State Capitol Report


April 13, 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 & Listening Session


I am pleased to announce two opportunities to share your thoughts on state issues and, in particular, the state budget.


District Office Hours

On Monday May 1st, I will be holding my regular office hours from 11:30am-1pm at the Southside Library. I hope you will stop by to chat about any state issues on your mind.


Joint Budget Listening Session

The following week, I am excited to announce Senator Bob Wirch, Representative Peter Barca, and I will be hosting a joint budget listening session. It will be held on Monday, May 8th from 5-7pm at Kenosha's Northside Public Library. We want to hear your thoughts about the 2017-2019 biennial budget. What programs are most important to you? What changes do you think should be made to the proposed budget? What is missing from the budget as proposed? We hope to hear from you!


Upcoming Events


ABATE of Wisconsin Kenosha Region Chili & Dessert Cookoff

When: Saturday, April 15th @ 12pm

**Short ABATE meeting at noon before tasting.

Where: Sir Arthur's, 3501 - 14th Avenue, Kenosha

Cost: FREE to enter and FREE to eat

**Bring your dessert or chili (hot and ready to eat) between 11am and 11:30am to register.


Feminism on Tap Kenosha featuring special guest Rep. Tod Ohnstad

When: Monday, April 17th from 5-7:30pm

Where: Pete's Place, 4520 8th Avenue

What: Feminism on Tap is a rotating happy hour opportunity for women's rights advocates and other community members to mingle, support each other, develop ideas for collaboration, and discuss local efforts to advance women and girls in Wisconsin.


Fundraiser to End Veteran Homelessness

When: April 17th and 18th from 11am-10pm

Where: Rocky Rococo's, 6320 Green Bay Road, Kenosha

What: Dine-In, Carry-Out, or Drive-Thru and present one of THESE vouchers and 15% of your purchase will be donated to outfitting the new tiny homes in the James A Peterson Veteran Village.


Gateway Technical College Earth Day Celebration

When: Saturday, April 22nd from 10am-2pm

Where: Gateway Technical College Kenosha campus

What: On the Saturday closest to Earth Day in April, Gateway celebrates our environment with displays, workshops, hands-on activities for people of all ages, and other environment-related activities.

For more information: Click HERE for more details


St. Matthew's Lakefront Eldergarten grand opening

When: Saturday, April 22nd from 11am-3pm

Where: 5835 - 4th Avenue, Kenosha (south of Lakeside Towers)

What: Music, food and beverages, crafts, games, and face painting

Cost: FREE

Questions: Email


10th Annual Dairy State Cheese & Beer Festival

When: Saturday, April 22nd from 1-5pm

Where: The Brat Stop, 12304 75th Street, Kenosha 53142

For more information: Click HERE to visit official website

Tickets: $47.50/general admission; $78/VIP admission - click HERE for tickets


Kenosha County UW-Extension 100th Anniversary Celebration

When: Thursday, April 27th from 5:30-7pm

Where: Kemper Center, 6501 - 3rd Avenue, Kenosha, WI 53143


get bEHIND the aRTS Studio Tour

When: Friday, April 28 - Sunday, April 30

**Preview Party 4/28 from 6-10pm at 314 Sixth Street in Racine

**Racine studio tour 4/29 from 11am-5pm

**Kenosha studio tour 4/30 from 11am-5pm

Where: Click HERE for interactive map

What: Click HERE for participating studios in Kenosha and Racine.

More: get bEHIND the aRTS is a collective of Racine and Kenosha artists and supporters of the arts. Formed in 2010, in part, through the efforts of the Wisconsin Arts Board, the group strives to promote local talent, broaden art audiences and take an active role in creating and sustaining a vibrate and creative community through cultural tourism.


Kenosha County Older Americans Month Celebration - Derby Day: Run for the Roses!

When: Thursday, May 18th from 10:30am-12pm

Where: Local UAW 72 Hall, 3615 Washington Rd., Kenosha

Cost: $16/ticket

Tickets: Available at Kenosha ADRC, 8600 Sheridan Rd, M-F, 8am-5pm

Contact: 262-605-6646


CUSH Celebration Banquet

When: Thursday, May 25th at 5:30pm

Where: Local UAW 72 Hall, 3615 Washington Rd., Kenosha

Keynote Speaker: Rabbi Tiferet Berenbaum

Tickets: $40/ticket

For more information: Click HERE for info


Arbor Day Ceremonies


On Friday, April 28th, the City of Kenosha will honor Judge S. Michael Wilk and Eric J. Olson by planting trees in their memory for Arbor Day. A shingle oak tree will be planted in Judge Wilk's honor at 1pm at Southport Park. A littleleaf linden tree will be planting in Mr. Olson's honor at Eichelman Park at 2pm. The public is welcome to attend both ceremonies. You can view the Kenosha News article about these two remarkable gentlemen and the ceremonies HERE.


