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Friends and Neighbors,

I hope this email finds you well. It has now been 244 days since the Senate or Assembly has met to pass a bill. 244 days while our businesses, essential workers, and communities have been hurting. This inaction is unacceptable. I am encouraged to see that Governor Evers and legislative leaders are meeting to discuss a second COVID-19 response bill. We need to take action now to support families, schools, essential workers, and the unemployed. Additionally, as the year comes to an end, federal CARES Act funding will expire without action from Congress. For this reason, Governor Evers proposed funding requests for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, hospital surge capacity support, vaccine distribution, COVID-19 testing supplies, and lab diagnostic materials. These are all necessities as COVID-19 continues to impact our community.

As always, please contact my office if you have any questions or concerns. Continue reading for updates on managing COVID-19 during the holidays, the election, resources, and more.



COVID-19 Update

I hope you all had a nice and safe Thanksgiving. With Christmas approaching, the Department of Health Services recently released new guidance for celebrating the holidays during a pandemic. It is important that we find safe ways to connect with our loved ones during these difficult times. DHS provides some safe holiday options, such as eating with your friends and family virtually. However, if you do choose to celebrate with loved ones outside of your household, I encourage you to quarantine for 14 days following possible exposure.  For more information and a decision making tool, click here.

COVID-19 is still very present in our community, with very high or critically high COVID-19 activity in all but one of the 72 Wisconsin counties. In the past week, there has been a decrease in new daily positive cases. However, cases continue to be high and new daily deaths have not decreased in recent days. To slow to spread and alleviate the burdens healthcare workers currently face we must continue to wear masks, wash our hands, practice social distancing, and stay at home when possible.

Now, for some positive news after 9 months of the pandemic; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a COVID-19 vaccine. DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm has indicated that the first round of vaccines will be dispersed to healthcare professionals and long term care residents. The first shipments of this vaccine are being distributed now.

For more information on the number of COVID-19 positive tests, COVID-19 deaths, and other COVID-19 data by county, click here. 

I also encourage you to continue accessing relevant and accurate information from these sources:


Election Update

Thank you to all of the clerks, poll workers, and election officials who successfully completed the initial count, the canvass, and the recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties. I appreciate all they have done to ensure that Wisconsin had a free and fair election. Thanks to their hard work and extra hours, the results of the November 3rd General Election were certified. On November 30th, Governor Evers signed the Certificate of Ascertainment for the 2020 General Election for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. If you are interested in reading more about the safety and integrity of this election, click here.

Members of the Electoral College met yesterday, on December 14th to cast their votes for the candidate who earned the majority of votes in their respective states.

In addition, on December 11th, the Committee on Campaigns and Elections held a hearing on the November 3rd election. This hearing revealed no evidence of widespread election fraud. Only one election clerk was invited and Republicans used majority of the hearing to voice their grievances with very little evidence. 

If you have concerns about the November 3rd election, I encourage you to share them with the Wisconsin Elections Commission at https://elections.wi.gov/complaints.
Dairy Processor Grants

Dairy farms are vital to our rural community’s economic health. As a former goat farmer and the ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture, I care deeply about our farmers. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection recently announced that they will be accepting applications for Dairy Processor Grants through January 15, 2021. The grant funding is intended to foster innovation, improve profitability, and sustain the long-term viability of Wisconsin’s dairy processing facilities. Grant recipients will receive up to $50,000. I highly encourage you to apply or send this link to dairy farmers you know. The Dairy Processor Grant application can be found at the following link: https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Growing_WI/DairyDevelopment.aspx. Applications must be emailed to Grants Manager Ryan Dunn at RyanD.Dunn@wisconsin.gov by 5:00 PM on Friday, January 15, 2021.


Mental health resources

Next Monday the 21st of December is the winter solstice - otherwise known as the longest night of the year.

This year has been emotionally challenging for many reasons. The changes in season and sunlight can worsen already existing mental health challenges. I encourage you and your loved ones to reach out for support if you think you may need it.

Please check out Resilient Wisconsin for resources on learning to cope with these dark winter months of the pandemic, and for helplines, hotlines, and virtual meetings.

In addition, with COVID-19 recommendations in place, people are spending more time at home. If you feel overwhelmed or unsafe, please check out these resources:

Disaster Distress Hotline: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline
End Abuse Wisconsin: https://www.endabusewi.org/get-help/
Suicide Prevention Lifeline (free and confidential support): https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Again - you are not alone. Everyone deserves to find healthy ways to cope with trauma and chronic stress.
Final Day of Open Enrollment Today

Today, December 15th, is the last day that you can enroll in a healthcare plan for 2021 through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Exchange on Healthcare.gov. 

Governor Evers announced earlier this month that almost 60,000 Wisconsinites enrolled in a healthcare plan on healthcare.gov from November 1 to November 21. It is critical that every Wisconsinite has health insurance as we continue to face the COVID-19 crisis.

Free assistance is available to all Wisconsinites who need help selecting a health insurance plan. This assistance can also help you discover if you qualify for financial assistance. In Wisconsin, 8 out of 10 people who enroll in a HealthCare.gov plan qualify for financial help to lower their monthly payment.

For assistance, visit www.WisCovered.com or call 2-1-1 to find an expert near you.

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Wisconsin Energy Assistance is Available

As the weather gets colder this year and we continue to face this pandemic, I know that many Wisconsinites are forced to make difficult decisions. Folks should not have to choose between heating their home and feeding their family. I encourage anyone who is falling behind on their utility bills to seek assistance from the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). You can also contact your utility provider who is willing to work out payment arrangements. Alliant Energy customers are encouraged to check out their Customer Assistance page for additional resources.   


People's Maps Commission Meeting

As your State Representative, I am committed to free and fair elections in Wisconsin. It is time that Wisconsin creates fair maps because all Wisconsinites deserve fair and equal representation. People should choose their politicians, not the other way around. On January 14, 2021 the People's Maps Commission will have their fourth meeting. This meeting was rescheduled from December 9th. They will discuss the 4th Congressional District, which is represented by Gwen Moore and includes the city of Milwaukee as well as some surrounding areas. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis for the virtual hearing, but written comments are also encouraged. 

Sign up here.

DNR Update

The DNR recently announced the official wolf season will begin November 6, 2021. Gray wolves will soon be taken off the federal endangered species list, returning management authority to the lower 48 states and tribes. The recovery of gray wolves is a testament to the Endangered Species Act and required significant cooperation of federal, state and tribal agencies, along with other conservation partners. In a recent report, the DNR found that there are at least 1,034 wolves in Wisconsin, mostly living in the north and central forest region. Looking forward, the management of gray wolves in our state will be conducted in a transparent manner, with public and tribal input. In addition, the DNR will create a new Wolf Management Plan Committee to help ensure sustainable management of Wisconsin’s wolves in the future.

      Photo credit: Wisconsin DNR


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I encourage you to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns during this time. It is important to me to hear from you on issues at the state level.