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June 2, 2017

Advocating for Forestry

It is hard to believe that it is already the beginning of June.  The school year is coming to an end for students around the 87th District and the summer tourism season is upon us.  In Madison, I remain hard at work as the legislature continues to review the biennial state budget (Assembly Bill 64).  Since Governor Walker introduced this proposal back in February, many of you have reached out to me to share your thoughts on this important legislation and I thank you for your feedback.  This legislation is one of the most important bills that the legislature considers all session.  Better understanding my constituents thoughts on this proposal has allowed me to better advocate on your behalf.

During the state budget process, one of the issues you may have heard about is the proposed elimination of the Forestry Mill Tax which has also been labeled the "Statewide Property Tax".  At first, it sounds great to eliminate an entire tax.  However, I am concerned about the elimination of this tax because it is the one funding source dedicated to supporting important forestry related programs.  As residents of northern Wisconsin, we all likely know someone whose livelihood relies on forestry and are aware of the huge impact this industry has on the economy in our area of the state.  Forestry is the top employer in two counties in the 87th Assembly District and is the second largest industry in Wisconsin, second only to agriculture. 

The importance of the forestry industry in Wisconsin is nothing new.  Back in the 1920s, the people of Wisconsin voted to amend the state Constitution to allow the state to levy a tax for "acquiring, preserving and developing the forests of the state." (Article VIII, 10 of the Wisconsin Constitution).  Ever since the revenue generated by this tax has provided support for programs that keep forestry in our state strong.  Currently this tax, which only costs the average homeowner about $27 per year, funds programs such as forest fire prevention, fighting invasive species, and managing our state forests.

In his budget proposal, the Governor proposes shifting the funding of forestry programs to the general fund which is primarily funded by sales and income tax revenue.  While the funding for these programs would remain under this proposed budget there is no guarantee it would continue at the same level, or at all, in future budgets.  My concern is that without a dedicated funding source forestry will lose out to other important priorities such as education, health care, or transportation because forestry is simply not as important in other areas of the state as it is in the Northwoods.  As the state budget continues to work through the legislative process, I will continue to advocate for the people of the 87th District including voicing my support for protecting funding for forestry programs in our state.

Around the 87th District

Rusk County Law Enforcement Memorial Service
Last week I had the privilege to participate in the Rusk County Law Enforcement Memorial Service in Ladysmith. The ceremony paid tribute to law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in 2016.  During the ceremony, a special tribute was made in memory of fallen Rusk County Deputy Dan Glaze with the retiring his badge number.  I am grateful to Governor Walker and Attorney General Schimel for joining members of the community at this event.  A very heartfelt thank you to everyone who came and showed your support for law enforcement in our community.

Rep. Edming playing Taps during the service

Going to the Dentist
Normally a trip to the dentist isn't on the top of everyone's to-do list, but it was for me last week. I stopped into the Gelhaus Dental Clinic in Medford, a family owned and operated business run by Fred Gelhaus and his children Ben and Sally. We had the opportunity to have a fantastic discussion about issues impacting the dental profession.  Thank you to Fred, Ben, & Sally for taking the time to meet with me!


Back to School
Recently, Senator Petrowski and I had the opportunity to teach government classes for the day at Medford High School.  Senator Petrowski and I had a great time speaking with these outstanding 10th-grade students about the state government and the legislative process. What a wonderful and bright group of young citizens!

Teaching government class at Medford High School with Senator Petrowski

Ladysmith Students Step Up to Help the Community
In the aftermath of the recent severe storms that hit our area so many people have stepped up to assist those in need.  It was great to see the story about the Ladysmith High School seniors who stepped up to help their neighbors in the community.  Their willingness to help the community is an inspiration to us all. Thank you to these great young people for all your hard work!

Click on the picture above to view the story from WEAU

June 3-4 is Free Fun Weekend in Wisconsin!

If you are looking for something to do this weekend it is a great time to get outside and explore Wisconsin.  This weekend, June 3-4, is the Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Free Fun Weekend.  For these two days only, there is free entry to state parks and fishing is free on all inland waters and Wisconsin's side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.  In addition, no trail passes are required to use DNR managed trails and ATV/UTV riding is free on public lands open to such uses.  For a list of all of the special events going on during Free Fun Weekend, you can click here.

Stay Up to Date

One of the best ways to stay up to date with what is going on in Madison is to sign up for the legislature's notification tracking service.  This service allows you to follow legislative activity in Madison.  Once you create a free account you can sign up to receive notifications about specific bills or committees as well as legislative activity pertaining to a subject area (i.e. agriculture, veterans).  You can sign up for this service at

You can also follow me on Facebook to see what I have been doing in Madison and around the 87th Assembly District.


As always, if you have any comments or thoughts regarding the subject of this  E-Update, please feel free to contact me.

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State Capitol Room 109 West - PO Box 8952, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-7506