Kitchens Responds to Statement on Transportation Funding

Representative Joel Kitchens

In response to the statement by Secretary Gottlieb of the Department of Transportation that he would not ask for any increased fees or spending in his upcoming budget request, Kitchens expressed his support for fixing Wisconsin roads and pursuing a long-term solution for transportation funding. Rep Kitchens stated: “Our transportation system is vital to the economy of Wisconsin as well as to the safety of our citizens. Many of our roads have fallen into disrepair, and as legislators we must do everything possible to assure the economic and structural integrity of our state. Our first goal should be providing a sustainable solution to current funding shortfalls without borrowing and leaving the bill to future generations. I am proud that the legislature saved taxpayers billions in tax relief and savings and promoted an efficient and accountable state government, but failing to provide sufficient funding for road repair and maintenance will serve only to increase costs for our state and children in the future. Addressing this problem now will avoid greater financial cost, save our infrastructure, and continue to move Wisconsin forward.”

Source: Kitchens news release

Governor Scott Walker

In response to the latest quarterly and annual federal jobs report that found private-sector job growth in Wisconsin continued to lag the national average in 2015, ranking 36th nationally and second from last in the Midwest, state Democrats called for a jobs summit and an emergency special session of the Legislature on job creation. Gov. Walker rejected that idea. “The people who oversaw the loss of 133,000 jobs, the people who raised taxes, who raised tuition by 118 percent over the decade before our freeze are the audacity of hypocrisy,” Walker said. “Democrats have no credibility on that issue. When they were in charge they failed on jobs. They will fail again if given the chance.” Asked why Wisconsin continues to rank in the bottom third for job creation and has yet to create the 250,000 jobs he promised in 2010, Walker said the state has more than made up for the jobs that were lost in Democratic former Gov. Jim Doyle’s last term. “We never made promises about what our rank would be,” he said. The state created 36,601 jobs last year, according to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), which includes data from almost every employer in the country. In 2012 Walker called the QCEW measure the “gold standard” for assessing his 2010 campaign pledge to create 250,000 jobs in his first term. Last year’s annual QCEW report showed that he fell short of that goal by about half. For the entire year, private-sector jobs grew 1.5 percent in Wisconsin. Average annual wages grew 3.7 percent, to $45,243. Nationally, private-sector jobs grew 2.4 percent and average annual wages grew 3.1 percent.

Source: Various news outlets

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Baldwin released the following statement after Senate Republicans voted to reject the Reed-Mikulski Amendment, which would have maintained parity between defense and non-defense spending by making strong investments to respond to the heroin and opioid crisis, the Zika virus, the lead contamination crisis in Flint, and more: “Today’s vote was about fairness and priorities. I believe that if we are going to provide more funding for the Pentagon, we should also invest in our middle class, ensure our security here at home and step up to the plate by providing the resources Americans need to respond to the serious emergencies they face, including the heroin and opioid epidemic, the Zika virus, and lead contamination in drinking water.”

Source: Baldwin press release

Senator Ron Johnson

Johnson introduced an amendment that would eliminate a provision in fiscal year 2017’s National Defense Authorization Act that puts a limitation on the use of funds by the U.S. Navy to deviate from Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s plan for 40 littoral combat ships. Johnson said this regarding the LCS amendment: “The U.S. Navy has pointed out the significance of the littoral combat ship as a critical component of the fleet. The amendment I am introducing today would strike a limitation currently included in this fiscal year’s National Defense Authorization Act that limits the Navy’s flexibility in planning for the future of the LCS program. The Navy deserves certainty as it plans for its current and future ship needs, and it is not in our country’s best interest to restrict funding for the needs of the men and women of our naval forces in the face of global threats.”

Source: Johnson press release

President Barack Obama

The President’s response to the June 12 shooting in Orlando: “First of all, our hearts go out to the families of those who have been killed. Our prayers go to those who have been wounded. This is a devastating attack on all Americans. It is one that is particularly painful for the people of Orlando, but I think we all recognize that this could have happened anywhere in this country. And we feel enormous solidarity and grief on behalf of the families that have been affected. The fact that it took place at a club frequented by the LGBT community I think is also relevant. We’re still looking at all the motivations of the killer. But it’s a reminder that regardless of race, religion, faith or sexual orientation, we’re all Americans, and we need to be looking after each other and protecting each other at all times in the face of this kind of terrible act.”

Source: Obama press release 

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