2018 October

Monthly Archives: October 2018

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

October 4, 2018 Reid Magney, 608-267-7887

MADISON, WI – As Election Day approaches on November 6, voter registration and absentee ballot mailings have begun arriving in Wisconsin residents’ mailboxes.

Wisconsin voters’ best sources of information about voter registration and absentee voting are their local clerks and the MyVote.WI.gov website, not mailings from political and independent groups, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

The Commission has started receiving questions about a recent personalized direct mailing about absentee voting which contains some incorrect information, said Meagan Wolfe, interim administrator of the WEC.

“Every election we get complaints about these types of mailings,” Wolfe said. “Interest groups send out mailers encouraging voters to register or apply for an absentee ballot to vote by mail. While these mailings are permissible, they sometimes contain errors.”

It is legal for groups to send out voter registration forms and absentee ballot request forms to encourage voting, Wolfe said. However, the Commission’s advice to voters is to examine these mailers carefully before relying on them, especially the instructions on where to send registration forms or applications.

“If you are not sure everything is correct, contact your municipal clerk’s office or visit our MyVote.WI.gov website,” Wolfe said. At MyVote, you can register online, check your voter registration status, and send a request to your clerk to vote absentee by mail.”

The latest problem mailer comes from the “Center for Voter Information,” which has a return mail address in Madison but is related to the Voter Participation Center, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C. The mailer includes a Wisconsin Application for Absentee Ballot with the voter’s name and address already filled out and a pre-paid envelope to mail it to the municipal clerk.

However, the Elections Commission is aware that some of the mailers have wrong address information about the municipal clerk. One voter in the Village of Oregon in Dane County received a mailer for another voter with a similar name who lives in the Village of Prairie du Sac in Sauk County, and instructions to send it to the wrong place.

Also, the back of the application contains confusing information about the deadline to request an absentee ballot. The deadline for the clerk to receive a mailed-in absentee ballot request is 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 1. The deadline to vote absentee in the clerk’s office varies by municipality. In most places, it is the close of business on the Friday before the election. However, some larger cities offer in-person absentee voting on the Saturday and Sunday before the election. Voters with questions should contact their municipal clerk’s office.

Voters who are military or overseas, or who are indefinitely confined to their homes due to age, disability, infirmity or illness may request absentee ballots by 5 p.m. the Friday before the election.

All absentee ballots must arrive in the municipal clerk’s office before the polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day. It does not matter when a mailed absentee ballot is postmarked.

Incorrect addresses for the clerk’s office can result in the request being misdirected or delayed or worse, the ballot not being counted, said Wolfe.

“Voter forms must be delivered to the correct municipal clerk’s office,” Wolfe said. “The Elections Commission and municipal clerks will do their best to send misdirected voter registrations and absentee ballot applications to the right place, but there are no guarantees they will arrive in time.”

Additionally, voter registration and absentee voting mailers often contain political messages, leading some people to mistakenly believe the mailers are coming from their municipal clerk or the Wisconsin Elections Commission. “The WEC and Wisconsin’s municipal clerks would never send out partisan political mailings,” Wolfe said.

Voters who need to register or change their address should go to MyVote.WI.gov, Wisconsin’s voter services website, Wolfe said.

‘UpFront’: Fitzgerald optimistic Senate will pass Kimberly-Clark incentives

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said he is optimistic the Senate will pass a $100 million tax incentive package to help consumer products maker Kimberly-Clark keep a plant open and retain around 500 jobs in the Fox Valley.

In an interview that aired Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” Fitzgerald said the Senate will take up the package after the Nov. 6 election because of the “tough environment” right now.

“That environment isn’t necessarily conducive to trying to bring together people from both sides of the aisle to try and pass a piece of legislation,” he said on the show, which is produced in conjunction with WisPolitics.com.

He said Kimberly-Clark executives, who had wanted action on the package by Sept. 30, understand the difficulty of passing legislation in the weeks ahead of an election.

“Everybody’s I think being reasonable. And as a result of that I think we’re in a good spot,” he said.

Three Republican senators have come out against the plan. Fitzgerald said he was hopeful some Democrats would vote for the package.

Fitzgerald also said Republicans would “absolutely come back in the majority” in the Senate after the election.

Republicans currently control the Senate 18-15. Fitzgerald said he thinks “we’ve got a shot at coming back with 19 seats.”

He expressed optimism Republicans would win back the 1st Senate District, which they lost in a special election in June. He also said Republicans are well positioned in open seats in the Eau Claire and Brookfield areas.

He predicted voter turnout would be “through the roof,” and said the fight over Senate confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court has increased Republican voter intensity.

In another segment, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said the national party has made “unprecedented mid-term investments in Wisconsin” and he’s optimistic about Democrats’ chances here in the November election.

“Democrats are winning everywhere in Wisconsin,” Perez said. “We’re winning everywhere, because we’re organizing everywhere.”

Perez cited the election of Justice Rebecca Dallet to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and Democratic victories in two Senate special elections as examples of how Democrats’ organizing efforts have paid off.

“We’ve never invested earlier in a coordinated campaign than we’ve done in Wisconsin this year, and that’s so we can have the organizing footprint out there early, and talk to voters everywhere, and fight for what they’re fighting for,” Perez said.

Perez called Tony Evers, the Democratic nominee for governor, a “quintessential workhorse” and predicted the governor’s race would be close.

In another segment, Democratic candidate in the 1st Congressional District Randy Bryce said it was a “low blow” from Republicans to run a TV ad featuring his brother supporting his opponent.

“I’ve known for many years that he’s a Republican,” Bryce said of his brother James, who is a police officer.

“We’ve always gotten along. We just haven’t talked politics. Personally, it doesn’t affect me; it doesn’t bother me that he is expressing his views just the way I am able to express mine. But my mom, it took my mom by complete surprise. It really was crushing to her,” Randy Bryce said.

Gousha asked Bryce if it would have been easier to run against GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, who opted to retire after 20 years in Congress.

“What we have to keep in mind is that although Paul Ryan, his name is not going to be on the ballot, his ideas will be,” Bryce said.

He said his Republican opponent, UW Regent and Janesville corporate attorney Bryan Steil, is “somebody that (Ryan) personally handpicked to take his spot to continue his policies.”

If elected, Bryce said he didn’t know if would support California U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi as speaker should Democrats win the majority.

“I don’t think that there’s any need to slam her, but I see us having a lot of fresh new voices,” Bryce said.

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

‘UpFront’: Grothman says opponent’s money a challenge in re-election bid

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, says he’s in a tough race in the 6th Congressional District “because of the money” and expects to be outspent in the campaign.

Grothman will face Dem Dan Kohl, of Mequon, on the Nov. 6 ballot. Kohl is a nephew of wealthy former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl.

Grothman told “UpFront” host Mike Gousha that until recently, he was being outspent 4-to-1 on television.

“He has spent eight years in Washington getting to know the hyper wealthy, hyper liberals, New York, Florida, California, and he’s been able to turn those connections — and he probably got connections as a bundler for Hillary Clinton as well — into cash for his campaign,” Grothman said on the show, produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Grothman also said he “may not have enough (money) to entirely counteract things that (Kohl) says that are misleading or outright not true.”

Gousha asked Grothman if he thought the traditionally Republican-leaning district is changing.

Grothman said he would like to think not, but President Trump, while he’s “done a good job,” offends some people with his style and his tweets.

Grothman said some traditional Republicans are offended, and in a personal meeting with Trump, Grothman said he told the president “some of his tweets are hurting him.”

Also on the program, Milwaukee County Supv. John Weishan Jr. said marijuana legalization is an issue that “touches people in many ways,” and he’s hopeful that ballot questions about marijuana use will pass on Nov. 6.

Sixteen Wisconsin counties and two cities will ask voters advisory-only questions about marijuana legalization next month. Most of the questions will ask about approval for medical use, but some will ask about adult recreational use, and at least one referendum will ask about both.

Weishan was the sponsor of the question that will appear on the Milwaukee County ballot. It will ask voters if they favor personal marijuana use for adults 21 and over, and whether pot should be regulated and taxed.

“I think we’ve hit a critical point here across the country, where people have seen in other states the positive results, whether it is to increase tax revenue, the availability for medical use, or the reduction in violent crime in the areas related to the distribution of marijuana,” Weishan said.

He said he’s hopeful that approval of marijuana ballot questions this fall will send a message to state lawmakers to act on the issue.

Also on the program, Marquette Law School Poll Director Charles Franklin discussed differences between his poll and the NBC/Marist survey, which showed Tony Evers leading Gov. Scott Walker by 8 points among likely voters.

The most recent Marquette poll showed Walker and Evers neck-and-neck.

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

‘UpFront’: Kaul says if elected he’d seek to withdraw state from ACA lawsuit

Dem AG candidate Josh Kaul said if elected, he would ask the governor for permission to withdraw the state from a lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act.

“I would ask the governor for permission to withdraw, and if that permission is granted, I would ask the court for permission to withdraw,” he told “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Kaul said his opponent, Republican incumbent Brad Schimel, is a leader in a lawsuit that is “not in the interests of Wisconsinites.”

Gousha asked Kaul what he would do if he were elected, and Republican Gov. Scott Walker also was re-elected.

“I would make my best case for why I think we should withdraw from this suit,” Kaul said.

“But if he insisted that the state remain involved, then as AG I would have to remain involved,” Kaul said.

Kaul also said it’s not enough that Schimel cleared a backlog of untested sexual assault kits, because “justice has been delayed for survivors of sexual assault and dangerous criminals have remained on the street longer than they should have.”   

Kaul said no conviction has resulted yet from the testing of those kits, and only three people have been charged.

“Brad Schimel said during one of our debates that the mission had been accomplished, and I fundamentally disagree with that,” Kaul said.“

“The goal here is not simply to test these kits; it is to get justice for survivors of sexual assault, and as AG I’m going to make sure that is a priority,” he said.

Also on the program, Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, a cancer survivor, said the Walker administration would be able to protect people with pre-existing conditions through state law.

“You don’t need federal law. You can do that with state law, like ours,” she said.

Kleefisch said a bill passed by the Assembly would tell health insurance companies wanting to do business in Wisconsin that “you have to cover people with pre-existing conditions, and you’re not allowed to charge us more.”

The state Senate has not yet passed the bill.

Gousha also asked Kleefisch why she went on a “tweet storm” last week against her Democratic opponent, former state lawmaker Mandela Barnes, and his running mate, state DPI Superintendent Tony Evers.

On Twitter, Kleefisch said Barnes refused to debate her, and she was critical of the Evers/Barnes ticket on taxes, gun rights, and going “easy on violent criminals.”

“I don’t see anybody confronting these guys on this stuff,” she said, so she decided to do it.

“When I see that Mandela Barnes was the host of this crazy lingerie party years ago, I think, well why is nobody talking to him about how that’s kind of demeaning to women, and how are women like me, raising two girls, supposed to talk about the state of politics in America today when someone like that is running against their mom?” Kleefisch said.

In another segment, Bryan Steil, the Republican candidate in the 1st Congressional District, said any fix in the nation’s immigration system should reflect Wisconsin’s workforce needs.

“Our immigration system is broken. I think we’ve been let down by Democrats and Republicans alike. I think we need to step one, secure the border. I think a wall is a component to that. Two, we need to have a discussion on our legal immigration system. In particular, I think our legal immigration system should take account for our workforce needs here in Wisconsin,“ Steil said.

After the border is secured, Steil said, there is an opportunity to allow the DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — individuals to “come right with the law.”

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

‘UpFront’: Panelists debate Walker’s re-election chances

Former Republican state lawmaker Michelle Litjens says she thinks GOP Gov. Scott Walker is on his way to a third term after changing his message mid-campaign.

Meanwhile, Capital Times associate editor John Nichols says Dem Tony Evers has run a successful campaign and has to keep “doing what he’s doing.”

“(Walker) has gone to a message that ‘Tony Evers is going to raise your taxes’ and I think that is what’s going to help him over the finish line,” Litjens said Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“Evers has gotten himself into a good position,” Nichols countered. “He has a real chance here.”

Litjens said Republicans are seeing “the Kavanaugh effect” and voters are tired of the “mob mentality.”

“I think the Democrats are going to be punished for that this fall,” she said.

Nichols said he thought GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent comment on Social Security and Medicare were helpful to Democrats and that social welfare programs are “going to be the final issues” of the 2018 campaign.

Also on the program, Angela Lang, executive director of Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, explained the group’s silent canvass program. She said several Milwaukee-area Democratic politicians have taken part in it.

Lang said candidates going along on the silent canvass are prohibited from handing out literature, taking pictures or wearing campaign-branded clothing. She said they also are not introduced as candidates at the doors. Politicians have to listen to the voters during the canvass, she said.

Lang said the program developed because candidates and parties want to “parachute in” during the final weeks of a campaign and be “incredibly transactional with their relationship with communities of color, specifically the black community.”

The silent canvass program, she said, forces candidates to “earn our votes” by “spending some time listening to the stories of the community the way we do” and seeing first-hand eviction notices or make-shift memorials for people who were shot to death.

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

‘UpFront’: Walker says he’s the underdog in guv’s race

Republican Gov. Scott Walker says he’s the underdog against Democrat Tony Evers but relishes the role.

Walker also said if he wins a third term, he will serve it out, and it will be his last as governor.

“As governor, back when I was county executive, I was always the underdog starting out there,” Walker said in an interview that aired Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“I just think it gives me a chance to focus in on the issues, get out and talk to people all across the state,” he said.

Walker said he is following the model of Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s successful 2016 re-election campaign; he said Johnson’s television advertising delivered a “clear, crisp message” directly into the camera.

“It’s just me talking right to the voter,” Walker said.

He said the economy is the top issue in the 2018 campaign.

Walker said when he first ran in 2010, as the nation was reeling from a deep recession, jobs were the issue. He described an arc that’s gone from creating jobs to training the workforce to maintaining and expanding the workforce.

Walker said he needs a third term to “finish the job” and help keep high school and college graduates in Wisconsin, and recruit more workers like veterans to fill the jobs available in the state.

He also said technical and vocational training for prison inmates would be a focus for him in a third term. Walker said he has spoken with former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, who is championing prison reform.

Walker said Evers would raise gas, income and property taxes and “take us back” to where things were in 2010.

Walker said he would welcome President Trump to come to Wisconsin to campaign for him, but no plans have been made for that. He said his campaign is working with Vice President Mike Pence to bring him back to Wisconsin to campaign.

“The president, as you can imagine, is in much higher demand,” Walker said.

Walker also said this will be his last campaign for governor.

“I’m thrilled to be running for governor,” Walker said. “I’m proud of the people of this state. I’m proud to be their governor.”

“I’ll be ready and excited after four years of that third term to pass the baton on, to hopefully a new generation, much better than we received it, “ Walker said.

In another segment, Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Mandela Barnes vowed to deliver a “bold agenda” if he and Evers are elected in November.

“As a former lawmaker, I want to make sure that we’re pushing a very bold agenda once we come into office in January,” said Barnes, D-Milwaukee.

“It is important to not just get elected; we need to be effective. We need to make sure that we’re pushing, advancing the cause of expanding health care, advancing the cause of public education, protecting our environment,” he said.

“The time to be bold is now,” Barnes said.

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

 

“Why the Advisory Referendum on Legalization of Cannabis matters,” with Yuri Rashkin 🗓

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1st CD debate 🗓

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A debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates for the 1st Congressional District seat is set for Oct. 29, in Janesville.

The one-hour debate between Democrat Randy Bryce and Republican Bryan Steil starts at 7 p.m. in the Kirk Denmark Theatre at UW-Whitewater at Rock County, 2909 Kellogg Ave.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Date: Monday, Oct. 29; 7 – 8 p.m.

Register Online

Tickets are free.  Online registration closes at noon on Oct. 29. We accept accept walk up registrations at event check-in, if not sold out.

Check-In

Check-in will take place in the Kirk Denmark Theatre at UW-Whitewater at Rock County. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Live Broadcast

The debate will be broadcast live on WCLO/1230AM92.7FMWFAW/940AM and on the station’s live audio streams.

Driving Directions

Directions to Rock County campus can be found online by clicking here.  Address is 2909 Kellogg Ave Janesville WI, 53546.

Parking

Free parking is available in campus lots except in areas reserved for faculty and staff as well as on the streets near the campus. Parking on campus is regulated by the Rock County Sheriff’s Department.

Moderators

Bob Hague, news director of the Wisconsin Radio Network, and Susan Johnson, associate professor of political science at UW-Whitewater, will moderate.

7th CD debate 🗓

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WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 1, 6-8 p.m.
WHERE: LUHS Theatre, Lakeland Union High School, Minocqua
WHO: 7th CD candidates U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy and Margaret Engebretson

8th Annual Wisconsin Summit on Financial Literacy 🗓

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Contact: Bob Nenno, Communications Director, (608) 261-4504

MADISON – Registration is now open for the 8th Annual Wisconsin Summit on Financial Literacy to be held Friday, Oct. 19, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The conference is geared toward supporting K-12 teachers, community outreach educators, and workplace professionals who have an interest in enhancing financial and economic literacy in their communities. The summit will give attendees the opportunity to access expert knowledge, free resources, and agencies willing to support participants to reach their goals.

Among those presenting will be college professors with expertise in personal financial and economics education, fellow K-12 teachers with many years of experience teaching these disciplines, as well as financial industry veterans. Fifteen sessions will be offered, including a strand focusing on teaching financial literacy to the community.

The cost of the conference is $65, which includes lunch. Online registration is available at www.EconomicsWisconsin.org/Lambeau.html.

In collaboration with DFI and EconomicsWisconsin, Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) would like to invite interested parties to participate in a one-day professional development workshop for personal finance educators. NGPF is committed to providing educators with a robust set of professional development opportunities. These range from asynchronous offerings (podcasts, NGPF blog posts, flash surveys and Q&A Forum) to real-time (PLCs and monthly webinars) to in-person (workshops at state and national conferences and NGPF Summer Institute). NGPF developed FinCamp to provide teachers with a one-day workshop focused on collaboration, curation, creation and content. Online registration is available at https://www.ngpf.org/events/2082/

***If you attend both events, the $65 registration for the 12th Annual Get Your Students Pumped Up on Personal Finance and Economics will be reimbursed and hotel accommodations will be provided for October 19th at no cost thanks to a generous donation by NGPF. Participants must attend both events to receive this special offer.

Headline sponsors are EconomicsWisconsin, the Lakeland College Center for Economic Education and Governor Walker’s Council on Financial Literacy. Additional sponsors are the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and the Green Bay Packers.

90 Ideas in 90 Minutes presented by BizTimes Media 🗓

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Event Details

90 Ideas in 90 Minutes presented by BizTimes Media

10/11/2018  3:30 pm-5:00 pm

Lessons Learned

Eight business and community leaders from southeastern Wisconsin will share their best advice, leadership insights, secrets to success, and ways they overcame their toughest challenges in their own professional and personal lives. This will be a fast-paced discussion. Each speaker will share their stories and insights, followed by Q & A from the audience.

In just 90 minutes, attendees at the annual 90 Ideas in 90 minutes event will walk away with insights and information on all 90 ideas to help them to be a better leader and to overcome their own business and personal challenges.

Speakers:

  • Therese Bailey, Founder, ZenZen Yoga Arts
  • Elana Kahn, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council, Milwaukee Jewish Federation
  • Dan Katt, Co-Founder and CEO, Good City Brewing
  • Erik Kennedy, Community Impact Coordinator Senior, Aurora Health Care
  • Jim Tarantino, Founder, Capri Senior Communities
  • Maurice Thomas, Founder & Executive Director, Milwaukee Excellence Charter School
  • Andrew Weins, COO, JDog Junk Removal & Hauling United
  • Sherry Zhang, Founder and CEO, GenoPalate, Inc.

More event information at biztimes.com/90ideas

A Better Mount Pleasant: Eminent domain actions filed against Mt. Pleasant residents without Village Board knowledge or approval

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Contact: Kelly Gallaher
414/350-6858
[email protected]

“Jurisdictional offers to take property and remove owners in Foxconn area were signed and filed by hired contractors – official legal actions never discussed with Village Trustees.”

MT. PLEASANT, WI OCTOBER 8, 2018 – On September 24, 2018, Mt. Pleasant village trustees voted to approve the Award of Damages on nine parcels of land representing $4,287,300 which resulted from Jurisdictional Offers signed and filed by contractors with the county clerk on behalf of the village without trustee knowledge or approval.

Five parcels on the agenda, representing $1,309,900 in damages, were the subject of current litigation and a pending restraining order by one family to block an order to vacate their home and business within days.

“Trustees heard from angry residents demanding to know why the village was taking their land and ordering them out of their home,” says Kelly Gallaher, a spokesperson for the local grassroots organization, A Better Mt. Pleasant. “The trustees didn’t seem to understand what was happening or even the meaning of the words being used. As it turns out, the orders had already been filed at the courthouse and never discussed or approved by them prior to that night. This was literally the first time they heard about it.”

Two Jurisdictional Offers were signed and filed in late July by Peter Meisbauer of G.J. Meisbauer, hired by the village to provide relocation services. Meisbauer represented himself in the documents as an “agent for the Village of Mt. Pleasant.” A third Jurisdictional Offer was signed and filed in September by Scott Dellenbach of Terra Ventures, hired by the village to provide property management. Dellenbach represented himself in the document as a “Village of Mt. Pleasant Real Estate Consultant.”

Jurisdictional Offers are the legal filings by a condemning authority which officially notify the occupant of the taking of their property for public use and date of expected occupancy when eminent domain negotiations fail.

“This is an official legal action taken against property owners,” says Gallaher. “These actions are taking place without the knowledge or approval of village trustees. It’s not clear these contractors have the authority to take these actions, but even if they do, why has it not been discussed with village officials?”

A Mt. Pleasant village trustee verified to A Better Mt. Pleasant on Friday, the Jurisdictional Offers which resulted in the Award of Damages voted on by trustees, were never discussed or approved with the Village Board prior to that date.

“What is the point of having elected officials at all? Residents came forward to appeal these actions directly to their local representatives, only to discover they were clueless,” says Gallaher. “Village trustees are required to approve all kinds of purchases and agreements – big and small. Actions to take property valued in the millions of dollars, and to remove people from their homes, seems like something trustees should know about. It makes us wonder exactly who is running this village?”

A Better Mount Pleasant: Grassroots organization announces effort to recruit candidates to “run next” for village board

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Contact:

Kelly Gallaher

414/350-6858

[email protected]

MT. PLEASANT, WI OCTOBER 3, 2018 – Local grassroots organization, A Better Mt. Pleasant, announces “Run NEXT for Mount Pleasant” a community wide effort to recruit and encourage candidates to run for local office in April, 2019.

“As our community changes, so should our representatives at village hall,” says Kelly Gallaher, spokesperson for the group. “The residents of Mt. Pleasant deserve leaders willing to be accountable to the people as their first priority. We want to encourage new, exceptional trustee candidates to step forward and lead our village.”

A Better Mt. Pleasant will hold a candidate information session on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, beginning at 6:30 pm at Mt. Pleasant Village Hall. Topics will include the process for candidate registration, getting on the ballot and trustee responsibilities. Several former Mt. Pleasant Village Trustees will give an overview of village committees and commissions and answer questions.

“We know there are smart, qualified men and women in our community who are concerned about a variety of issues which affect us all as residents,” says Gallaher. “Our hope is to inspire new leaders dedicated to greater transparency, financial integrity and environmental oversight as our village grows.”

There will be four trustee positions on the April ballot, including Village President. Village trustees serve for a term of two years and receive a stipend for their service. The Village Board of Trustees meets regularly twice a month and trustees serve on various committees.

Candidates for local office must file in early January to run in April.

“Becoming an elected official not a small commitment and we know people will need to take some time and think about it. That is why we are starting early.” Gallaher continues, “a willingness to learn and to ask questions is a great start. This is an opportunity to shape the future of our community.”

Residents interested in attending the candidate information meeting on November 14, 2018 are asked to pre-register at [email protected] or go to the Run NEXT Facebook page at https://facebook.com/RunNext4MountPleasant/ or search @runnext4mountpleasant

 

A Stronger Wisconsin out with new TV ad knocking Walker on health care

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The Democratic Governors’ Association is out with a new ad knocking Gov. Scott Walker on health care.

The 30-second spot from the DGA arm A Stronger Wisconsin begins with a shot of a woman in a clinic as the narrator says, “If he really wanted to help her, or him, or them, Scott Walker would have come up with a plan for health care that ends protections for anyone who’s ever been sick before.”

The screen flashes between the photo of the woman, then a man on a respirator and babies at a hospital, Walker and a patient conversing with a doctor as the narrator finishes his first sentence.

The screen then transitions to show a person entering an MRI machine on the left and a profile of Walker’s face on the right as the narrator continues to slam the guv.

“Under Walker’s plan, as long as the insurance company can call it a pre-existing condition, they can drop you right when you need them the most,” the narrator says.

The screen then shows footage of Walker with fans at a 2015 campaign rally.

“That’s what happens when you have a governor who puts his political ambitions ahead of everything else, including her, him and you,” the narrator says as photos of a woman and baby are shown.

The ad is running statewide and is part of a seven-figure buy, per DGA.

A Stronger Wisconsin: Launches new ad on Walker’s failing to protect people with pre-existing conditions

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Contact: [email protected]

Today, A Stronger Wisconsin launched a new ad, “Her, Him, You,” that highlights Governor Scott Walker’s failing to protect health care for people with pre-existing conditions. If Walker had his way, insurance companies could drop coverage for people who have ever been sick before—right when they need health care the most. The ad urges Wisconsinites to tell Walker to “stand up for us” and stop putting his own political ambitions ahead of everything else.

This 30-second spot is part of a statewide television buy. A Stronger Wisconsin is a Democratic Governors Association backed issue-advocacy organization.

The ad can be viewed here, and its transcript is below:

Narrator: “If he really wanted to help her…or him…or them.

“Scott Walker would have never come up with a plan for health care that ends protections for anyone who’s ever been sick before.

“Under Walker’s plan, as long as the insurance company can call it a pre-existing condition, they can drop you right when you need them the most.

“And that’s what happens when you have a governor who puts his political ambitions ahead of everything else… Including her…him… And you.”

A Stronger Wisconsin: Launches new ad, ‘Who’

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Contact:
[email protected]

Today, A Stronger Wisconsin launched a new ad, “Who,” urging Wisconsinites to tell Walker to stand up for them instead of putting his own political ambitions first. While Walker pursued his national ambitions and the White House, he cut education funding by $800 million. This contrasts with Tony Evers, a teacher who has dedicated his life to investing in the future for Wisconsin’s children.

This 30-second spot is part of a statewide television buy. A Stronger Wisconsin is a Democratic Governors Association backed issue-advocacy organization.

The ad can be viewed here, and its transcript is below:

Narrator: [SCOTT WALKER ON SCREEN]

“This is a politician. He cut our schools by eight hundred million dollars.

“Hurting their future… Because he thought it would help him run for president.

[TONY EVERS ON SCREEN]

“This is a teacher. He spent twenty years in our schools.

“Then became the superintendent who fought Walker’s cuts and put our schools first. So who do you think will be really held our kids?

“The politician who put his ambition ahead of our schools or the teacher who’s dedicated his life to making them better?

A Stronger Wisconsin: Launches new ads highlighting consequences of Walker’s political ambition

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Contact:
[email protected]

Today, A Stronger Wisconsin launched two new ads, “National Stage” and “Splash,” highlighting the consequences of Scott Walker’s political ambition.

Walker shamelessly sacrificed Wisconsinites’ health care and education to cater to his special interest donors and national party. While traipsing around on the national stage Walker cut $800 million in education funding and authorized a lawsuit that would gut protections for pre-existing conditions. That’s the Walker story–putting political ambition ahead of everyday Wisconsin families. The ads urge Wisconsinites to tell Scott Walker to stand up for them.

These 30-second spots are part of a statewide television buy. A Stronger Wisconsin is a Democratic Governors Association backed issue-advocacy organization.

National Stage” and “Splash” can be viewed here and here, and their transcripts are below:

NATIONAL STAGE

Narrator: “When Scott Walker wanted to make a name for himself on the national stage, he knew he had to do something big.

“So he authorized a lawsuit that would gut protections for pre-existing conditions and let insurance companies to take your coverage away, right when you need it the most.

“His national party loves it. His political donors do too. But it would be a nightmare for you. And that’s how it is with Scott Walker. Political ambition always comes first, no matter who gets hurt.”

SPLASH

Narrator: “He wanted to make a national splash. And he was willing to sacrifice our schools to do it.

“When Scott Walker cut schools by $800 million his national party took notice. But for us, school closures, teacher shortages, and across the state larger class sizes. Cuts to music and business programs.

“So our schools got worse but he got to run for president. And that’s how it is when your governor puts political ambition ahead of everything else.”

AARP Wisconsin: Oregon man to receive AARP Wisconsin’s top volunteer award

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Jim Flaherty
AARP Wisconsin
608-286-6308

MADISON, WISCONSIN – Oregon resident Wayne Wiese will be presented with AARP Wisconsin’s highest and most prestigious honor – the “2018 Andrus Award for Community Service” – this Friday, Oct. 19, at the Oregon Area Senior Center, during a brief ceremony beginning at 2 p.m.

“This award honors Wayne’s tireless commitment to making life better for others,” said AARP Wisconsin State Director Sam Wilson. “Through his volunteer service for the AARP Driver Safety Program (DSP), Wayne has built up the trust, influence and respect it takes to accomplish great things not only in his community, but across Wisconsin and the entire country.”

Wayne and his wife, Sandy, have two grown children and four grandchildren. They are native to Wisconsin and have lived in Oregon for eight years. During this time he has served in numerous roles with the DSP, rising to the title of State Coordinator and serving as interim State Coordinator for three other states.

“His efforts in the last three years as State Coordinator has almost doubled the volunteers within the state for the Driver Safety Program,” said Neil McCallum of Madison, who nominated Wiese for the award. “By growing and mentoring the ranks he has allowed Wisconsin instructors to help 2,047 people in 2017 alone.”

Wiese said he is deeply appreciative of the award. “It is a tremendous honor to be selected for this award and recognized for all the volunteer work that has helped people drive safer in Wisconsin. It is a great honor and I’m grateful to be nominated and selected over a field of excellent candidates.”

As part of his award, Wayne was given the opportunity to select an organization to receive a $1,000 donation from AARP. He has chosen to give the money to the Oregon Area Senior Center, where he has taught DSP classes and witnessed the value of the center to the Oregon community.

Wiese graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and joined Gulf Oil as a geologist, later working in information technology. His distinguished 35-year career with Gulf/Chevron included management assignments in Houston, Texas, San Ramon and Bakersfield, California, Caracas, Venezuela and Lagos, Nigeria.

After retiring he became involved with the DSP in the roles of Classroom Instructor, Data Manager and Facilitator/Coordinator of DSP programs such as “We Need To Talk” and CarFit. He has served in leadership roles as the State Coordinator for Wisconsin, Vermont and Massachusetts as well as a member of the AARP Executive Council for Wisconsin during his five years as a volunteer with the program.

Currently he is one of five National Coordinators for DSP. He is the Wisconsin Deputy State Coordinator and Interim Pennsylvania State Coordinator. He is also a board member of the Delta Upsilon of Wisconsin Foundation that provides college scholarships for its members.

Recipients of the Andrus Award (named after AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus) in each state across the nation are chosen for their ability to enhance the lives of AARP members and prospective members, improve the community in which the work was performed, and inspire others to volunteer.

“Wayne clearly goes above and beyond the definition of volunteer, and serves as an inspiring example of the phrase ‘service before self,’” Wilson said. “He is committed to doing whatever he can to make life better for those around him and all of us as we age. He is truly one in a million.”

ABC for Health: Unveils “WisCare 2019”

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Contact: Brynne McBride, (608)261-6939 ext. 210, [email protected]

 

Madison, WI- ABC for Health, a nonprofit, public interest law firm in Madison this week unveiled “WisCare 2019,” as a common sense health coverage expansion plan that promotes consumer confidence with choice, quality, accountability, and strong consumer protections. “The WisCare 2019 Plan reflects the issues we see on a daily basis that affect people in Wisconsin who need appropriate and affordable health care coverage,” says Bobby Peterson, Executive Director of ABC for Health. “Our perspective, embodied in WisCare, reflects the knowledge and insights gained over 25 years of service to more than 60,000 adults, children and other family members from across the Badger state,” continues Peterson.

WisCare will not affect Medicare, but rather responds to the needs of individuals, families, and business for comprehensive health benefits. WisCare involves all key stakeholders and promotes neither a government takeover nor a privatized system. Using BadgerCare Plus as the foundation of the plan, the proposed public-private partnership model is more than a simple call for BadgerCare Plus as a public option. Building on BadgerCare Plus, WisCare provides an existing standard of strong benefits that protect Wisconsin children and provide essential coverage to adults. WisCare also calls for accepting Medicaid Expansion funds, and using Section 1332 Innovation waivers, infusing funds and stability to the plan. “Wisconsin has already lost out on over $1 billion in federal Medicaid funds,” says Peterson. “Innovation waivers can help merge BadgerCare Plus and WisCare pools to further spread risk and cost,” says Peterson.

The WisCare Plan offers Wisconsin flexibility while maximizing potential for federal matching funds. Many consumers insured through the Marketplace will secure subsidized coverage and choice of plans that include cost-sharing reductions and sliding scale tax credits on certain plans up to 400% of the federal poverty level.

Like the current BadgerCare Plus program and the ACA, WisCare prohibits exclusions for pre-existing conditions and will not permit health care segregation of the sick in high risk pools like the old HIRSP program. “WisCare emphasizes risk pooling and purchasing leverage by ultimately reshaping our current system into a much larger purchasing pool. We merge myriad smaller risk pools, or ‘risk puddles’ with larger employer sponsored and government plans, into a combined risk pool of over 3,000,000 people. While building from a solid foundation, WisCare will fundamentally alter health care coverage, significantly lower costs, and reshape the delivery of coverage in a way that will ensure that all Wisconsinites have access to both coverage and medical services within five years after initial implementation,” continues Peterson.

Peterson concludes, “WisCare also extends the coverage enjoyed by most elected officials, including the Governor and legislators, to all people in Wisconsin. The need for expanded and affordable access to health coverage in Wisconsin is clear. The recent proposals for ‘fixing’ the system fail to reach the root of the health care coverage problem. Political instability has undermined the success of the ACA, but WisCare has the ability to strengthen a weakened private insurance market and correct some of the fundamental deficits in the ACA. WisCare offers the promise of a system of coverage built on an established private-public partnership. Instead of thousands of small risk puddles, creating a large pool of people will effectively spread risk, lower costs and increase negotiating leverage through group purchasing power.”

ABC for Health’s proposed WisCare 2019 plan is available online: https://safetyweb.org/Press/WisCare-2019-ABC-for-Health.pdf

ACLU Wisconsin: Wisconsin jury awards $780k to transgender women denied health care coverage

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CONTACT: Tyler Richard, 646-905-8868, [email protected]

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin jury has awarded two state employees $780,000 in damages after they were denied health care coverage under the state health insurance plan because they are transgender. While courts have increasingly said that transgender people must have their care covered under health insurance policies, this is one of the first times a jury has awarded damages related to the denial of health care.

In September, a federal court ruled that denying Shannon Andrews and Alina Boyden health insurance for gender-affirming medical care violated the Constitution and federal non-discrimination law.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Wisconsin, and volunteer attorneys from the law firm Hawks Quindel filed the lawsuit on behalf of Boyden, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Andrews, a cancer researcher at the University of Wisconsin Medical School.

Alina Boyden issued the following statement:

“I want to thank the judge in the case and the jury for awarding a fair verdict. It was wonderful to see a process where eight ordinary Wisconsinites were able to listen to our story, see that we were harmed, and make the decision that they did. No one should have to tell their story to a room full of strangers to justify their medical expenses, but I am thankful that I had the opportunity to share my story. I hope this sends a powerful message to fellow transgender people in Wisconsin that our health matters.”

Larry Dupuis, legal director for the ACLU of Wisconsin, issued the following statement:

“No one should be denied health care because of who they are. Depriving transgender people of access to transition-related care is discrimination and we are pleased the jury awarded Shannon and Alina the money they need to cover their care and for the harm they suffered. Discrimination comes with a cost, and for the State of Wisconsin the bill has come.”

This statement is online here: https://www.aclu-wi.org/en/press-releases/wi-jury-awards-780k-transgender-women-denied-health-care-coverage

Information about this case is available here: https://www.aclu.org/cases/boyden-v-state-wisconsin

ADCC, SSDC fundraiser with Tony Evers 🗓

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Wednesday, Oct. 24
ADCC & SSDC Joint Fundraiser with special guest Tony Evers!
5 – 6:30 p.m.
Industrious, 25 W Main St, 5th floor, Madison WI
Sponsorship Levels: $5000, $2500, $1000, $500
$250 to attend
**please split your sponsorship level in separate checks to the ADCC and the SSDC

Advisory referendums on marijuana driven by grassroots effort

A number of marijuana advisory referendums appearing on this year’s midterm ballot were proposed by city and county officials at the request of their constituents.

Gary Storck, a publisher and cannabis activist in Wisconsin, chalks up this year’s unprecedented number of marijuana referendums to “the amazing work of grassroots people all over the state.”

He points out that 52 percent of the state’s population lives in an area with some sort of cannabis question going before voters Nov. 6.

“I think that’s something the governor — whoever that might be — really has to take into account,” Storck said. “You can’t just blow it off.”

In Milwaukee County, Storck credits County Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez as “one of the lead people” in the effort. He notes Milwaukee County was the first county to add a cannabis referendum this year.

In Dane County, Storck reached out to his own supervisor, Yogesh Chawla, to get the ball rolling.

Earlier in the summer, Storck was contacted through Facebook by a resident of Langlade County, who had noticed Marathon County would have a marijuana question and wanted to pursue one, too.

From there, Storck reached out to county-level decision makers and also had a group of military veterans come to a board meeting to show support. Now, Langlade County is one of 10 with a medical cannabis referendum.

See more at WisBusiness.com:
http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=392551

AFP-Wisconsin ad warns Evers ‘too big a risk’ to lead Wisconsin

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Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin released a new TV ad today that warns Dem Tony Evers is “too big of a risk” to be in charge of Wisconsin.

The ad features two people, identified only as Pat, from Hales Corners, and Geoff, of Onalaska.

Pat opens the ad saying, “There are a lot of reasons Tony Evers should not be in charge of Wisconsin.”

Geoff calls Evers “too big of a risk” because he’ll raise taxes.

“But he doesn’t say by how much,” Pat adds.

Geoff adds Evers is “open to gas taxes as high as a dollar” and Pat says he “could raise taxes on homes and small businesses. This November is an important vote for the future of Wisconsin.”

Geoff says, “Let’s keep Wisconsin growing” before both urge a vote for Gov. Scott Walker to close the spot.

The group said it’s a seven-figure buy, its fourth ad in the guv’s race. The group had spent nearly $5.6 million to support Walker between the Aug. 14 primary and Oct. 17, according to a WisPolitics.com check of independent expenditure reports.

AFSCME County 32: Blasts DCF for failure to respond to legislators’ questions

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Head of the Department of Children and Families, Eloise Anderson, missed a deadline Monday when her department failed to respond to requests from Milwaukee area legislators over the dysfunction in the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services (DMCPS).

On October 2nd, 11 legislators from the Milwaukee area signed a letter to Secretary Anderson seeking answers for constituents over the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services (DMCPS) performance failures. Legislators set a deadline of Oct 15th for the department to respond, and as of this release, there has been no response to the elected officials.


READ THE LETTER HERE


“It is inexcusable that Secretary Anderson is ignoring legitimate questions from elected officials who are trying to secure answers for their constituents,” said Rick Badger, Executive Director of AFSCME Wisconsin. “By failing to respond, DCF is confirming our worst fears about their leadership and is keeping in the dark the very communities they claim to serve. We deserve better from our government.”

The letter (linked above) seeks more information on the failure of DMCPS to meet initial case assessment and resolution deadlines. The latest statistics show over 50% of initial assessments are not completed during the required time frame.

AG Schimel: Improves criminal justice system transparency with access to data on domestic abuse

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AG Schimel: Improves criminal justice system transparency with access to data on domestic abuse

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the launch of new interactive data dashboards regarding domestic abuse incidents and case processing, in order to improve transparency in criminal justice data for citizens, policy-makers, and researchers. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“As a prosecutor for nearly 30 years, I have seen how domestic violence can be lethal for victims, first responders, and the surrounding community,” said Attorney General Schimel. “This data tool is critical for communities, law enforcement, and organizations like End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin to better understand these crimes and how the criminal justice system responds to them. We hope this data will help us prevent domestic abuse and change outcomes down the line. But we must remember, these are just numbers on a page, but real victims of abuse, right here in Wisconsin.”

