Reps in the News

Congressman Mike Gallagher

On April 28, Rep. Gallagher held a reception to honor the participants in this year’s Congressional Art Competition. Held each spring, the competition allows high school students to showcase their artistic talent across each congressional district. Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 students have participated. Brea Wolke, who attends Appleton West High School, was selected as this year’s winner for her submission, “Logos of Life.” “Each year, the Congressional Art Competition showcases the incredible talent of the students in Wisconsin’s Eighth District,” Gallagher said. “I want to thank all 49 students who submitted their artwork for consideration and congratulate Brea Wolke for this well-deserved achievement. I look forward to seeing her artwork displayed in the U.S. Capitol.” The winning artwork from each district is put on display for one year in the U.S. Capitol. Gallagher displays the second-place piece of art in his Washington, D.C., office and the third-place piece in his De Pere office. A group of local judges determines the winners.

Source: Gallagher press release

Governor Tony Evers

Gov. Evers said at a May 2 press conference he will “fight like hell” for an expansion of Medicaid in Wisconsin, despite new statements from Republican leaders that they intend to strip the plan from the state budget. The Republican chairs of the state budget committee released a statement saying they will remove all “non-fiscal” items from the governor’s budget proposal, including the Medicaid expansion.

The expansion is particularly important to Evers’ two-year spending plan because his administration has estimated the expansion would free up $320 million in state funding in the next two years, allowing the state to invest in other things.

State Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm has called the expansion the “anchor” of her department’s budget.

Wisconsin’s Medicaid program, BadgerCare Plus, covers people who earn up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $12,500 per year. By taking the full Medicaid expansion, that coverage would effectively be expanded to people who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $17,200 per year.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Wisconsin is one of 14 states that hasn’t taken the additional federal money.

Former Gov. Scott Walker first rejected the federal Medicaid expansion in 2014, a move that has cost state government more than $1 billion, according to the Legislature’s budget office.

Other proposals from Evers slated for deletion from the budget include legalization of medical marijuana, creation of a nonpartisan redistricting commission to oversee the drawing of legislative district maps, a cap in statewide voucher-school enrollment and limits on a tax-credit program for manufacturers.

“Republican politicians are, once again, not listening to the people of this state,” said Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison).

Source: WPR

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Baldwin introduced the bipartisan Strengthening Buy America for Small Shipyard Grants Act to strengthen Buy America requirements for federal Small Shipyard Grant funding to support American businesses, manufacturers and workers. The bill is cosponsored by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.). Although Buy America requirements already apply to the Small Shipyard Grant Program, there is a loophole in the Maritime Administration’s rules for commercially available, off-the-shelf products. Therefore, these federal grants may be used to purchase equipment that is not made in America.

Baldwin’s legislation would close this loophole to support American businesses and workers such as Marine Travelift in Sturgeon Bay, which employs nearly 200 workers and uses Wisconsin-sourced materials to manufacture boat-handling equipment that is exported around the world. It would ensure that products and materials purchased with Small Shipyard Grant funding, including any commercially available, off-the-shelf item, are manufactured in the United States.

“Buy America is common-sense policy that we need more of,” said Erich Pfeifer, CEO of Marine Travelift in Sturgeon Bay. “Wisconsin businesses make world-class products, and this bill will help prevent us from being undercut by our own tax dollars going toward competing foreign-built equipment.”

“This legislation will help Wisconsin marine manufacturers, and when our customers win, we suppliers do, too,” said Jason Nessinger, general manager of ExacTech in Sturgeon Bay. “We appreciate the Senator’s leadership on this important proposal.”

Source: Baldwin press release

Senator Ron Johnson

Sen. Johnson rode to Washington, D.C., nearly a decade ago as anyone but a career politician and was re-elected after promising to leave office after two terms. But now Johnson is embracing his new role as the leader of Wisconsin’s Republican Party and is mulling a third term or even a bid for governor.

That’s because on the morning of Nov. 7, the U.S. senator from Oshkosh woke up as the only Republican representing the entire state of Wisconsin to survive the election the night before – the “last man standing,” as he calls it.

“When I noticed Scott Walker didn’t win, nor Brad Schimel or obviously the lieutenant governor, I realized I was the last statewide representative,” Johnson, who wasn’t on the November ballot, said in an interview. “It’s a role I never sought, but it’s a responsibility I take pretty seriously.”

Once pledging to step away from politics after two terms, Johnson now won’t say what he’ll do once his second six-year term ends in 2022.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel