LARSON REPORT

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER



 

 

December 23, 2013

     

 










 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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

 

Web Site:

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. 
 

 

A Christmas Carol
Date: Now through Tues., December 24

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Nineteenth century London comes to life when you and your family join Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and, of course, Ebenezer Scrooge on a fantastical journey through Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Enjoy the music, dancing, and timeless message of hope, peace, and love, as the Dickens' classic masterpiece celebrates its 38th year at the Milwaukee Rep. CLICK HERE or call (414) 224-9490 for more information.

Milwaukee Repertory Theater (MAP)
108 E. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202

 

 

A Kick in the Dickens 2: More Stuff in the Stocking!

Date: Now through Sat., December 28
Location: Milwaukee

Description: The popular holiday comedy show returns to The Alchemist Theatre. This time your evening will be packed with even more goodies, original songs, hilarious comedy routines, and improvised silliness. Some of Milwaukee's top improvisers, comedic actors, playwrights, and songwriters have come together to create this fun filled evening of holiday mayhem. CLICK HERE or call (414) 426-4169 for more information or to purchase tickets.

The Alchemist Theatre & Lounge (MAP)
2569 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53207

 

 

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival
Date:
Now through Sun., December 29
Location:
Milwaukee
Description: This six-week festival will spread holiday spirit with animated light displays in Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park, and Zeidler Union Square, as well as hundreds of events. Marvel at the spectacular sights aboard the convenient Jingle Bus, a Coach U.S.A. bus that takes visitors on a 40-minute tour. For $1 per person, visitors can relish in the holiday spirit while admiring a festive panorama. The tour is narrated by Milwaukee Downtown's Public Service Ambassadors who will acquaint riders with key attractions and landmarks. Tours operate Thursdays through Sundays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. from the Shops of Grand Avenue. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

 

Les Miserables

Date: Now through Sun., December 29

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Centerpiece to their season, Les Miserables is the show that inspired Skylight to focus on freedom and revolution as a conversation through the entire year. Set in 19th century France in the midst of revolution, this timeless musical follows Jean Valjean on his quest for redemption after being jailed for stealing a loaf of bread, inspector Javert who relentlessly pursues parole violator Valjean, and an abundance of other compelling and entertaining characters. Skylight looks forward to producing this legendary, Tony Award-winning musical in the intimate Cabot Theatre. This epic tale of passion and sacrifice will be a phenomenal way to share live theatre with the family during this holiday season. CLICK HERE or call (414) 291-7811 for more information.

Skylight Music Theatre (MAP)
158 N. Broadway Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202

 

 

Sheridan Park Centennial Raffle

Date: Now through Fri., February 14

Location: Cudahy

Description: Enter the Sheridan Park Centennial Raffle for your chance to win a grand prize that includes a trip to New York, a tour of Central Park, and tickets to a Broadway play. This is a fundraising effort to help improve the park. Raffle tickets will be available beginning Friday, November 8 through Friday, February 14 at Joe's "K" Ranch, the Cudahy Library, City Hall, Cudahy Historical Society, Pulaski Inn, and through members of the Chamber of Commerce and Friends of Sheridan Park. The raffle drawing will take place during a Valentine's Day dinner on February 14 at Pulaski Inn. Tickets for the dinner will be available at Pulaski Inn. Raffle ticket holders do not need to be present in order to win. Support a great cause to improve Sheridan Park and buy your raffle tickets today.

 

Pulaski Inn (MAP)

3900 E. Pulaski Avenue Cudahy, WI 53110

 



 

 

Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,

 

Happy Holidays! This week's newsletter provides information about local holiday events, as well as places to check out if you are interested in giving back to the community. Due to the holidays, this week's Larson Report is somewhat abbreviated, but still offers information about giving back to the community, ringing in the New Year safely, the Higher Ed Lower Debt petition and the Senate Scholar program. Additionally, this will be the last newsletter for 2013. The Larson Report will resume its normal schedule following the New Year holiday.


Sincerely,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

 

 

Happy Holidays!

The holidays are here and holiday cheer is all around us. With the decorative lights, festive carolers, and community celebrations, it is hard not to get into the holiday spirit. I encourage you to enjoy the holiday season by spending time with family and friends. As we prepare for the New Year, we should take a moment to reflect on 2013 and make plans to have a better, healthier, happier year in 2014.

Our community hosts an array of activities to help us celebrate the holiday season. You will find a list of family-friendly holiday events taking place throughout our neighborhoods in the left-hand sidebar of this newsletter.

 

Giving Back to Our Community

The holiday season provides many opportunities to give back to our community. This winter, try volunteering in one of our local food pantries, neighborhood shelters, area health care organizations, or regional nonprofits. If you have one in mind, they likely post such opportunities on their Web site. If you want to see what is available in your community there are various Web sites that try to centralize volunteer opportunities located in your desired field of interest and Wisconsin region. More information about such Web sites is provided below:

 

The Volunteer Center of Greater Milwaukee--A program of the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee, Inc., their mission is to promote the interests and effectiveness of the nonprofit sector through strengthening organizational capacity, expanding volunteerism, and encouraging collaboration. They centralize volunteer opportunities offered by nonprofits in the Milwaukee area.

 

Click here to search volunteer opportunities courtesy of the Volunteer Center of Greater Milwaukee.

 

Idealist--Connects people, organizations, and resources to help build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives. Idealist is independent of any government, political ideology, or religious creed. This is a good starting place for finding volunteer opportunities--whether you are looking to get involved in your own neighborhood or thousands of miles away.

 

Click here to search volunteer opportunities courtesy of Idealist.
 