The interactive data dashboards on domestic abuse are the first Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) dashboards developed offering incident- and case-level data detail and replace the annual reports on domestic abuse previously published by the DOJ Office of Crime Victim Services. The dashboards are divided into three primary areas: law enforcement reporting, charging, and case processing. Users can view information about incidents reported by law enforcement, including the number of incidents, suspects, victims, and arrests by county. Users can also view information about charging and case processing, including the most common and severe referred, issued, and convicted charges, as well as information about prosecutions, convictions, and sentencing by county and by defendant demographics. View the domestic abuse data dashboards at https://www.doj.state.wi.us/dles/bjia/domestic-abuse-data.

Data from 2013-2016 are currently available on the dashboards, and the data will be refreshed at least annually. Additional information regarding the definitions and methodology are available on the dashboard page. Under Wis. Stat. § 968.075 (9), district attorneys are required to annually report domestic abuse law enforcement responses, arrests, prosecutions, and convictions to the DOJ. The data used to construct the dashboards includes only those incidents reported to district attorneys’ offices by law enforcement, entered into, and flagged as a domestic abuse case by staff within the district attorney’s office. Law enforcement agencies and the district attorneys’ offices are responsible for complete and accurate data reporting.

These data dashboards were developed by the DOJ Bureau of Justice Information and Analysis (BJIA), which works to inform criminal justice policy and practice by conducting objective research, analysis, and evaluation of information. BJIA first launched interactive data dashboards in 2016. Other dashboards currently available, which include UCR data from 2013 to 2017, are arrests by location, arrest demographics, offenses by location, offense and arrest data by agency and sex offenses.

Wisconsin DOJ supports many programs to support victims of domestic violence. In July 2018, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin was provided $500,000 in grant funding from Wisconsin DOJ, through a US DOJ program, to expand the Lethality Assessment Program over the next two years, an evidence-based program that identifies victims of domestic violence who are at high risk for experiencing lethal violence. The Lethality Assessment Program was first developed in Maryland, and provides law enforcement an evidence-based lethality assessment instrument to identify victims of domestic violence who are at high risk of being seriously injured or killed by their intimate partner.

In 2017, DOJ provided nearly $2.5 million in grant funding, through the U.S. Department of Justice Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) STOP grant, to support prosecutors, advocates, victim/witness services, and law enforcement who are providing services to domestic and sexual violence victims in Wisconsin. Through this grant funding, DOJ supports five regional Violence Against Women resource prosecutors in Brown, Dane, Eau Claire, Milwaukee, and Waukesha counties. These prosecutors provide training and technical assistance to prosecutors around the state who handle domestic violence and sexual assault cases.

Also, supported through grant funding, DOJ trains law enforcement on the best practices for responding to and investigating domestic violence; provides VAWA funding to the Director of State Courts Office to train judges on domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking; and routinely provides information and trainings to advocates and victim/witness services. DOJ has created an online version of these training materials for overnight and weekend domestic violence shelter staff. DOJ is also working with the American Indians Against Abuse to support tribal domestic violence programs and is developing a tribal law enforcement training program.

AG Schimel: Task force on elder abuse recommends legislation, resources for law enforcement to fight elder abuse 

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AG Schimel: Task force on elder abuse recommends legislation, resources for law enforcement to fight elder abuse 

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel announced his Task Force on Elder Abuse is recommending new legislation, agency action, and resources for law enforcement to fight elder abuse in Wisconsin. According to data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), from 2001 to 2017, reported allegations of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation and requests for information about elder abuse increased 160% in Wisconsin. In August 2017, Attorney General Schimel created the Task Force on Elder Abuse to develop recommendations and resources to address this growing public safety issue.

“Just a little over one year ago, I set out to put every group, organization, or profession that may encounter elder abuse in one room, to figure out if we could be doing better for Wisconsin’s rapidly growing elderly population,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Today, we present some of the work we’ve already completed, and what work we want to do next – including new legislation, resources for law enforcement and prosecutors, and stronger protections for the elderly. We cannot wait to do better for our elderly loved ones.”

“Today marks another important milestone in the journey to protect older adults in Wisconsin from fraud and exploitation. The task force recommendations shared today take the important step of moving us collectively from analysis to action, which is welcome news with allegations of elder abuse and exploitation on the rise in our communities,” said Sam Wilson, State Director of AARP Wisconsin. “We commend Attorney General Schimel and the staff at the Department of Justice for their steadfast focus on not only identifying the challenges but, more importantly, getting the task force to solutions.”

The task force was charged with compiling the resources and knowledge of a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to study the impact of elder abuse in Wisconsin and assess ways to improve outcomes for this growing population of citizens. In addition to developing strategies to address barriers in investigations and prosecutions of elder abuse, the task force is strengthening consumer protection for seniors and creating recommendations for improved cross-system communications. The task force is recommending the following action:

  1. Blocking Suspicious Transactions to Stop Elder Financial Exploitation: The task force recommends the Legislature and Governor adopt model legislation in LRB 0385 and LRB 0386 that will provide financial advisors and financial institutions with a strengthened ability to block suspicious transactions of financial exploitation against older adults.

“Identifying and preventing elder financial abuse has always been a priority for Wisconsin bankers,” said Rose Oswald Poels, President and CEO of the Wisconsin Bankers Association. “We were pleased to work with the Attorney General’s Task Force and the Department of Justice team to update the law and develop resources to help our members with this critical mission.”

“As a member of the Attorney General’s Task Force on Elder Abuse’s Financial Exploitation Working Group and as someone with experience in the financial planning industry, I am proud to be part of a process to recommend needed legislative changes to protect our state’s elders.  I look forward to continuing to work with Attorney General Schimel on increasing awareness of elder abuse and preventing this under-reported crime,” stated Rep. John Macco (R-Ledgeview), a task force member.

  1. Elder Abuse Supplemental Incident Reports for Law Enforcement: The task force recommends DOJ identify and pilot an elder abuse supplemental incident report with law enforcement agencies across the state to help ensure they are collecting needed evidence for a criminal prosecution of a suspect in an elder abuse case.

“I would like to commend the members of the Attorney General’s Task Force on Elder Abuse, as well as Attorney General Schimel and his staff, for the many initiatives and recommendations that have been developed to help better protect the senior citizens of the State of Wisconsin,” said task force member and Fond du Lac Police Chief Bill Lamb. “Elder abuse is already a terribly under reported crime and as our society continues to age, so too will the rate of their victimization. Wisconsin’s law enforcement community is committed to protecting our seniors and the work and recommendations of the Task Force will help us more effectively do so by providing increased training for our people, improved investigative and reporting tools, and specialized resources.”

  1. Enhancing Protections for the Elderly through Criminal Law Reforms: The task force recommends the Legislature and Governor adopt model legislation in LRB 0356 that makes a number of criminal law changes including: increased penalties to signify that these are crimes against a vulnerable population; enhanced protections for older adults seeking restraining orders; streamlined court process to freeze assets of a defendant; and strengthening the penalties for physical elder abuse of an older adult.
  2. Expedited Hearings and Testimony Preservation:  The task force recommends that the Legislature and Governor adopt model legislation in LRB 0402 that strengthens the process for older victims and witnesses who may have declining health by allowing for expedited hearings and the ability to preserve testimony through a video-taped court hearing that would have the defendant present for cross-examination. The ability for victims to recall important details is critical to the outcome of a court case. As degenerative brain diseases increase in older populations, the criminal justice system must be able to respond to the unique needs of elderly victims’ ability to testify.
  3. Specialized Elder Abuse Response Team at DOJ: The task force recommends DOJ creating a specialized elder abuse team that would work to mirror the success of other states and jurisdictions across the United States.  This team would have five full-time positions including a prosecutor, three investigators, and a financial auditor.

A letter to Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin State Legislature providing further details about these recommendations is attached.

“No one should have to live in fear,” said Sen. Pat Testin (R-Stevens Point), a task force member. “Our recommendations provide seniors with peace of mind, and reinforce that predatory behavior has no place in Wisconsin.”

In addition to the task force’s work, Attorney General Schimel has moved quickly to provide public safety tools to seniors and their loved ones. DOJ worked with law enforcement and aging and senior care experts and advocates to raise awareness about elder abuse and encourage citizens to report abuse against seniors. The public awareness campaign, first launched in January 2018 with radio ads, encourages citizens to report suspected elder abuse of any kind, teaches how to recognize elder abuse, and connects victims with resources. In May 2018, Attorney General Schimel launched a new website, www.ReportElderAbuseWI.org, and paid online outreach aimed at elder abuse victims.

In August 2018, DOJ released a training video aimed at educating tellers and other banking professions on how to spot financial elder abuse and report it. DOJ produced the ten-minute training video with assistance from the Wisconsin Bankers Association, Wisconsin Credit Union League, and members of the task force. The video details common red-flags that tellers in financial institutions should watch for when interacting with older adults who are often susceptible to financial exploitation.

“The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions joins with Attorney General Brad Schimel and all of the people from other agencies here today who are trying to limit and, ultimately, stop elder abuse,” according to DFI Deputy Secretary Jim Podewils. “One way is to get the word out to encourage everyone who interacts with our senior citizens to know the signs of abuse and report it.”

In October 2017, Attorney General Schimel expanded Dose of Reality, a statewide prevention campaign designed to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse and its effect on the opioid epidemic, to include resources and information unique to seniors and caregivers.

The attorney general also started “Safe Seniors Camera Program,” a new pilot project in Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago counties that allows Wisconsin residents, who suspect a caregiver is abusing their loved one, to use a covert camera to provide surveillance over someone who may have been harmed by a caregiver in their residence.

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

The task force is made up of representatives from DOJ, DHS, DFI, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin State Legislature, law enforcement, Wisconsin Court System, Board on Aging and Long Term Care, Wisconsin Bankers Association, crime victim services, adult protective services, senior living facilities, and senior citizen advocacy organizations.

To learn more about elder abuse, go to www.ReportElderAbuseWI.org.

Additional Elder Abuse Facts and Statistics

  • In June 2018, DHS released the 2017 elder abuse and neglect report. From 2016 to 2017, total reported allegations of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation in Wisconsin increased by 4.8%.[1]
  • In the same time period, alleged financial exploitation alone increased 17.5%.[2]
  • From 2001 to 2017, reported allegations of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation and requests for information about elder abuse increased 160% in Wisconsin.[3]
  • By 2040, 18 counties in Wisconsin are projected to have at least 33% of their total population made up of individuals ages 65 and older. Three of these counties are estimated to reach 40%.[4]
  • Elder abuse is vastly underreported; only one in 44 cases of financial abuse is ever reported.[5]
  • Abused seniors are three times more likely to die than those who had not been abused and elder abuse victims are four times more likely to go into a nursing home.[6]
  • Almost one in ten financial abuse victims will turn to Medicaid as a direct result of their own monies being stolen from them.[7]
  • Elders lose nearly $35 billion annually to elder financial abuse.[8]
  • The impact of financial exploitation extends beyond just economic damage, with 954,000 seniors skipping meals due to the abuse.[9]
  • The direct medical costs of injuries are estimated to contribute more than $5.3 billion to the nation’s annual health expenditures.[10]

AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin: 29th annual AIDS walk Wisconsin kicks off Saturday, October 6 at summerfest grounds

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It is the state’s largest fundraising walk/run for HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment

WHAT: Walkers and runners alike are gearing up for the 29th annual AIDS Walk Wisconsin and 5K Run this Saturday, October 6 at the Summerfest Grounds in Milwaukee.
AIDS Walk Wisconsin and 5K Run is the largest HIV fundraising event in Wisconsin. Now in its 29th year, the Walk/Run has raised more than $13.1 million for the fight against
AIDS. Taking place along Milwaukee’s lakefront, the event has brought together more than 128,000 walkers and volunteers since 1990, who raise pledges to help people with
HIV live longer, healthier lives.

WHO: Thousands of Walkers and Runners Supporting the Fight Against AIDS including ARCW President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Gifford.

WHEN: Saturday October 6, 2018
Gates open at 9:30 a.m. for registration, activities and live performances
5K run begins at 10:30 a.m.
Ceremonies begin at noon
Walk begins at 12:30

WHERE: Milwaukee Summerfest Grounds, Miller Lite Oasis
At the Summerfest Grounds, registration and the opening ceremonies will be at the Miller Lite Oasis. Participants will enter Maier Festival Park through the mid-gate. Ample free parking will be available. This year’s route will leave the Summerfest grounds and travel past the Art Museum, through Veteran’s Park, passing near Discovery World before returning to the Summerfest Grounds.

AIDS Walk Wisconsin representatives will be available for live remotes and interviews prior to the walk. Please call Kristin Wollenberg at 262.271.2037 for all media inquiries.

Airbnb: Delivers $114,000 in tax revenue to Green Bay in first year of agreement

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Ben Breit, Airbnb Midwest Public Affairs
Phone: (847) 274-5456
Email: [email protected]

Airbnb: Delivers $114,000 in tax revenue to Green Bay in first year of agreement

GREEN BAY, WI — Airbnb, the world’s leading community driven hospitality company, announced today that it delivered over $114,000 in home sharing tax revenue on behalf of its Green Bay hosts in the first year of its tax agreement with the city, far exceeding initial projections.

In July 2017, Airbnb announced a tax agreement with Green Bay, authorizing the home sharing platform to automatically collect the 10% Green Bay room tax on behalf of its host community and remit the revenue directly to the city. That agreement took effect August 1, 2017, infusing a new revenue stream for the city to fully capitalize on more people visiting Green Bay and staying longer through home sharing — and ahead of the 2017 football season.

At the time of the 2017 partnership, Airbnb noted that “Based on past year figures, Airbnb conservatively expects it will annually collect and remit at least $55,000 on behalf of its Green Bay host community.” The $114,000 in revenue nearly doubled those projections. This is largely due to continued growth among the local Airbnb community in the city and throughout Wisconsin. Throughout the duration of the tax agreement, over 7,400 guests have experienced Green Bay, representing 57% year-over-year growth.

This comes as the Green Bay host community welcomes the largest influx of Airbnb guests in the history of the platform, as the Packers welcome the 49ers this evening. This past weekend (through Monday), Green Bay Airbnb hosts have welcomed a record 900 guests while earning a combined $385,000 in supplemental income. 30% of the guests over this stretch are from California.

In addition to the tax agreement with Green Bay, Airbnb also has agreements in place to collect and remit taxes for the cities of Madison and Racine. And through a tax agreement with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Airbnb collects and remits the state sales tax on all Wisconsin bookings.

Statewide data indicates that Airbnb and its host community appear to be complementing — rather than competing with — the Wisconsin hotel industry. Reports from Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association demonstrate that Wisconsin hotel occupancy rates, daily prices and revenue have grown steadily, in parallel to Airbnb’s growth. This suggests that Airbnb is opening up the state to a new slice of prospective tourists by catering to travelers less able to afford hotels, those who desire to stay in neighborhoods or cities that lack hotels, and families who prefer to be together under one roof.

Ald. Lewis: Reminds you about voting early

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Ald. Lewis: Reminds you about voting early

Alderwoman Chantia Lewis highly encourages residents of Milwaukee to vote early for the upcoming November 6, 2018 election.

 “It’s important to be involved in this election. As I heard a candidate say, ‘Vote like you’re frustrated,’” said Alderwoman Lewis. “And remember each-one-reach-one meaning bring a friend or two to the polls.”

The City of Milwaukee is offering eight early voting locations through Sunday, November 4 (voter registration ends Friday, November 2). Locations include the Zeidler Municipal Building, UWM Zelazo Center, MATC (for students & faculty), Midtown Center, and the Mill Road, Center Street, Zablocki and Mitchell Street libraries. Evening and weekend voting hours are available. Visit milwaukee.gov/elections for more information and remember to bring your photo ID.

American Dairy Coalition: Canada eliminates Class 7 pricing scheme in new NAFTA deal

Laurie Fischer
CEO
920-965-6070
The American Dairy Coalition applauds President Donald Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for their continued diligence and determination in reaching a fair and updated trade deal to replace NAFTA, now called the
U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
10.1.2018: The USMCA was announced late last night, fulfilling a promise President Trump made to farmers to eliminate Canada’s unfair Class 7 milk-ingredient pricing program.
In a joint statement Sunday night, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said “USMCA will give our workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region. It will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home. We look forward to further deepening our close economic ties when this new agreement enters into force.”
Trump administration officials said the USMCA eliminates Canada’s “Class 7” pricing system for milk ingredients and opens the Canadian dairy market to U.S. exports at an additional 3.59 percent (an increase from the 3.25% that was negotiated by the Obama administration under the Trans-Pacific Partnership).
Increased access to Canadian markets for dairy products was a major point of contention in trade talks, as was the termination of Class 7 pricing. The program saturated the international market with subsidized skim milk powder and cut the demand from Canadian cheesemakers for ultra-filtered milk from the U.S.  USMCA will include the development of new safeguards to prevent major export increases for certain dairy products.
The American Dairy Coalition applauds the hard work of those who made this agreement possible and will continue to ensure the interests of the 30,000 dairy producers we represent are upheld as additional details on USMCA become available.

American Federation for Children: Under Tony Evers, school choice continues to grow

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Contact:
Call: (202) 280-1990
Email: [email protected]federationforchildren.org

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, headed by Tony Evers, has released their annual student enrollment data showing once again that parents are embracing options and exercising what is best for their individual children’s needs.

Statement from Justin Moralez, State Director of the Wisconsin Federation for Children: 

“We find it astounding that Tony Evers’ own department has documented year after year that more and more Wisconsin families continue to seek out private school choice options – and yet he wants to force those families out of their school of choice. It should come across as a personal affront to these families that a politician thinks he knows what is better for a child than their own parent.”

“This report is positive news for anybody that wants to see investment in all children’s future, regardless of zip code or income. Not a single parent is mandated to participate in school choice, yet for twenty-nine years, we have seen a continuous trend of parents embracing the choice programs exponentially. Those trends have continued as Tony Evers has been in charge.”

Details:

The parental choice program has grown to include four different programs, including the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, Racine Parental Choice Program, Wisconsin Parental Choice Program and the Special Needs Scholarship.

Current DPI enrollment figures as reported are (in comparison to last year):

Milwaukee Parental Choice Program: 28,917 (+237)
Racine Parental Choice Program: 3,324 (+321)
Wisconsin Parental Choice Program: 7,140 (+2,606)
Special Needs Program: 692 (+446)

– The largest gains can be seen in the Special Needs Scholarship program, which serves students who have been identified with an IEP. These are students who need the most amount of individualized learning options available to them.

– While the program continues to grow, last available figures show that those receiving a voucher still only make up less than 4% of the overall state education budget.

Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin: Announces six-figure investment to bolster champions in key Senate races

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

Activist group announces mail, digital, radio investments to supplement ongoing grassroots efforts

MADISON, Wis. – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) on Tuesday announced a new six-figure mail, digital, and radio ad campaign to bolster the group’s ongoing statewide grassroots efforts urging Wisconsinites to vote for Rep. Kathy Bernier, Rep. Andre Jacque, Rep. Dale Kooyenga, and Sen. Howard Marklein in their bids for State Senate. This round of investment, which bolsters the canvassing and phone banking efforts already underway, highlights the low unemployment, higher salaries and wages, and lower taxes enjoyed by Wisconsinites due to policies championed by these lawmakers.

 

VIEW AD HERE:

JacqueScreenShot.PNG

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

“Thanks to these lawmakers and their consistent support for policies that remove barriers to opportunity, Wisconsinites are enjoying historically low unemployment and more money in their pockets. Wisconsin’s economy is moving in the right direction, and our activists know these policy champions will work to keep this momentum going as state senators. Wisconsin needs leaders who will reject special interests and double down on the pro-growth reforms that got us here in the first place and we enthusiastically encourage Wisconsinites to vote for Rep. Kathy Bernier, Rep. Andre Jacque, Rep. Dale Kooyenga, and Sen. Howard Marklein in their bids for State Senate.”

Fast facts:

Background:

  • Rep. Kathy Bernier currently represents Assembly District 68 in western Wisconsin and is running to represent Senate District 23.
  • Rep. Andre Jacque currently represents Assembly District 2 in northeast Wisconsin and is running to represent Senate District 1.
  • Rep. Dale Kooyenga currently represents Assembly District 14 in southeast Wisconsin and is running to represent Senate District 5.
  • Sen. Howard Marklein currently represents Senate District 17 of southwest Wisconsin and is running for reelection.

For further information or an interview, reach Lorenz Isidro at [email protected] or (703) 887-7724. 

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

Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin: Lauds Walker plan to grow workforce and reform criminal justice system

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

AFP-WI Lauds Walker Plan to Grow Workforce and Reform Criminal Justice System

MADISON, Wis. – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) on Thursday lauded Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov. Kleefisch’s new workforce training investment as a proposal that could grow Wisconsin’s workforce, increase safety, and expand opportunities for people who want second chances.

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

“We thank Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov. Kleefisch for addressing critical criminal justice reform priorities. By helping people leave prison as contributing members of society, we can improve public safety, save taxpayer money, reduce recidivism, and help people improve their lives. The proposal would also help address our workforce shortage and keep Wisconsin’s economy growing. Wisconsin should be a place where people who want second chances, get them. We look forward to seeing the details of this proposal and working with the administration to advance this and other much-needed criminal justice reforms.”

For further information or an interview, reach Lorenz Isidro at [email protected] or (703) 887-7724. 

Americans For Prosperity: Bad bill today keeps the doctors away

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

AFP Action: Bad Bill Today Keeps Doctors Away

MADISON, Wis. – Americans for Prosperity Action℠ (AFP Action) on Wednesday criticized an effort spearheaded by Sen. Tammy Baldwin to limit Wisconsinites’ access to affordable health care coverage.

The vote on S.J. Res 63, which was introduced by Sen. Baldwin, came just one week after the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term health care plans went into effect – an effort to help millions of Americans who have been priced out of Obamacare’s unaffordable costs while leaving other Obamacare plans untouched.

AFP Action Senior Advisor Eric Bott issued the following statement:

“The awful truth behind Baldwin’s beltway-knows-best approach to health care policy is that she’s willing to risk patients’ access to affordable health care coverage to score political points. This resolution would have severed a much-needed lifeline to flexible and affordable insurance simply because Baldwin thinks Wisconsinites can’t make their own decisions. This much is clear: a vote for Baldwin is a vote for Washington-prescribed plans that we cannot afford, and we urge Wisconsinites to vote against her in November.”

For further information or to set up an interview, reach Lorenz Isidro at LIsidro@afpaction.com or (703) 887-7724. 

Anderson campaign: Former Republican Governor Bill Weld endorses Libertarian Phil Anderson for Governor of Wisconsin

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

Anderson campaign: Former Republican Governor Bill Weld endorses Libertarian Phil Anderson for Governor of Wisconsin

Former Republican Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, the former Libertarian Party nominee for Vice President, has endorsed Phil Anderson for Governor of Wisconsin. “It is my fervent hope that when the votes are counted this year, the Libertarian Party will have vaulted into a position where all of our historical struggles for recognition will seem a thing of the past,” said Governor Weld. “Phil’s positions on all the issues are sound, common sense solutions to the challenges Wisconsin faces. They’re lucky to have him!”

“I am particularly pleased with Bill’s endorsement, as he didn’t really have to make one. He’s a former Governor who is known for cutting spending, and working with both Democrats and Republicans,” says Anderson. “I’m proud to have earned his endorsement!”

Governor Weld further stated: “I could not be more grateful for his service not only as our leader in Wisconsin, but for leading the Libertarian Party candidates for State Assembly as well! I endorse his candidacy and wish him Godspeed and success in the election.”

Anderson campaign: Invites the public to protest the Wisconsin Broadcaster’s gubernatorial debate

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

Anderson campaign invites the public to protest the
Wisconsin Broadcaster’s Gubernatorial Debate on 10/19, and
to participate in Edgewood H.S. Gubernatorial Forum on
10/21.

Madison, WI, October 18th, 2018 – Libertarian Party candidates for Governor Phil Anderson is organizing a protest of the Wisconsin Broadcaster’s Association Gubernatorial Debate, to be held at WMTV 15, 615 Forward Dr., in Madison on Friday October 19th. The protest will begin at 6pm.

“The WBA is hosting a debate, on behalf of all the TV and radio stations in Wisconsin and
excluding those candidates that don’t spend enough money with them,” stated Phil Anderson, Libertarian candidate for Governor. “The broadcasters have a clear conflict of interest and have set their invitation criteria to serve their own financial and political interests, not the interests of Wisconsin voters.”

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association requires 10% in recent polling, as well as $250,000 in funds raised, to be included in their debates. The Anderson campaign has filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Ethics Board, which has yet to issue a ruling. Edgewood H.S. is sponsoring a debate at Edgewood High School in Madison on Sunday October 21st at 4pm. All six gubernatorial candidates have been invited, 4 have confirmed attendance.
“We will protest, giving a voice to those whose voices are ignored by the WBA and the 2 big
parties, continues Anderson. “I go and speak whenever and wherever I’m invited. Governor
Walker and Tony Evers only go where they can control the environment, and other candidates are not invited. This debate process has become a sham, and the WBA is a major part of it.”

Badger Institute: Federal government slowly taking over state budget, policy-making and workforce

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Badger Institute: Federal government slowly taking over state budget, policy-making and workforce
New Badger Institute book finds federal grants deprive us of our money, liberty and trust

Contact: Mike Nichols, Badger Institute president, at 414-225-9940 or at [email protected].

Oct. 8, 2018 — Approximately 10,000 State of Wisconsin employees are actually paid with federal funds, according to a new book by the Badger Institute that documents the negative impacts of the Badger State’s increased reliance on Washington, D.C.

Federal Grant$tanding” combines traditional policy research, investigative reporting, surveys of educators and local officials, and interviews with key players to produce some alarming findings. Among them:

  • Nationally, grants-in-aid to state and local governments have exploded from $7 billion in 1960 to an estimated $728 billion today.
  • Most states today — including the Badger State — receive about one-third of their revenues from the federal government.
  • A growing number of Wisconsin “state employees” — around 10,000 of them, including University of Wisconsin System employees and almost 5,000 state government employees — are paid with federal funds. For example, fully 73 percent of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s 1,600 workers are now paid with federal funds.
  • The slow federal takeover of other state agencies is also underway. Nearly 50 percent of employees in both the Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Children and Families are paid with federal funds.
  • Nearly 30 percent of federally paid workers in just six Wisconsin departments appear to simply administer federal dollars. Their annual salary and benefits total nearly $89 million.
  • Fully 83 percent of Wisconsin public school administrators surveyed said it is at least “likely” there would be more innovation in schools if they had more discretion over how federal funds are spent. Most of those respondents said it would be “much more likely.”
    Around 50 percent of surveyed Wisconsin public school teachers agreed there would be more innovation if federal funds allowed for more local discretion.
  • Eighty-one percent of school administrators said accountability would improve or at least stay the same if they had more discretion.
  • The Department of Public Instruction spends $54 million annually just administering federal funds.
  • School districts that saved taxpayer money as the result of Act 10 reforms are compelled by federal “maintenance of effort” requirements to spend that money — often on things they don’t want or need — or lose federal funding.
  • Federal money and guidelines are skewing how important local decisions on things such as the Milwaukee streetcar are being made, producing widespread public dissatisfaction and questionable spending.

“We found that the lines between federal, state and local governments aren’t just becoming blurred; they’re being completely erased,” said Mike Nichols, president of the Badger Institute. “The results of this growing federal overreach are pernicious, increasing costs, incentivizing bad decisions, stifling innovation, undermining accountability and ultimately undermining the balance of power established by our Constitution. We need to wake up to the fact that federal grants come at a very high cost.”

“The primary beneficiaries of federal grants are the officeholders who receive free and uncritical coverage when they announce grants in their states and districts,” said Dan Benson, who served as editor of the Badger Institute’s Project for 21st Century Federalism. “The only reason a system so wasteful and unaccountable exists is that it allows politicians to engage in the art of ‘grantstanding.’ ”

The book concludes that the continued reliance on federal grants threatens the dual system of governance established by the U.S. Constitution. The book offers a variety of possible solutions including:

  • Cutting spending on federal grants
  • Eliminating or scaling back the Department of Education
  • Increasing the use of block grants with fewer strings attached
  • Taking full advantage of the flexibility offered by the Every Student Succeeds Act
  • Demanding metrics that measure outcomes, not inputs
  • Pursuing a bipartisan effort to restore local control
  • Increasing transparency at the state level

“There is growing recognition on the right and the left that local issues are better addressed by those with the closest proximity,” said Nichols. “State and local officials better understand the education, transportation and economic needs of their communities than distant bureaucrats who couldn’t find these communities on a map. Fortunately, reform is possible. It starts with the recognition that federal money is anything but free.”

Baldwin campaign: Ahead of first debate, Leah Vukmir under fire for record of selling out Wisconsin

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Contact: [email protected]

Baldwin campaign: Ahead of first debate, Leah Vukmir under fire for record of selling out Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE – Ahead of the first debate in the Wisconsin U.S. Senate race tonight, Leah Vukmir is under fire for her record of selling out Wisconsin to corporate special interests.

“Tonight, Leah Vukmir will have to answer to the people of Wisconsin for her record of putting corporate special interests ahead of Wisconsinites,” said Scott Spector, Tammy Baldwin for Senate Campaign Manager. “This debate will showcase that Tammy Baldwin puts Wisconsin first and stands up to special interests and insurance companies, while Leah Vukmir does their bidding and sells Wisconsin out.” 

Over the past several months, Leah Vukmir has been pressured to answer for her history of siding with insurance companies — voting against oral chemotherapy coverage and supporting efforts to gut pre-existing condition protections — and taking orders from the shadowy corporate special interest group ALEC.

Here is a preview of what Leah Vukmir will be hard pressed to explain tonight:

Pre-Existing Conditions: Leah Vukmir supports repealing the Affordable Care Act and gutting pre-existing condition protections:

  • Vukmir is campaigning on a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Vukmir supports the Graham-Cassidy and AHCA repeal plans that would allow insurance companies to charge sick people higher premiums and gut pre-existing condition protections.
  • Vice President Pence said in Wisconsin that if Leah Vukmir wins, they will try to pass those repeal plans again.
  • Vukmir supports the Trump administration’s junk insurance plans, which allow insurance companies to deny people coverage if they have a pre-existing condition.

Oral Chemotherapy: Leah Vukmir was one of the lone votes to twice oppose a bipartisan bill, supported by Governor Walker, requiring insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy, including the only form of treatment available for brain tumors. Similar laws were already in place in a majority of other states, but Leah Vukmir moved to kill the bipartisan bill to lower costs for cancer patients and ignored calls from cancer advocates for even a single hearing. When pressed to explain, she defended her vote.

ALEC: Leah Vukmir is on the national board of ALEC, a shadowy organization where lobbyists and big corporations get friendly legislators to introduce their pre-packaged bills. Leah Vukmir has taken tens of thousands of dollars from ALEC members and pushed their agenda in Wisconsin, including letting the phone companies jack up Wisconsinites’ rates, fighting against paid sick leavefor Wisconsin families, and allowing nursing homes to conceal records of neglect and abuse.

Leah Vukmir tried to hide that she was taking instructions from ALEC corporate lobbyists. She hid dozens of emails, including messages from ALEC lobbyists with instructions to block Medicaid expansion and help insurance companies. Leah Vukmir was sued and forced to release those emails, sticking Wisconsin taxpayers with $15,000 in legal bills.

Baldwin campaign: Debate preview: Down double digits, get ready for Leah Vukmir to desperately attack again

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Contact: [email protected]

Baldwin campaign: Debate preview: Down double digits, get ready for Leah Vukmir to desperately attack again

AUDIO: Listen to debate day recap call from this morning

Vukmir’s previous desperate attacks deemed “false”, “pants on fire”, “absurd smear”

WAUSAU — Ahead of the second U.S. Senate debate, Leah Vukmir has been leveling increasingly desperate attacks. Leah Vukmir’s previous attacks have been called “false”, “pants on fire” and an “absurd smear” by non-partisan media outlets. Even a conservative outlet said a Vukmir attack “insults the intelligence and character” of Wisconsin voters.

Following two polls this week with Leah Vukmir down double digits and losing ground, Leah Vukmir is set to ratchet up her desperate rhetoric in the second debate.

“The more that Wisconsinites find out about Leah Vukmir, the less they like her record of putting special interests first,” said campaign spokesperson Bill Neidhardt. “At this debate, expect Leah Vukmir to launch into whatever desperate attacks it takes to dodge, deflect and distract from her record of siding with insurance companies and her corporate special interest backers.”

Thursday’s NBC/Marist poll found Leah Vukmir down 14 points and Wednesday’s Marquette Law School poll found Leah Vukmir down 10 points, with a disastrous negative 13 favorability rating.

Both polls also showed that health care and pre-existing condition protections are a top priority for Wisconsin voters. The Marquette poll showed that 93% of Wisconsin voters believe it’s very or somewhat important to require coverage for pre-existing conditions. The NBC/Marist poll and a previous Suffolk-Journal Sentinel poll both found health care is the top issue for voters in this race.

This morning, following a series of tweets yesterday from Leah Vukmir doubling down on killing a bill that requires insurance companies cover oral chemotherapy, two Wisconsinites held a press conference call on the issue. AUDIO of the call here.

The latest Tammy Baldwin for Senate ad featured Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions outlining the choice this election between Tammy Baldwin and Leah Vukmir: “It’s a pretty clear choice. Leah Vukmir is for the insurance companies and Tammy Baldwin’s for us.”

Tammy Baldwin has continued to make affordable health care a top focus. This week, Tammy forced a health care vote in the U.S. Senate on overturning the expansion of junk plans that allow insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Tammy’s legislation received bipartisan support, even under a rare Trump administration veto threat, and changed the national narrative around protecting health care.

Despite what Leah Vukmir will say at the debate, she supports multiple efforts to gut pre-existing condition protections and allow insurance companies to deny coverage.

Baldwin campaign: In final debate, Baldwin Triumphs and Vukmir desperately flails 

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Baldwin campaign: In final debate, Baldwin Triumphs and Vukmir desperately flails 

MILWAUKEE — In the final U.S. Senate debate, Tammy Baldwin again delivered a resounding win as Leah Vukmir continued to hurl desperate attacks.

“Tonight, Leah Vukmir continued to desperately flail as she struggles to gain traction down double digits,” said campaign spokesman Bill Neidhardt. “In each of these debates, Wisconsinites have seen the clear choice in this election: Tammy Baldwin stands up for Wisconsin while Leah Vukmir sides with special interests. ”

HIGHLIGHTS:

Leah Vukmir again admitted she is running to be the deciding vote to gut pre-existing condition protections.

Tammy Baldwin showed she puts Wisconsin first, while Leah Vukmir doubled down on being a rubber stamp for the White House.

Tammy Baldwin detailed Leah Vukmir’s ties to the Koch-backed corporate special interest group ALEC.

Leah Vukmir was more desperate than ever, hurling false attacks in the face of double-digit deficits in multiple polls.

Baldwin campaign: Leah Vukmir admits she would be the deciding vote to gut pre-existing condition protections

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Contact: [email protected]

NEW AUDIO: Leah Vukmir admits
she would be the deciding vote to
gut pre-existing condition protections

MADISON — A day after the launch of TheDeciding.Vote, Leah Vukmir admitted in a talk radio interview today that she would cast the deciding vote to repeal health care and gut protections for pre-existing conditions.

LISTEN TO THE TAPE HERE

On WTMJ Milwaukee’s Steve Scaffidi Show, Leah Vukmir said: “I’m gonna fight like heck to beat Tammy Baldwin, so I can be that extra voice in the Senate. So, when a proposal does get passed over from the House it doesn’t fall short in the Senate like it did.” 

The bill Leah Vukmir is committing to passing is the AHCA — a partisan health care repeal plan pushed through the House of Representatives last year. This repeal bill would:

  • Gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Take coverage away from 23 million Americans.
  • Place an age tax on older Wisconsinites by allowing insurance companies charge them thousands more for coverage, according to the AARP.
  • Endear Leah Vukmir to ALEC’s corporate backers, who endorsed the bill.

“Leah Vukmir’s comments today show that she has no regrets for her plans to be the deciding vote to gut pre-existing condition protections,” said campaign spokesperson Bill Neidhardt. “Wisconsinites were one vote away from Washington pushing a devastating health care repeal, and no desperate attack from Leah Vukmir will hide her true intentions from Wisconsin voters.”

These new comments from Leah Vukmir confirm what Vice President Pence said when he visited Wisconsin last month, as highlighted on the new Tammy Baldwin for Senate microsite, TheDeciding.Vote.

Recent polling shows that health care and pre-existing condition protections are a top priority for Wisconsin voters. Last week, a Marquette poll showed that 93% of Wisconsin voters believe it’s “important” to require coverage for pre-existing conditions. And a recent NBC/Marist poll and a previous Suffolk-Journal Sentinel poll both found health care is the top issue for voters in this race.

Baldwin campaign: Leah Vukmir caps horrible week by desperately defending killing an oral chemo bill

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Contact: [email protected]

MADISON — The day before the second debate, just hours after reports of Vukmir committing pay-to-play politics and following two polls this week showing Leah Vukmir down double digits — Leah Vukmir’s campaign is responding by again doubling down on killing a bill that requires insurance companies cover oral chemotherapy.

“Leah Vukmir should read the reports she is desperately pushing, they not only support oral chemo parity legislation, they show just how depraved it is to block and kill legislation to require insurance companies cover one of the only ways to treat many forms of deadly cancers,” said campaign spokesman Bill Neidhardt. “Scott Walker supports this bill, but Leah Vukmir said she opposed it because she is against insurance mandates of any kind.” 

“Nice try, Leah Vukmir. I took oral chemo to treat my brain cancer and I couldn’t imagine not having insurance coverage for that,” said Kirsten Jome-Robley of Manitowoc. “What Leah Vukmir is pushing today can’t hide the fact that she looks out for insurance companies more than cancer patients like me.” 

WATCH what Kirsten has to say to Leah Vukmir about voting against oral chemo coverage here.

Here is what you need to know about Leah Vukmir’s latest desperate distraction:

1) Scott Walker and other prominent Wisconsin Republicans supported Oral Chemotherapy Parity Legislation
Leah Vukmir is attacking a bill signed into law by Governor Scott Walker. In fact, Walker repeatedly praised the bill, even calling it “potentially life-saving.”

“This is what you ask for when you elect people, to set aside partisan differences and ultimately do, in the end, what’s just right.” – Scott Walker

Other Republicans also praised the bill as Leah Vukmir tried to kill it:

“I am proud that we found a way to make life-saving medications more affordable and accessible. We are giving patients and their doctors the freedom to choose the best cancer treatment without the burden of an overwhelming price tag.” – Speaker Robin Vos

“Treatment should be based on the disease and not your wallet. The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act makes sure life-saving decisions are between patients and their doctor.” – Senator Alberta Darling

Not only that, even Wisconsin House Republicans Jim Sensenbrenner, Sean Duffy, Glenn Grothman, and Mike Gallagher all support similar oral chemo parity legislation – that Leah Vukmir tried to kill – at the federal level.

2) The Report Shows the Opposite of What Vukmir Claims
According to the UNC/Harvard study that Leah Vukmir cites, oral chemotherapy parity laws that Vukmir opposed resulted in “modest improvements in costs for many patients.”

The study also found that average six-month health care costs did not increase as a result of parity laws.

What the sturdy doesn’t show is that the parity laws should have never been passed in the first place.

3) The American Cancer Society Helped Fund the Report Pushed by Vukmir Today and Supported the Bill Killed by Vukmir
Leah Vukmir is citing a study supported by a grant from the American Cancer Society, which supported both the 2011 and 2014 oral chemo parity bills that Vukmir opposed.

In addition, a dozen organizations, including the Wisconsin Coalition for Cancer Treatment Access, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the Marshfield Clinic also supported the bill.

Leah Vukmir not only voted against the bill twice, she killed it in committee in 2011.

4) Leah Vukmir Opposed The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act Not Because of Patient Costs — Because of “Insurance Mandates”  
According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report from back when the bill was being debated, “Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) voted no because of her opposition to putting mandates on insurers.”

