Assemblyman Joel Kitchens
Rep. Kitchens released the following statement regarding his appointment to serve as chair of the Assembly Committee on Environment for the 2019-20 legislative session: “I couldn’t be happier to be selected as the chairman of the Assembly Environment Committee. I cannot think of many issues – if any – that are more important to the 1st Assembly District and Wisconsin than protecting the environment. There’s no area in the state that is more reliant on clean water.
“While the 1st Assembly District is the most beautiful region in Wisconsin, it’s also one of the most delicate, with its 300 miles of shoreline and thin soils overlaying dolomite bedrock. We are blessed with an abundance of natural resources, and our local economy heavily depends on those resources. I want to focus on solutions that preserve the environment while also bolstering both tourism and our robust agricultural economy.
“I would like to thank Speaker Vos and Assembly leadership for entrusting me to serve as the chairman of the vitally important Environment Committee. I look forward to working with the Department of Natural Resources and the newly-elected administration to do what we can to protect the environment across the state. I will also continue to bring the agriculture and conservation communities together to work toward our common goal of safeguarding our ground and surface water.”
Source: Kitchens press release
Governor Scott Walker
Gov. Walker made his first public comments on legislation that would take power away from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, indicating that he’s likely to sign the measures. “Let’s set the record straight – the new governor will still have some of the strongest powers of any governor in the nation if these bills become law,” Walker wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday. “He will have the power to veto legislation and he will have some of the broadest line-item veto authority of any governor in the nation.” Walker said governor-elect Tony Evers will also still be able to appoint members of his cabinet and “various other state government posts,” pardon felons and write administrative rules. “None of these things will change regardless of what I do with the bills passed in the state Legislature last week,” Walker added. His comments were in response to criticism that Democrats – and even some Republicans – have directed against the measures, which were pushed through by the GOP-controlled state Legislature in its lame-duck session, just weeks after Walker and the GOP attorney general lost their re-election bids to Democrats.
Congressman Mike Gallagher
Rep. Gallagher announced that Wesley Jochman and George McCray from Fox Valley Lutheran High School won the 2018 Congressional App Challenge for Wisconsin’s Eighth Congressional District. Wesley and George created the Spartan Encryption app to securely store people’s sensitive information, such as logins and passwords. Their work comes at a critical time as individuals and businesses in Northeast Wisconsin and across the U.S. are experiencing an increasing number of cybersecurity breaches. In a video congratulating Wesley and George on their winning app, Rep. Gallagher highlighted the importance of their work to the future of America’s national security: “Particularly as we think about our country’s long-term competition with other countries like China, it’s incredibly important that we maintain our technological edge. Our open economy and innovative spirit have been important sources of our strength relative to our competitors, and it’s absolutely critical that we maintain them. I salute Wesley and George for being among the best and the brightest to work on these challenges, and I look forward to seeing their future innovative ideas.” The annual Congressional App Challenge is a nationwide effort to spur interest in coding, STEM and computer-science education among middle and high school students. Congressional App Challenge winners will be invited to Washington, D.C. in the spring to showcase their apps at the #HouseofCode event in the U.S. Capitol.
Source: Gallagher press release
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Senators Baldwin and Marco Rubio praised the Senate passage of their bipartisan Spurring Business in Communities Act that will increase the amount of start-up funding for small businesses in underserved states like Wisconsin. The House passed the legislation in May and it now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law. “Small businesses are the engines of our Made in Wisconsin economy and if we increase the amount of start-up funding in states like Wisconsin, we can create new jobs and grow our economy,” Baldwin said. “Wisconsin has lagged in business start-up activity and I have worked to change that. This legislation will help carry on Wisconsin’s proud history of entrepreneurship and innovation by providing more support to our small business start-ups, and I’m looking forward to the President signing this bill into law.” According to the Kauffman Foundation, one of the country’s leading entrepreneurship advocacy and research organizations, Wisconsin ranked last in business start-up activity in reports released in 2017, 2016 and 2015. The Spurring Business in Communities Act will allow more Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) to form and invest in Wisconsin, Florida and other under-licensed states to ensure government financing for small businesses does not disproportionately benefit areas already dominated by financial services.
Source: Baldwin press release
Senator Ron Johnson
Sen. Johnson said the following regarding his vote on the farm bill: “Once again, senators were forced to vote on a ‘farm bill’ where nearly 80 percent of the spending was directed to SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program. Eight years into a recovery, with unemployment at historically low levels, 13 percent of the population is still on food stamps. This is a level of participation normally experienced during recessions and high unemployment. I will continue to support Wisconsin’s farm families and fight for their ability to sell their goods at fair prices around the world, but I will not support a ‘farm bill’ in name only that does not include needed reforms to a runaway spending program.”
Source: Johnson press release
President Donald Trump
A federal judge in Manhattan sentenced Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer, to three years in prison for various crimes, including campaign finance violation, tax evasion, and lying to Congress. Before leveling his sentence, Judge William Pauley said, “Cohen pled guilty to a veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct” and “lost his moral compass,” adding that “as a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better.” In addition to his imprisonment, Cohen will have to pay $1.39 million in restitution plus $500,000 in forfeiture for the financial and campaign finance crimes. He will face an additional fine of $50,000 for lying to Congress. For more than a decade, Cohen stood by Trump’s side as a personal attorney, fixer and confidant, famously proclaiming that he would “take a bullet for the president” and “never walk away.” But in the past year, as investigators targeted his personal finances, Cohen flipped on his former boss and cooperated in multiple investigations, including Mueller’s probe, targeting Trump’s campaign and family business operations. Before the ruling was issued, Cohen had pleaded for leniency, accusing President Trump of causing him to “follow a path of darkness rather than light” and “cover up his dirty deeds.” Cohen’s attorney, Guy Petrillo, argued that Cohen “came forward to offer evidence against the most powerful person in the country.” But while the special counsel’s office appeared to be willing to give Cohen credit for his cooperation, SDNY prosecutors took a tougher stance.