Your Reps in the News: April 21, 2017

Representative Joel Kitchens

Rep. Kitchens released the following statement regarding the package of bills Assembly Republicans released to combat homelessness: “…my colleagues, Representative Steineke, Representative Snyder, Representative Rodriguez and Representative Pronschinske, introduced four bills aimed at addressing homelessness in Wisconsin. Highlighted in the Assembly Republican Forward Agenda, Assembly Republicans kept their promise in working towards our effort to end homelessness.” The series of bills aim to accomplish several goals. First, to create an Interagency Council on Homelessness, made up of representatives from state agencies, organizations that provide homelessness services and a designee appointed by Gov. Walker. Second, under the power of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, a pilot program designed to prioritize chronically homeless people on the waitlist for general housing vouchers. Third, allow the Department of Administration to award grants up to $75,000, to municipalities to help resolve employment issues for homeless individuals. Fourth, remove restrictions on money allocated to transitional housing and eliminate the requirement that the Department of Administration reasonably balance grants and loans related to affordable housing among geographic areas of the state. “Homelessness is an issue that affects people on both sides of the aisle and is an issue for both urban and rural regions. I thank my colleagues for their leadership on these issues and I look forward to continuing to work on combating and addressing homelessness.”

Source: Kitchens press release

Congressman Mike Gallagher

There has been a great deal of concern ever since the March 13 release of President Trump’s “Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” and its 97 percent funding cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). Many Door County projects have relied on GLRI funding, and GLRI funding has also been used in various efforts to reduce the phosphorus issues that created the dead zone in Green Bay. “The old adage is, the president proposes and Congress disposes,” Rep. Gallagher said during an interview for the early summer issue of Door County Living magazine. Gallagher took on the Save the Bay initiative that was started by his predecessor, Reid Ribble. “We should be very vigilant of where we spend taxpayer dollars, but something like the GLRI, where we get a big return on our investment, I think it’s a smart investment of taxpayer dollars, so I was happy to speak in opposition to that cut,” Gallagher said. “We sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee, urging them to continue providing that funding. The Governor supports it as well, so we’ve got a bipartisan group that feels strongly.” Gallagher talked about the Save the Bay initiative in the early summer Door County Living, which will be out the first week of May.

Source: Door County Living interview

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Baldwin has joined 11 other Great Lakes senators in calling on the Trump Administration to release a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study that recommends specific measures to prevent Asian Carp from getting beyond the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, a crucial chokepoint in the Chicago waterway system. The study, which is critical to stopping Asian Carp and other invasive species from reaching the Great Lakes, was supposed to be released at the end of February but was delayed by the Trump Administration.

“We request the Administration release the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ draft proposal to prevent Asian carp from reaching and severely harming the Great Lakes,” wrote the lawmakers. “We are concerned by what we understand to be a White House decision to delay and potentially modify this report that has been under development for years. When taken together with the proposal to eliminate all funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in the fiscal year 2018 budget, delaying the release of this plan to address Asian carp only raises further questions about the Administration’s commitment to protecting our Great Lakes.”

Source: Baldwin press release

Senator Ron Johnson

Sen. Johnson issued the following statement after joining President Donald Trump at Snap-on Tools in Kenosha for an executive order signing on April 18: “I was glad to welcome the president to Wisconsin today to talk about how we can continue to revitalize American manufacturing and create more well paid jobs in our state and across the country. In addition to continuing to review and enhance our visa system, we can give the private sector a boost by simplifying our tax code to make it more competitive and by encouraging more people to pursue technical and trades education opportunities to develop the skills to fill vital manufacturing jobs nationwide.”

Source: Johnson press release

President Donald Trump

President Trump was officially in Wisconsin on April 18 for the first time since taking office to publicly sign an order that targets the H-1B visa program used by technology companies to bring guest workers into the U.S. The White House says the program undercuts American workers by driving down wages with cheaper international labor. “With this action, we are sending a powerful signal to the world, we’re going to defend our workers, protect our jobs and finally, put America first,” Trump said. The directive would encourage federal agencies to use more U.S.-made goods in construction and transportation projects. Democrats held a news conference near the Trump event and charged that, so far, the president has only offered lip service to “buy American” policies.

Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said while the executive order is a step forward, “Wisconsin workers can’t wait for studies and reports, and need real action now.” Outside the venue, hundreds of protesters called on Trump to release his tax returns. The protesters held signs criticizing several of Trump’s policies. Retired high school teacher Tom Gilding was among the protesters on Tax Day. He held a sign that read, “What are you afraid of, Donald? Release your taxes,” and helped hold up an inflated chicken made to resemble Trump. Trump narrowly carried Wisconsin in November.

Source: Wisconsin Public Radio

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