Leah Vukmir is now claiming she opposed it for completely different reasons.

A Summary of Leah Vukmir’s Attempts to Stop Oral Chemo Coverage:
In 2014, Leah Vukmir was one of the only State Senators to vote against the bipartisan Cancer Treatment Fairness Act, also putting her at odds with Governor Scott Walker, who eventually signed the legislation into law.

The legislation requires state-regulated health insurance companies to also cover oral chemotherapy drugs, some of which are the only form of treatment available for brain tumors.

Similar laws were already in place in a majority of other states, but Leah Vukmir not only voted against the bill twice in 2014, she blocked a nearly identical bipartisan bill in 2011 from moving forward.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Leah Vukmir ignored the calls from cancer advocates, including American Cancer Society, Wisconsin Coalition For Cancer Treatment Access, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, to hold a hearing on the legislation.

Her obstruction successfully killed the bill and drew criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Baldwin campaign: Leah Vukmir opposed oral chemo coverage

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HIGHLIGHT MOMENT: Tammy Baldwin lays out how Leah Vukmir TWICE opposed requiring insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy:

BALDWIN: “A vote is a vote and Leah Vukmir voted with insurance companies to prevent oral chemo from being covered. I don’t know how you can run away from the vote.”

REMINDER:

  • Leah Vukmir voted twice against requiring insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy, a common treatment for cancer and sometimes the only form of treatment available for certain types of brain cancers.
  • Leah Vukmir initially killed the bipartisan bill to lower costs for cancer patients.
    • As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Leah Vukmir ignored calls from cancer advocates, including the American Cancer Society, Wisconsin Coalition For Cancer Treatment Access, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, to hold a hearing on the legislation.
  • Similar laws were already in place in a majority of other states, but Leah Vukmir was one of the only State Senators to vote against the bill. Her opposition was in stark contrast to cancer treatment advocates, Democrats and even fellow Republican lawmakers:
    • Governor Scott Walker signed the bill into law and frequently praised the legislation, saying “This is what you ask for when you elect people, to set aside partisan differences and ultimately do, in the end, what’s just right.”
    • Speaker Robin Vos said, “I am proud that we found a way to make life-saving medications more affordable and accessible. We are giving patients and their doctors the freedom to choose the best cancer treatment without the burden of an overwhelming price tag.”
    • Senator Alberta Darling said, “Treatment should be based on the disease and not your wallet. The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act makes sure life-saving decisions are between patients and their doctor.”

BACKGROUND:

WKOW-TV Headline: “Vukmir’s ‘No-Vote’ On Cancer Treatment Fairness Bill Doesn’t Reflect Gov. Walker And GOP Colleagues.” [WKOW-TV, 9/11/18]

WKOW-TV: Vukmir Was “One Of The Only Senators To Vote Against The Bipartisan Cancer Treatment Fairness Act,” Which Required “Health Insurance Companies To Cover Oral Chemotherapy Drugs.” “Baldwin’s ad calls out Vukmir for her vote back in 2014 when she was one of the only senators to vote against the bipartisan Cancer Treatment Fairness Act. The legislation requires state-regulated health insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy drugs, some of which are the only form of treatment available for brain tumors.” [WKOW-TV, 9/11/18]

APG: Vukmir, Who “Was One Of Just Two State Senators Who Opposed” A Bill To Require Insurers To Cover Oral Chemo, Said She Voted Against It Because She Opposed Imposing Mandates On Insurers. “After years of hiccups and delays, the oral chemo bill was approved by lawmakers with bipartisan support in 2014. When he signed it into law, Republican Gov. Scott Walker said it ‘just makes sense that we make sure this vitally important treatment is affordable for our citizens.’ The law requires state-regulated insurers that cover intravenous chemotherapy to also cover oral chemotherapy, and limits co-payment costs for patients to $100 per month. Eighteen state representatives voted against it, but Vukmir was one of just two state senators who opposed it. She said at the time she voted against it because she opposed imposing mandates on insurers. ‘As a nurse, Leah wants to make sure her patients and everyone throughout Wisconsin have access to the best healthcare possible and the most aggressive methods to defeat cancer. While Senator Baldwin let patients down by eliminating options for patients, Leah strongly supports making healthcare affordable for those with pre-existing conditions,’ said Vukmir campaign manager Jess Ward in an email.” [APG-WI Media, 9/12/18]

WKOW-TV: Vukmir’s No Vote “Did Not Share The Same Support As Her Republican Counterparts On The Measure,” With Governor Walker “Praising The Legislation To Allow More Patients The Ability To Have Affordable Options For Treatment.” “Baldwin’s ad calls out Vukmir for her vote back in 2014 when she was one of the only senators to vote against the bipartisan Cancer Treatment Fairness Act. The legislation requires state-regulated health insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy drugs, some of which are the only form of treatment available for brain tumors. With her ‘no’ vote, Vukmir did not share the same support as her Republican counterparts on the measure. In 2014, Governor Walker’s office sent out a statement praising the legislation to allow more patients the ability to have affordable options for treatment. ‘Oral chemotherapy is a potentially life-saving option for some cancer patients. With all of the uncertainty in health care costs today, it just makes sense that we make sure this vitally important treatment is affordable for our citizens,’ said Walker.” [WKOW-TV, 9/11/18]

WKOW-TV: Assembly Speaker Robin Vos And Senator Alberta Darling “Were Pleased” To Pass The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act. “Vukmir on the campaign trail praises Governor Walker and President Donald Trump’s policies. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senator Alberta Darling also were pleased to pass the legislation. Both made similar statements to Walker in 2014. ‘I am proud that we found a way to make life-saving medications more affordable and accessible,’ said Vos. ‘We are giving patients and their doctors the freedom to choose the best cancer treatment without the burden of an overwhelming price tag.’ ‘Treatment should be based on the disease and not your wallet,’ said Sen. Darling. ‘The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act makes sure life-saving decisions are between patients and their doctor.’” [WKOW-TV, 9/11/18]

WKOW-TV: In Response To Baldwin’s Ad Hitting Vukmir For Her Vote On The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act, Vukmir Said “Senator Baldwin Let Patients Down By Eliminating Options For Patients […]” “Baldwin’s ad calls out Vukmir for her vote back in 2014 when she was one of the only senators to vote against the bipartisan Cancer Treatment Fairness Act. The legislation requires state-regulated health insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy drugs, some of which are the only form of treatment available for brain tumors. […] Vukmir, who’s touted her record as a nurse, responded through her campaign stating her opponent Sen. Baldwin is letting patients down by taking away options. ‘As a nurse, Leah wants to make sure her patients and everyone throughout Wisconsin have access to the best healthcare possible and the most aggressive methods to defeat cancer,’ said campaign manager Jess Ward. ‘While Senator Baldwin let patients down by eliminating options for patients, Leah strongly supports making health care affordable for those with pre-existing conditions.’” [WKOW-TV, 9/11/18]

WKOW-TV: While “40 Other States Have A Similar Law, Allowing Insurance Companies To Cover Oral Chemotherapy Drugs,” Vukmir “Did Not Clarify As To Why She Voted Against The Measure” And “Did Not Immediately” Reply Back For Comment. “Baldwin’s ad calls out Vukmir for her vote back in 2014 when she was one of the only senators to vote against the bipartisan Cancer Treatment Fairness Act. The legislation requires state-regulated health insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy drugs, some of which are the only form of treatment available for brain tumors. […] Currently, 40 other states have a similar law, allowing insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy drugs. ’While Leah Vukmir is doubling down on her indefensible votes against requiring insurance companies to cover oral chemo, Tammy Baldwin is standing up to those same powerful interests and leading the fight to make sure Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions like cancer are protected,’ said Baldwin’s campaign spokesperson Bill Neidhardt. Vukmir’s campaign did not clarify as to why she voted against the measure. The campaign did not immediately reply. This new attack comes after Vukmir met with Veterans in Franklin Monday to hear their concerns over Baldwin not addressing the opioid scandal at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The center was in the spotlight years ago after a scandal involving over-prescribing opioids to veterans. Republicans accuse Baldwin for not solving the problems back in 2015. Since then Baldwin passed legislation in honor of a deceased veteran that toughened prescription guidelines.” [WKOW-TV, 9/11/18]

PolitiFact Headline: “Like Insurers, Leah Vukmir Opposed Wisconsin Law Forcing Insurers To Make Oral Chemo More Affordable.” [PolitiFact, 9/14/18]

  • PolitiFact: “Vukmir Was One Of Two Republican Senators To Come Out Vocally Against The Bill And In Support Of Insurers,” And Said She Had A “’Consistent Record Of Opposing Insurance Mandates.’” “Vukmir was one of two Republican senators to come out vocally against the bill and in support of insurers. She said at the time: ‘I have a consistent record of opposing insurance mandates. A state mandate would only impact the insurance companies regulated by Wisconsin and not those regulated at the federal level, creating an uneven playing field and driving up costs for consumers.’” [PolitiFact, 9/14/18]
  • PolitiFact: “Vukmir Was Nearly Alone In Her Opposition To An Oral Chemotherapy Bill That Was Opposed By Insurance Companies.” “When the measure came to a vote in the Senate, Vukmir and GOP Sen. Paul Farrow cast the only no votes. The measure passed, 30-2. After changes were made to the bill in the Assembly, the Senate approved the bill again, 26-7. Vukmir again voted no because of her opposition to putting mandates on insurers; the other six senators said the changes weakened the bill. So, Vukmir was nearly alone in her opposition to an oral chemotherapy bill that was opposed by insurance companies.” [PolitiFact, 9/14/18]
  • On Her Vote Against Oral Chemotherapy, Vukmir’s Campaign Said “When Government Mandates Price Structures, Providers Eliminate Coverage Options And Fewer People End Up With Quality Care.” “So, Vukmir was nearly alone in her opposition to an oral chemotherapy bill that was opposed by insurance companies. Her campaign told us that ‘when government mandates price structures, providers eliminate coverage options and fewer people end up with quality care.’ But to be clear, her vote wasn’t against oral chemotherapy, per se. Rather, the law requires that insurers treat oral chemotherapy like traditional chemotherapy when it comes to how much patients must pay.” [PolitiFact, 9/14/18]
  • PolitiFact Rated Baldwin’s Statement That Vukmir Was “Just About The Only Legislator” Who “Voted Against Oral Chemotherapy,” As Mostly True. “Baldwin says Vukmir was ‘just about the only legislator who stood with the insurance companies’ and ‘voted against oral chemotherapy.’ On the main vote on a chemotherapy bill, Vukmir aligned with insurance companies that opposed the bill and was one of two state senators to vote no. That said, Vukmir’s vote wasn’t against oral chemotherapy. It was against stopping insurers from charging patients higher deductibles, copayments or coinsurance for oral chemotherapy than they would pay for traditional chemotherapy. For a statement that is accurate but needs clarification, our rating is Mostly True.” [PolitiFact, 9/14/18]

Earlier, In 2011, As Chair Of The Senate Committee On Health, Vukmir Successfully Blocked An Oral Chemotherapy Parity Bill

Senate Bill 101 Was Referred To the Senate Committee On Health. [Senate Bill 101, Introduced 5/24/2011]

2011: Vukmir Chaired The Senate Committee On Health. “Supporters of oral chemotherapy bills are pushing for public hearings on proposed legislation that would require insurers to cover those medications like other chemo drugs, but their requests are being ignored. ‘It’s pretty outrageous,’ said Zina Cary, national director of state affairs for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. ‘Let’s just hold a public hearing, air the facts and let everyone come to the table.’ Identical bills introduced in the state Assembly and Senate would require health insurers to provide coverage for oral chemotherapy the same way they do traditional intravenous or infused chemo treatments. The proposals have been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, headed by Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, and the Assembly Committee on Insurance, chaired by Rep. Kevin Petersen, R-Waupaca. Neither Vukmir nor Petersen were available for comment. [Leader-Telegram, 12/11/11]

Vukmir Never Held A Public Hearing On The Legislation And Let SB 101 Die In Committee

Senate Bill 101 Died In Committee. [Senate Bill 101, 2011 Wisconsin Senate Journal 820, 3/23/2012]

Republican Lawmakers Spoke In Favor Of The Oral Chemo Legislation

Sen. Alberta Darling

The Lead Sponsor Of The Bill, Alberta Darling, Praised The Senate Vote On The Oral Chemo Bill. “’When I talk to the medical school and to researchers around the country, they say, ‘Oral chemo is the wave of the future,’  said Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, who is a cancer survivor. ‘So, in a big way today, we’re bringing our statutes up to speed with what the technology is on this drug.’ But Darling, the lead sponsor of the Senate bill, also said that she thinks the Senate vote was a victory, regardless of what happens in the Assembly. ‘No matter what happens in the Assembly, we’re going to be doing the right thing,’ she said.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 03/19/2014]

Darling: “Treatment Should Be Based On The Disease And Not Your Wallet.” “Vukmir on the campaign trail praises Governor Walker and President Donald Trump’s policies. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senator Alberta Darling also were pleased to pass the legislation. Both made similar statements to Walker in 2014. ‘I am proud that we found a way to make life-saving medications more affordable and accessible,’ said Vos. ‘We are giving patients and their doctors the freedom to choose the best cancer treatment without the burden of an overwhelming price tag.’ ‘Treatment should be based on the disease and not your wallet,’ said Sen. Darling. ‘The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act makes sure life-saving decisions are between patients and their doctor.’” [WKOW-TV, 9/11/18]

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos: “We Are Giving Patients And Their Doctors The Freedom To Choose The Best Cancer Treatment Without The Burden Of An Overwhelming Price Tag.” “The state Assembly has passed an amended oral chemotherapy bill that would makechemo drugs in pill form more affordable for cancer patients. The measure as amended by the Assembly would place a maximum $100 monthly co-pay for a 30-day supply of chemotherapy bills. The bill passed 75-18 Friday morning and will now head back to Senate before it can be signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker. Assembly speaker Robin Vos released the following statement after the amended bill passed Assembly. ‘I am proud that we found a way to make life-saving medications more affordable and accessible. We are giving patients and their doctors the freedom to choose the best cancer treatment without the burden of an overwhelming price tag.’” [WKOW, 03/20/2014]

Scott Walker Supported The Oral Chemotherapy Bill And Encouraged The Assembly To Pass It

Baraboo News Republic: “Gov. Scott Walker Said He Would Sign A Senate Bill To Require Insurance Companies To Cover OralChemotherapy Drugs.” “Gov. Scott Walker said he would sign a Senate bill to require insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy drugs. ‘I’d sign the bill the Senate passed so I’m hopeful that’s the bill that will pass the Assembly,’ Walker told reporters in Appleton, according to the Appleton Post-Crescent. ‘If it passes the same way it passed the Senate I would sign it into law.’ Walker was in Appleton attending the Governor’s Conference on Emergency Management and Homeland Security at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel. The state Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill Tuesday to help make chemotherapy drugs in pill form more affordable for cancer patients, but the proposal’s future in the Assembly remains murky.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 3/19/14]

Walker Called Bill A “Win All The Way Around”

Walker Told The Crowd Of About 100 That The Bill Was A ‘Win All The Way Around.’” “But on Thursday, Walker told the crowd of about 100 that the bill was a ‘win all the way around.’ The GOP governor was flanked by three of the bill’s key supporters, Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), Rep. Pat Strachota (R-West Bend) and Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). ‘This is what you ask for when you send people to Madison. This is what you ask for when you elect people, to set aside partisan differences and ultimately do, in the end, what’s just right,’ Walker said.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/3/2014]

Walker Called The Legislation “Potentially Life-Saving”

Walker: “It Just Makes Sense That We Make Sure This Vitally Important Treatment Is Affordable For Our Citizens.” “Today, Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 300 into law at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. Under the bill, state-regulated insurers covering intravenous chemotherapy must also cover oral chemotherapy, while limiting patient out-of-pocket co-payment costs to $100 per month. ‘Oral chemotherapy is a potentially life-saving option for some cancer patients,’ Governor Walker said. ‘With all of the uncertainty in health care costs today, it just makes sense that we make sure this vitally important treatment is affordable for our citizens. I thank Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Representative Pat Strachota (R-West Bend) for their work on this legislation, which passed with bipartisan support.’” [Press Release, Office of Governor Scott Walker, 4/3/2014]

Walker: “It Just Makes Sense That We Make Sure This Vitally Important Treatment Is Affordable For Our Citizens”

Walker: “It Just Makes Sense That We Make Sure This Vitally Important Treatment Is Affordable For Our Citizens.” “Today, Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 300 into law at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. Under the bill, state-regulated insurers covering intravenous chemotherapy must also cover oral chemotherapy, while limiting patient out-of-pocket co-payment costs to $100 per month. ‘Oral chemotherapy is a potentially life-saving option for some cancer patients,’ Governor Walker said. ‘With all of the uncertainty in health care costs today, it just makes sense that we make sure this vitally important treatment is affordable for our citizens. I thank Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Representative Pat Strachota (R-West Bend) for their work on this legislation, which passed with bipartisan support.’” [Press Release, Office of Governor Scott Walker, 4/3/2014]

Walker Said The Bill Was An Example Of When Lawmakers “Set Aside Partisan Differences” To Do “What’s Just Right”

Walker: “This Is What You Ask For When You Elect People, To Set Aside Partisan Differences And Ultimately Do, In The End, What’s Just Right.” “’This is what you ask for when you send people to Madison. This is what you ask for when you elect people, to set aside partisan differences and ultimately do, in the end, what’s just right,’ Walker said.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/3/2014]

Baldwin campaign: Leah Vukmir opposes pre-existing condition protections

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RECAP: Leah Vukmir tried to hide that she would vote to gut health care protections for the 2.4 million Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions.

THE TRUTH: Leah Vukmir backs multiple efforts to gut protections for pre-existing conditions and would allow insurance companies to deny Wisconsinites coverage:

  • Leah Vukmir backs a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, including the pre-existing condition protection barring insurance companies from charging more or denying coverage.
  • Leah Vukmir supported the Graham-Cassidy and AHCA repeal plans that would gut pre-existing condition protections and allow insurance companies to price sick people out of their plans.
  • Leah Vukmir supports the “junk plans” that allow insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

BACKGROUND:

Vukmir Backs A Full Repeal Of The Affordable Care Act

Wisconsin State Journal: “Obamacare Barred Insurers From Denying Coverage Or Charging More To People With Pre-Existing Health Conditions.” “Obamacare barred insurers from denying coverage or charging more to people with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or cancer.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 08/27/2018]

Fox 6 Now: “Vukmir Says She’s Still Not Encouraged By The Affordable Care Act – And Wants The Legislation Repealed.” “State Senator Leah Vukmir says she’s still not encouraged by the Affordable Care Act – and wants the legislation repealed. ‘This is very, something that many of us, in the Republican party, have seen for a long time,’ said Vukmir. ‘But now we’re starting, the people are feeling it, and this is the point at which we need to rise-up, talk to the Congressional leaders so that we can get this fixed.’” [Fox 6 Now, WITI, 11/15/2013]

Vukmir Campaigned On Fully Repealing Obamacare. “Leah understands why people are upset with Republicans who promised to repeal Obamacare and didn’t deliver. She supports full repeal of Obamacare. Period. And she won’t stop pushing for full repeal in Congress.” [Leah Vukmir, U.S. Senate Campaign Website, Accessed 09/07/2017]

Wisconsin State Journal: “Vukmir Wants To Repeal Obamacare.” “Vukmir, a nurse practitioner, favors what she calls a ‘free-market’ approach to health care that would deregulate the industry and return more health-care decision-making to states. Vukmir wants to repeal Obamacare and restore much of what it replaced, such as Wisconsin’s high-risk coverage pool for people with pre-existing health conditions.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 08/27/2018]

Vukmir Supported The Graham-Cassidy Repeal Measure And American Health Care Act, Which Rolled Back Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions

Vox: “The New Republican Plan To Repeal Obamacare Would Bring Preexisting Conditions Back To The Individual Market, Allowing Insurers To […] Deny Them Coverage Outright.” “The new Republican plan to repeal Obamacare would bring preexisting conditions back to the individual market, allowing insurers to charge sick people higher premiums — or deny them coverage outright.” [Vox, 09/18/2017]

Wisconsin State Journal: “Vukmir Has Supported Various Obamacare Repeal Proposals Offered By Republicans In Congress.” “Vukmir has supported various Obamacare repeal proposals offered by Republicans in Congress. She said she supported the Graham-Cassidy repeal measure debated in the Senate last year, and praised the American Health Care Act, the repeal bill that passed the U.S. House last year.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 08/27/2018]

Vukmir Supported “Junk Plans” Which Allow Insurance Companies To “Deny Customers Coverage […] If They Have A Pre-Existing Medical Condition”

National Public Radio: “Insurance Companies Can Deny Customers Coverage On These Plans If They Have A Pre-Existing Medical Condition.” “Short-term plans don’t have to meet the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protection and coverage requirements, so many will not cover services such as mental health care or prescription drugs. And insurance companies can deny customers coverage on these plans if they have a pre-existing medical condition and charge people more if they are likely to need medical care.” [National Public Radio, 08/01/2018]

Wisconsin State Journal: “Vukmir Supports Rules […] That Aim To Chip Away At Obamacare By Permitting Certain Types Of Health Plans That Don’t Meet The Law’s Requirements.” “Vukmir supports rules recently issued by the Trump administration that aim to chip away at Obamacare by permitting certain types of health plans that don’t meet the law’s requirements.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 08/27/2018]

Baldwin campaign: Leah Vukmir politicizes veterans’ health care

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RECAP: Despite the repeated calls of Wisconsin veterans and the family of the late U.S. Marine veteran Jason Simcakoski, Leah Vukmir has continued to politicize Jason’s death and lie about Tammy Baldwin’s record of supporting veterans and reforming the VA.

THE TRUTH:

  • The Simcakoski family and Wisconsin veterans have asked Leah Vukmir to stop politicizing veterans.
  • Tammy Baldwin is doing right by our veterans by working across party lines to hold the VA accountable, fight against VA privatization and make sure that veterans have the community support and good paying jobs that they have earned and deserve.

TAMMY’S RECORD:

Jason’s Law: Tammy worked closely with the Simcakoski family, Republicans and Democrats, veterans service organizations and medical professionals, to craft bipartisan legislation named in honor of U.S. Marine Jason Simcakoski to hold the VA accountable and help stop the overprescribing of opioids at the VA.

Jason’s Law is working — by strengthening the VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative, opioid prescribing rates have decreased significantly, dropping 41 percent. New guidelines and training exist for clinicians prescribing opioids at the VA, and there is a greater emphasis on alternatives to medication.

Tammy Baldwin also worked with Senator John McCain to introduce additional bipartisan VA prescribing reforms that build on Jason’s Law to confront the overmedication of veterans and prevent veteran suicides.

Improving Veterans’ Community Care: For veterans facing incredible frustrations and delays while looking for care in their own communities through the VA Choice Program, Tammy Baldwin championed a comprehensive reform to fix the broken VA Choice program, remove burdensome regulations, and put a veteran and their doctor at the center of health care decisions. Tammy also passed legislation ensuring that medical providers fired from the VA can’t treat veterans through the Choice Program.

Holding the VA Accountable: Reaching across the aisle, Tammy pushed to pass bipartisan protections for VA whistleblowers and new rules to allow the VA Secretary to fire bad actors who put our veterans in harm’s way.

BACKGROUND:

The Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act Updated Clinical Prescribing Guidelines, Mandated Training For Doctors, & Streamlined Oversight At The VA

June 2015: Baldwin Introduced The Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act. “Another step was taken to clear up veterans care issues at VA hospitals and clinics yesterday. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin was joined at a press conference by the family of Wisconsin Marine Jason Simcakoski and representatives of veterans groups to introduce the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act. The legislation is a bipartisan VA reform legislation aimed at providing safer and more effective pain management services to our nation’s veterans. Baldwin says the bill takes a common sense approach to address over-prescribing problems at the Veterans Administration. “It provides safer and more effective pain management services to our nation’s veterans. This bipartisan bill will give veterans and their families a stronger voice in their care by strengthening opioid prescribing guidelines and enhancing provider education and training.’” [WSAU, 6/25/2015]

  • Required VA And The Defense Department To Update Their Clinical Practice Guidelines For Opioid Therapy For Pain. “Baldwin’s proposed Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety bill would implement a number of safeguards to protect veterans and improve VA medical care. It would: require VA and the Defense Department to update their clinical practice guidelines for opioid therapy for pain; mandate training for VA doctors who prescribe opioids; and create pain management boards at each VA region that would oversee compliance of pain management practices at each VA facility. According to Baldwin, the legislation is needed to give medical professionals greater guidance for treating veterans with physical pain and mental health conditions and empower patients and family members to manage their care.” [Military Times, 6/16/2015]
  • Mandated Training For VA Doctors Who Prescribe Opioids. “Baldwin’s proposed Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety bill would implement a number of safeguards to protect veterans and improve VA medical care. It would: require VA and the Defense Department to update their clinical practice guidelines for opioid therapy for pain; mandate training for VA doctors who prescribe opioids; and create pain management boards at each VA region that would oversee compliance of pain management practices at each VA facility. According to Baldwin, the legislation is needed to give medical professionals greater guidance for treating veterans with physical pain and mental health conditions and empower patients and family members to manage their care.” [Military Times, 6/16/2015]
  • Created Pain Management Boards At Each VA Region That Would Oversee Compliance Of Pain Management Practices At Each VA Facility. “Baldwin’s proposed Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety bill would implement a number of safeguards to protect veterans and improve VA medical care. It would: require VA and the Defense Department to update their clinical practice guidelines for opioid therapy for pain; mandate training for VA doctors who prescribe opioids; and create pain management boards at each VA region that would oversee compliance of pain management practices at each VA facility. According to Baldwin, the legislation is needed to give medical professionals greater guidance for treating veterans with physical pain and mental health conditions and empower patients and family members to manage their care.” [Military Times, 6/16/2015]
  • Required VA To Develop Plans For Research And Incorporating Alternative Pain Management Therapies Into Treatment. “The bill also would require VA to develop plans for researching and incorporating alternative pain management therapies into treatment. While many VA hospitals and clinics offer alternative therapies like acupuncture, biofeedback, yoga, meditation and art therapy for pain management and behavioral health, programs are inconsistent across VA hospitals, Baldwin said.” [Military Times, 6/16/2015]

Headline: “Senator To VA: End Mindless Narcotics Prescriptions Now.” [Military Times, 6/16/2015]

Jason’s Law Was Signed Into Law As Part Of A Larger Opioid Bill

July 2016: President Obama Signed Into Law Bipartisan VA Reforms In The Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act. “A massive legislative package many lawmakers say will help curb the nation’s opioid epidemic, including Veteran’s Affairs reforms honoring Stevens Point Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski, is headed to President Barack Obama’s desk. […] Both Baldwin’s bill and Rep. Ron Kind’s Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act are included in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA, made up of 12 total bills.” [WSAW, 7/13/2016]

  • Baldwin’s Reforms Were Included As Part Of The Comprehensive Addiction And Recovery Act (CARA). “A massive legislative package many lawmakers say will help curb the nation’s opioid epidemic, including Veteran’s Affairs reforms honoring Stevens Point Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski, is headed to President Barack Obama’s desk. […] Both Baldwin’s bill and Rep. Ron Kind’s Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act are included in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA, made up of 12 total bills.” [WSAW, 7/13/2016]
  • Opioid Prescribing Rates At The VA Have Decreased 41% Since 2012. “WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs began posting publicly for the first time Thursday the opiate prescribing rates at VA medical centers across the country. They range from a low of 3 % percent of prescriptions issued at VA hospitals in Cleveland and San Juan, Puerto Rico, to a high of 20% at the VA in Roseburg, Ore. “Many Veterans enrolled in the VA health-care system suffer from high rates of chronic pain and the prescribing of opioids may be necessary medically,” VA Secretary David Shulkin said in a statement. “And while VA offers other pain-management options to reduce the need for opioids, it is important that we are transparent on how we prescribe opioids, so veterans and the public can see what we are doing in our facilities and the progress we have made over time.” The data show that nearly every VA decreased its opioid prescription rates since 2012. The VA said that agency-wide, the overall rate has dropped 41% percent.” [USA Today, 1/11/2018]

The Simcakoski Family Have Called For Leah Vukmir To Stop Politicizing The Death Of Jason And Making False Attacks Against Tammy Baldwin

Journal Sentinel: Linda And Marv Simcakoski “Called On Others To Stop Politicizing Their Son’s Death.” “The parents and widow of a U.S. Marine veteran who died at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center are appearing in television ads released Thursday to support Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin. […] In an ad, Linda and Marv Simcakoski recount their son’s story — he was a platoon leader who suffered a head injury — and called on others to stop politicizing their son’s death.” [Journal Sentinel, 09/27/2018]

  • Journal Sentinel: “Marv Simcakoski Said: ‘When I See These Ads Attacking Senator Baldwin, I Just Want To Say “Stop.”’” “The parents and widow of a U.S. Marine veteran who died at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center are appearing in television ads released Thursday to support Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin. […] Marv Simcakoski said: ‘When I see these ads attacking Senator Baldwin, I just want to say “Stop.” ‘This isn’t politics,’ Linda Simcakoski said. ‘We’re trying to help the veterans, and that is what Tammy Baldwin is doing. She’s just a good person.’” [Journal Sentinel, 09/27/2018]

Associated Press: Jason Simcakoski’s Parents “Call For Attacks Against Baldwin On Tomah To Stop.” “The parents and widow of a Marine veteran who died at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center appear in a pair of television ads that debuted Thursday praising Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and calling attacks against her ‘shameful.’ […] Simcakoski’s parents are in one new Baldwin ad and his widow is in another . In both, they praise Baldwin for working with them to enact a law that toughened opioid prescription guidelines. They also call for attacks against Baldwin on Tomah to stop.” [Associated Press, 09/27/2018]

The Cap Times: “Linda Simcakoski Describes Baldwin As A ‘Good Person’ And Says She Wants The Ads Attacking Her Record On Veterans To Stop.” “On Thursday, Baldwin’s campaign released two ads featuring the parents and widow of Jason Simcakoski, a Marine veteran who died of an overdose at the Tomah VA in 2014. In one ad, Simcakoski’s parents, Marv and Linda, remember their son’s time in the Marines and talk about the injury for which he’d sought treatment at the VA. ‘They gave him way too much meds. When I confronted the doctor, she told me that I may know how to pound nails and build houses, but I don’t know anything about taking care of my son,’ Marv Simcakoski says in the ad. Linda Simcakoski describes Baldwin as a ‘good person’ and says she wants the ads attacking her record on veterans to stop.” [The Cap Times, 09/27/2018]

  • Heather Simcakoski: “When I See These Attack Ads Against Tammy Baldwin, Using Jason’s Death, I Think It’s Shameful.” “In a second ad, Simcakoski’s widow, Heather, talks about meeting her husband in the Marine Corps, and how he changed after being prescribed a cocktail of narcotics at Tomah. ‘I believe that you love somebody like that one time. And I felt like that was taken from me. No other family should ever have to go through what we went through,’ Heather Simcakoski says in the ad. Heather Simcakoski says her family has worked with Baldwin to pass legislation in Jason’s honor that requires VA employees prescribing opioids to be better trained and to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines. ‘When I see these attack ads against Tammy Baldwin, using Jason’s death, I think it’s shameful,’ she says.” [The Cap Times, 09/27/2018]

Baldwin Partnered With John McCain On Legislation To Confront Rates Of Veteran Suicide

Baldwin Partnered With John McCain On Legislation To Confront Rates Of Veteran Suicide. “Baldwin didn’t want to weigh in on the controversy, but noted that she and McCain have partnered on three major bills, including one to reduce prescription drug prices and another ‘to confront the high rate of veteran suicides, focusing on the intersection with the opioid epidemic. I sometimes agree and sometimes disagree with John McCain but I feel that he has been such a fierce and independent member of the United States Senate and where I have had an opportunity to partner with him on important efforts, it has been a joy to work with him,’ Baldwin told the Los Angeles Blade on her way to the airport.” [Los Angeles Blade, 05/16/2018]

Baldwin Continues To Fight To Protect The VA From Privatization

Baldwin Opposed Special Interests Who Wanted To Privatize The VA. “Without naming Illinois resident Richard Uihlein, a big backer of Nicholson’s, or the political network controlled by the Koch brothers, Baldwin said the out-of-stoate billionaires ‘want someone to do their bidding in Washington.’ ‘Whether it’s taking people’s health care away, privatizing the VA, gutting Social Security and Medicare, or gifting even more tax breaks to the wealthy and well-connected,’ she said. ‘That’s why out-of-state special interests have made me their top target,’ she added.” [Journal Sentinel, 06/01/2018]

Baldwin Focused On Ensuring VA System Is “Strong And Accountable.” “In April of 2017, Trump signed a measure reauthorizing the Veterans Choice Program that allows former service members to get health care through private companies instead of traveling to a VA clinic. It’s a move Baldwin said she supported, adding that the system should be kept ‘strong and accountable.’ But she stopped short of endorsing further privatization. ‘We’ve had a lot of veterans call in complaining about scheduling appointments in the private sector that the VA reimburses for and uncertainty about emergency room reimbursements, whether they’ll be covered by the VA.’ Baldwin said services like that are important, especially in rural states. ‘I do think those are things that need to be worked out, but I do think veterans should have choices.’” [Wisconsin Public Radio, 03/29/2018]

Baldwin Helped Introduce The Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act Designed To Strengthen Opioid Safety In The VA Choice Program

WXOW: Senator Baldwin Helped Introduce The Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act Designed To Strengthen Opioid Safety In The VA Choice Program. New legislation today from Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. It’s designed to strengthen opioid safety in the VA Choice Program. It addresses an issue not specific in earlier legislation known as “Jason’s Law.” That law is named for Jason Simcakowski, a Marine veteran from Stevens Point. In August 2014, Simcakowski died from what was described as mixed drug toxicity while he was receiving care at the Tomah V.A. Medical Center. Jason’s Law strengthened opioid prescribing guidelines at the V.A. According to a release from Senator Baldwin’s office, it also provided stronger oversight and accountability. And, it provided safer and more effective pain management services for vets. It became law last July. Specifically, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: “Direct VA to provide critical health information. . . including the latest opioid safety guidelines immediately to a non-VA provider when a veteran accesses services through a community care program. . .” [WXOW, 11/15/2017]

  • The Bill Would “Direct VA To Provide Critical Health Information. . . Including The Latest Opioid Safety Guidelines Immediately To A Non-VA Provider When A Veteran Accesses Services Through A Community Care Program.” “Specifically, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: ‘Direct VA to provide critical health information. . . including the latest opioid safety guidelines immediately to a non-VA provider when a veteran accesses services through a community care program. . .’” [WXOW, 11/15/2017]
  • The Bill Would “Require Non-VA Community Care Providers To Review The Updated VA/Dod Safe Opioid Prescribing Guidelines And Opioid Safety Initiative Protocols Prior To Delivering Care To A Veteran.” “Specifically, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: […] ‘Require non-VA community care providers to review the updated VA/DOD safe opioid prescribing guidelines and Opioid Safety Initiative protocols prior to delivering care to a veteran.’” [WXOW, 11/15/2017]
  • The Bill Would “Direct Non-Va Community Care Providers To Submit Opioid Medications They Prescribe To A Veteran To A Va Pharmacy For Dispensing.” “Specifically, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: […] ‘Direct non-VA community care providers to submit opioid medications they prescribe to a veteran to a VA pharmacy for dispensing and to ensure it is included in the VA database and the patient’s medical record for tracking.’” [WXOW, 11/15/2017]
  • The Bill Would “Ensure That Any Veteran With An Immediate Medical Need Or Who Is Unable To Obtain The Prescription At A VA Pharmacy Due To Travel Distances Or Undue Hardship May Access It At Another Pharmacy.” “Specifically, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: […] ‘Ensure that any veteran with an immediate medical need or who is unable to obtain the prescription at a VA pharmacy due to travel distances or undue hardship may access it at another pharmacy, and directs their community care provider to notify and provide information on the prescription to VA.’” [WXOW, 11/15/2017]
  • The Bill Would “Hold VA Accountable By Requiring Compliance Reports To Congress And Ensures That VA Can Take Action To Protect Veterans If A Non-VA Community Care Provider Is Not Delivering Safe Or Appropriate Care.” “Specifically, the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act would: […] ‘Hold VA accountable by requiring compliance reports to Congress and ensures that VA can take action to protect veterans if a non-VA community care provider is not delivering safe or appropriate care.’” [WXOW, 11/15/2017]

Baldwin Cosponsored A Bipartisan Bill Aimed At Improving Accountability Within The Department Of Veterans Affairs, To Protect Whistleblowers, And Make It Easier To Fire Bad Employees

Baldwin Cosponsored A Bipartisan Bill Aimed At Improving Accountability Within The Department Of Veterans Affairs. “A bipartisan bloc of senators today rolled out new legislation to speed the disciplining of poor performing employees at the Veterans Affairs Department. The draft legislation would permit the VA secretary to remove, suspend or reprimand a senior executive with a 21-day internal grievance process. And it would allow the secretary to discipline non-senior executives with a 180-day window to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board. The bill would also permit the VA secretary to recoup bonuses and relocation reimbursements as well as authorize the reduction of senior executives’ pensions if employees were convicted of felonies related to their VA work. And the bill would establish an Office of Whistleblower Protection for employees to report problems and require supervisors to undergo periodic training on whistleblower rights and give the VA secretary direct hiring authority for directors of medical centers and veterans integrated service networks. The measure was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and co-sponsored by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and ranking Democrat Jon Tester of Montana as well as Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).” [Politico, 5/11/2017]

Politico: “The New Proposal Could Mean A Breakthrough In Attempts To Beef Up VA Accountability,” and “make it easier to fire” poor performing VA employees. “The new proposal could mean a breakthrough in attempts to beef up VA accountability, which the House and Senate have thus far been unable to agree on. In March, the House passed legislation that would make it easier to fire or demote poor performing VA employees, but the bill is unlikely to win enough Democratic support to pass the Senate.” [Politico, 5/11/2017]

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Senate Passed A Bipartisan Measure To Protect Whistleblowers And Reform Civil Service Protections To Make It Easier To Hold Employees Accountable At The Department Of Veterans Affairs.” “In a voice vote Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan measure to protect whistleblowers and reform civil service protections to make it easier to hold employees accountable at the Department of Veterans Affairs. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Madison, was among 31 co-sponsors of the bill that was authored by Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida and Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Democrat Jon Tester of Montana.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/6/2017]

  • Headline: “U.S. Senate Passes Bipartisan Reform Measure Co-Sponsored By Tammy Baldwin.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/6/2017]

Baldwin Introduced Legislation To Prevent Previously Fired Or Suspended VA Doctors From Treating Veterans Again

Baldwin Introduced The Veterans Acquiring Community Care Expect Safe Services (ACCESS) Act Of 2017. [Congress.gov, S. 1153, Accessed 6/25/2018]

VA ACCESS Act (S.1153) Allowed VA To Deny Or Revoke Eligibility Of Certain Non-Department Health Care Providers To Provide Health Care Services To Veterans. “SEC. 2. PREVENTION OF CERTAIN HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS FROM PROVIDING NON-DEPARTMENT HEALTH CARE SERVICES TO VETERANS. (a) In General.—On and after the date that is one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall deny or revoke the eligibility of a health care provider to provide non-Department health care services to veterans if the Secretary determines that the health care provider— (1) was removed from employment with the Department of Veterans Affairs due to conduct that violated a policy of the Department relating to the delivery of safe and appropriate health care; (2) violated the requirements of a medical license of the health care provider; (3) had a Department credential revoked and the grounds for such revocation impacts the ability of the health care provider to deliver safe and appropriate health care; or (4) violated a law for which a term of imprisonment of more than one year may be imposed.” [Congress.gov, S.1153, Accessed 10/03/2018]

  • GovTrack: Veterans Acquiring Community Care Expect Safe Services (ACCESS) Act Of 2017 (S.1153) Was Incorporated Into The VA Mission Act (S.2372). [Govtrack, S.1153, Accessed 10/03/2018]
  • VA Mission Act Included Provision To Allow VA To Deny Or Revoke Eligibility Of Certain Non-Department Health Care Providers To Provide Health Care Services To Veterans. “SEC. 108. PREVENTION OF CERTAIN HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS FROM PROVIDING NON-DEPARTMENT HEALTH CARE SERVICES TO VETERANS. (a) In General.—On and after the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall deny or revoke the eligibility of a health care provider to provide non-Department health care services to veterans if the Secretary determines that the health care provider—(1) was removed from employment with the Department of Veterans Affairs due to conduct that violated a policy of the Department relating to the delivery of safe and appropriate health care; or (2) violated the requirements of a medical license of the health care provider that resulted in the loss of such medical license. (b) Permissive Action.—On and after the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary may deny, revoke, or suspend the eligibility of a health care provider to provide non-Department health care services if the Secretary determines such action is necessary to immediately protect the health, safety, or welfare of veterans and the health care provider is under investigation by the medical licensing board of a State in which the health care provider is licensed or practices.” [Congress.gov, S.2372, Accessed 10/03/2018]
  • VA Mission Act of 2018 Was Signed Into Law On June 6, 2018. [Congress.gov, S. 2372, Accessed 6/25/2018]

Senator Moran Joined Baldwin In Introducing The Veterans ACCESS Act

Baldwin Introduced The Veterans Acquiring Community Care Expect Safe Services (ACCESS) Act Of 2017. [Congress.gov, S. 1153, Accessed 6/25/2018]

  • Jerry Moran Was An Original Cosponsor Of The Veterans Acquiring Community Care Expect Safe Services (ACCESS) Act Of 2017. [Congress.gov, S. 1153, Accessed 6/25/2018]

Tammy Also Worked With Republicans And Democrats To Pass Legislation That Cuts The VA’s Unacceptable Appeals Backlog And Helps Our Veterans Get Back To Living Their Lives

Baldwin Cosponsored The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (S.1024). [Congress.gov, S.1024, Accessed, 10/03/2018]

The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (S.1024) Reformed The Department Of Veterans Affairs Disability Claims Appeals Process. “This bill revises the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims appeals system. The bill permits a veteran to appeal within one year by: (1) requesting a review of the agency of original jurisdiction’s (AOJ) decision by a higher-level adjudicator within AOJ using the same evidentiary record; (2) filing a supplemental claim with a regional office that includes the opportunity to submit additional evidence and have a hearing; or (3) appealing directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, with the opportunity to select an expedited review to submit new evidence but without a hearing, or to select a review with the option to submit new evidence and request a hearing.” [Congress.gov, S.1024, Accessed, 10/03/2018]

The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (S.1024) Was Passed Into Law As Through An Identical House Measure (H.R.2288). [GovTrack, S.1024, Accessed 10/03/2018]

The VA Appeals Improvement And Modernization Act Of 2017 “Aimed At Transforming A Complex, Frustrating Appeals Process Into One That Is Simple, Timely And Transparent.” “The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (Appeals Modernization Act) was signed Aug. 23, 2017, aimed at transforming a complex, frustrating appeals process into one that is simple, timely and transparent. VA states that is working toward full implementation of the law, scheduled to take effect in February 2019. The new system features three differentiated lanes from which a claimant may choose in seeking review of a VA denial (or partial denial).” [Military Times, 9/3/2018]

Baldwin Helped Prevent A 2017 Funding Cut For Homeless Veterans Programs In Wisconsin

Baldwin Helped Prevent A 2017 Funding Cut For Homeless Veterans Programs In Wisconsin. “Democrats and Republicans alike have asked that the funding be restored. “However well-intentioned the changes to the (homeless veterans grant system) are, the fact remains that the loss of funding puts veterans in Wisconsin at risk,” U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin wrote in a recent letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin. Zimmerman last month announced he is expanding a separate program from 49 to 65 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties to help address the situation. That program uses case workers to connect veterans with housing, medical care and other needs. On Friday night, the VA announced it would give Wisconsin’s programs and others that lost funding a one-year extension. “The extension will give those organizations a chance to improve the effectiveness of their programs and an opportunity to apply for funding under an upcoming ‘notice of funding,'” a news release from the VA said.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/5/2017]

Wisconsin Public Radio: Kathy Hartke “Characterized Vukmir’s Criticism Of Baldwin As An Effort To Politicize Soldiers’ Deaths.” “Baldwin supporter, doctor and U.S. Air Force veteran Kathy Hartke, also characterized Vukmir’s criticism of Baldwin as an effort to politicize soldiers’ deaths, calling into question Vukmir’s voting record.” [Wisconsin Public Radio, 09/14/2018]

Baldwin campaign: Leah Vukmir Pushes To Go Backwards on Health Care

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RECAP: Leah Vukmir defended her support to take Wisconsin back to the days when insurance companies wrote the rules by leaning on a partisan, Koch-backed study deriding plans to cover all Wisconsinites.

