LARSON REPORT

NEWSLETTER

 

February 9, 2017

     

 

CONTACT ME


Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might have.

Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487

Email:
Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov

 

Mailing Address:

State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707

 

Website:

SenatorChrisLarson.com

 

Find Me on Facebook and Twitter:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMUNITY EVENTS
 

Supporting our neighbors and being involved in our community is of the utmost importance. Some community events that might be of interest to you and your family are listed below.
 

 

City Forestry to offer Workshop on Tree Pruning Techniques
Date: February 11 from 10 a.m. to 1p.m.
Location: Oak Creek
Description:
Workshop will consist of classroom instruction followed by in-field demonstration (no hands-on participation). Course will focus on pruning assessment and techniques for homeowners. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Oak Creek Park Division

(MAP)
800 W Puetz Rd
Oak Creek, WI 53154


Woman Up!
Date: Saturday, February 11, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee
Description:
The Shepherd Express is dedicated to empowering women of all generations to achieve both personal and professional goals. Join them for their 4th Annual Woman Up! presented by Aurora Health Care for a day that celebrates YOU! Mingle with over 250 vendors, sample delicious foods and drinks from a variety of Milwaukee's finest restaurants, chocolatiers and wineries, watch expert presentations in Health and Wellness, DIY, Finance, Fitness and more! Enjoy a fashion show hosted by Milwaukee Fashion Week that will feature local designers, models and stylists..
CLICK HERE for more information.

Wisconsin State Fair Park Expo Center

(MAP)
640 S 84th St
Milwaukee, WI 53214
 

 

Knightwind Ensemble Winter Concert: The Big Apple
Date: Sunday, February 12, 3 p.m.
Location: South Milwaukee
Description: The Knightwind Ensemble has been performing for Milwaukee (WI) audiences for over six decades. Beginning in 1956 as a youth activity sponsored by the Milwaukee Elks Lodge No. 46, the group has evolved into Milwaukee's premier adult wind band. Presenting substantive and challenging programs, the Knightwind Ensemble continually strives to bring high quality concert experiences to its audiences.
CLICK HERE for more information.

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center

(MAP)
901 15th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53172
 

 

Stars Under African Skies (III)
Date: February 15, from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life to appreciate the stars! The second of a series of talks showing the beauty of the night sky from different parts of Africa, a continent that spans from 30 N to 30 S.
For more information, contact Jean Creighton, UWM Planetarium: 414-229-496. Sponsored by the UWM Planetarium, Union Sociocultural Programming, the Department of Africology and the Black Cultural Center. CLICK HERE for more information.
 
UW-Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium

(MAP)
1900 E Kenwood Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53211
 

 

20th anniversary of the Festival of Films in French
Date:
Friday, Feb. 17 to Sunday, Feb. 26
Location: Milwaukee
Description: To mark the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Festival of Films in French, the UWM French program is proud to be screening a special selection of 20 films. Journeys through time and space comprise the central theme of this year's festival, obeying the Baudelairian injunction of Germaine Dulac's impressionist silent film L'invitation au voyage. CLICK HERE for more information.


University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Union Theatre

(MAP)
2200 East Kenwood Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53211


Family Workshop
Date: February 18 from 4 p.m. to 5pm
Location: Milwaukee
Description:
Recommended for family members and children ages 4+
We're taking it back to the cool days of of Rock 'n Roll for a 50's style dance party! Learn the Stroll and how to Twist the night away!
$20 per family (up to 6 family members) CLICK HERE for more information.

 
Danceworks, Inc.

(MAP)

1661 N. Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202


School Day Off Workshops
Date: February 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee
Description:
Get creative, and make a day off of school an imaginative experience!
Appropriate for children ages 5-10, Danceworks' School Day Off. CLICK HERE for more information.

Danceworks, Inc.

