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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

Our community experienced a great loss last week with the fatal shooting of Milwaukee Police Officer Michael J. Michalski. My deepest prayers, thoughts, and condolences go out to the friends and family of Officer Michalski who was tragically killed in the line of duty. Our police officers put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe.

The loss, grief, and sadness that accompanies fatal and tragic incidents like this leave our entire community in utter shock and mourning. My heart is with the Milwaukee Police Department, our community, and the friends and family of the officer during this difficult time.



For the past several weeks, I have had the pleasure of having two students involved in the PEOPLE program intern in my Capitol office.  I wanted to take some time to highlight the work of the PEOPLE program and share a little bit about what interns Joya Headley and Jasmine Colbert have been up to in my office. Keep reading for more about this program and Joya and Jasmine's experience in our feature article below. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about state matters. 

Sincerely, 

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LaTonya Johnson
State Senator

 

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Tip of the Month 2.png (1)Get Vaccinations before the  School Year Begins!

With school coming up and flu season only a few months away, it’s time to get thinking about immunizations. Even healthy children and adults can get sick and spread diseases to other people that may be vulnerable. Thanks to immunizations, vaccine-preventable diseases are becoming increasingly rare. Vaccinating your child not only protects them from viruses like polio, measles, and whooping cough, but it also protects your community by preventing the spread of these diseases. 


To find out what vaccinations your child needs for this school year, you can check out the Department of Health Services student immunization age requirements, here.

 

Teaming up with the PEOPLE Program

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As a member of the Senate Committee on Education, I have worked hard to advocate for creating a better future for our children and ensuring a quality education for each of our kids. When I visit schools in my community, I see the faces of children who deserve every opportunity to thrive and pursue their dreams. 

We know that for low-income students and children of color, opportunity gaps present barriers that exist in terms of access to affordable higher education and job training opportunities. While there are many policy discussions that could and should be had related to these disparities, I wanted to take a moment this month to highlight a program that is striving to open doors for minority students.  


Many colleges and universities aim to increase diversity within their institutions and have had varying levels of success. Notably, programs created by minorities for minorities are a driving force toward dismantling the long and prevalent history of underrepresentation on college campuses. The PEOPLE Program (Precollege Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence) is one of University of Wisconsin-Madison's pre-college programs designed for students of color and low-income students in the Milwaukee and Dane County areas, most of whom will be the first in their families to attend college. Through this four-year program, students become prepared to apply, be successfully admitted, and enroll at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Not only does the PEOPLE program build study skills, it also allows students to explore and strengthen academic and career interests. 

Since its debut in 1999, participation in the program has grown from 66 high school students to now serving more than 1,300 each year. By providing college preparatory, internship and campus lifestyle opportunities, the PEOPLE Program has improved application rates of students of color who show interest in UW-Madison. More than 90% of PEOPLE students go on to attend college, and nearly half are enrolled at UW-Madison. Students who complete the program and are admitted to UW-Madison can become eligible for a tuition scholarship for up to five years.

In their third year in the program, students are granted the opportunity to participate in internships concerning their career interests. The program splits participants up into groups based on their intended major and career. Two students, Joya Headley from Milwaukee and Jasmine Colbert from Racine showed an interest in law and politics, and I was thrilled to have them intern in my office so that they could explore their interests more thoroughly. Joya and Jasmine were able to work hands-on with my staff and me on constituent relations and casework, legislative research, and bill drafting.

Students involved in the law and politics class also organized a 'Day of Action' where they pitched their own bill ideas to their state legislators and staff with the goal that they would influence lawmakers to take action. The ideas the PEOPLE program students presented included paid family leave, implementing restorative justice courts, and changing how schools are funded. For this Day of Action, Joya and Jasmine, along with some of their classmates who reside in the 6th Senate District, organized a meeting with me to discuss their community concerns along with ideas on how to improve them. I was impressed with the knowledge and research that went into each of their legislative ideas and was thrilled to hear their thoughts and views on state and local issues. 


When reflecting on her experience, Jasmine says the projects they were given helped them learn how a senate office works as well as taught them the process of passing legislation.  During her internship, she has expressed her appreciation of her experience, stating, "The internship as a whole was a wonderful experience for me because it allowed the opportunity for me to see if I would like a career in politics. It also opened the door for connections since I am interested in government. I am very thankful to the PEOPLE program, Dale Yurs, Senator Johnson and Staff for this opportunity because I got to experience a law/politics class but also intern for a Senator in which would not have been possible without their support."