THE TRUTH: Tammy Baldwin believes we need new ideas on the table to lower costs and expand coverage. That’s why Tammy has championed multiple health care reforms to move us forward, including:
Supporting letting people over 55 buy into Medicare, which would give millions of older Americans an option to purchase a cheaper plan, help reduce costs, and increase competition.

Taking on big pharma by cracking down on drug corporations that jack up the price of prescriptions.

Fighting to allow Medicare to negotiate better prices on prescriptions for seniors, which Washington currently prohibits.

BACKGROUND:

Tammy Baldwin Is Uniquely Situated To Talk About The Health Care Debate: She Endured A Three-Month Hospital Stay When She Was 9 Years Old And Has Been Labeled With A Preexisting Condition Ever Since Baldwin Took Up Health Care As A Signature Issue In 2018 Campaign. “But on her own terms, she is taking up health care as a signature issue, on the backs of Republicans’ failed attempts to repeal Obamacare and the Trump administration’s undermining of the law. […] ‘Her signature issue right now is health care. Every alternative that the Republicans are offering activates progressives, and the independents are like, ‘I’m not sure about this one, gang,’’ Ross said. ‘I think that is a feather in Sen. Baldwin’s cap.’” [Vox, 03/15/2018]

Baldwin “Introduced A Bill To Block Proposed Regulations That Would Undercut The Law’s Protections.” “Baldwin is uniquely situated to talk about the health care debate: She endured a three-month hospital stay when she was 9 years old and has been labeled with a preexisting condition ever since. With the Trump administration waging a quiet campaign to bring back preexisting conditions — even though the ACA’s effort to eliminate such discrimination is one of its most popular achievements — she has introduced a bill to block proposed regulations that would undercut the law’s protections. Baldwin also endorsed Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all plan and various other Democratic proposals to expand Medicare and Medicaid. ‘There are so many parents or foster parents or grandparents who either worry about financial ruin if they get a sick child what they need or they worry: ‘Can we hold off, can we hold off?’’ she told me recently. ‘The administration isn’t looking at the whole picture and is being disingenuous because they’re smart enough to look at the whole picture.’” [Vox, 03/15/2018]

Baldwin Worked With Republicans To Require Price Transparency From Pharmaceutical Companies, And Lower Drug Prices
Baldwin Worked With the Late John McCain To Require Price Transparency From Pharmaceutical Companies. “I think about the example that I just gave you about the high cost of prescription drugs. I hear so many stories from constituents about life-saving or life-extending drugs that are out of reach for them or things like the EpiPen for allergic reactions or insulin going up in price so drastically. Why is that the case? Because nobody has really clamped down on them. They’ve been focused on their own profits, whether it’s in the tax bill or by other means. They know that I’ve joined forces with Arizona Sen. John McCain to rein them in and require that they be transparent. They don’t like it so they’re attacking me.” [Shepherd Express, 05/22/2018]

Baldwin Partnered With the Late John McCain On Legislation To Lower Prescription Drug Prices. “Baldwin didn’t want to weigh in on the controversy, but noted that she and McCain have partnered on three major bills, including one to reduce prescription drug prices and another ‘to confront the high rate of veteran suicides, focusing on the intersection with the opioid epidemic. ‘I sometimes agree and sometimes disagree with John McCain but I feel that he has been such a fierce and independent member of the United States Senate and where I have had an opportunity to partner with him on important efforts, it has been a joy to work with him,’ Baldwin told the Los Angeles Blade on her way to the airport.” [Los Angeles Blade, 05/16/2018]

Baldwin Introduced The Improving Access To Affordable Prescription Drugs Act. “It is morally wrong that in the richest country in the world, at the richest point in our history, millions of Americans don’t take the medicines their doctors prescribe because they can’t afford them. Americans are facing a drug affordability crisis. Even among those with health insurance coverage, nearly one-third struggle to meet out-of-pocket costs, including the skyrocketing costs of critical and lifesaving prescription drugs. This is why it is so important that, today, the ‘Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act,’ was introduced by Senators Al Franken (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-VT.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Udall (D-N. Mex.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).” [Huffington Post, Alex Lawson and Stephanie Connolly, 3/29/2017]

Baldwin Introduced Legislation To Allow People Between The Ages Of 55 And 64 To Buy Medicare. “A group of Senate Democrats today introduced a bill to allow near retirees to buy into Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors. People between the ages of 55 and 64 could buy into the program and receive the same benefits as traditional enrollees under the measure sponsored by Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. ‘People between the ages of 55 and 64 often have more health problems and face higher health care costs but aren’t yet eligible for Medicare,’ Stabenow said in a statement. ‘Our legislation is one way we can work together on a bipartisan basis to lower health care and prescription drug costs.’ The bill follows similar proposals from Democrats to expand access to Medicare. Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign proposed a more expansive plan that would allow Americans 50 and older to buy into the program.” [Politico Pro, 8/3/2017]

Baldwin Championed The Provision In The ACA That Allows Young Adults To Stay On Their Parents’ Insurance Plans Until They Are 26 Years Old

Baldwin Cosponsored ACA Amendment Enabling Children To Stay On Parents’ Health Insurance Until Age 26. “Her grandparents almost lost their appeal to have their insurance cover her hospital stay. Later, when her grandparents tried to get her an insurance policy of her own, a pre-existing condition slowed the process, she added. ‘I grew up thinking, no foster parent or grandparent should have to go through this,’ she said. Baldwin said she cosponsored an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that allows children to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.” [Barron News-Shield, 02/21/2018]

2017: Baldwin Co-Sponsored A Bill “That Would Allow Medicare To Negotiate Lower Drug Prices And Allow U.S. Pharmacies To Import Cheaper Drugs From Canada.”

Wisconsin State Journal: “Baldwin Has Advocated Measures Aimed At Curbing The Cost Of Prescription Drugs.” “In the Senate, Baldwin has advocated measures aimed at curbing the cost of prescription drugs. She co-sponsored a Democratic bill last year that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and allow U.S. pharmacies to import cheaper drugs from Canada. Another bill Baldwin co-sponsored with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., aims to curb drug price spikes. Introduced in 2016 in response to an uproar over EpiPen prices, it would force drug makers to tell the federal government why any price increase of more than 10 percent is justified at least a month before the increase.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 08/27/2018]

2017: Baldwin Co-Sponsored A Bill “That Would Allow Medicare To Negotiate Lower Drug Prices And Allow U.S. Pharmacies To Import Cheaper Drugs From Canada.” “In the Senate, Baldwin has advocated measures aimed at curbing the cost of prescription drugs. She co-sponsored a Democratic bill last year that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and allow U.S. pharmacies to import cheaper drugs from Canada. Another bill Baldwin co-sponsored with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., aims to curb drug price spikes.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 08/27/2018]

Baldwin campaign: Leah Vukmir to deliver desperate performance at final debate

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Contact: [email protected]

Every day leading up to debate, Wisconsinites heard about Leah Vukmir’s pledge to cast the deciding vote
to gut pre-existing condition protections

MILWAUKEE – In the week since the last debate, Leah Vukmir’s campaign has only grown more desperate as she remains down in the polls and has doubled-down on her pledge to cast the deciding vote to repeal health care and gut pre-existing condition protections.

“Leah Vukmir is down double-digits because Wisconsinites want someone who will work for them, not big insurance companies,” said campaign spokesman Bill Neidhardt. “We already know that Leah Vukmir will get desperate up on the debate stage and say anything to distract from her record, but voters take her at her word when she says she’ll cast the deciding vote to gut pre-existing condition protections.” 

Every day of this week leading up to the final debate, Wisconsin voters heard about Leah Vukmir’s pledge to cast the deciding repeal vote:

MONDAY: A new microsite, TheDeciding.Vote, was launched by the Tammy Baldwin for Senate campaign to highlight Leah Vukmir’s pledge to cast the deciding vote to gut pre-existing condition protections.

TUESDAY: On WTMJ Milwaukee’s Steve Scaffidi ShowLeah Vukmir said: “I’m gonna fight like heck to beat Tammy Baldwin, so I can be that extra voice in the Senate. So, when a proposal does get passed over from the House it doesn’t fall short in the Senate like it did.”

WEDNESDAY: Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters what would happen if Leah Vukmir won the election, saying “If we had the votes to completely start over, we’d do it. But that depends on what happens in a couple weeks…”

THURSDAY: New, never-before-seen video footage showed Leah Vukmirtelling a Republican audience, “We’re going to be the reinforcement that’s needed in the United States Senate so that Vice President Pence doesn’t have to be that tiebreaker.”

TONIGHT: Watch the debate to see Leah Vukmir tell Wisconsinites she’ll proudly vote to take their health care away, increase premiums and gut pre-existing condition protections.

Baldwin campaign: Leah Vukmir’s false attacks on Tammy Baldwin’s push to keep families together

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RECAP: When pressed on her support of the Trump Administration’s family separation policy, Leah Vukmir tried to point fingers and misled voters on Tammy Baldwin’s record of supporting comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens our borders while keeping families together.

THE TRUTH: In an interview this summer, Leah Vukmir supported the Trump administration family separation policy, saying “There is a process that has to be upheld.”
Tammy Baldwin has consistently spoken out against family separation — a policy that did not exist in the Obama White House — and has urged both Democratic and Republican administrations to act on comprehensive immigration reform and keep families together.

  • In 2014, Baldwin said it was “critical” that migrant children were “treated humanely”, raised concerns over the migrant children “crisis” at the southern border, and voted for increased funding to humanely address the problem.
  • In 2015, Baldwin twice urged DHS to end the presumptive detention of families and questioned Obama administration officials on the surge of immigrant minors.
  • In 2016, Baldwin called for the release of detained mothers and children seeking asylum from Central America’s Northern Triangle, called to fully fund the program that ensures children are released to family members, and called for an end to deportation raids that targeted families, unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America.

BACKGROUND:

Leah Vukmir Supported The Trump Administration Family Separation Policy

Vukmir: “People Are Taking Advantage Of Our Generosity In This Country […] There Is A Process That Has To Be Upheld” “Obviously, and I’m going to have to watch that very closely, but people are taking advantage of our generosity in this country. I believe we are a nation of laws. We have to stand up and uphold those laws. As I said, I’m a daughter of Greek immigrants. I watched my family come over to this country. My father came here. My aunts and uncles and I would sit around the table helping them study for their naturalization and citizenship test. There is a process that has to be upheld.” [UpFront with Mike Gousha, WISN Millwaukee TV, 06/10/2018]

2014: Baldwin Said It Was “Critical” That Migrant Children Were “Treated Humanely”

Baldwin: “It Is Critical That We Respond Both To Aggressively Stem The Flow Of Migrants And Ensure Those Children Already Here Are Treated Humanely.” “Sen. Tammy Baldwin: D-Madison: ‘It is critical that we respond both to aggressively stem the flow of migrants and ensure those children already here are treated humanely. We need to provide the resources necessary to respond to this crisis by strengthening enforcement of our laws, increasing our capacity to evaluate these childrens’ cases promptly, and appropriately caring for them while judges determine whether they can remain in the U.S. consistent with our laws. One year ago, the Senate found common ground on comprehensive immigration reform and passed legislation that earned broad bipartisan support. I believe immigration reform will bolster security at our borders, strengthen businesses, boost our economy, and keep more Wisconsin families together.” [Beloit Daily News, 11/13/2014]

2014: Baldwin Voted For Increased Funding To Ease Migrant Children Crisis At Southern Border

2014: Baldwin Voted For Increased Funding To Ease Migrant Crisis At Southern Border. “Funds To Ease Border Crisis: Voting 50 for and 44 against, the Senate on July 31 failed to reach the 60 votes needed to advance a bill (S 2648) providing emergency appropriations to help agencies deal with tens of thousands of unaccompanied child immigrants from Central America who have illegally entered the U.S. The bill would appropriate $2.7 billion, mainly for border security and resources to care for the children while immigration judges determine whether they qualify for asylum or refugee status or face deportation. In addition, the bill provides $615 million for fighting wildfires in eight western states and $225 million to bolster Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system. A yes vote supported the bill despite GOP arguments that the spending should be offset by increased revenue or cuts elsewhere rather than added to federal debt. Voting yes: Baldwin. Voting no: Johnson.” [“How they voted,” Oshkosh Northwestern, 08/25/2014]

2015: In Letter To Homeland Security Secretary Johnson, Baldwin Joined Senators In Calling To “End The Practice Of Presumptive Detention Of Families And Return To The Policy Of Utilizing Detention Only As A Last Resort.”

2015: Baldwin Joined Senators In Calling On The Deparment Of Homeland Security To “End The Practice Of Presumptive Detention Of Families And Return To The Policy Of Utilizing Detention Only As A Last Resort.” “We appreciate all that you have done to improve conditions at family detention facilities, however we do not believe there is any system of mass family detention that will work or is consistent with our moral values and historic commitment to provide safe and humane refuge to those fleeing persecution. We urge you to end the practice of presumptive detention of families and return to the policy of utilizing detention only as a last resort, when there is a serious public safety or flight risk that cannot be mitigated by alternatives to detention.” [Letter from Senators to The Honorable Jeh Johnson, 6/1/2015]

2015: Baldwin Question Obama Administration Officials On Immigrant Minor Surge

Baldwin Questioned Immigration And Customs Enforcement Official On Child Immigration Surge. BALDWIN: “Thank you Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you and ranking member Carper for holding this hearing, and thank our witnesses for your insight and time. When we held a hearing about a year ago, I was very interested in the discussions that the committee and the witness panel had about root causes of the surge that we experienced in 2014. And it was clear to me that violence and instability in a number of Central American countries were key factors that pushed children to make a very perilous journey to our border. It’s critical that we continue to understand the causes so that we can ensure that we don’t see another surge as we did last year.” [CSPAN, 07/05/2015] (VIDEO)

  • Baldwin Questioned U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services Official On Training Requirements For Child Asylum Cases. BALDWIN: “Mr. Langlois, you did a great job of sort of outlining the two tracks of asylum proceedings, adversarial and non-adversarial, as a result of Congress’ passing the TVPRA in 2008. You talked quite a bit about some of the training required to conduct child-appropriate interviews, to make sure that asylum officers get that type of specialized knowledge both in asylum cases, and dealing with children. I wonder if you could talk a little bit more in detail about the training, was that initiated in 2009, or was that in response to last year’s surge, or both.” [CSPAN, 07/05/2015] (VIDEO)
  • Baldwin Questioned U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services Official On Resources Available To Immigrant Minors. BALDWIN: “And in terms of the resources available to minors who go through your non-adversarial process, tell me about the translation services that are available to minors, and also it’s nonadversarial, but do minors get legal assistance in negotiating that process?” [CSPAN, 07/05/2015] (VIDEO)

2016: In Letter To Homeland Security Secretary Johnson, Baldwin Joined Senators In Calling For The Release Of Detained Mothers And Children Seeking Asylum From Central America’s Northern Triangle

2016: In Letter To Homeland Security Secretary Johnson, Baldwin Joined Other Senators In Calling For The Release Of Detained Mothers And Children Seeking Asylum From Central America’s Northern Triangle. “The ongoing use of family detention is wrong. The prolonged detention of the mothers and children in Berks is taking a significant toll on their mental and physical wellbeing. We urge you to review these cases immediately and use your authority to release these children with their mothers unless there is compelling evidence that they pose a specific safety or flight risk that cannot be mitigated through alternatives to detention.” [Letter from Senators to The Honorable Jeh Johnson, 9/27/2016]

  • “We Write To Reiterate Our Strong Belief That The Policy Of Family Detention Is Wrong And Should Be Ended Immediately.” “We write to reiterate our strong belief that the policy of family detention is wrong and should be ended immediately. Although we were encouraged to hear your announcement in August tha the average length of detention for asylum-seeking mothers and children from Central America’s Norhtern Triangle has been reduced to 20 days or less, the ongoing use of family detention remains unacceptable.” [Letter from Senators to The Honorable Jeh Johnson, 9/27/2016]

2016: In Letter To The Senate Appropriations Committee, Baldwin Joined Senators In Urging The Committee To Fully Fund The Office Of Refugee Resettlement, To Ensure That While Children “Await Their Immigration Court Hearings, They Are Released To Family Members”

2016: Baldwin Joined Senators In Urging The Senate Appropriations Committee To Fully Fund the Office Of Refugee Resettlement. “We write to strongly urge you to fund the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORJR.) at the administration’s requested level of $3.8 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. ORR provides critical support to local communities that serve refugees, unaccompanied children, torture and trafficking survivors.” [Letter by Senators to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairmen, 12/5/2016]

  • The Letter Called For “Ensuring That, While They [Children] Await Their Immigration Court Hearings, They Are Released To Family Members And Receive Post-Release Services That Ensure Their Safety And Wellbeing.” “In addition, unaccompanied children from Central America are seeking safety in significant and rising numbers due to continued violence and danger in their home countries perpetrated by gangs, narco-traffickers^ human traffickers and other criminal groups. These children face unprecedented violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, which are among the top five most violent countries in the world and have some of the highest rates of female homicides globally. It is critical that these children are allowed to seek asylum in the United States. This includes ensuring that, while they await their immigration court hearings, they are released to family members and receive post-release services that ensure their safety and wellbemg. An increase in ORR funding is important to ensure that shortcuts are not taken that would place children in danger.” [Letter by Senators to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairmen, 12/5/2016]

2016: In Letter To President Obama, Baldwin Joined 22 Senators And Called For An End To Deportation Raids Targeting Families And Unaccompanied Minors Fleeing Violence In Central America

2016: In Letter To President Obama, Baldwin Joined 22 Senators And Called For An End To Deportation Raids On Families And Unaccompanied Minors Fleeing Violence In Central America. “Senators Edward J. Markey joined his colleagues Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and 22 Senate Democrats in calling for an end to deportation raids targeting families and unaccompanied minors who have fled the rampant violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle. In a letter to President Obama, the senators also urged the Administration to designate Guatemala and re-designate El Salvador and Honduras for temporary protected status, allowing individuals from those countries to legally remain in the United States. ‘The solution to this regional humanitarian crisis is to address its root causes. Deploying immigration raids upon this vulnerable population for the purpose of deterrence is an ineffective and unacceptable strategy,’ the senators wrote.’Immigration raids create fear and insecurity among immigrant communities in the United States. They will deter students from attending school and parents from seeking medical care, but they will not deter terrified mothers and children from fleeing life-threatening violence in their homelands.’ Senators Markey, Durbin and Leahy were joined by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Christopher Murphy (D-CT) Tom Udall (D-NM), Al Franken (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Ron Wyden (OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), Martin Heinrich (D-NM),Brian Schatz (HI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).” [Ed Markey: United States Senator for Massachusetts, Press Release, 06/09/2016]

Baldwin campaign: Leah Vukmir’s tax record puts big corporations ahead of hardworking families

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RECAP: While Tammy Baldwin affirmed her support for tax cuts for middle class Wisconsin families, Leah Vukmir continued to embrace a tax law that rewards those at the top — and put Wisconsinites’ health care and retirement at risk.

THE TRUTH:

  • Leah Vukmir supports the national Republican tax law that gifts over 80% of the benefits to the wealthiest 1% and the big corporations that lobbied for it — and adds over a trillion dollars to the national debt.
  • Leah Vukmir supports cutting Wisconsinites’ Social Security and Medicare to pay for this tax law.

BACKGROUND:

Vukmir Supported Tax Breaks For The Wealthy

Vukmir Voted For A Manufacturing And Agriculture Tax Credit That Has Disproportionately Benefited The Wealthiest Taxpayers

Vukmir Voted For AB40, Walker’s 2011 Budget. [June 2011 Extraordinary Session Senate Journal, 06/16/11]

Politifact: The Manufacturing And Agriculture Tax Credit Was Part Of The State Budget Adopted In 2011, Took Effect In 2013. “The manufacturing and agriculture tax credit was inserted by Republican lawmakers into Walker’s first state budget, which was adopted in 2011. The credit didn’t take effect until 2013 and wasn’t fully phased in until 2016.” [Politifact, 2/17/17]

Tax Filers Who Had Incomes Of $1 Million And Higher Received 78% Of Tax Breaks Under The MAC In 2016, While Those Earning Less Than $300K Received Less Than 7%.

Tax Filers Who Had Incomes Of $1 Million And Higher Received 78% Of Tax Breaks Under The MAC In 2016, While Those Earning Less Than $300K Received Less Than 7%. “The MAC gives extremely large tax cuts to the very highest earners, with very little of the credit going to tax filers with moderate or low incomes. Tax filers with incomes of $1 million and higher, who made up just 0.2% of filers, receive an estimated 78% of the 2016 tax cut that is distributed through the individual income tax. Filers with incomes of between $300,000 and $1 million, who make up 1.0% of all filers, receive 15% of the tax cut. The remaining 98.8% of tax filers, who earn less than $300,000, receive 7% of the tax cut.” [Wisconsin Budget Project, 6/28/16]

Politifact: “Mostly True” That Under Manufacturing And Agriculture Tax Credit, Factory Owners Earning Up To $2.5 Million Would Owe Less In State Income Tax Than A Full-Time Worker Who Earns Minimum Wage. “The credit’s benefit to the rich became an issue in the 2014 congressional race between Democrat Mark Harris and Republican Glenn Grothman, which Grothman won. Harris claimed that as a state senator, Grothman pushed through the credit and that once it was phased in, “someone that owns a factory that produces millions in income” will pay “less tax than their nephew would if he worked full time at Taco Bell for minimum wage.” Our rating was Mostly True. We found that some factory owners who earn up to roughly $2.5 million from production income would owe less in state income tax on that income than a full-time worker who earns minimum wage.” [Politifact, 2/17/17]

Politifact: In 2017, Legislative Fiscal Bureau Estimated 11 Individuals Making Over $30 Million Would Each Get $22 Million Tax Break From Manufacturing And Agriculture Tax Credit. “Hintz said “11 individuals who make over $30 million each got $22 million (in) credit” from Wisconsin’s manufacturing and agriculture tax credit. The figures are essentially solid, coming from the nonpartisan state Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The bureau estimates that 11 claimants (individuals or married couples) who each earn over $30 million will share a total of $22 million in credits.”[ Politifact, 2/17/17]

The Budget Called For A $70 Million Reduction In Tax Breaks For Some Who Qualified For The Earned Income Tax Credit

Walker’s Budget Placed Limits On The Homestead Tax Credit Exemption, Which Amounted To A Tax Increase For Poor Homeowners And Renters, And A Reduction In EITC Tax Breaks. “Walker left the signing without taking questions from reporters as John Mellencamp’s ‘Small Town’ played. The budget calls for a $70 million reduction in tax breaks for some who qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, as well as limits on a homestead exemption for poor homeowners and renters, amounting to tax increases.” [Associated Press, 6/28/11]

Politifact: Walker’s 2011-13 Budget Asked Certain Working Poor Families, Renters, And Homeowners To Shoulder A Little More Of The State’s Tax Burden. “But in balancing the 2011-’13 budget, Walker and Republicans asked certain working poor families, renters and homeowners to shoulder a little more of the state’s tax burden – about $69.8 million over two years.” [Politifact, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/10/11]

Politifact: Walker’s 2011-’13 Budget Contained What The Legislative Fiscal Bureau Classified As $49 Million In Tax Increases, With The Biggest Change Being The Reduction In The State EITC. “Walker’s first budget, for 2011-’13, contained what the Legislative Fiscal Bureau classified as $49 million in tax increases. The largest change was a reduction in the state Earned Income Tax Credit which, as we’ve noted, reduces the amount of income taxes a person owes or enables the person to get a tax refund. The fiscal bureau calculated that about 140,000 recipients would see their credits reduced. In other words, they would pay more in taxes or get a smaller tax refund…. So, 140,000 fewer lower-income people received the state Earned Income Tax Credit. ” [Politifact, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/25/14]

Politifact: “Walker Cut Taxes For Wealthier Residents.” “Our rating: Burke said Walker cut “taxes for the wealthiest” and raised taxes “on 140,000 Wisconsin families.” Walker cut taxes for wealthier residents and raised taxes for people on the lower end of the scale. But he also made tax cuts that applied across the board. The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details. We rate it Half True.” [Politifact, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/25/2014]Vukmir Voted For The 2013 Walker Budget Where 55% Of The Tax Benefits Went To Those Making $100,000 Or More

Vukmir Voted For AB40, Walker’s 2013’s Budget Act. [AB40, 06/21/13]

55% Of The 2013 Budget’s Tax Benefits Went To Those Making $100,000 Or More. “This latest tax package collapses five tax brackets into four and eliminates a number of tax breaks. […] Under the plan, most of the cuts, about 55 percent, would benefit those making more than $100,000 a year, the fiscal bureau said.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 6/6/2013]

Vukmir Said She Supported A 2013 Tax Plan That Even The Sponsor Admitted Disproportionately Favored The Wealthy

Vukmir Supported Rep. Kooyenga’s Tax Plan. “Sens. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere; Paul Farrow, R-Pewaukee; and Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, issued statements in support of Kooyenga’s plan.” [Associated Press, 5/29/13]

Rep. Kooyenga Admitted His Plan Would Benefit Higher Income Earners More. “An income tax cut introduced Tuesday by state Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield would more than double what Gov. Scott Walker proposed …He acknowledged that higher income earners would benefit more…. ‘‘It’s nearly impossible to create a tax cut that doesn’t disproportionately lower taxes for upper incomes,’’ Kooyenga said.” [Associated Press, 5/29/13]

Under Kooyenga’s Plan, The Majority Of The Tax Cut Would Benefit Those Making 100K Ort More A Year. “Earlier this month, the vast majority of his tax proposal was adopted by the budget committee, nearly doubling the size of what the governor had proposed…Democrats have been largely critical of his plan to cut tax rates for the wealthiest income earners. The majority of the cut would benefit those making $100,000 a year.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 6/16/13]

Vukmir Supported The Republican Tax Reform Plan

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Vukmir Has Come Out Strongly For The GOP Proposal.” “Vukmir has come out strongly for the GOP proposal. ‘I stand with President Trump as he works to cut taxes, streamline our tax code and make America open for business,’ she said in a statement. ‘We’ve done this in Wisconsin, and we have seen how companies want to bring jobs where there is a low tax burden. Trump’s plan will spark new economic growth and expand the tax base, which we can use to cut the deficit and pay down our debt.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/11/17]

Tax Policy Center: 83% Of The Gop Tax Bill’s Benefit Would Go To The Top 1%. “By 2027, more than half of all Americans — 53 percent — would pay more in taxes under the tax bill agreed to by House and Senate Republicans, a new analysis by the Tax Policy Center finds. That year, 82.8 percent of the bill’s benefit would go to the top 1 percent, up from 62.1 under the Senate bill.” [Vox, 12/18/2017]

New York Times Listed Big Corporations As One Of The Winners From The GOP Tax Bill. “President Trump has called the $1.5 trillion tax cut that Republican lawmakers are on the verge of passing a Christmas present for the entire nation. But the fine print reveals that some will get a much nicer gift than others, the benefits will change over time, and some will be left out in the cold. Real estate developers and technology companies could see big tax cuts, while low-income households and people buying health insurance could lose out. […] WINNERS: […] BIG CORPORATIONS: Industries like big retailers will benefit from the new corporate rate of 21 percent, since those companies pay relatively close to the full 35 percent rate. Other aspects of the corporate tax cuts will be enjoyed by an array of multinational industries, particularly technology and pharmaceutical companies, like Google, Facebook, Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. Such multinational companies have accumulated nearly $3 trillion offshore, mostly in tax haven subsidiaries, untouched by the United States taxman. The tax bill will force those companies to gradually bring that money home, but it will be taxed at rates ranging from 8 percent to 15.5 percent. That’s far lower than the current 35 percent tax rate on corporate profits and even lower than the new 21 percent rate. Plus, American companies will no longer owe full corporate taxes on future profits they say they earn abroad, providing more incentive to push income into tax haven subsidiaries. The law even includes provisions that could encourage companies to move workers abroad, despite pledges to do the opposite.” [New York Times, 12/16/2017]

Vukmir Agreed With Paul Ryan That The Government Needed To Cut Entitlement Programs Like Medicaid, Medicare, And Welfare

“Vukmir spokeswoman Jess Ward said the nation needs to tackle its deficits and debt by addressing ‘the root of the problem, our spending.’ ‘Leah agrees with Speaker Ryan, America’s debt is a threat to future generations and we must reform these programs,’ Ward said in an email. ‘In Wisconsin, we are living within our means, having passed one policy reform after the other, and Leah intends to do the same when she gets to Washington.’ As the leader of House Republicans, Ryan has argued in recent weeks for following up the tax cut bill — which is projected to increase the federal deficit — with difficult to pass spending restraints on entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare and welfare programs.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/29/17]

Vukmir Said That She Was In Favor Of Social Security Reform

VUKMIR: “Paul Ryan’s been talking about Social Security reform. We just can’t continue. That money is not gonna be there for your generation, for your generation, for your kids. So, it’s come to the point where people are talking about it [UNINTELLIGIBLE], but it’s building. It’s gonna require people like you to speak out too. And you have, but I think it’s slowly building, and I think it’s slowly building to a crescendo, or we are going to doomsday, no doubt.” [Manitowoc County Republican Party 10/9/2017] AUDIO (53:05)

Vukmir Said Congress Should Address Entitlement Reform

INTERVIEWER: “What do you think is the next big task then? Do you think the next big task for the current congress is then going with the entitlement route? Going with what Paul Ryan has talked about for years?” VUKMIR: “I think that certainly on the table.” [Wispolitics Luncheon, 12/19/17] AUDIO (4:45)

Baldwin campaign: Local Wisconsinites highlight Baldwin’s victory in Wausau debate

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Contact: [email protected]

Baldwin campaign: Local Wisconsinites highlight Baldwin’s victory in Wausau debate

WAUSAU — Wisconsinites today responded to Tammy Baldwin’s decisive victory and Leah Vukmir’s desperate attempts to distract from her record during last night’s debate in Wausau:

“As a State Representative, I know Leah Vukmir, and what I saw last night was a new low from an increasingly desperate politician,” said State Representative Katrina Shankland. “Despite what Leah Vukmir said at the debate, she supports multiple efforts to gut pre-existing condition protections and allow insurance companies to deny coverage. Our job is to represent Wisconsinites, not take orders from insurance companies and say whatever you can to distract from your attempts to take people’s health care away.”

“Last night, I watched Leah Vukmir constantly throw vicious, inaccurate attacks at Tammy Baldwin. I know what that’s like personally. Senator Vukmir once sent me an insulting letter that said I was lying to people and easily duped when it comes to health care,” said Shannon Thielman of Wausau. “Well, I’m a nurse, a widowed mom of a young child, a breast cancer survivor and a person with several other pre-existing conditions. I know exactly what I mean when I say that Tammy Baldwin has always stood up for people like me, while Leah Vukmir just wants to stand up for insurance companies. This is personal. If Vukmir succeeds in eliminating protections for people with pre-existing conditions, or forces people into super-expensive high risk pools, my own health will suffer. Like many others, I will no longer be able to afford the health care I need, to be able to take care of myself and my child.”

“Last night, Senator Tammy Baldwin reinforced why she is the clear choice to represent Wisconsin veterans. Leah Vukmir again politicized my health care, and I won’t have any of it,” said Gary Hawley, USCG (ret.) and Veterans for Tammy representative. “Tammy is doing right by us veterans, whether it’s ensuring we have quality health care, opportunities for good paying jobs or pushing for reforms at the VA to improve our care — so stop the nonsense Leah Vukmir.”

Heading into last night’s desperate performance from Leah Vukmir, two new polls showed Vukmir down double digits. A NBC/Marist poll on Thursday found Leah Vukmir down 14 points to Tammy Baldwin and a Marquette Law School poll on Wednesday also found Leah Vukmir down 10 points, with a disastrous negative 13 favorability rating.

Baldwin campaign: Milwaukee leaders highlight Tammy Baldwin’s strong first debate

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Contact: [email protected]

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee leaders today highlighted U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s record of standing up to special interests and doing right by Wisconsin following last night’s debate:

“Senator Tammy Baldwin laid out her strong vision to lower health care costs, expand coverage and protect Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions,“ said Sandy Pasch, nurse and former state legislator. “Meanwhile, Leah Vukmir doubled down on her record of siding with the insurance companies, whether it’s shamefully allowing them to deny coverage for oral chemotherapy or supporting efforts to gut protections for pre-existing conditions. Senator Tammy Baldwin has proven time and time again that she is the leader to stand up to powerful special interests and do right by Wisconsin families.”

“Last night’s debate reinforced why Senator Tammy Baldwin is the clear choice to represent Wisconsin veterans in the United States Senate. I know Tammy is doing right by us veterans, whether it’s ensuring we have good health care, opportunities for good paying jobs or holding the VA accountable to improve care,” said Gary Wetzel, Medal of Honor recipient and Veterans for Tammy representative.

“I’ve seen what happens when Leah Vukmir takes orders from ALEC corporate lobbyists. Wisconsin needs a Senator who will fight for us, not take orders from special interests,” said State Representative David Crowley. “Last night again showed that Tammy Baldwin will stand up to anyone, no matter how powerful, if it means getting the job done for Wisconsin families.”

Baldwin campaign: Press conference with Sen. Erpenbach and Rep. Subeck on Tammy Baldwin forcing vote to overturn junk insurance plans 🗓

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Contact: [email protected]

Baldwin campaign: Press conference with Sen. Erpenbach and Rep. Subeck on Tammy Baldwin forcing vote to overturn junk insurance plans
Leah Vukmir supports supports expansion of junk plans that can deny coverage for pre-existing conditions

MADISON – On Wednesday, October 10th at 10:00 AM, State Senator Jon Erpenbach, State Representative Lisa Subeck and Wisconsinites will gather outside the Capitol to highlight Tammy Baldwin’s leadership in forcing a U.S. Senate vote to overturn the expansion of junk insurance plans.

With junk plans, insurance companies can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and don’t have to provide essential health services like prescription drugs, emergency room visits and maternity care.

The U.S. Senate vote on overturning the expansion of junk insurance plans is expected to take place on Wednesday.

Leah Vukmir opposes Tammy’s legislation and supports allowing insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions though these junk plans.

WHAT:  Press Conference on Tammy Baldwin Forcing Junk Plans Vote
WHO: Sen. Jon Erpenbach, Rep. Lisa Subeck and Wisconsinites
WHEN: Wednesday, October 10th – 10:00 AM
WHERE:  Wisconsin State Capitol Room 225 NW, Madison WI

Baldwin campaign: Reaction to decisive victory in tonight’s debate

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MILWAUKEE — Tammy Baldwin scored a decisive victory during the first U.S. Senate debate tonight by highlighting her record of putting Wisconsin first and holding Leah Vukmir accountable for her history of selling out Wisconsin to her special interest backers.

“Tammy Baldwin and the people of Wisconsin were the clear winners in this debate as Leah Vukmir failed to defend her 16-year record of putting powerful insurance companies and special interests ahead of Wisconsinites. Tonight’s debate showed the clear choice Wisconsin voters have this election: Tammy Baldwin stands up for Wisconsin and Leah Vukmir sells out our state.” – Scott Spector, Tammy Baldwin for Senate Campaign Manager.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Tammy Baldwin called out Leah Vukmir for running on health care repeal and gutting pre-existing condition protections.
  • Tammy Baldwin held Leah Vukmir accountable for her votes against requiring insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy.
  • Tammy Baldwin wants to give middle class Wisconsin families a tax cut, but Leah Vukmir embraces a tax law that rewards those at the top — and puts Wisconsinites’ health care and retirement at risk.

Baldwin campaign: Reaction to U.S. Sen. Baldwin’s resounding debate win tonight

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Baldwin campaign: Reaction to U.S. Sen. Baldwin’s resounding debate win tonight

WAUSAU — Tammy Baldwin again scored a resounding debate victory tonight as she detailed her work for Wisconsin and held Leah Vukmir accountable for her special interest agenda.

“Tonight, Tammy Baldwin rose above and showed why the people of Wisconsin see her as the leader they want fighting for them. Yet again, Leah Vukmir made desperate attacks to distract from her falling numbers and her 16-year record of working for special interests. That’s exactly why the more Wisconsinites learn about Leah Vukmir, the less they like her record.” – Scott Spector, Tammy Baldwin for Senate Campaign Manager.

