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Quotes of the Week
It is our American duty to protect the interpreters that risked their lives to aid our mission in Afghanistan. But it’s important that Afghan refugees are properly vetted.
– U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, on Afghan refugees arriving at Fort McCoy.
They like to raise the specter of maybe some of those little kids that I saw at Fort McCoy are terrorists.
– Gov. Tony Evers blasting as “dog-whistle crap” Republicans’ concerns Taliban and ISIS fighters may be using the refugee process to enter the country.
They’re funding the circus now. It’s not cheap.
– Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz criticizing his GOP colleagues for going “full QAnon, full conspiracy theory” with the $325,000 they plan to spend on a data analyst contractor to review the 2020 election.
What I need to do is take a hard look at how precisely those machines are supposed to work.
– Former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman expounding on his plans to conduct a “cyber-forensic audit.”
I would deny any request to handle machines or servers or anything that would compromise the security of our system which has been classified as critical infrastructure by Homeland Security.
– Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell arguing any machines Gableman seizes would need to be replaced.
Political Stock Report
-A collection of insider opinion-
(Aug. 21 – Sept. 3, 2021)
Rising: Tax collections, Cavalier Johnson, mask mandates
Mixed: Rebecca Kleefisch, Wisconsin hemp producers
Falling: Robin Vos, Wisconsin births
Tax collections: General fund tax collections again exceed expectations. Just don’t expect GOP lawmakers to be in a hurry to spend it — or give Gov. Tony Evers a shot at signing another tax break. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s preliminary look at the 2020-21 tax collections shows the state took in $319 million more than what the agency had projected in June, when it chalked up “unprecedented” revenue projections to the American Rescue Plan Act and an improved outlook on COVID-19. When the budget was signed in July 2019, LFB projected the state would take in more than $17.6 billion during 2020-21. Instead, LFB’s preliminary tally of tax collections came in at nearly $19.6 billion. Half of that extra revenue — $967.4 million — is slated to end up in the state’s rainy day fund. After finishing the 2009-10 fiscal year with a paltry $1.7 million, the expected deposit would push the fund to more than $1.7 billion. It also would mean the guv and lawmakers would no longer see any excess revenue collections flow into the state’s reserve. State law requires half of all excess revenue collections to be transferred to the rainy day fund until its balance equals 5 percent of general fund expenditures in a fiscal year. At more than $1.7 billion, it would be close to 9 percent of what the state is budgeted to spend in 2021-22. Anytime there’s extra money laying around the Capitol, some immediately wonder how it can be used. But Republicans — especially in the Senate — abhor spending any additional state dollars with all the federal money raining in from the COVID packages. That’s especially true because of federal requirements to qualify for K-12 aid under those COVID packages. Those requirements mean any general fund spending in other areas would require the state to boost what it puts toward education to maintain the required ratio. Republicans’ natural inclination is to put extra money into tax cuts. And the latest boost in state tax collections means an additional $159.5 million for the general fund, pushing the projected gross balance to close the 2020-21 fiscal year at $2.6 billion. But Evers called Republicans’ bluff on the budget by signing a $2 billion tax break — and then started going around the state taking credit for it. Insiders doubt that Republicans send another tax break his way and risk giving him another tax cut to run on next fall. Meanwhile, Dems start banging the drum on putting more state money toward K-12 education. And insiders expect them to keep it up, especially after the guv called a special session — that was quickly gaveled out — to do just that.
