Exclusively for WisPolitics Subscribers

TABLE OF CONTENTS


QUOTES OF THE WEEK

By moving from one facility to several facilities across the state, and placing a focus on mental health and trauma-informed care, we believe this plan will improve long-term outcomes for both juveniles and our staff working at these facilities.
– Gov. Scott Walker announcing a plan to close northern Wisconsin’s troubled youth prisons and move offenders to new regional facilities. Walker’s plan wouldn’t take effect until 2019, but he said he is open to working with the Legislature to accelerate the process.

Today Wisconsin is taking its first step in meaningful corrections reform. I will continue to work hard and lead Wisconsin to ensure these meaningful reforms are implemented swiftly and correctly.
– Rep. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, who urged quicker action to implement the reforms.

The regional approach is only a partial solution, however. The renewed emphasis on mental health and drug treatment may be the key to addressing the problem of repeat juvenile offenders.
– Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine.

If Scott Walker thinks that his statement today washes away 2,055 days of scandal, mismanagement, and cover-up, he’s got another thing coming.
– Tony Evers, the state schools superintendent and a Dem candidate for governor.

For years, Gov. Walker has known that Wisconsin youth are being treated inhumanely. For years, he’s done nothing. Only now that a criminal investigation by the FBI is ramping up is Gov. Walker acting. I’ve got news for Gov. Walker: we won’t forget his behavior.
– A tweet from Rep. Dana Wachs, another Dem guv candidate.

The FBI involvement in the end was a Hail Mary pass by the Department of Justice. They just wanted to get it out of their lap. It had been completely botched.
– Former Corrections Secretary Ed Wall on AG Brad Schimel’s “completely botched” probe into problems at the Lincoln Hills youth prison. A spokesman for Schimel described the accusation as “a sad attempt to retaliate” after Schimel fired him from a post at DOJ for encouraging Walker’s chief of staff to destroy a note Wall had sent asking for a better position. Wall took the DOJ post after resigning as Corrections head in the wake of criticism over the agency’s handling of abuse allegations at Lincoln Hills. Wall is penning a book about his time in the Walker administration.

The fact that Scott Walker didn’t mention [Foxconn] in his announcement is like a giant billboard behind him saying “oops,” and I think we just have to make sure people understand that they’re going to pay for 25 years for his oops.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, saying Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans will face trouble at the polls for backing $3 billion in state subsidies for Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn to build a plant in Racine County.

As a lifelong Republican, I’ve always supported the party nominee and you can bet I’ll be doing everything I can this November to make sure Wisconsin has a senator who believes in the Wisconsin way.
– Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, saying she will agree to sign the state GOP’s unity pledge.

Kevin of course will sign the unity pledge, and he hopes that all Republicans will unite behind our nominee to defeat Baldwin.
– Nicholson aide Brandon Moody.

We’ve all witnessed what happens when Washington, D.C.-based ‘political experts’ of all kinds get involved in U.S. Senate races. Here in Wisconsin, the grassroots have a track record of nominating candidates who reflect our values — not Washington’s — and we can do it again to defeat Tammy Baldwin this fall.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, who is to chair the state GOP’s nomination process. National groups have already been involved in the primary. Johnson saw national groups abandon his race last year until the very end.

POLITICAL STOCK REPORT
–A collection of insider opinion–
(Dec. 30, 2017-Jan. 5, 2018)

Rising

Frank Lasee/Keith Ripp: The Republicans leave the Legislature for spots in the guv’s administration and see significant raises in the process. It’s been an open secret in the Capitol for months that Lasee, R-De Pere, was looking for another job to get out of the Legislature. Meanwhile, Ripp, R-Lodi, was considered a candidate for DATCP secretary before Gov. Scott Walker tapped Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, for the job. Ripp still lands the No. 3 spot at the agency — and a salary of $105,000 compared to a lawmaker’s pay of $50,950 — while Lasee heads to the Department of Workforce Development, where he becomes administrator for the Worker’s Compensation Division at a salary of $101,000. While they make out well, their departures create a possible challenge for GOP leaders, especially if a Dem wave develops this fall, insiders say. With Lasee flirting with a departure for so long, Republicans weren’t counting on him to run again this fall anyway. Plus, his failed bid for the GOP nomination in the 8th CD and questions about his residency likely would have dogged him in a re-election bid. Still, incumbents always have an advantage, some argue, so it’s hard to say who would be a stronger candidate. State Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, is the first GOP candidate out of the gate, and he announces several backers, including fellow Republican Alan Lasee, who is a cousin of Frank’s and held the Senate seat previously. Still, Republicans expect others to run. Dems have the district on their list of targets for the fall, though it typically has a decent GOP lean in midterms. Republicans feel they should hold the seat, even if a wave develops, but it’s tough to project what this fall could bring in such a tumultuous atmosphere. Ripp’s district is a little more of a swing seat, making it a top target for Assembly Dems looking to climb out of the hole they’re in. It could be tough for Republicans to find someone as solid as he’s been in the district, too. Though Donald Trump took 54 percent there in November, Ripp won re-election with 58.6 percent. If Dems can pull out a win in the open 10th SD during this month’s special election, some say, it would give them momentum heading into the fall. Then they could pitch to donors that winning a special election in a GOP-leaning seat could put a lot of districts in play come fall.