 

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Tammy Baldwin showed that she puts Wisconsin first — and Leah Vukmir works for powerful special interests.
  • When asked twice, Leah Vukmir failed to name even one issue in which she would put Wisconsin before President Trump.
  • Leah Vukmir flailed and desperately attacked Tammy Baldwin on the heels of two polls that showed a double digit lead for Tammy Baldwin.
  • Tammy Baldwin called out Leah Vukmir for running to be the deciding vote on health care repeal and gutting pre-existing condition protections.
  • Tammy Baldwin held Leah Vukmir accountable for her votes against requiring insurance companies cover oral chemotherapy.

Baldwin campaign: Tammy Baldwin announces the “Working For You Tour”

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Contact: [email protected]

Tammy Baldwin to make over 25 stops around Wisconsin in the new campaign RV

APPLETON — U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today announced the Working For You Tour, a more than 25-stop statewide tour aboard the brand new campaign RV during the final 12 days of the campaign.

“This election is about who works for Wisconsin over who sides with special interests,” said Tammy Baldwin. “During the next 12 days, I’m excited to meet Wisconsinites all across our state who want Washington to work for them and are ready to get out the vote to make sure that happens.”  

Throughout this election, Tammy Baldwin has been targeted by over $14 million from outside special interests groups. The Working For You Tour will highlight the thousands of Wisconsinites who have come together across the state to fight back against these special interests and stand up for the state of Wisconsin.

On the tour, Tammy Baldwin will lead early vote events, kick-off canvassing shifts, meet volunteers phone banking, hold Students for Tammy meet-and-greets and stop by local small businesses.

The Working For You Tour will begin on October 26th with a Friday Fish Fry in Appleton.

The Working For You Tour then continues on Saturday, October 27th with an Early Vote Event in Oshkosh and Canvass Kick-off with Tony Evers in Green Bay, followed by stops on Sunday, October 28th at an Early Vote Press Conference in Milwaukee, a Packers Watch Party in Racine, and a Phone Bank in Kenosha.

The Working for You Tour will then include events during the upcoming days in La Crosse, Eau Claire, Wausau, Rice Lake, Superior, Marshfield, Mauston, Madison, Manitowoc and more.

For more details on upcoming events, email [email protected]

Baldwin campaign: Tammy Baldwin requested Kavanaugh meeting 7 times

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RECAP: Leah Vukmir backed up her support for divisive, Washington special interest-selected U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh by misleading voters about the nomination process.

THE TRUTH: Senator Baldwin reached out to the White House seven times to meet with Judge Kavanaugh. The White House has refused to schedule a meeting, similar to other Senators who were never able to meet with the nominee.

BACKGROUND:

The Cap Times: “Baldwin Said She’ll Oppose Kavanaugh. But She Still Plans To Meet With Him, And Also Wants To Review The Documents Associated With His Past Service.” “Baldwin said she’ll oppose Kavanaugh. But she still plans to meet with him, and also wants to review the documents associated with his past service, as it’s ‘really important to know a lot of his involvement in advising a previous president.’ Gousha asked why she intends to meet with him if ‘nothing he could say … could change your feeling about him?’ Baldwin only answered that ‘Wisconsinites need a fair, impartial, independent justice,’ due to the high stakes facing Supreme Court cases. She listed topics like abortion rights under Roe v. Wade, insurance coverage for contraception, environmental issues like protections for clean drinking water. ‘I have to say when you have a list (of potential Supreme Court nominees) that you have basically allowed other people to put together, folks with very focused special interests and you choose off that list, I think there’s a lot of reason for deep scrutiny of this nominee,’ she said. Asked if she’s worried that Republicans will use this issue to accuse her of being an obstructionist in her campaign, she said she thought special interests would continue raise the issue. ‘I think (special interests) want a senator who’s in their pocket who’s going to do their bidding, and I’m fighting for Wisconsin,’ she said.” [The Cap Times, 08/06/2018]

The Washington Free Beacon: “Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) Said Friday She Will Meet With Supreme Court Justice Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.” “Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) said Friday she will meet with Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh even though she’s already decided he’s ‘in the pocket of corporate special interests’ and she will vote against his confirmation.” [The Washington Free Beacon, 08/17/2018]

Baldwin On Kavanaugh Nomination: “I Do Plan On Meeting With Him.” [00:06] Gousha: Senator, let’s talk for a moment about Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, senate vote. You said you’ll oppose him – his nomination. I think you said — do you plan to meet with him at this point or has there been any change in your plans on that? [00:22] STB: I do plan on meeting with him. [00:24] Gousha: You do plan to meet with him? What would you hope to learn from him during that meeting? [00:27] STB: You know, one of the things that I hope it will be informed by is all the documents associated with his writings as a judge.” [UpFront With Mike Gousha, 08/05/2018]

Baldwin campaign: To hold early vote rally featuring Sen. Bernie Sanders 🗓

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Contact: [email protected]


Baldwin campaign: To hold early vote rally featuring Sen. Bernie Sanders
Baldwin to be joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Tony Evers, Mandela Barnes, Gwen Moore, and Randy Bryce at UW Milwaukee for an early vote rally to elect Democrats up and down the ticket.

MILWAUKEE, WI – On Monday, October 22nd at 8:00 AM CT, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin will hold a rally headlined by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

WHAT: Tammy Baldwin Early Vote Rally with Bernie Sanders

WHEN: Monday, October 22, 2018

  • DOORS OPEN 8:00 AM

  • PRESS SHOULD ARRIVE BY 8:30 AM

WHERE: University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Wisconsin Room, 2200 East Kenwood Boulevard, Milwaukee, WI 53211

RSVP: Press RSVP to [email protected]

Baldwin campaign: Vukmir admits to being rubber stamp, Baldwin stands with Wisconsin

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Baldwin campaign: Vukmir admits to being rubber stamp, Baldwin stands with Wisconsin

RECAP: In a telling moment, Leah Vukmir admitted that she would continue to be a rubber stamp for President Trump’s agenda, while Tammy Baldwin highlighted her record of putting Wisconsin first — ahead of everything else.

REMINDER: In a previous primary debate this year, Leah Vukmir failed to name even one example where she would stand with Wisconsin first over President Trump and her party.

Watch Leah Vukmir fail to answer this previous question in July: “You are there to represent the state of Wisconsin… What issue do you think you might stand up against President Trump?”

Baldwin campaign: Vukmir admitted yesterday she would be the deciding vote to gut pre-existing condition protections

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Contact: [email protected]

Baldwin campaign: Vukmir admitted yesterday she would be the deciding vote to gut pre-existing condition protections

MADISON — A day after the launch of TheDeciding.Vote, Leah Vukmir admitted in a talk radio interview yesterday that she would cast the deciding vote to repeal health care and gut protections for pre-existing conditions.

LISTEN TO THE TAPE HERE

On WTMJ Milwaukee’s Steve Scaffidi Show, Leah Vukmir said: “I’m gonna fight like heck to beat Tammy Baldwin, so I can be that extra voice in the Senate. So, when a proposal does get passed over from the House it doesn’t fall short in the Senate like it did.

The bill Leah Vukmir is committing to passing is the AHCA — a partisan health care repeal plan pushed through the House of Representatives last year. This repeal bill would:

  • Gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Take coverage away from 23 million Americans.
  • Place an age tax on older Wisconsinites by allowing insurance companies charge them thousands more for coverage, according to the AARP.
  • Endear Leah Vukmir to ALEC’s corporate backers, who endorsed the bill.

Leah Vukmir’s comments yesterday show that she has no regrets for her plans to be the deciding vote to gut pre-existing condition protections, said campaign spokesperson Bill Neidhardt.Wisconsinites were one vote away from Washington pushing a devastating health care repeal, and no desperate attack from Leah Vukmir will hide her true intentions from Wisconsin voters.”

These new comments from Leah Vukmir confirm what Vice President Pence said when he visited Wisconsin last month, as highlighted on the new Tammy Baldwin for Senate microsite, TheDeciding.Vote.

Recent polling shows that health care and pre-existing condition protections are a top priority for Wisconsin voters. Last week, a Marquette poll showed that 93% of Wisconsin voters believe it’s “important” to require coverage for pre-existing conditions. And a recent NBC/Marist poll and a previous Suffolk-Journal Sentinel poll both found health care is the top issue for voters in this race.

Baldwin campaign: Wisconsin Professional Police Association endorses Tammy Baldwin for U.S. Senate

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Contact: [email protected]

MADISON — The Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA) today announced the endorsement of U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin in her reelection campaign.

“Every day, Wisconsin’s law enforcement officers risk their lives to keep our communities safe, and Tammy Baldwin has proven that she has our backs,” said Jim Palmer, Executive Director of Wisconsin Professional Police Association. “Tammy Baldwin is a champion and valued friend of our law enforcement community because of her bipartisan work to make sure we have the funding we need to hire and train more officers, the safety equipment necessary to protect our lives, the support to better combat the opioid crisis, the quality health care every officer deserves, and the right to negotiate fair pay for those who put their lives on the line.”

“Every Wisconsinite deserves to live in a safe and secure community, and I am honored to have the support of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. “Together, we’re pushing Washington to work for Wisconsin’s law enforcement officers so that they have the tools and resources they need to combat the opioid epidemic, protect our neighborhoods and keep Wisconsinites safe.”

Founded in 1932, the WPPA represents over 10,000 members from nearly 300 local association affiliates, making it Wisconsin’s largest law enforcement group. WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer also currently serves on the executive board of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).

The WPPA takes a non-partisan approach to assessing legislation that affects public safety and impacts law enforcement officers. Both of the 2018 WPPA Legislators of the Year are Republicans currently serving in the state legislature.

Tammy Baldwin has received the WPPA endorsement in the U.S. Senate race for her bipartisan leadership in:

  • Securing Funding to Hire and Train Officers: As a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Tammy Baldwin has secured millions for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program and Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne-JAG), passing the bill out of committee.
  • Increasing Federal Support for Safety Equipment: Tammy Baldwin successfully increased the funding set for next year’s federal Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) program, which has already equipped American public safety officers with over one million vests, passing the bills out of committee.
  • Empowering Law Enforcement to Better Combat Opioid Crisis: Tammy Baldwin helped pass bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate to increase funding for local prevention programs, prevent the flow of fentanyl into America and enhance enforcement programs, including the Drug Free Communities program, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, the Drug Courts program, and the COPS Anti-Methamphetamine and Anti-Heroin programs.
  • Standing Up for Quality Health Care Plans: Joining with Republicans and Democrats, Tammy Baldwin has supported bipartisan plans to repeal the “Cadillac tax” on quality health care plans negotiated by police officers across the country.
  • Protecting the Right to Negotiate Better Wages: Tammy Baldwin authored the Public Safety Employer Employee Cooperation Act, which would give officers a stronger voice to improve working conditions and get the resources they need to most effectively serve the public. Tammy’s bill is supported by the WPPA, as well as the Milwaukee Police Association, Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association, Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), and International Union of Police Association (IUPA).

Baldwin campaign: Wisconsinites ask Leah Vukmir “Why?”

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Contact: [email protected]

Wisconsinites want to know why Leah Vukmir sides with the insurance companies, not them

MADISON — In a new Tammy Baldwin for Senate ad, Wisconsinites ask Leah Vukmir “Why” she repeatedly sides with insurance companies over people.

 
 
 

“Wisconsinites all across the state want to know why Leah Vukmir is siding with the insurance companies over them,” said campaign spokesperson Bill Neidhardt. “Despite Leah Vukmir’s desperate rhetoric and empty statements about our health care, she still needs to answer this critical question for every person with a pre-existing condition, infant with heart defects, loved one with Alzheimer’s, children with hearing impairments, and Wisconsinites facing mental health challenges.” 

In “Why?”, multiple Wisconsinites from across the state ask:

  • “Why would Leah Vukmir be one of the only legislators to vote against hearing aids for children?” 
    [SB 27, 2009 Assembly Journal 145, 4/23/2009]
  • “Why would Leah Vukmir want to get rid of coverage for pre-existing conditions?”
    [Wisconsin State Journal, 8/27/2018
  • “Why would she block heart screenings for newborns?”
    [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/22/2013]
  • “Why would Leah Vukmir be the only one to oppose Alzheimer’s research?”
    [AB 784, 2015 Wisconsin Senate Journal 586, 2/08/2016]
  • “Why would she vote over and over against mental health coverage?”
    [SB 71, 2004 Wisconsin Senate Journal, 3/11/2004]
    [SB 362, 2010 Wisconsin Assembly Journal 843, 4/15/2010]
    [AB 64Motion 136, Executive Session Held 5/11/2017]

Throughout her 16-year career as a politician, Leah Vukmir has repeatedly sided with insurance companies over Wisconsinites. This is a clear contrast to Tammy Baldwin, who is standing up to those insurance companies and leading the fight to protect people with pre-existing conditions.

Health care is the top issue for voters in this race according to multiple polls.  The latest Marquette Law School poll showed that 93% of Wisconsin votersbelieve it’s very or somewhat important to require coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Four previous Tammy Baldwin for Senate ads have highlighted Tammy Baldwin’s efforts to protect affordable health care for people with pre-existing conditions:  AshamedWhat Would HappenBoth Sides and Clear Choice.

Baldwin campaign: Wisconsinites say Tammy Baldwin is doing right by them

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Contact: [email protected]

MADISON — A week before Election Day, Tammy Baldwin for Senate released a new ad with Wisconsinites making the closing argument of the campaign: Tammy Baldwin is doing right by Wisconsin.

WATCH: Doing Right

“This campaign has always been driven by Wisconsinites who want someone working for them, not the special interests,” said campaign spokesperson Bill Neidhardt. “It’s Tammy Baldwin who does right by our state and puts Wisconsin first, while Leah Vukmir sides with powerful special interests.” 

In the ad, Wisconsinites tell fellow voters how Tammy Baldwin does right by them:

  • “Tammy Baldwin’s making sure infrastructure projects use American-made iron and steel.”
  • “She’s taking on insurance companies to make health care affordable.” 
  • “She’s working with Republicans and law enforcement to combat the opioid crisis.”
  • “And Tammy’s standing up for vets, too.”   

Throughout this campaign, Wisconsinites have spoken out to stand with Tammy Baldwin and call out Leah Vukmir for siding with special interests. Watch Wisconsinites outline the choice this election in previous Tammy Baldwin for Senate ads: RoddyCheesyStoriesAshamedWhat Would HappenFierceThey Call ItMarv and LindaHeatherBoth Sides and Clear Choice.

Baldwin campaign: Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions outline the clear choice between Tammy Baldwin and Leah Vukmir

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Contact: [email protected]

New Marquette Poll: 93% of Wisconsin voters say it’s important to require coverage for pre-existing conditions

MADISON — In a new Tammy Baldwin for Senate ad, Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions outline the choice this election between Tammy Baldwin and Leah Vukmir: “It’s a pretty clear choice. Leah Vukmir is for the insurance companies and Tammy Baldwin’s for us.”

 
 

Tammy Baldwin is leading the fight to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions. But Leah Vukmir supports multiple efforts to gut pre-existing condition protections and allow insurance companies to deny coverage.

“Despite Leah Vukmir’s desperate rhetoric and empty statements about pre-existing conditions, her record speaks loud and clear, and she isn’t tricking these Wisconsinites,” said campaign spokesperson Bill Neidhardt. “Tammy Baldwin is fighting to protect people with pre-existing conditions, while Leah Vukmir stands with the insurance companies who want to deny them coverage.”

Yesterday, the latest Marquette Law School poll showed that 93% of Wisconsin voters believe it’s very or somewhat important to require coverage for pre-existing conditions. In a previous Suffolk-Journal Sentinel poll, health care was found to be the top issue for voters in this race.

Tammy Baldwin has continued to make affordable health care a top focus. This week, Tammy forced a health care vote in the U.S. Senate on overturning the expansion of junk plans that allow insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Tammy’s legislation received bipartisan support, even under a rare Trump administration veto threat, and changed the national narrative around protecting health care.

Three previous Tammy Baldwin for Senate ads have highlighted Tammy Baldwin’s efforts to protect affordable health care for people with pre-existing conditions: AshamedWhat Would HappenBoth Sides.

Baldwin outraises Vukmir in final reporting period, has 2-to-1 cash advantage

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U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin again outraised opponent Leah Vukmir, pulling in $1.6 million to the Brookfield Republican’s $808,558 over the most recent reporting period.

Baldwin, D-Madison, also spent nearly $4.2 million between Oct. 1-17 and had almost $2.5 million in the bank at the end of the pre-general period.

Vukmir, meanwhile, spent more than $1.1 million and had $1.1 million cash on hand to close out the period.

The reports, filed with the Federal Elections Commission yesterday, will be the last ahead of the Nov. 6 midterms.

They show Baldwin now has receipts of $31.1 million since the day after her 2012 election and net expenditures of $28.1 million.

Vukmir, has $5.2 million in receipts since she got into the race in September 2017 and $4.1 million in net expenditures.

Baldwin raised $6 million during third quarter

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U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s campaign says she raised $6 million during the third quarter, a record for the period for a federal candidate from Wisconsin.

Baldwin’s campaign says the Madison Dem finished September with $5 million in the bank. It also said Baldwin’s average donation was $19 in the three-month period.

The campaign didn’t say how much Baldwin spent during the period. But she finished June with $7.2 million cash on hand. That puts her spending between July 1 and Sept. 30 around $8 million.

Federal candidates face an Oct. 15 deadline to report third-quarter numbers.

GOP challenger Leah Vukmir, of Brookfield, had $816,917 in the bank at the end of June.

Baldwin TV ad says she’s ‘putting Wisconsin first’

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As U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin makes her closing argument of the campaign, her latest TV features people who praise the Madison Dem for “putting Wisconsin first.”

Baldwin’s campaign said the ad is running statewide and it’s putting six figures behind the spot.

The spot opens with an older couple as the woman says, “We have a senator that’s doing right.”

A man adds, “Doing right by Wisconsin” before Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel says, “That’s Tammy Baldwin.”

A man in a factory says Baldwin is “making sure infrastructure projects use American-made iron and steel.”

Others says she’s taking on insurance companies to make health care affordable and working with Republicans and law enforcement to fight the opioid crisis.

Wetzel says, “And Tammy’s standing up for vets, too.”

Three people say her name before the man from the first couple shown in the ad closes the spot, “She’s putting Wisconsin first.”

Baldwin, Bryce, Kohl outraise opponents

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Dem U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin again outpaced GOP rival Leah Vukmir in fundraising over the latest reporting period, hauling in $4.9 million to the Brookfield Republican’s $2.4 million.

Baldwin also spent $6.5 million between July 26 and Sept. 30 to close the period with $5 million in the bank.

Meanwhile, Vukmir logged $1.3 million in expenditures to close the month of September with $1.4 million in cash on hand.

Baldwin, D-Madison, had previously announced she raised $6 million over the full third quarter. The reports filed with the FEC reflect don’t include fundraising over much of July, which was covered by the pre-primary reports Wisconsin candidates filed in August.

Meanwhile, in the race for the open 1st CD, Dem Randy Bryce outpaced Republican Bryan Steil over the period.

Bryce between July 26 and Sept. 30 raised $1.2 million and spent $2.2 million to close the period with $656,239 in the bank.

Steil brought in a total of $919,250 and spent $918,417 to end September with $631,961 in cash on hand.

And in the 6th CD, Dem Dan Kohl raised about double that of Republican incumbent Congressman Glenn Grothman over the last reporting period.

Kohl between July 26 and Sept. 30 brought in $759,789 compared to Grothman’s $359,531. The Democrat also far outspent his challenger, logging $1.5 million in expenditures compared to Grothman’s $284,427.

Still, Grothman recorded $929,454 in cash on hand, far more than Kohl’s $392,752.

 

Baldwin, Vukmir clash on immigration, Kavanaugh nomination in second debate

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WAUSAU — GOP Senate candidate Leah Vukmir on Saturday accused U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of supporting open borders and allowing Mexican gang members to cross freely into the U.S.

Baldwin, meanwhile, charged Vukmir was so obsessed with supporting President Trump’s plans to build a wall that she’s unwilling to take steps that would help Wisconsin dairy farmers who rely on immigrant labor.

The two clashed on immigration after a question posed to Vukmir, a GOP state senator from Brookfield, on the challenges facing dairy farmers who rely on immigrant labor. The question noted Vukmir’s past comments that the president’s proposed wall must be built before anything is done on immigration.

Vukmir said she’s the daughter of Greek immigrants and stands with Trump in his calls for a wall.

“Her idea of a border would be drawing a line in the dirt with a wink and a nod,” Vukmir said.

Baldwin, D-Madison, called the immigration system broken and noted she worked with Dems and Republicans to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul that would have added 20,000 new border agents, created a pathway to citizenship for “dreamers” and addressed agricultural visa issues.

On the latter point, she said the bill sought to change the visas so they weren’t only good for planting and harvesting seasons, noting dairy farmers need to milk their cows every day. Baldwin added the state lost some 500 farms last year, in part, due to the instability in the workforce.

“Unfortunately my opponent won’t even look at this until they build a wall,” Baldwin said.

The Dem also called the Trump administration’s changes to asylum laws “despicable” and expressed opposition to the president’s past policy of separating families at the border. She said there was a different situation during the Obama administration that also involved unaccompanied children coming to the border and she asked questions then about how to handle the crisis.

“We don’t put children in cages like this president has done, and we can’t even look at doing that again,” Baldwin declared.

Vukmir countered she never heard any outrage from Baldwin about the Obama administration’s approach to immigrant families at the border and said it’s part of a pattern of Dems simply trying to obstruct anything Trump does.

“You never did anything,” Vukmir said. “But now because it’s President Trump, you want to go on the attack. There is nothing President Trump will do that you will support.”

Later in the debate, Baldwin noted she agrees with the president on “buy American” policies and renegotiating trade agreements.

Asked for any areas in which she disagreed with the president, Vukmir offered none.

“I’m giving the president an ‘A’ so far,” Vukmir said.

Saturday was the second of three debates scheduled for the U.S. Senate race.

Sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the debate included a panel that posed questions to the candidates and a moderator who cut them off if they went over their allotted time. The moderator also pressed them to directly address questions if they didn’t during their 90 seconds for responses.

The two also clashed on the president’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court with Vukmir accusing Baldwin of “cheapening the #MeToo movement” with her actions on the nomination, because nothing corroborated the allegations against the nominee.

Vukmir said she believed something happened to Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her. But she added the #MeToo movement requires “that we hear from the woman who’s made the allegation and we give due process to the person who was accused.”

She charged Baldwin refused to even meet with Kavanaugh, asking “Where is the due process in that?”

Vukmir went on to accuse Baldwin of missing votes and hearings in Washington, D.C., charging she has a pattern of failing to do her job.

Baldwin shot back that Vukmir was “lying again” and her voting attendance was the best of Wisconsin’s House and Senate delegation at 99.6 percent. In contrast, she said Vukmir failed to show for seven of the 10 state opioid task force hearings.

Baldwin said she reviewed Kavanaugh’s past writings and immediately had concerns that he wouldn’t be a fair, impartial, independent voice on the court. Still, Baldwin said she asked the White House more than a half-dozen times to meet with Kavanaugh but was rebuffed.

Baldwin said she found Ford to be a credible witness. In addition, she raised concerns about Kavanaugh’s past writings that a president should be immune from some legal actions while in office.

“No wonder this president nominated him,” Baldwin said.

On other issues:

Abortion: As they did in their Monday debate, each sought to portray the other as extreme on abortion. Asked what they would do if the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion were overturned, Baldwin first knocked Vukmir, saying her opponent supported measures that would ban in vitro fertilization procedures, stem cell research, and access to abortion even in cases of rape and incest.

Pressed by the moderator what she would do if the decision were overturned, Baldwin said she would try to pass laws at the federal level to “protect a woman’s right to control her own body.” But she noted the immediate impact would be at the state level.

Vukmir took a shot at Baldwin, questioning how “you put you head on your pillow at night” supporting partial-birth abortion. Also pressed by the moderator on what she would do if the decision were overturned, Vukmir answered, “Abortion is wrong. What can I say? Abortion is wrong. There are other choices.”

Marijuana

Baldwin said she plans to support a Dane County advisory referendum asking voters if they would like to see marijuana legalized, taxed and regulated as alcohol is now for adults 21 and over. She also said she was open to changing marijuana to a schedule 2 drug rather than schedule 1. The change, she said, would allow research to determine if there’s medical value to the drug, which could then be used as an alternative to more addictive opioids and other pain medications.

Vukmir, though, said the Department of Drug Enforcement says marijuana is highly addictive, more so than meth and other drugs.

Vukmir added she has serious concerns about the legalization of marijuana, warning it could make the nation’s drug problems worse and raising concerns about the possible impact on young people.

“I’m not willing to take that risk,” she said.

Baldwin, Vukmir mix it up on foreign policy, health care in final debate

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MILWAUKEE — Dem U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said Friday the U.S. should pull its troops out of Afghanistan, while her GOP rival Leah Vukmir said the mission there and in other areas of the Middle East should continue until safe havens for terrorists are rooted out.

Friday’s debate at Marquette University Law School, the third and final featuring the two before the Nov. 6 election, was the first to significantly address international affairs.

Vukmir said Afghanistan was “not an optional war” following the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks. She added the U.S. must root out safe havens for terrorists in Afghanistan and countries like Syria and then allow regional powers to come in and stabilize the situation.

“It was not an optional war,” Vukmir said of Afghanistan. “We have a reason to be there.”

Baldwin said while she backed military action after 9/11, she voted for a “clear mission” to go after the architects of the attack and those who offered terrorists safe haven.

“This is not year two of the war in Afghanistan, this is the beginning of year 18,” Baldwin said. “And I cannot imagine anything that we’re going to be do differently in year 18 that justifies keeping our troops there.”

After Baldwin said she wanted to see the troops return, Vukmir interrupted, asking her if she wanted to do so even while the U.S. is still training Afghan troops, which she called “irresponsible.”

“I have a son in the military,” Vukmir said. “Maybe if you don’t have a child in the military you don’t look at it the same way as I do.”

Host Mike Gousha asked Baldwin to continue, who after a long sigh, said that she “has great respect for those who serve our nation.”

“I also have great respect for the need to have a clear mission and stick to that,” she said. “And I think our troops in Afghanistan should come home.”

And while they disagreed on most issues they were asked about, both called for the Saudi government to face consequences for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident. The Saudi government acknowledged Friday Khashoggi was killed by Saudi operatives during a fight while Khashoggi visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain marriage-related documents.

Baldwin said the U.S. should stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia, not only for the latest incident, but because of its involvement in a proxy war in Yemen.

Vukmir said she also supported sanctions against Saudi Arabia, but that she trusts President Trump to come up with an appropriate response.

As in other debates, the two engaged in a heated exchange over Baldwin’s handling of opioid overprescription at the Tomah VA that led to a Marine veteran’s death.

Vukmir said Baldwin sat on a report on the issue for eight months before taking action. Citing an ethics complaint related to the issue, Vukmir accused Baldwin of trying to pay hush money to one of the senator’s employees about how it was handled.

Baldwin said Vukmir was lying and the complaint “was dismissed without merit.”

The two also accused each other of politicizing the issue.

Vukmir noted Baldwin sent a letter to all registered voters about the Tomah VA.

“That’s not political?” Vukmir said.

Baldwin said Vukmir “should be ashamed of using the death of a Marine veteran for her own political gain. This is outrageous to me.”

Baldwin said when she became aware of the problem, she worked with the Marine’s family and widow to pass a bill changing how the VA prescribes opioids.

While the two had some tense moments, with Vukmir interrupting Baldwin several times and both accusing each other of lying, a moment of levity came when Baldwin, who’d been suffering from a cough and sniffles throughout the debate, asked people to “excuse my pre-existing condition.”

As the audience chuckled, Vukmir, a registered nurse, replied to more laughs, “Do you need a nurse? … I’m here for you.”

On other issues:

Health care: Vukmir demanded to know how Baldwin would pay for a “Medicare-for-all” plan that she called a government takeover of health care.

Meanwhile, Baldwin cast Vukmir as the deciding vote on the Affordable Care Act, saying its repeal would undercut protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

“Leah Vukmir seems to be more concerned with the bottom line of insurance companies than her constituents, and that is not acceptable,” Baldwin said.

Gousha pressed Baldwin on how she would pay for the Medicare-for-all plan. She answered President Trump wouldn’t sign such a plan during the rest of his term and she’s open to other ideas, as well, as part of a discussion on the future of health care. But she didn’t offer specifics on how to fund the plan, which some have pegged at $32.6 trillion over a decade.

Vukmir complained the media have not focused more on the issue.

“I can’t believe that Sen. Baldwin literally wants to throw grandma off the cliff,” Vukmir said.

Student loan debt: Vukmir argued government should get out of the student loan business.

She said government-backed loans have created an incentive for universities to increase tuition and contrasted that with GOP efforts in Wisconsin to freeze tuition at the UW System for in-state undergrads since 2013.

“Sen. Baldwin always believes that government has a solution,” Vukmir said. “The federal government is not and should not be in the student loan business.”

Baldwin countered she believes those with student loan debt should be able to refinance just like home owners can with a mortgage. She suggested more hasn’t been done on the issue because Wall Street interests have stood in the way.

“We can’t have leaders who are beholden to the special interests,” Baldwin said.

That drew a rebuke from Vukmir, who said all she hears from Baldwin is “special interests,” countering the Dem lawmaker had received millions from special interest and 17 former aides have gone on to become lobbyists who encouraged her to sign onto 127 bills.

Vukmir also defended her membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council, saying the conservative group believes in government closest to the people makes the best decisions.

“To say I’m in the back pocket of special interests, that’s laughable,” Vukmir said, adding Baldwin hadn’t returned donations from groups that supported ALEC.

Baldwin called the charge ironic, noting $14 million had been spent by super PACs against her, starting before she even had an opponent.

“They want a senator who will do their bidding,” Baldwin said.

Vukmir interrupted Baldwin to say that money was largely spent for her primary opponent, Kevin Nicholson.

Baldwin, Vukmir spar over health care in first debate

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and challenger Leah Vukmir continued to spar over health care in their first debate ahead of the general election, as both exchanged blows over pre-existing condition coverage and the future of the Affordable Care Act.

The two have regularly hit each other on health care via Twitter, as well as in campaign ads and press releases, and the issue came out quickly in tonight’s U.S. Senate debate, hosted by WUWM and WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee.

Vukmir first targeted Baldwin’s support for “Medicare for All,” which Vukmir dubbed as “Baldwin-care.” The plan, the Brookfield Republican charged, would “gut everything, everything” and fail to “allow consumerism to take hold” — the path Vukmir said she prefers.

And she called out the Madison Dem for being either ignorant or “trying to deceive people” on the issue of pre-existing conditions, saying before the ACA, those with pre-existing conditions were still covered under Medicare and Medicaid. If Obamacare is repealed, Vukmir said, that coverage would remain.

“I would fall in front of a truck before I would let people go without coverage for preexisting conditions,” said Vukmir, who in addition to serving in the state Senate works as a nurse.

Baldwin defended her backing of a single-payer health plan, which some estimates have shown could cost $32 trillion over 10 years. She said the cost of doing nothing would be more.

While she didn’t answer questions about how she would cover the costs, Baldwin stressed the importance of finding a solution — or risking going back to the “bad old days” before the ACA.

She later responded to charges from Vukmir that the plan would eliminate Medicare.

“Leah Vukmir unfortunately thinks the expansion of Medicare will get rid of Medicare,” Baldwin said.

Vukmir also criticized a Baldwin TV ad that hit her over a vote she cast on a 2014 bill that required insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy as they do intravenous treatments.

Vukmir said the ad amounts to a “scare tactic” aimed at saving Baldwin’s job, adding that in her consideration of the bill she was concerned about its “unintended consequences.”

“Senator Baldwin wants to grab a headline, she wants a press release and she just wants to protect her job, so she will do whatever she can and say whatever she can to make me look bad,” she said.

But Baldwin responded Vukmir can’t “run away from the vote.”

“A vote is a vote,” she countered. “And Leah Vukmir voted with insurance companies to prevent oral chemo from being covered.”

Vukmir also jabbed Baldwin over her decision to oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court before meeting with him. The Senate voted 50-48 to confirm Kavanaugh over the weekend.

“This is absolutely another example of how Sen. Baldwin doesn’t do her job,” Vukmir said.

She added she believes “something did happen” to California professor Christine Blasey Ford, who first accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. But Vukmir said “there was nothing to corroborate and link that” to him.

Baldwin didn’t respond directly to the hit, but said she believes Ford and worries the hearing last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee may discourage those involved in sexual assaults from reporting.

“Despite the outcome, I don’t want that to silence a whole new generation who are scared right now,” she said.

Vukmir later knocked Baldwin for her handling of opioid overprescription at the Tomah VA, which has been the subject of several attack ads against Baldwin, who has also released spots on the issue.

“When I think about veterans, I think about how she turned her back on the veterans at the Tomah VA,” Vukmir said. “It is absolutely disgraceful that for months she sat on a report that she and only she had that detailed the extent to which our veterans were being over-prescribed opioids.”

Baldwin shot back, saying when she learned of the issue, she worked with the parents and widow of Marine veteran Jason Simcakoski, who died of an overdose while under the Tomah VA’s care, to pass bipartisan legislation to address the issue.

“I think that Leah Vukmir should be ashamed of herself for using a Marine veteran’s death for her own political gain,” she said.

The two also displayed a sharp contrast over abortion.

Baldwin said Vukmir has extreme views related to the subject and would ban in-vitro fertilization, stem cell research and some forms of contraception.

“I support a woman’s right to choose,” Baldwin said. “I don’t believe government should interfere with a woman’s health or whether or when she should have a child.”

Vukmir said she is “100 percent pro-life” and called Baldwin’s views extreme.

“You want to talk about extreme, Sen. Baldwin?” Vukmir said. “Extreme is voting for a partial-birth abortion. It is the most disgusting thing that can happen.”

Vukmir graphically described the procedure and called it “vile.” She also described her experience as a young nurse trying to save a premature baby she said was fighting to survive.

“And Tammy Baldwin would rip that life out of a mother just like that and snuff that life out,” Vukmir said. “It’s wrong. It’s wrong, and you voted for that Sen. Baldwin.”

See a WisconsinEye video of the debate.

Barnes declares in new ad eight years ‘is enough of Scott Walker’

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Mandela Barnes, the Dem nominee for lt. guv, declares in a new TV ad “eight years is enough of Scott Walker” as he praises running mate Tony Evers as a “leader who will get results.”

Evers’ campaign said it will run on cable and digital.

The spot opens with Barnes looking directly into the camera and saying, “We don’t need to imagine the challenges of our state. We live them every day.”

He mentions access to quality, affordable health care, clean water, and “wanting the best schools for our kids” before adding he’s seen Evers’ “character and passion to do what’s right.’

After declaring eight years of Walker is enough, Barnes says, “We need a governor who’s concerned about the next generation, not the next election. I’m Mandela Barnes. It’s time for a change.”

Bill Kaplan: Are Wisconsin Republicans fighting for farmers?

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

On Wednesday, Trump will be at the airport near Wausau with Wisconsin Republicans, including Governor Scott Walker and U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir. The campaign rally is supposed to help Walker “battling for a third term” and “to shore up the party’s ticket, including its struggling Senate candidate, Leah Vukmir” (New York Times). And, the Washington Post reported: “Some advisers have urged (Trump), without success, not to travel to … Wisconsin… . The advisers had argued he would be wasting his time, … Governor Scott Walker … is likely to lose … .” Why are Wisconsin Republicans in trouble?

One reason is the Trump-initiated global trade war. Trump unilaterally declared a trade war (high tariffs) against Canada and Mexico, Wisconsin’s top markets for state exports. And, as if a two-front war was not enough, he did the same to China and the European Union. Trump said “trade wars are good and easy to win”. But his reckless tariffs brought retaliation from our trading partners. One hard-hit area is Marathon County, where the Trump rally will be held.

“Wisconsin (Marathon County) is the country’s leading exporter of ginseng (medicinal herb). Wisconsin ginseng farmers have been reeling from a 15 percent tariff (retaliatory) levied on their production by China …” (U.S. Chamber of Commerce). Ginseng exports, $30 million (most to China), loom large in Marathon County. “According to one analysis by economists at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, ginseng production generates $43 million in local economic activity annually” (Washington Post). However, Trump’s trade war against China is causing ginseng farmers to lose their most important customer. One farm manager said: “I think some fights are worth fighting, and some fights are not worth fighting. … It seems like it’s all a game to them” (Washington Post).

Retaliatory tariffs have also left other Wisconsin farmers reeling: corn, cranberries, kidney beans and soybeans. Same story for producers of beef and pork. And, Wisconsin dairy farmers have taken it on the chin, adding to existing economic misery. They were already facing low milk prices, oversupply and increasing competition from large corporate dairy farms. Wisconsin has lost more than 500 dairy farms in the past year. The Trump-touted new U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement will only open up 3.6 percent of the Canadian dairy market. Moreover, dairy farmers probably lost major Mexican customers. Trade wars are easy to start, hard to end, and have lasting adverse consequences.

So what will Wisconsin Republican leaders say to Trump? Walker, supposedly “unintimidated”, has stood moot during Trump’s trade wars. He couldn’t work up a sweat to defend Harley-Davidson from Trump’s hypocritical attacks. And, Vukmir just prattles on how she “trusts” Trump. Worse is 7th District U.S. Congressman Sean Duffy, representing northern Wisconsin, including Marathon County. A cheerleader for Trump, the hot-headed Duffy says our trading partners are engaged in “economic terrorism” with their retaliatory tariffs. However, why not fight for farmers by ending the ill-advised trade wars? Family farms need real assistance to deal with low prices and oversupply.

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

Bill Kaplan: Bread and butter issues

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

The hallmark of Trump and Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker is cruelty. Along with a GOP-led Congress they rule by deception. They pretend to care for regular folks, but serve the wealthy. And, they maintain power through bigotry, division and fear. To break this cycle Democrats must emphasize bread and butter issues.

Case in point, multiemployer pension plans facing insolvency. This “financial time bomb” will affect about 1.5 million retirees (New York Times), including 25,000 Wisconsin beneficiaries of the Central States Pension Fund (CSPF). Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin said: “If nothing is done, these 200 multiemployer plans are projected to fail, many within the next 10 years. The result of significant cuts to these pensions would be economically devastating… .”

Baldwin is cosponsoring the Butch Lewis Act “that would allow the Treasury Department to make loans, leveraged by safe investments, to pension plans (e.g., CSPF) to ensure that retirees and their families are guaranteed their promised benefits.” Michael Egan, a retired Wisconsin truck driver, said: “The Butch Lewis Act would save our pensions. We have all worked for our pensions and have retired thinking that all the years we worked and paid into would let us enjoy the benefits of our hard work.”

Contrast to GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan. Part of the millionaire majority in the House, Ryan is not running for reelection. He could retire on a congressional pension of $84,930 a year (CNBC). Yet, only 23 percent of workers have a pension plan (Pension Rights Center). No wonder Ryan is so out of touch with regular folks. Trump and Walker are worse.

Trump’s nominee, Gordon Hartogensis, to run the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), has hit a new low. The PBGC, established to protect retirement benefits, is financed through insurance premiums from employers. But Hartogensis wants workers and retirees who helped pay for their pensions to contribute more. Note: Hartogensis is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s brother-in-law. And, don’t forget Walker. He forced public employees to pay higher health and pension premiums, while limiting wage increases to the cost of inflation.

Worse, Trump and Walker want to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Walker is seeking to have the ACA declared unconstitutional, while Trump’s Justice Department won’t defend the law. The Trump administration agrees with Walker that the ACA’s guarantee of coverage of people with preexisting conditions and its prohibition of charging sick people higher rates should be tossed. 852,000 Wisconsinites could lose access to affordable comprehensive health insurance (Kaiser Family Foundation). Pay attention to Walker’s lawsuit, not his empty false promises.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says even if Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers beats Walker (a telling admission), “no way, never” will Medicaid be expanded. The GOP said that in Virginia, until Democrats won big. Then 23 Virginia GOP legislators voted for Medicaid expansion. The only way to end this cycle is for Democrats to focus on bread and butter issues for regular folks, and get out a big vote on Tuesday, November 6.

