Our Representatives

Representative Joel Kitchens

Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) issued the following statement after Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair Rep. John Nygren signaled his support for SeniorCare – the state-run prescription drug program for Wisconsin seniors:

“I am beyond pleased to hear that Rep. Nygren announced his support, on behalf of Assembly Republicans, for the SeniorCare program. While the biennial budget is vast, my constituents have made it clear that SeniorCare is a top priority.

“Recently, I authored a letter to Rep. Nygren expressing my deep-seated desire for his committee to reconsider the proposed changes to SeniorCare. This program is so vital for keeping medications affordable for elderly citizens living on a fixed income. I am happy to see that my letter was influential and the Finance Committee will heed the advice of my constituents and preserve SeniorCare.

“I would like to thank all the people that contacted my office to voice their support for SeniorCare. It is thanks to you that this popular and successful program will continue to thrive in our state. I would also like to encourage all of my constituents to keep contacting my office with their thoughts and opinions as we continue to move through the budget process. It is only through your input that we can make changes to the budget that will positively impact our district and Wisconsin as a whole.”

Source:  Kitchens press release


[elk pix]

Governor Scott Walker

Elk from Kentucky have reached their new home near Black River Falls in the first year of elk reintroduction efforts in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and a number of other key partners.

“This is a great day for Wisconsin as our effort to re-establish the elk population in Wisconsin takes the next step,” Governor Walker said. “We look forward to having a healthy and thriving elk herd, which will help boost tourism and, in turn, grow the economy.”

In all, 26 elk were transported to Jackson County after completing a 45-day quarantine period in Kentucky as part of a five-year agreement between Wisconsin and Kentucky that will provide Wisconsin with up to 150 wild elk. In 2015, all elk will be released in Jackson County, while future years will see animals released in both Jackson County and Clam Lake.

The DNR is taking special precautions to make sure the elk become accustomed to their new home in Jackson County. The elk will be held in a seven-acre acclimation pen in the Black River State Forest for a minimum of 75 days, to satisfy health-testing requirements and allow the elk to become familiar with their new surroundings.

Funding for Wisconsin’s elk translocation efforts is a result of key partnerships and support from the Ho-Chunk Nation, Jackson County Wildlife Fund, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and many others. The department has committed to using only funds received from partner groups.

Source:  Walker press release


Representative Reid Ribble

Ribble and Representative Kurt Schrader (D, Ore.) introduced H.R 1610, the bipartisan Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act, with 107 cosponsors on both sides of the aisle. H.R. 1610 would end our reliance on crisis-to-crisis budgeting and allow Congress to give an honest and full accounting of the federal budget by requiring a two-year budget and all 12 appropriations bills to be passed in all odd-numbered years, allowing Congress to conduct oversight and make reforms to programs in the even-numbered years.

“America is a tremendous economic engine, and our federal budget needs consistency, reliability, and thorough oversight to function efficiently,” Ribble said. “By taking budgeting out of election years, forcing Congress to provide budget oversight to federal agencies during off years, and allowing federal agencies and businesses the security to make long-term financial plans, we can begin to address the real drivers of debt and repair our nation’s battered fiscal house.”

Biennial budgeting is a practical reform that has already been implemented by 15 states, including Wisconsin, whose legislatures meet annually but choose to budget biennially. It has strong bipartisan and bicameral support, and similar Senate legislation currently has 24 bipartisan cosponsors. In the last Congress, Rep. Ribble’s legislation passed the Budget Committee on a bipartisan vote of 22-10 and also received a hearing in the Rules Committee.

Source:  Ribble press release


Senator Tammy Baldwin

Baldwin introduced an amendment to the Senate budget resolution that would make two years of community college free for high-achieving students throughout the country. Implementing the “Buffett Rule,” which ensures that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share in taxes, offsets the cost of the program. In January, Baldwin introduced legislation to establish the Buffett Rule, the Paying a Fair Share Act.

“Making technical and community colleges affordable is one of the most important steps we can take toward building a strong path to the middle class for all Americans,” said Baldwin. Following this year’s State of the Union address, Senator Baldwin applauded President Obama’s proposal to make two years of community college free for responsible students. The program put forth in Senator Baldwin’s amendment would be undertaken in partnership with states and was inspired by new programs in Tennessee and Chicago. If all states participated, an estimated nine million students could benefit. A full-time community college student could save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year.

Source:  Baldwin press release


President Barack Obama

Embracing proposed new rules aimed at payday lenders, President Barack Obama said working families need protections from heavy debt burdens and warned Republicans that he would veto attempts to unravel regulations that govern the financial industry. Obama praised the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for its proposal to set standards on a multibillion-dollar industry that has historically been regulated only at the state level.

“One of the main ways to make sure paychecks go farther is to make sure working families don’t get ripped off,” Obama told about 1,800 people at Lawson State Community College.

Obama’s remarks come on the same day the consumer agency was announcing the proposed payday lending rules in a hearing in Richmond, Virginia. Payday loans provide cash to borrowers who run out of money between paychecks. The short-term loans carry high interest rates. The rule would require lenders to make sure that borrowers can afford to pay the money back.

Source:  The Associated Press