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January 19, 2018


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Record Low Unemployment

Wisconsin's unemployment rate decreased to 3% in December, tying the lowest rate in our state's history. Since December 2016, Wisconsin has added an additional 43,500 private sector jobs. This is excellent news as our state continues to remain below the national average of 4.1%.

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Foster Care Tuition Waiver Receives Public Hearing

Representative Joel Kitchens, Senator Luther Olsen, and I had the honor of testifying in favor of our bill to waive tuition for foster youth who attend a UW Institution or Technical College in Wisconsin.

This bill also creates a competitive grant program for UW system schools to create programs to support students who are former foster youth. These programs would mirror a similar program at UW-Stout that helps to support foster youth as they attend college. This assistance could be anything from housing and bedding to an emergency fund for unplanned events. This program also includes assistance with the college application process. 

Joined by a diverse group of foster youth from across the state, the Committee on Colleges and Universities heard how this bill will ease the financial burden of post-secondary education for foster youth. 84% of children in out of home care have expressed the desire to go to college while very few have the means or familial support to do so. Both Democrats and Republicans on the committee are excited about this legislation and I look forward to continued bi-partisan support as we work to make college an attainable goal for foster youth.

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Intern TJ Cool Testifies In Favor of College Merit Scholarships

TJ Cool, a student at Highland High School and intern in our office, was given the opportunity to testify before the Assembly Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight this week. TJ voiced his support for a bill that will appropriate the interest from the normal school fund for the purpose of creating Wisconsin Merit Scholarships in the amount of $5,000. These scholarships would be available to a student enrolled at a UW institution and graduated from an in-state high school.

As a current high school student, TJ looks forward to applying for these merit based scholarships as he looks at attending a UW school. Incentivizing Wisconsin's best and brightest to attend college in our state will hopefully encourage them to stay and work in Wisconsin following graduation.

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Area Bankers Visit Madison

Joe Klein of the Bank of New Glarus, Brian Gorman and Quinn Christensen of the Peoples Community Bank, and Barbara Gross of Bankers' Bank visited my office on Tuesday representing local banks in Southwest Wisconsin. Thank you for taking the time to update me on your legislative priorities.