Adam Jarchow: The GOP state rep gets an early infusion of outside help as he tries to win the open 10th Senate District in a rare mid-January special election. While it dwarfs the Dem effort ahead of the final sprint to the western Wisconsin election, insiders note the difficulty in reaching the right voters in such an odd environment. In addition to his own stuff on the air, Jarchow counts Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, Americans for Prosperity and the Republican State Leadership Committee among those boosting his candidacy. And that’s after the Realtors used their political arm to run issue ads praising him in the run up to the primary that he won over fellow GOP Rep. Shannon Zimmerman. The RSLC takes aim at Dem rival Patty Schachtner, calling her “greedy” and noting she was sued by the school district “to make her pay hundreds in lunch expenses she’d pushed off on — you guessed it — the taxpayer.” Dems explain Schachtner’s husband was injured, wasn’t working and the family fell behind on school lunch payments. The school continued to provide lunch to her children as the bill accrued, and the Somerset School District filed in 2001 over $748.60 for an unpaid lunch bill. The early barrage, to some, underscores the importance of winning the 10th for Republicans. It is a GOP-leaning seat that Republicans should hold onto without much trouble. But if a Dem wave is building, it’s the kind of seat they could lose, and a Dem win would send reverberations throughout the Capitol. So Republicans are going all out in the hopes of making sure they deny Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, momentum heading into November. The race also produces a conundrum for Dems. If they do win, the wind would fill their sails. But if they invest heavily in the race, some say, and come up short, it could blunt their argument about other GOP-leaning seats they plan to target in November. So Dems lower expectations, talking about the district’s GOP lean and the difficulty in running expensive TV ads out of the Twin Cities to cover the expansive district. Dems add winning the seat means more to Republicans than it does to them, and of course they’ll be outspent by outside GOP groups. Still, some believe Dems are counting on this being a base-on-base election and that their side is simply more motivated with what’s going on nationally. If there’s truly a Dem wave coming, maybe it will hit Wisconsin regardless of the resources being spent in the 10th, some say. But insiders say the early spending clearly favors Jarchow in a rapidly closing window to reach voters.

