Where's the Compassion for Dairy Farmers? You rarely hear complaints from farmers about their job because they love what they do, but you will hear an earful about the weather, milk prices and the occasional tractor breakdown. June is dairy month and there’s no better time to recognize the work dairy farmers do and the challenges they face.
Health, Science and Wisconsin Dr. Tim Nelson of Mayo Clinic walked the halls of the Wisconsin State Capitol along with UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt. They visited 11 offices in a marathon day of lobbying for UWEC’s new science and health sciences building project in the current budget.
Politics or the People's Priorities? My role representing the 31st Senate District didn’t just start when I was sworn into office on January 7th this year. It began last year when I started talking to voters in the 31st Senate District.
Investing in Wisconsin's Future MADISON, WI – Yesterday, Republican members scrapped Governor Evers’ $1.4 billion education plan during an executive session of the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC).
We Are All One Wisconsin This past week, I met with several healthcare leaders from around the state. Dentists, dental hygienists, physicians, nurses, social workers and others discussed a whole gamut of healthcare topics.
Knowledge is Power How many times have you heard the expression, “Knowledge is Power?” I heard it from an unexpected source last week during one of our public hearings in the Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection Committee.
DHS Reports Establish Direct Impact of Medicaid Expansion on 31st Senate District MADISON – The Department of Health Services (DHS) recently released individual reports summarizing the impact that Medicaid expansion would have for each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.
Valuing Our Voices I joined Governor Evers at listening sessions in Eau Claire, Oshkosh, Kenosha, Superior and sat alongside Joint Finance Committee (JFC) members in River Falls for a public hearing. These were opportunities to listen to the comments and reactions from hundreds of Wisconsinites.
Local Democratic Legislators Demand Action on UW-EC Phillips Science Hall Today, Senator Jeff Smith (D-Brunswick), Representative Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire) and Representative Jill Billings (D-La Crosse) toured the UW-Eau Claire Phillips Science Hall and participated in a roundtable discussion with UW-EC students and faculty.
Mental Health is Real Health So much can be said about mental health and yet so little has been done. We all know someone struggling with mental illness. So few receive the help they need.
Earth Day Should Be Every Day It’s been eight years since anyone in our executive branch of government uttered the words “climate change.” Thankfully, Governor Tony Evers brought science, common sense and the term climate change back to Wisconsin...
Passing the Baton The number of times I’ve heard people say, “We need to help young people engage in our community,” or “We need more young people in politics” is so common I won’t even venture to guess. It’s almost inevitable someone will say something like that at every meeting I attend.
Paying Again Through Referendum Last Tuesday was a big election day for Wisconsin. It was an even bigger election day for public education. Many Wisconsin school districts were able to pass crucial referenda to keep operating, some weren’t so lucky.
Statement Regarding Bill Introduction to Expedite Conservation Congress Actions MADISON – Today Senator Jeff Smith (D-Brunswick) and Representative Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit) introduced a bill to expedite the rule-making process for Conservation Congress actions taken at the annual meetings during the month of April.
Leaders or Followers? As leaders and policy makers in Wisconsin it is our job to ensure that our state government and operations run smoothly. Our agencies must be funded properly, people must be paid and projects should be moving forward in a timely fashion...
The Budget Mosaic Governor Tony Evers listened to the experiences and values from many different people and put together a budget that represents a large mosaic - tiny little pictures that make up a larger picture...
You be the Judge of the Budget at Our Listening Sessions I will be hosting nine budget listening sessions to discuss Governor Evers’ biennial state budget proposal. I need you to be the judge for the Governor’s work on the People’s Budget...
Sen. Smith Rolls Back Harsh Penalties for Local Road Budgets Today, Senator Jeff Smith (D-Brunswick) and Representative Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) introduced bipartisan legislation (LRB 1106/1) to lower late penalties for local governments applying for road aids.
Celebrating Women's History Month Last week we welcomed the beginning of Women’s History Month – a time for us to celebrate women's achievements, honor women's history and reflect on the work that still needs to be done...