(MAP)
1661 N. Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202


Adventures in African American History at Bay View
Date: February 20, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: Bay View
Description:
Learn about Black History while creating a piece of keepsake art. Bring something you want to incorporate into your collage or use materials provided. Enjoy prizes and snacks, too! Children ages 7-18 and their families are welcome. Presented by Blk-Art, History & Culture. CLICK HERE to learn more.
 
Milwaukee Public Library Bay View Branch

(MAP)
2566 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207


15th annual Local Farmer Open House
Date: Saturday March 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Know your farmer. Know your food. This event is your once-a-year opportunity to talk with local farmers, hear about their growing practices, and learn about their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription options. Sign up to get local deliveries of boxes of farm-fresh healthful produce and more. Explore the benefits of convenient Workplace CSA deliveries. Buy lunch, visit the resource table, or take a workshop. CLICK HERE fore more information. CLICK HERE to learn more.


Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park

(MAP)
1500 E Park Pl, Milwaukee, WI 53211



 

 

Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,

 

Many of you have contacting me looking for ways to get more involved in advocating for our shared values. I am inspired to see so many of my family, friends, and neighbors finding opportunities to organize and mobilize. This has extended beyond the initial marches nationally and globally. In fact, just this week I had the opportunity to speak with and listen to people from all across Wisconsin who came to the Capitol to share their water quality concerns. I was also able to provide tips on successful advocacy.

 

If you are one of those interested in amplifying your voice and making a larger impact, I have included some of my top ten advocacy tips below. Additionally, here in Wisconsin we are entering the state budget process. The budget is a document that should reflect our Wisconsin values, which means it's critical for our neighbors like you to voice your opinions and concerns.

 

In Service,



Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7
 

 

Moving our State and Nation Forward, Together

On Saturday, January 21, women, men, and children locally, nationally, and across the globe organized in support of equality and fairness. The marches held in countless communities symbolized the widespread dissatisfaction the illegitimate and dangerous direction of  President Donald Trump and his GOP allies.

In Madison, an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 people came together. In Washington D.C. the New York Times reports 470,000 people attended the Women's March on Washington -- three times more than those who came to attend Trump's inauguration. This was a clear reminder that many of our neighbors do not support Trump's dangerous and hateful rhetoric that has only ballooned since he took office.

As National Public Radio (NPR) stated in a recent article, "President Trump's first two weeks in office have been a sprint, not the start of a marathon."  This has so far included a firestorm of blatant lies (see: alternative facts) as well as dangerous and irresponsible policies pushed by the new president. From directing Homeland Security to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities to signing an executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, these actions left little time for public scrutiny.

There have been other less talked about actions that are also out-of-touch and go against our American values, read the NPR article, here.

This is not how government should operate. It is important to ensure that you, your neighbors, and those across the United States have a voice at all levels of government, and we must work together to make sure that happens. 

What's Next?
As others have importantly stated, we must continue the momentum seen on January 21. We must continue to challenge and hold accountable our elected officials.

The malignant actions of President Trump have continued to carry toxic rhetoric into our communities. It is during these dark times in our history that it is especially important to advocate for what we believe in and hold those responsible accountable. With every new scheme by the Trump administration, our future opportunities are less, making it even more vital to stand up now and make our voices heard.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've heard from many of you eagerly looking for ways to advocate, organize, and get involved. I am inspired by the many neighbors in our community and across Wisconsin who are finding themselves motivated and determined to stand side-by-side with those targeted for alienation.

If we continue to be diligent and work together, we will ensure the voice of the majority, who hold our shared values, are heard. This can seem like an overwhelming task to some. You may be wondering, "does my voice matter?" or "how can I be an effective advocate?." Your voice does matter, and there are simple tips you can keep in mind to get your message to your elected officials in a clear, concise, and effective way.

Here are my Top Ten Tips for Successful Advocacy:

1.) Know your local, state, and federal elected officials. If you are not sure who they are, you can look them up, here. Also, remember that these individuals were elected to represent you -- your views are important to them.

