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Contents

Kenosha Upended

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Kenosha residents decorating boards in place to protect downtown businesses.

On Sunday, August 23rd, a Kenosha resident named Jacob Blake was shot by a police officer during the course of an arrest. Due to the nature of the shooting (Mr. Blake was shot 7 times in the back), community members began calling for action to be taken by the city, state, and nation to recognize that Black lives matter and for police reform. Mr. Blake has survived the shooting, but is paralyzed from the waist down.

Over the subsequent several evenings, tensions became higher and curfews were put in place to try and maintain safety within the city. On Monday night, many people decided to ignore the curfew, some coming from outside of the city. Seperate from the protesting, rioters engaged in property damage, looting, and arson in the business districts of the city. 

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Damage in the "Uptown" business district of Kenosha

On Tuesday night, armed militias had organized in order to counterprotest and dissuade the actions of rioters. This culminated in the deaths of 2 people and serious injury to one other after an altercation between protesters and a 17 year old resident of Antioch, IL, who had come to participate with the militias, although the young man was not legally permitted to carry a firearm due to his age.

(Photos of Kenosha were taken by a member of my staff, who was raised in Kenosha, during a visit to family this weekend.)

Special Session on the Use of Force by Law Enforcement

The day after the shooting of Jacob Blake, Governor Evers released Executive Order #84, which called for a special session of the Legislature on the use of force by law enforcement to take place at noon on Monday, August 31st.

In his call for a special session, the Governor included 9 bills that he had circulated in June, after a special session was requested by the Legislative Black Caucus following the murder of George Floyd. He said that he would like to see those bills debated, indicating that he would be likely to sign them into law if the Legislature were to pass them.

Last week, Senator Van Wanggaard and Senator Alberta Darling also released a package of 8 bills regarding police administration and policies.

At the scheduled time for the special session yesterday, the Senate Chief Clerk came into the Senate Chambers, where I and several of my Democratic Senate colleagues were waiting for the session to begin. He gaveled the Senate into session and immediately moved to recess the session until Thursday, meaning that no action was taken yesterday. No Republican members of the Senate were present yesterday and at this point, it is unclear when the Republican majority of the State Senate intend to come in to hold the special session.

See my statement on yesterday's events.

Many Visitors Have Come to Kenosha
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Locals and visitors gathered for a march and rally in downtown Kenosha

Since the shooting of Jacob Blake, Kenosha has been visited by people from all over the country. Many of the protesters who have chosen to demonstrate in Kenosha have come from out of town to express their dismay at the shooting of Mr. Blake.

Among the persons breaking curfew or engaging in property damage, arrest numbers include people from 44 different cities. Of the people processed by the police department last week, 102 listed addresses from outside of Kenosha. This phenomena was recognized by the people of Kenosha, who quickly began asking for people not to visit their city outside of the instated curfew.

Other visitors include the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who came to speak to the people of Kenosha, offering the community and the family of Jacob Blake his support and encouragement during these most difficult times.

Today, President Donald Trump made a visit to the city to survey the damage that had been done during the previous week and to meet with the law enforcement community. The Mayor of Kenosha has indicated that he believes that it is too soon for the President or his campaign challenger Joe Biden to be visiting, and that he believes the city needs more time to heal before major political figures come for a visit.

Traveling National WWII Memorial and Field of Flags in Milwaukee

A nearly life sized replica of the National WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be arriving Sunday August 30 at 11am, and the War Memorial Center is in need of many volunteers during its time in Milwaukee. 

There is a description of all the different roles they are looking for, but setup and tear down roles will be physical in nature. Volunteer sign up can be found here.

Once setup, the memorial will be open to the public. Admission is free, however the War Memorial Center asks that you register for a specific date and time so they can control physical distancing. As a reminder the entire Memorial will be outside and parking is $8/car in their lot. 

The Field of Flags will be on display just north of their parking lot through Friday, September 4. 2,972 flags that will represent every brave Milwaukee service member who gave his or her life defending our country during WWII.

FEMA Funds to Help the Unemployed

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has applied for a grant through the FEMA Lost Wages Assistance program which would allow an additional unemployment compensation benefit of $300 per week to unemployment recipients.

This stop-gap is necessary. We must do everything we can to make sure that people who have lost work through no fault of their own can stay afloat. It is unacceptable that the U.S. Senate has decided to recess while leaving our country’s response to COVID-19 unfinished. In Senator McConnell’s own words, “The American people need more help, coronavirus is not finished with our country, so Congress cannot be finished helping our people.”

Read more.

Early Voting at Fiserv Forum and Miller Park

Yesterday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced that Fiserv Forum and Miller Park would be available as in-person absentee voting (early voting) locations for the November 3rd election.

The adoption of these locations is in anticipation of a large early voting turnout for the November election, and the need for large sites to accommodate the physical distancing that is required during the Coronavirus pandemic. Read more.

For more information about where you can vote early, or if you would like to request a mail-in absentee ballot, contact your municipal clerk:

City of Greenfield 414-329-5219

City of Milwaukee 414-286-3491

City of Wauwatosa 414-479-8917

City of West Allis 414-302-8220

Village of West Milwaukee 414-645-1530 ext 0