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March 16, 2018


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Wisconsin Adds Jobs

Wisconsin added 8,000 private sector jobs in January and the state’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 3.1 percent, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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UW Cooperative Extension

On Thursday I attended a panel discussion on the proposed restructuring of the UW System. In November 2017, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved a resolution to restructure UW Colleges and integrate UW Cooperative Extension back to the UW‐Madison campus to be effective July 1, 2018.

As I have said before, I had concerns about this proposal because programs provided by the cooperative extension are important and rely on local relationships to be effective. UW Extension caters to our rural and agricultural communities by bringing continuing education to the community and the workplace through organizations such as 4-H and employs specialists to visit farms and share research-based information. I voiced these concerns and was happy to hear guarantees that the current extension we value will remain the same.

The merits of both UW Extension and our two-year colleges are significant. Consolidating these organizations may very well prove beneficial, but only if it does not come at the cost of the quality services they provide. I was happy to be able to have an impactful discussion and look forward to future conversations to ensure that the University of Wisconsin System continues to work for the people of Southwest Wisconsin.

After the meeting I attended a reception at home of UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank in honor of new Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection Secretary Sheila Harsdorf. I look forward to working with both of them. 



Pension Payments in Wisconsin to Increase

Pensions will see a 2.4 percent increase in payments from the Core Trust Fund for retirees in the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). The retirees who have a portion of their money in the Variable Trust Fund will receive a 17 percent jump in that portion of their annuities

This is the fifth consecutive year that pensions from the Core Fund have risen after five years of reductions related to the recession.

The Wisconsin Retirement System is the ninth largest U.S. public pension fund with about $108 billion in assets. Last year, the WRS paid nearly $5.2 billion in retirement benefits.

As Co-Chair on the Joint Survey Committee on Retirement Systems, there were no changes made to the WRS this session. The system continues to be strong and work for those who rely on it.

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Mineral Point 4th Graders Visit the Capitol

On Tuesday, I welcomed the 4th grade class from Mineral Point Elementary School to the Capitol. The students had the opportunity to tour the building and see first-hand how state government operates. Thank you for visiting!

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Monroe Eagle Scouts

Evan Studer and Drew Wyss, of Boy Scouts of America Troop 101 in Monroe, were honored at a special Court of Honor for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. Both scouts improved their local community through their Eagle Scout Projects. Drew reinstalled and landscaped around the “Welcome to Monroe” sign by the Green County Justice Center, while Evan replaced the Trail Hillside Stairs at the Kiwanis Youth Cabin in Monroe. It was a great time, and congratulations to Evan and Drew!

Girls Basketball State Tournament

Congratulations to both the Monroe and Black Hawk Girls Basketball teams for making it to the WIAA state tournament in Green Bay! Both teams had phenomenal seasons and should be proud of all they accomplished.