Economic Development

Wisconsin’s greatest resource is its people.  By removing government regulations and red tape, we empower our citizens to be innovative entrepreneurs.  When government steps out of the way, Wisconsin’s citizens and their businesses can succeed at unprecedented levels. 

That’s why I will continue to work against unnecessary government regulations and put the power back in the hands of the experts in business:  citizens just like you.

Wisconsin is open for business, and I will continue to make sure we attract the best and brightest to live in our state.

Education

As a former teacher, I understand the importance of education. Regardless of background, socioeconomic status, or location, every child must have access to a quality education to be successful.

In the past, I championed legislation to create the first school choice program and worked with a group of legislators to allow the operation of independent charter schools here in the state of Wisconsin. Last year, I co-authored legislation to help turnaround constant underperforming schools by providing wrap-around services to the students and their families in conjunction with genuine education reform. I believe in the power of parents. It is parents who ultimately know what is best for their children whether it is public, choice, charter, or home schooled.

Wisconsin is a national leader in education reform. I will continue to work to make sure Wisconsin promotes innovation in education, so students are prepared for the real world of work in the 21st century.

Good Government

It is my belief that the best government is the one that governs the least. In the past, I’ve championed reforms to make local governments, elected officials, and the civil service more accountable to taxpayers. Throughout my public service, I have worked to implement common sense changes to ensure that government does not hinder people from reaching their full potential.

One of my top priorities remains making government work for the public, not bureaucrats. Reducing red tape and holding state agencies accountable for their actions is essential to making Wisconsin open for business and protecting residents from unnecessary government intrusion. Further, I’m committed to licensure reform which will protect consumers while increasing access to skilled professions. Making government responsive, accountable, and efficient is every elected official’s duty.

Health care

I believe that every citizen in Wisconsin should have access to high-quality health care without breaking the bank.  That’s why I have fought hard in the Legislature to ensure that our insurance market stays competitive so that your premiums stay low. 

Not only do I prioritize high-quality, affordable care, but I also know that the cost of providing health care needs to be sustainable.  We need to make wise purchases and ensure that citizens are true consumers of health care.  That’s why I worked hard to create Health Savings Accounts for Wisconsin.  When citizens are accountable for their own health, not only do they begin to live healthier lives, but we also see savings for the hardworking taxpayers of our great state.

Wisconsin is a leader in health care reform.  It brings me great pride to continue to find new innovative reforms for Wisconsin’s health care market.  I will continue to work hard for you to have a sustainable, healthy Wisconsin.

Military and Veterans

Those who are serving or have served deserve our utmost appreciation for their sacrifices and the sacrifices of their family. I believe we must honor those sacrifices. One way to honor them is by ensuring our veterans are taken care of when they return home.

Providing access to education, job readiness programs, and quality health care for veterans will continue to be a top focus for me.

I will make sure those who have defended our freedom will return from service to the resources they need and deserve.

Public Safety

Governments need to provide a safe environment for its citizens. I have worked to make sure that here in the state of Wisconsin we have the highest quality of life.

My commitment to public safety has led to authoring legislation such as the state’s Sexual Predator Law, Sex Offender Registry, Internet Predator Law, and drunk-driving legislation. All of these initiatives had one thing in mind: keeping you and your family safe.

There is a nationwide opioid epidemic.  In the face of this crisis, Wisconsin is a leader in combatting this problem thanks to the HOPE Agenda.  I’ve voted for every one of the bills on the agenda to bring awareness and help to victims and families of heroin addiction.

Seniors

I believe we need to ensure our seniors have access to a high quality of life.  That means funding programs like Medicare, SeniorCare, and other long-term care services for the elderly of our state. 

In the 2015-17 budget, I fought to put the funding for SeniorCare back into the budget.  I am proud of this accomplishment to make sure seniors in Wisconsin can access the prescriptions they need.  I have also worked to support Aging and Disability Resource Centers across Wisconsin to ensure that the elderly have access to all the resources related to long-term care, dementia and Alzheimer’s, housing and living centers, amongst many other benefits.

In my time in the legislature, I have continually worked to ensure quality care for seniors.  I am proud to advocate on behalf of Wisconsin’s elderly population.

