Walker Proposes Return of State Business Loans

Representative Joel Kitchens

Rep. Kitchens released the following statement regarding the Rural Wisconsin Initiative Press Conference held at the Capitol on Feb. 14: “I was happy to join colleagues today in the Assembly Parlor to announce the Rural Wisconsin Initiative broadband bill and other pieces of legislation. This bill will bring much needed relief to the areas that need it most. Providing adequate internet access is essential in this day and age, especially for tourist destinations. Reliable, high-speed broadband serves a greater purpose than just fast internet, it is crucial for expanding economic opportunity, healthcare services, agriculture, education and public safety. Workforce readiness is one of our top priorities this session. Building upon previous sessions’ work towards improved broadband access is an important part of that. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to address this important need.” Read more about the initiative here:

Source: Kitchens press release


Governor Scott Walker

Gov. Walker wants to bring back state business loans less than two years after he dropped the once-controversial program. He included the proposal in his two-year budget bill, along with an increase in funding for the state’s flagship jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. The agency has seen repeated rounds of criticism in past years, including a harsh audit that came one week before Walker proposed dropping the loan program in May 2015. At the time, the audit found some companies receiving state help were not required to submit records to verify job creation; contracts with companies didn’t always include provisions required by law; and WEDC didn’t verify information submitted by companies on jobs created.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Congressman Mike Gallagher

As a part of his pro-veteran agenda, Rep. Gallagher voted in favor of the Hire Vets Act and the BRAVE Act – two important pieces of legislation that recognize and reward entities that prioritize the hiring of our nation’s veterans. Earlier this month Gallagher co-sponsored the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act to expand healthcare for Vietnam vets suffering from the harmful effects of Agent Orange. In addition to advancing pro-veteran legislation, Rep. Gallagher has already participated in multiple roundtable discussions with veterans in the 8th District to talk about the critical problems they face, and will continue to work to improve and modernize the VA so our veterans get the care they need.

Source: Gallagher press release

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Senators Baldwin and Ron Johnson renewed their agreement establishing the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission to advance federal nominations, including vacant federal judgeships and U.S. Attorney positions in Wisconsin. This process has already led to the confirmation of James Peterson in the Western District of Wisconsin and Pamela Pepper in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The Commission shall consist of six Wisconsinites who are members of the Wisconsin State Bar. Three members will be appointed by each Senator, who will each have a Co-Chair on the Commission. Johnson appointed William Curran, Richard Esenberg, and Paul Swanson as commissioners. Baldwin appointed Michelle Behnke, Barbara Quindel, and Jeremy Levinson to the commission. The Senators agreed to the following timeline: Applications for Wisconsin’s Seventh Circuit vacancy will be available on March 15, with applications due on April 29 and a recommendation to the Senators provided by July 13, 2017. Applications for the Eastern District Court vacancy will be available on April 29, with applications due on May 29, and a recommendation to the Senators provided on or before Aug. 12, 2017. Any changes to these dates, based on the request of the Commission and the agreement of the Senators, will be announced by the State Bar. “I am pleased to join Senator Johnson in moving forward in a bipartisan manner to advance the process of filling Wisconsin’s legal and judicial vacancies in the 115th Congress,” Baldwin said.

Source: Baldwin press release

Senator Ron Johnson

Sen. Johnson says he’s concerned some of his constituents can’t reach his offices. Johnson says his phone lines are being overloaded with thousands of calls a day. “We might field, depending on the issue, a few hundred phone calls a day, that’s when people are really energized about something. Sometimes it’s a few dozen, so the thousands of calls are definitely an organized effort,” Johnson said. Groups like One Wisconsin Now have used social media to criticize Johnson’s votes confirming Trump cabinet nominees, most notably Betsy DeVos, new U.S. Secretary of Education. UW-Milwaukee political expert Mordecai Lee says people calling their legislators is essential to democracy, but usually only happens when people are mad.

Source: WDJT-Milwaukee

President Donald Trump

The Feb. 13 resignation of Michael T. Flynn as national security adviser caps a remarkably tumultuous first month for President Trump’s White House that has burdened the early days of his presidency with scandal, legal challenges, personnel drama and questions about his temperament during interactions with world leaders, and lingering questions about the depth of involvement Russia had in his campaign. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, lasted only 24 days before his tenure was cut short by an admission that he had misled the vice president and other White House colleagues about the contents of a phone call with the Russian ambassador to the United States. The resignation and the ongoing turmoil inside the National Security Council have deeply rattled the Washington establishment. Senator John McCain of Arizona issued a statement decrying the “dysfunction” of the nation’s national security apparatus. Gen. Tony Thomas, head of the military’s Special Operations Command, expressed concern about upheaval inside the White House. “Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. I hope they sort it out soon because we’re a nation at war,” he said at a military conference on Tuesday. Asked about his comments later, General Thomas said in a brief interview, “As a commander, I’m concerned our government be as stable as possible.”

Source: The New York Times

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