2.) Be polite, patient, and persistent. Change takes time, and often longer than we'd like. Even in the face of frustration, good old Wisconsin persistent patience can get things done.

3.) Pick a contact method, provide adequate information. You can get in touch with your representatives in a variety of different ways, such as phone, email, letter, and visiting their office. Remember to always provide your name, address, and phone number when contacting your representative.

4.) Have your message prepared. When contacting your legislator, you may find it helpful to write down your main points in order to get them across clearly. If you are providing facts to back up your position, be sure to use a reputable source and have that information included in your communication or on hand if asked about it. Also, if there is a specific bill you are contacting your legislator about, be sure to have the bill number.

5.) Put a face to the policy -- tell your story! If you are personally affected by a policy change or proposal, let them know how it has impacted your life. Legislators will often use stories as a way to understand and share the real-life impact a particular issue will have on their community when discussing it with their colleagues.

6.) Have a goal and an ask. Have a goal in mind and share it with your elected official. This helps your representative know exactly what you want to achieve. Likewise, always ask for a response or specific action step.

7.) Build a positive relationship with your elected officials and their staff. Reach out to them not only to voice your concerns, but also to show support for their views and actions. Also, on many occasions, your representative may be in the community attending meetings or be in committee hearings. This means you may talk to or meet with staff. Keep in mind that legislative staff help your representative to stay up-to-date on the many important issues that arise, making them an integral part of your advocacy. 

8.) Stay informed. Be engaged. Know when legislation you care about is getting a public hearing and attend it if you can. Similarly, if your elected officials have newsletters or are on social media, be sure to follow them/sign up. This will keep you updated on their positions on issues as well as what they are working on.

9.) Connect with others. Find or form groups with individuals who have similar interests and views. This will help you share information and have a larger impact. Also, Wisconsin has no shortage of nonprofit advocacy groups working hard every day to fight for our shared values. Part of this work involves organizing people in our communities and connecting them to their legislators on specific issues. Reach out to local organizations and ask them how to get involved!

10.) Pass it on. Share what you know with others to spread awareness. Talk to those beyond your immediate circle to build broader public support. If change is going to happen, you must get your neighbors to know what's at stake.

When people are able to work collectively, they are more likely to combat injustices that are present in their communities. By standing up for justice and dignity, there is hope for the future of the United States -- further empowered by the support that has been seen across the world.

Opportunities for Advocacy
While there are many important issues currently being talked about on the federal level, there are also vital advocacy opportunities closer to home.

For instance, on Wednesday, February 8, Governor Walker gave his budget address. What we saw from the governor was a feeble attempt at a political deathbed conversion. Walker begged for applause during his address, but legislators, like Wisconsinites, are not fooled by a state budget that continues the same pattern of false promises, cherry-picked math, and irresponsible priorities. Walker and legislative Republicans have started another budget that favors wealthy campaign donors over our children.

Every two years, the state budget sets how state government will be spending our hard-earned money, and impacts many facets of our lives. Every time you turn the faucet on, drive down the street, or make a purchase, you are interacting with the state budget. This means that during the next few months there will be a need for organized, effective advocacy on a variety of issues that directly impact each and every one of us.

The state's budget committee, the Joint Committee on Finance will hold agency briefings during the next couple of months. Then, in mid-to-late March, the committee will typically hold public hearings throughout the state. This is a great opportunity for community members to voice their concerns about specific budget provisions. As we continue to learn more about the governor's proposal and ways to have your voice heard, I will keep you updated on Facebook and via the newsletter.

About those Education Headlines you are Seeing...
At first glance, it is clear that after years of intentional underfunding Walker's budget does little to close the gaps he has created in things like education. In fact, since Walker took office, the K-12 education funding gap has steadily increased. Adjusting for inflation, the governor's reluctant education funding presented in this budget still doesn't return our K-12 education funding to 2010-2011 levels.

