FRI PM Update: WEDC Board members visiting Foxconn site; Hagedorn to address GOP state convention

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— Board members for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. have begun visiting the Foxconn site in Mount Pleasant in recent days, with trips continuing into next week.

The trips mark the first time they’re visiting the site as board members, WEDC spokesman David Callender said, though he noted some may have previously been there for other reasons, such as the groundbreaking last June.

Some of these “small-group, courtesy visits” already took place this week, Callender said, though the rest will occur next.

None of the small groups scheduled to visit will constitute a quorum of the board or any of its committees, according to Callender. The visits aren’t considered inspections. And not all of the WEDC board members will be visiting the site.

WEDC did not provide the dates and times of the visits for “security reasons.”

— Former Gov. Scott Walker and his family are hosting a Hawaiian cruise next winter, featuring a karaoke night with the previous first couple and “a VIP luau experience.”

The 12-day-long trip, which kicks off Jan. 29, includes three nights in Honolulu followed by a week on a cruise ship traveling around the islands, according to an email previewing the trip.

The trip is occurring over Walker and former first lady Tonette Walker’s 27th wedding anniversary, Feb. 6, the birthday of President Reagan, per the email. Also attending are Matt and Alex Walker.

The event is run through Cruise & Tour, which also runs conservative radio host Mark Belling’s annual cruise.

Prices for the trip start at $5,499, according to the Cruise & Tour website.

See the email:

See more details online:

— Dem presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is running a new digital ad in Wisconsin that charges President Trump “betrayed the voters of Wisconsin.”

The campaign says the spot will run on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter throughout Wisconsin, but declined to provide specifics on how much it’s spending on the ad.

The more than three-minute video includes footage from Trump’s rally in Green Bay last month, with Sanders backers talking about the president and the Dem candidate.

One man talks about the closure of Shopko and tax breaks for Kimberly Clark, which he says is going to “turn around, take that money and leave the state anyways in a short period of time.”

“I think that’s more American than anything else, just to say someone else needs something. I’m gonna help take care of them, and that’s what I’m gonna vote for Bernie,” another man says. “Because I know that he’s going to fight for the every man, for all of us.”

See the ad:

— The group Better BadgerCare Wisconsin said it has gone up with new digital ads targeting GOP members of the Joint Finance Committee over their vote to reject the guv’s proposal to accept federal money to expand Medicare.

The ads highlight estimates from the state Department of Health Services on the increased investments that would occur in each lawmaker’s district under the expansion.

For example, the one targeting Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, says he “turned down $118 million for health care.”

The others targeted are: Rep. Amy Loudenback, R-Clinton, and Sens. Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg; Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green; Luther Olsen, R-Ripon; Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville; and Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst.

See the release:

See the Nygren ad:

— Supreme Court Justice-elect Brian Hagedorn will be among those who address the GOP state convention tomorrow in Oshkosh.

The party is also switching to a panel discussion format for several of its speakers rather than having them give individual speeches. For example, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Junueau, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, will be part of one panel. Meanwhile, U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy, of Wausau; Glenn Grothman, of Glenbeulah; and Bryan Steil, of Janesville; will be on another.

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the dean of the Wisconsin House delegation, will address the convention on his own.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, will be interviewed by conservative talk show host Jay Weber and then do a presentation to the convention on the postmortem the party conducted on the 2018 elections.

Johnson is also hosting a reception and will provide remarks tonight.

Follow the convention this weekend in the GOP Convention Blog:

— Gov. Tony Evers today signed an executive order authorizing Pepin County to lower the U.S. and Wisconsin flags to half-staff in honor of Kyle Hayden, the volunteer firefighter who passed away from heart failure on Monday.

The order will go into effect at sunrise on May 20 and end at sunset.

— is profiling some of the newly announced state agency heads. This week features our 13th installment with Public Service Commission Chair Rebecca Cameron Valcq.

The Wisconsin native most recently worked at Quarles and Brady before joining Gov. Tony Evers’ administration.

Birthplace, age?
Greendale, Wis.; age 43.