Kevin Nicholson: Some Republicans believe GOP state Sen. Leah Vukmir has an advantage over the former Marine and business consultant with the party’s grassroots thanks to her record championing conservative causes in the Capitol. But with former UN Ambassador John Bolton’s super PAC announcing a $1 million buy praising Nicholson, the disparity in outside spending is getting hard to ignore, election watchers say. And it is helping him build name ID with GOP primary voters ahead of the inevitable attacks over his past as a Dem. Nicholson faces challenges building inroads with Wisconsin insiders who have been partial to Vukmir because of their familiarity with her. He’s got other issues ahead. The endorsement of a Steve Bannon-backed super PAC isn’t looking so hot to some now that President Trump is slamming his former adviser. And regular stories pop up with new accounts of Nicholson’s comments while president of the national College Democrats 18 years ago that will not sit well with GOP primary voters. Still, between Oct. 1 and mid-November, groups backing Nicholson laid down about $2.3 million in independent expenditures, according to FEC records. Meanwhile, the conservative Americas PAC has been quietly doing radio on Nicholson’s behalf praising his background. That includes a spot that decries political correctness on college campuses and says Nicholson rejected identity politics, helping to lay a foundation to explain to primary voters how he went from president of the national College Democrats to a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate. While the Bolton buy is announced as $1 million, it’s a fraction of that to start. The PAC says it’s focusing on the Green Bay market because of the GOP primary voters there. After studying the response to the ad, the group plans to tweak it and then go statewide. Some insiders are intrigued by the plan. But they also note the limits of outside spending; Bolton’s PAC is going to focus on the message he wants, not necessarily the one Nicholson wants to deliver. Still, many of the spots outside groups have run play up Nicholson’s background as a Marine, something that helps make him an intriguing candidate for 2018. Vukmir backers in Wisconsin aren’t convinced all the money being spent on his behalf is making that much of a difference. They suggest it’s more about closing the gap with Vukmir than putting him out front. Still, others counter that no state senator has great statewide name ID, Vukmir included. Yes, she has Milwaukee conservative talk radio on her side, and that’s a potent force, though maybe not as strong as it was when Charlie Sykes was still on the air. But at some point, she needs some paid media on the air to build her name ID, too, especially outstate. Some believe that’s just a matter of time and the pro-Nicholson groups have simply moved up the timeline for spending. Some also question if the pro-Nicholson groups will have the resources to sustain the message and burn it in, though Illinois businessman Dick Uihlein is a common thread with all of them and seems to be willing to keep putting money into the cause. Nicholson also wins the endorsement of 2016 Wisconsin presidential primary winner and Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, whose former chief of staff is now working on the former Marine’s campaign as well. The campaign team Nicholson has put together is impressive, insiders say. But it’s also from outside Wisconsin, which underscores for some the dynamic of national forces favoring Nicholson and the powers that be in the state liking Vukmir. Insiders will be watching the upcoming finance reports to see if either is getting out ahead of the other and if Nicholson is growing financial roots with Wisconsin donors. Some Dems believe Nicholson would be the stronger general election candidate against Baldwin with his military background and no ties to elected office considering the electorate doesn’t especially seem pleased with politicians. But some Dems also argue the only positive stories Nicholson sees are ones about the amount of money out-of-state groups are spending on his behalf. And there are those who believe the coming ads about his past as a Dem will be a killer with the party’s base. Others, though, caution there are plenty of GOP primary voters who can relate to that transition, meaning those spots won’t be as potent as some suggest. There’s also the looming GOP endorsement vote at the state convention in May, and many believe that’s Vukmir’s crowd considering her years of attending the annual events and the fact the vote will be in Milwaukee. Some debate how much weight the endorsement would carry if Vukmir wins it. But having access to the party’s infrastructure, staff and donor list ahead of the August primary could help her blunt the impact of Nicholson’s outside money, some argue.

Mixed

Scott Walker: The guv moves to address the problems at Wisconsin’s youth prisons by announcing a plan to relocate those offenders to five new regional facilities and expand the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center, arguing it will “improve long-term outcomes for both juveniles and our staff working at these facilities.” It also might help ease a potential campaign issue this fall. But Dems slam the guv for waiting so long, and a former Corrections secretary with an ax to grind provides fodder for detractors. To critics, Walker and Republicans set the foundation for the trouble at Lincoln Hills. The administration closed Ethan Allen School in Waukesha County in 2011 and sent those young offenders to Lincoln Hills while also shutting down the Southern Oaks School in Racine County and opening Copper Lakes School for Girls on the same grounds. Critics say it made no sense to move offenders — many of them from the Milwaukee area — hundreds of miles away from home and isolating them from family. It was a recipe for disaster. Not long after the moves, the first notices of problems surfaced, followed by a criminal investigation and a federal lawsuit that resulted in orders to change the use of solitary confinement, restraints and pepper spray, among other things. So some critics say while Walker may be making the right moves now, they have a hard time giving him any credit for steps they believe should have been taken already. Still, some Dems join Republicans in praising Walker for taking the move after he initially suggested he could make things work at Lincoln Hills. Along with borrowing $80 million to build the regional facilities, Walker calls for retrofitting Lincoln Hills to house medium-security adult prisoners, saying it would mean more capacity to treat those with alcohol and drug issues. With the state looking for more capacity, it also could be a cheaper alternative than building a new facility. While Dem guv hopefuls slam Walker, some Republicans question if it ever would have been a driving issue in the guv’s race. To some, the guv and particularly AG Brad Schimel should be more worried about Ed Wall. The former Corrections secretary plans to have a book out by August — just a couple of months ahead of Walker and Schimel’s re-election bids — and he does a WKOW-TV interview in which he accuses the AG of botching an investigation into the teen prison. He also says Walker didn’t take the problems there seriously enough. Schimel’s office dismisses the claims, accusing Wall of seeking to retaliate against the AG. A former DOJ employee, Wall stepped down as Corrections secretary amid reports of problems at Lincoln Hills and returned to his old agency. But Schimel fired him after Wall suggested in a letter to the guv’s chief of staff that mentioned shredding records. To critics, Walker is only taking these steps now because he’s trying to get ahead of Wall’s book. But the guv’s office says the plan has been discussed for a year.