Our dedicated teachers have struggled and sacrificed to offer our children educational opportunities under Walker's anti-education agenda, and our neighbors, students, and teachers are still waiting for him to close the values gap he created. If we truly want our children to thrive and grow, we must return to our traditional Wisconsin commitment to fully investing in education.

Voicing our Budget Priorities
Many of our neighbors took the opportunity on Wednesday, before, during, and after the governor's budget address, to advocate for some of our shared Wisconsin values.

For instance, freshwater advocates organized a Citizens' Water Lobby Day and supporters of Planned Parenthood lined the halls of the Capitol in support of reproductive freedom and access to health care.

At Citizens' Water Lobby Day, I had the opportunity to greet those involved, talk with group participants, and assist with the "mini boot camp" that was held to help folks become effective advocates on issues important to safeguarding our lands and waters.

During the Planned Parenthood "Pink Out the Capitol" advocates visited legislative offices in support of LRB 1506, which reinstates funding for Planned Parenthood and other health centers providing comprehensive family planning services and women's health services. Reductions in funding by the governor and legislative Republicans in recent years contributed to the closure of five rural health centers that provided life-saving health services to Wisconsin women. This well-attended event served as a strong reminder that Wisconsin women need access to vital, life-saving reproductive health care.

Standing for our American and Wisconsin Values
I'm inspired by the engagement seen by my fellow neighbors. My Democratic colleagues and I have also been working hard to fight back against the hateful and discriminatory rhetoric being pushed by President Trump, Governor Walker, Speaker Ryan, and their followers.

Just last week, I spoke at Milwaukee City Hall along with Representative Brostoff and leaders in the Muslim community to push back against the opportunistic and dangerous rhetoric by President Trump, his administration, and a sickening number of his fellow Republicans. Because of this rhetoric, our Arab and Muslim neighbors and those perceived as Muslims, have increasingly become the target of acts of violence and hate-speech. In fact, the FBI reported a 67% increase in assaults against Muslims in the United States in 2015.

Here at home, we can stand up against the attempts by Trump and his followers to dehumanize our neighbors by standing arm-in-arm with them. Trump and his allies may seek to divide us against each other, one group of neighbors at a time. We will avoid those dark ends of where this could lead by avoiding these dark beginnings. That's why Representative Brostoff and I held an event to denounce Islamophobia and hate and introduced the Anti-Hate Joint Resolution. This event was streamed on Facebook, you can watch the video, here.

Specifically, here's what the Anti-Hate Joint Resolution (LRB 1143) does four commonsense things:

1) Condemns Islamophobia and all hateful speech and violent action directed at Muslims, those perceived to be Muslims, immigrants, and people of color.

2) Categorically rejects political tactics that use fear to manipulate voters or to gain power or influence.

3) Commits to pursuing a
policy agenda that affirms civil and human rights and ensures that those targeted on the basis of race, religion, or immigration status can turn to their government without fear of recrimination.

4) Reaffirms the value of a pluralistic society, the beauty of a culture composed of multiple cultures, and the inalienable right of every person to live and practice his or her faith without fear.

Over a hundred of our neighbors joined us at the announcement. Additionally, over 500 people from across the state have already signed the petition in support of the resolution. The petition is being spread online at www.ResistHateWI.com.  Despite this strong support, no Republican legislators chose to sign on as co-sponsors of the legislation, ignoring this critical opportunity to stand up against hate and Islamophobia. 

The actions -- and inactions -- by Trump and Wisconsin Republicans make our country weaker, not stronger. I will continue to stand against hatred and am hoping you will join me.

If you haven't already, you can sign onto the Anti-Hate Joint Resolution petition, here.

View a copy of the Joint Resolution, here.

Championing Reproductive Freedom
In addition to the Anti-Hate Joint Resolution, my colleagues and I introduced the Abortion is Health Care Resolution.

One in three women will terminate a pregnancy at some point in her reproductive years. As one of the safest medical procedures, complications occur less than 1% of the time. Despite the safety of the procedure, it remains inaccessible to millions of women across our country. In fact, over the last three decades, there has been a 40% reduction in available health centers.