Job history?
Most recently worked as a partner at Quarles & Brady in the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice Group. Previously worked as regulatory counsel for We Energies.

Undergraduate degree in political science and Spanish from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa; law school at Marquette University.

Married to husband, Rob, since 2001. Two kids: an 11-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old daughter.

Favorite non-work interests?
Cooking and seeing live music. She said she tries to never follow a recipe when cooking, although she’ll use recipe books as a baseline.

“My sort of ideal day is being in my kitchen with my kids and my husband cooking and listening to really good music.”

Why the interest in being in the Evers administration?
I think part of my background coming from practicing energy law for the first part of my career, I saw it through a different lens. Then when I moved into private practice, I was exposed to different clients, developers and alternative energy suppliers, and that allowed me to see the industry through yet another lens. And when the opportunity presented itself to serve at the Public Service Commission, in my mind it was the absolute opportunity of a lifetime because it’s an industry that I find so fascinating. And I wasn’t aware of any commissioners who had had the type of energy background that I had. Um, so I was interested in trying to bring a different perspective and a different background to the agency.

What are your priorities for the agency under your leadership?
One of the really great benefits of being part of Gov. Evers’ administration is that he’s such an inspirational leader and he really believes in the expertise of his cabinet members. And so he’s allowed us to sort of go out and talk to our agency staff and find out what are the big issues, what are the policies that we need to be looking at. And what I’ve learned over the last four months in speaking to everybody at the agency is that I think there are really three big priorities for the PSC. The first is how do we transition in Wisconsin from traditional ways of generating electricity — which have primarily been fossil-based fuels, right? — how do we make the transition from that older method of generating electricity to a zero-carbon future? The way that energy is generated, distributed, delivered and consumed has completely changed and that change has occurred pretty quickly. So that transition is going to take a lot of thought and a lot of careful analysis. There are a lot of things that have to be looked at. And what’s exciting to me is that all the options are on the table. I don’t think there’s anything that we can say, ‘No, no, no, that’s not going to be part of making that transition,’ because we have to remember that we’ve got the financial stability and viability of the utility companies, but then we’ve got the customer expectations to have safe, reliable, affordable energy. And making that transition is going to be so interesting and so challenging. So that’s one of the policies that we’re looking at. Another priority is 2019 is the year of clean water and at the Public Service Commission, we have water utilities under our jurisdiction. And (we want to ensure) that we are making the water utilities aware of the methods in which lead service lines can be replaced. So water issues are another top priority. And then access and affordability as it relates to broadband: That’s another, that’s another major seismic shift that has occurred in the rather recent past. I think probably 10 or 15 years (ago), people thought of broadband as a luxury. I think now people understand it’s no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity. So those are the top three that I’m getting ready to sort of focus our efforts (on).

What should the agency be doing differently?
I don’t necessarily think differently. I think that the Public Service Commission is full of very, very intelligent experts in their area. I mean, we’ve got engineers, we have auditors, we have financial analysts, we have environmental analysts and they’re all really, really good at what they do. So I don’t necessarily think that there’s anything that needs to be improved. I think one of the things in general, and this is just my preferred way of looking at issues, is engaging a broader group of parties. And that can mean a lot of different things. It can mean talking to different people within the agency, talking to people at other agencies, right? So when we talk about things like broadband, what does that mean to tourism? What does that mean to agricultural farms and the agricultural community? What does that mean? You know, the possibilities to collaborate are endless. So I, I’m looking forward to just engaging a broad variety of people to help tackle some of these issues.

What’s the best advice you’ve received since getting the job?
I think it’s twofold. I’ve actually had the privilege of speaking to a couple of former chair-people of the commission. And not surprisingly, their advice was pretty similar and that is, this is going to be the most rewarding but challenging position of your career. So take a minute to just enjoy it, enjoy the challenges, enjoy the successes, even though they might feel like they’re small. So to stop and enjoy it. And then the other piece of advice is a little more practical and that is block off time on your calendar to actually sit down and deliberate because you can get really swept up really quickly going from meeting to meeting to meeting and talking to different groups of people. But if you don’t take the affirmative step to actually block off time to sit down and process and digest what you’re hearing, you’re going to be at a disadvantage. And I thought that that was just absolutely spot on and I’ve done it and it’s working so far.