Statement Regarding Governor Evers’ Capital Budget Request for UW-Eau Claire’s Science Hall Senator Jeff Smith (D-Brunswick) and Representative Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire) issued the following joint statement regarding Governor Tony Evers’ announcement to include $109 million for phase one of reconstructing UW-Eau Claire’s Science Hall.
First Glance at Governor Evers’ Budget Governor Tony Evers presented his first budget to the Legislature on Thursday evening last week. It was a uniquely crafted budget. It contained encouraging policy for Wisconsin’s future. And many of the Governor’s budget provisions were long overdue.
Statement Regarding Gov. Evers’ First Budget Address The Governor’s budget is a mirror image of his campaign that reflected the people’s priorities. We’re long overdue for a Wisconsin that works for everyone...
Walking in Someone Else's Shoes One of my favorite parts of serving as State Senator is listening to stories. Each of us has a story. I feel so grateful every time someone shares his or her story with me. Sometimes the best stories are the ones from people who think no one will listen.
Part Three: Water is Precious Water is cheap. Fixing water quality problems is expensive. Protecting our water before polluting it is less expensive. We can take steps now to preserve our cheapest most precious resource. Changing our perceptions about water use, using nature to help us preserve water and reinvesting in...
Statement Regarding the Middle Class Tax Cut MADISON – Tonight the Wisconsin State Senate approved the Republican’s spending plan (Assembly Bill 4) Senator Smith (D-Brunswick) offered the following statement: “Governor Tony Evers’ middle class tax cut...
Part Two: Water is Prosperity Last week I wrote about how water is life. This week I hope to show how important water is for all of us to not only survive, but also to thrive.
Sen. Smith Introduces Voter Protection Act as His First Bill The Voter Protection Act was first introduced by Senator Jeff Smith during his second term as a State Representative in 2009. After leaving the legislature in 2010, Smith returned as the 31st District State Senator and vowed to reintroduce the Voter Protection Act as his first bill.
Part One: Water is Life We take a lot of things for granted in life. Our car will always start, our dogs will always love us and the water we drink will always be clean. Like all these assumptions, nothing is guaranteed. Much...
Walk the Talk for Bipartisanship I’ve said it. Governor Evers said it. Republican leaders said it - “We need to work together.” A number of clichés come to mind as we talk about working together. “It’s easier said than done” or “Talk is cheap.” I prefer “walk the talk.”
Statement Regarding Gov. Evers’ First State of the State Address “Governor Evers’ message of unity is a far cry from the divide and conquer politics that have become too common in politics today. I’m hopeful the Governor’s invitation to work together will be heard by Republican leaders in the Legislature...
Rushing to Fix One Part While Destroying the Whole Remember the high-gloss campaign mailings? The non-stop TV and radio campaign ads from last year about protecting people with pre-existing conditions? I bet you heard more than you ever wanted about pre-existing conditions, right? Well...
Senator Smith Announces New Staff, Social Media Sites and Website “My staff is here to serve citizens of the 31st Senate District by answering questions about state government, helping constituents navigate all the different programs and services and, most of all, they are here to listen and help citizens play an important role in the governing process..."
Marsy’s Law: Do It Quick or Do It Right? Our first week of the legislative session is off to a fast start. It appears my first legislative vote will be changing our State Constitution with a resolution called, “Marsy’s Law.”
Committees, Collaboration and Compromise Senate committees aren’t exactly the hottest topic to write about in state government, but it’s incredibly important for our work as legislators. Most Senate committee names seem like someone pulled the topics out of a hat and randomly strung them together to create a committee.
Statement Regarding Senator Jeff Smith’s Swearing-in “I feel humbled and honored to represent our Western Wisconsin values in the State Senate. There is much work to be done, but together, we can make our state a great place to live, work and raise a family..."
Divided, but Not Broken Government As I traversed western Wisconsin last year campaigning to be the new 31st District State Senator, it was clear we’ve been fortunate to have Kathleen Vinehout serve as our Senator for the last twelve years.