Cavalier Johnson: Being acting Milwaukee mayor didn’t do much for Marvin Pratt 20 years ago. But insiders see some upside for the Common Council president as Mayor Tom Barrett prepares to become an ambassador and Johnson steps in to lead the city. There have been rumors about Barrett being appointed to a role with an administration dating back to the Obama years, so insiders aren’t surprised when he snags the post as ambassador to Luxembourg. There also has been a feeling this term was going to be the last anyway for the 67-year-old. So Milwaukee insiders say Johnson had been preparing for an eventual run at the mayor’s office even if Barrett were serving out his full four-year term through 2024. It was a somewhat different dynamic for Pratt, some add. Then-Mayor John Norquist, who had already said he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2004 following a scandal, announced in June 2003 that he would step down several months before his term ended to take another job. That gave Pratt only a couple of months at the helm before placing first in the February primary and then losing to Barrett in the April general as his campaign was beset by a series of bad headlines, including civil charges over his campaign’s finance reports. The timing of Johnson’s ascension to the acting mayor’s role also could impact how much of an advantage it could be for him, some say. The U.S. Senate has never been known to act with haste, and things have been particularly tense this session. The clock is ticking to get Barrett confirmed in time for the special election to replace him on a full-time basis coinciding with the regularly scheduled spring election. That could push things to the fall of 2022 depending on how things play out, some say. When the election is held also could influence who gets into the race. A spring special election would mean a free shot for state lawmakers such as Rep. Daniel Riemer, who says he’s interested regardless of when the election may be. A fall special election would mean a host of local officials could take a shot at the mayor’s office without having to worry about giving up their seats. The list of potential candidates in local politics is lengthy, from Sheriff Earnell Lucas to members of the Common Council such as Ald. Marina Dimitrijevic, Ashanti Hamilton and Khalif Rainey. Bob Donovan, a former alderman and mayoral candidate, is already saying he’ll run, while some are watching to see if state Sen. Lena Taylor takes another shot at the office after losing to Barrett in 2020. After all, some note, she’s still got the yard signs. Insiders also suggest other possibilities, including Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan, a former Barrett aide and campaign manager. The more candidates that get in, the more the potential exists to slice into the coalition that someone like Johnson would need to win, insiders say. That’s what will make his time as acting mayor an opportunity to leave an impression with voters — both good and bad. Is his time as acting mayor remembered for the city building on the opportunity the American Rescue Plan Act presents to tackle issues such as lead laterals and making significant changes? Or does the city’s homicide rate continue to rise, giving voters pause? Though that remains to be seen, insiders say Johnson starts out at a minimum in the top tier of candidates to succeed Barrett.
Mask mandates: Regular procedure wins out once more. Asked to directly hear a challenge to Dane County’s latest mask mandate, a split Supreme Court rejects taking the case 4-3 in a ruling that ticks off conservatives once again. The majority — the court’s three liberals and conservative Brian Hagedorn — don’t offer their rationale for rejecting the motion for original action filed by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. Still, legal observers note the four have shown in multiple cases they want to be an appellate court, preferring the typical process of cases starting in the lower courts to build a record before the justices take on the big legal questions. This angers the three conservatives — again. Chief Justice Annette Ziegler wrote the court had abdicated its “responsibility to ‘say what the law is,'” while Pat Roggensack added the state’s citizens were “entitled” to the clarity a Supreme Court ruling would provide. Meanwhile, Rebecca Bradley accused the majority of shirking “its institutional responsibility to decide yet another case alleging an unlawful deprivation of liberty.” Without the court taking original action, WILL first has to go to Dane County Circuit Court with its challenge. But the group isn’t making any noise about going the local route. Insiders take that as a sign that WILL knows it wouldn’t win with a Dane County judge. On top of that, by the time the case got to the Supreme Court again, the mandate — or mandates if additional ones are issued — would likely be over. As Dane County’s mask mandate remains in place, Racine is moving forward with its own requirement. Insiders note most municipalities aren’t going to impose a similar requirement because residents are tired of COVID, even if COVID isn’t done with them. There’s just a fatigue that makes such moves hard other than in a place like Dane County, even if cases are rising at a troubling trajectory. Beyond Dane County’s mask mandate, legal observers note the justices’ latest refusal to take original action for other reasons. Hagedorn has become the swing vote on a series of high-profile issues, often to the chagrin of the conservatives who went to bat for him during the 2019 campaign. One of the big issues coming down the pipe is a redistricting suit that’s already been filed with the court even though GOP lawmakers and Dem Gov. Tony Evers haven’t even tried to reach an agreement on a map of their own. The chances of that kind of bipartisan agreement happening are next to nil, insiders note, so it’s largely a matter of which court is going to end up drawing the map. There are already two redistricting cases pending in federal court, and WILL has urged the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take original jurisdiction in the case. The suit argues states have primary responsibility for drawing new lines, and the justices should step in if the guv and lawmakers fail to reach a deal. But after Hagedorn’s string of votes against taking original action in various cases, some question if he’d be willing to skip over the lower courts on a case like that one. He’s also not the only conservative who’s raised concerns about the Supreme Court taking original action in a redistricting suit. The conservative-leaning court previously rejected a request to establish a process to hear any redistricting case directly without first going through the lower courts first. The justices didn’t close the door on taking original action in such a suit, though Roggensack questioned whether the court has the staff to draw lines on its own. What’s more, insiders have long operated on the belief that Republicans would get a better map out of the state Supreme Court than the federal courts. But as much of a wild card as Hagedorn has been in major cases, some conservatives now wonder if that would be the case.
