State Capitol Report


January 19, 2017

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:



District Office Hours


This Thursday, January 19th from 3:30pm-5:30pm, I will be holding District Office Hours at Kenosha's Southwest Branch Public Library, located at 7979 38th Avenue. I hope you will stop by to say hello and share your ideas and concerns.


Upcoming Events


Courageous Conversations about Black Lives Matter

When: Thursday, January 19th from 6-8pm

Where: Kenosha Civil War Museum, 5401 First Avenue, Kenosha, WI

Sponsor: Coalition for Dismantling Racism

Moderators: Rochelle Anderson-Moore and Roseanne Mason

Contact: Madeline Carrera, or 262-564-3138


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

When: Saturday, January 21st @ 8:30am

**8am Check-in

**8:30am Program

**9am Volunteer

Where: Gateway Technical College atrium, 3320 30th Avenue, Kenosha

What: This is a great opportunity for students to learn about and invest in the communities in which they live and work. It offers an opportunity for the community to come onto campus or to engage with Gateway students off-campus.

**Projects include a large packing event on campus and two food/donation sorting off-campus placements either at the Shalom Center's Food Pantry or Salvation Army.

Contact: Madeline Carrera, or 262-564-3138


35th Annual UAW Local 72 MLK Event

When: Saturday, January 21st @ 5:30pm

Where: UAW Local 72, 3615 Washington Rd, Kenosha

Keynote Speaker: Congressman James E. Clyburn (6th District of South Carolina)

Cost: $20/adult, $10/children under 12

Contacts: Anthony Davis (262) 948-3381; Juanita Almond (262) 632-7082; Hettie Gibson (262) 554-8673; Betty Brown (262) 633-5622; Howard McBride Jr. (847) 872-0828


African-American Read In

When: Saturday, February 4th @ 1pm

Where: Kenosha Public Museum

What: Featuring a performance of “Stories & Songs of African People” by Chicago storyteller Shanta. Adult and youth readers lend their voices to poetry, essays, short stories, and children’s books by African-American authors. Refreshments follow the program.


WCH Mardi Gras

When: Saturday, February 25th @ 6:30pm

Where: UAW Local 72

Cost: $60/individual ticket; Table of 8 is $450

Contact: Laurie (Bastian) Hanson, 262-656-3500 or


January is National Blood Donor Month


Did you know January is National Blood Donor Month because winter is one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs? Since 1970, the American Red Cross has sought to boost awareness of the need for blood donation during January, to both ask previous blood donors to donate again and to encourage individuals who've never donated before to find a blood drive near them and donate. You can click HERE for more information.


Blood donation appointments can be made by downloading the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or to receive more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit and follow the instructions on the site.


Local Impact: UW-Parkside

No doubt everyone in Kenosha is familiar with UW-Parkside, our local UW campus. But did you know just how many lives are transformed by UW-Parkside, and just how engaged in the local community and local economy it is?

  • 4,600 students - 65% are from Kenosha and Racine counties

  • 60% of students are first-generation college students

  • 30% of students are underrepresented minorities

  • 24% of undergraduates are age 25 or older

  • Record number of graduates over the past 5 years

  • 2013-2015 highest retention rate in Parkside history

  • 27 new academic programs

  • Teacher ed majors spent 11,000 hours in community classrooms last year

  • Parkside honored for community engagement by Carnegie Foundation and President's Honor Roll

Here are some additional highlights about Parkside's incredible academic programs.

  • 100% placement rate for computer science grads

  • 95% placement rate for business grads

  • 92% placement rate for theatre arts grads in the industry or in grad school

  • 89% of pre-med grads accepted to medical school

  • Criminal justice program ranked No. 1 in Wisconsin (

For more information about UW-Parkside, check out their website HERE.