GOP unity: The GOP U.S. Senate candidates sign a “unity pledge” and then hours later are bickering. The easy interpretation is, “Well, that didn’t last long.” Still, insiders say other reasons explain why the state GOP pressed Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir to sign the pledge in order to be eligible for the party’s endorsement at the May convention. Nicholson, the former Marine and business consultant, and Vukmir, the GOP state senator from Brookfield, quickly agreed to sign the pledge after the party issues it. But just hours later, their campaigns bickered over whether Nicholson should disavow the support of Steve Bannon after comments surfaced of the former Trump adviser knocking the president and his family. Still, insiders say the pledge was never about getting the two to play nice between now and the August primary. Instead, Republicans say the language was designed to focus on two things: making sure the losing candidate endorses the winner after what looks like a contentious primary is over; and ensuring neither tries to blow up the endorsement process at the state convention. To drive home the latter point, the pledge includes a line about respecting the endorsement process and operating “within the confines of the rules of convention.” While the party is trying to be proactive, some see that as a reference to what happened in 2010 and 2012. Eight years ago, then-guv candidate Mark Neumann tried to pull his name off the endorsement ballot ahead of convention, saying the voters should decide the nominee, not a roomful of activists. That attempt was rejected, and then-Milwaukee County Exec Scott Walker overwhelmingly won the endorsement vote on his way to winning the guv’s office. Two years later, Neumann sought the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate and went into that year’s convention challenging the credentials and membership status of some delegates behind the scenes, causing strains with party officials. Eventually, none of the four GOP candidates in the race that year crossed the 60 percent threshold needed to secure the party’s endorsement. Some believe that didn’t do former Gov. Tommy Thompson any favors and the sniping that continued through the primary left him bruised and broke before he eventually lost to Dem Tammy Baldwin. Both Neumann campaigns were led by operative Chip Englander, who worked as a consultant for Nicholson. While he left this fall with the expectation he would eventually join a super PAC backing the former Marine, there are Republicans who fear he may have made some suggestions on the way out the door on how to approach the endorsement process. With the pledge now signed, some GOP officials believe it will be up to delegates to decide if the candidates lived up to their promise. Meanwhile, Madison businessman Eric Hovde is still weighing his options after at one point saying he expected to make a call by early fall 2017. He told WisPolitics.com this week he’s meeting with political operatives at month’s end as he continues to weigh whether to make another run for the U.S. Senate after finishing second to Thompson in 2012. Insiders continue trying to read the tea leaves with Hovde, who said he’d sign the unity pledge if he ran. With his upcoming meetings, it would be February before he got in, not leaving much time to organize ahead of the convention. Then again, some say his personal resources give him more time to make a decision than other candidates. Beyond the impact of Hovde’s decision on the race, there are those who question the value of the party’s endorsement in the current environment. Yes, there’s some truth to the party’s grassroots and the GOP establishment being one in the same after the battles that have been fought in Wisconsin over the past decade. But in the current environment, being backed by any kind of establishment may hurt with some voters. Others, however, argue the endorsement could be a game-changer considering it comes with access to the state GOP’s donor rolls, staff and turnout efforts.

Falling

Teachers unions: The decline of public employee unions in Wisconsin has been well documented since the passage of Act 10 in 2011. Here’s one more nugget: less than half of the state’s more than 400 school districts have a certified union. The decline represents a struggle public employee unions have had since Gov. Scott Walker pushed through his plan to dramatically scale back their powers to collectively bargain. Because the bar was so high to certify and the benefits so low, some figured it wasn’t worth the effort. Act 10 requires public employee unions to hold certification votes annually. What’s more, to be certified, 51 percent of members — not just those casting ballots — have to vote yes. That means anyone who doesn’t vote counts as a no, putting that much more of an onus on union leaders to get members to turn out. Then if they are certified, the unions can only negotiate over base wages. If they’re not certified, school boards may still meet with them on issues but don’t have to. The declining union rolls are reflected in the annual reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is scheduled to release its figures for 2017 later this month. But in 2016, the percentage of public and private workers who belonged to a union was 8.1 percent, down from 14.2 percent in 2010, the year before Act 10 took effect, and a peak over the past decade of 15.2 percent in 2009. Along with declining members has come a diminished role politically. WEAC was once one of the 800-pound gorillas in Wisconsin politics, going toe-to-toe with Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce in state races. But those days are long gone because of the drop in its numbers — and the dues that are no longer rolling in. In 2016, WEAC PAC listed $808,672 in disbursements, according to filings with the state. In 2008, it listed $3.15 million.

