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Reps in the News: Feb. 5 – 12

Representative Joel Kitchens

Kitchens circulated for co-sponsorship LRB-4419/1, relating to income limits and award limits for the Well Compensation Program. High-level Department of Natural Resources personnel have been meeting with officials and stakeholders from Kewaunee County to attack various aspects of the groundwater contamination problem. The most urgent need is to provide clean water to those currently suffering with contaminated wells through no fault of their own. LRB-4419 addresses the first recommendation of those meetings, with more to follow. It is a first step measure in addressing groundwater contamination in Northeast Wisconsin.

“Cleaning our groundwater will take time, but those with unsafe drinking water cannot afford to wait,” Kitchens said. “This week, I am taking a step toward providing a short-term solution by introducing a bill to expand the Well Compensation Program. This program provides assistance for owners of wells that are contaminated by livestock feces to replace, rebuild, treat or seal their wells. Currently, well owners must have a household income below $60,000 to be eligible for assistance and the maximum payment is $9,000. This bill would raise the household income limit to $90,000 and the maximum payment to $12,000. “It is important to note that this bill is not intended to solve the problem, but it does provide relief to those who are currently suffering with contaminated wells. Groundwater contamination is a complex problem and unfortunately there is no easy fix. The solution to this problem will not come in the form of one simple piece of legislation, but in a series of steps. It is difficult to be patient when people cannot feel safe drinking the water from their taps, but be assured that many people are working very hard to address contaminated groundwater. I am completely committed to restoring clean water to Northeast Wisconsin, and I am confident that we will overcome this.”

Source: Kitchens press release

Governor Scott Walker

Four months after ending his presidential bid, Walker still has a lot of work to do rebuilding his brand in Wisconsin, according to the latest Marquette Law School poll released Jan. 28. The poll found 38 percent of registered voters approve of Walker’s job performance, which was unchanged from the last poll in November. And only 36 percent say they would like Walker to run for a third term in 2018, one point higher than a poll in late September. Walker’s approval level bottomed out at 37 percent of respondents in Marquette’s late September poll, which was taken shortly after Walker dropped out of the presidential race. He has since traveled extensively across the state and promised in his recent State of the State address to hold invite-only listening sessions in every part of the state during the next year as part of his “2020 Vision Project.” The poll also found Democratic challenger Russ Feingold is holding a double-digit lead over incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. The 50-37 Feingold lead is similar to the previous Marquette poll.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal

U.S. Representative Reid Ribble

Ribble released the following statement on Jan. 30: “When I first ran for Congress in 2010, I made three promises. First, I wanted to roll back federal discretionary spending to pre-bailout, pre-stimulus levels. Second, I wanted to make Bush tax rates for individuals permanent. Finally, I would limit my time of service to a maximum of four terms or eight years. On the first two: mission accomplished. Federal discretionary spending has been held for the last three years on average at or below pre-bailout and pre-stimulus levels. Lower personal tax rates have been made permanent for 98 percent of Americans. Today, I am announcing that I will fulfill my third promise and will not seek re-election in November of 2016.

“My reasons are fairly simple and straightforward. I feel very fortunate to have a strong marriage, grown children, and three wonderful grandchildren. I want to dedicate more time to them. Additionally, I’ve always said elected office shouldn’t be a career. I come from the private sector and am anxious to return to it and to a more private life. During my time representing Wisconsin’s eighth district in Congress, I have been deeply impressed by the thousands of hardworking, civic-minded people that I have met. It is truly a remarkable community, and one that it has been a privilege to represent. I will leave the House of Representatives confident that the voters of Northeast Wisconsin will choose an excellent new voice in Congress for 2017 and beyond.

“It’s been an honor to serve the people of Northeast Wisconsin in Congress. I’m humbled by the faith and responsibility they have put in me, and my team and I will continue to work hard for the citizens of Northeast Wisconsin for the next 11 months. But in 2017, it will be time for someone else to serve.”

Source: Ribble press release

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Baldwin announced she has joined the newly formed, bipartisan, Senate Competitiveness Caucus, which will foster concerted bipartisan efforts to discuss, develop, and advance policy enhancing U.S economic competitiveness. The group is chaired by Sens. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), and also includes Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), Richard Durbin (D-Illinois), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and Mark Warner (D-Virginia). The new group is committed to working together to take concrete steps to cement America’s role as a global economic leader into the future. At a Senate Competitiveness Caucus event attended by Nick Pinchuk, CEO of Snap-On Incorporated, Baldwin highlighted the Kenosha’s company’s partnership with Gateway Technical College on job training and work force readiness issues. “In Wisconsin we have a model that could serve as an inspiration for others,” Baldwin said. “Snap-On and Gateway Technical College in Kenosha are working together, and have put in place a nationally-recognized education and training partnership that addresses our needs for industry skill certification.”

Source: Baldwin press release

President Barack Obama

President Obama is not interested in being a Supreme Court Justice after he leaves the White House, despite Hillary Clinton loving the idea of appointing him were she elected president. “His aspirations for his post-presidency extend beyond a Supreme Court appointment,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told ABC News. “I think as a constitutional lawyer that the president…would have plenty of things and plenty of ideas for how he would do a job like that. But I think his preferences for how he wants to spend his time after he leaves the White House would lie in areas that would give him the opportunity to handle a wider range of issues than just those issues that come before the court,” he said.

Source: ABC News

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