Your Representatives in the News

Representative Joel Kitchens

Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) joined in the approval of a constitutional amendment to allow state Supreme Court justices to elect their chief justice for a two-year term. Currently, seniority is used as the sole criteria. This amendment would shift the selection process to involve input of all seven of the Supreme Court justices. “Just because someone has the most seniority, does not necessarily make them the most qualified to hold a certain position. This resolution allows for the justices themselves to determine their chief justice,” said Kitchens. “This is not a novel concept for state Supreme Courts. Wisconsin would join 23 other states that use peer selection for their chief justice.” In order to amend the state constitution, two subsequent legislatures must pass the same resolution and voters must approve the change in a statewide referendum.

Source:  Kitchens press release


Governor Scott Walker

Walker, whose speech to activists in Iowa last weekend drew strong reviews, has taken the first formal step toward a presidential candidacy in 2016, establishing a committee that will help spread his message and underwrite his activities as he seeks to build his political and fundraising networks in the months ahead. Walker filed papers to set up the committee, called “Our American Revival,” and a new website for the organization was scheduled to go live Jan. 27. The steps come after a weekend of pre-presidential events that included his address at the Iowa Freedom Summit, a later appearance at a gathering in California hosted by the billionaire Koch brothers and a stopover in Denver for additional fundraising.

Source:  The Washington Post


Representative Reid Ribble

Ribble commended the House of Representatives for passing HR 350, the Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention and Recovery Act, which he co-sponsored to help address and combat human trafficking. “Human trafficking is a truly horrific crime, and, unfortunately, it is happening in our country. With vulnerable young people how have suffered abuse or lived in the foster system being the main targets, human trafficking is the fastest-growing business of organized crime,” Ribble said. HR 350 launches a review by the Interagency Task force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking that will look into federal and state trafficking prevention activities. The review will be done in consultation with nongovernmental organizations and will work to identify and develop best practices to prevent trafficking.

Source:  Ribble press release


Senator Tammy Baldwin

Baldwin called for a Senate hearing to address the failure of the Department of Veterans Affairs to stop improper prescribing practices at the Tomah VA Medical Center. In a letter to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman and Ranking Member, Baldwin noted the extremely troubling reports about the Tomah VA. “I am writing to request that you hold a hearing to address the failure of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to stop improper opioid prescribing practices and associated abuse of administrative authority at the Tomah VA Medical Center,” Baldwin wrote. “Additionally, I am concerned that these problems are not unique to the Tomah facility; therefore, I request that the hearing also examine the problem of overmedication across the VA network, particularly the use of opioids for mental health treatment… I believe that more needs to be done to ensure that our nation’s veterans receive the timely, safe, and highest-quality care that they have earned.” Last week Baldwin spoke to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald and called for an intervention and a thorough investigation of the operation of the Tomah VA. Secretary McDonald immediately launched an investigation of the facility and removed the Tomah Chief of Staff from the facility and barred him from seeing patients and writing prescriptions. When Baldwin’s office was first contacted by a constituent last March with concerns about the Tomah VA Medical Center, Baldwin brought those concerns on behalf of a constituent to the Tomah VA, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Headquarters in Washington, and the VA Office of Inspector General.

Source:  Baldwin press release


President Barack Obama

The Obama Administration moved to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, widely considered one of the most spectacular and remote areas in the world. The Department of the Interior is releasing a conservation plan for the Refuge that for the first time recommends additional protections, and President Obama announced he will make an official recommendation to Congress to designate core areas of the refuge – including its Coastal Plain – as wilderness, the highest level of protection available to public lands. If Congress chooses to act, it would be the largest ever wilderness designation since Congress passed the visionary Wilderness Act more than 50 years ago. Currently, more than 7 million acres of the refuge are managed as wilderness, consistent with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980. However, more than 60 percent of the refuge – including the Coastal Plain – does not carry that designation.

 Designation as wilderness would protect and preserve the refuge, ensuring the land and water would remain unimpaired for use and enjoyment by future generations. The 19.8 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to the most diverse wildlife in the arctic, including caribou, polar bears, gray wolves, and muskoxen. More than 200 species of birds, 37 land mammal species, eight marine mammal species and 42 species of fish call the vast refuge home. 

More information will be available at

Source:  U.S. Department of the Interior press release