State Capitol Report
Downtown Kenosha Restaurant Week
House of Nutrition Health
KUSD PTA Founder's Day Dinner
Great Kenosha Pizza Bake-Off
KAC Spaghetti Dinner
Third Annual Police and Firefighters Ball
Susan B. Anthony Award Dinner
As you know, February is Black History Month throughout the United States. In February, we focus in particular on the role, experiences of, and contributions of African Americans throughout our nation's history. All too often, these deeds and stories go untold or forgotten despite the significance they have.
If you are interested in celebrating Black History Month here in Kenosha, you may consider attending the Urban League of Racine and Kenosha's breakfast on Wednesday, February 25 from 7:30-8:30am. Dr. Junith M. Thompson, MD SC will be honored.
The breakfast will take place at MIRAZ Restaurant/Pancake House, 7500 Sheridan Rd, Kenosha. Tickets are $5 in advance or $8 at the door. Simply drop off or mail $5 to: 1418 68th Street, Kenosha, WI 53143 or call 262-652-2111.
Earlier this week, the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin and Hard Rock International made a game-changing new offer to Governor Walker, in hopes of convincing him to reverse his initial decision to reject the casino.
Two days later, I joined my fellow southeastern Wisconsin legislative colleagues in sending a letter to Governor Walker, asking him to at least meet with the Menominee and Hard Rock leaders. The BIA has said it will accept Gov. Walker's decision to reverse his earlier position if he does so by Thursday, February 19th.
I was pleased to start out the year with a tour of Ocean Spray. Since I was elected to the State Assembly I have met with and toured several manufacturing sites in Kenosha. By doing so I hope to gain a better understanding of our local economy and what can be done to help these employers. I was recently appointed as the Ranking Democratic member of the Jobs & Economy Committee and plan on making several more tours in this session. I’d like to thank Lou Molitor at the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce for arranging this and other tours as well and joining me on the Ocean Spray tour.
Ocean Spray has been in Kenosha for 45 years. It
is one of nine plants, with two others also located in Wisconsin.
Sitting on 40 acres, the plant is 425,000 square feet. They employ 224
people, 173 of whom are members of the
Association of Machinists and another
51 salary employees. Cranberries are big business in this state. We are
the largest grower in the U.S. and the cranberry is our state fruit.
Tim Peoples has been the Plant Director for a little over three years and has overseen over $10 million in plant improvements. They have a unique apprenticeship program which has been recognized by the State and provides employees the opportunity to become journeymen. More exciting products will be arriving on the shelves this spring and hopefully more plant improvements as well.
Safe Harbor Humane Society is an important nonprofit organization, whose mission is to house, care for, and find loving homes for animals orphaned, abused and neglected in Kenosha County. Each year, Safe Harbor takes in about 3,100 animals each year, and places a majority of those animals into good homes.
Located at 7811 60th Street, Safe Harbor has an adoption process for prospective forever families, as well as volunteer opportunities for animal lovers who want to spend some time helping animals in need. Safe Harbor always needs individuals willing to foster as well, as some animals have special needs when they come to Safe Harbor.
In addition to these services, Safe Harbor runs several other important programs and clinics, ranging from a vaccination clinic to low-cost spay and neuter services to euthanasia and cremation services. Current and prospective animal owners face a variety of circumstances, and Safe Harbor is a great resource here in Kenosha.
Thank you, Safe Harbor, for the work you do on behalf of animals in our community, and for bringing together so many animals with their new forever families!
As your state representative, one of my jobs is to introduce legislation
to address Kenosha's needs and concerns. I will be focusing more and
more on the laws and policies of our state. I'll be devoting time to
researching what changes would make sense for our state. If you have
ideas for possible legislation, I'd love to hear about them! Do you have
an idea for a state law that needs fixing? Have you had an experience
that brought a state problem to light that you would like to see
Since my last State Capitol Report, things have been very budget-focused up in Madison. On February 3rd, Governor Walker gave his budget address and officially introduced his budget proposal to the state legislature. Since then, I have been pouring over the details available on the proposal.
As I have always said to you, my focus is on improving economic opportunity. Wisconsin needs a budget that puts families and economic opportunity first. In this update, as the next several updates to come, I will share with you details about the budget and the budget process. It's a lengthy process, but it's an incredibly important decision-making document as the state budget will set the priorities for Wisconsin for the next two years.
