Week of May 13-May 18th
There is a
lot happening at the State Capitol and it is my hope that this email will
help you stay in touch with your government. As your Senator, I truly believe
in public service. If there is anything my office can do to assist you,
please feel free to contact us.
Correctional Facilities Visits
Monday, I continued my visits to Correctional Institutions here in
the state. On average, I received 10-20 contacts per week from
incarcerated residents requesting assistance with any number of issues
ranging from healthcare to mandated programming. The visits to
Waupun, John C. Burke and Dodge Correctional Institutions were a sobering
reminder of how much work remains to ensure that these facilities have
what they need to provide appropriate rehabilitation services.
Where release is possible, we should give residents the re-entry tools
they need. For those that will not be released, there must be
continued focus on the aging population in these facilities, staffing
levels, and safety for both staff and those incarcerated.
Plastic in Water Press Release
This week, many of us became aware of a
troubling report regarding contaminated water in a slew of cities
within the Great Lakes Region. The report, published in the
multidisciplinary scientific journal PLOS ONE, provided some concerning
findings about the traces of micro-plastic found in water samples taken
from cities including Milwaukee, Chicago and Duluth. The research
discussed both air and water borne plastics and the ability of humans to
consume them. The report talked about traces of plastic showing up
in beer, so you have to wonder what other water-based products are
impacted. In the legislature, we have had our radar on the issue in
part. In 2015, we banned manufacturers from using tiny plastic
beads in products, like the popular bath beads. Like other states,
we found that the beads were ending up in the Great Lakes and other
MATC Launches Adult Free Tuition
Thursday, I was so excited to attend an announcement of Milwaukee
Area Technical College that has the ability to truly positively impact
the lives of Wisconsin residents. Many of us know someone who started
working on their degree, but then life happened and they did not finish.
This program may be for them.
The MATC Promise for Adults is offering free tuition for eligible
students to finish their associate degrees at MATC. The new program is an
expansion of MATC’s first-in-the-state Promise program, which assists new
high school graduates. Announced in 2015, the high school Promise program
has the same goal – ensuring college access to students who never thought
they could afford it.
The MATC Promise for Adults covers tuition costs after scholarships
and grants for up to 75 credits for eligible individuals. Students must
• 24 years or older and live in the MATC district
• Have an annual family income of $56,000 or less (based on federal
student aid application)
• Have earned at least six college credits but have not earned an
associate or bachelor’s degree
• Have been out of college for at least two years
The new program is working to help fill high-demand careers in 50
areas, to include STEM fields, construction, health care, manufacturing,
hospitality and tourism, and others. I want to offer a special thank you
to Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele who donated $500,000 toward a
pilot version of the program specifically targeting people living and
working in the 53206 zip code. He was one of the early donors to the
program for high school students.
On Saturday, I’ll be speaking at The 4th Annual
International Stop the Violence Prayer Walk. Alongside
community leaders like Tracey Dent and faith-based organization Crossing
Jordan Ministries, I look forward to spreading a message of peace and
non-violence. This event is a part of an international campaign,
that will host similar walks around the world that brings awareness for
the need end violence of all forms, elevating the desire for a commitment
to human rights, diplomatic negotiations, humanitarian aid, justice and
peace in our communities and homes. The walk starts at 11:00 am at
Crossing Jordan Ministries, 606 W. Concordia, in Milwaukee.
Open Housing March Commemoration
Saturday afternoon, I’ll be stopping by North Division High School
to commemorate the Milwaukee Open Housing Marches. Organized by March On
Milwaukee, the program will highlight the work accomplished by the
leaders of Milwaukee’s Open Housing Marches. Those protests, led by civil
rights leaders like Vel Phillips, Father
James Groppi, the NAACP Youth Council and Commandos, were a call for
equal opportunity and a demand that a voice be given to the
African-American community that had gone unheard for far too long. Sadly,
just a few weeks ago, I attended the funeral of Vel Phillips.
However, one of her greatest wishes was to see others continue the work
of so many of her contemporaries in demanding equity and fair treatment
in housing and social justice.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore will deliver the keynote address.
Other confirmed speakers and presenters include members of the NAACP
Youth Council and Commandos, Mayor Tom Barrett, Common Council President
Ashanti Hamilton, Wisconsin Black Historical Society’s Clayborn Benson,
America’s Black Holocaust Museum’s Reggie Jackson, Urban Underground’s
Sharlen Moore and more. Hip hop artist Klassik and poet/activist Ajamou
Butler of Heal the Hood will also be giving tribute performances. The
free event will take place on Saturday, May 19th from 1:00-3:00pm at
North Division High School (former site of St. Boniface, the start/end of
each march for Open Housing).
Pink with A Purpose Event
After a busy and exciting day of marches and commemorations,
Saturday night I’m looking forward to attending the Pink with A Purpose
event. I’ll have a chance to speak with young women about the challenges
they’ll face as they grow up and embark on new journeys.This is an
empowerment event for young ladies from the ages of 6 -16 that will
include speakers, entertainment, and fun. It’s a perfect way to end the