State Capitol Report


January 23, 2015

Contact Me

State Capitol
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708

PH: (608) 266-0455
TF: (888) 534-0065
FAX: (608) 282-3665

On the Web:


Upcoming District Events

UAW Local 72 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Program
When: Saturday, January 24th at 5:30pm
Where: UAW Local 72 Headquarters, 3615 Washington Road
Keynote speaker: Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, representing the 5th District of Missouri
Tickets: $20/adult, $10/children under 12
Contact: Anthony Davis (262-948-3381), Juanita Almond (262-632-7082), Hettie Gibson (262-554-8673), Betty Brown (262-633-5622), or Howard McBride Jr. (847-872-0828)

Classic Sundays at the Library
When: Sunday, January 25 from 1-2pm
Where: Southwest Library - Activities Room 2B
What: An afternoon of beautiful music played by members of the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra and students from Carthage College

KDPP Community Build Kick-off
When: Sunday, January 25th, 3-9pm
Where: UAW Local 72, 3615 Washington Rd. 
: An exciting evening of free live entertainment and food, as well as an opportunity to sign up to help build the playground and purchase a picket or a brick.

African-American Read-In
When: Saturday, February 7, 1-3:30pm
Where: Kenosha Public Museum
What: Readings of literary works including poetry, short stories, and children's books by African-American authors.

Shalom Center Pink & Gold Gala
When: Saturday, February 7 @ 6pm
Where: Madrigrano Marina Shores, 302 58th Street, Kenosha
What: Fundraiser benefiting the Shalom Center
Ticket information: Click HERE for details
RSVP: By February 1 at 262-658-1713 x107

Jane Cremer Program
When: Tuesday, February 10, 6-8pm (doors open at 5:30)
Where: Madrigrano Auditorium, Gateway Technical College, 3520 30th Ave
What: This FREE program will focus on the “human side” of cancer and the way it impacts people’s lives and the lives of those around them.

Downtown Kenosha Restaurant Week
When: February 14-22
What: Nine days during which participating restaurants will serve "prix fixe" menus for breakfast ($10), lunch ($10) and dinner ($20 & $30), as well as "Sweets & Treats" specials too. A great opportunity to try a new dish, or many new dishes.

KUSD PTA Founder's Day Dinner
When: Monday, February 23rd, 5:30pm
: Parkway Chateau, Kenosha
What: The annual fundraising dinner for the KUSD PTA. The money raised provides scholarship funds for KUSD high school graduates.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bryan Albrecht, President, Gateway Technical College


Kenosha County Job Fair


The Kenosha County Job Center and Business Services of Kenosha County are hosting a job fair on Wednesday, February 11 from 1pm - 4pm. The job fair will take place at Gateway Technical College - Madrigrano Auditorium, 3520 30th Ave, Kenosha.



ICYMI: "Brothers On The Line" Documentary Now Available on Netflix


In 2010, documentary filmmaker Sasha Reuther produced an outstanding film about the beginnings of the United Autoworkers Union, entitled "Brothers On The Line." From the film's website, "Brothers On The Line" is 'an award-winning documentary feature exploring the extraordinary journey of the Reuther brothers – Walter, Roy, and Victor – union organizers whose unshakeable devotion led an army of workers into an epic struggle for social justice. ... The rise of the United Auto Workers union and their hard-fought collective bargaining agreements resulted in unprecedented quality-of-life gains, increased safety regulations, a voice on the job, and overall contribute to lifting millions of workers to a middle-class living.'


You can learn more about the film HERE.


I am excited to report "Brothers On The Line" is now available to watch via Netflix. I encourage you to watch this documentary, particularly given Kenosha's own connections and history with the UAW and AMC/Chrysler, as well as the challenges facing workers in Wisconsin in the present day. So many years ago, workers overcame tremendous odds and barriers. I continue to fight for workers and their families now in the State Assembly.



Local Resource:
Meals On Wheels


Here in Kenosha, we are fortunate to have a local Meals on Wheels program.  Administered by KAFASI, Kenosha's Meals on Wheels program serves almost 600 older adults each year, thanks in large party to the support of about 300 volunteers.  Through Meals on Wheels, home-delivered meals are provided to those who are unable to prepare their own meals and are at risk of going to a nursing home


I was privileged to get a tour of the Meals on Wheels operations last term. It was very impressive to see how smoothly everything runs and to witness what a difference the Meals on Wheels program makes in the lives of those it serves. I encourage you to visit KAFASI's Meals on Wheels webpage to learn more about the program and to give some thought to becoming part of the Meals on Wheels effort.


