Senator Caleb Frostman
State Senators Caleb Frostman and Dave Hansen are calling on Governor Walker’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to explain where the $46 million in federal transportation dollars granted for local governments have been sent by the agency.
Federal Service Transportation Block Grant funds are requested by municipalities and then passed from the Federal Highway Administration through the DOT to the requesting local governments to fix vital roads in their communities. Somewhere along the line that $46 million of federal money has gone missing without an explanation from Walker or the DOT, causing concern for local communities struggling to repair aging and damaged roads.
“Our local governments in northeast Wisconsin rely on the Department of Transportation to efficiently and fairly administer these vital Federal funds,” Frostman said. “Mismanagement by Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans has led to delayed road projects, the diversion of more than $150 million in state transportation funding to Foxconn, and now it has resulted in the disappearance of $46 million in federal funds for local communities.”
“Due to their inability to find a long-term funding solution for Wisconsin’s aging transportation infrastructure and the diversion of millions of dollars to Foxconn in southeast Wisconsin, the Governor and Legislative Republicans have created a crisis for local roads,” Hansen said.
This unprecedented diversion removes more than $3 million from both Appleton and Green Bay’s budgets for designated transportation projects. This action by the DOT is adding more strain to communities that are grappling with crumbling roads and bridges.
“Governor Walker and the Republicans have had total control of state government since 2011. All that time their playbook has been to cut funding to local communities and schools and forcing them to make up for the lost state funding. The results are terrible roads, dangerous bridges and schools so badly underfunded that local residents have voted to raise their own property taxes just to keep the lights on,” Hansen said.
Source: Frostman press release
Governor Scott Walker
There’s every reason to believe this is the beginning of the end for Scott Walker. His presidential bid crashed and burned. He’s running for a third term as governor in what figures to be a hostile midterm for the Republican Party. Polling shows that the independent voters who were so critical to Walker’s wins in the 2012 recall and 2014 reelection are breaking away from him.
After years of futility, Democrats here are convinced they finally have him cornered.
“He’s stuck with a bad environment. He’s stuck with a long incumbency, and he’s stuck with a short general election,” said Tom Russell, a Wisconsin-based consultant with the Democratic Governors Association.
The signs that Walker is ripe to be taken down are everywhere. His opponent, Schools Superintendent Tony Evers, has a slight lead in recent polls and there’s evidence that critical suburban voters are shifting leftward.
Three former Walker aides have even turned on the governor, with two cutting ads for Evers.
Congressman Mike Gallagher
Rep. Gallagher co-sponsored a bipartisan resolution to prohibit House members from serving on the boards of any publicly held or publicly regulated companies. The resolution is similar to Senate Rule 37.6(a), which states no U.S. Senator “shall serve as an officer or member of the board of any publicly held or publicly regulated corporation, financial institution, or business entity.” The Senate rule, however, includes exceptions for members who were serving on a board for at least two years prior to their election. The House resolution eliminates this exception and requires newly elected members who serve on corporate boards to resign. “As members of Congress, our responsibility is to serve our constituents, not to maximize profits for a corporation,” Gallagher said. “By prohibiting members from sitting on the boards of publicly-held companies, this resolution ensures members never put their financial interests or position in a company before the needs of taxpayers. Particularly at a time when trust in government is at an all-time low, Congress must hold itself to a higher ethical standard.”
Source: Gallagher press release
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Senator Baldwin met with hunters, fishermen and sportsmen in Wausau on Sept. 11 to discuss the need to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to protect and preserve public lands for recreation and hunting. Funding for the LWCF is set to expire on Sept. 30 if Congress does not act.
“Wisconsin has long been a national leader for conservation and we have a proud tradition of hunting, fishing and enjoying the great outdoors. I’m proud to work across party lines to protect these traditions for future generations and safeguard the natural resources we enjoy in Wisconsin,” Baldwin said. “Wisconsinites understand that protecting public access to our natural resources is critical to our quality of life and to our economy, so Congress must act swiftly to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
Baldwin was joined by representatives from the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society, Wild Turkey Federation, Gathering Waters, Pheasants Forever, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.
Wisconsin has received more than $200 million in LWCF funding in the past five decades, protecting places such as the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the North Country Scenic Trail, the St. Croix National Scenic River and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Baldwin has long advocated for investing in the LWCF. She also worked with a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act, which would permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Source: Baldwin press release
President Donald Trump
On Wednesday President Trump ratcheted up his fight with Puerto Rican officials, dwelling on the intense criticism he received last year for his response to Hurricane Maria, even as Hurricane Florence threatens millions of Americans on the East Coast. Thousands of Puerto Ricans died in the storm’s aftermath as the island territory struggled to cope with widespread devastation and power outages.
“We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan). We are ready for the big one that is coming!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning.
Puerto Rican officials are also hitting back at Trump, renewing feuds that escalated last year even as the island was trying to provide shelter, water and health care for millions of people impacted by the storm. Though Trump claimed Tuesday that Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló would celebrate the “incredible unsung success” of the hurricane relief efforts on the island, Rosselló firmly rebuked Trump’s remarks in a statement later in the day, claiming petitions to the Trump administration for recovery assistance and emergency housing remain unanswered. “This was the worst natural disaster in our modern history. Our basic infrastructure was devastated, thousands of our people lost their lives and many other struggle,” Rosselló said in a statement. The governor of the territory – whose residents cannot vote in presidential elections – also used the opportunity to highlight the inequalities between the mainland and Puerto Rico. Rosselló has long advocated for Puerto Rican statehood.