The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.
As I sat through Governor Walker’s State of the State Address on Jan. 24, I found myself reflecting back on the stark, obvious contrast of where our state stands today compared to 2010 when I first ran for the State Assembly seat I am honored to hold. The positive changes have not occurred overnight, have not been easily obtained, and were not accomplished without a measure of sacrifice. However, there can be no mistaking that we are far better off as a state than in 2010, and certainly the future looks brighter everyday as our state continues to lead the nation in innovative reform.
As the end of the legislative session approaches, I will be supportive of the following objectives: 1) encouraging economic development 2) continuing to support our schools 3) welfare reform and 4) promoting healthy families.
Economic development, particularly in our rural areas, includes removing barriers to growth and entrepreneurship and attracting more workers to our state. With employment at an all-time high, and unemployment at 3%, we need them!
Good schools assist parents in creating great young Americans. We must make sure our most frugal districts are not short-changed on necessary resources. This is the goal of AB 835 which will increase the ‘low revenue ceiling’ for affected school districts. Fond du Lac schools will benefit from this plan with an additional $1 million this fall! I have also authored the “Teacher’s Protection Act” to help promote teacher safety in our schools.
Reforming our welfare system includes adding photo identification on Quest cards, promoting personal independence by assisting individuals in gaining skills necessary for the workforce, requiring child support compliance if enrolled in Medical Assistance, and drug testing to receive benefits. The goal of these programs is to ensure integrity of tax expenditures, help identify those truly in need, assist those who truly want help, and making it easier for them to get a job.
Lastly, we are promoting healthy families by passing laws to improve foster care, combat homelessness, fight the opioid epidemic, curb mental health issues such as dementia, and provide comprehensive mammogram results. These items will only enhance our #1 rank for healthcare quality, 6th best state to raise a family, and 10th best state to do business.*
There is still much to do. Government exists to maintain order in society, provide necessary services that the private sector cannot or will not provide, and to take care of those who cannot care for themselves. While at times these boundaries can be difficult to define, for too long, our government, at all levels to varying degrees, has been a runaway train of regulation, ever-rising tax rates, unjustified fees, and a ‘big brother’ mentality. The government had turned into the quintessential ‘helicopter parent’.
Now that the path forward has been paved, it is time to place our faith back in the people of Wisconsin to drive the bus. We are not wards of the state—the state derives its power from the consent of the governed. We must resist the elixir of socialist tendencies and state-controlled bureaucracy that has befallen so much of the rest of the world and saps the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of the citizenry. We must continue to shrink the size and influence of the government in our lives because history tells us that it is the people that create prosperity. The American dream is alive and well here in Wisconsin, and it is available to anyone willing to work hard and take a chance.
— Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, represents the 52nd Assembly District.
*Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, WalletHub.com, Chief Executive Magazine