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

Bill Kaplan: Evers, vote your heart and pocketbook

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

A horrific week. Trump appealed to the worst in us, demonizing impoverished refugees from Central America. Engaging in constant deception. Finally, Trump admitted “no proof” that terrorists from the Middle East are hiding among the refugees. However, he and other Republicans are still whipping up division, fear and hysteria. Why? No GOP accomplishments, save huge tax cuts for corporations and the rich.

Meanwhile, the stock market plunged. Paul Volcker, former Federal Reserve chairman, warned that America was “developing into a plutocracy”. He criticized the GOP tax cuts, saying the “only purpose I can see is to try to squeeze Medicare and medical expenses and Social Security” now that there is a resultant soaring deficit.

It got worse. A racist sexist Trump supporter was arrested after mailing potentially lethal pipe bombs to Trump critics, including former President Obama and Vice President Biden. And, a racist murdered 2 Kentucky African Americans. Then a Nazi slaughtered 11 Jewish Americans in a Pittsburgh synagogue. All the while, Trump acted like a bigoted, plutocratic man-child.

However, Tony Evers, Democratic candidate for governor in Wisconsin, displayed gubernatorial leadership with a heart. He eloquently said: “Our places of worship are places of sanctuary for all of us. My heart breaks for the victims, families and first responders whose lives have been shattered by this act of violence in Pittsburgh. We must join together against anti-Semitism and hate in all its forms.” Amen!

I have met and spoken with Evers, the current elected state superintendent of public instruction. He is a highly-accomplished teacher and administrator, yet humble. Don’t underestimate the low-key man from Plymouth. Evers is tough, but civil to the core, looking to unify, not “divide and conquer”. Not a career politician, Evers is a down-to-earth regular Wisconsinite. Finally, Evers beat cancer, and now fears nothing. He has the heart and wisdom to be a great governor.

Evers is a lunch-bucket Democrat, running on pocketbook issues. He wants to restore adequate full funding for public schools (cut $800 million by his opponent). Moreover, Evers supports mitigating the $500 million cuts to the UW-System with more state funding to allow lower tuition for students. He understands that education is key to building a prosperous strong Wisconsin. Evers is focused on the present and future.

Then there is infrastructure. Wisconsin roads, highways and bridges, once the envy of the nation, are now in the bottom tier. Evers will work with Republicans to fully fund rebuilding Wisconsin to develop the economy and promote jobs. Everything will be on the table except budget deceit and fairy dust. Nor will Evers favor one part of Wisconsin over other areas.

Finally, on health care. Evers, unlike his opponent, would not have left over $1 billion of federal Medicaid funding on the table. He will take the money and expand Medicaid (80,000 Wisconsinites). Moreover, Evers will drop his opponent’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. This will preserve protections for preexisting conditions and expand health coverage.

Vote your heart and pocketbook. Wisconsin needs change.

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

Bill Kaplan: Ford and Kavanaugh

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

Last Thursday, millions paused to listen to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, with sworn testimony from Professor Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. She said that Kavanaugh tried to rape her, while his friend Mark Judge was present, in the 1980s. Ford came across as credible, emphatic and “nobody’s pawn”. Kavanaugh’s denial was fiery, partisan and unhinged. Gone was any pretense of judicial demeanor. He said Democrats refused to accept Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election. South Carolina GOP Senator Lindsey Graham added fuel to the fire, complaining: “I know I am a single white male …. And, I am told I should shut up.”

Other GOP Judiciary Committee members denounced California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein for supposedly leaking a confidential letter from Ford outlining her explosive charge. However, “Ryan Grim, the reporter for the Intercept, who first reported on the existence of Ford’s letter, has also said neither Feinstein nor her aides were his sources” (Washington Post). At the same time, GOP Judiciary Committee members and Kavanaugh opposed Democratic pleas for an FBI investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations.

But four principled GOP governors broke with Trump and congressional Republicans, and called for an FBI investigation and a delay in Senate voting to confirm Kavanaugh. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said: “The accusations brought against Judge Kavanaugh are sickening and deserve an independent investigation. There should be no vote in the Senate.” And, Ohio Governor John Kasich stepped up: “Without an investigation, and with so many serious issues involved, I can’t support this nomination if they choose to move forward.” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Vermont Governor Phil Scott issued similar statements. However, “unintimidated” Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker was muted. He said that the allegations are “serious”. No fooling! In contrast, Democratic challenger Tony Evers “stands” with Ford. Unlike Walker, Evers supports an FBI investigation.

Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin tweeted: “I support the bipartisan call for the White House to reopen the FBI background investigation of Judge Kavanaugh. There should be no vote on this lifetime nomination for our highest court until the Senate has all the facts about serious and credible allegations made by women.” Spot-on! While Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson said: Kavanaugh did a “fabulous job” at the hearing, we have “enough evidence” and that there was no need for an FBI investigation. As usual, Johnson is clueless.

Fortunately, Arizona GOP Senator Jeff Flake and his GOP colleagues, Maine Senator Susan Collins and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, called for a one week FBI inquiry. No longer having a Senate majority for a rushed vote, GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump acquiesced. They want Kavanaugh confirmed. McConnell needs an election year accomplishment to keep his GOP majority. And, Trump is fixated on Special Counsel Robert Mueller. “Republicans and Democrats here need to consider the real possibility that Kavanaugh was picked precisely because he’d be the most likely judge to let President Trump get away with unconstitutional antics” (Washington Post conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin).

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

Bill Kaplan: October surprise for Trump and Walker

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

Trump and Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker are in permanent scorched earth campaign mode. However, reality is intruding. The headline said it all: “Stocks post slight gains as an ugly week on Wall Street comes to a close” (Washington Post). The stock market lost nearly 1,400 points over two days. Fear of rising interest rates on top of soaring deficits and a Trump-initiated global trade war. Trump has a scapegoat, the Federal Reserve (led by Trump appointees). Earlier, in February, the stock market plunged more than 1,000 points, “the worst single day decline in the Dow Jones average in history” (New York Times) as Trump said the economy was booming.

Put on your seatbelts. America is in for a rough ride. The prosperity touted by Trump and Walker is fragile. Annual pay for corporate executives is skyrocketing, while wages for regular folks remain flat. Moreover, there is rising wealth inequality. “The richest 5 percent of Americans have captured 74 percent of the wealth …” (Washington Post). Deregulation and tax cuts for corporations and the rich are taking America back to the Great Recession (2007 – 2009). With the bear at the door Trump and Walker engage in deception, while making life miserable for regular folks.

Trump, in a USA Today op-ed said: “As a candidate, I promised that we would protect coverage for patients with preexisting conditions and create new health insurance options … . I have kept that promise… .” Similarly, Walker said: “We want to guarantee coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions.” Left unsaid is that the Trump administration, in response to a GOP-led lawsuit, does not legally support the Affordable Care Act requirement that insurers cover folks with preexisting conditions and not charge more. Walker is the circus ringmaster for the lawsuit. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers has demanded that Walker drop the lawsuit.

Moreover, the Republican option for cheaper health care is short-term insurance. It covers next to nothing, allowing insurers to exclude preexisting conditions or charge more based on health status or gender. Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin calls it “junk insurance”. Last week, Baldwin nearly prevailed in getting the Senate to block Trump’s plan, falling short by one vote. Baldwin said: “One of the plans (short-term) sold in several states, including my home state of Wisconsin, marketed by Golden Rule company, doesn’t even have to cover hospital care on a Friday or Saturday. So, it will be just your bad luck if you happen to get sick and need health care on the weekend.”

And, if meanness is not enough, then just lie. Wisconsin’s roads and bridges are crumbling with no Walker plan. Evers has said raising the gas tax (32.9 cents per gallon since 2006) should be an option. Walker has an ad on gas station pump screens claiming Evers would raise the tax by $1. That’s a lie. Unlike Walker, President Reagan showed real leadership in raising the (federal) gas tax in 1982. The real October surprise is more voters connecting the dots.

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

 

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: $9.3 million approved for community projects

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

MADISON – At their October 16 meeting, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) approved nearly $9.3 million in State Trust Fund Loans to support three community projects in Wisconsin.  Board Chair Brad Schimel and Commissioner Doug La Follette voted in favor of the loans with Commissioner Matt Adamczyk voting against them.

The BCPL approved the following loans:

  • Town of Amnicon, Douglas County / Purchase dump truck / $179,950
  • City of Green Bay, Brown County / Finance economic development projects / $2,000,000
  • City of West Allis, Milwaukee County / Finance economic development projects / $7,087,105

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

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

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

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

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: Approves nearly $4.4 million for community projects

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

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: Approves nearly $4.4 million for community projects

MADISON – The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) today approved nearly $4.4 million in State Trust Fund Loans to support nine community projects in Wisconsin.  Board Chair Brad Schimel and Commissioner Doug La Follette voted in favor of the loans with Commissioner Matt Adamczyk voting against them.

The BCPL approved the following loans:

  • Town of Clover, Bayfield County / Finance storm damage repairs / $250,000
  • City of Delafield, Waukesha County / Finance 2018 capital projects / $311,000
  • Village of Kellnersville, Manitowoc County / Finance water main replacement / $80,000
  • City of Niagara, Marinette County / Upgrade water meter reading system / $100,000
  • Town of Pigeon, Trempealeau County / Finance roadwork / $440,000
  • Village of Plover, Portage County / Purchase fire truck and refinance GO bonds / $1,900,000
  • City of Port Washington, Ozaukee County / Finance business development loan / $330,000
  • City of Sheboygan Falls, Sheboygan County / Finance subdivision infrastructure / $760,000
  • City of Tomah, Monroe County / Purchase vehicles / $200,000

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

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

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

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

Brown County Exec. Streckenbach: Budget initiative plans to reduce isolation for older adults

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Media Contact:

Deputy Executive Jeff Flynt

(920) 448-4083

Brown County Executive, ADRC to Focus on Ageism Issues

(Brown County, Wis.) – Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach has introduced his 2019 budget proposal, which includes an initiative by the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) to reduce isolation and loneliness and combat Ageism.

“The issues facing older adults and adults with disabilities are important for Brown County to tackle and this is a way we’re doing that,” says Streckenbach. “Studies show 1 in 5 elderly adults is socially isolated from family and friends, which increases their risk for poor mental and physical health, as well as higher mortality rates.”

“Despite our world of unending connections including the noise of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and the like, isolation and loneliness has grown into an epidemic for older adults and adults with disabilities,” says Devon Christianson, Director of the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Brown County. “We need to take these issues seriously and tackle the problem, along with Ageism, because the results are very bad for our health. The ADRC is looking to champion solutions to these issues and create opportunities for connection between people-we need to start here and now.”

Part of the isolation puzzle and its health impacts; include our attitudes about aging itself.  Healthy Aging is greatly affected by our views about what growing older.  Those with positive images of aging live, on average, 7.5 years longer than those with negative images.

The ADRC is working to tackle issues of isolation and Ageism through their work with individual people, families and caregivers. New assessment tools, connections to new programing and a ‘Fighting Ageism” campaign will all be part of their 2019 budget initiatives.

Throughout the month of October, County Executive Streckenbach will be holding media events highlighting various initiatives as part of his 2019 budget proposal. The entire Brown County Board of Supervisors will be holding its annual budget hearing on October 31st at 9:00 a.m.

Brown County Lead Coalition: Creating awareness for childhood lead poisoning within Brown County

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PHONE: Brown County Lead Coalition (920) 448-6441 FACEBOOK: @BrownCountyPBCoalition

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is October 21st-27th, 2018

To coincide with National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Brown County Lead Coalition is participating in community events to raise awareness for childhood lead poisoning.
Brown County Lead Coalition will be at the Saturday, October 20th Farmer’s Market in downtown Green Bay. Please stop by and see our booth with children’s games and educational resources. Haunted lead displays will be located in our community to highlight the number of children who are affected by lead poisoning.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over half a million children aged 1-5 in the United States have blood lead levels high enough to damage their health. Lead poisoning can cause long lasting and serious health issues including:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Slowed growth and development
  • Learning and behavior problems
  • Hearing and speech problems

Has your child been tested for lead poisoning? Elevated blood lead levels in children are based on a test result taken by the child’s health care provider. During your child’s next office visit, talk to the provider about lead blood testing. Testing should be done at the following ages:

  • 1 year old
  • 2 years old
  • Once between the ages of 3 and 5 if they have not been previously tested

Thousands of children test positive for lead poisoning in Wisconsin each year. In 2016, 84 children in Brown County were lead poisoned. Older homes that were built before 1978 often have chipping and peeling paint that may contain lead; this paint is the number one source for lead poisoning in children.

About 54% of all homes in Brown County are built before 1978 and may contain lead paint. When children play near areas with damaged paint, invisible lead dust can go into the air causing children to breathe it in or have it stick to their hands and toys. Oftentimes those hands and toys end up in the child’s mouth, causing them to swallow the harmful lead. Children can also be exposed to lead from other sources including:

  • Soil near pre 1978 buildings
  • Older lead plumping
  • Costume jewelry
  • Antique or imported toys
  • Imported candy
  • Old or imported pottery
  • Lead based hobby or job (for example: hunting/mechanic)
  • Second hand smoke.

For more information, please follow Brown County Lead Coalition on Facebook.

Brown County Lead Coalition Members: Brown County Public Health, De Pere Health Department, Oneida Community Health Center, MHS Health Wisconsin, Brown County Planning Commission, Green Bay Head Start, Green Bay Water Utility, Brown County WIC Program, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, UWGB Environmental Management and Business Institute, NeighborWorks Green Bay

Bryce campaign fundraiser 🗓

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State Senator Chris Larson • Nick Nuccio and Angelina Cruz

INVITE YOU TO JOIN MARTY SUCHORSKI AND ANDY SUCHORSKI AND RANDY “IRONSTACHE” BRYCE

TO MEET AND GREET RANDY BRYCE CANDIDATE FOR US CONGRESS

Saturday, October 20th 4 – 6pm

At the home of Marty Suchorski – 8720 W. Elm Ct. Franklin, WI 53132

Suggested Contribution Levels Co-Chair $250 | Co-Host $100 | Supporter $25 | Grassroots $10 Or just come and meet Randy!

To RSVP: Contact Dan at [email protected] Contribute online at: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/wisc1020#

PAID FOR BY RANDY BRYCE FOR CONGRESS

Bryce campaign: Calls on Bryan Steil to disavow GOP efforts to gut coverage for people with pre-existing conditions

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

RACINE, WI – A recent poll shows that 75% of Americans want to keep ACA protections for pre-existing conditions. In public appearances and campaign statements, Bryan Steil has claimed he will “protect coverage for pre-existing conditions.” However, the Trump administration and the Attorneys General of 20 states, including Wisconsin, are pursuing a case that would strip healthcare away from millions of Americans– specifically those with pre-existing conditions. Not to mention his mentor, Paul Ryan, has made his career by trying to take away health care from millions of Americans.

Today, Randy Bryce calls on Bryan Steil to stand up to Scott Walker, who approved the Wisconsin Attorney General signing onto the lawsuit which will take away health care from anyone with a pre-existing condition, and disavow the GOP’s shameless attack on healthcare.

“I have a pre-existing condition. My mom has MS, a pre-existing condition. My dad has one too. And millions of people in Wisconsin and across the country have pre-existing conditions that would disqualify them from receiving quality, affordable healthcare. Bryan Steil and the GOP are lying to voters when they say they want to ‘protect coverage for pre-existing conditions.’ While Bryan Steil may be telling voters what they want to hear, he silently sits by as the Scott Walker administration secretly tries to use the courts to take healthcare away from so many people”, said Randy Bryce. “Today I call on Bryan Steil to stand up and reject this hypocrisy. Tell Scott Walker to remove Wisconsin from the twenty GOP-led states that are challenging the law, with the backing of the Trump administration, and trying to strip healthcare aware from those who need it most. Healthcare is a human right– and the voters of Southeast Wisconsin deserve to know the truth about where Steil stands on the issue.”

About Randy Bryce

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

Bryce campaign: Joins gun violence activists and Parkland parents for Walls of Demand event 🗓

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

Bryce campaign: Joins gun violence activists and Parkland parents for Walls of Demand event

RACINE, WI –  On Sunday, October 14, Randy Bryce will join Manuel Oliver and Fred Guttenberg, parents of two victims of the Parkland shooting where 17 lives were taken on February 14th, 2018. The event in Racine will honor victims and survivors of gun violence and will include the creation of a “Wall of Demand” by Oliver.

WHAT: “Walls of Demand” event
WHO: Randy Bryce, Manuel Oliver, Fred Guttenberg and local advocates and activists
WHEN: 10:00 AM on Sunday, October 14th.
WHERE:  408 Main Street, Racine WI, 53403

About Randy Bryce

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

Bryce campaign: President Barack Obama endorses Randy Bryce

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

RACINE, WI – Today, President Barack Obama endorsed Randy Bryce for Congress. In 2008, President Obama won Wisconsin’s First Congressional District– further proof that in a Republican stronghold a Democrat that provides real solutions for working people can win.

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of President Barack Obama. For too long, the working people in our district have been ignored–but when he was in office, President Obama heard them. The people demanded healthcare as a right, and he took a big step in the right direction through the creation of the Affordable Care Act—a step that provides protections to my family and thousands of people across Wisconsin with pre-existing conditions. The working families in Southeast Wisconsin saw the devastating effects of the recession–and President Obama worked hard to strengthen our economy,” said Randy Bryce. “President Obama reminds us that politics and the issues we’re dealing with every single day aren’t about scoring cheap points–it’s about humanity and the hardworking families trying to put food on the table, or the child that should be able to go to school safely, or the cancer patient that now has access to healthcare. Time and time again, President Obama has reminded us to see the good and fight for what’s just and fair. We are living in a time when people have to come first, before partisanship or party loyalty—we have to ask ourselves what is best for people and future generations. I’m grateful to President Obama for his support and look forward to working with him to bring about much needed change in Southeast Wisconsin and across the country.”

“The Democratic Party has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people when we lead with conviction, principle, and bold, new ideas. Our incredible array of candidates up and down the ticket, all across the country, make up a movement of citizens who are younger, more diverse, more female than ever before,” said President Obama. “They’re Americans who aren’t just running against something, but for something. They’re running to expand opportunity and restore the honor and compassion that should be the essence of public service. I’m proud to endorse so many of them today, and I’m eager to continue making the case for why they deserve our votes this November.”

About Randy Bryce

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

Bryce campaign: Randy Bryce’s ex-wife asks Congressional Leadership Fund to stop attacking their family

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

RACINE, WI – Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel released an article about the Congressional Leadership Fund attack ads, the way the ads are hurting Randy Bryce’s son, and how Randy’s ex-wife has asked to keep their family out of attack ads.

Randy Bryce and his ex-wife slam attack ad calling him a ‘deadbeat,’ targeting his family

By Mary Spicuzza and Dan Bice

Democratic congressional candidate Randy Bryce and his ex-wife are pushing back against attack ads calling him a “deadbeat,” saying they are hurting their family — especially their 12-year-old son.

“Now D.C. politicians are putting our family’s personal business all over the news and television, right where our son can see it,” Faye Boudreaux, Bryce’s ex-wife, wrote in a letter that was provided to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by his campaign. “In the 12 years that Randy and I have been blessed with our son, we have always worked together to put him first.”

In the ad, which launched last week, a woman named Nancy Douglass talks about her experience raising children as a single mom, as well as her daughter’s struggle to collect child support from the father of her child. She adds that Bryce also failed to pay child support, concluding, “Randy Bryce is a deadbeat. He’s not fit to serve in Congress.”

Douglass resigned as chair-elect of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association trade group the same day the Journal Sentinel reported on criticism she faced for appearing in the ad.

Bryce, who’s also known as “Iron Stache,” is in a hotly contested race against GOP candidate Bryan Steil for the southeastern Wisconsin seat being vacated by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The attack is being aired by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC endorsed by Ryan that has reserved at least $1.5 million in airtime to help Steil, a former staffer for the speaker.

The GOP group has run a series of increasingly personal attacks on Bryce, a union ironworker who became something of a liberal folk hero with his opening campaign ad.

Bryce has come under criticism in one TV spot for his nine arrests, including one from some 20 years ago for operating while intoxicated and three for driving with a suspended license. Another commercial produced by the super PAC features Bryce’s brother James endorsing Steil and accusing Bryce of “cop-hating rhetoric” without mentioning him by name.

But it was the “deadbeat” ad that drew a sharp response from Bryce and his ex-wife.

The Journal Sentinel reported last year that the state placed a lien on Bryce’s property in September 2015 because he had fallen behind on his child support payments. Bryce paid off the $1,257 debt two months after launching his congressional bid.

Boudreaux had resisted an overture last year to speak out in support of Bryce despite his delinquent child support payments, saying she didn’t want to get involved in the campaign.

In May, she released a brief statement saying Bryce was a “loving father” and “has not hidden from the public that he fell on hard times in the past,” but asked people to drop the issue.

Then, after last week’s ‘deadbeat’ ad, she told Bryce she wanted to respond to it.

“I have asked that this matter be put to rest,” Boudreaux wrote in her letter. “Yet I turn on the TV, check my phone or social media, or open my mailbox, and I see I was ignored.”

Her statement doesn’t address Bryce’s role as a spouse, focusing instead on him as a father.

“No couple goes into marriage thinking of divorce, and, while at times Randy and I might disagree, I am still very grateful for the supportive and respectful co-parenting relationship we have,” Boudreaux wrote.

Bryce said he expected to face GOP criticism, but didn’t expect such vicious, personal attacks. He added that his son, Ben, saw the ad before he had a chance to explain it to him.

“It’s really sad to see the CLF, you know, the Republicans, stoop to the level that they’re doing. I mean, my son watches TV,” Bryce said. “He asked, ‘Dad, what’s a deadbeat?’ So I have to explain to him what’s going on. And that’s a conversation that’s hard to have.”

“It’s almost like he’s being neglected in some way. And that’s never been the case. And to imply that is just, it’s really horrible,” he added. “We’ve always put our son first.”

Bryce said some of his son’s classmates have been asking about the attack ads.

“That puts him in a spot that he feels he has to defend his dad,” Bryce said.

About Randy Bryce

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

Bryce campaign: Takes 1 point lead in new poll

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For Immediate Release: October 23, 2018
Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – The Randy Bryce for Congress campaign released the latest polling from Change Research. The poll finds Randy Bryce at 45% and Bryan Steil at 44%.

“Over the past month, Paul Ryan’s super PAC has spent millions of dollars blitzing the airwaves with very personal attacks and lies against Randy. But clearly the voters see right through these negative television ads– which is why Randy has pulled ahead of Bryan Steil,” said Campaign Manager David Keith. “This is a 3.5 point swing from two weeks ago and is a clear indicator that voters in Wisconsin’s 1st district aren’t buying these smears. Randy has and continues to fight for working families, and it’s the working families who will turn out in big numbers to vote on November 6th that’s going to propel Randy to Congress.”

“I first met Randy many many months ago in Washington, DC and I was impressed by his courage to stand up and take on some of the most powerful political forces in this country. And I told him, ‘Randy, you run, and you threaten these people, they’re going to throw millions of dollars against you in ugly, personal, and destructive ads,” said Senator Bernie Sanders. “And that’s exactly what they’ve done. They’ve thrown millions of dollars in ugly thirty-second ads against him. And based on the poll I saw today, it ain’t working—Randy is going to win.”

Background
Polling was conducted by Change Research from October 19th to 21st, and the full polling memo can be found here.

Bryce campaign: Vice President Joe Biden endorses Randy Bryce

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

RACINE, WI – Today, Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Randy Bryce for Congress, citing Randy’s commitment to fighting for working families.

“Randy Bryce is a working person who knows what it means to fight for working people, and that’s why I’m endorsing him in his bid to serve the people of Southeast Wisconsin in Congress,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “An Ironworker from Caledonia, Wisconsin, Randy Bryce will bring a working class message to Washington, D.C. that will cut through the partisan gridlock and help get our country back on track. Randy Bryce knows what it’s like to get knocked down and have to fight tirelessly to get back on his feet. He knows what it’s like to face a tough economy and have to address the harsh realities of working two part-time jobs just to make ends meet. He knows what it feels like to not have health care and have to fight cancer with pure grit and determination. Randy Bryce is prepared to serve working families because he comes from one. He’s exactly what we need to turn our country around and I’m proud to stand with him in his bid for Wisconsin’s First Congressional District.”

“I am honored and humbled to be endorsed by Vice President Joe Biden,” said Randy Bryce. “While Vice President Biden is known for many achievements when it comes to health care, infrastructure, national security, and advancing the rights of women, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community, his most lasting legacy may be his work on economic fairness. Like me, and like so many Americans, Joe comes from a working-class family in a working-class neighborhood. He believes in the possibility of kids from Scranton, Pennsylvania and Caledonia, Wisconsin, and has devoted his career as a public servant to creating opportunity so that everyone has a chance to live the American Dream. His understanding of the challenges that everyday Americans face, along with his ability to work across the aisle with congressional Republicans, was key to rescuing the American auto industry and saving our economy. Joe has defeated Paul Ryan and his big corporate donors once already. We look forward to having his help doing it again for the working people of southeast Wisconsin.”

Bryce campaign: With the Wisconsin working families party to hold rally with Bernie Sanders, Mark Pocan, and Chuy Garcia in Kenosha 🗓

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Contact: Julia Savel
973-525-5579
[email protected]randybryceforcongress.com
Bryce campaign: With the Wisconsin working families party to hold rally with Bernie Sanders, Mark Pocan, and Chuy Garcia in Kenosha

RACINE, WI – On Monday, October 22, Randy Bryce and Wisconsin Working Families Party will hold a rally in Kenosha with Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative Mark Pocan, and Congressional Nominee Chuy Garcia.

WHERE: 
United Auto Workers, Local 72
3615 Washington Road
Kenosha, WI 53144

WHEN:
Monday, October 22

Doors open at 1:15 CST.

DETAILS: 
Media planning to attend should RSVP through this link.

This event is free and open to the public but those planning to attend are strongly encouraged to RSVP through this link.

Bryce hits Steil on third-party ads, Republican says he’s run positive campaign

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OAK CREEK — Dem Randy Bryce on Friday knocked his Republican opponent over “nasty, horrible attack ads” levied against him from a national conservative group, as he criticized Bryan Steil’s campaign for “stooping low” to target him.

But Steil countered his campaign has run “positive ads on the issues” highlighting the UW regent’s priorities in the pair’s first debate.

“I think it’s a bit ironic that an individual whose ads received three pinocchios in the Washington Post for being dishonest then claims frustration with dishonest ads,” he said. “I’ve never heard one complaint about an ad that I’ve run.”

The 1st CD debate, which was hosted by WisconsinEye and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, drew a large, rowdy crowd as viewers spilled into the Oak Creek City Council chambers and an additional overflow room. The crowd regularly clapped and yelled out support for their respective candidates, punctuating most answers Bryce or Steil gave with applause and cheers.

Bryce used his opening statement to take issue with the ads from the Congressional Leadership Fund, which is aligned with House GOP leadership and regularly returned to the topic during the course of the event. One recent CLF spot slammed Bryce as a “deadbeat” dad over his delinquent child support payments, prompting his ex-wife, Faye Boudreaux, to write a letter defending him this week and calling for the “attacks” to stop.

In separate media availabilities after the event, Steil said he’s “not focused on all the third-party noise.”

“I’m focused on what I control,” he said. “What I’m doing is putting out a positive message about how we’re going to grow the economy and what policies we need to put in place to continue this econ growth that I’m seeing.”

Meanwhile, Bryce called on Steil to advocate for the negative ads against him to end.

“If he really wants to run a positive campaign that discusses issues, have Paul Ryan, the person that is responsible for these ads, take them down, and let’s talk about issues,” Bryce told reporters after the debate.

During the debate, Steil also repeatedly knocked Bryce for his support of the single-payer “Medicare for All” health care plan. He also cited estimates that have shown it could cost $32.6 trillion over 10 years.

Steil also said he doesn’t support cuts to Social Security and Medicare for seniors who are retired or “approaching retirement age.”

“Social Security is a promise we made to seniors, so is Medicare,” he said. “It’s a promise we made to seniors. It’s a promise we need to keep.”

But he said there’s a need to “analyze the spending side” of the federal government’s budget, likening it to his time at the Board of Regents “holding the line on tuition” by instituting a freeze across the UW System schools, saying the same approach should be taken in Washington, D.C.

Bryce, though, countered he favors a single-payer system because “it’s something that everybody is so deserving of.”

“We’re worth it. And we can’t do anything else unless we are healthy,” he said.

He also called on Steil to urge Gov. Scott Walker to drop the state’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act in order to protect pre-existing conditions.

“If you can’t stand up to Gov. Walker and ask him now, how the heck are you going to go stand up to Donald Trump in Washington, D.C.?” he asked.

Steil didn’t respond. Asked later by WisPolitics.com about his thoughts on the lawsuit and whether he supports it, he repeatedly didn’t answer the question, saying instead he’s “focused on what I can control: policies to lower the cost of health care.”

Bryce repeatedly hit Steil over his background as an attorney for a manufacturer, alleging that Steil’s work lead to the outsourcing of American jobs. The attack was also the subject of a past ad Bryce’s campaign launched against Steil last month.

Painting Steil as a “millionaire” and “corporate attorney,” Bryce alleged Steil “made his money by sending good-paying jobs overseas.”

Steil at one point countered: “I can think of at least nine times where a law degree would’ve come in handy,” referencing the nine times Bryce has been arrested.

But Bryce noted his recent arrests have been because he was “standing up for people.” He was most recently arrested in March along with others for blocking traffic near Ryan’s Racine office. His previous arrests included operating under the influence in Michigan 20 years ago and in 1991 for marijuana possession and property damage.

Watch the debate.

 

 

Caleb Frostman fundraising event hosted by Tim Carpenter, Sen. LaTonya Johnson, and Sen. Chris Larson 🗓

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CALEB FROSTMAN

EVENT HOSTED BY:

SENATOR TIM CARPENTER, SENATOR LATONYA JOHNSON AND SENATOR CHRIS LARSON


EVENT SPONSORED BY:

COUNTY EXECUTIVE CHRIS ABELE

SCHOOL BOARD DIRECTOR LARRY MILLER & ELLEN BRAVO

Adam Abelson & Matt Vendlinski, Angela Lang, Bonnie &

Matt Brusky, County Supervisor Steven Shea & Laura Kukor-Shea,

DNC Member Khary Penebaker, DNC Secretary Jason Rae, Kevin Kane, Kyle & Ruthie Weatherly, Lauren Baker & John Drew, Mike Ro Sen, Representative Jonathan Brostoff, Sandy Pasch, State Representative Chris Sinicki, State Representative David Crowley,

State Representative Evan Goyke

HOST COMMITTEE LEVELS

HOST $500 • SPONSOR $250 • FRIEND $100 SUGGESTED

DONATION: $50

Register for the event

If you’re unable to attend, you can donate online here:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/frostmanmke

Questio ns or to RSV P email [email protected]

Paid for by Caleb Frostman for State Senate

 

In Solidarity,

David Crowley

Representative

Chequamegon Democratic Party: Blasts U.S. Rep. Duffy’s interview on death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

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Press Contact: Eric Lindell (715) 969-4260 [email protected]

Ashland, WI — During a Fox News Interview last Wednesday on ‘Outnumbered Overtime TV Show’ Congressman Sean Duffy (R) of Wisconsin stated about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi that we needed to take a ‘Wait and See’ approach before blaming Saudi Arabia to host Harris Faulkner. “If there was a murder, and we don’t know who did it despite media hysteria and ‘Consulate dismemberment is de-rigueur anyway’ he went on to defend Saudi Arabia as a very close ally.”

Former Republican and Chequamegon Democratic Board Member Eric Lindell responded “It is disgraceful that Congressman Duffy is willing to give Saudi Arabia a free pass simply because it is an ally. Being an ally means at times standing up for our Democratic principles.” We call upon Congressman Duffy to reject President Trumps’ attacks on the media both at home and abroad. “The Republican Party has a history of standing up to tyrannical regimes and defending reporters who were threatened or locked up by their Governments.” – Eric Lindell. “Sadly, we are seeing the GOP retreat from these principles as President Trump singles out the Media as Enemies.”

Chris Reader: Health insurance tax could boost WI premiums by over $370M

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

Wisconsin employers face health insurance premium increases of more than $370 million beginning in 2020 if Congress does not act once again to delay the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) this year.

Introduced as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the HIT is basically a sales tax on health insurance coverage that would hit employers and consumers with higher premiums.

Thanks to bipartisan action by Congress, the HIT was suspended for 2019. But, the one-year moratorium is scheduled to expire and return in 2020, resulting in a new $20.3 billion tax hike, which will mean higher premiums. Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting recently analyzed the projected impact of the HIT on health insurer premiums over the next 10 years and found that premiums are likely to increase 2.2 percent in 2020 and in subsequent years if Congress doesn’t delay or repeal the HIT. In Wisconsin, premiums in 2020 would increase by $372 million:

  • Fully insured large employers and their employees will see premiums increase $458 for family coverage;
  • Fully insured small employers and their employees will see their premiums increase $485 for family coverage;
  • Seniors and disabled individuals in Medicare Advantage plans will see their premiums increase $462 per couple;
  • Consumers in the individual market will see their premiums increase $207 per policy; and
  • State taxpayers will incur an additional cost of $34 million to the State’s Medicaid program.

While no one should have to worry about a preexisting condition denying them access to health care services, it is equally important to understand that increasing taxes does nothing to improve the overall health care system or address the rising costs of care.

Additionally, rising costs in insurance premiums adversely impact the bottom line of all employers that provide health insurance to their employees, diverting funds that could be used to hire and train additional workers or for investments needed for expansion.

Congressional action to delay or repeal the HIT will result in cost savings to businesses, middle-class families and seniors across Wisconsin.

–Chris Reader is the Director of Health & Human Resources Policy at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), the statewide chamber of commerce and manufacturer’s association.

 

Christian Albouras announces candidacy for Madison Common Council District 20

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Christian Albouras is excited to announce his candidacy for District 20 Alder on the Madison Common Council. Christian, his wife Miriah, and their daughter, Nathalia live in the Meadowood Neighborhood where they have established strong roots going back decades. “I am running because I am committed to creating a district and city that looks to the future and provides opportunity for everyone,” Albouras said. “If elected, from day one, I will work to build a broad consensus of community members who are eager to continue the progress that has been made and yet, are ready to do the hard work necessary to meet the challenges we will still face and advocate for the interests of our district residents.”

Albouras has indicated that he will focus on public safety and basic services, youth engagement, education and afterschool programming, and economic development if elected to the Council. He is a member of multiple community organizations and works in Business Development within the credit union industry. Albouras is proud to have the early support of current District 20 Alder Matt Phair. “I’ve known Christian to be a deeply committed, level-headed resident of our district,” Phair said. “His knack of listening to all sides of an issue, while balancing it with strong principles, will serve the district and city
extremely well.”

In addition, other early supporters for Christian’s candidacy, include: City of Madison Mayor, Paul Soglin; Meadowood Neighborhood Association President, Terry Evanson; Madison Common Council Member, Shiva Bidar-Sielaff; Madison Metropolitan School Board Member, Gloria Reyes; Dane County Supervisor, Matt Veldran; Dane County Supervisor, Yogesh Chawla; Former Madison Metropolitan School Board Member, Juan Jose Lopez; Former Madison Metropolitan School Board Member, Bill Clingan; and former Madison Police Department Assistant Chief/Madison Metropolitan School District Safety Coordinator, Luis Yudice.

For more information on how to get involved and support Christian’s campaign, please email [email protected]

Citizen Action of Wisconsin: BadgerCare public option would slash 2019 health insurance costs

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

Kevin Kane (414) 550 8280, [email protected]

Web Link to News Release

New federal data shows allowing Wisconsinites to buy-into Badgercare as a “Public Option” would slash premiums and deductibles

Data also shows gap with Minnesota is widening


STATEWIDE: On a media call Wednesday morning Citizen Action of Wisconsin, with key state lawmakers and the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals, released a new analysis which has major implications for the high profile health care debate in the 2018 election. We were joined on the audio news conference by State Senator LaTonya Johnson and State Rep. Chris Taylor, both members of the powerful Joint Finance Committee which writes the state budget. Listen to the entire audio here.

The analysis, based on just released federal data crunched by Citizen Action, shows that Governor Walker’s refusal to build on the Affordable Care Act is forcing Wisconsinites to pay thousands more for health insurance on the individual market. In some high cost regions of the state, Wisconsin families are paying over $24,000 per year more per year!
The analysis focused on two questions using 2019 premium and deductible data just released by the federal government:

1. How much would Wisconsinites who buy health insurance on their own save if BadgerCare was made a public option? Governor Walker and the majority in the Legislature have refused to take action on the popular proposal introduced by legislative Democrats. Challenger Tony Evers supports the BadgerCare public option proposal.

2. How much more will Wisconsinites who buy insurance on their own pay next year than their counterparts in Minnesota? Minnesota, unlike Wisconsin, has consistently built upon the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

For both questions, the analysis used as its baseline consumers who make too much to qualify for federal tax credits, and therefore pay their entire health insurance premium.

Key Findings for 2019 (for consumers who pay the full premium)

  • Wisconsinites who buy insurance on their own would pay premiums and deductibles on average 32.5% less if a BadgerCare Public Option were available. This means they would pay on average $3,685 less for the same level of coverage (see Figure 2).

  • Wisconsinites on the individual insurance market will face premiums and deductibles 50% higher on average than their counterparts in Minnesota. This means paying a state average of $3,781 more per year for the same level of coverage. For some Wisconsin border regions, the disparity is even greater (see Figure 3).

  • Enacting a BadgerCare Public Option would have an even more dramatic impact for a family of four, saving as much as over $24,000 in premiums and deductibles over private health insurance (see Figure 4).

[See full results below]

Governor Walker has heavily touted his reinsurance plan which was passed earlier this year, but a Citizen Action analysis of independent research shows it does not make up for the cost of his sabotage of the ACA.

The data in this report shows the BadgerCare Public Option would be much more effective than Walker’s policies in making individual market health insurance affordable. The BadgerCare Public Option Bill (Assembly Bill 449/Senate Bill 363), authored by State Rep. Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay) and State Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee), would give Wisconsinites the option of purchasing BadgerCare on the Affordable Care Act marketplace. This option would be especially attractive to people who buy coverage on their own without a tax credit, and to small businesses.

“These findings document that many hard pressed Wisconsin families are paying a heavy price for Governor Walker’s failed health care policies,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “It is clear that a Governor and a Legislature who constructively use the power of state government could make health coverage significantly more affordable for people across Wisconsin.”

“Providing a BadgerCare Public Option would help ensure that the rising cost of healthcare is being addressed,” said State Senator LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee), a member of the powerful Joint Finance Committee and the Senate author of the BadgerCare Public Option bill. “No matter where Wisconsinites work, where they live, what they make or what pre-existing condition they have this would ensure that BadgerCare could be available as an option to them.”

“At every opportunity, Governor Walker has sought to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. The lawsuit right now by Governor Walker and Attorney General Brad Schimel would get rid of the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions for example”, said State Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison), a member of the powerful Joint Finance Committee. “Why on earth would you not want to save money and cover more people at the same time?”

“Everyday our nurses see people who come into the emergency room so much sicker than if high deductibles did not compel them to delay or avoid care,” said Candice Owley, RN, President of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals. “These is life and death choices, not just a political choice. The largest reason for bankruptcy is medical debt, and the BadgerCare Public Option could help that by protecting patients when a unexpected medical bill arises.”

“In 2014, for the first time in years, the health insurance costs for our family business fell below $1,000 month as insurers could no longer price discriminate my husband’s preexisting condition,” said Sharon Harris, a small business owner from Brookfield. “We are very supportive of the ACA but now, because of the sabotages, we are now paying more for health coverage than our mortgage. It feels like we’re living paycheck to paycheck. We strongly believe a BadgerCare Public Option could help our business and family.”

Figure 1: BadgerCare Public Option Cost, 2019 figures

Annual, Adults*

Annual, Child*

Statewide estimate

$7,632

$2,388

* – Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimate of a BadgerCare Public Option buy-in. Public Option figures above does not have any deductible, unlike private insurance.

