Representative Joel Kitchens
Rep. Kitchens released a statement following the Assembly’s Sept. 13 vote on the 2017-2019 biennial state budget: “I was proud last night to cast my vote alongside my fellow Republican legislators in support of this state budget. This budget is good for our state, and good for the first district. This budget contains the largest investment in K-12 education made by the state, providing school districts with $639 million in funding. There will be an increase in per pupil aid by $200 per pupil in the first year and $204 in the second year and the floor of minimum funding levels for low spending districts will be raised.
“This budget brings us a historic investment in education that is welcomed by our state’s educators and schools. As a former school board member, I can recognize the value of this commitment by the legislature to support schools and I can think of no other investment that has a greater return than the children of our state.
“Additionally, there are several provisions in this budget that directly impact our district. I have worked hard this session to push for projects in our region that will have monumental positive impacts for my entire constituency. This budget includes funding for a Total Maximum Daily Load Study of the rivers of Door, Kewaunee and Manitowoc counties. This budget also includes a $750,000 grant to rebuild Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park and a $3.2 million Harbor Assistance Grant to Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding for the Sturgeon Bay Harbor. Additionally, this budget allows for Door County Medical Center to obtain an additional 18 nursing home beds for their facility. These projects will help protect our district’s natural resources, continue to attract tourists, grow our workforce and take care of our elderly.”
The budget bill will now head to the Senate for a vote before heading to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.
Source: Kitchens press release
Governor Scott Walker
On Sept. 18, Gov. Walker signed the Wisconn Valley Special Session Bill into law, paving the way for construction of a $10 billion manufacturing campus located in southeastern Wisconsin for Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn), the world’s largest electronic manufacturing services provider. “This is a truly transformational step for our state, our people, and our economy, and Wisconsin is ready,” Walker said. Employees at the new facility, the first of its kind in the United States, will manufacture state-of-the-art liquid crystal display (LCD) screens that will be used in everything from self-driving cars to aircraft systems and in the fields of education, entertainment, health care, safety and surveillance, advanced manufacturing systems, and office automation, among others.
Source: Walker press release
Congressman Mike Gallagher
In recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Rep. Gallagher is encouraging northeast Wisconsin residents to educate themselves on suicide, its warning signs and how it can be prevented, particularly in our Native American communities where youth commit suicide at almost twice the rate of non-Native youth.
“We must do everything we can to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health care so that those in crisis feel comfortable seeking out the help they need before it’s too late. While suicide is not isolated to just one race, age group or socioeconomic class, it is impacting our Native American youth at nearly twice the rate of non-Native youth – a troubling statistic,” Gallagher said. “Through increased awareness and community-wide discussions, we can change the conversation about suicide and begin to remedy this tragedy. We cannot afford to ignore this issue any longer. Our society is failing these young people and it is time for change.”
Gallagher is an original co-sponsor of several pieces of legislation aimed at improving mental health outcomes for those in crisis, including the Native American Suicide Prevention Act of 2017. This legislation, supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is designed to promote meaningful collaboration between state and tribal governments in order to produce inclusive, and impactful statewide programs. Most recently, he joined First Lady Tonette Walker’s effort to push for wider use of trauma informed care. He introduced a bipartisan resolution in the House that recognizes its importance and effectiveness in treating those who have suffered from extreme trauma.
Source: Gallagher press release
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Sen. Baldwin released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration slashing funding to Wisconsin for outreach efforts to help people sign up for health care. Covering Wisconsin, the state’s largest federally certified and state-licensed Navigator agency, received notice that its federal support for outreach and enrollment services is being reduced by more than 42 percent. This amounts to a loss of $422,763, which would have been used for educating Wisconsin residents about health insurance coverage, assisting them with enrollment and supporting their post-enrollment needs. “This is nothing short of sabotage of Wisconsin’s health care system at the expense of families seeking affordable insurance. The Trump Administration is actively creating chaos and making it harder for Wisconsinites in rural communities across the state to get health care coverage,” Baldwin said. “That’s just wrong, and it will further destabilize the market and can lead to higher costs for everyone.”
Covering Wisconsin serves 23 counties and partners with agencies that serve Wisconsin’s central counties. As a result of the Trump Administration’s cuts, Covering Wisconsin will be forced to eliminate their contracts with these essential partner agencies.
In addition to Covering Wisconsin, the Northwest Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. also received notice that its navigator funding was being reduced by 44 percent.
Last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans to significantly reduce funding for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Navigator program and other public outreach activities in advance of the upcoming open enrollment period. Cutting outreach programs reduces information available to consumers seeking insurance through the individual Marketplaces and can lead to fewer young people purchasing health insurance, which further destabilizes the market. This announcement is particularly concerning since the upcoming open enrollment period, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, is half the length it has been in recent years.
Source: Baldwin press release
Senator Ron Johnson
Sen. Johnson says he thinks the health care plan he has drafted with several other Republican senators stands a “very good chance” of passing. The plan would take money now being spent on the Affordable Care Act and turn it over to the states in the form of block grants to use in health care programs they design and operate, Johnson said Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with Wispolitics.com. Johnson said he and his co-sponsors are getting closer to the number of votes they need to pass the bill. “It’s just gaining support, because it makes so much sense,” he said. Johnson said he and his co-sponsors are operating under a deadline of Sept. 30 for the bill to pass in this budget reconciliation period. However, Forbes.com said this effort to overhaul the Affordable Care Act could lead to spending cuts for state education funding from kindergarten through college, citing a new report by Fitch Ratings (fitchratings.com/site/pr/1029238).
Source: wisn.com, forbes.com
President Donald Trump
President Trump on Tuesday delivered a toughly worded defense of his “America first” foreign policy in his inaugural address to the United Nations and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary. The president also excoriated the international nuclear deal with Iran as an “embarrassment” and strongly hinted that his administration would soon back out, against the wishes of many nations in the room. The speech put the General Assembly hall of more than 150 delegations on notice that the United States, under Trump’s leadership, is willing to pursue an unpopular and unpredictable course to protect its interests across the globe. Trump called on world leaders to rally in the fight to defeat murderous regimes and “loser terrorists,” and he derisively referred to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, who oversees an expanding nuclear arsenal, as “Rocket Man.” Reflecting on the United Nations charter of promoting world peace, the president asserted to the room full of diplomats: “Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to hell.”