Worst advice?
Here’s the advice: Take the Beltline. It’s awful. It is awful. So I spend a lot of time in my car. I commute between Milwaukee and Madison on a daily basis. And just when I think, ‘Okay, I’m here, I’m in Madison, I’m ready to go,’ I get on that Beltline and it’s a dead standstill. So that’s my worst advice is take the Beltline.

See a video of the conversation:

See past interviews and videos with other cabinet secretaries:

— Keith Gilkes, a former top campaign aide to Scott Walker, is shifting to a new role as chairman and CEO of Platform Communications, the consulting group he founded in 2017.

Brian Reisinger, who worked for Walker as well as U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, will now lead day-to-day activities as president and chief operating officer. He had been the firm’s vice president since 2017.

The firm has also added two new staffers: Alesha Guenther is now a communications and research associate, while Susan Ciminello is now the executive administrator.

See info on the full team:

(Check local listings for times in your area)

“UpFront” is a statewide commercial TV news magazine show airing Sundays around the state. It’s hosted by ADRIENNE PEDERSEN.
*See viewing times in state markets here:
*Also view the show online each Monday at

“Rewind,” a weekly show from WisconsinEye and, airs at 8 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. on Sundays in addition to being available online. On this week’s episode,’s JR ROSS and WisconsinEye’s STEVE WALTERS discuss the abortion bills that cleared the Assembly this week, the latest revenue figures and the oral arguments in one of the lame-duck lawsuits before the state Supreme Court.
*Watch the show:

Wisconsin Public TV’s “Here and Now” airs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays. On this week’s program, anchor FREDERICA FREYBERG talks with Wisconsin Farmers Union President DARIN VON RUDEN and Fox Valley Boys and Girls Club CEO GREG LEMPKE-ROCHON. Then, Here & Now’s ZAC SCHULTZ reports on the debate over Medicaid in the state budget.

“For the Record” airs at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on WISC-TV in Madison. Host NEIL HEINEN speaks with ROY ELKINS, founder and chief executive of Broadjam and Between The Waves, and KAREN REECE, co-founder and president of the Urban Community Arts Network, about a national conference and festival dedicated to the business of being an independent musician.

“Capital 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 web show featuring former Democratic Senate Majority Leader CHUCK CHVALA and former Republican Assembly Speaker SCOTT JENSEN. This week, the two consider whether Dem Gov. TONY EVERS’ medical marijuana proposal might still find legislative approval.
*Watch the video or listen to the show:


June 13: luncheon: The future of transportation funding in Wisconsin

Transportation funding has become one of the key debating points in the two-year state budget making its way through the Legislature. Gov. Tony Evers proposed an 8-cent-a gallon increase in the gas tax plus while getting rid of the minimum markup on gasoline — something the administration said would more than wipe out the increase. Republicans have removed the minimum markup provision and left in the gas tax increase for now. Where will the debate lead and will it result in a long-term solution?

Hear details from some of the key players in the debate at a issues luncheon set for Thursday, June 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UW-Milwaukee’s Waukesha campus just off I-94.

Panelists for the discussion: Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, state Rep. Debra Kolste, D-Janesville and a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, and state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin and a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee. subscribers and members receive discounted pricing for WisPolitics luncheons of $20 per person, including lunch. Price for the general public is $25 per person, including lunch.

This event is sponsored by: Kapur & Associates, UW-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Academy of Global Education and Training, ELEVEN25 at Pabst, Milwaukee Police Association, The Firm Consulting, Medical College of Wisconsin and Spectrum.

The Waukesha County Business Alliance is an event partner.

For more information and registration, visit:



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– 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.: Community Brainstorming Conference. Program focuses on black infant mortality in Milwaukee.

– 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.: GOP state convention.

– 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Farmers’ Market Brunch with U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan.

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