Reps in the News: Nov. 6 – Nov. 12

Representative Joel Kitchens

As a former school board member and president of the Sturgeon Bay School Board, Kitchens is not happy with a proposal introduced by Sen. Duey Stroebel and co-sponsored by 1st District Senator Frank Lasee that would put further restrictions on already struggling public school districts. Stroebel’s bill would force school districts to hold referenda only during general elections in the spring or fall, and if a referendum fails, districts would not be allowed to schedule another vote on the issue for two years.

“When they do something like this, I think they are getting away from the basic tenets of the Republican party, what we’re supposed to stand for, that local control,” Kitchens said. “On this issue I felt very strongly about it and I wanted to come out and let people know that. I think it just goes way too far. I can understand requiring it to be a general election. I’m not sure it’s necessary, but you want it to reflect the will of the people. But the thing about them saying they can’t run one again for two years, I don’t see any justification for that at all. That’s them saying, we know what’s best for your district, better than your school board does or your citizens do. I just think that’s real overreach. We have to keep that local. With the whole revenue limit, the thing they have said, we’re not raising the revenue limit, but you always have the right to raise it. Now you’re trying to stack the deck against them. I am really opposed to that.”

Source: Pulse interview with Kitchens


Governor Scott Walker

Walker and first lady Tonette Walker invite family members of Wisconsin’s service members – past and present, home and away – to send a holiday ornament dedicated to their loved one for this year’s “Tribute to our Troops” holiday tree. “The ‘Tribute to our Troops’ holiday tree is a unique way for loved ones to honor their service member,” Governor Walker said. “It’s always difficult for our troops to be separated from their families, especially during the holiday season. The ornaments on the tree are a special reminder of the men and women who are protecting us here, as well as abroad.” The ornaments will be displayed on one of the large evergreen trees in the executive residence during December’s holiday tours. The ornaments can be plain or fancy, as well as personalized to honor our fallen service members, those who are deployed overseas this holiday season, and all who wear the uniforms of our nation’s armed forces. To be included as part of this year’s “Tribute to our Troops” tree, ornaments must be received no later than Nov. 12 at: Wisconsin National Guard Service Member Support Division, ATTN: Master Sgt. Deborah Severson, 2400 Wright St., Madison, Wis., 53704.

Source: Walker press release


Representative Reid Ribble

Ribble released the following statement on H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015:
 “I came to Washington because I was concerned about where our country was headed not for me, but for my grandkids and future generations of Americans. The debt we are racking up now is nothing more than future taxes on them – with interest. For that reason, I have insisted that we reform our spending, balance our budget, and ensure that programs like Social Security, Medicare, and infrastructure funding are on a fiscally strong, secure path for the future. Unfortunately, the Bipartisan Budget Act boosts federal discretionary spending by the largest increase since I have been in Congress and suspends the debt limit without making meaningful structural reforms and I was unable to support it.” Ribble has made the fight for a return to fiscal sanity the centerpiece of his time in Congress. From authoring “No Budget, No Pay” to “Cut, Cap and Balance,” to introducing the Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Act and his Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act that currently has 224 bipartisan cosponsors, he has been a leading voice on budget reform.

Source: Ribble press release


Senator Tammy Baldwin

Baldwin applauded the announcement from the Obama Administration that aims to reduce potential discrimination against formerly incarcerated people in the hiring process for federal government employees. The announcement follows several states and cities that have been implementing “Ban the Box” polices to help people with records overcome the barrier to employment of having to “check the box” about a past felony conviction on a job application. “Those who have made mistakes and paid their debt to society deserve a chance to move forward and live a productive life,” said Senator Baldwin. “Yet, far too often, the more than 70 million Americans who have criminal histories face unreasonable employment barriers that stand in the way of contributing to our workforce. I applaud today’s announcement from the Administration that will help ensure that every American has a fair chance to secure a steady job, support their family and strengthen our communities.”

Source: Baldwin press release


Senator Ron Johnson

Johnson, chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, along with Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), traveled Friday through Sunday to Guatemala and Honduras on a bipartisan, bicameral congressional delegation to see firsthand the factors that incentivize migration from Central America to the U.S. Among the delegation’s many stops were border crossings and checkpoints in both countries and a vocational training facility and model police precinct station in Honduras. “Witnessing the conditions in these Central American countries reinforced what we have been learning in 12 border security hearings held by the Senate committee I chair: that the root cause of America’s insecure border is our insatiable demand for drugs. This demand has created drug cartels and conditions that have corrupted public institutions throughout Central America, leaving these countries incapable of providing sufficient security and the rule of law that are basic prerequisites of economic success,” Johnson said. “I was heartened to confirm that a sense of national pride still exists in these countries. The Guatemalan president-elect expressed a love for country that he knows must be shared by his fellow citizens. Children in Honduras talked about their future in Honduras. And Guatemalans just repatriated from the U.S. erupted in applause when welcomed back to their home country. The president of Honduras told the delegation that witnessing his people leave their country for opportunities in the U.S. was a ‘slap in the face.’ “I return committed to setting achievable goals based on reality, and then working with my colleagues to design solutions that have the best chance for success.”

Source: Johnson press release


President Barack Obama

The White House has said it intends to rule on the fate of the Keystone XL oil pipeline before the end of Obama’s term. The company behind the pipeline, TransCanada, had wanted to delay the approval process until after his term. The White House said “there might be politics at play” in the decision by TransCanada.

Some analysts think the company is waiting in hopes that the next president would welcome the project. The company had complained for years about delays from the Obama administration and had aggressively urged that the project be approved as quickly as possible. The Keystone XL would send more than 800,000 barrels a day of mostly Canadian oil to Nebraska. From there, the oil would travel to refineries and ports along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The project has pitted Republicans and other supporters – who say it will create much needed jobs – against many Democrats and environmentalists, who warn the pipeline will add to carbon emissions and contribute to global warming.

Source: BBC News


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