March 31, 2017


400 New Jobs and a Strong Economy

The latest evidence of Wisconsin’s economic strength has come from gummy bears. Yes, gummy bears. Haribo, a German candy company, is opening its first US factory in Kenosha County. Haribo’s $242 million investment in our area is expected to create around 400 jobs.

Our state’s unemployment rate is down to 3.7%, and the percentage of people working in Wisconsin is among the best in the country. Our economy is strong, and I am proud of the progress we have made since 2010 when I took office.

Constitutional Carry

This week I, along with 40 of my colleagues, introduced the Right to Carry Act. If passed, the act would expand the rights of law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms.

Under current law, any law-abiding citizen can carry a firearm openly without a license. However, if they were to put on a winter coat, or slip their firearm in their purse, they’d be in violation of the law. This proposal would allow anyone who is legally allowed to own a firearm to carry it.

Currently, 12 states have passed similar legislation, and 20 others are considering it in their current legislative session. There has been a move across the country to restore 2nd Amendment rights to the people, and it is time Wisconsin followed suit. As a constituent who called my office this week succinctly phrased it, “It is time we gave law-abiding citizens the rights that criminals have always enjoyed.”

 WRS Reform

Senator Duey Stroebel, Senator Devin LeMahieu, and I have introduced a bill to reform the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) to guarantee its long-term solvency. Advances in modern medicine have allowed people to live longer than ever before, and our aging population has the potential to put significant strain on the WRS. Now is the time to make adjustments.

The proposal would make the following changes for only new employees hired after it is signed into law. If passed, the bill would raise the early retirement age from 50 to 52 for protective services employees and from 55 to 60 for general employees. Additionally, the bill would change the calculation of a retiree’s final average earnings from the average of the highest three years of their employment to the average of the highest five years.

Half of the savings created by this proposal would be given back to the taxpayers, and the other half would be added to the paychecks of public employees, including those whose benefits would be unaffected. If these changes applied to all current public employees, the state would save about $59 million per year.

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State Capitol Room 119 West
PO Box 8952 Madison, WI 53708

(608) 266-1190