Rebecca Kleefisch: The former lieutenant governor is all but in. Now she has to prove she can win. Kleefisch has filed the paperwork to run for guv, dropped a 50-point roadmap on how conservatives should govern, announced her departure from the nonprofit advocacy group she founded and scheduled a “special announcement” in Waukesha County, the heart of traditional GOP territory. The moves are no surprise to insiders, who have watched her spend the last year-plus building a network of supporters through her PAC and trying to build policy chops with her nonprofit advocacy organization, The 1848 Project Inc. Insiders credit Kleefisch with doing more to lay the foundation for a guv run than any of her potential rivals. Kevin Nicholson, the former Marine and 2018 U.S. Senate candidate, also has been traveling the state with his No Better Friend organization to promote conservative ideas — and himself. Nicholson is expected to run statewide in 2022. It’s just a matter of which office he seeks. And he’s been open that he’s looking at both the guv and U.S. Senate, depending on what GOP incumbent Ron Johnson does. To insiders, that kind of brazen political calculation calls into question Nicholson’s commitment to a guv race if he got in considering many believe his preference is the U.S. Senate. Still, they also acknowledge the average primary voter doesn’t pay attention to such things. Longtime lobbyist and former Tommy Thompson aide and state Commerce Secretary Bill McCoshen continues to position himself for a possible run, while state Rep. John Macco, R-Ledgeview, has emerged as a new candidate. Macco filed the paperwork to run and says he’ll spend the coming weeks gauging a possible bid. He also tells WisPolitics.com he’s pledged to match up to $250,000 in donations to his exploratory effort to help get a bid off the ground. Other possible GOP candidates continue to float in the background. But insiders view Kleefisch as the early frontrunner thanks to the work she’s put in, and some believe others will have a daunting task to catch up. She has been relentless on the trail doing fundraisers for GOP candidates and showing up at events where she can shake some hands. It’s a pretty good head start, insiders say. Then there’s the question of her strength in a general election matchup with Gov. Tony Evers. Dems knew having control of the White House would create a headwind in 2022, and that breeze is picking up strength as Joe Biden emerges from a brutal August. The good news, some add, is it’s happening now and not next August. These pundits predict Afghanistan will fade from voters’ memories, and the most important thing is to get this COVID-19 wave under control so life can go back to normal. Any number of wild card issues also could turn the political environment on its head. Take the U.S. Supreme Court allowing Texas’ new abortion law to take effect. It has the potential to fire up the Dem base and put Republicans in a tough spot nationally because anti-abortion activists will want to see similar restrictions even though they go beyond what most voters support. Still, if Biden’s numbers stay where they are now, it’s advantage GOP. Any analysis of Kleefisch’s strength in a general election has to start with the eight years she spent as Scott Walker’s lieutenant governor, insiders say. On the plus side, she survived a recall election right alongside him over Act 10, and any voters with buyer’s remorse over Evers may look more fondly at the Walker years than they did when voting him out in 2018. On the flip side, that eight-year period was divisive with one partisan battle after another. As contentious as national politics continue to be, voters may want to stick with someone like Evers who’s not seen as a hardcore partisan, even if his GOP critics say he’s governed like one. Kleefisch can also expect to get more scrutiny as the guv candidate rather than No. 2. That includes her 2010 comment — which she later apologized for — comparing gay marriage to marrying inanimate objects and asking, “Can I marry this table, or this, you know, clock? Can we marry dogs? This is ridiculous.” She also apologized in 2018 for falsely accusing Mandela Barnes of kneeling during the national anthem. Kleefisch also would face the same challenge in a 2022 general election matchup as any other GOP candidate, insiders add. How do you placate one audience — the most ardent supporters of Donald Trump who believe the 2020 election was stolen — without alienating another key bloc — the suburban voters who were once the backbone of the GOP but were turned off by Trump? Losing a point or two from either group of voters doesn’t seem like much on the surface, some note. But in a purple state, neither side can afford to have a piece of its target voting blocs sitting one out.