Figure 2: Current 2019 Premiums & Deductibles, 2nd lowest cost silver for 40 year old, by Metro, and Extra Annual Cost Over BadgerCare Public Option of Private Insurance

County

2019 Premiums & Deductibles, private plans on Healthcare.gov*

BadgerCare Public Option, percent vs private coverage, Annual**

Dollar amount over BadgerCare Public Option for Private Insurance, Annual

Statewide***

$11,317 per year, premiums & deductibles

32.5% less per person annually if enrolled in the Public Option

$3,685 saved per year if enrolled in Public Option

Eau Claire

$12,501

39.0% less

$4,870 per year

La Crosse

$12,215

37.5% less

$4,583 per year

Milwaukee

$12,100

36.9% less

$4,469 per year

Kenosha/Racine

$12,087

36.9% less

$4,456 per year

Superior

$11,988

35.4% less

$4,190 per year

Rhinelander

$11,915

35.9% less

$4,283 per year

Wausau

$11,841

35.5% less

$4,210 per year

Green Bay

$11,821

35.4% less

$4,190 per year

Appleton

$10,871

29.8% less

$3,239 per year

Oshkosh

$10,871

29.8% less

$3,239 per year

Madison

$9,597

20.5% less

$1,966 per year

Fond du lac

$9,406

18.9% less

$1,774 per year

Janesville/Beloit

$8,912

14.4% less

$1,281 per year

* – 2nd Lowest silver plan for a 40 year old, 12 months of premiums and deductible, Healthcare.gov

** – based on annual BadgerCare Public Option estimate for premiums & deductibles, Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Oct 2018

*** – weighted average determined by county population estimates

Click here for data for all 72 Wisconsin Counties

Figure 3: Comparison of Major Metros, Wisconsin vs Minnesota, 2nd lowest cost Silver plan, 40 year old individual, 12 months premiums and deductibles

Area

Benchmark Silver Plan, Percent Difference*

Benchmark Silver Plan, Dollar Difference*

Statewide, Wisconsin vs Minnesota**

50% higher in Wisconsin, premiums & deductibles

+3,781 more per year in Wisconsin, on average ($11,317 vs $7,536)

La Crosse, WI vs La Crescent, MN (border cities)

27% higher in La Crosse

+$2,618 more per year in La Crosse ($12,215 vs $9,596)

Superior, WI vs Duluth, MN (border cities)

69.8% higher in Superior

+$4,929 more per year in Superior ($11,988 vs $7,058)

Hudson, WI vs Lakeland, MN (border cities)

47% higher in Hudson

+$3,110 more per year in Hudson ($9,715 vs $6,604)

Milwaukee, WI vs Minneapolis, MN (major metros)

64% higher in Milwaukee

+$4,733 more per year in Milwaukee ($12,100 vs $7,367)

Madison, WI vs St Paul, MN (State Capitals)

31% more in Madison

+$2,297 more per year in Madison ($9,597 vs $7,300)

* – comparison of 2nd lowest cost Silver health plan, premiums and deductibles, for 40 year old vs Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimate of a BadgerCare Public Option buy-in. Private rates gathered from Healthcare.gov

** – Weighted average based on county population in each state, looking at 12 months premiums & annual deductible for 40 year old. MN rates gathered from MNSure.org

Figure 4: The Cost of Private Insurance for a Family of Four, premiums and deductibles, over the BadgerCare Public Option; 2019 rates, 2nd lowest cost silver, by Metro.

Metro Area

Cost of Private Plan Over BadgerCare Public Option Per Year, Family of Four*

Annual Cost of Private Coverage vs Public Option, Family of Four*

Eau Claire

3.4x higher per year than BadgerCare Public Option

+$24,204 in annual premiums & deductibles

La Crosse / Milwaukee / Superior

3.3x higher

+$23,049

Rhinelander / Kenosha / Racine / Wausau

3.2x higher

+$22,328

Green Bay

3.1x higher

+$21,371

Appleton / Sheboygan

3x higher

+$19,948

Hudson

2.7x higher

+$17,451

Fond Du Lac

2.6x higher

+$15,864

Madison

2.5x higher

+$14,680

Janesville

2.3x higher

+$13,089

* – Based on annual premiums and deductibles for a Family of Four by county, with two 40-year old adults and two 10-year old children, gathered from Healthcare.gov. BadgerCare Public Option costs gathered from 2018 Legislative Fiscal Bureau Memo

Web Link to News Release

Contact: 

Robert Kraig
he/him/his (what’s this)
Executive Director 
Citizen Action of Wisconsin
221 S. 2nd St., Suite 300
Milwaukee, WI 53204
(414) 322-5324 (mobile)

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is Proud to be a Union Employer,
 OPEIU Local 9, AFL-CIO

Citizen Action of Wisconsin: Vukmir makes alternate reality claim that pre-existing condition discrimination was never a problem

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For Immediate Release– October 9, 2018

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

In U.S. Senate debate Vukmir makes stunningly false claim that pre-existing conditions discrimination was not an issue before passage of the Affordable Care Act

Milwaukee: In a debate Monday evening U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir made the startling assertion that before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions was prevented by federal law. This shockingly false claim contradicts both the historical record and the lived experiences of thousands of Wisconsinites who were subjected to discrimination before the ACA made it illegal.

In the debate Vukmir made the following statement (starting at the 6:30 mark in the video)

“She [Baldwin] talks about pre-existing conditions, do understand what happens? Under federal law right now, and Senator Baldwin I don’t know if it is because you are ignorant of this or if it’s because you are trying to decieve people on this pre-existing condition issue, but here is the real issue. Under federal law before ObamaCare people with pre-existing conditions were covered, they were covered under Medicare, Medicaid, and they were also covered under their private insurance through their employer. If ObamaCare goes away today guess what people will still have coverage for pre-existing conditions. So Senator Baldwin is lying, she is lying to the people of the state, this is the big lie that is being perpetuated across the country about pre-existing conditions. Look I would fall in front of truck before I would let people go without coverage for pre-existing conditions.”

In Leah Vukmir’s alternative reality the issue of pre-existing condition discrimination, which has been a top tier public issue for over a decade, turns out to have been “a big lie” all along. Never mind the fact that public outrage of pre-existing condition discrimination is one of the principle reasons the ACA passed in the first place and that Republicans in Congress and President Trump failed in their attempt to repeal it last year. Never mind all of the cancer survivors and many others with serious or chronic health conditions across Wisconsin who have told their heart wrenching stories of the bad old days when they were denied health coverage when they needed it most.

The fact is that before the passage of the ACA, it was legal for health insurance corporations selling on the individual market to deny coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions, charge them discriminatory rates, carve out parts of the body that would not be covered, sell substandard insurance that did not cover expensive health conditions, and impose lifetime and annual limits. It was also legal to charge discriminatory prices to small businesses who had a single employee with a health condition.

In August Citizen Action of Wisconsin asked both U.S. Senate candidates to sign a pledge to protect people with pre-existing conditions. Senator Baldwin signed the pledge, while Vukmir never responded to our request.

“Leah Vukmir’s claim that pre-existing condition discrimination was never a problem would be laughable if it were not so dangerous to the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “How can voters trust Vukmir to protect people from pre-existing condition discrimination when she denies that it ever existed?”

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

Citizens’ Council For Health Freedom: Pre-existing condition mandate is the cornerstone of socialized medicine

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CONTACT:
Deborah Hamilton, Hamilton Strategies, [email protected], 610.584.1096, ext. 102, or Patrick Benner, ext. 104

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The majority of voters will have health care on their minds when they vote next Tuesday.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation Election Tracking Poll, 71 percent of voters say health care is a “very important” issue for the midterm elections. In fact, about a third (30 percent) say it is the “most important” issue.

With health care a crucial election matter, Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF) wants to make sure Americans are informed about what a candidate’s support for a mandate to cover uninsurable pre-existing condition means for the future of health care costs, access and quality.

“Americans must not cast their vote based on the pre-existing condition issue,” said CCHF president and co-founder Twila Brase. “The entire premise of socialized medicine is government-mandated coverage for pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, Americans who support pre-existing condition coverage often don’t know they are supporting socialized medicine and, with it, higher costs, decreased access to services, delays, denials and reduced quality of care. True insurance indemnifies against the risk of getting a condition. Therefore, candidates who support government-mandated coverage for uninsurable pre-existing conditions support socialism and government control of doctors and hospitals. We should solve the uninsurable, pre-existing condition problem, not use it to socialize medicine.”

Brase noted that most states—35 in all—had affordable, popular plans for people with uninsurable conditions until Obamacare outlawed them. The Obamacare mandate to cover uninsurable conditions eliminated real insurance and made premiums unaffordable and unattractive.

“Unfortunately, Republicans do not seem to know how to argue against the pre-existing condition mandate,” she said. “They may be too focused on coverage and not focused enough on care. It’s easy to say yes to covering everything and politically difficult to explain why government-mandated coverage for uninsurable conditions is a bad idea for patients, medical excellence and health freedom. I’ve yet to hear them tell Americans that the pre-existing condition mandate is the cornerstone of socialized medicine and the cornerstone of Obamacare. I’ve yet to hear them argue that, as in Canada and England, many of the covered will find it difficult to access the chronic and catastrophic care they need under a socialized medicine scheme.”

True insurance no longer exists because of the pre-existing uninsurable condition mandate, Brase added. In its place is the health plan, a corporate version of socialized medicine set up to centralize data, decisions and dollars, with the authority to ration care.

“The real answer is to uninsurable pre-existing conditions is to move away from the cause of them,” Brase continued. “Pre-existing conditions emerge primarily from aging out of family coverage or losing employer-sponsored coverage. We should move away from employer-sponsored coverage and family coverage and return to individual insurance, preferably for a lifetime and purchased before birth by parents for the child.  Tax equity would be a great place to start. Give everyone the same tax break employers get so the market for individual policies grows. Then repeal the ACA’s prohibition on catastrophic indemnity policies. And then encourage indemnity companies to sell parents individual policies for their pre-born child—policies that can last a lifetime. And then encourage and expand charity options for care for those who truly need it.”

Besides discussing the downfalls of socialized medicine and the conundrum of uninsurable conditions, Brase’s new book, “Big Brother in the Exam Room: The Dangerous Truth About Electronic Health Records,” published this summer by Beaver’s Pond Press, also exposes how and why Congress forced doctors and hospitals to install a data-collecting, command-and-control surveillance system in the exam room. “Big Brother in the Exam Room,” already in its second printing with hundreds of backorders logged, also shines light on the “HIPAA deception” and includes the negative impact of EHRs on privacy, personalized care, costs, patient safety and more, according to doctors and data from more than 125 studies. Learn more at www.BigBrotherInTheExamRoom.com.

For more information about CCHF, visit www.cchfreedom.org, its Facebook page or its Twitter feed @CCHFreedom. Read more about “Big Brother in the Exam Room” here, and view the media page for CCHF here. For more about CCHF’s free-market, cash-based care initiative, The Wedge of Health Freedom, visit www.JointheWedge.comThe Wedge Facebook page or follow The Wedge on Twitter @wedgeoffreedom.

City of Milwaukee: Michael Rosen, Calvin Shields, Jr. named winners of the 2018 Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award

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Contact: Ald. Bauman
(414) 286-3774

City of Milwaukee: Michael Rosen, Calvin Shields, Jr. named winners of the 2018 Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award

Dr. Michael D. Rosen, a longtime elected labor leader, community activist and education advocate, and Calvin Shields, Jr., a veteran and a fighter for veterans issues for nearly four decades, have been named the 2018 recipients of the Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award.

Dr. Rosen and Mr. Shields will be presented with the Zeidler award during a special ceremony on Tuesday, October 16 at 8:30 a.m. in the third floor Vel R. Phillips Ante Chamber(prior to the start of the regular meeting of the Common Council) at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St. Media coverage is invited.

Dr. Rosen moved to Milwaukee in 1970 after receiving his undergraduate degree in economics from UW-Madison, where he had been actively involved on campus in anti-racism movements and protests to end the war in Vietnam. He immersed himself in union and progressive political activities such as the fight to save the Meat Cutters Union, the movement to preserve jobs for Smith Steelworkers, and he offered leadership to the coalition for Justice for Ernest Lacy (Mr. Lacy was an unarmed black man who died in police custody in 1981).

Dr. Rosen worked as an economics instructor at MATC for 28 years and served 17 years as the elected president of American Federation of Teachers Local 212 to ensure that MATC, as a publicly-funded institution, did not lose funding for programs relied upon by students and faculty. Additionally, he has extensive community volunteer experience, and has also written numerous papers and given speeches on the economy both in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin.

In 2005 Dr. Rosen was appointed by Governor Jim Doyle to serve on the Wisconsin Technical College System Board of Directors. The state Senate rejected his appointment. The only other gubernatorial appointee to be rejected by the Senate had been Mayor Frank Zeidler in the late 1960s. Like Frank Zeidler, Michael Rosen is an outspoken opponent of racism who embraces the multi-cultural diversity Milwaukee has to offer.

Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award
Since his retirement from MATC and the presidency of Local 212, Dr. Rosen has actively promoted the union’s FAST Fund, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to MATC students experiencing economic emergencies. Last year the Fund assisted 90 students, 40 of whom were homeless or facing eviction, thereby enabling them to keep a roof over their heads and stay in school.

“Mike Rosen has been a selfless and committed advocate for social justice and union representation, serving the Milwaukee community for nearly 50 years and helping to make history by contributing to social change. His lengthy record of service to the community and to others makes him an ideal recipient of the Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award,” said Alderman Robert J. Bauman, chair of the Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award Selection Committee.

Calvin Shields Jr. served in the United States Army from 1961-1965.  In 1970, he joined an organization which is now known as the National Association for Black Veterans (NABVETS). This organization led him to the Veterans Administration Regional Office in Milwaukee where he spent the next 38 years working to help veterans.

Mr. Shields was known to take on the toughest cases in which veterans, widows and their children were denied benefits. He has always had an immense passion for veterans and would allow them to stay at his house before their hearings so they could become comfortable with the strategies in their cases. Through his years at the VA, Mr. Shields met the needs of veterans who developed mental and physical disabilities, and he helped victims of Agent Orange, those with Post-Traumatic Stress and less than honorable discharges, sought amnesty for Vietnam era veterans and assisted homeless veterans and with many other veterans’ concerns.

Mr. Shields retired from the VA in 2010 and received an award from then Governor Doyle for outstanding achievements for his service to the community and veterans. After retiring from the VA, Mr. Shields went back to work for the National Association of Black Veterans where he has worked for the last eight years.

Arthur Heitzer, vice-chair of the Selection Committee, said Mr. Shields provided selfless service and dedication to fellow veterans who “would be in danger of falling through the cracks of the very society they were called on to serve.”  “Calvin Shields, Jr. followed his own military service by working tirelessly to fulfill his belief that African American veterans should not be treated as second class citizens when they returned home from war to their families and communities. Both at the VA and as a volunteer he battled effectively to help those who risked life, limb and mental well-being in military service. His skill and tenacity overturned many unjust denials that faced his clients during his 38 years at the VA, but Mr. Shields also literally worked above and beyond the call of duty by returning to work with NABVETS in the last eight years since his retirement from the VA. That outstanding record of service clearly entitles him to receive the Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award,” Mr. Heitzer said.

Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award
Please go to www.city.Milwaukee.gov/zeidlerawards to learn more about the Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award. To inquire about nominating someone for the award please contact Joanna Polanco at 414-286-2366 or [email protected].

City of Racine: Racine and Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps announce project to reinvestment in city neighborhood 🗓

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Contact: Shannon Powell
262.636.9266
[email protected]

City of Racine: Racine and Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps announce project to reinvestment in city neighborhood
Blighted Property to Receive New Single Family Home

Racine – Mayor Cory Mason, the City of Racine and the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps (GLCCC) announce a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the construction of a new single-family home located along Illinois Street in Racine. The property at 1432 Illinois Street will be the first new home constructed in the neighborhood in more than fifty years ago. The new home will serve as a training site for Racine’s young adults to learn hands-on skills in the building trades under the direction of professional contractors.

Join Mayor Cory Mason, Alderman Jason Meekma, County Treasurer Jane Nikolai, and Chris Litzau of the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps
Monday, October 29th, 2018
1432 Illinois Street
Racine, WI
2:00 pm

Committee votes to keep deer farm fencing rule, scraps measure restricting carcass movement

Deer farms will continue to be subject to additional fencing requirements under a new emergency rule aimed at curbing chronic wasting disease after lawmakers declined to undo the provision.

But members of the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules opted to nix another set of requirements under the Department of Natural Resources rule that had placed prohibitions on the movement of deer carcasses from CWD-affected counties.

The committee’s votes yesterday evening came after some six hours of public testimony on the rule, which went into effect that same day.

Committee lawmakers had the option to suspend all or parts of the rule, as well as put forth legislative language codifying that suspension. Under the administrative rules process, the rule will stay partially suspended until the legislation is taken up or rejected by the full Legislature next session.

Members yesterday voted 6-4 along party lines to eliminate the provision of the rule that barred hunters from being able to transport deer carcasses harvested in CWD-affected areas out of the county, though there were some carve-outs for moving the full deer and quartering the carcass.

And they voted 6-4 to uphold additional fencing requirements for certain white-tailed deer farms that have had deer that tested positive for CWD. Those farms have to add either a second 8-foot fence or a “solid perimeter fence.” Meanwhile, deer farms without a CWD-positive hit are also required to add three strands of electric fence to their existing 8-foot tall fences.

Two Republicans — Sens. Duey Stroebel and Devin LeMahieu — joined the committee’s four Dems in voting to kill a motion to suspend the new fencing requirements.

Both Stroebel and LeMahieu said keeping in place that requirement — under which the white-tailed deer farms have to complete the additional fencing by October 2019 — would compel the Legislature to act on the issue and CWD more broadly come January.

“In the end, I support the governor on this,” said Stroebel, R-Saukville. Gov. Scott Walker had proposed the rule last May.

But other GOP committee members argued maintaining the rule would mean some deer farms would go out of business due to the costs of implementing new fencing.

“It’s very easy to tell your neighbor to build a fence when you yourself don’t have to pay for it,” Co-chair Sen. Steve Nass said. “We don’t know if fencing will help (curb the spread of CWD). We don’t know, but we’re going to tell deer farms anyway they have to build a fence.”

Still, others countered the Legislature could appropriate funding to help deer farmers cover those costs, while DNR could work toward a more flexible implementation timeline.

“We are in the driver’s seat right here,” said Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie.

See more on the debate in yesterday’s PM Update:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/mon-pm-update-new-independent-expenditures-committee-considers-scrapping-cwd-rule/

By Briana Reilly

Congressional Leadership Fund in new ad calls Randy Bryce ‘deadbeat’ dad

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The conservative Congressional Leadership Fund released a new ad in the 1st CD slamming Dem candidate Randy Bryce for being a “deadbeat dad.”

The 30-second spot opens with a vintage photo of a mother and her infant child as a female narrator says, “I know what it’s like to raise two kids as a single mom, and so does my daughter.”

The screen then includes photos of a young woman with a small child before the video transitions to a shot of the narrator, identified as Nancy Douglass of Silver Lake, who looks directly at the camera as she says that it’s a “struggle” to get the father of her daughter’s child to pay child support.

“Randy Bryce did the same thing to his own family,” the narrator says as the screen flashes to mug shots of Bryce with text that reads,” delinquent on paying his child support for nearly two years.”

“Putting the mother of his child in that position, it’s inexcusable,” the narrator says.

“Randy Bryce is a deadbeat, he’s not fit to serve in Congress.”

Congressional Progressive Caucus: Releases statement demanding removal of CFPB fair lending chief

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Contact: Ron Boehmer 202-225-2906

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), today called on Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Mick Mulvaney, to fire Eric Blankenstein, a high level appointee at CFPB tasked with enforcing anti-discrimination laws, following the Washington Post’s recent report detailing Blankenstein’s history of racist and sexist writing.

In written comments on a political blog, Blankenstein argued the use of racial slurs does not constitute racism and he claimed that hate crime “hoaxes” are “three times as prevalent as actual hate crimes.” He also reportedly authored extremist comments stating that women “f— someone [they] shouldn’t have” and use abortion to “get rid of the problem” but men can’t.

“The Trump Administration continues to appoint individuals to the highest posts in our government who show hostility toward racial minorities, women, and other marginalized groups. Everything points to this individual being the exact opposite of someone that can be counted on to enforce fair lending laws. Eric Blankenstein should be removed from this post immediately,” said Pocan and Grijalva. “Employees of the CFPB are now faced with a tense and threatening work environment. The toxic and hateful comments written by Eric Blakenstein would not be tolerated in American workplaces and certainly should not be acceptable when made by top government officials charged with protecting the interests of consumers.”

Congressional Progressive Caucus: Urges withdrawal of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination and vows to exercise house oversight on perjury allegations

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Contact: Geoff Nolan 202-740-7030

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), along with CPC First Vice Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) led a letter to President Trump calling for the withdrawal of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The group of 39 Democrats, including eight CPC Members who serve on the House Judiciary Committee, further committed to exercising constitutional oversight to investigate evidence of possible perjury committed by Judge Kavanaugh. Lying under oath to the Senate would be a federal crime.

In light of Dr. Blasey Ford’s “extremely serious and credible allegation that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her,” wrote the Representatives, “we join Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, women’s rights advocates, and millions of Americans in urging you to withdraw Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.” The signatories cite numerous instances of dishonest Senate testimony made by Judge Kavanaugh under oath “on matters both trivial and significant.”

“Given the urgency to ensure that a seat on the highest court of the country is not afforded to a nominee of dubious character with a record of possible perjury,” argue the Members of Congress, “we wish to express our commitment to exercising our constitutional oversight authorities—using subpoena powers if necessary—to obtain the full record of Judge Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush Administration, only roughly 10 percent of which have been available to the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

“If a careful examination of the entire scope of his legal history—thus far withheld from the Senate—demonstrates that Mr. Kavanaugh lied under oath,” conclude the Representatives, “the constitutionally prescribed remedy would be impeachment proceedings.”

Read the full letter below:

October 4, 2018

President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

In light of Dr. Blasey Ford’s September 27th sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the extremely serious and credible allegation that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, we join Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, women’s rights advocates, and millions of Americans in urging you to withdraw Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. Judge Kavanaugh’s credibility has been fatally undermined by his dodging of calls for a FBI investigation into sexual misconduct, and his aggressive, evasive and overtly partisan reactions during his September 27th Senate hearing.

Judge Kavanaugh has made misleading statements under oath on a variety of highly questionable actions and episodes. For example, he likely misled the Senate about his alleged involvement in Bush-era warrantless surveillance, the administration’s legal rationale for torture and indefinite detention, his knowledge of the sexual misconduct claims levied against disgraced former Judge Alex Kozinski, the use of stolen Senate nomination documents, and the role he played in the nomination of controversial Judge Pickering to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Given the urgency to ensure that a seat on the highest court of the country is not afforded to a nominee of dubious character with a record of possible perjury, we wish to express our commitment to exercising our constitutional oversight authorities—using subpoena powers if necessary—to obtain the full record of Judge Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush Administration, only roughly 10 percent of which have been available to the Senate Judiciary Committee. If a careful examination of the entire scope of his legal history—thus far withheld from the Senate—demonstrates that Mr. Kavanaugh lied under oath, the constitutionally prescribed remedy would be impeachment proceedings.

We remind you that the process to seat Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court—in effect, a promotion—does not follow the norms or evidentiary standards of a criminal trial, such as proof beyond reasonable doubt of an allegation. Numerous credible accusations of serious misconduct and reasonable inquiries by Senators have provoked statements by Judge Kavanaugh that can only be viewed as dishonest, outlandish, or inappropriate on matters both trivial and significant. The credibility and reputation of the country’s highest judicial body is at stake. We urge you to withdraw Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Sincerely,

[Members of Congress]

DAGA releases new ad attacking Schimel for failing to protect children

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The Democratic Attorneys General Association’s new TV ad knocks Republican AG Brad Schimel for not doing enough to protect children.

The 30-second spot is from the WI People’s Lawyer Project, a DAGA arm. The group’s filing shows it spent about $807,000 on the buy, which will run through Election Day.

The spot begins with a grayed-out photo of a young girl and a female narrator who says, “Their safety is his responsibility, but Attorney General Brad Schimel repeatedly cut plea deals for men who sexually assaulted children,” as the screen changes to show a split screen with Schimel and block text that reads, “Plea deals for sexual predators,” accompanied by a list of case numbers.

The narrator then claims Schimel “blamed underage victims of sexual assault for their quote bad judgement” as the screen shows footage of another young girl.

The screen next pans to footage of Schimel talking to another man as the narrator claims a man accused of keeping child pornography “gave thousands of dollars to Schimel’s campaign.”

“That man got a plea deal just days after Schimel took office,” the narrator says.

“For their safety, vote ‘no’ on Schimel,” the narrator adds to close the spot.

Dairy Business Association: Endorses Gov. Scott Walker for re-election

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Contact: Jamie Mara, director of public relations
Dairy Business Association
(920) 209-3990 | [email protected]

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Dairy Business Association announced today its support for Gov. Scott Walker in his bid to lead Wisconsin as governor for another four years.

“Governor Walker has been and continues to be committed to moving Wisconsin’s dairy community forward,” DBA board member Tom Crave said. “He continues to present bold initiatives to make sure Wisconsin will always be America’s Dairyland.”

Walker understands that dairy farmers need a government that supports their needs to be successful, said Crave, a dairy farmer and cheese processor in Waterloo, Wis.

Crave said Walker strives to ensure that farmers have a state regulatory system that provides certainty and predictability so Wisconsin can remain the premier dairy state.

“Governor Walker has been instrumental in keeping our regulatory agencies in check and accountable to the farms, businesses and communities in our state,” Crave said.

Walker was first elected as governor in 2010, won a recall election in 2012 and was re-elected in 2014.

In his tenure as governor, he has championed numerous efforts to ensure the dairy community will remain an economic driver for the state and our rural communities.

Notably, Walker:

  • Backed 2011 Act 21 to allow for an open and transparent rulemaking process that has been essential in sustaining a workable regulatory environment.
  • Worked to open up more markets for dairy farmers, which has led to increased exports for Wisconsin farmers.
  • Worked to protect farmers’ investments in their farms and their ability to pass them down to the next generation.
  • Created a program to help start and fund farmer-led watershed initiatives throughout the state.
  • In the last year, put forward a proposal to make the permitting program for larger farms in Wisconsin more effective.
  • Most recently, created the Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 to take a comprehensive look at what can be done to maintain a healthy dairy economy for years to come.

Walker is facing Tony Evers in the Nov. 6 election.

Photos: 

Click here for a photo of DBA’s Tom Crave and Gov. Scott Walker at an endorsement event Oct. 18 in Manitowoc, Wis.

Caption:

Tom Crave (right), a board member of the Dairy Business Association, announces the group’s support of Gov. Scott Walker (left) for re-election. Also pictured is Dan Meyer, president of the Manitowoc County Farm Bureau.

Tweet about this: Dairy policy group @DBAWisconsin supports @ScottWalker for another term as governor

Follow DBA on Twitter @DBAWisconsin

About the DBA:

The Dairy Business Association is a nonprofit organization comprised of Wisconsin dairy farmers, milk processors, vendors and business partners who work to ensure that Wisconsin dairy farmers of all sizes have the support they need to thrive in the state’s economy, communities and food supply chain. The integrated approach is a unique model that fosters collaboration and innovation for the collective good. The association’s core work is advocating for sensible state laws and regulations that affect the dairy community. For more information, visit www.widba.com.

Dairy Business Association: Endorses legislative candidates

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Image

Contact: Jamie Mara, director of public relations
Dairy Business Association
920 209-3990 | [email protected]

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Dairy Business Association today endorsed candidates in a number of races for seats in the state Legislature.

All of the candidates have demonstrated dedication to supporting Wisconsin’s dairy community, said John Holevoet, director of government affairs for the dairy policy group. 

“The state needs legislative leaders who understand the importance of the dairy community to the economy and our rural communities,” Holevoet said. “The candidates we are supporting show an understanding of our key issues and a commitment to addressing them.”

DBA earlier announced its support for Gov. Scott Walker and Atty. Gen. Brad Schimel for re-election.

Click here for a complete list of legislative candidates DBA is supporting.

Tweet about this: Dairy policy group @DBAWisconsin announces state legislative endorsements  

Follow DBA on Twitter @DBAWisconsin

About the DBA:

The Dairy Business Association is a nonprofit organization comprised of Wisconsin dairy farmers, milk processors, vendors and business partners who work to ensure that Wisconsin dairy farmers of all sizes have the support they need to thrive in the state’s economy, communities and food supply chain. The integrated approach is a unique model that fosters collaboration and innovation for the collective good. The association’s core work is advocating for sensible state laws and regulations that affect the dairy community. For more information, visit www.widba.com.

Dane Co. Exec Parisi: Announces historic partnership with MGE, unveils 2019 county budget proposal

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Contact: Casey Slaughter Becker, 608-267-8823

Budget Advances Dane County’s Leadership in Renewables, Cuts Property Taxes, Makes
$42 Million Investment in Infrastructure, Including Terminal Expansion at Airport

MADISON – Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, joined by Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Keebler, announced a historic partnership with the investor-owned utility that will create the largest solar farm in Dane County, and one of the largest solar projects in the State of Wisconsin.

The solar farm project will feature the installation of over 20,000 solar panels on 41 acres of land located at the Dane County Regional Airport (DCRA). The project is anticipated to generate approximately 8 megawatts (MW) of renewable power – one-quarter of the energy demand from all county-owned facilities – and three times more MW than the largest solar project currently operating in the region, a 2.25 MW facility in Rock County.

The project was made possible through a historic partnership with MGE, made official through a signed memorandum of understanding. MGE will own the solar infrastructure that is installed on DCRA land leased by MGE from the County. The development is a key component in achieving Dane County government’s 100% renewable electricity goal.

“Dane County is a nationally-recognized leader in renewable energy adoption and innovation. From the hardest-working landfill in the state, to what will be one of the largest solar farms in the state, I’m proud of the progress we’ve made,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This historic solar farm will help increase local clean energy jobs, reduce carbon emissions, and reduce the tax burden on Dane County residents through lower energy bills.”

“MGE welcomes the opportunity to partner at the County’s request on this solar project and supports its efforts to achieve 100% renewable energy for its facilities,” said MGE Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Keebler. “MGE has the goal of reducing carbon emissions at least 80% by 2050, which is an internationally recognized benchmark. This partnership is a model for advancing clean energy solutions. By working together, we can reach our respective goals for those we serve.”

This project is being proposed under MGE’s new Renewable Energy Rider, which gives MGE and large energy users the opportunity to partner to tailor a renewable energy solution to meet a customer’s needs. The innovative model is one way to grow renewable energy in our community. This project builds upon our long-standing partnership, purchasing electricity generated at the Dane County Landfill and from a manure digester.

Under MGE’s Energy 2030 framework for a more sustainable future, the company is targeting carbon dioxide emissions reductions of at least 40% by 2030 from 2005 levels, which is consistent with U.S. emissions targets established as part of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Beyond 2030, MGE is committed to at least an 80% reduction in carbon by 2050. To reach these goals, MGE is growing its use of renewable energy, engaging customers around energy efficiency and facilitating the electrification of transportation, all of which are key strategies identified by the United States for deep decarbonization.

Overhead video and photos of the future solar farm parcel are available for download at this link: bit.ly/msnsolar

Dane County currently owns more solar than any other public entity in the state with nearly 600 kW at 15 facilities across the county. The solar farm project will be the third solar installation at the Dane County Regional Airport. It will also double as a boost to pollinator habitat for dwindling monarch and honey-bee populations.

Before construction can begin approvals are needed from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC). If approved, construction of the project is expected to begin in 2019. The project will employ local electricians and construction workers. Dane County is second only to Milwaukee County in the number of solar jobs in Wisconsin, with more than 460 people employed in the solar industry.

The announcement coincided with the unveiling of the County Executive’s 2019 Dane County Budget proposal, which contains the smallest levy increase in Parisi’s tenure as County Executive, lowers property taxes for Dane County residents, further advances the County’s leadership in the adoption and use of renewable energy, makes historic investments in the county’s infrastructure, including a significant expansion at the Dane County Regional Airport, and continues Dane County’s robust support for human services.

Continued Commitment to Renewable Energy

Parisi’s budget will include $435,000 for the creation of Dane County’s first “Clean, Green Park,” investing in solar enhancements to Lake Farm County Park that will completely power the Lussier Family Heritage Center and campsites, and heat water for showers. A separate, $30,000 solar installation, is proposed for Dane County’s parks offices on Robertson Road.

In addition, the County’s Climate Change Director, Keith Reopelle, is in ongoing conversations with both Alliant Energy and Madison Gas and Electric to partner on installing electric car charging stations at county parks such as Lake Farm, Token Creek, Indian Lake, and McCarthy County Parks.

The County Executive’s 2019 budget continues the county’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and confronting the reality of climate change as well. The budget includes $50,000 for the Dane County Office on Climate Change to complete its modeling work and final report on how our community can best reduce carbon emissions, in partnership with its Dane County Climate Change Council. When finished, this roadmap to sustainability will be a guide not just for county government but also the business community, homeowners, and other local governments.

There’s growing evidence of the impact bio-digesters have on not only improving water quality but also reducing carbon emissions. Digesters in the Mendota watershed are an integral part of work underway to clean the Yahara Lakes. An analysis is currently underway to recommend where additional digesters could be located to best manage manure run-off. To support the findings of this study, Parisi’s 2019 budget includes $200,000 to help prepare design specifications for additional digesters shared by farms in sensitive watersheds.

Combined with Dane County’s construction of a new bio-gas plant at its landfill, the day is nearing where gas generated from manure will be turned into millions of dollars a year in revenue for Dane County and its digester partners. These are the most exciting times yet for the role technology can play at reducing run-off, while preserving multi-generational dairy farms, a livelihood that is facing the greatest economic challenges it has experienced in decades.

Pioneering CNG use in Dane County government is supported in the 2019 budget proposal as well. By this time next year, half the county’s fleet of highway trucks (plows) will run on compressed natural gas. $1 million in system upgrades included in the budget will enable the county’s CNG fleet vehicles to fuel up at more county highway facilities, including an expansion of the bio-gas CNG storage and filling capabilities at the East District Campus. The upgrades will mean quicker turn-arounds for county trucks fueling up and working hard in the midst of extreme weather events.

To help support Dane County’s growth in renewable energy, the County Executive’s budget will create a new county department – The Department of Waste and Renewables. The County Executive recommends that the new department be led by John Welch, the county’s current Solid Waste Division Manager.

Historic Investments in Infrastructure

Dane County is the fastest-growing county in the state, with a robust economy and excellent quality of life that bring more people here every year. While it places an increased strain on county infrastructure that must be addressed, it also increases opportunity at the Dane County Regional Airport.

Parisi’s 2019 budget includes record amounts of funding for road construction, repair and maintenance, more clean air powered trucks that run on renewable fuel, and an additional 7 highway staff. The 2019 highway capital budget totals $27.7 million, with an additional $28.3 million for day-to-day operations. Over $22 million of this total is for new projects next year – a record high for Dane County.

Most notably, the budget includes the county’s share of funds ($6 million) pending an agreement with the City of Fitchburg) to begin the redo of Fish Hatchery Road. Pending a similar agreement with the City of Madison, the budget includes $1.6 for the reconstruction of Buckeye Road. Additional significant projects are planned for Highway S (Mineral Point Road) and Highway P outside of Cross Plains.

One of the county’s greatest areas of growth is the Dane County Regional Airport. As passenger numbers increase (up 20% in the month of July, over 8% year to date) so too do the number of direct flights and overall air service to what is the county’s, and the region’s economic gateway. The County Executive’s 2019 budget includes $20 million for a bold modernization and expansion project of the Dane County Regional Airport’s Terminal.

At an estimated total cost that could exceed $50 million, this project will expand the main terminal, add new gates to bring in additional flights, and replace the airport’s jet bridges along with adding a new bridge. It will also upgrade security, lighting, bathrooms, and plumbing, and add more space to the airport concourse.

Continued Dedication to Human Services

The County Executive’s $219 million human services’ budget continues the county’s commitment to providing support to residents in need across all walks of life, with a focus on mental health services and vulnerable youth.

In addition to previously announced initiatives to increase funding to mobile emergency mental health crisis response and de-escalation training for law enforcement and community partners, Parisi’s budget includes the creation of another school-based mental health team in the Monona Grove School District. Known as “Building Bridges,” this new investment brings the total number of school districts with a mental health team to 11, and expands the important work being done to improve the emotional, mental, and behavioral health of Dane County’s youth.

The County Executive’s budget also includes additional support for youth exposed to, and struggling to cope with trauma, as well as new staff to help stabilize families and prevent future traumatic events.

$175,000 will create two new social worker positions to work with families with preschool-aged children who have been referred to the department for child neglect, but may not meet the legal threshold of “abuse.” The social workers will connect families to stabilizing community resources, including employment, housing, and other enhancement services in the Early Childhood Zones (ECZ) and Dane County’s Joining Forces for Families (JFF) service areas.

$93,500 will create a new Youth Trauma Coordinator who, in coordination with Dane County’s Neighborhood Intervention Program staff, will be able to identify young people who have experienced trauma, and work with them at a critical juncture in their development so they can better understand the underlying cause of the emotional or behavioral challenges they are facing.

An additional $87,900 will create another new position within the Neighborhood Intervention Program to help intervene with young women who have been victims of, or are susceptible to, sex trafficking.

Housing stability can place increased pressure on families with children and young adults as well. The County Executive’s budget invests new dollars in this area to create additional support for those in need. At the request of the Homeless Services Consortium, Parisi’s budget includes funding for a young adult housing navigator, as well as additional housing navigation resources ($70,000), a new Joining Forces for Families social worker position, and an increase in JFF eviction prevention funds (A $50,000 increase, bringing the total available to JFF offices to $150,000).

The County Executive’s budget continues Dane County’s commitment to emergency sheltering services for some of the county’s most vulnerable residents. The Beacon, a day resource center for individuals experiencing homelessness, will receive an additional $67,000 to support its ongoing operations. Since the facility opened in October of 2017, the Beacon has assisted an average of nearly 200 people per day, including families with children, in getting their basic needs met.

The Beacon’s staff and its partner agencies have also connected guests to critical community supports such as housing assistance, employment and training, health insurance coverage, food assistance, access to alcohol and drug addiction services, mental health services, early childhood supports, and more. The Beacon and its partner agencies have also assisted dozens of individuals in ending their homelessness by helping them find safe, permanent housing.

Two day shelters that focus their services on individuals experiencing homelessness who are also suffering from mental illness will see support in the 2019 budget. Safe Haven, operated by Porchlight, will receive $210,000 – $160,000 of county tax dollars along with an additional $50,000 in outside revenue. Off the Square Club, operated by Lutheran Social Services, will receive $40,000 to help continue their services in downtown Madison. Both programs experienced a reduction in critical funding from other sources, decreases that put their continued operations in jeopardy.

Shelters are an important part of the system of services that move individuals out of homelessness and into housing. Increasing the availability of housing is integral as well. To help increase affordable housing options and help end homelessness, the County Executive’s 2019 budget includes $3 million in new dollars for Dane County’s Affordable Housing Fund.

Housing partnerships Dane County has assisted in funding to this point have created stability for hundreds of Dane County families. Through 2017, funds from the Affordable Housing Fund have aided in the creation of over 460 new permanent housing units. The first large scale budget project funded by the Affordable Housing Fund on Rethke Avenue is receiving $40,000 in this budget, a partner effort with the City of Madison, to bolster on-site supportive services for individuals living there.

Finally, at the request of Dane County’s Area Agency on Aging, Parisi’s budget also creates a new senior case manager position. At a cost of $75,000, the position will work at all of Dane County’s senior focal points, improving direct service to seniors and connecting them to critical community resources.

Other Notable Initiatives

· The creation of 9 new pre-hire deputy positions in the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.

· $10,000 in additional funds (now $40,000 total) to support the Vets Ride With Pride bus pass program.

· $900,000 to support renovations to the popular Capital City trail.

· $52,000 to restore a state funding cut that left Dane County without a Dairy and Livestock Educator position.

· The creation of a new Watershed Management unit within the county’s Land and Water Resource Department and $1 million in funding for phosphorus reduction/clean lakes projects

· Money to evaluate feasibility of new recreational trail and bridge across the Wisconsin River north of Mazomanie, joint project with Sauk County

· Hiring an additional Dane County Park Ranger and $100,000 to fund the first phase of an effort to increase the number of ADA accessible piers in Dane County’s parks, with the ultimate goal of making every pier at county parks accessible

The 2019 Budget By the Numbers

The County Executive’s 2019 budget increases the operating portion of the county levy by 0.35%, the lowest of any of Parisi’s previous budgets. The county share of property taxes on the average Madison home is estimated to decline nearly $12 under this budget proposal. The operating budget totals $557,337,626. The capital budget is $63,228,300, bringing the total budget to $620,565,926.

