm jobs from August 2017 to August 2018. Total non-farm jobs hit a record high of 2,987,700 in August, with manufacturing jobs (489,600) reaching the highest level since September 2008.

In brief, the seasonally adjusted estimates show:

  • Place of Residence Data:  Wisconsin’s preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate  stood at 3 percent in August, up slightly from the 2.9 percent July rate and 0.2 percent higher than the state’s all-time low unemployment rate of 2.8 percent set earlier this year. This is the 7th consecutive month that the state’s unemployment rate has been 3 percent or less, a first in state history. Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 68.8 percent in August,  more than 6 percentage points higher than the national rate of 62.7 percent.
  • Place of Work Data: From August 2017 to August 2018, Wisconsin added a statistically significant 36,300 private-sector jobs, with a statistically significant 22,500 manufacturing jobs added over the same time period.  The state also added a significant 44,200 total non-farm jobs from August 2017 to August 2018.  Wisconsin gained 1,500 manufacturing jobs from July 2018 to August 2018, but lost 100 private sector jobs over the month.  The state added 3,000 total non-farm jobs from July to August 2018.

DWD Secretary Ray Allen released the following statement about today’s report:

“Wisconsin job growth continues to be significant as defined by the United States Department of Labor, and our unemployment rate continues to hover near the record low of 2.8 percent set earlier this year,” DWD Secretary Allen said. “Wisconsin continues to add family-supporting employment opportunities in the state’s robust manufacturing sector, adding 1,500 jobs in August, while the nation lost 3,000 manufacturing jobs.  At DWD, we will continue to provide nationally recognized employment services to job seekers, helping them connect with one of the 90,000-plus jobs routinely available on the state’s Job Center of Wisconsin website.”

The BLS uses three data sets to measure employment and unemployment:

  • Current Employment Statistics (CES): Compiled from a monthly survey sent to about 5,500 employers (3.5% of Wisconsin employers). CES data has been shown to be subject to significant revision.
  • Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS): Compiled from a monthly survey of 985 households and unemployment insurance claims. Measures the labor force, employment, unemployment, and the unemployment rate.
  • Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW): Compiled on a quarterly basis from Unemployment Insurance records from some 96 percent of Wisconsin business establishments. Considered by most economists to be the most accurate measure of jobs, the QCEW includes data from almost all employers in Wisconsin.

Other indicators of the state of Wisconsin’s economy include:

  • Initial UI claims ended 2017 at their lowest level in the last 30 years.
  • Continuing unemployment claims ended 2017 at their lowest level since 1973.
  • Moody’s Investor Service upgraded the state’s credit rating, noting that “(T)he stable outlook reflects the expectation that the state will experience moderate economic growth and will continue its prudent fiscal management practices.”

Wisconsin Elections Commission: Seeks public input on election security funding plans



Reid Magney, 608-267-7887

MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Elections Commission is asking local election officials and the public for ideas to improve election security using new federal funding.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has committed about half the $6.9 million grant money to hiring six new staff members over four years ($2.4 million) and new technology ($1 million) to meet immediate security needs before the 2018 General Election and beyond.

Interim Administrator Meagan Wolfe said the Commission staff consulted with key election security partners including the Department of Homeland Security and Wisconsin’s Division of Enterprise Technology to prioritize the initial spending.  Now, the Commission wants input from local election officials and the public about how best to spend the remaining federal funds for long-term election security needs.

“We need to know how we can help local election officials with their technology and training needs, as well the public’s ideas for ideas for improving election security,” Wolfe said.

The Commission has established several ways for local election officials and members of the public to provide feedback:

  • Attend the WEC’s public meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, September 25, at the State Capitol.  The Commission will take public testimony at the beginning of the meeting, which is being held in GAR Hall, Room 413 North.  Testimony is limited to 2 minutes per person, though speakers representing groups may be given additional time at the discretion of the chair.  The Commission welcomes speakers to submit detailed written testimony.
  • Email a letter to the Commission at [email protected] outlining your ideas.
  • Mail a letter to Wisconsin Elections Commission, PO Box 7984, Madison, WI 53708-7984.
  • Members of the public can also take a short online survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VKZJFNL

The online survey asks respondents how they think the WEC can best use the grant funds to continue to improve and enhance election security beyond 2018.  Options include election security training, post-election audits, staffing, updating computers and equipment, and managing and correcting misinformation about Wisconsin elections.  Respondents will also be asked, in their own words, how they would like to see the WEC spend the grant monies to help ensure elections remain safe in Wisconsin.

