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 District Dialogue

Serving the Greater Northwoods

Oneida - Vilas - Florence - Forest

July 1, 2021

Budget Update

Madison, WI – On Tuesday night, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed the 2021-2023 Biennial Budget, which provides tax relief to families and businesses, boosts funding for Wisconsin’s healthcare system, makes significant investments into education, and increases funding to broadband expansion programs. Representative Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) made the following statement:

“I am very pleased that the Assembly passed a fiscally responsible budget that focuses on Wisconsin families, students, and small businesses. When Governor Evers wanted to raise taxes, Republicans decided to lower them. Too many people across the state, and especially in the Northwoods, have had to suffer from the economic burden of the pandemic, and this budget makes clear that their needs are addressed and met.”

Following the report that Wisconsin will have a $4.4 billion surplus, Republicans included a $3.4 billion middle-class tax cut in the budget as well as a repeal of the personal property tax. This tax plan will save the average Wisconsin family around $1,200 and provide necessary relief to Wisconsin businesses.


“After the economy shut down last year, Wisconsin families and small businesses took a major hit. We need to get businesses back on their feet and families back to a stable economic condition. The very best thing that we can do as legislators is to put your money back in your pocket without expanding the size of government.”

In addition, this budget provides a significant funding boost to Wisconsin’s healthcare system, namely by increasing access to high-quality, affordable healthcare and focusing on care for the elderly and disabled. Specifically, this budget will invest $104 million over the biennium into the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program, $30 million to nursing homes, directs $150 million in federal funds to long-term care facilities, and increases funding for the Dementia Care Specialist Program by $3.5 million.

“Constituents in the Northern Wisconsin deserve the same access to affordable, high-quality healthcare that citizens in metropolitan parts of the state receive. My efforts to permanently reauthorize the Disproportionate Share Hospital program will ensure that rural hospitals across the state continue to receive the funding they need to keep our citizens healthy. In addition, this budget will finally provide the much-needed funding for Dementia Care Specialists in the Northwoods.”

Furthermore, this biennial budget makes a historic investment into the education system, increases funding for broadband expansion programs, and invests in Wisconsin’s veterans. This budget will:

  • Ensure that schools reach 2/3 funding by the second year of the biennium
  • Provide nearly $20 million to mental health services for students
  • Increase special education spending by $86 million
  • Invest $129 million in broadband over the biennium
  • Provide $200,000 over the biennium to fund suicide prevention awareness activities for veterans

The budget passed with bipartisan support in both the Assembly (64-34) and Senate (23-9), making this the highest number of votes for a budget bill in both chambers in a generation. 

Governor Vetoes Plan to Get People Back to Work

On Tuesday, Governor Evers vetoed Assembly Bill 336

AB336 would have ended Wisconsin's participation in federal unemployment benefit program and install work search requirements in order to receive unemployment insurance. As Wisconsin is facing a massive worker shortage, this bill would have been an important step at encouraging people to get back to work and away from government dependency.

While I am not shocked that the governor vetoed this bill, I am disappointed that he missed an opportunity to help Wisconsin's small businesses, especially at a time when they need help the most.

Rhinelander Welcomes First United Flight from Chicago

LEFT TO RIGHT: Airport Commission members Geoff Weller, Brad Kowieski, Chairman Patrick Marquart, Director Matt Leitner, Former Chairman Robert Heck

On Thursday, I witnessed the arrival of the first incoming direct flight to Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport (RHI) from Chicago O'Hare (ORD).

This United flight service will be operated by SkyWest Airlines and will offer daily round-trip flights.

As is tradition, the airport performed a water cannon salute to recognize the new service that United is providing to the Northwoods.

Thank you to the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport Commission for inviting me to this ceremony!

Travel Wisconsin Trail Report

All biking and hiking trails are now open. Please click here to view the Wisconsin Trail Report. 

4th of July Festivities 

Rhinelander 4th of July Parade & Fireworks, July 4, Rhinelander


4th of July Three Lakes Parade, July 4, Three Lakes


4th of July Celebration, July 4, Minocqua


Land O Lakes 4th of July Parade and Picnic, July 4, Land O Lakes


4th of July Parade, July 4, Eagle River


Independence Day Parade, July 4, Conover


4th of July Parade, July 4, Manitowish Waters


Star Spangled Jubilee, July 4, Boulder Junction 


Lake Tomahawk 4th of July Parade, July 4, Lake Tomahawk

 Community Events  

 Please click the following links for upcoming community events!


Eagle River Wednesday Farmers Market, May 12-October 6. Eagle River


Minocqua Farmers Market, May 14-October 8, Minocqua 


Hodag Farmers' Market, May 29-October 16, Rhinelander


Lake Tomahawk Snowshoe Baseball, July 5, Lake Tomahawk


Eagle River Speedway Stock Car Racing, July 6, Eagle River


Hodag Country Festival, July 8-11, Rhinelander


Oneida County Fair at Pioneer Park, July 29-August 1, Rhinelander