Week of July 2nd - July 8th
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.
On Monday, I participated in the "Wisconsin Needs Unions"
event, hosted by the Milwaukee Area Service and
Hospitality Workers Organization (MASH) and the National Fast Food
Workers Union (NFFWU). The two organizations created the event to
support issues surrounding workforce in Milwaukee, such as a $15 wage
floor, union rights, and a hiring hall. The discussion, which was
part of a nationwide series of roundtables, gave workers, elected officials,
and organizational leaders an opportunity to come together and share our
thoughts on issues surrounding the labor market.
with Courtny Gerrish
On Monday, I sat down for an interview with a local news station to discuss
the way traffic citations are handled in Wisconsin. We talked about
Wisconsin's policy of suspending driver's licenses when traffic fines are
overdue. Traffic fines vary, but it's not uncommon for them to
exceed $100 – even for minor parking violations. For many on a
tight budget, paying those fines on top of day to day expenses isn't
possible, so fines go unpaid and people drive on suspended licenses so
they can get to their jobs or take their kids to school. It can
turn into a vicious cycle of increasing fines that has been called a poor
people's tax. The numbers show how widespread the problem is; in
2017, 206,729 people in Wisconsin had their license suspended for failing
to pay a fine, which accounts for roughly 56% of all suspensions.
Wisconsin's policy has proven to be such a burden for so many that
Legal Action of Milwaukee has created the Center for Driver's License
Recovery and Employability. They also helped reduce the license
suspension for unpaid fines from two years to just one. Nevertheless,
a year is still a long time to lose a license for something like parking
on the wrong side of the street. Around the country others are
taking a different approach, like Washington State for example. In
2013, Washington stopped suspending licenses for "failure to
pay" fines and early numbers showed 500 fewer arrests each
month. I think there are alternatives to suspending a license, and
at the very least we should do a much better job in making people aware
that community service is an option available to them.
July! (And Parades!)
This Fourth of July, I was lucky enough to continue my tradition of participating
in several parades across the fourth district. My staff and I
participated in the Noyes Park, Wauwatosa, Glendale, Brown Deer and
Shorewood parades! I want to send a special thanks to the many
organizers and volunteers that make these events possible each year.
It was great to see so many people, with family and community,
celebrating such a significant holiday in our nation's history. The
day always provides an opportunity for reflection of our values as
Americans and the journey undertaken to create this country. As we
celebrated, it was also a reminder of the work needed to preserve the
"unalienable rights" which the United States Declaration of
Independence says have been given to all human beings by their Creator,
and which governments are created to protect; "Life, Liberty and the
Pursuit of Happiness". I hope everyone had a great holiday!
Future of St. Joe's Hospital
Yesterday, I met with the Chief Administrative Officer of Ascension
Health, Kevin Kluesner. Ascension manages
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare's St. Joseph campus in Milwaukee, known by
many as St. Joe's. Earlier this year, we met when a possible
downsizing of St. Joe's campus was announced
due to substantial financial losses in 2016. For many in the
community, this was extremely concerning considering St. Joe's vital
service to area residents. It has become a "safety net"
hospital, which is one of the last locations providing critical care to
residents of central Milwaukee. On average, an estimated 70,000
people receive medical care at St. Joe's each year.
Although plans to downsize the hospital have been put on hold, I met
with Mr. Kluesner yesterday to follow up on
proposed changes under consideration and the impact to the
community. As plans are continuing to be fleshed out, many would
like to see Ascension allocate space in the hospital complex to address
socio-economic determinants of health, including housing, education, and
employment. There are models around the country that have
restructured traditional hospital systems to reflect a model using
partnerships with other health care and social services that focus on
outpatient care and telemedicine. As they move through the process,
I will continue to ensure that the voice and opinions of the community
are heard and considered.
the Next Great American City
Today, I am meeting with filmmakers for the Young Enterprising Society,
who are making a documentary called "(Re)Building
the Next Great American City." The film focuses
on six initiatives or programs intended to assist Milwaukee
residents. My LOVE Initiative and specifically the impact of urban
agriculture, has been included in the production. The purpose of
the LOVE Initiative is to connect people in Milwaukee with hubs in the
community that can act as a one-stop shop for improving their
lives. Whether through employment, healthcare, or addressing the
social determinants of health, we need to centralize services and
resources to better serve families and individuals. Urban
Agriculture is a cornerstone of my LOVE Initiative because it checks
multiple boxes at once; it is an economic opportunity that provides healthy
food, as well as physical and mental health benefits.
I met with the filmmakers at Andre Lee Ellis' WE GOT THIS community
garden for the first interview of many to come. I'm incredibly
proud to be featured in this documentary and I'm just as proud of the
Young Enterprising Society for taking on this amazing project!