Wisconsin hemp producers: The state’s hemp market has lagged. Now, Wisconsin producers will be regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture rather than DATCP. Registrations for the 2021 growing season fell by 48 percent, and the Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection hemp program funded by those fees was facing a deficit of $450,000 for the fiscal year that ended June 30. To address that, DATCP had suggested one option was to double the fees. But the Joint Finance Committee passed on that during budget deliberations, instead directing the agency to look at turning over regulation of the state industry to the USDA. The federal agency doesn’t impose fees on program participants and its licenses last three years rather than just one under DATCP oversight. In taking the move, Wisconsin joins Hawaii, Mississippi and New Hampshire, along with multiple tribal nations, in being under USDA’s guidance. But the Legislative Fiscal Bureau noted a USDA-run program could limit outreach to growers and provide a lower level of service. That same report, though, noted hemp testing could be delayed from four days to 10 to 45 days without increased funding for the DATCP program. The report added that growing demand for testing over the past few seasons without sufficient staffing could be a barrier to keeping the state hemp program alive. Under the change, which will take place in January, hemp processors will no longer need a DATCP license. But processors will remain under the department’s authority for consumer and food products.
Robin Vos: The Assembly speaker is putting $676,000 of taxpayers’ money into a review of the 2020 election. But insiders say that won’t satisfy the most ardent Donald Trump supporters unless it results in criminal charges or the overturning of the election results — neither of which is going to happen. The move also undercuts the efforts of his caucus’ most ardent Trumpers, and he’s having to take the hits to protect some of his most vulnerable members on the issue. Insiders say the Rochester Republican is in a difficult spot. Trump hasn’t been afraid to take shots at him for not being more aggressive in looking into the 2020 election, and the former president’s backers aren’t giving Vos much credit for the steps he has taken so far. That includes a review by the Legislative Audit Bureau and its nonpartisan analysts. The second prong of the 2020 review is the effort led by Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, and the Campaigns and Elections Committee that Vos appointed her to chair this session. Brandtjen, following a string of hearings this session, issued subpoenas to Milwaukee and Brown county officials seeking to force them to turn over ballots and voting machines for her review. The problem is Leg Council believes the only way a legislative subpoena carries any weight is if the presiding officer and the chief clerk sign off on it. And Vos signing off on Brandtjen’s subpoenas — amid pressure from Trump himself — would’ve opened the door to the 2020 review going even more off the rails, insiders say. Brandtjen has been unabashed at rallies suggesting the 2020 election was stolen, and the specter of Milwaukee County’s voting machines showing up at the state Capitol would’ve been a circus, some say. Instead, Vos says he’d be open to signing off on any subpoenas former conservative Justice Michael Gableman may want as part of the probe the speaker has hired him to oversee. Vos also pushes through the $676,000 budget for Gableman’s review that includes $325,000 for a data analysis contractor — to be picked by the former justice — for what the speaker is calling a “cyber-forensic audit.” Dems howl it’s a waste of taxpayer money and shows Republicans have gone full conspiracy theory. They also say that kind of use of taxpayer money at one time would’ve set the editorial pages ablaze and put a legislator in the hot seat. But