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The Sargent Voice Issue #89                                       August 1, 2017

Friends and Neighbors,

This summer I am spending countless hours out in my district knocking on doors, holding Satellite Office Hours, touring businesses, meeting with folks in my capitol office, attending community events, and more - so that I can listen to my bosses - the people of Wisconsin.

What am I hearing? Folks are sick of politics as usual - my neighbors point out time and time again that the Republican majority in our Wisconsin State Capitol is failing ordinary Wisconsinites, and that the President and his billionaire cabinet are frightening and clearly out of touch with what hard working people across America need. I am hearing that the people of Wisconsin want policy makers to stand up and fight for a bold and unapologetic progressive vision that allows all Wisconsinites the chance to thrive.

That’s why I am more committed now than ever before to work hard to strengthen our communities, to put government back to work for the people, and to help build an economy that works for all of us. I know that we each do better when we all do better and I look forward to when our paths cross so you too can share your thoughts and ideas of a stronger Wisconsin with me.

Working for you,

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Melissa Sargent

State Representative
48th Assembly District

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Our Democracy Initiatives 

What's Happening in 321 West

With all the turmoil at the federal level, it is easy to not pay attention to issues closer to home. Make sure that you stay connected to what is happening in our state by watching my video updates that delve into my work in the State Capitol.

Click here to see my latest “What’s Happening in 321 West” video!

Sargent Satellite 

It’s hard to believe it’s already August, but the third Friday of the month is just around the corner, which means it’s time for Sargent Satellite office hours! July’s Sargent Satellite was a hit, and I’m hoping August’s will have just as much interest. This month, we’ll be setting up on the Northside at the new Bear & Bottle restaurant that opened a few months ago. I hope you’ll join me:

Friday, August 18th
2:00 to 4:00
Bear & Bottle
601 N. Sherman Ave, Madison, WI 53704

If you haven’t had a chance to attend Sargent Satellite office hours, or if you’ve been waiting to try Bear & Bottle, come join me this month to talk about the Foxconn deal, get an update on the state budget, or any other issues facing the state legislature. You can sign up for this month’s Sargent Satellite office hours here!

Rotunda Report

My Legislative Agenda

Marijuana Legalization:

I am proud to be the lead author of a bill to legalize marijuana for both recreational and medicinal use in Wisconsin. So many of you have reached out to my office to express your support for my legislation, and many of you have also taken the opportunity to reach out to other legislators to encourage them to support my bill as well. Thank you for all you are doing.

Many of you have had questions about how you can be involved and what the next steps are for this legislation. The bill is currently being circulated for co-sponsorship, which means I’m asking my colleagues to sign on their names in support of my legislation. During this time, it is really important that you reach out to your State Representatives and Senators in the Wisconsin State Legislature and encourage them to consider putting their names on the bill in support.

Once the co-sponsorship period closes, the bill will then be officially introduced and will be assigned to a committee. You can keep up with updates on this legislation by signing up for notifications about bills relating to marijuana here. Once the bill has been assigned to a committee in both the Senate and the Assembly, we can then begin asking the chair of the committee to give my bill a public hearing.

I welcome your continued engagement and support and would encourage those of you who live outside of my district please make sure you are contacting your representatives to let them know you want to #legalizeopportunity.

Bills Circulated for Co-Sponsorship

LRB-2729/1:

Representative Gary Hebl and Senator Dave Hansen have introduced a constitutional amendment to put power directly in the hands of the people of Wisconsin. This constitutional amendment will create a manner by which the citizens of Wisconsin can approve or deny a bill passed by the legislature via a binding veto referendum. It also creates an avenue by which Wisconsinites can put laws and a constitutional amendment on the ballot directly. I am proud to support this proposal.

LRB-0028:

Senator Terry Moulton and Representative Rob Stafsholt introduced a package of bills that would eliminate age requirements for participating in the hunting mentorship program and hunting devices authorized to be used under the hunting mentorship program. Though my husband and sons hunt, and I value the hunting traditions of Wisconsin, I am very concerned about this dangerous legislation and will work hard to oppose it.

Foxconn

We certainly know that in recent years the system has been rigged in favor of the rich and powerful. We have also been reminded that we each need to stand up and fight for what is fair and just. In light of events that occurred last week, now more than ever we must stand by these principles. Just last week, Governor Walker and his Republican pals in the state legislature stood side by side with President Trump to announce a proposal to bring Foxconn to Wisconsin. Not only will this deal effectively gut the few remaining environmental protections in Wisconsin, but it only “guarantees” 3,000 jobs while costing ordinary Wisconsin taxpayers more than $3 billion in tax dollar giveaways. Break it down: that’s more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars PER JOB. Unsurprisingly, the Foxconn calculations just don’t seem to add up.