Paul Nehlen: He has zero credibility in Wisconsin, and state insiders believe he has no chance of beating Paul Ryan in a re-match of their 2016 1st CD GOP primary in which the House speaker pulled 84 percent of the vote. Now, Steve Bannon has cut ties with Nehlen after a series of incendiary tweets and an appearance on a white nationalist podcast. Some ask: If you lose Bannon — a leader in the so-called alt-right movement — what’s that say about you? Nehlen’s tweets included the hashtag “ItsOkayToBeWhite” and some were criticized as anti-Semitic. An adviser to Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart, declares Nehlen is “dead to us” after the right-wing outlet spent much of 2016 pumping him up and tearing Ryan down. Wisconsin insiders viewed Nehlen more as an unfortunate curiosity than anything else heading into 2018. Sadly, some add, his shtick has turned into a money-making operation in which he persuades those who dislike Ryan to keep donating. So long as some keep sending the checks, he’ll keep it up, even if people in Wisconsin aren’t paying attention.

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Friday Jan. 12 in Milwaukee: A WisPolitics.com conversation with Speaker Ryan on taxes

House Speaker Paul Ryan joins WisPolitics.com to discuss the congressional tax overhaul.

Check in begins at 10:15 a.m.
Program goes from 11 a.m. to noon.

PRE-PAID REGISTRATIONS ONLY FOR THIS EVENT/DEADLINE IS JAN. 5.

For a table of eight at $325, contact: schmies@wispolitics.com

Individual seats are very limited. Cost $45, contact schmies@wispolitics.com

Price includes coffee, soft drinks and a box lunch with turkey, roast beef, ham or veggie sandwich. You must reserve your box lunch in advance and provide your full name and date of birth for security no later than Jan. 8. Contact: schmies@wispolitics.com

Event address:
Plankinton Building, 7th Floor, Dining hall, room 7820 UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education
161 W Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53203-2602
414-227-3195

Nearby parking: Grand Avenue Mall parking immediately behind building.

Map: http://uwm.edu/sce/welcome/directions/

Sponsored by: UW-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Academy for Global Education and Training, ELEVEN25 at Pabst, Milwaukee Police Association, The Firm Consulting, Medical College of Wisconsin and Charter Communications.

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BURNS, DALLET APPEAR BEST POSITIONED TO INVEST PERSONAL MONEY INTO THEIR CAMPAIGNS

Middleton attorney Tim Burns and Milwaukee Judge Rebecca Dallet appear the best positioned to invest personal money into their state Supreme Court campaigns heading toward the February primary, according to newly filed statements of economic interest.

Dallet has already personally loaned $200,000 to her campaign after she got into the race last spring.

Burns, meanwhile, put $1,000 of his own money into his campaign to help get it off the ground. But his campaign declined to say whether he will invest any more money in the race.

A WisPolitics.com check of their statements of economic interest suggests the minimum values of their holdings are significantly higher than that of Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock, the Republicans’ favorite in this spring’s race to fill the seat being vacated by conservative Justice Michael Gableman.

Still, the value ranges listed in the reports are so wide that it’s difficult to nail down a precise number. Candidates are only required to list investments and debts worth between $5,000 and $50,000 and more than $50,000.

All three campaigns declined to say whether they planned to invest personal money in the race heading into the Feb. 20 primary with Dallet campaign manager Jessica Lovejoy saying the Milwaukee judge “invested in her campaign early on because she was committed to running and winning this election.”

Here’s an overview of their reports:

Burns

The Middleton attorney lists investments of at least $445,000, not including at least $65,000 in college savings accounts.

Not counting the college funds, he had nine investments worth between $5,000 and $50,000 and eight of at least $50,000.

Those investments included at least $50,000 in the retirement plan for Perkins Coie, his law firm.

Burns listed no debts of more than $5,000 and no family employers other than Perkins Coie. Candidates only have to list other family employers if the income received exceeded $1,000 in that year.

See the Burns filing:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/01051801.pdf

Dallet

The Milwaukee judge listed investments of at least $385,000.

She listed 37 investments worth between $5,000 and $50,000 and four of $50,000 or more.

Dallet also lists Braer Investments, a rental property company, as a family business and a property in Glendale she owns in addition to her primary residence.