after the millions Republicans have spent on legal bills for private attorneys in a string of lawsuits, it’s just a drop in the bucket. Still, Dems are aghast at what they see as Vos capitulating to the conspiracy theorists in his party. What’s more, critics question how Vos will land this plane in a way that’s satisfactory to anyone. Sympathetic Republicans say Vos’ move has taken the legs out from under Brandtjen’s committee effort. He’d rather have a former Supreme Court justice — even one that Dems don’t trust and has raised his own concerns about the validity of the 2020 election — as the face of the GOP’s election review than Brandtjen. It’s irking some of Trump’s most ardent supporters. But it puts the heat on Vos and not his members, which is what a speaker is supposed to do. Still, there are pitfalls ahead. Republicans note there have been various threats about primaries in 2022 on things that range from not being more aggressive in challenging Gov. Tony Evers on his mask mandates in 2020 to not doing enough to validate the conspiracy theories about what happened in November. Mass primary challenges rarely materialize, insiders note. More often than not, it’s one high-profile race — think then-state Rep. Glenn Grothman challenging then-Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer in 2004 — or a handful of them. Some Republicans are still on edge about what may be coming down the pipe. And as intense as the blowback has been from corners of the GOP base about 2020, some are watching to see if there’s a higher-than-normal number of retirements for 2022. The problem with that scenario for Vos, insiders say, is it opens the door to some of Trump’s most passionate supporters — i.e. those most prone to believe the conspiracy theories — winning primaries in safe seats and joining the caucus in 2023. That could make the caucus even tougher to manage. Even Vos’ critics credit him as one of the more savvy political operators in the Capitol. Still, navigating this dynamic could be one of the tougher challenges for him heading into the 2022 cycle. Vos has always found a way before, some Republicans say. Others aren’t sure it’s possible this time.
Wisconsin births: Two years ago, Forward Analytics warned Wisconsin was on pace for the “unprecedented” situation of the number of deaths exceeding births as early as 2026. Thanks to COVID-19, that point is already here. The Wisconsin-based research organization reports new figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control show 60,521 babies were born in Wisconsin during 2020, while preliminary figures show 62,637 residents died last year. Of those deaths, roughly 5,700 were attributed to COVID-19. Both births and deaths were already on different trajectories before the pandemic. The number of births in 2020 was down 2,749 from 2020 and 12,236 fewer than 2007. The last year with fewer babies born was 1942. Meanwhile, deaths were up 8,503 compared to 2019. And Forward Analytics had already projected Wisconsin to reach 60,000 deaths by 2024 as baby boomers continue to pass on. The trajectory has a host of implications for the state. Aging baby boomers put a strain on the Medicaid program, helping fuel the growth in expenses for the state-federal healthcare program. The state kept all eight of its congressional seats after the latest round of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. But its population growth of 3.6 percent was well behind the 7.4 percent increase the nation saw as a whole, and that doesn’t bode well for Wisconsin’s chances of hanging onto those eight seats after the 2030 Census. Employers continue to complain about a lack of workers to fill open jobs, hurting their ability to expand and increasing the need to import more workers from elsewhere. And Forward Analytics notes signs are dim for a turnaround on the state’s birth rate. So far, the number of births from January through March was down 6 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
See the report here.
Milwaukee County clerk says he won’t comply with Brandtjen’s subpoena
Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson said today he will not comply with Rep. Janel Brandtjen’s subpoena for 2020 election materials.
But he noted his office will comply with lawful requests for information throughout former Justice Michael Gableman’s investigation.
