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.
On Thursday, the LGBTQ Progress Awards were held to
celebrate community leaders who have positively impacted both the LGBTQ
and Milwaukee communities. We have come a long way since PrideFest
debuted 30 years ago, but the fight for equal protections in areas such
as employment, military service, and healthcare remain as important as
ever. Advocates play a vital role in keeping issues affecting the
LGBTQ at the forefront and I am pleased that we are taking a moment to
acknowledge the importance of their work.
categories include the Struggle for Equality, Progress in Philanthropy,
Progress in Youth Service, Progress in Activism and more. This event not
only recognizes those who have made progress for the LGBTQ community, but
also donates 20 percent of proceeds to the Cream City Foundation, an
organization that does great work in Milwaukee to advance the human
rights and support the needs of the LGBTQ community in Southeastern
Governor's Minority Unemployment Task Force
On Friday, I attended the Governor’s Minority Unemployment
Task Force. A number of reports were provided and presentations offered
on advancing the goal of addressing barriers to full participation of
minority residents in Wisconsin’s workforce, developing skilled workers and
empowering individuals to pursue and retain family supporting careers. We
heard updates on the Wisconsin Fast Forward program, which supports
worker training projects, as well as hearing from Employ Milwaukee.
Employ Milwaukee has youth apprenticeship program which emphasizes STEM,
heavy manufacturing as well as urban agriculture. They have also reached
out to the Sherman Park area, adding a Job Access Point and doing
vocational rehabilitation work. Milwaukee Public Schools, who is also a
partner discussed their work around youth apprenticeships, summer
youth employment and FaBLabs, which are fabrication laboratories that aim
to teach engineering and materials processing and to allow
students to apply textbook physics and math to real-world projects.
Fab labs are the new shop class, but they're also at the center
of a transformation in thinking about how to better engage students in
learning and how to restructure technical education. And
finally we heard from business partners and the connection to the skilled
trades and post-secondary educational opportunities.
Price Tag: Fiscally and Environmentally Too High?
As Governor Walker continues to push for a speedy decision
on the Foxconn deal, more red flags are waving. I have already expressed
my concerns regarding Foxconn’s history of failed business deals and
highly questionable labor practices around the world. This concern
is further solidified by the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s recent
projections that it would take 25 years, under the best possible
circumstances, for this to be a profitable deal for Wisconsin. And
yet, there are more immediate issues to weigh in on.
creation is important, no doubt, but the protection of Wisconsin’s
waterways and natural resources is of consequential importance. If not
done right, the damage we caused in the hurried execution of this deal
could be real and resonating. Walker’s deal would exempt Foxconn from no
less than six current Wisconsin DNR permitting requirements to encourage
business development. Will other business expect similar treatment?
Wisconsin is full of beautiful lakes, forest and wetlands, but now we are
questioning what are we willing to forgo for job creation. How impactful
are the power and water needs associated with a project of this size, and
how are neighboring communities impacted? We have a great
responsibility to protect our wetlands, vibrant habitats which act as
natural filters for drinking water, and protect against flooding. I want
to make sure we’re getting a good deal with Foxconn, and environmental
protection is inseparable from that.
Trip to Appleton, WI
This week I went to see how a 72-acre golf course is being
converted into an Agriculture industry haven. Founded in 1898, Riverview
Country Club and golf course was Wisconsin’s oldest private country club
and an Appleton institution until its closing in 2011. It was purchased
in 2011 and has become Riverview Gardens, a venue to address critical
community needs in a completely new way. The course’s transformation
addresses serious regional challenges, including unemployment,
homelessness and poverty.
They offer five different social enterprise businesses where
job-training participants can receive real “on the job” training that they
can use immediately upon graduation from ServiceWorks, to include: (1)
certified-organic urban farm on former golf course fairways; (2)
hydroponics greenhouse built over country club pool (only known
hydroponics operation over former pool in U.S); (3) event and park space
at former country club building and golf course fairways; (4) maintenance
contracts for other non-profit organizations; (5) donated downtown
Appleton building converted into collaborative and creative space to
serve the mission.
I want to thank those in Appleton, WI for the in-state
education, brilliance, experience sharing, and exposure to the
program. Their willingness to help others who have fallen through
the cracks and ability to see the possibilities in all that come to them for
a 2nd chance is extremely important. I'm excited to learn
more, connect it to the work I am doing around my Love & Faith
initiative in Milwaukee, and introduce others to the work being done!
Anniversary of Milwaukee Open Housing Marches
In the summer of 1967 the people of Milwaukee took a stand
to support a fair housing bill for in Milwaukee, aiming to desegregate
the city and provide equal housing opportunities African-Americans. They
marched for 200 nights and every night met largely violent counter-protestors
who would throw bricks and bottles at the marchers, to which the KKK even
bombed an NAACP Milwaukee office on August 9th, 1966. Hundreds of black
people in Milwaukee were either shot at or arrested during this time,
simply for using their first amendment right for peaceful, organized
The bravery, persistence, and strength that these
individuals demonstrated was exceptional, something which I try to bring
into my life and work every day. Despite all the progress we’ve made
since 1967, Milwaukee continues to finds itself plagued by issues of
segregation an racially based adversity. However, like the strong
individuals who took to the streets 50 years ago, we too need to continue
our own march towards racial equity, fairness and inclusion.