Abortion should be made affordable and accessible for all women, regardless of state or county or zip code. Legislators must recognize that abortion is an essential aspect of ensuring a woman's overall health: physically, psychologically, and socioeconomically.

This Joint Resolution, would affirm that the Legislature is committed to ensuring that:

  • Abortion is recognized as an essential component of women's health care
     
  • Abortion care is made affordable and accessible throughout Wisconsin and integrated into the health care safety net
     
  • State, city, and county health departments promote policies and take steps to increase access to abortion care
     
  • Both public and private health insurance covers abortion care
     
  • Facilities providing abortion care or health care professionals providing abortion care are not subjected to regulations more burdensome than those imposed on facilities or health care professionals that provide medically comparable procedures
     
  • All qualified health care professionals are able to provide abortion care
     
  • Health care professionals providing abortion care are able to follow best medical practices developed and supported by scientific evidence

View a copy of the resolution, here.

 

 

In Case You Missed It
Each week, the Larson Report strives to provide up-to-date, in-depth information to its readers. Between editions, a lot happens in Madison and in our Wisconsin communities. I want to make sure you know the most pressing issues facing our neighborhoods across the state. Below are some of the top stories from the past couple of weeks:
  • Victory for our Democracy!  
    On January 27, a federal court ruled that new Assembly maps be redrawn by Nov. 1. This decision restores some of Wisconsin's tradition of free and fair elections and aligns with the American value that voters should choose their politicians; politicians shouldn't choose their voters.

    Attempts to suppress the public's voice by politically gerrymandering districts in order to weaken the voting power of targeted groups is a betrayal of our fundamental freedoms and values.

    For these reasons, the federal court ordered new maps must be drawn by the Legislature using a transparent, open process that allows for public scrutiny. Further, this decision should serve as a clear indication to Walker and legislative Republicans that it is time we move forward with an unbiased system of redistricting to ensure the voices of all our neighbors can be heard. Read more about the federal decision, here.

     
  • Future of our Children Threatened
    This week we faced more disappointing news that threatens the future of each of our children: the decision to put a billionaire donor with no public school experience in charge of our neighborhood schools. Despite all the U.S. Senate Democrats being joined by some Republicans, the 50 to 50 tie vote rejecting this dangerously unqualified appointment was broken by Vice President Pence, resulting in the Trump Senate Republicans prevailing and confirmed Betsy DeVos as the U.S. Education Secretary.

    In Wisconsin, we have had a front row seat to the devastating consequences of DeVos-style slash and burn policies that favor handing over our scarce public tax dollars to for-profit, unaccountable private schools.

    Last week, I called on Senator Ron Johnson to oppose the nomination of Betsy DeVos. Rejecting a bipartisan opportunity, Senator Johnson chose to side with his campaign contributors, the DeVos family, and ignored the will of the people by voting to sacrifice the education of our children.

    I am extremely disappointed in the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as the Education Secretary today; yet, I am prepared for the long fight to defend our children's right to a quality education. Read more about the federal decision, here.

     
  • Families Still Denied Comprehensive Access to CBD medicine
    Three years ago, the Legislature passed "Lydia's Law," which sought to allow families with seizure disorders to access nonpsychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) oil with a prescription from a Wisconsin provider.

    However, since the bipartisan passage of this bill, I have heard that crippling barriers still exist in trying to access CBD oil for these children. The truth of the matter is that Lydia's law was ineffective. Families have continued to suffer, and the majority party has continued to delay access to this critical treatment option.

    The Senate took up Senate Bill 10 this week, which made small changes to Lydia's Law. However, the bill does not go far enough to actually address the barriers in obtaining CBD medicine for suffering kids.

    For these reasons, I introduced a substitute amendment to create a process for CBD to be manufactured in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the Republican-led Senate rejected this substitute amendment. Click here to read an article regarding the Senate activity on this bill.


 

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