State Budget

As the Senate Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), I have the privilege and tremendous responsibility of playing an integral role in Wisconsin’s biennial budget process. After the release of the Governor’s budget, the JFC travels the state to listen to the concerns and priorities of taxpayers. From those important listening sessions, we craft a budget that addresses the needs of our constituents.

I am proud that the 2017-19 budget will continue to move Wisconsin in the right direction. From day one, it was important to us to take the Governor's proposed budget and improve on it. Together, we have crafted a budget that puts Wisconsin working families first.

My top priority is to provide our children the education that they deserve. By providing an additional $639 million directly into the classroom, the budget will have an immediate impact on the lives of children and educators in our state. Historic investments like this give children and educators the tools they need to succeed in school and in life.

In addition to ensuring a quality education for our children, we have once again protected the taxpayer. This budget does not raise sales, income or property taxes. Property taxes will once again be lower than they were in 2010 when Governor Walker took office. We are giving families the power to keep more of their hard-earned money.

Unlike many states, our budget is balanced,  our prudent fiscal budgeting and common sense reforms created a blueprint that will continue to move Wisconsin forward. We are setting aside $200 million dollars, combined with the rainy day fund, to help protect taxpayers if there are any economic challenges in the next two years.

Wisconsinites deserve to take pride in their budget, and we believe this budget gives them just that. We would like to thank all of the service agencies that have put in countless hours and effort to help this process run smoothly.

Transportation

Transportation is critical to our economy. Our residents, businesses, and tourism industry rely on a safe, dependable transportation system each and every day.

As Co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, it is my duty to make sure we are using your hard earned money in the most efficient way on the most needed transportation projects.

I will work to ensure we are effective and efficient on transportation spending.

Workforce Development

Under my leadership, the Wisconsin job market is booming! While it is fantastic to see such growth, I know that we are facing a skilled labor shortage. I hear time and time again from employers in my district they have family-sustaining job openings but are unable to find the labor to fill those jobs.

To overcome this challenge, I will continue to invest in STEM education, streamline technical education, and align workforce development programs with our highest demand areas. Getting people the skills and knowledge they need to support their families is important for our state to continue to move in the right direction.

By creating a talented workforce, we will not only help our local businesses, but we will attract new businesses to Wisconsin and give our citizens the hand up they deserve.

Wisconsin’s Economy

Are we better off than we were seven years ago?  There’s no question we are.  Jobs are up, and taxes are down.  When I talk to people, there’s more optimism than ever before.  They are excited to see what we can do with a Republican President, a Speaker from our home state, and Republican majorities.  It’s a great time to live in Wisconsin.

And here’s proof

  • Wages are up 7% from September 2015 to September 2016- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 2, 2017
  • More people were employed in Wisconsin last year than at any point in the history of our great state. – Governor Walker, State of the State address, January 10, 2017
  • WI's unemployment rate continues to drop, now 3.9%. The lowest it's been since 2001. - DWD, March 9, 2017
  • Wisconsin’s January 2017 Labor Force Participation Rate increased to 68.1% and was 5.2 points higher than the Fed rate of 62.9% - DWD, March 9, 2017/li>
  • U.S. News and World Report ranks Wisconsin 16th on its first "Best States" list. – February 28, 2017
  • Wisconsin Ranks 1st in Midwest and 14th in Nation in Manufacturing Growth Rate Year-over-Year – DWD, January 24, 2017

 

Wisconsin Families

Strong families create a strong Wisconsin.  From helping foster kids find their permanent homes faster to making sure the cost of your childcare is affordable, I have worked to gather the bipartisan support for bills that help Wisconsin’s children and families.

Last year, I helped create the Wisconsin Legislative Children’s Caucus.  As one of the only children’s caucuses in the nation, I am proud to be a co-chair this group focused on improving the life of every Wisconsin child.  In addition to my work in the Legislature, I serve on First Lady Tonette Walker’s Fostering Futures Advisory Council.  On this group, I work with other state and national leaders to promote trauma-informed care.

When we support Wisconsin families, our children can reach their full potential.  I am very proud to work for you to make sure your parents and children have the support they need to succeed.