Representatives in the News

Gov. Scott Walker

A little more than three years ago, when John Menard Jr. wanted to back Walker, he found the perfect way to do so without attracting any attention:  he wrote more than $1.5 million in checks to a pro-Walker political advocacy group that pledged to keep its donors secret. Menard’s previously unreported six-figure contributions to the Wisconsin Club for Growth – a group that spent heavily to defend Walker during a bitter 2012 recall election – seem to have paid off for the businessman and his company. In the past two years, Menard’s company has been awarded up to $1.8 million in special tax credits from a state economic development corporation that Walker chairs. And in his five years in office, Walker’s appointees have sharply scaled back enforcement actions by the state Department of Natural Resources – a top Menard priority. The agency had repeatedly clashed with Menard and his company under previous governors over citations for violating state environmental laws and had levied a $1.7 million fine against Menard personally, as well as his company, for illegally dumping hazardous wastes. “This, in a nutshell, is what’s wrong with the dark-money world we live in,” said Bill Allison, senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based based nonprofit group that tracks the influence of money in politics. “Here’s somebody who obviously has issues before the state, and he’s able to make a backdoor contribution that nobody ever sees. My sense is [political] insiders know about these contributions. It’s only the public that has no idea.”

Source:  Yahoo News

Congressman Reid Ribble

Ribble announced his support for the Veterans’ Bill of Rights. The nationwide Circle of Friends for American Veterans (COFAV) recognizes and commends him on his continued work to help our country’s veterans.
 “The men and women who have sacrificed to serve our nation deserve our respect, our appreciation, and for their government to keep the promises that it has made to them,” Ribble said. “I am proud to affirm the Veterans’ Bill of Rights and to continue my work to support veterans and their families.”
 The challenges facing our country’s nearly 22 million veterans are many. There are almost 100,000 homeless veterans, nearly 700,000 cases of PTSD and TBI, and 22 veteran suicides each day. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, half of all veterans returning from a war zone suffer from chronic pain.
 Ribble believes America has a moral obligation to care for those who have served our nation by providing them with the best medical care and aid in re-entering the civilian work force. During his time in Congress, Ribble has voted for and sponsored legislation that fulfills this obligation, and continues that commitment through his support for the Veterans’ Bill of Rights.

Source:  Ribble press release

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Baldwin joined Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to introduce bipartisan legislation to help schools strengthen their engineering programs and meet the growing demands of 21st century manufacturing. The bill would designate 25 universities as “Manufacturing Universities” and provide incentives to better align educational offerings with the needs of modern manufacturers. The incentives would be used to bolster universities’ efforts to focus on manufacturing engineering and curricula specifically related to targeted industries. The legislation is endorsed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Manufacturing Universities Act of 2015 would establish a program within the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) charged with designating 25 schools as ‘Manufacturing Universities.’ Designated schools would receive $5 million per year for four years to meet specific goals, including focusing engineering programs on manufacturing, building new partnerships with manufacturing firms, growing training opportunities, and fostering manufacturing entrepreneurship. The program would be run by the Director of the NIST, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense and Energy, and the Director of the National Science Foundation, among others. “As the demand for a highly skilled work force continues to grow, I’m proud to support bipartisan legislation that ensures our universities offer courses that will help prepare students for our 21st century, Made in Wisconsin manufacturing economy,” said Baldwin.

Source:  Baldwin press release

President Barack Obama

The president whose major policy achievement is mandatory health insurance thinks maybe voting should be mandatory, too. Asked how to offset the influence of big money in politics, Obama suggested it’s time to make voting a requirement. “Other countries have mandatory voting,” Obama said on March 18, in Cleveland, where he spoke about the importance of middle class economics, and was asked about the issue during a town hall. “It would be transformative if everybody voted – that would counteract money more than anything,” he said, adding it was the first time he had shared the idea publicly. At least 26 countries have compulsory voting, according to the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Failure to vote is punishable by a fine in countries such as Australia and Belgium; if you fail to pay your fine in Belgium, you could go to prison. Aside from campaign finance issues, the United States also grapples with one of the lowest voter turnout rates among developed countries. Less than 37 percent of eligible voters actually voted in the 2014 midterm elections, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Source:  CNN