The online survey will be available until November 16.  WEC staff will analyze all feedback and make recommendations for long-term election security plans to the Commission in early 2019.

The Commission will be sending a more detailed online survey to county and municipal clerks to assess their specific needs.


In March 2018, Congress appropriated $380 million under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to be distributed to the states to improve election administration, including technology enhancements and election security.  Wisconsin’s share of the funds is $6,978,318.

Using those grant funds, the WEC is hiring six new project positions focused on election security. They include three election specialists who will focus on voting equipment, data quality and training, an election security lead, an IT project manager, and a grants accountant.  All positions have now been filled except the accountant, which is in recruitment.  The WEC authorized the use of up to $600,000 in federal grant funding per year for four years for these positions, for a total of $2.4 million.

In addition, WEC will initially invest approximately $1 million in technology to bolster cyber security, including multi-factor authentication (MFA) software and hardware for the state’s voter registration system.

For detailed information about steps the WEC has already taken to secure Wisconsin’s elections for November 2018 and beyond, visit the WEC website:https://elections.wi.gov/elections-voting/security.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: Agriculture endorse Jesse James for 68th Assembly District


September 20, 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MADISON – Jesse James of Altoona has been endorsed by the Volunteers for Agriculture Committee for the 68th Assembly District. VFA is the political action arm of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

“Jesse understands that many small towns are dependent on the success of the surrounding farming community,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Senior Director of Governmental Relations Rob Richard. “His commitment to developing rural economic development opportunities and holding the line on excessive regulations for farmers convinced our local interview committee that he will best represent their interests in Madison.”

The 68th Assembly District includes portions of Chippewa, Clark, Eau Claire, Jackson and Trempealeau counties. James is a Republican seeking an open seat.

“As an Army veteran and Altoona police chief, the safety of the district’s communities and its residents is top of mind for Jesse,” said Richard. “That along with his understanding of rural, agricultural communities, is why our local members support him.”

The Volunteers for Agriculture Committee is comprised of 18 farmers from across the state and was formed to give farmers a more direct role in electing leaders who best represent agriculture’s interests.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization with members of every farm size, commodity and management style.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: Kathy Bernier for 23rd Senate District


September 20, 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Volunteers for Agriculture® Endorse

MADISON – Kathy Bernier of Chippewa Falls has been endorsed by the Volunteers for Agriculture Committee for the 23rd Senate District. VFA is the political action arm of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

“Kathy understands the challenges farmers are experiencing right now. She knows we need investment in our roads and bridges, in rural broadband and our main street businesses if our small, rural communities are going to survive,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Senior Director of Governmental Relations Rob Richard.

The 23rd Senate District includes portions of Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Marathon, Trempealeau and Wood counties. Bernier is a Republican seeking an open seat.

“Kathy Bernier has been a very strong and consistent advocate for agriculture since her first election to the Assembly in 2010,” said Richard. “The local farmers that interviewed Kathy believe she will carry that passion and advocacy into the Senate.”

The Volunteers for Agriculture Committee is comprised of 18 farmers from across the state and was formed to give farmers a more direct role in electing leaders who best represent agriculture’s interests.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization with members of every farm size, commodity and management style.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: Volunteers for Agriculture endorse Kim Butler for 28th Assembly District


Contact: Rob Richard, Senior Director of Governmental Relations, 608.828.5703

MADISON – Kim Butler of Balsam Lake has been endorsed by the Volunteers for Agriculture Committee for the 28th Assembly District. VFA is the political action arm of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

“Kim understands that good farming practices and land stewardship go hand-in-hand,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Senior Director of Governmental Relations Rob Richard. “Farmers are constantly looking for a balanced approach to agriculture and conservation efforts and we believe Kim will also seek that balance in the Capitol.”

The 28th Assembly District includes portions of Burnett, Polk and St. Croix counties. Butler is a Democrat seeking an open seat.

“The local farmers who interviewed the candidates in Assembly District 28 recognized that Kim stands out as someone who will listen and seek common sense solutions to the issues impacting agriculture,” said Richard.

The Volunteers for Agriculture Committee is comprised of 18 farmers from across the state and was formed to give farmers a more direct role in electing leaders who best represent agriculture’s interests.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization with members of every farm size, commodity and management style.