Dallet’s husband, Brad, is listed on her disclosure form as a partner at Braer Investments. He’s also a real estate lawyer and partner at Husch Blackwell.

She listed three debts of between $5,000 and $50,000 and two of more than $50,000.

See Dallet’s filing:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/01051802.pdf

Screnock

The Sauk County judge listed investments worth at least $55,000.

That includes 11 investments that were listed as between $5,000 and $50,000.

He also listed ownership of two vacant parcels in Washburn and four debts. Three of the debts were valued at between $5,000 and $50,000, including one to the U.S. Department of Education, while one was listed as more than $50,000.

In addition to the state court system, he listed the Gateway Area Council Inc., a Boy Scouts summer camp, and Kwik Trip Inc. as family employers.

See Screnock’s filing:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/01051803.pdf

Burns does not plan to release clients

Burns’ report does not detail any of his clients in 2017 through his work at Perkins Coie, and he has no plans to detail them.

Burns has been running on his progressive positions, and some have questioned how voters can check public statements of his values vs. the clients he has represented if that information is not in the public sphere.

“Judge Rebecca Dallet has only worked for one client – the people of Wisconsin – and she is the only candidate with more than two decades of experience in our Wisconsin courtrooms,” Lovejoy said.

Burns, who represents individuals and businesses against insurers, said there’s very little chance any of his past cases would come before the Wisconsin Supreme Court because most of them are outside the state.

“In the highly unlikely event any of the cases I am working on did come in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I would of course recuse myself,” he said.

Ethics Commission Administrator Brian Bell said attorneys only have to disclose their clients, whether it’s an individual or an organization, if it becomes a public record.

WisPolitics.com reported in the summer that Burns had been involved in only two public cases in Wisconsin courtrooms. His work often does not lead to lawsuits or settlements that are publicly filed.

Bell said there are also Supreme Court rules for attorneys on disclosing clients when it is not a matter of public record. For lawyers seeking office, the commission has them disclose clients who have not become public record to keep that information on file in case a complaint is filed about a conflict of interest. That information is not released to the public.


DEGENHARDT STRESSES FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY, CONNECTION TO ‘EVERYDAY PEOPLE’ IN 58TH AD BID

The Dem candidate for former GOP Rep. Bob Gannon’s seat says his decades of experience “working for everyday people” helps set him apart from his Republican opponent.

Dennis Degenhardt, the former president and CEO of Glacier Hills Credit Union, spent 39 years in the credit union industry — a resume item he says not only has made him fiscally responsible but also able to “understand working people and their needs.”

Those needs, he said in a WisPolitics.com interview this week, don’t include continuing to cut taxes — a topic his opponent, Rick Gundrum, has touted.

Gundrum, the 61-year-old Village of Slinger trustee and Washington County Board member, previously told WisPolitics.com that in those positions, he’s prioritized low tax rates and priority-based budgeting. He won a four-way primary last month, advancing to face Degenhardt on Jan. 16 for the 58th Assembly District seat.

But Degenhardt, 68 and Washington County Dem Party vice president, said there’s a limit as to how far taxes can be cut, as he knocked Republicans for “failing to invest in Wisconsin.”

“I believe in fiscal responsibility,” he said. “Cutting taxes is not the answer to all questions, and if you pay for nothing what do you get? I think we learned this a long time ago; we get nothing.”

Among Degenhardt’s top issues are: access to affordable health care; raising the minimum wage; creating family supporting jobs; and pumping more money into public schools. He acknowledged while Gov. Scott Walker’s current budget upped funding for both K-12 and higher ed, he said the increase doesn’t make up for the lack of funding in previous years.

Meanwhile, on transportation, Degenhardt said lawmakers first need to look at the bid process to make it more open and competitive, which he said would help reign in costs. He also pointed to the Zoo Interchange project as an example of “runaway costs.”

“We have to get control of these costs before we even analyze how we go forward,” he said.

From there, Degenhardt said, he’d be open to considering further steps, including a gas tax hike, higher vehicle registration fees and tolling.

“I think everything should be on the table,” he said.

Degenhardt also said he’d oppose a bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit, saying current law works and gun safety training is important.

And Degenhardt said he’s hoping the state uses the Foxconn deal as a learning opportunity. He was bothered by the “rushed” process that prioritized “good politics, not good governing.”

“How do we look at these contracts, how do we get more debate?” he said. “This thing was kind of shoved down everybody’s throats real fast. We didn’t have a good statewide debate. There are people in other parts of the state who hate this thing because this is Racine County. It’s not going to help people up in Marshfield.”