“If former Justice Gableman would like us to participate in his investigation, my office is happy to sit down with him to educate him on how elections work,” Christenson said in a statement.
Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, issued subpoenas in August for nearly four dozen requests — including ballots, vote-counting machines, voter rolls and computer system logs — from Milwaukee and Brown counties as part of the Assembly Campaigns and Elections Committee’s probe into the 2020 presidential election.
Those subpoenas also said county officials are due to appear before the committee with the requested materials by Tuesday.
But Christenson said he will not appear before the committee. He said the subpoena his office received is invalid, as it does not have a signature from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, or the Assembly chief clerk.
Vos told WisPolitics.com last week he wouldn’t sign the subpoenas that Brandtjen issued. Still, Vos said he would be open to signing subpoenas issued by Gableman, if the former Supreme Court justice believed they were necessary. Vos has signed a contract that includes a $676,000 budget for Gableman’s review.
Brandtjen did not address Christenson’s comments today, instead saying in a statement Brown and Milwaukee counties are required by state statute to preserve their election materials for 22 months.
“With the overwhelming amount of questionable election activity in Green Bay and Milwaukee, it is clear that a thorough investigation of the physical ballots, equipment and other election materials is warranted,” Brandtjen said.
Brown County is expected to issue a statement today at 4 p.m. on the subpoena it received.
Outside counsel for PFAS litigation could earn up to nearly $28M plus expenses
Of the 11 groups that submitted proposals to help Wisconsin investigate and litigate PFAS contamination claims, only two placed bids on the project, each offering a 7.5 percent discount on maximums the state can pay outside counsel.
But the cooperative bid from Seeger Weiss LLP, Grant & Eisenhofer P.A., Keller Lenkner LLC, and Murray Murphy Moul & Basil LLP requested one contract per single action, a contingency Department of Administration Communications Director Tatyana Warrick told WisPolitics.com took the bid out of the running. She said the DOA was clear from the beginning that bids must include all claims that may result from the subsequent contract.
The state chose Sher Edling LLP, a California-based law firm, for its legal efforts regarding PFAS, which are human-made chemicals found in food packaging, non-stick cookware, cosmetics and firefighting foams, but are also linked to health issues, including cancer, by multiple studies. The state is currently monitoring more than 40 PFAS contamination sites.
The contract between the state and Sher Edling includes a cap of $27.75 million, but it notes an exception of “reasonable costs and expenses” to be determined by a court. The state won’t pay anything to Sher Edling if the firm loses, but if the state wins a lawsuit, the firm would receive:
*more than 23 percent of the recovery if it is less than $10 million.
*just over $2.3 million, plus 18.5 percent of the amount by which the recovery exceeds $10 million, if it is between $10 million and $15 million.
*just over $3.2 million, plus nearly 13.9 percent of the amount by which the recovery exceeds $15 million, if it is between $15 million and $20 million.
*just over $3.9 million, plus more than 9.2 percent of the amount by which the recovery exceeds $20 million, if it is between $20 million and $25 million.
*just under $4.4 million, plus more than 4.6 percent of the amount by which the recovery exceeds $25 million, if it is $25 million or more.
Still, state and federal groundwater protection standards for PFAS are not in place despite growing health concerns.
But a bill that passed through the House of Representatives in July would require the EPA to set standards for two common PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, within two years. The measure would also use existing federal law to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances, which would jump-start the process for analyzing and restoring contaminated sites.
The legislation is likely to face pushback from the divided U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile, the Assembly passed a bill in June that would protect companies allegedly responsible for PFAS contamination from some potential lawsuits by local governments.
AB 392 would create a $10 million grant program to help communities clean up pollution of “forever chemicals” like PFAS. The bill would bar local governments that accept the money from suing the companies they blame for pollution, but would not prevent the state from pursuing legal action.
During a hearing, bill author Rep. Elijah Behnke, R-Oconto, called the measure “a broad approach to try and help our municipalities.”