WisDems: ICYMI: Journal Sentinel – “Walker gives no details on how state would ensure pre-existing coverage if Affordable Care Act is suspended”


For Immediate Release
September 20, 2018
Contact: Alex Japko, [email protected]

Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Scott Walker has no plan to deliver on his false promise to protect Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions. The Walker-approved lawsuit against the ACA would effectively end the protections, and today Walker’s campaign failed to offer specifics on how he could restore them at the state level.

When you consider his long record of attacking health care in Wisconsin, this latest revelation should surprise no one. Walker has never worried about protecting Wisconsinites’ access to health care, and he has no plans to start now.

It’s now been four days since Tony Evers challenged Walker to pull out of the lawsuit. He still hasn’t received a response.

Read the report here or excerpts below:

Journal Sentinel: Walker gives no details on how state would ensure pre-existing coverage if Affordable Care Act is suspended

Would the Wisconsin Legislature be willing to adopt many of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act?

That would have to happen for Gov. Scott Walker to make good on his promise last week to ensure that people with pre-existing health conditions have access to insurance if Wisconsin and 19 other states succeed in having the law declared unconstitutional.

…Without a similar requirement in state law, insurers could easily sidestep any requirement that they cover pre-existing health conditions.

…Has the governor proposed covering people with pre-existing conditions?

Walker has not provided any details on how he would ensure that people with pre-existing conditions have access to health insurance.

In an email, Walker’s office did not respond to specific questions but reiterated that the governor would call a special session of the Legislature to guarantee access to coverage.

WisDems: When it comes to supporting schools, Scott Walker and Wisconsin GOP deserve an ‘F’


Contact: Alex Japko, [email protected]

Today, as Republicans hold a press conference to distract from Tony Evers’ forward-looking, student-first education priorities, Wisconsinites deserve answers for the eight years Scott Walker and his legislative allies failed to support Wisconsin students and Wisconsin schools.

The facts speak for themselves:

  • One of Walker’s first moves in office was to slash $800 million in funding for Wisconsin schools.
  • Despite Walker’s claims of record funding, funding remains below what it was in 2009.
  • Wisconsin spends about $1,000 less per pupil than before Walker took office and ranks below six other Midwest states.
  • Walker’s initial attacks on schools caused the teacher exit rate to nearly double from 6.4% to 10.5%, and it remains at an elevated level of 8.8%.
  • To deal with the teacher shortage he created, Walker proposed cutting time in the classroom and lowering qualifications for new hires.

The record is clear. Walker slashed funding. Students have fewer resources. Teachers are looking for jobs elsewhere.

Now, Walker and his fellow Republicans are trying to pass the buck for their failures.

A budget is all about priorities. Under Walker, Wisconsin students and educators are clearly not a priority.

“Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans can’t erase their record of failing to support education in Wisconsin,” said DPW spokesperson Alex Japko. “They slashed funding, drove teachers out of the state, and now they’re trying to point fingers to distract from the mess they made. Wisconsin deserves leaders like Tony Evers who will make education a priority again in every year–not just Election years.” 

For more on Scott Walker’s education record, read the back to school memo Wisconsin Dems release here.

WisEye, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 1st CD debate 🗓


WHEN: Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Oak Creek council chambers, 8040 South 6th St.

WisconsinEye & JS Online Team Up to Present 
Randy Bryce & Bryan Steil Debate from Oak Creek

In one of the nation’s targeted congressional races, Democrat Randy Bryce and Republican Bryan Steil will face off in a debate to be held Friday evening, October 19 at the Oak Creek City Hall.

The debate is being held in the northeastern corner of the 1st Congressional District, where both candidates are vying for the support of independent voters and to win the seat held by retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan. A large voter turnout is expected on November 6, due in part to a $61 million Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District facilities referendum.

The debate will be broadcast live at wiseye.org and jsonline.com.

Veteran journalists Steve Walters (WisconsinEye senior producer) and Mary Spicuzza (JS Online political reporter) will question the candidates on a variety of topics. Start time is 7:30 p.m. in the Oak Creek council chambers, 8040 South 6th Street, off West Drexel Avenue a few blocks east of I-94.

The event is open to the public and seating is available on a first-come basis. Written questions from the audience will be introduced into the debate program.

Key topics include: education & workforce development, health care, gun violence & 2nd  amendment rights, federal debt/deficit, immigration, social security, veterans & the military.

The debate is part of Campaign 2018, a joint education effort of WisconsinEye, JS Online and the USA Today Network of Wisconsin with funding support provided by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, Wisconsin Counties Association, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Wisconsin Realtors Association, and AARP Wisconsin.

