Reps in the News: Disaster Relief, Teddy Award, Vaping

Representative Joel Kitchens

Rep. Joel Kitchens received a plaque from the Washington Island Electric Cooperative for his efforts to secure $2 million in disaster-relief funds for the island community in the 2019-21 state budget. Washington Island lost power in 2018 when ice shoves damaged the only submarine cable that provided electricity to the town, and afterward, the Washington Island Electric Co-op had to use backup generators to restore power to homes and businesses.

“The disaster had caused the average monthly electricity bill for a Washington Island resident to increase by nearly $20 for the next 30 years,” Kitchens said. “However, with the $2 million in state funds, that increase is being cut in half. I strongly believe this funding will help our neighbors recover from the unfortunate incident that placed so many hardships on them.”

Source: Kitchens newsletter


Congressman Mike Gallagher

Rep. Mike Gallagher has received the inaugural Teddy Award from Issue One, recognizing him for his bipartisan efforts to reform Congress and return government to the people. Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Calif.) also earned Teddy Awards for their work. 

 “Congress is broken, and if we don’t come together to fix the way this institution works, nothing will ever get done,” Gallagher said. “For decades, members in both parties gave away congressional authorities and centralized power at the top. It’s time we work together to reverse that trend, take back Congress’s Article I powers and get members of Congress to focus on doing their jobs instead of raising money. There’s growing bipartisan support to make Congress work like the founders intended, and I look forward to [continuing to work] with my colleagues to reach that goal.”

Source: Gallagher press release

Senator Ron Johnson

Sen. Ron Johnson, who has become somewhat of a folk hero on vaping websites since 2016, has scored a victory for the industry.

After nearly two months of saying he wanted to ban most flavored e-cigarettes, President Donald Trump has pulled back from proposed restrictions that were intended to curb teenage vaping. According to the Washington Post, Trump has been warned of the political fallout among voters and lobbyists for such a position. 

On Wednesday, Johnson sent a letter to Trump urging him to reconsider the ban on flavored e-cigarettes, saying not doing so could have a “devastating effect on the e-cigarette industry and force many small businesses to shut down.”

Johnson’s letter said that aside from the significant monetary costs of the flavor restrictions, there is also a significant cost to public health.

“Many adults have quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes, a product that is 95 percent less harmful, according to Public Health England,” the letter states.

Source: Wisconsin Public Radio

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, have introduced the Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act.

Currently, women make up 47 percent of the U.S. labor force, yet they represent only 24 percent of America’s trucking workforce and only about 7 percent of drivers. This legislation would support women in the trucking industry and establish a Women of Trucking Advisory Board.

“In Wisconsin, we make things, and we need to ensure we have a strong workforce to transport our goods to market,” Baldwin said. “Women currently make up less than 10 percent of the truck-driving workforce, and removing the barriers that get in the way of women pursuing and retaining careers in trucking is key. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort with Sen. Moran because more job opportunities for Wisconsin women will lead to more economic security for working families.”

Source: Baldwin press release