“Is it perfect? No,” Behnke said. “But I don’t think any legislation is.”
In written testimony, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce lobbyist Scott Manley offered his support for the bill, which he said would both address PFAS contamination and shield local governments and businesses from “costly and frivolous lawsuits.”
Read the contract here.
(Check local listings for times in your area)
“UpFront” is a statewide commercial TV news magazine show airing Sundays around the state. This week’s show, hosted by ADRIENNE PEDERSEN, features pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. JIM CONWAY, new state GOP Chair PAUL FARROW and Dem U.S. Senate candidate STEVEN OLIKARA.
*See more about the program here.
*Also see a recap of 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 CBS 58’s EMILEE FANNON discuss REBECCA KLEEFISCH moving toward a guv run, developments in the Assembly’s review of the 2020 election and the latest on the COVID-19 front.
*Watch the show here.
Check out WisPolitics.com’s Midday, which offers insights into the state’s top political news.
*Listen to the podcasts here.
On WisBusiness.com’s “Talking Trade,” UW-Madison professor IAN COXHEAD and M.E. Dey & Co. President SANDI SIEGEL speak with ADAM SITKOFF, a UW-Madison graduate who directs the American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“In Focus: Wisconsin” airs Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on Spectrum News 1 on channel 1. On this week’s program, host PETE ZERVAKIS will talk to Sen. MELISSA AGARD, DNR Office of Emerging Contaminants Policy Director MIMI JOHNSON and WMC Executive Vice President of Government Relations SCOTT MANLEY about PFAS and the threats they pose to the state and its water systems.
PBS Wisconsin’s “Here and Now” airs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays. On this week’s program, anchor FREDERICA FREYBERG talks with ANGELIA FOSTER, chief administrative officer at the Marshfield Medical Center in Beaver Dam, about the COVID-19 delta variant’s impact on hospitals. Also on the program, Wisconsin Public Radio Capitol reporter LAUREL WHITE discusses GOP election investigations in Wisconsin; LAURA DRESSER, associate director of COWS, talks about the labor economy and “the State of Working Wisconsin” amid COVID-19 hurdles; and Madison Fire Department Assistant Chief of Medical Affairs CHÉ STEDMAN explains a new program in Madison that could dispatch a mental health professional to a 9-1-1 call or send the police.
“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. Host A.J. BAYATPOUR interviews state Superintendent JILL UNDERLY, GOP U.S. Rep. BRYAN STEIL and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter LAURA SCHULTE.
Wednesday: Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin headlines a Milwaukee Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon.
– 11:45 a.m.: Newsroom Pub, 137 E. Wells St., Milwaukee.
Thursday: Elections Commission meeting.
– 9 a .m.: Meeting via videoconference.
Thursday: Rebecca Kleefisch announcement.
– TBA: Waukesha County.
Names in the News
Upcoming events from WisPolitics.com and partners include:
*A Wednesday virtual discussion exploring the post-pandemic trade economy and how it may help expand U.S. influence in Europe, the former Soviet states and northern Africa. Discussion panel includes: TOM LOFTUS, former U.S. ambassador to Norway, and MARK GREEN, former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania who now heads the Wilson Center in D.C. Sponsored by: Michael Best Strategies and Wisconsin District Export Council. Event partners: Wisconsin Technology Council, Center for East Asian Studies, World Trade Association, Madison International Trade Association and Wisconsin Bar Association International Practice Section. Register here.
*A Sept. 14 program at Western Technical College’s Lunda Center in La Crosse with a top USDA official and local experts about the important role of agriculture and how to promote prosperity in rural Wisconsin. Discussion panels before a limited number of attendees will focus on broadband, workforce, health and education. Register here.
*SAVE THE DATE: A Sept. 29 DC breakfast event in cooperation with MMAC’s “Milwaukee Night in DC.’’ Details to come.