And while Degenhardt said the idea of 13,000 new jobs is exciting, he questioned whether they would ever fully materialize, adding he’d be open to tweak the contract if possible.

“If we can change something that looks fishy or put some other guarantees in, I think we should look at it,” he said.

Hear the audio:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/degenhardt/s-R3FKm

See a previous WisPolitics.com interview with Gundrum:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/58th-ad-gop-primary-candidates-oppose-raising-gas-tax-registration-fees-for-roads/

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Jan. 30: WisPolitics Luncheon with Kevin Nicholson

Join WisPolitics.com for lunch at the Madison Club, 5 East Wilson St., Madison, on Tuesday, Jan. 30 with GOP U.S. candidate Kevin Nicholson to talk about the 2018 race for the seat now held by Tammy Baldwin.

See more on Nicholson: https://nicholsonforsenate.com/meet-kevin/

Check-in and lunch begins at 11:30 a.m., with the program going from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Madison Club members and their guests receive discounted pricing for WisPolitics luncheons of $19 per person. Price for general public is $25 per person.

This luncheon is sponsored by: Husch Blackwell, American Family Insurance, Xcel Energy, Walmart, AARP Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

To register, visit: https://eventbrite.com/e/wispolitics-luncheon-with-kevin-nicholson-tickets-40921540429

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WEEK AHEAD

Tuesday: The Elections Commission meets to certify candidates for the 2018 Spring Election and to consider a request for a Senate public hearing on administrator confirmation.
– 8 a.m.: Wisconsin Elections Commission, 212 East Washington Ave., Madison.

Thursday: The Ethics Commission is to review an audit on lobbying violations.
– 9 a.m.: 300 Southeast, State Capitol.

Friday: WisPolitics.com holds a conversation with Speaker Paul Ryan on taxes.
– 11 a.m.: UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee.

POLITICAL TV
(Check local listings for times in your area)

“UpFront with Mike Gousha” is a statewide commercial TV news magazine show airing Sundays around the state. This week’s show features Milwaukee County Chief Judge MAXINE WHITE, who discusses Gov. SCOTT WALKER’s youth prison plan; KELDA ROYS on her bid for the Dem gubernatorial nomination; and ZACH BRANDON, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, on plans to base the F-35 fighter jet at Truax Field.
*See viewing times in state markets here: http://www.wisn.com/upfront/
*Also view the show online each Monday at WisPolitics.com

“Rewind,” a weekly show from WisconsinEye and WisPolitics.com, airs at 8 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. on Sundays in addition to being available online. On this week’s episode, WisPolitics.com’s JR ROSS and WisconsinEye’s STEVE WALTERS discuss the upcoming political calendar, Gov. SCOTT WALKER’s decision to transition youthful offenders out of LIncoln Hills and the Jan. 16 special election.
*Watch the show: http://www.wiseye.org/Video-Archive/Event-Detail/evhdid/12079

Wisconsin Public TV’s “Here and Now” airs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays. On this week’s program, anchor FREDERICA FREYBERG talks with state Sen. LENA TAYLOR on Gov. SCOTT WALKER’s plan to close Lincoln Hills. The show also features Dane County League of Women Voters President BROOK SOLTVEDT on the complaint filed by the city of Madison over a plan to move DMV offices, UW Atmospheric scientist JON MARTIN on Wisconsin’s recent cold snap, and REBECCA DALLET on her Supreme Court bid.

“For the Record” airs at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on WISC-TV in Madison. Host NEIL HEINEN talks with Madison Magazine’s KAREN LINCOLN MICHEL, Madison 365’s HENRY SANDERS, La Movida Radio’s LUPITA MONTOTO and WI State Journal’s SCOTT MILFRED.

“Capitol City Sunday” airs at 9 a.m. Sunday on WKOW-TV in Madison, WAOW-TV in Wausau, WXOW-TV in La Crosse and WQOW-TV in Eau Claire.