Friends and Neighbors,


Two weeks ago, I was humbled to be sworn in as your State Representative for the 2017-18 legislative session. I was and am so proud to represent the people of Kenosha in the Assembly. Our state is facing some serious economic challenges and I look forward to working to address them. I will again serve as ranking member on the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy. I will also serve on the Assembly Committee on Labor, Assembly Committee on Workforce Development, Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, Assembly Committee on Tourism, and Assembly Committee on State Affairs.


This year, people across the state and across the nation are paying renewed attention to the actions of their elected officials. I am very excited about this and I look forward to taking ideas from Kenosha about how we can make our state even better for people to live, work, and raise a family to the State Capitol. I hope you will reach out over the next two years to let me know what you think about the issues facing our state. I will be holding District Office Hours this afternoon, so please drop by.


As always, if you would like something to be included in future e-newsletters, just let me know at (608) 266-0455 or


In solidarity,


Tod Ohnstad
State Representative
65th Assembly District


Rep. Ohnstad speaking at rally against the Trump/Ryan agenda against working people (Photo credit: Karen Kempinen)


Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This past Monday around the nation, and this entire week here in Kenosha, we remember the life and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On Monday, I was honored to attend Gateway Technical College's annual event, which featured our own U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and my good friend State Representative David Bowen as speakers. The day before, I was pleased to attend the 2017 Community Unity Kindness breakfast at EBSOLA.


L to R: Rep. Ohnstad, Senator Tammy Baldwin, GTC President Bryan Albrecht, District Attorney Michael Graveley, Senator Bob Wirch


This coming Saturday, I look forward to attending UAW Local 72's annual event, which will feature another good friend, State Senator LaTonya Johnson of Milwaukee, along with Senator Tammy Baldwin once more and Congressman James E. Clyburn of South Carolina.


Finding Inspiration in Dr. King's Words

As we look ahead to the next several years and consider who we want to be as a nation, I think it is important to spend some extra time thinking about Dr. King's legacy and how we might take inspiration from his life and work, which focused on racial equality, economic justice, and so much more. Here are some quotes I found meaningful:

  • "I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." (Nobel Peace Price Acceptance Speech, Oslo, December 10, 1964)

  • "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." (Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story - Chapter XI Where Do We Go From Here)

  • "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963)

  • "Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." (Commencement Address for Oberlin College, June 1965)

  • "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." (Dr. King's book "Strength To Love")

I hope these wise words provide you with inspiration as they have done for me.


Photograph by Julian Wasser, Time Life Pictures/Getty Images


Rep. Ohnstad Responds to Gov. Walker's 2017 State of the State Address

On January 10th, Governor Walker gave his annual State of the State address. As he has done for six years, Governor Walker tried to paint a rosy picture about his policies and their effects on our state. Each time he does this though, he inevitably turns around and works to push through policies which hurt the very people he has claimed to help.


I believe Wisconsinites deserve more than lip service to the needs of working people and families. Governor Walker should be honest about the problems and challenges his policies have created over the past six years.


In last week's speech, he glossed over the details about the many ways in which he has failed the people of this great state. But we cannot pretend away the reality Wisconsin workers, families, and communities are facing. Wisconsinites need family-supporting jobs, well-funded public schools, safe roads and highways, and so much more. I will continue to work hard every day to implement sustainable, long-term solutions on behalf of the people and families of Kenosha.


Wisconsin DNR Website Removes All Acknowledgement of Climate Change

Late last month, the Wisconsin DNR website was changed in a shocking manner - all acknowledgement of climate change was removed. The Rhinelander-based Lakeland Times and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel brought this change to the attention of the Wisconsin public. (You can read Lakeland Times article HERE or Milwaukee Journal Sentinel coverage HERE.)


The change rang alarm bells for many, including myself. Climate change is not a matter of scientific debate. It is established science. That the state agency whose mission includes protecting and enhancing Wisconsin's air, land, and water is now apparently questioning long-established scientific fact is incredibly disturbing. Suffice it to say, I think the DNR is wrong in its apparent shift away from science. I will be keeping a very close watch on the DNR's actions in the coming months.



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