As a small business owner, I am deeply concerned that we continue to dismally trail the nation in small business growth and start-ups, but even more troubling is that our Governor is turning his back on those small businesses while choosing to give every advantage to a foreign company that seems to break more promises than jobs created.

I am already hearing from my neighbors that Governor Walker has failed Wisconsin over the last six years and that they are concerned that this is just another political distraction and stunt to hide those failures.  Keep sharing your thoughts! Email me at: Rep.Sargent@legis.wi.gov

I will keep working on this issue and will endeavor to push for fairness, transparency, accountability at every opportunity.  

Budget Update

As of today, Governor Walker and his Republican colleagues in the legislature are a month overdue in finding a solution to our state's budget crisis. The impact of their inaction is beginning to hurt the hardworking people of Wisconsin. Just this last week - hiring was stalled in a school district waiting to find out what their budget for new staff is. As Wisconsin Republicans continue to shirk their responsibilities these situations will only continue and worsen.

It’s time for a budget that fully funds taxpayer priorities and puts the needs of people in our communities first. I am disappointed that the disarray the WI GOP finds itself in is hurting working families, our public schools, and our roads. From what we do know about this budget, special interests wants are placed above ordinary Wisconsinites needs.

Bottom line - Governor Walker and his Republican legislative colleagues are continuing to fail to address the problems that they have spent seven years creating.

You and I both know that #WIDeserveBetter!

Advocacy Group Meetings

A 2016 Marquette Law School Poll showed that 59 percent of the respondents said that they want marijuana to be fully legalized and regulated like alcohol. I know that it is my job to listen and consider the thoughts and opinions of my constituents, and frankly that is why I have introduced LRB-2457 to fully legalize marijuana in Wisconsin.

Since the bill introduction I have had quite a few one-on-one meetings with folks about the bill. I truly appreciate each and every one of you that has taken the time to share your thoughts with me. Because of what you have shared with me, I know that this is an issue that crosses party lines, and if passed, we have a unique chance to increases opportunity, safety, and accountability for all Wisconsinites.

Community and In-District Events

Tour at Bodgery Makerspace

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Bodgery Makerspace--a locally owned venture that’s right here in the 48th Assembly District. The Bodgery is part of a growing movement of people gathering together to build, hack, create, and repair things. The Bodgery is a non-profit organization providing the tools, workspace, and guidance to people of all ages who want to make things. I’m always excited to have the opportunity to tour businesses in my district. If you know of a business that I should tour please email me at Rep.Sargent@legis.wi.gov and tell me about it.

The Makerspace is a great example of a business that supports both skilled craftspeople and entrepreneurs. Thank you to the event organizers for inviting me to see the great work you are doing. If you want to learn more, click here to go to their website.

WWBIC Educational Programming 

The Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Cooperative offers individuals who face barriers in accessing traditional financing or resources in pursuit of their dreams and economic well-being. From July-September, they are offering educational programming on topics such as public speaking and marketing. You can learn more about the program here.

I know that women-owned businesses provide family-supporting, community-enriching jobs across our state, and I have authored legislation in the past to help support women owned businesses in Wisconsin. Thanks to the folks at WWBIC for offering this programming!

Rep. Sargent In The News

Daily Cardinal,  "State representatives attempt to curb teen dating violence with bipartisan bill"

WPR, “State Lawmaker: Legal Marijuana Will Create Jobs, Jump Start Economy”

NBC 15, “Bill legalizing marijuana said to boost economy in Wisconsin

NBC 26, “Bill proposed to legalize Marijuana in Wisconsin”

Wisconsin Gazette, “Bill legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin will jumpstart economy, create new jobs”

WEAU, “Proposed legislation would legalize marijuana in Wisconsin”

Madison 365 “State Rep. Melissa Sargent Introduces LRB-2457 to Legalize Recreational and Medicinal Marijuana in Wisconsin”

Special Highlight!

Progressive Conference

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend the Progressive Congress’ Midwest Regional Summit about economic justice in Minneapolis, “Fighting Wall Street and Its Anti-Worker Agenda” with Congressman Keith Ellison. I was proud to not only attend the summit, but to also present on a panel, “Income Inequality, Racial Wealth Gaps and Reform: A View from Cities and States,” to talk about the anti-worker agenda happening in Wisconsin, the struggles we’ve had over the last six years, and where we go from here.

The Progressive Congress is doing such important work collaborating and organizing advocates, stakeholders, and elected officials, and I am excited to be part of this movement to push for our shared progressive values. The summit was part of a series being held in across the country connecting organizers and elected officials to help address the issues our communities are facing and how they are connected to economic opportunity. To read more click here.

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