Special thanks to Oak Creek mayor Daniel Bukiewicz and City Clerk Catherine Roeske for their support.

WisGOP: Tony and tax increases: Evers’ reckless spending would cost hard-working families


September 20, 2018
Contact: Alec Zimmerman
(608) 257-4765

Under Tony Evers, the state of unions is strong

[Madison, WI] — Scott Walker is a reformer fighting for families – while his opponent, Tony Evers, has repeatedly sided with big government unions. From failing to keep our children safe in our schools to far-left plans to increase taxes, Tony Evers can’t be trusted. The Republican Party of Wisconsin released the following statement from Executive Director Mark Morgan:

“With Tony Evers, the state of unions is strong. Evers has shown these big government special interests that he’ll continuously side with them over hard-working Wisconsin families. While Scott Walker has fought for bold reforms that allowed Wisconsin to fund its priorities, Evers’ reckless embrace of the tax-and-spend policies of yesterday show that Wisconsin can’t afford his leadership.”

Tony and Tax Increases:

Tony Evers has not provided a plan on how he would pay for an additional $1.4 billion for the Department of Public Instruction – that’s in addition to his other plans that would cost Wisconsin billions.

Tony Evers would lift property-tax caps that could mean higher taxes on Wisconsin families.

Evers would end the Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit, which would mean higher taxes on key Wisconsin industries that provide thousands of jobs throughout our state.

When asked whether he supported a gas tax increase of a full dollar, Evers told reporters “everything is on the table.”

WisGOP: Tony Evers didn’t revoke the license of a teacher who physically abused student

September 20, 2018
Contact: Alec Zimmerman
(608) 257-4765
Latest example of Evers failing to stand up and protect students
[Madison, WI] — Breaking news from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning details how Tony Evers failed to revoke the license of a teacher who physically abused a student while she begged for help. The district reviewed video evidence and determined that the teacher used “excessive force.” Yet even that wasn’t enough for Evers to act.
“The fact that Tony Evers wouldn’t revoke the license of a teacher who physically harmed a terrified student as she begged for help is further proof that he can’t be trusted to do the right thing,” said Alec Zimmerman, spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin. “Time and again when given the opportunity to protect students, Evers displays weak and feckless leadership – leaning on bureaucratic excuses or caving to the unions instead of doing what is right. It’s simple: Tony Evers can’t be trusted to stand up for Wisconsin families.”
Read the full story here or find excerpts below:
Scott Walker’s allies lob new accusation against Tony Evers over teacher conduct
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Daniel Bice
September 20, 2018
Republicans are doubling down on their criticism of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers for not being more aggressive in stripping problem teachers of their licenses.
This time, the state GOP is going after the state schools superintendent over a Green Bay middle school teacher named Steven Crowley, who was involved in a physical altercation with a student in 2012.
Relying on the findings of one of the district’s assistant superintendents, Gov. Scott Walker’s allies say that Crowley, then an English-as-a second-language teacher at Franklin Middle School, engaged in an “unprovoked physical altercation” with a student who was in a hallway while classes were in session.
“The fact that Tony Evers wouldn’t revoke the license of a teacher who physically harmed a terrified student as she begged for help is further proof that he can’t be trusted to do the right thing,” said Alec Zimmerman, spokesman for the state Republican Party.
In the Crowley case, Republicans have released a summary of the incident drafted by the school district’s assistant superintendent for human resources, who is not named. The four-page report written in March 2012 was highly critical of the teacher.
It quoted Crowley saying he was simply trying to escort the student to the office but ended up protecting himself from an “out-of-control student.”
“The review of the video sheds a different perspective to the altercation,” says the report. The assistant superintendent said the incident was not provoked by the student. Crowley ends up pushing the student into a set of lockers in a display of “excessive force,” according to the report.
“Crowley was physically dominant over this student and imposed himself upon her without provocation,” the report concludes. 
Both sides agree that Crowley was reprimanded in 2007 for a similar skirmish with a female student in which he was found to have escalated the situation. He also was once questioned about sexually harassing a female teacher.
Zimmerman said the facts show Evers erred by not stripping Crowley of his teaching license.
“Time and again when given the opportunity to protect students, Evers displays weak and feckless leadership — leaning on bureaucratic excuses or caving to the unions instead of doing what is right,” Zimmerman said.
Read more here.
September 21, 2018 | September 19, 2018
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