This Saturday, I will be joining the young men from the WE GOT THIS
program and community volunteers to clean up the "Family House",
which was targeted by vandals and completely destroyed on the inside
recently. Founded by Cordelia Taylor (no relation), a former
nursing home administrator, Family House was a 24-hour, assisted living
facility offering long term care
for up to 50 senior citizens and disabled adults. Mrs. Taylor
operated six licensed homes that provided for low-income elderly
residents in need of housing with support for addressing personal care
needs and medical issues. Family House prided itself on providing a
home-like setting, which incorporated youth programming into their
services. The outcome was an intergenerational environment that
helped the community thrive. Family House was featured on Oprah,
Today and in Reader's Digest.
In May 2017 Mrs. Taylor planned to retire. Family House was
closed and the residents moved to other facilities. Her plan was to
sell Family House to another ministry so she would have money to use for
her own retirement. In October 2017, Family House was vandalized and
the damage rendered the facility unsellable. After learning about
Mrs. Taylor's plight, the community has come together to donate much of
the labor, materials and time needed to restore Family House. I
look forward to helping and working alongside volunteers to make this
situation right for Mrs. Taylor.
Spotlight: Lisa Larson
Lisa Larson is a casework intern at Senator Taylor's Madison
office. She has come all the way from Shanghai, China to pursue her
studies at UW-Madison. Lisa is a rising junior set to graduate in 2019, with a double major in
neurobiology and psychology. Her interest in these subjects stems
from a desire to learn more about social psychology and how the fields of
biology and psychology intersect. Outside of our office. Lisa is
active with the Psi Chi honor society, the Chinese language and culture
club, and has a position within the Wisconsin Union Directorate
Distinguished Lecture Series.
While these areas of study may differ from the work she does here for
Senator Taylor, Lisa's interests also extend beyond the sciences and into
public policy as well. After graduation, Lisa has considered
careers in public policy, statistics, and biostatistics. She is
also contemplating graduate school and pursuing a Ph.D. She wanted
to intern with Senator Taylor specifically because they share many of the
same political views and the senator has a history of fighting to protect
minority rights, which Lisa strongly supports.
We appreciate all the hard work and energy Lisa has brought into the
office and are excited to see how she'll contribute the rest of the
The Salvation Army Opens Cooling
Centers in Milwaukee County
To mark the start of summer, The Salvation Army worship and community
centers are open as cooling centers, Monday through Friday and Sunday
"Everyone deserves comfort and a safe place to go during the
extreme heat," said Major Steve Merritt, Divisional Commander for
The Salvation Army of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.
Below is a list of the cooling center locations and hours:
Citadel Corps Church and Community
4129 West Villard Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53209
Monday - Friday: 9 a.m to 4 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to noon
Church and Community Center
2900 W. Coldspring Rd., Greenfield, WI 53221
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9:30 a.m to
Friday: 9:30 a.m to noon
Sunday: 10 a.m. to noon
Oak Creek Centennial Church and
8853 South Howell Ave., Oak Creek, WI 53154
Sunday: 10 a.m. to noon
West Corps Church and Community Center
1645 North 25th St,, Milwaukee, WI 53205
Monday - Friday: Noon to 4 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Make Use of
Milwaukee's "Cool Spots" During Heat Advisories
As the temperatures climb, I encourage you to
make use of Milwaukee's "Cool Spots", a partnership of
Milwaukee Water Works, MPS, and Milwaukee County Parks.
Cool Spots are open only during citywide heat
advisories, Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ,
available June 18 through August 10.
Ben Franklin School
2308 W. Nash St
7320 W. Carmen Ave.
1354 W. Columbia St.
2643 N. 13th St.
3818 N. 8th St.
Recreation Wading Pools:
June 18- August 25
Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
6035 W. Adler St.
1755 S. 32nd St.
2938 N. 72nd St.
1716 W. Holt St.
461 N. 35th St.
1020 W. Cleveland Ave.
974 W. Holt St.
Work Continues Along
Milwaukee's Valley Bridge
Please see the briefing below from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation on continuing work on
Milwaukee's Valley Bridge
On the evening of Wednesday, May 30, the
Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT)
will begin the next phase of the Valley Bridge overlay project in the
city of Milwaukee. This phase will shift southbound I-43 traffic allowing
for the 11th Street / Wisconsin Avenue on-ramp to I-43 south to reopen.
As the project advances, access to certain
system ramps will continue to become available. Please note that these
closures are weather dependent and subject to change.
Current long-term ramp closures:
- I-794 West to I-43
- I-43 North to I-94
- I-43 North to 10th
Street and Michigan Avenue Off-Ramp
- I-94 East to I-43
(Until Late July)
Street/National Avenue On-Ramp to I-43 North
The primary detour route for navigating interchange
access continues to be the I-794 Hoan Bridge.
For more information on closures and detour routes, visit 511 Wisconsin
or visit their website.