May 18, 2020

Contact: Jordan Dunn (Congressman Gallagher): (202) 774-0428 / Senator Cowles: (608) 266-0484

Gallagher/Cowles Call on Evers to Aid Brown County’s COVID-19 Response Efforts

GREEN BAY– Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08) and State Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statements calling on Governor Tony Evers to distribute funding to Brown County to support and bolster the County’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak: 

“While every county has been working to respond to COVID-19 in real time, Brown County has been uniquely tasked with addressing the effects of the pandemic in their region with the highest rate of cases in the state,” said Senator Cowles. “Thankfully, they have collectively stepped up to the challenge, and have managed to provide a rapid and substantial response, but this hasn’t come without cost. While other local governments with sizable outbreaks have received direct aid to assist in their ability to respond, Brown County has been left to pick-up the tab on their own, hindering their ability to create a more robust response and potentially leading to impacts for other critical governmental functions. It’s my hope that the Governor can quickly work with us to provide certainty that Brown County is provided with the financial flexibility they need to combat COVID-19.” 

“Brown County has responded well to its recent surge of Coronavirus cases, but its response has come at a significant cost,” said Rep. Gallagher. “The CARES Act provided Wisconsin with more than $2 billion to help counties and local governments that need assistance paying for virus-related expenses, and it’s critical that Governor Evers makes these funds immediately available to our community. The Governor has a responsibility to aid areas of need — both large and small — and I urge him to provide Brown County with the resources it’s eligible for so our local leaders can continue to respond effectively to this public health crisis.”

Under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Wisconsin received approximately $2.258 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to assist state and local governments in their response and recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The anticipated distribution of funds took place in late in April, with the State receiving approximately $1.998 billion, and the remaining approximately $260 million distributed between three local governments, including Dane and Milwaukee Counties and the City of Milwaukee. Brown County received no direct aid from the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Senator Cowles has been in frequent contact with Brown County officials to determine how the state can bolster their efforts in response to COVID-19. After sending an initial letter on April 24th to the Governor requesting aid (view the first letter), Senator Cowles spoke with Chief of Staff Maggie Gau within days. At their request, he sent a follow-up letter (view the second letter) Friday, May 8th, with a more detailed request primarily focusing around the state filling the 25% local match requirements for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance. Over the weekend, Governor Evers responded to this letter, but failed to commit monetary assistance to Brown County with funding provided through the CARES Act.

On March 27th, the CARES Act passed the House with Congressman Gallagher’s support. This critical legislation included funding for state and local Coronavirus response efforts. Congressman Gallagher has participated in a number of teletown halls with local health and business leaders, including WI DHS Secretary and Deputy Secretary, and engages daily with local officials and industry leaders impacted by the pandemic. He also is hosting a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donation drive with Brown County Public Health. 

As a final note, while businesses begin to reopen and consumers regain confidence to frequent their favorite shops, restaurants, bars, and other local establishments, please remember to maintain social distancing and utilize other guidelines recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Wisconsin Safety Council to do your part to control the spread of COVID-19 in Northeast Wisconsin.