Week of Feb. 19th - Feb. 25th
There is a lot
happening at the State Capitol and it is my hope that this email will
help you stay in touch with your government. As your Senator, I truly
believe in public service. If there is anything my office can do to
assist you, please feel free to contact us.
History Month Reception
Tuesday this week, I attended the Black History Month Reception, hosted
by the Black and Latino Caucus in the Capitol. The event was a chance for
legislators, staff, and the public to fellowship over a meal. We
were fortunate this year to have the Milwaukee Kitchen Cabinet, which is
a nationwide grassroots movement of restaurateurs committed to working
closely with non-profits and elected officials to ensure restaurants
serve as community hubs and local employment opportunities. We were
joined by chefs from Milwaukee’s Point Burger Bar, Calderone
Club, Chophouse, and BelAir Cantina. Thank you
to the chefs and everyone that stopped by!
Tuesday, the Senate was in session and voted on nearly 90 bills and
resolutions that covered issues from firearms straw purchases to sales of
reformulated gas. Five bills and one Joint Resolution that I
co-authored; Senate Joint Resolution 102 (proclaiming February as
Black History Month in Wisconsin), SB 615, SB 680, AB 539, AB 552 and AB
653 were passed during the nearly 9 hour session.
615 – creates an ability to grant vocational training certificates to residents
while incarcerated, assisting them to better find employment upon release
680 – returns oversight of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts back
to Milwaukee County
539 – creates a mechanism to bring a community closer to the process of choosing
an appropriate residence for a sexually violent person returning to the
552 - expands on the types of military service that qualify an individual
to be a member the Red Arrow Club.
653 - requires facilities that perform mammography examinations to
provide certain patients with information regarding dense breast tissue.
Special Session Bills
Tuesday’s session, the Republican-controlled Senate approved nine of
Governor Walker’s bills that dramatically alter how low-income
individuals and families access public assistance programs. For example,
one bill forces a family to choose between putting food on the table and
having reliable transportation, by putting a cap on an individual’s
assets or limiting how much a family’s car could be worth. These
bills create barriers to some of our most vulnerable residents, who need
a helping hand. Simply put, the idea that those who are accessing
state assistance are not going through a hard time or are comfortable
with their financial situation it ridiculous. All evidence-based studies
on the efficacy of welfare programs show that Governor Walker’s reforms
will hurt people and it pains me to see this misguided legislation make
its way to the Governor’s desk.
Change is Coming....
Wednesday, the Assembly passed AB 953, a bill that includes many changes
to our state’s juvenile corrections system. The bill, which would
close Lincoln Hills as a juvenile corrections facility, is the
result of a lengthy process of bipartisan comprise and work to
regionalize the way we provide services to youth who have made
mistakes. The bill will allow Milwaukee’s youth to complete
placements in Milwaukee, providing more opportunity for family engagement
and a reduction in recidivism.
with any negotiation, the bill does not include every change I wish to
make to juvenile justice. Others in the community have also voiced
apprehensions that the bill doesn’t do enough or provide the changes they
wanted to see. I met with representatives of Youth Justice
Milwaukee (YJM), to hear their concerns and update them on the work done
on the bill to date. This bill is a starting point. It takes
definite steps to provide safer placements for juveniles in detention and
right-size corrections strategies that encourage rehabilitation. As
we move forward, I will certainly work to engage the input and
considerations of the community.
Saturday, I will have the honor of being the keynote speaker for the
Infamous Mothers Talkback Conference. Infamous Mothers is an amazing
organization that works with women who have become mothers at the margins
of society, often having experienced injustices at the hands our own societies institutions or in circumstances beyond
their control. These women aim to overcome the environment they
experienced motherhood in by empowering each other with their
experiences, engaging in activism and education, and changing the
narrative that surrounds women whose motherhood society frowns upon.
Infamous Mothers raise money for their efforts by selling socially
conscious apparel, producing publications, and leading workshops around
the community. My comments will center on my work to pass a bill that
would restrict the shackling of pregnant and postpartum women in a correctional
on Saturday, I will have the opportunity to take part in a Round Table
Event for the SistaLuv organization. SistaLuv is a Christian based girls organization that
provides a safe haven for young women who meet to help one another accept
the role God has given them to play, and then give their blessings back
to the community outreach and service. I spoke with girls aged 10-18
about the struggles we see individuals have with addiction in our
community, and the importance of mental wholeness.
I am always amazed at the
maturity and perspective of our young people who have already taken it
upon themselves to be proactive about dealing with issues such as
addition in our community. It will be a privilege to be able to offer them
my own perspective on the issue of addiction, and the importance of a
holistic approach to recovery.
Women in Politics Panel
Thursday, my office participated in a panel discussion on Women in
Politics Panel with the Gender Equity Club and students at East High
School in Madison. Panelists discussed how they got their start in
politics, their struggles, and the role of race, gender and disabilities
in their involvement. The event was a student hosted discussion,
with moderators and questions solely from the students.
the 20th woman to hold a senate seat in the state of Wisconsin, the
representation of both African Americans and women in politics is
incredibly important to me. In the Wisconsin Legislature, there are 9
women in the 33-member Senate and 22 women in the 99-member Assembly
currently serving. On a federal level, as of 2017, there are only 21
females in the 100-member senate and 83 females in the 435-member House
marginalizes our voice on in the issues impacting our state and country.
As a community, we must encourage all women to run for office, apply for
legislative staff positions and become a part of the process. With
the rise of various social movement for female empowerment, such as the
Woman’s March and #MeToo, we are seeing record
numbers of women taking their seat at the political table.
Banner Preparatory School Visit
I had the honor of talking to high school students at Banner Preparatory
School. We discussed the many obstacles facing young people today
and the need to remain focused on their education. I shared my own
experiences and choices as a student. I listened as the students
talked about what was important to them and what kept them awake at night.
Coming off the events of last week’s school shooting in Florida, sitting
with these students reminded me of how fragile and strong these young
people are at the same time. I tried to offer words of
encouragement, information to enhance their educational experience and
advice to keep them engaged in school. Most importantly, I wanted
them to know that I am working for them, cheering them on and looking for
ways to help them succeed. I wanted them to know that I am in their
corner and so are the many adults around them.
Algonquin Manor Senior Living
of my favorite parts of being a Senator is meeting with the constituents.
Nothing motivates me more than meeting with the people I am fighting for
and whose lives my decisions impact every day. On Saturday, I am visiting
with residents of Algonquin Manor Senior Apartments. I’m looking
forward to hearing their concerns, helping where I can and updating them
on my work in the senate. Whether it is information on resources
and services for seniors, or visiting nursing homes to ensure quality of
care, I am committed to the generations of residents who did the heavy
lifting and laid a foundation on which many of us stand. Of Wisconsin’s
nearly 6 million people, 16% are over the age of 65.
Good Luck Jordan!!
of our team members, Jordan Krieger, is joining the office of newly
elected Wisconsin State Senator Patty Schachtner.
Jordan has been an amazing asset to my office and will be missed.
We wish him every success in his new role! (He’s the tall one in the