 

Ring in the New Year Safely

Miller Lite Free Rides are returning to the Milwaukee and Waukesha areas for New Year's Eve. Miller Lite has teamed up with the Milwaukee County Transit System and Waukesha Metro Transit to provide free bus service on many routes throughout the Milwaukee and Waukesha areas as a safe transportation alternative for those celebrating the New Year.

 

Utilizing this service will allow you to enjoy a night on the town, while keeping the roads safer for our community. So remember to plan ahead so that you will know your return routes and times before heading out for a nice of fun. Milwaukee County free rides will begin at 8 p.m. and continue until the end of regular service. Waukesha County free rides will begin at 7p.m. and end at 1:30 a.m. on January 1.

 

Click here or call 1-800-FREE-RIDES for detailed route and schedule information.


 

Sign the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Petition

Exponential increases in tuition and fees coupled with challenging economic times over the years have made it nearly impossible for students to work their way through school, as was commonplace in the past. In fact, nearly 40 million Americans now hold over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt nationally.
 

Wisconsin's Student Debt Crisis
Unfortunately, Wisconsin currently ranks 10th in the nation for number of college students with debt, with 67% of graduates from four-year schools having loans to repay. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve System there are 753,000 Wisconsin residents with federal student loan debt (this does not include those with private student loan debt). Further, college tuition costs have doubled over the last 12 years and Wisconsin's student loan borrowers have an average debt of $22,400. It is estimated that Wisconsin residents paying student loans from obtaining a bachelor's degree are currently paying an average of $388 per month for about 18.7 years.

Student debt is the only kind of household debt that continued to rise through the Great Recession, and is now the second largest consumer debt in our country, more than credit cards or auto loans. Having this money tied up in debt is a huge drain on our already struggling Wisconsin economy as the money spent on student loans could instead be spent on cars, new homes, and at local businesses in our communities.

 

Some issues related to student loans can only be dealt with at the federal level. Unfortunately, Congress' current partisan gridlock leaves little hope for real relief for student loan borrowers in the near future. We cannot wait for Congress to act. It is time for innovative, common sense solutions that will provide real relief for Wisconsin's student loan borrowers.

Therefore, I am asking that the Wisconsin State Legislature passes the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill, authored by Senator Dave Hansen and Representative Cory Mason, which would do the following:

 

  • Allow Wisconsin's student loan borrowers to deduct their student loan payments from their income tax, resulting in annual tax savings of approximately $172 for the typical borrower or as much as $392.

  • Enable Wisconsin's student loan borrowers to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates, putting potentially hundreds of dollars back in their pockets and into Wisconsin's economy annually. For example, a borrower with an interest rate of 6.8% and the average University of Wisconsin graduate's loan debt of $27,000 who could lower their interest rate to 4% could save over $40 per month. That would put nearly $500 back in their family's pocket over the course of a year.

  • Provide students and parents with detailed information about student loans, the best and worst private lenders, and ensure that students receive loan counseling so that Wisconsin's student loan borrowers can make informed financial decisions about student loans.

  • Ensure data is collected and tracked about student loan debt in Wisconsin to help policymakers and the public better understand the depth and breadth of the debt crisis in our state.

 

As you can see, this legislation offers common sense solutions for real savings on behalf of Wisconsinites managing student loan debt. I hope legislative Republicans will see the economic value of moving forward with such a proposal. Therefore, I encourage them to join me in supporting the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill. Wisconsinites cannot afford to wait any longer for more affordable college education and decreasing their debt burden.

 

Sign the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Petition

If you would like to see the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill become law, I encourage you to sign onto the Higher Ed, Lower Debt petition. The petition states the following:

I support the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill authored by Sen. Hansen and Rep. Mason. It is a positive step forward in making higher education more affordable in Wisconsin and frees up money for Wisconsinites to spend in local communities and our state.
 

Click here if you would like join me in supporting the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill by signing on to the petition to encourage the Wisconsin State Legislature to pass the bill.


I also encourage you to tell your family, friends, and neighbors to join you in taking action. The more Wisconsinites that advocate for the bill, the more likely it is to pass.

 

 

Attention High School Juniors and Seniors: Apply to Senate Scholars Today

The Senate Scholars Program is an intensive week-long education program offered by the Wisconsin State Senate. This is a wonderful opportunity for Wisconsin youth to view the role of the Legislature in democracy first hand and gain experience in the areas of policy development, constituent relations and processing legislation. Senate Scholars will also have the chance to work closely with senators, legislative staff, and University of Wisconsin faculty. Admission to the program is highly competitive and limited to 33 academically exceptional high school juniors and seniors from across the state. Applications are due on Friday, January 3, 2014. Applicants will then be notified of their acceptance on or shortly after January 17, 2014.

2014 Senate Scholar Sessions:
February 9-14
February 16-21

March 9-14

If you have additional questions about the program or the application process, I encourage you to call Cyrus Anderson or Erin Allers by phone at (608) 266-2610 or via email at senatescholar@legis.wi.gov.

 

Click here to visit the Senate Scholar Program's Web site for more information.

 

Take the 2013-2014 Neighborhood Survey

I created a survey for the 2013-2014 Legislative Session asking about various issues that are important to our community and our state. The input of neighbors is greatly appreciated. My staff and I will be working hard to deliver as many surveys door to door as possible before winter arrives. In addition, I have also made this survey available online.

Click here to download and print a copy of this survey, which you can return to my office via mail, email, or fax upon completion.

Click here to save a stamp and take the survey online.

I look forward to hearing your views on these important issues!

 

 

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