“The Insiders” is a weekly WisOpinion.com web show featuring former Democratic Senate Majority Leader CHUCK CHVALA and former Republican Assembly Speaker SCOTT JENSEN. This week, the two debate Speaker PAUL RYAN’s future.
*Watch the video: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/wisopinion-com-the-insiders-debate-speaker-paul-ryans-future/
*Listen to the show: https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/the-insiders-debate-speaker-paul-ryans-future

NAMES IN THE NEWS
Send items to staff@wispolitics.com

Upcoming WisPolitics.com events in Madison and D.C. include:

*A Jan. 30 Madison Club luncheon with GOP U.S. Senate candidate KEVIN NICHOLSON
Register: https://kevinnicholson.eventbrite.com

*A Feb. 6 Madison Club luncheon with Dem guv candidate MAHLON MITCHELL. Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wispolitics-luncheon-with-mahlon-mitchell-tickets-41390660580

*A March 7 DC breakfast with U.S. Rep. MIKE GALLAGHER. Register: https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/march-7-wispolitics-dc-breakfast-with-u-s-rep-mike-gallagher-and-the-millennial-action-project/

*A March 8 Madison Club luncheon with Dem guv candidate and state Sen. KATHLEEN VINEHOUT. Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wispolitics-luncheon-with-kathleen-vinehout-tickets-41390911330

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty this week announced CJ SZAFIR will serve as the group’s executive vice president. Szafir previously worked as WILL’s vice president of policy and deputy legal counsel after initially serving as the education policy director. He has also previously worked as a policy advisor to Senate Majority Leader SCOTT FITZGERALD. See more: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/wisconsin-institute-for-law-liberty-cj-szafir-promoted-to-executive-vice-president/

MELISSA BALDAUFF is leaving Milwaukee County Exec CHRIS ABELE’s staff next month to become senior communications strategist for GPS Impact, a digital strategy firm. Before going to work for Abele, Baldauff worked for the state Dem Party.

The Wisconsin Libertarian Party announced this year’s state convention on April 14 in Madison will feature keynote speaker JEFFREY TUCKER. Tucker serves as the CEO of social network and publishing platform Liberty.me. See more: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/libertarian-party-of-wisconsin-announces-2018-state-convention/

Former state Sen. WALTER JOHN CHILSEN retired from the Town of Weston Board of Supervisors last month after serving as a member for 17 years. The 94-year-old, who held a Senate seat for 24 years between 1966 and 1990, also previously worked as a news director and anchor for what was formerly WSAU-TV in Wausau. Chilsen in 2005 was inducted into the state Broadcasting Museum’s Hall of Fame. See more: https://www.wpr.org/longtime-wisconsin-lawmaker-and-broadcaster-retires-politics-94

TODD BERRY of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance wrote his final column as president of the group this week on partisan politics and the effects of gerrymandering on the Legislature. Read it here: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/todd-berry-how-wisconsin-government-and-politics-have-changed-and-what-to-do-about-it/

Madison Magazine will honor former Commerce Secretary ROBERT TRUNZO and four other Madison business leaders at their Best of Madison Business Awards on January 26. Trunzo is the current president and CEO of CUNA Mutual Group, which he first joined in 2005. He served as commerce secretary under former Gov. TOMMY THOMPSON. See more here: https://www.channel3000.com/madison-magazine/best-of-madison/best-of-madison-business-2016/155483411

Rep. JOHN MACCO staffer BEN JONIAUX is leaving the Ledgeview Republican’s office this month to take a new position at UW-Green Bay. Joniaux serves as the clerk for the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, which Macco chairs.


ENDORSEMENTS:
The following is a list of endorsements made for statewide and congressional district elections in the last week, based on emails received by WisPolitics.com:

— U.S. Senate:

LEAH VUKMIR: RightNOW Women PAC; Washington County Supervisor JOHN BULAWA; UW-Madison College Republican JACOB GARMAN; TIFFANY KOEHLER, former staffer to state Rep. BOB GANNON; St. Croix County District Attorney MICHAEL NIESKES; state Rep. TRAVIS TRANEL and more. See the full list: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/vukmir-campaign-leah-topples-200-grassroots-endorsements/

KEVIN NICHOLSON: U.S. Sen. TED CRUZ.

— 5th CD:

TOM PALZEWICZ: State Reps. EVAN GOYKE, DANIEL RIEMER and CHRISTINE SINICKI.

For more Names in the News, see subscriber products from earlier in the week plus the press release page at WisPolitics.com: https://www.wispolitics.com/

For upcoming events, see the “Week Ahead” in this product and in your e-mail Monday morning. Click here for the online calendar: https://www.wispolitics.com/category/events/

If you have a contribution, e-mail staff@wispolitics.com

LOBBYIST WATCH
(from the state Ethics Commission)

Fourty changes were made to the lobbying registry in the past 10 days.

Follow this link for the complete list:
https://lobbying.wi.gov/Who/LobbyingRegistryChanges/2017REG/SearchByDateRange

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