If you have information you'd like me to share in future State Capitol Reports or if you have issues you'd like to see brought up, please let me know. And if you or someone you know is having difficulty in dealing with a state agency and would like help, I hope you will give my office a call. You can always reach me at (608) 266-0455 or Rep.Ohnstad@legis.wi.gov.
It is my honor to serve you.
Gov. Walker's 2015-17 State Budget Proposal Officially Introduced
Last Tuesday, I traveled up to the State Capitol to listen to Governor Walker's official State Budget address. In his twenty-four minute speech, Gov. Walker offered some highlights of his proposed state budget for 2015-2017. In the days since then, I have been working hard to get into the nitty gritty of the actual budget details to figure out more specifics about the Governor's budget, and how it would affect Kenosha.
What I have found so far is unfortunately quite alarming. The budget proposal includes:
SeniorCare Gutted Under Proposed Budget
One of the most troubling elements of Governor Walker's budget proposal is his proposed elimination of SeniorCare. As you may know, SeniorCare is a prescription drug assistance program for approximately 85,000 Wisconsin residents who are 65 years of age or older.
Unlike Medicare Part D, SeniorCare has a simple enrollment process, a $30 annual enrollment fee, income-based deductibles and co-payments of just $5 for generic medications. SeniorCare has no strict enrollment period or penalty and no gaps in coverage. Most participants save hundreds of dollars each year by utilizing SeniorCare’s prescription drug benefits instead of Medicare Part D.
To help save SeniorCare, I have a petition on my website and Facebook page that you can use to make your voice heard to the Governor and legislative Republicans. Please take a moment to download, print, sign and mail in a petition. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors to do the same. This is a statewide petition, so they do not need to live in Kenosha to sign.
UW-Parkside Would Be Hit Hard
Under Governor's Budget
After Governor Walker announced a $300 billion cut to the University of Wisconsin system I reached out and met with UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford and some of her staff about what this would mean for our campus.
Mentoring Resolution Passes Assembly
One of the first legislative proposals I introduced this year, Assembly Joint Resolution 2, seeks to declare January as "Mentoring Month" in Wisconsin. While January has come and gone already, I am pleased to share the Assembly passed my resolution unanimously in yesterday's official floor session. I was also honored to have Rebecca Stevens, RSVP Manager at KAFASI, and Randy Hutson, who serves as a mentor, join me at the Capitol to witness the passage of AJR 2.
I currently have the privilege of serving as a mentor for a young student in Kenosha, in my third stint as a mentor. Being a mentor is incredibly rewarding, both for mentors as well as the young people they are mentoring. I believe passing this resolution will go a long way in raising awareness about mentoring and encouraging people throughout Wisconsin to consider becoming a mentor. If you would like to learn more about becoming a mentor, please click HERE to contact Rebecca Stevens.
Habitat For Humanity Kenosha Turns Keys
On Saturday, January 31st, I had the privilege of attending the blessing and dedication of the Lavine Family home, the second home built through Habitat for Humanity Kenosha. Lisa Lavine and her children, Jennifer and Ritchie, will be moving from Twin Lakes to Kenosha to live in this home, having put in hundreds of hours of their sweat equity into building their house. It was a special moment to witness the end of their hard work and to see how excited they were to move into their new home and begin a new chapter in their life as a family. Congratulations, Lavine Family! And welcome to Kenosha!
If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about Habitat For Humanity Kenosha, particularly about what is required of a prospective H4HK homeowner, I encourage you to visit the H4HK website's "Own A Home" section. There is a one-page pre-application form, as well as a lot of helpful information and answers to frequently asked questions. You can also visit H4HK's Facebook page.
Constituent Meetings at the State Capitol
One of the highlights of being your State Representative is meeting with Kenosha residents when you come to the State Capitol. Meeting with you in person provides me with a better understanding of the issues you are facing right now, as well as the needs of our community. It is also fun getting to show Kenosha folks some of the behind-the-scenes parts of the Capitol.
This month, I had the pleasure of meeting with folks from the Kenosha County government, from Society's Assets (which serves individuals with disabilities throughout southeastern Wisconsin).
L to R: Clerk of Circuit Court Rebecca Matoska-Mentink, County Clerk Mary Schuch-Krebs, Rep. Ohnstad, Supervisor Boyd Frederick, Supervisor Dayvin Hallmon
L to R: Tami Jandrowski, Rep. Ohnstad, Jennifer Huff
If you are planning a trip to Madison, whether for fun or as a citizen advocate, I hope you will contact my office to set up a time to stop by! Just call (608) 266-0455 or email Rep.Ohnstad@legis.wi.gov. I look forward to seeing you.
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