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December 18, 2020

 

Contents

  • Thank You
  • DWD Audit
  • Water Quality Partnership
  • District Shout Out

 

 Merry Christmas

No matter how you choose to celebrate this year, I hope Christmas brings you peace and fellowship with friends and family. And don’t forget to take a moment to count your blessings and welcome the fresh start that the New Year brings. Click here to view my Christmas video address.

Thank You 

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for re-electing me to serve as your state Representative. With the election results now certified, I’m very humbled to have the honor to once again represent the 60 villages, townships, and cities that make up the 51st Assembly District. Thank you for your support and your confidence in me to be your voice in Madison.

I ran on being an independent Republican voice for the residents of Southwest Wisconsin. Since I was elected in 2014, I have always strived to put the people of my district over politics. No matter how you voted, I hope you will take the time to reach out to my office and provide input on issues that matter most to you. When difficult decisions arise in Madison, I review messages sent to my office to gain a better understanding of where my constituents stand. While I cannot promise that we will always agree, your voice matters and I hope you will share it with me.

There is no doubt that our district and the state of Wisconsin have a difficult road ahead. We must work to manage COVID-19 and pass additional bipartisan relief that includes expansion of testing capabilities and ensures efficient distribution of a vaccine. Earlier this year, the Governor and the legislature came together to pass bipartisan legislation to address the pandemic. I’m confident that we can do this once again.

The pandemic has also shined a light on the challenges our rural communities continue to face. As work begins on the budget, I will advocate for additional investments in our rural schools, resources to care for our vulnerable and elderly populations, prioritizing of rural infrastructure projects, and expansion of high-speed internet access.

Finally, I’m proud of the work we did on protecting water quality in our state as Chairman of the Task Force on Water Quality and plan to build upon that progress this session.

I cannot say enough about how we live in the most beautiful part of Wisconsin. Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to serve. Let’s get to work.

 

Department of Workforce Development Audit Released

Earlier this week, the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau’s audit of the Unemployment Insurance division processing at the Department of Workforce Development was released.

The audit uncovered several issues with claim processing since the onset of the pandemic including:

  • 77.6% of claimants were entered into adjudication on their initial claim
  • As October, 10, 2020, 96,623 individuals claims were being held in adjudication
  • DWD was responsible for 11 of the 13 weeks that it took on average to resolve issues with initial claims
  • The most common cause for delay involved instances of DWD not resolving outstanding issues. This was due to the fact that DWD had not requested the information it needed from individuals and employers.

The audit gives the public clarity on the struggles the DWD has encountered in resolving an unacceptable backlog of claims. Over the past few months, I have heard from numerous constituents struggling to receive any new information on their claim, as weeks and months go by without any income.

The Joint Legislative Committee on Audit held a hearing to review the recent audits of DWD. You can watch the committee proceedings on Wisconsin Eye. The assembly has introduced legislation to require the elimination of the backlog within 30 days, an increase in call center hours to 12 hours per day, 7 days per week, and financial incentives for the DWD to resolve pending outstanding issues. 

 

Water Quality Partnership

Clean Wisconsin, Dairy Business Association, The Nature Conservancy, and Land & Water are forming an initiative to advocate for clean water. These groups, representing both farmers and conservationists, outlined four policy areas where efforts will be focused: ensuring access to clean drinking water, revising the CAFO permit program, improving the non-point program, and supporting current conservation initiatives.

 

Partnerships like this are the key to addressing water quality challenges in our state. I believe our work on the Water Quality Task Force laid the foundation for groups who may not always agree to come together and advocate for shared goals. I’m very excited to see farmers and conservationists stepping up to the challenge and look forward to continued collaboration in the upcoming legislative session.

 These are bold but necessary initiatives that will require us to put aside political differences and act in good faith to recognize and improve upon the integral role our farmers play in protecting clean water.

Following the announcement, I met with Matt Krueger and Shawn Pfaff representing Wisconsin Land & Water to talk more about the partnership and their legislative goals for the upcoming session.

District Shout Out

Dodgeville Dental and Drs. Kim Fritz-Pluym and Evan Pluym recently offered a free clinic day. This was inspired in part by a global movement known as “Giving Tuesday”. A movement that has gained attention in recent years, it has become a global movement inspiring millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generously.

 

This year, Dodgeville Dental offered free visits to people in need of Dental Care that do not have insurance. Services offered included cleanings, x-rays, extractions, root canals, and restorations. In total, Dodgeville Dental provided over $17,500 of free dental care.

 

Thank you to Dodgeville Dental for your continued effort to provide quality dental care and support to our community, especially to those most in need. Your unrelenting generosity and sincere care for our community is significant and inspiring.

Have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!