Health Care Focus of Rural Wisconsin Initiative’s Second Phase

Representative Joel Kitchens

Earlier this week, a group of 23 Republican legislators hailing primarily from rural areas across the state announced the second phase of the Rural Wisconsin Initiative with legislation that aims to improve health care access in all corners of Wisconsin. The package, which was developed with input from the Wisconsin Hospital Association and other health care-oriented organizations, will fund a number of items, including residency programs for rural physicians, training consortia for allied health professionals – such as physical therapists and certified nursing assistants, clinical training programs for Advanced Practice Clinicians, and wellness programs in rural areas. “Wisconsin has an excellent reputation for health care access,” said Rep. Kitchens. “These bills will help ensure that we build on that reputation by encouraging young health care professionals to live, work, and train in our rural communities.” To view the plan or offer suggestions, visit

Governor Scott Walker

The Governor announced the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is now accepting applications for the Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Lab) Grant Program, which provides funding to help public schools build or expand Fab Labs that provide students with training on valuable job skills. “The overwhelming response we received from school districts in the first round of funding for this program made it clear there is a need to expand it to even more districts this school year,” Walker said. “Fab Labs give students real-life experience in the global economy before they graduate from high school and provide them with the skills they will need to compete for the jobs of the future.”

Fab Labs are high-tech workshops with the latest equipment including computer-controlled manufacturing components, such as 3-D printers, laser engravers, and computer numerical control routers. WEDC’s investment in the program puts Fab Labs within reach for schools that might not otherwise have the financial means to install such facilities. WEDC is allocating another $500,000 in this fiscal year and anticipates awarding 20 grants this time around. Grant recipients will be announced in the spring of 2017. Application information can be found at The deadline for submission is Dec. 15.

Source: Walker press release 

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Baldwin sent a letter to Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel calling on him to act as swiftly as possible to address Wisconsin’s sexual assault kit backlog. Recent press reports indicate that the Wisconsin Department of Justice has yet to test more than 6,000 sexual assault kits despite receiving more than $4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice and the District Attorney of New York County last September to support sexual assault kit testing, investigative work, research and a public awareness campaign. “I am very troubled by reports that, more than a year after receiving this infusion of outside resources, the backlog in our state has not been reduced. This is unacceptable and the people of Wisconsin deserve better,” said Senator Baldwin. “I want to know that this funding is being met with a strong commitment from Attorney General Schimel to get the job done on the backlog.”

Source: Baldwin press release 

Senator Ron Johnson

Sen. Johnson is standing by fellow Republican Donald Trump, even as other party members campaigning for the U.S. Senate in competitive states have abandoned their embattled White House nominee. Other top Wisconsin statehouse Republicans stayed silent Monday after a weekend in which dozens of prominent national Republicans deserted Trump – a development that, at this stage of a presidential campaign, is without modern precedent. The catalyst was Friday’s Washington Post report on a 2005 video in which Trump brags about making unsolicited advances on women because “when you’re a star, they let you do it.” Johnson denounced Trump’s comments Friday, calling them “completely indefensible.” But he has continued to support Trump’s candidacy. Speaking Monday to WLIP-AM radio in Kenosha, Johnson – asked about his opponent, Democrat Russ Feingold, calling for him to revoke his endorsement of Trump – responded, “I don’t know how Sen. Feingold can support Hillary Clinton.”

Source: Wisconsin State Journal

President Barack Obama

In an opinion piece for CNN, President Obama wrote about setting our sights on Mars. “We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America’s story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time. Getting to Mars will require continued cooperation between government and private innovators, and we’re already well on our way. Within the next two years, private companies will for the first time send astronauts to the International Space Station. The next step is to reach beyond the bounds of Earth’s orbit. I’m excited to announce that we are working with our commercial partners to build new habitats that can sustain and transport astronauts on long-duration missions in deep space. These missions will teach us how humans can live far from Earth – something we’ll need for the long journey to Mars. The reporter who covered the moon landing for The New York Times, John Noble Wilford, later wrote that Mars tugs at our imagination “with a force mightier than gravity.” Getting there will take a giant leap. But the first, small steps happen when our students – the Mars generation – walk into their classrooms each day. Scientific discovery doesn’t happen with the flip of a switch; it takes years of testing, patience and a national commitment to education.”

Source: CNN

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