The Meals on Wheels office is open M-F 8-4:30 pm. If you are interested in learning more about Meals on Wheels services please call:

  • City Services – (262) 658-0237

  • County Services – (262) 358-5779

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please call the Meals on Wheels program coordinator at (262) 658-3508, ext. 116.



Did You Know?


Human trafficking is often thought of as a problem in far-away place, but not here in Wisconsin. However, our state is experiencing an increase in human trafficking cases. In fact, most human trafficking victims come from 'normal' homes and go to school regularly. The average age a girl is groomed and sold for sex is just thirteen years old.


With human trafficking cases on the rise, it is more important than ever to know the warning signs. If you learn of or identify possible human trafficking cases, please report them. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center has a 24-hour hotline, 1-888-373-7888. For emergencies, always dial 911.


You can also get information about how to help individuals who have fallen victim to human trafficking. is the website for the Human Trafficking Taskforce of Greater Milwaukee.


Seeking Your Ideas
For Legislation


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 addressed?

I believe the best legislation comes from constituents like you. So, I hope you will contact me to share your ideas for bill! You can email me with your legislation ideas or you can call my office at (608) 266-0455.



Friends and Neighbors,


I'd like to officially welcome you all to the 2015-16 legislative session. Business in the state capitol officially got kicked off on January 5th. Since then, I have had numerous meetings, both in Madison and in Kenosha, talking with other legislators, constituents, and local leaders about the many issues at the forefront these days.


As the 2015-16 session continues, I plan to send out my State Capitol Report once a month, just as I did last session. I hope you will find it filled with good information about what is happening in the State Capitol, as well as what's going on locally in Kenosha. 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


It is my honor to serve you.


Tod Ohnstad
State Representative
65th Assembly District


Governor Walker Rejects Kenosha Casino

It is hugely upsetting to hear the news of Governor Walker’s decision to not approve the proposed Menominee casino in Kenosha. After twenty years of consideration and after the Menominee have offered solutions to every roadblock put up by the Administration, it is unfathomable and unjust that Governor Walker would turn his back on a project that would create so many family-supporting jobs throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

The only thing that has changed since the latest amendment was proposed to the BIA safeguarding the taxpayers of Wisconsin is the petition by 600 right-wing voters in Iowa opposing the project. Clearly, Governor Walker’s personal political ambitions have gotten in the way of a project that promised to transform southeastern Wisconsin. There is simply no legitimate explanation for turning your back on thousands of new jobs and the people of southeastern Wisconsin. With his decision today, Governor Walker has decided to discount and discard the interests of the people of Kenosha, of southeastern Wisconsin, and of Wisconsin as a whole.


2015-16 Legislative Session Has Begun

Well, the first few weeks of the 2015-16 legislative session have been filled to the brim with activity. First, on January 5th, we had Inauguration Day, on which I was proud to be sworn in to my second term as your State Representative. As I took my oath of office that day, I was particularly mindful of the challenges facing Wisconsin’s middle class and those working hard to get there. In my second term in the Assembly, I will continue to fight hard to create family-supporting jobs and a fair economy for all.


Just a few days earlier, I found out my committee assignments for the 2015-16 terms. I am excited to tell you I will serve as ranking member on the Assembly Committee on Jobs and Economy. I will also serve as a member of the Assembly Committee on Labor, Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, Assembly Committee on Tourism, and Assembly Committee on State Affairs and Government Operations. I believe these committees will deal with issues very important to the 65th District, so I am extremely pleased with my committee assignments.


In the second week of session, Governor Walker delivered his 2015 State of the State address. It was relatively brief, likely because he will be giving his Budget Address in early February, but he did share some plans to combine some state agencies. I think we are all looking forward to hearing more detail about Governor Walker's proposals for the state in his budget address February 3rd. Stay tuned.


Rabbi Feingold Offers Assembly Prayer

On January 7th, I was pleased to arrange for Rabbi Dena Feingold of Beth Hillel Temple here in Kenosha to offer the prayer at the start of our Assembly session.  Rabbi Feingold provides not only spiritual counsel and guidance to the members of her congregation, but also outstanding leadership throughout the wider Kenosha community. It was a true privilege to have her come to the State Capitol to offer her thoughts and prayers for the Assembly as we began our work.