Previously Announced Initiatives

Prior to the introduction of his full 2019 budget proposal, the County Executive and Dane County Board Chair, Sharon Corrigan, announced a sweeping package of initiatives totaling $18 million to help Dane County recover from this summer’s devastating flash floods, improve the quality and flow of water through our lakes, and help Dane County become more resilient in the face of future flooding events:

https://www.countyofdane.com/press/details.aspx?id=4364

In partnership with local law enforcement and service providers, the County Executive also announced an unprecedented $325,000 increase in funding for mobile mental health crisis services, additional funds for de-escalation training, and increased support for programs that combat Dane County’s opioid epidemic: https://www.countyofdane.com/press/details.aspx?id=4366

Next Steps

The County Executive’s budget will be reviewed and considered by the County Board of Supervisors in the coming weeks. The County Board may make changes or additions to the proposal before final passage later on in the fall.

Dane County Land & Water Resources Department: Seeks public input for land and water resource management plan

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Contact: Amy Piaget, County Conservationist
608-224-3740
[email protected]

Dane County Land & Water Resources Department: Seeks public input for land and water resource management plan

MADISON, WI – October 22, 2018 – Dane County is updating its Land and Water Resource Management Plan and is seeking public input. A land and water resource management plan is a long-term strategic plan that includes an assessment of the natural resource conditions and needs of a county. The process includes input from local citizens as well as resource professionals and directs conservation efforts. While the plan is a 10-year document, it is used in the development of annual work plans and to help apply for conservation grant funding. The process and plan is a holistic approach to land and water resource management that focuses on partnerships and collaboration.

The draft plan is available for comment on the Dane County Land & Water Resources Department website at https://lcd-lwrd.countyofdane.com/Resources/LWRM-Plan. Comments can be submitted online and will be accepted through November 21, 2018. In addition, the Dane County Land Conservation Committee will be hosting a public hearing on November 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm at the Lyman F Anderson Agriculture and Conservation Center, 5201 Fen Oak Drive, room 121 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Dane County: Executive Parisi announces 11,000 tons of phosphorus-laden sediment removed from nearly three-mile stretch of dorn creek

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Contact: Casey Slaughter Becker
608-267-8823

Substantial Completion of “Suck the Muck” Phase 1 Shows Tremendous Promise for Lake Clean Up

MADISON – Dane County has reached substantial completion of the first phase of its “Suck the Muck” initiative, with the removal of 11,000 tons of phosphorus-soaked sediment from a nearly three-mile stretch of Dorn Creek northwest of Lake Mendota, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.

The tonnage, nearing the same weight as the steel used to construct the retractable roof at Miller Park, contained 75,000 pounds of phosphorus, a major contributor to algae growth in area lakes. Three to four feet of sediment was removed from the 2.7 mile stretch of Dorn Creek, up to twice as much as initially anticipated.

“Our community has made great strides through critical partnerships to curb phosphorus run-off from rural and urban sources,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “And we now know that we can’t achieve our clean lakes goals without also addressing what’s already in the water. By removing this sediment, we will see clean lakes in our lifetime.”

In addition to blocking phosphorus from leaching into Dane County’s chain of lakes, the sediment removal will help restore Dorn Creek’s natural habitat. The stream has been re-meandered to its historical location and the banks have been stabilized to prevent future erosion. Dorn Creek was a spawning area for Northern Pike 50 years ago, and officials are hopeful that with recent improvements, the species may be able to return to thrive in the creek once more.

“Suck the Muck” is a $12 million initiative, introduced by Parisi in his 2017 County Budget and implemented by the County’s Department of Land and Water Resources, to clean up 33 total miles of streams that feed into the lakes. The sediment found in these streams is estimated to be at least 125 years old and contain 870,000 pounds of phosphorus, making it a greater contributor to the health of area lakes than originally thought. Without addressing the build-up, it would take another 66 years to achieve the clean water goals laid out in the Yahara Clean Report.

To learn more about the progress of “Suck the Muck”, future phases, and the impact the efforts will have on lake health, please visit https://lwrd.countyofdane.com/Legacy-Sediment-Project.

DATCP: Dairy task force sub-committee meetings announced

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Media Contact: Neil Kline, Communications Specialist, 608-224-4520, [email protected] 

MADISON – The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the University of Wisconsin System today announced the meeting schedule for the nine sub-committees of the Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0. At the August Task Force meeting, members created nine sub-committees which they volunteered to serve on. The meetings will take place in October and November at various locations around the state.

“These sub-committee meetings provide an opportunity to discuss in-depth the issues that were identified at the first Task Force meeting in August,” said Task Force Chairman Mark Stephenson. “The hope is that these sub-committees can begin to develop ideas to address these issues, and perhaps begin to report some of their preliminary thoughts back to the full Task Force at the next general meeting sometime in November or December.”

“We are pleased with the interest and commitment by those serving on the Task Force, but it is also vital that others involved in the dairy industry take time to provide their input,” said DATCP Secretary Sheila Harsdorf. “I encourage farmers, processors, and others involved in the dairy industry to share their thoughts and suggestions with the Task Force either by talking to a Task Force member or providing their comments at dairytaskforce.wi.gov.”

The Task Force is charged with making recommendations on actions needed to maintain a viable and profitable dairy industry in Wisconsin. In the late 1980’s, the UW System and DATCP created a dairy task force in response to concern over the competitiveness, profitability and economic viability of the state’s dairy industry at that time. The 75 recommendations of that task force, many of which have been implemented by the industry, have been instrumental in retaining Wisconsin as a leading dairy state.

The economic impact of the dairy industry in Wisconsin is significant, generating $43.4 billion in state-wide economic impact every year and creating nearly 80,000 jobs. The industry accounts for nearly half of Wisconsin agriculture’s total economic impact.

A listing of Task Force Sub-Committee meeting locations and dates listed below are also available online at dairytaskforce.wi.gov.

 

Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0

First Sub-Committee Meeting Dates and Locations

 

Rural Communities Support and Infrastructure

When:              October 8th, 2018 at 10AM

Where:             The MacKenzie Center

W7303 County Highway CS

Poynette, WI 53955

 

Access to Capital

When:              October 15th, 2018 at 10AM

Where:             Wisconsin State Patrol-

Tomah Post

23928 Lester McMullen Drive

Tomah, WI 54660-5376

 

Education and Workforce

When:              October 22nd, 2018 at 10AM

Where:             The MacKenzie Center

W7303 County Highway CS

Poynette, WI 53955

 

Consumer Confidence and Perception

When:              October 24th, 2018 at 10AM

Where:             The University of Wisconsin-

Fond du Lac

Admin/Extension Bldg.

Room 242

400 University Dr.

Fond du Lac, WI 54935

 

Price Volatility and Profitability

When:              October 29th, 2018 at 10AM

Where:             Dept. of Natural Resources

Black River Falls Office

910 HWY 54 E

Black River Falls, WI 54615

 

Markets

When:              October 30th, 2018 at 10AM

Where:             Wisconsin State Patrol

Tomah Post

23928 Lester McMullen Drive

Tomah, WI 54660-5376

 

Regulatory Certainty

When:              October 31st, 2018 at 10AM

Where:             The University of Wisconsin-

Stevens Point

Dreyfus University Center

Room 378

1015 Reserve Street

Stevens Point, WI 54481

 

Product and Process Innovation and Invention

When:              November 5th, 2018 at 10AM

Where:             The University of Wisconsin-

Stevens Point

Dreyfus University Center

Room 223

1015 Reserve Street

Stevens Point, WI 54481

 

Next Generation

When:              November 7th, 2018 at 10AM

Where:             Dept. of Natural Resources

Black River Falls Office

910 HWY 54 E

Black River Falls, WI 54615

DBA: Endorses Schimel for re-election

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Contact: Jamie Mara, director of public relations
Dairy Business Association
(920) 209-3990 | [email protected]

DBA: Endorses Schimel for re-election
Dairy group cites attorney general’s work against regulatory overreach

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Dairy Business Association today announced its support for state Atty. Gen. Brad Schimel in his re-election bid to be Wisconsin’s top legal official for a second term.

Since becoming attorney general in 2015, Schimel has focused on ensuring predictability and stability in the state’s regulatory environment, which is essential for a healthy dairy community, Mike North, DBA’s president, said.

Schimel was elected to the statewide position in 2014 after serving as the Waukesha County district attorney for eight years. He began his career in public service in 1990 as an assistant district attorney with the county. Schimel earned his law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Attorney General Schimel’s record demonstrates his understanding of the importance of a predictable, transparent regulatory system to our dairy community,” North said. “Farmers and business owners must operate by the laws on the books; our regulators need to do the same, and he gets that.”

“We are confident that Mr. Schimel will continue to fight against overreach by state and federal agencies so farms and other businesses in Wisconsin have the ability to be successful,” North said.

The attorney general serves as the head of the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and the position is up for election every four years. This fall’s election is Nov. 6.

Tweet about this: Dairy policy group @DBAWisconsin puts support behind @BradSchimel for attorney general   

DC Wrap: Baldwin’s push to overturn short-term health plan rule falls short; Pence teases Trump Wis. visit

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

Quotes of the week, Oct. 5-11

I think the Democratic base was already there. This definitely — I could just see it from traveling around the country in the last few days, traveling around Wisconsin — the Republican base is definitely animated after this.
– House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, regarding the battle to confirm nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ryan’s comments came at the National Press Club in D.C. on Monday, days after Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate 50-48. See the video of Ryan’s comments. Dems in both chambers, including U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, have criticized the confirmation as “a blight on Washington.”

Leah Vukmir unfortunately thinks the expansion of Medicare will get rid of Medicare.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, in the first Senate debate with GOP contender Leah Vukmir ahead of next month’s election. Baldwin was responding to charges from Vukmir that the “Medicare for All” single-payer plan would eliminate Medicare.

I would fall in front of a truck before I would let people go without coverage for preexisting conditions.
– Vukmir, who in addition to serving in the state Senate works as a nurse. She was calling out Baldwin for being either ignorant or “trying to deceive people” on the issue of pre-existing conditions, saying before the ACA, those with pre-existing conditions were still covered under Medicare and Medicaid. If Obamacare is repealed, Vukmir said, that coverage would remain.

See more coverage of the debate at WisPolitics.com.

Are you concerned about the credibility of the FBI – credibility, integrity and impartiality? This is a legitimate concern.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, questioning FBI Director Christopher Wray this week over the agency’s image, as he pointed to aspects of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and other things, per media reports. Johnson chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which held the hearing with Wray.

This week’s news

— A Democratic effort led by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin to block a Trump administration rule boosting short-term insurance plans failed to pass the Senate this week by one vote.

The effort to block the plans, dubbed “junk insurance” by critics, received a 50-50 vote, which fell short of the simple majority required to succeed. The only Republican to vote for the effort was U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine.

President Trump had earlier threatened to veto the measure if it passed. The short-term insurance plans don’t have to adhere to Affordable Care Act rules that require coverage of pre-existing conditions. They also don’t have to provide comprehensive coverage, and carriers can charge clients more based on medical histories.

Baldwin, D-Madison, in a statement touted the bipartisan support she received, though she chided the other Senate Republicans for failing “to keep their promise to protect people with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage.”

Proponents of the short-term plans have argued they are more affordable than plans on the ACA exchanges.

That includes U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, who ripped Baldwin’s effort, saying a vote against the rule “is a vote against affordable health insurance, and a vote against personal freedom and choice.”

Two state Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Lisa Subeck and Sen. Jon Erpenbach, slammed the plans shortly before the Senate vote yesterday and criticized “predatory” insurance companies for increasing premiums on those with pre-existing conditions.

They praised Baldwin for “holding drug companies accountable.”

GOP U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir has previously expressed support for short term, limited duration health plans, arguing they give consumers more choice in making health care decisions.

— Vice President Mike Pence ripped Tony Evers at a Green Bay fundraiser, calling the Dem guv candidate a “big government, big labor liberal.”

He also teased an upcoming Wisconsin visit by President Trump.

The veep yesterday praised Gov. Scott Walker as a “commonsense conservative” with a track record of “creating jobs and prosperity” throughout the state. And he said though he believes “with all my heart” Wisconsin would re-elect Walker, “it’s going to take all of us to do it.”

Pence also hit on Evers’ comments that “everything is on the table” in regard to a transportation funding as well as GOP charges that Wisconsinites can’t afford Evers because of his willingness to increase taxes..

“Translation: your tax cut is on the table, your paycheck is on the table, your wallet is on the table,” Pence told supporters at a state Republican Party fundraiser at the Oneida Golf & Country Club. “Wisconsin needs to vote to send Scott Walker back to the governor’s office to keep your paycheck, your wallet, your tax cut off the table.”

Pence’s visit to Wisconsin included a second stop in Eau Claire for an another fundraiser with Walker. It follows a visit Aug. 30, when he went to Milwaukee to headline an event for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir. Vukmir, Walker and GOP U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher were also at today’s event.

Pence said Trump is slated to come to Wisconsin “in just a few days,” though the state GOP and Trump campaign didn’t immediately provide details. A White House spokesman said he is “not aware of anything at this point,” but directed further questions to the campaign.

This would be the president’s first visit in the run-up to the general election; he was last in Wisconsin June 29 for Foxconn’s groundbreaking in Mount Pleasant.  

Dems used Pence’s visit to knock Republicans on healthcare.

They highlighted Walker’s refusal to accept federal money to expand Medicaid and the lawsuit AG Brad Schimel filed, with the guv’s approval, that could overturn the Affordable Care Act. If successful, Dems warned, it would end protections for pre-existing conditions outlined in Obamacare.

Dem state Sen. Caleb Frostman, who won a special election in June for his northeastern Wisconsin seat, questioned how Walker could turn down federal money to expand Medicaid but find $3 billion for a state tax incentive for Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn to locate in southeastern Wisconsin.

Evers, meanwhile, again called on Walker to drop out of the 20-state lawsuit looking to overturn the Affordable Care Act in response to the fundraisers today.  

“When I’m governor, I’ll direct the state to drop this lawsuit my very first day in office,” Evers said in a new video. “Because everybody should have access to affordable, quality health care.”

See more in WisPolitics.com’s Wednesday PM Update.

— The latest Marquette University Law School Poll found Wisconsin voters likely to turn out in November are split on new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The poll, conducted in the days before and after the Senate votes on his nomination, found 42 percent of likely voters had a favorable impression of him, while 44 percent had an unfavorable one.

Meanwhile, 39 percent had a favorable impression of Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her, while 35 percent had an unfavorable one.

The poll also found 47 percent of likely voters supported Kavanaugh’s nomination, while 48 percent opposed it.

Other highlights of the latest poll include:

*47 percent of likely voters approve of President Trump’s job performance, while 52 percent disapprove. Among men, the split was 58-40, while it was 36-62 among women. Last month, 43 percent of all likely voters approved of his job performance, while 54 disapproved.

*44 percent had a favorable impression of U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, while 35 percent had an unfavorable one.

*And 41 percent had a favorable view of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, while 49 percent didn’t.

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin maintained a double-digit lead in the latest poll, largely unchanged from the September survey.

This month, 53 percent of likely voters backed Baldwin, D-Madison, while 43 percent supported state Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, compared to a 53-42 split in Baldwin’s favor last month.

Meanwhile, Baldwin’s favorable-unfavorable rating among likely voters was 49-42 after being 48-40 last month. Vukmir’s split was 30-43 after being 26-38 in September.

Healthcare has become a major issue in the Senate race, with Baldwin knocking Vukmir on pre-existing conditions and the GOP challenger hitting the Dem incumbent on Medicare-for-all.

The poll found voters split on a national health care plan with 47 percent in favor and 44 percent opposed. Meanwhile, 94 percent of likely voters said it was very or somewhat important for insurance companies to continue covering pre-existing conditions, while 5 percent said it was not too important or not important at all.

See the full poll results.

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is urging President Trump to send federal assistance to Wisconsin for clean up and recovery efforts following recent severe weather and flooding across the state.

The request follows an Oct. 4 letter from Gov. Scott Walker seeking a federal disaster declaration for 18 counties that were damaged by the storms and flooding between Aug. 17 and Sept. 14.  

Kind in his letter to Trump Friday asked for “swift consideration” of the guv’s ask, highlighting “catastrophic damage” across the state.

“I ask that you work as quickly as possible to process this request to ensure the families, farmers, and businesses impacted by the storm are able to recover as quickly as possible,” the La Crosse Dem wrote.  

— Kind also introduced legislation aiming to aid the next generation of workers by investing in early-career programs.

The “Compete for the Future Act of 2018” would establish a prize competition to reward youth and pre-apprenticeship programs that are successful in preparing high school students for good-paying jobs in high-demand industries.

The bipartisan legislation would give priority to programs recognized by the The Opportunity Zones project — which invests money in low-income communities. There are 15 designated zones in Kind’s 3rd CD.

Kind in a statement touted the legislation as a solution to calls from students and employers for more hands-on training opportunities.

“I am proud to help introduce the Compete for the Future Act, which will invest in the next generation of Wisconsin workers by bolstering industry partnerships and bring real-world experience right to our students and apprentices,” he said.

— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman and a Trump administration official toured a series of work centers this week.

The Glenbeulah Republican was joined by Assistant Secretary of Education Johnny Collett for the tours in the 6th CD, which included stops at Lakeside Packaging Plus in Oshkosh, Brooke Industries, Inc. in Fond du Lac, and RSC Empowers in Sheboygan.

“These non-profit businesses employ individuals with disabilities, who love their jobs and have access to critical services and a safe working environment, as a result of their employment,” Grothman said in a statement. “This is a message I’ve heard routinely from parents of sons and daughters with disabilities and the individuals themselves.”

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Senators Ron Johnson, Tammy Baldwin react to Kavanaugh’s confirmation moving ahead

Ron Johnson votes yes, Baldwin votes no on Kavanaugh confirmation

Senate panel questions FBI Director Christopher Wray about Brett Kavanaugh, credibility

Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Senate Democrats fail with 50-50 vote to block Trump rule on short-term health plans

Wis. Gov. Scott Walker catches up in polls, while Sen. Tammy Baldwin maintains steady lead

Trump administration threatens veto as Tammy Baldwin pushes to overturn rule on health coverage

Senator Tammy Baldwin, Leah Vukmir Debate Range Of Issues In Milwaukee

Senate Dems Want Republicans to Take a Position on ‘Junk’

Freshman Congressman Mike Gallagher Faces First Re-Election Bid

Vice President Mike Pence supports Walker, Vukmir at Republican fundraiser in Green Bay

Glenn Grothman and Dan Kohl battle over who’s the real politician in Wisconsin congressional race

Political novice challenges Gwen Moore for 4th Congressional District seat

‘We cannot afford such wasteful mismanagement’: Congresswoman calls for investigation into WisDOT

Progressive Caucus Launches Center for Policy Development, Outreach

Political tenure, agriculture, health care, veterans, and bipartisanship, 7 Investigates profiles the District 3 Congressional race

DC Wrap: House fundraising roundup; Pocan seeks records on ICE raids in Wisconsin

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

Join WisPolitics.com on Nov. 14 for a D.C. breakfast with U.S. Rep. Ron Kind. The Ways and Means Committee member will talk about trade, tariffs and the new Congress. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. ET. See more details and RSVP here.

Quotes of the week

Some of his tweets are hurting him.
– U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman about President Trump in an interview with “Upfront” host Mike Gousha. The Glenbeulah Republican told Gousha he told Trump the same thing, adding he believes Trump has “done a good job” but offends some people with his style and tweets.

See more from “Upfront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.  

Her idea of a border would be drawing a line in the dirt with a wink and a nod.
– Republican Leah Vukmir, of Brookfield, about U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin in a debate between the two over the weekend. Vukmir said she stands with President Trump in his calls for a wall along the nation’s southern border.

Unfortunately my opponent won’t even look at this until they build a wall.
– Baldwin knocking Vukmir. The Madison Dem was referencing a bill aiming to overhaul the immigration system that she supported that would have added 20,000 new border agents, created a pathway to citizenship for “dreamers” and addressed agricultural visa issues.

See WisPolitics.com’s coverage of the debate.

This week’s news

— Wisconsin House incumbents outraised their challengers nearly 2-to-1 over the latest fundraising period, according to a WisPolitics.com check of the FEC site.

The $1.89 million the seven brought in was almost double that of the $1.07 million their five major-party contenders pulled in over the period, though one — Timothy Rogers in the 4th CD — didn’t file a report. The period ran from July 26 to Sept. 30.

The WisPolitics.com check compared House incumbents to their challengers who made it through the Aug. 14 primary. It also didn’t include look at the 1st CD, which is open following Republican Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement he won’t seek re-election.

In that district, Dem Randy Bryce outpaced Republican Bryan Steil, raising $1.2 million to Steil’s $919,250. The Caledonia ironworker also spent $2.2 million to close the period with $656,239 in the bank.

Steil, meanwhile, spent $918,417 to end September with $631,961 cash on hand.

Dem Cathy Myers, who lost to Bryce in the primary, raised $228,752 and spent $384,473, ending the period with $4,533 in the bank. And Kevin “Adam” Steen, the only other Republican contender to file a report over the period so far, listed $30,828 in receipts and $29,238 in expenditures. He also had $4,905 cash on end.

2nd CD

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, who doesn’t face a challenger in the election next month, brought in $176,866, ending September with $568,016 in the bank.

That’s after the Town of Vermont Dem spent $106,099 over the period.

3rd CD

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has the biggest warchest among House incumbents, logging $2.9 million in the bank to end the quarter.

The La Crosse Dem, who’s facing GOP opponent Steve Toft, also raised $302,193 and spent $478,143.

He outraised Toft, who pulled in $63,072 and spent $92,488, ending the month with $64,243 cash on hand.

4th CD

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, a Milwaukee Dem, raised $124,658, spent $153,707 and finished the period with $53,668 in the bank.

Moore’s former Dem opponent, ex-state Sen. Gary George, had not yet filed a report with the FEC.

Republican challengers Timothy Rogers, who won the August primary, and Cindy Werner also had not yet filed their reports.

5th CD

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner edged out challenger Tom Palzewicz in fundraising over the period, raising $73,213.

Palzewicz, a U.S. Navy veteran and the co-owner of an ActionCOACH business consulting franchise, bought in $64,177.

Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, also spent $68,956 over the period, while Palzewicz logged $61,397 in expenditures.

Sensenbrenner finished up the period with $478,457 in the bank, while Palzewicz trailed with $45,982 cash on hand.

Meanwhile, Sensenbrenner’s Republican primary opponent, Waukesha pediatrician Jennifer Hoppe Vipond, raised $200, spent $6,144 and had a negative balance of $7,617.

6th CD

Dem Dan Kohl raised about double that of Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman over the last reporting period.

Kohl brought in $759,789 compared to Grothman’s $359,531. The Democrat also far outspent his the Glenbeulah Republican, logging $1.5 million in expenditures compared to Grothman’s $284,427.

Still, Grothman recorded $929,454 in cash on hand, far more than Kohl’s $392,752.

7th CD

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy continued to lead Dem Margaret Engebretson in fundraising this quarter, pulling in $407,931 over the period.

Duffy spent $928,438, leaving him with almost $2 million in the bank — the most cash on hand among incumbent Republicans.

Engebretson, D-Superior, raised $51,831 and spent $24,985, leaving her with $32,685 heading into the last leg of the election following her primary win.

Engebretson’s Democratic primary opponent, Brian Ewert, raised $11,346 over the period. The Marshfield doctor also spent $94,249, leaving him with $13,749 in the bank.

8th CD

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher raised $445,809 over the most recent fundraising period, the most of all House incumbents

The Green Bay Republican spent $266,907, leaving him with $1.5 million in the bank.

Democrat challenger Beau Liegeois pulled in $128,955 over the period.

The Brown County assistant DA also spent $59,482, ending September with $109,201 cash on hand.

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan has submitted a records request to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement asking for more information on the recent raids in Wisconsin.

Pocan’s request comes after he met with ICE officials concerning the arrests of 83 Wisconsinites, including 44 who had previous criminal convictions and 16 who did not.

Pocan met with agency officials shortly after the late September raids to gain a better understanding of what led to these events and if protocol had been followed. But the Town of Vermont Dem said ICE officials didn’t provide many answers in their meeting.

That prompted his submission of his first Freedom of Information Act request to the agency Friday.

Among the information he requested was: the contact between ICE officials and local law enforcement, the list of the criminal offenses committed by the 83 detainees, and documentation that protocol was followed when making the arrests.

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is calling on federal health officials to provide funding to help Wisconsin residents enroll in health insurance coverage for 2019.

Kind in a letter this week urged Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma to allocate additional funding to organizations that provide in-person enrollment assistance for Wisconsinites.

The La Crosse Dem said in the letter that just one Wisconsin organization was awarded federal funding for enrollment services this year, noting that the grant was cut by more than 80 percent from the previous years. He added in a statement that the Trump administration is “harming the health and wellbeing of Wisconsinites” by making it “nearly impossible” for people to access in-person assistance.

“Choosing a health care plan can be complicated, and I want to ensure we have sufficient resources available to find coverage that works for every Wisconsinite and their family,” Kind said in the release.

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is urging the Federal Trade Commission to fully enforce its “Made in the USA” labeling standards.

Baldwin and U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., in a recent letter asked the FTC to consider monetary penalties and admission of guilt settlements for companies that fraudulently put “Made in America” labels on foreign-made products.

In the letter sent to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons, the senators cited instances in which companies had violated this labeling standard and claimed a failure to enforce the code misleads consumers and disadvantages domestic producers. They said a monetary violation penalty is necessary to deter companies from continuing to use this “deceptive” tactic to sell their products.

“The value of the ‘Made in the USA’ label is dependent on its integrity,” the letter says. “Failure to take decisive action risks weakening the significance of the ‘Made in the USA’ label and undermining American manufacturers.”

Baldwin, D-Madison, has previously introduced “Buy American” legislation. Her “Made in America Act of 2018,” for example, would ensure certain materials used in federal infrastructure aid programs are made in the U.S.

— Baldwin is also calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to consider changes to give workers a greater voice at public companies.

The Madison Dem and 12 other senators in a letter urged SEC Chair Jay Clayton to use an upcoming meeting to consider implementing new practices that would benefit workers. The changes would promote worker engagement, drive long-term growth and investment and give workers a greater voice in public companies by allowing workers to be elected as company board members.

The letter cites research that shows positive long-term resource allocation among company boards with worker representation.

“We strongly believe meaningful ownership can and should be determined by the value of contributions made to the company by its various stakeholders,” the letter says. “Because your agenda seeks a forum for engagement, we believe the SEC’s agenda should include a discussion of the merits of directly electing of workers to company boards.”

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Baldwin raises twice as much as Vukmir over quarter

US Senator urges Trump to name China as ‘currency manipulator’

Baldwin: Tax bill shows dysfunction of Washington

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Urging Trump Administration to Fully Enforce “Made in USA” Labeling Standards

Senate rejects Baldwin short-term health insurance resolution

U.S. Senate Tammy Baldwin Secured $750,000 for the Sherman Phoenix Project

Vukmir, Sen, Baldwin attend candidate forum on veteran’s issues

Senator, opponent on different pages when it comes to marijuana for veterans

Sen. Johnson’s staff to hold office hours in Darlington

Sen. Johnson Requests Info On FBI Talks With DOJ Officials Ohr, Sussmann

169 House members urge Trump administration to allow exclusions from the latest China tariffs

Rep. Pocan urges support for bill that aims to encourage charitable spending

‘No progress’ on FOIA Act submitted by Rep. Pocan demanding answers on ICE

Sean Duffy Speaks at the Manufacturing Excellence Awards

Duffy-Engebretson Debate Set For Minocqua Nov. 1

Duffy’s bill would ensure America’s seniors receive quality care in skilled nursing facilities

Rep. Sean Duffy: Warren’s 2020 chances ruined after DNA test

GOP Rep. Sean Duffy takes on proxy advisers: They’re ‘playing all sides of the field’

Liegeois challenges Gallagher to debate

Local 5 Live: Mike Gallagher Part 2

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher fights for second term against Democrat Beau Liegeois

Longtime GOP Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner faces challenge from first-time candidate Palzewicz

Grothman expects to be outspent in 6th CD

DC Wrap: Trump praises Vukmir, Walker in Mosinee rally, new poll finds Baldwin up big in re-election bid

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

Join WisPolitics.com on Nov. 14 for a D.C. breakfast with U.S. Rep. Ron Kind. The Ways and Means Committee member will talk about trade, tariffs and the new Congress. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. ET. See more details and RSVP here.

Note: This is the last DC Wrap newsletter until after the election. Thanks for reading!

Quotes of the week

[Republicans] realize it was a political weakness for them, so they tried to cover their flanks when in fact they were voting to remove those kinds of protections.
– Dem Dan Kohl during a 6th CD debate with Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman. Kohl charged Grothman, through his votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, attempted to “effectively gut protections” for people with pre-existing conditions through a special provision Kohl said would remove limits on what insurance companies could charge those with pre-existing conditions.

I sat in there with Republicans [behind] closed doors before we came up with this. It was almost unanimously agreed that this provision had to be part of Obamacare repeal, and it was.
– Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, refuting the charge. To clear the record, he read the text included in the repeal efforts, which he said prevented health insurers from limiting health care access for those with pre-existing conditions.

See coverage of the debate at WisPolitics.com.

If you can’t stand up to Gov. Walker and ask him now, how the heck are you going to go stand up to Donald Trump in Washington, D.C.?
– 1st CD Dem Randy Bryce to Republican opponent Bryan Steil in the pair’s first debate. Bryce called on Steil to urge Gov. Scott Walker to drop the state’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act in order to protect pre-existing conditions. Steil didn’t respond to the question.

I can think of at least nine times where a law degree would’ve come in handy.
– Steil, an attorney for a manufacturer, in response to Bryce repeatedly alleging Steil “made his money by sending good-paying jobs overseas.” Steil’s comment references the nine times Bryce has been arrested, though Bryce countered his recent arrests have been because he was “standing up for people.”

Read more from the debate at WisPolitics.com.

This week’s news

— President Trump lavished praise on Wisconsin’s Republican ticket at his stop in Mosinee this week, arguing the November midterms represent a referendum on the rule of law, illegal immigration and the confirmation of U.S. Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump slammed Dems for being categorically opposed to his agenda, and joined Scott Walker in knocking the guv’s Dem opponent Tony Evers as a tax-and-spend liberal.

“Tony wants to raise your income taxes substantially, wants to raise your gas taxes, raise your property taxes, raise all of your taxes,” Trump said, calling Evers “extreme.” “And Tony Evers wants to get illegal aliens to flood into Wisconsin to get public benefits funded by you, the American taxpayer.”

Both Walker and GOP U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir joined Trump on stage as they exchanged compliments, slammed opponents and urged the crowd to vote in November.

Trump said Vukmir was a “tireless fighter” for the people of the state and knocked U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, for voting against tax cuts and supporting “deadly” sanctuary cities.

Trump called Walker a “good friend” and “tireless warrior,” touting efforts by the guv and the president’s administration to bring Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn to southeastern Wisconsin.

“He’s a good man, folks, and he loves this state, he loves the people of this state,” Trump said to shouts of “four more years” from the crowd. “He’ll cut your taxes … improve your schools … bring down the cost of health care … and continue creating great paying jobs for the state of Wisconsin.”

See more on Trump’s rally at WisPolitics.com.

— President Barack Obama is planning to host a rally in Milwaukee tomorrow to campaign for state Dem candidates.

The rally, which will be at North Division High School, will also feature Baldwin, Dem guv candidate Tony Evers, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, 1st CD Dem Randy Bryce and 6th CD Dem Dan Kohl, among others.

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden’s Wisconsin visit Tuesday will include get-out-the-vote rallies in Madison and Milwaukee.

Biden will first be on the UW-Madison campus with Baldwin, Evers and his running mate Mandela Barnes.

Biden will then be in Milwaukee that afternoon at Laborers’ Local 113 with Evers and Barnes.

A new poll from Ipsos, Reuters and the University of Virginia Center for Politics found Baldwin up big in her re-election bid.

The poll found Baldwin was leading GOP challenger Leah Vukmir 54-39. Last month, it was Baldwin 52-39.

The poll was conducted online Oct. 12-18 with a panel that included 1,193 likely voters. The margin of error for likely voters was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

The sample was 47.6 percent Dem, 39.6 Republican and 7.6 percent independents.

Last month’s sample was 47.7 percent Dem, 40.4 percent Republican and 7.3 percent independent.

Ipsos uses panels of people who have opted in for market research and then pulls from those pools representative populations for each state it surveys.

The latest poll found 55 percent of likely voters disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job, while 43 percent approve.

The top issue for voters was healthcare, which was cited by 20 percent of those surveyed, and Dems had the edge in both races. In the Senate campaign, 48 percent of likely voters said they believed Baldwin had a batter policy, compared to 30 percent for Vukmir.

See the topline results.

— Baldwin’s legislation aiming to ensure materials used in federal infrastructure aid programs are made in the U.S has been signed into law.

The bipartisan “Made in America Water Infrastructure Act” amends the Safe Drinking Water Act by requiring that only American-made iron and steel is used in water infrastructure projects funded by the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The legislation also includes a five-year extension of these “Buy America” requirements.

Baldwin, D-Madison, in a statement praised President Trump for taking “an important step forward” in ensuring taxpayer money is “not spent supporting foreign workers.”

“I will continue fighting for a permanent Buy America commitment from Washington that rewards our Made in Wisconsin workers and manufacturers,” Baldwin said.

Trump at an April 2017 stop in Kenosha voiced support for Baldwin’s “Buy America” requirements.

Baldwin has been a proponent of “Buy America” legislation. She recently urged the Federal Trade Commission in a letter to fully enforce its “Made in America” labeling standards.  

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is applauding the Trump administration’s granting of a disaster relief request following flooding in Wisconsin.

The administration OK’d the ask on Oct. 18. Under the declaration, those in Crawford, Dane, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Sauk and Vernon counties are eligible to apply for federal disaster assistance.

The La Crosse Dem in a statement said the declaration “will be a welcome relief for many that have been flooded out of their homes and businesses.”  

Kind had previously sent the president a letter, following Gov. Scott Walker’s request for a disaster declaration, that urged Trump to approve the measure to give assistance to those impacted by the flooding and storms from Aug. 17 to Sept. 14.

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Tammy Baldwin leads Leah Vukmir by double digits in new poll; Tony Evers has small lead over Scott Walker

Sen. Tammy Baldwin shares thoughts and plans to help farmers and manufacturers impacted by tariffs

Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Bernie Sanders shared stage with 9/11 conspiracy theorist

Baldwin, Vukmir talk foreign policy in final debate

Rep. Pocan says midterms could shake up Congress

Bernie Sanders Campaigns In Milwaukee For Democratic Candidates

Osseo Republican Steve Toft challenges 11-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Ron Kind in 3rd District

Republican Mike Gallagher’s campaign says no time for debate with Democrat Beau Liegeois

Congress member Mike Gallagher frustrated with partisan sniping

Vukmir, Duffy campaign in Hudson

Dan Kohl battles incumbent Republican Glenn Grothman in hopes of turning reliable red House seat blue

In One Of The More Competitive Races, GOP Incumbent Glenn Grothman Faces Novice Dan Kohl

DC Wrap: Wis. reps applaud new trade deal; Baldwin aims to force vote to rollback short-term insurance plans

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

Quotes of the week

Read about false memories. Read about people who have actually confessed to crimes and then later proven totally innocent, OK?
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, suggesting California professor Christine Blasey Ford may have “false memories” of her alleged sexual assault. Ford testified last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Johnson’s comments were caught in a video taken by a local filmmaker at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.

This is a tremendous opportunity for some boy who is now eight years old to be educated that you don’t become a man by being boorish.
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, in an interview with VICE News on what the Kavanaugh hearings mean for the country’s future.  

This week’s news

— Wisconsin’s House reps largely applauded the new trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada as a step forward in renegotiating NAFTA.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement was announced late Sunday night after Canada joined the United States and Mexico in their previously-announced agreement. That decision followed more than a year of negotiations, and came in just a few hours before an agreed-upon midnight deadline.

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner in a statement said the deal will benefit Wisconsin and expand Americans’ access to auto manufacturing and dairy markets.

“This is an important step toward strengthening our trade relationships and growing our economy, and I applaud the administration for its persistence and hard work in reaching this agreement,” the Menomonee Falls Republican said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan said he is “encouraged by some progress in the agreement,” including a rollback of special investment protections for corporations.

But the Town of Vermont Dem said in a statement he remains concerned about some aspects of the deal, citing harmful environmental provisions, the “continued waiver of Buy American rules” and limits to access to affordable medicines.

“Over the coming months, I will continue to work with advocates from the labor, environmental and agricultural sectors to hold the Administration accountable to their promise of standing up for working families and making real changes to our failed trade policies,” Pocan said.

A fact sheet from the office of the United States Trade Representative listed 10 key achievements of the new deal, including expanded market access for U.S. food and agriculture products, elimination of certain Canadian milk classifications and new protections for proprietary food formulas.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, said the deal is “step forward in this process,” but added “now it’s time for us to come together to discuss the outstanding issues that remain.”

“Not only should we demand the highest possible labor and environmental standards, but ensure they are fully enforceable — a standard which many of our past trade agreements have not met,” he said in a statement.

The effects of the new trade agreement won’t be felt until at least next year. Leaders from all three countries have to sign it, and then Congress and the legislatures of Canada and Mexico will need to give final approval.

— Pocan said Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials did not give many answers in his meeting to discuss the agency’s recent raids in Wisconsin.

Pocan, who previously introduced a bill to disband ICE, met with agency officials last week following reports ICE had recently arrested  83 people in Wisconsin, including 44 who had prior criminal convictions and 16 who did not.

In a statement, he said officials during their meeting could not tell him how many agents are working in Wisconsin, information about the people detained in the recent raids or whether ICE agents followed proper protocol regarding medical conditions or minors during their work in the state.

Pocan said the agency will investigate these issues and noted that the 83 people detained in raids last month were part of a larger list of 250 individuals ICE is targeting in Wisconsin. Pocan said he has requested detailed call logs of ICE’s contacts with local logs enforcement.

“We know that the recent surge in arrests is a direct result of President Trump’s immigration policy and that the agency is following his orders,” he said. “We will continue to press the agency for additional information.”

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is spearheading a procedural move aimed at forcing the full Senate to take up and vote on her legislation targeting so-called “junk insurance” plans.

The Madison Dem’s effort comes as the Trump administration’s expansion of inexpensive, short-term health insurance plans went into effect this week. The plans, which the Obama administration capped at three months, don’t have to cover pre-existing conditions and other kinds of health care required under the Affordable Care Act.

Baldwin, who introduced a resolution more than a month ago to overturn the plans, announced this week she has the support of all 49 Dem and Independent senators.

Now, she’s looking to get 51 signatures on a discharge petition to force a vote on overturning the administration’s short-term health insurance plan expansion. Still, she would need the support of two Republican senators to bring it before the full Senate.  

“Anyone who says they support coverage for people with pre-existing conditions should support this resolution to overturn the Trump Administration’s expansion of junk insurance plans, and I hope my Republican colleagues join us to protect people’s access to quality, affordable care,” Baldwin said in a statement.

Baldwin also touted the effort on Twitter. As fellow Dem senators sign the discharge petition, they also have been tweeting videos of themselves spotlighting the effort.

See Baldwin’s Twitter feed.

— U.S. Rep Ron Kind has introduced legislation designed to support servicemembers’ transition back to civilian life.

The bill, entitled “Improving Preparation and Resources for Occupational, Vocational, and Educational (IMPROVE) Transition for Servicemembers Act,” would overhaul the existing Transition Assistance Program (TAP) by emphasizing training and education, adding TAP employees, and streamlining veteran access to services.

The IMPROVE Act commands bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. Reps. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and Walter Jones, R-N.C., signed on as co-sponsors with Kind in the House, while Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., plan to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.

“The transition from military life back into the civilian world is understandably challenging for many servicemembers and military families,” the La Crosse Dem said in a statement announcing the legislation.

— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore’s legislation aiming to support victims of domestic violence has cleared the House.

The “Family Violence Prevention and Services Act of 2018” would reauthorize federal funding to support emergency shelter and assistance for domestic violence victims and their families.

Moore in a statement tied her bill to California professor Christine Blasey Ford, one of three women accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual miscondu