*An Oct. 13 virtual discussion about lessons from the ongoing pandemic with top healthcare leaders in Wisconsin. Discussion panel includes: Dr. JOHN RAYMOND, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. SUSAN TURNEY, CEO of the Marshfield Clinic Health System, CHRIS WOLESKE, president and CEO of Bellin Health, and Dr. RYAN WESTERGAARD, chief medical officer and state epidemiologist for the Department of Health Services (invited). Event sponsors: Husch Blackwell, American Family Insurance, Xcel Energy, Walmart, AARP Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Register here.
Former Milwaukee reporter and police spokeswoman ANNE E. SCHWARTZ authored a book, “Monster: The True Story of the Jeffrey Dahmer Murders,” to be available on Amazon on Oct. 26. The book is available for pre-order here.
MIKE GOUSHA, who has spent more than 14 years as a distinguished fellow in law and public policy, will transition to a senior adviser in law and public policy for Marquette University Law School. He will step away from his full-time responsibilities at the end of the year, but will remain affiliated with the law school and take on individual projects for it.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty added NOAH DIEKEMPER, a senior research analyst, and ANNALISE EHLENBACH, a paralegal, to its policy and litigation teams.
KAY INABNET has been named assistant chief clerk for the Assembly. Inabnet had been serving as the records clerk and will continue those duties under her new title.
Gov. TONY EVERS appointed PETER RINDAL as Eau Claire County district attorney. Rindal has been with the Eau Claire County District Attorney’s Office since 2013, working as an assistant district attorney and then as the deputy district attorney.
Evers appointed DANIEL KRIESER as Green Lake County coroner after JOHN WILLETT resigned on May 1. Krieser has worked in the Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner’s Office since 2014 as death investigator, operations manager, interim medical examiner and is now the autopsy manager.
Evers appointed DAVID PATTON as Wood County coroner after SCOTT BREHM resigned on May 15. Patton has served as a deputy coroner in Wood County since March 2020 and previously spent nearly 23 years as a firefighter and paramedic with the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department.
Evers appointed MARTHA MILANOWSKI as Vilas County Circuit Court judge after Judge NEAL A. NIELSEN III retired. Milanowski is currently serving her second term as Vilas County district attorney and previously spent 16 years as Vilas County corporation counsel.
Wisconsin Public Radio Director MIKE CRANE will resign on Oct. 1 after serving in the position for 11 years. An interim director of WPR is expected to be announced before Crane officially steps down.
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean KATE VANDENBOSCH will resign at the end of this academic year after serving in the position since 2012. The university will conduct a national search for VandenBosch’s successor.
DHS Deputy Secretary JULIE WILLEMS VAN DIJK will retire on Sept. 10. DEB STANDRIDGE, who previously served as executive director of the state’s alternate care facility at State Fair Park, will take over the position.
SAM OTTERSON, who’s been working as a research assistant for state Rep. DAVE CONSIDINE, D-Baraboo, has been appointed communications director for DATCP.
DARRELL WILLIAMS, who last month announced plans to run for U.S. Senate as a Dem, is taking a leave of absence from his position as administrator of the Division of Wisconsin Emergency Management. GREG ENGLE, who has served as the director of the division’s Bureau of Planning and Preparedness since 2012, is serving as acting administrator effective today.
Endorsements: The following is a list of recent endorsements, based on emails received by WisPolitics.com:
MANDELA BARNES: Dane County Executive JOE PARISI, Dane County Clerk SCOTT MCDONELL, Madison Common Council President SYED ABBAS, Madison Alder BRIAN BENFORD, Madison Alder JAEL CURRIE, Madison Alder TAG EVERS, Madison Alder YANNETTE FIGUEROA COLE, Madison Alder BARBARA HARRINGTON-MCKINNEY, Madison Alder CHARLES MYADZE and 18 others.
ERIC TONEY: Winnebago County Sheriff JOHN MATZ
Thirteen changes were made to the lobbying registry in the past 10 days.
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