Rep. Ohnstad introduces Rabbi Feingold at start of session


L to R: Rep. Tod Ohnstad, Rabbi Dena Feingold, Rep. Peter Barca


EdVest: Invest now, get tax advantage

I want to remind everyone of Wisconsin's fantastic EdVest program, which is a college savings program available for all Wisconsin residents. By participating in EdVest's 529 program, parents can save for their children's college or future educational funds free of state and federal taxes.  EdVest is a great resource for parents and students.



I especially wanted to highlight EdVest this month, as the state legislature passed a law to make some changes to the EdVest statutes last session. (EdVest actually has a nice summary of these changes on its website HERE.) Each of the changes is designed to enable and incentivize more people to contribute to EdVest accounts.  Here are some of the big changes:

  • The deadline to make your 2014 Wisconsin contribution has been moved to April 15, 2015. So, there is still time to make an EdVest contribution to claim on your 2014 income taxes.

  • All Wisconsin residents who donate to a young person's EdVest account can get the state tax deduction for that contribution. (This was previously limited to certain family members.)

  • The maximum EdVest contribution by an individual is now $3,050 per calendar year.

For more information about contribution to an EdVest account, or to open an EdVest account, I encourage you to visit or call 1-888-338-3789. EdVest is a great resource for children and families across our state and I encourage you to give it strong consideration.


Gateway Technical College Visitors at Capitol

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with board and administration members from Gateway Technical College. We discussed the important role played by Gateway Tech throughout our community and state, as well as the importance of of technical colleges throughout Wisconsin. We are lucky to have such a fine technical college here in Kenosha. Thank you for your work in our community, and also for speaking with me at the State Capitol.


L to R: Boardmember Bethany Ormseth, Boardmember Roger Zacharias, Rep. Ohnstad, Provost Zina Harwood, Board Vicechairperson William Duncan


Wisconsin DNR Introduces New

State Parks and Forests Recreation App

This all-inclusive app offers a new way to explore Wisconsin's State Parks and Forests. Users can decide which park to visit using a comprehensive list of activities or search for nearby parks or parks within a particular region of the state. Advanced GPS map technology invites users to track trails, mark waypoints and locate landmarks in Wisconsin's great outdoors.


FREE Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

If you earn up to $53,000, the Kenosha County Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (or "VITA") site can help prepare your basic tax forms free of charge to you. VITA locations are:

  • Kenosha County Job Center - 8600 Sheridan Road,
    Entrance D (Commons Area)
    Open: February 7 - April 7, 2015
    Tuesdays, 5:00pm to 9:00pm
    Saturdays, B:00am to 12:00pm
    First come, first served.

  • ELCA Urban Outreach Center - 6218 26th Avenue
    Open: February 3 - Febru ary 24, 2015
    Tuesdays, 9:00am to 12:00pm
    Appointment Only, call 262-960-9178

If you want to file your own taxes online, free of charge, go to


Thanks to the Kenosha VITA Coalition, made up of: United Way of Kenosha County, Gateway Technical College, Carthage College, the Internal Revenue Service, and Kenosha County.


Two Kenosha Organizations Receive $39,400 in Tourism Marketing Grants

Earlier this month, Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett visited Kenosha to award two grants totaling $39,400 to two Kenosha organizations. $19,000 was awarded to the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for the first ever Downtown Kenosha Restaurant Week, which will take place from February 14-22. $20,400 was awarded for the get bEHIND the aRTS Studio Tour, which will take place April 26-28. Together, these two events should have an estimated economic impact of $331,600 from spending at area hotels, restaurants, and stores.


This is great news for Kenosha. I am looking forward to both events. Thanks to Secretary Klett for these grants dollars and for joining us in Kenosha for such an exciting announcement.


Exciting KDPP Meeting with Secretary Klett

L to R: Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett, Alder Scott Gordon, KDPP President Tammy Conforti, Mayor Keith Bosman, Representative Tod Ohnstad


Also while Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett was in Kenosha, I was pleased to arrange an opportunity to introduce her to the Kenosha Dream Playground Project. KDPP President Tammy Conforti, Mayor Keith Bosman, and Alder Scott Gordon joined me to inform Secretary Klett of the exciting proposal and all the work that has been done locally to make KDPP a reality. Secretary Klett was very enthusiastic about the project and took extra time out of her schedule to hear more about it. It is great to have yet another supporter of the Kenosha Dream Playground Project.  



If you would like to have your name removed from this email list, please reply to this message with “Unsubscribe” in the subject line