Local Impact: Kenosha Memory Cafes

Finding a social setting in which to spend quality time with a friend or loved one with dementia, early Alzheimer's, or cognitive impairment can be a challenge for caregivers. Yet, it is so important for friends and families to continue communication and relationships after a diagnosis. The Kenosha Memory Cafe is the perfect social gathering place that accommodates people with mild cognitive impairment and their caregivers and friends.


The Cafe is free, informal, and based on interests of participants. It provides a relaxed environment in which participants can spend an enjoyable afternoon.


Upcoming Kenosha Memory Cafes will be:

  • April 13th Garden & Gifts - Perkins Restaurant, 11710 74th Place, 2-3:30pm

  • April 26th Remembering the 1940s - Northside Library, 1500 27th Avenue, 6:30-8pm

  • May 11th Tales & Travels: Italy - Perkins Restaurant, 11710 74th Place, 2-3:30pm

  • May 24th Plant A Flower - Northside Library, 1500 27th Avenue, 6:30-8pm

Please RSVP to Wendy Betley at the Alzheimer's Association at 414-479-8800 or 1-800-272-3900.


Good to Know: Community Shower for Women and Children's Horizons


Kenosha County Treasurer Teri Jacobson is hosting a communitywide shower for Women and Children's Horizons. Donations can be dropped off at the Treasurer's office, 1010 56th Street, or at the Kenosha County Center, 19600 75th Street, Bristol.


A list of requested items can be found HERE. Money can also be donated. Checks should be made out to Women and Children's Horizons.


Women and Children's Horizons is registered at Target for items to assist clients and their children.


For more information about Women and Children's Horizons, click HERE to visit their website. For more information about the community shower, contact Teri Jacobson at (262) 653-2542.


Inspiring Words

"If you can't change your fate, change your attitude."


 - Amy Tan



Friends and Neighbors,


There is so much going on in the State Capitol and around Kenosha these days, I'll just get straight to it. In this State Capitol Report, you will see updates about Assembly action to combat Wisconsin's opioid epidemic, the 2017-18 state budget proposal, and in-district listening sessions and events. I've also included helpful reminders about things like National Healthcare Decision Day, and getting a jump start on filling your spring and summer calendar with fun right here in Kenosha.


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 stands with Rumor, Wisconsin's own Westminster 2017 Champion


Assembly Takes Action on Opioid Crisis

We were on the Assembly Floor this month where we took up a package of bills designed to impact the opioid crisis. And it is a crisis. Kenosha County now averages one fatal heroin or opioid overdose per week. In December that number rose to eight deaths.


Although these bills were good bills passed on a bipartisan basis, they don't go nearly far enough. Assembly Democrats argued we should accept the Medicaid expansion money. This would be well over $300 million every two year budgetary cycle for the foreseeable future and earmark some of that money to further confront the crisis. Unfortunately, the majority party refused to take this step.


On the local level, Representative Barca, Senator Wirch, and I, along with other colleagues, have been working with the Professional Services Group to explore other possibilities to combat this crisis.


2017-19 Budget Update

Since my last e-newsletter, the Joint Finance Committee has begun holding its six public hearings on the proposed budget around the state. Three hearings have been held in Platteville, West Allis, and Berlin. Three more hearings are scheduled for next week in Spooner, Ellsworth, and Marinette. You can watch any of these hearings while they take place by visiting WisconsinEye online. (This is the same site where you can view what is going on during Assembly floor sessions.)


Late last week, the Joint Finance Committee took the unusual step of removing 83 non-fiscal policy items from Gov. Walker's proposed budget, as well as all budget components relating to transportation. This means legislative Republicans are going to be starting from scratch when it comes to state transportation funding. I will be following this issue very closely, given its significance for our community and our state. As the Wisconsin State Journal summed it up, this maneuver by Joint Finance is setting up a showdown among Republican lawmakers and the Governor. Time will tell how they plan to move forward.


