Representative Joel Kitchens
Rep. Kitchens released the following statement after Gov. Scott Walker’s State of the State address: “Gov. Walker did a wonderful job delivering the State of the State address. As a state, Wisconsin has made tremendous progress in the previous year. Among the accomplishments mentioned, I was proud to see that our state’s health care systems rank number one in the nation for quality. Access to affordable, high-quality health care is a right that everyone in Wisconsin deserves. It was wonderful to hear that Governor Walker is encouraging a renewed focus on SeniorCare to ensure security and stability for the most vulnerable members of our community. This is something I have advocated for since I came into office and will continue to fight for.
“I was also pleased to learn that the Governor’s plan for 2018 will focus on the development and growth of Wisconsin’s rural areas. Funding rural schools will continue to be a priority as we move forward through this year. The sparsity aid package that was introduced last week will help many rural low-spending schools, including those in the first district. In addition to rural school funding, I was excited by Governor Walker’s proposal to create a Rural Economic Development Fund of $50 million per year. With the intention of focusing on the development of new businesses and the expansion of small businesses in rural areas, I feel this will be a major boon for our district. I am looking forward to achieving the ambitious goals laid out in Governor Walker’s address as we continue to move Wisconsin forward.”
Source: Kitchens press release
Governor Scott Walker
Gov. Walker is defending his reason to wait until the November elections to fill two vacant seats in the State Legislature. He discussed the matter during a stop in Wausau. Some have been calling on the governor to hold special elections for the two vacant seats – one in the 42nd Assembly District, north of Madison, along with our own 1st Senate District. Back in late December, former Republican State Senator Frank Lasee of De Pere and former Republican State Representative Keith Ripp of Lodi took jobs in Walker’s administration, leaving their seats open. “If I called it today it couldn’t be until after the beginning of April for which we would be probably a good month after the legislature adjourned,” Walker said of his reasoning. “We thought it doesn’t make any sense to use taxpayers’ money on something to put somebody in after they would no longer be able to vote, for which they’d already be running again for the fall election.” Stevens Point Democratic Representative Katrina Shankland argues Walker is worried if a special election were to be held, it would turn those former Republican seats blue. “For the governor to wait almost a full year for an election to happen, is essentially putting the thumb on the scale. And it shows he’s scared of what an election will do,” Rep. Shankland said.
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Sen. Baldwin led nine of her colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump urging him to put his words into action on rebuilding America’s infrastructure with a plan that has strong buy American, hire American standards. “As you draft your infrastructure proposal, we encourage you to not only protect existing ‘Buy America’ laws, but to work with Congress to expand these protections and address coverage gaps,” wrote the Senators in the letter. “In addition, no infrastructure proposal should allow circumvention of current requirements in federal law that ensure our public infrastructure is built with American-made iron, steel, and manufactured materials by workers who are paid a fair wage.” Led by Senator Baldwin, the letter was also signed by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Source: Baldwin press release
Senator Ron Johnson
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed Republicans last week for what he described as “delusional” and “paranoid” attempts to discredit the FBI – singling out Sen. Ron Johnson for a particularly harsh rebuke. Johnson suggested earlier in the week that a series of text messages between two FBI officials had identified a “secret society” within the bureau with anti-Trump intent.
“Republican members of this body, I am ashamed to say, picked up on casual texts sent between FBI agents to say that there is a ‘secret society’ at the Department of Justice – without a shred of evidence,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “I saw the senator … propagating this on television this morning,” he said of Johnson. “It looked delusional. It looked paranoid. What began as an attempt to discredit the investigator has now devolved into delusional, self-serving paranoia.” At least one report on Johnson’s claims referred to him as McCarthyesque. ABC reported that the full FBI text – which hadn’t been made public when Johnson leveled the claim – was meant sarcastically.
President Donald Trump
President Trump reached across the aisle in his first State of the Union address, offering to work with Democrats on infrastructure, criminal justice and drug prices after a divisive first year in office. But those overtures in Tuesday’s speech fell flat with his opponents, who found little reason to warm to his vision for 2018. His bipartisan proposals were thin – two sentences spent on job training; one on paid family leave. The most substantive stretch of his remarks, an explanation of his immigration policies, was his most divisive. A remark that “Americans are dreamers, too” – a dig at the undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, whose advocates call “dreamers” – was met with eye-rolling on the Democratic side of the House chamber. The speech illustrated the political challenge for a president whose low approval ratings are jeopardizing his party’s continued control of Congress in midterm elections less than 11 months from now. While he delivered a speech that was softer in tone and at least ambivalent toward his political opponents, his “new American moment” remained essentially Trump: few policy olive branches for Democrats, proudly nationalist, unabashedly boastful, belligerent toward American adversaries.