As Joint Finance continues its public hearings and begins to take action in executive sessions in the coming weeks, I will definitely keep you posted. I hope you will also stay in touch with me about the issues most important to you in this state budget. Senator Bob Wirch, Representative Peter Barca and I will be holding a joint listening session on the 2017-19 budget on Monday, May 8th starting at 5pm at the Northside Library. I hope to see many of you there.


Kenosha ADRC Offering

Welcome-To-Medicare Workshops in April

The Kenosha Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) sponsors monthly workshops for people new to Medicare and their family members. By attending, you can learn the basics of Medicare coverage, options for private health and drug coverage, and public benefits to help with the cost of healthcare.


This month, workshops are being held on Thursday, April 20th from 2-4pm and Friday, April 28th from 2-4pm. They will take place at the Kenosha Job Center, 8600 Sheridan Road, in Conference Room S11. Use Entrance D.


Reservations are required, as seating and materials are limited. Please RSVP to Kenosha County ADRC at (262) 605-6646 or (800) 472-8008.


Rep. Ohnstad with UW-Parkside Chancellor Deborah Ford

 and UW-Parkside student Josh Cooke


April 25 is National Healthcare Decision Day

This April 25th is National Healthcare Decision Day here in Kenosha. It can be daunting to think about advance care planning. But it can be very helpful for people young and old to learn about what an advanced directives and powers of attorney mean and have important conversations with loved ones about their wishes are.


On Tuesday April 25th, Gateway Technical College will host a presentation and seminar titled "Conversations about Advanced Care Planning" as part of National Healthcare Decision Day. From 2-3pm in Madrigrano Auditorium, local professionals will help attendees learn about advance directives and the process involved in completing one. Then, from 3-4pm there will be one-on-one assistance to complete a power of attorney for health care. Wisconsin POA forms and witnesses will be available.


A photo ID is required if you plan to complete a POA. Please call (262) 605-6646 to make a reservation. Refreshments will be provided.


Later in the week, on Friday, April 28th from 10am-3pm one-on-one assistance to complete a POA for health care will be available at United Hospital System's Kenosha Medical Center campus and St. Catherine's Medical Center campus. Please have Jaymie Laurent paged at the Information Desk for assistance or make an appointment by calling 262-656-2922.


Also on Friday, April 28th from 10am-3pm at Aurora Medical Center, staff will be available in Conference Room D for individual assistance for completing POAs. No appointment is needed. Simply enter at the hospital entrance, turn left a the reception desk, go past the cafeteria on the right side of the hallway and follow the signs.


101 Things To See and Do in Kenosha for Ten Dollars and Under

As we move out of winter into another spring and summer season, why not check out this updated list of fun activities and events? Kenosha has so much going on, you're always bound to find something memorable.


Elsie Mae's Bakery and Cannery Now Included In Made in Wisconsin program

Just over one year ago, I highlighted a new state program available to businesses here in Wisconsin which provided companies operating in Wisconsin a new tool—an official “Made In Wisconsin” logo—to help market the origin and quality of their products.


The program includes several variations of "In Wisconsin," which can be used as applicable for a company's individual circumstances. Options are:

  • Made In Wisconsin

  • Manufactured In Wisconsin

  • Produced In Wisconsin

  • Built In Wisconsin

  • Grown In Wisconsin

  • Invented In Wisconsin

  • Designed In Wisconsin

  • Engineered In Wisconsin

  • Brewed In Wisconsin


I was thrilled to receive notification from WEDC that Kenosha's own Elsie Mae's Bakery and Cannery is now officially included in the "Made In Wisconsin" program. Congratulations Elsie Mae's!


For more information click HERE to visit the Made In Wisconsin website.


ICYMI: Downtown Kenosha Inc. Hires

New Executive Director

At the end of March, Downtown Kenosha, Inc. announced it has hired Nicole Thomsen as its new Executive Director, to start on May 1. You can read the Kenosha News article HERE.

Ms. Thomsen is a local resident of Pleasant Prairie and brings to DKI a strong background in community engagement, fundraising and non-profit project work. She attended UW-Parkside (BS-Business Management) and was recently awarded first and third place honors in the William Patterson University National Sales Competition. Nicole has an extraordinary commitment to the community, evident by her involvement in YLink, Kenosha Creative Space and other local causes.

On behalf of the 65th Assembly District, I want to congratulate both DKI and Nicole on this exciting announcement and wish Nicole a warm welcome to the 65th District.



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