Joya added to this by stating, "Interning in Senator Johnson’s office has influenced me to continue my fight for change in Milwaukee. During my internship, I’ve learned the importance of contacting your representatives to get your voice heard on how you envision political change in your community." 

I would like to congratulate Joya and Jasmine for successfully completing their internships in the Wisconsin Legislature! 

Learn more about the PEOPLE program, here.  

In the District

I frequently attend and host events in the 6th Senate District, tour local facilities, and visit schools in our neighborhood. Updates on what's happening locally in our community can be found in this section. I'll also include updates on listening sessions and EMPOWER-MKE events in this section in future editions. 

 

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EMPOWER-MKE
It was once again inspiring to see many of you come and be active participants in the 6th Senate District EMPOWER-MKE event, where two professors from UW-Madison shared valuable information about the effects of incarceration on children and families. It is my hope that the knowledge they shared will help to keep this conversation going in our community so that we may all work together to advocate for positive changes and solutions that will support Milwaukee families.

If you missed out on the discussion, please see the EMPOWER-MKE website for a copy of the presentation. These advocacy and resource summits will be held two times each year. Check my Facebook page or go to www.EMPOWERMKE.com for updates. 

Pop-up MKE! 
Local pop-up shops recently celebrated their grand openings in the 6th Senate District as part of the second round of Pop-up Milwaukee businesses. 

Nandi Collections, which sells leather accessories and home decor, and Paradise Home, which offers clothing, accessories, and home goods is at 1617 W. North Ave.

Cream City Phresh apparel and Papyrus & Charms jewelry celebrated their grand openings on W. North Ave.

The shops will be open for four weeks (until August 12) and are part of a total of 18 pop-ups through the public/private initiative Pop Up MKE, which aims to boost entrepreneurship in the City. Learn more here.

Celebrate National Night Out on August 7 

Each year, National Night Out provides community members the opportunity to get to know their law enforcement agencies, watch groups and other organizations. Live entertainment, free food, raffles, and more are provided at the event. In addition to family-friendly fun, the event also gives people the opportunity to experience safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events and other community resources. Milwaukee Police Department District 3 will be holding their annual National Night Out event on August 7, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Washington Park Band Shell. 

For additional National Night Out events in the Milwaukee-area, see this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article. 


In the News

I'm working hard for Wisconsinites and am fighting to make our communities a better, safer place to live and raise a family. This section of 'Community Connections' will keep you up-to-date on hot topics happening locally, statewide, and nationally. Additionally, I frequently talk to residents of our community, and share your voice and values when talking to members of the media. That said, I'll share articles that I am quoted in, too. 

 

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Wisconsin Continues to Lag in Small
Business Start-up Activity 
One of the country’s leading entrepreneurship advocacy and research organizations, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, recently found that for a third year, Wisconsin ranks 50th among the 50 states in start-up activity. Wisconsin's history was once rich in having a wide range of small businesses. I'll continue to work hard to promote tools and resources to foster business start-ups in our state. 

Mismanagement of our Tax Dollars  
Walker's Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has a record of mismanagement of our tax dollars.

In recent years, the uncollectable loan balance grew from $1.3 million to $11 million and just yesterday the agency announced that they are writing off a $1.1 million debt owed by a businessman convicted of fraud. 

Given the scandal-plagued history of WEDC, it is extremely concerning that this is the same agency that will be responsible for $4.5 billion in taxpayer money for Foxconn.

Emerging Readers Program  
Looking for a way to help inspire our children to see the joy and value in reading? Sign up for the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County Emerging Readers program!

You will be matched with a child and will buy them books this school year by bringing 2-3 books to the drop-offs in October, December, February, and April. To get involved, be sure to register by August 31.

Early Voting is Happening Now
On August 14, our Wisconsinites will have an opportunity to vote in primary elections for governor, U.S. senator, and other statewide and local elections. Early voting is going on now in Milwaukee, taking place at the Zeidler Municipal Building at 841 N. Broadway. Click here for more information. 

 

Useful Phone Numbers

There are many levels of state and local government that can help answer questions and get you connected with resources you may need. I have listed some useful phone numbers below. You can also see a comprehensive list of numbers by clicking the link below. If you see a change needed or an important number that should be added, please let me know! 

Congresswoman Gwen Moore.............................414-297-1140
Governor Walker..................................................608-266-1212
Milwaukee Common Council...............................414-286-2221
Milwaukee Country Board....................................414-278-4222
Milwaukee Police Department.............................414-933-4444
Poison Control......................................................800-222-1222
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program..............800-815-0015

Medigap Helpline.................................................800-242-1060
Consumer Protection Hotline..............................800-422-7128
Department of Health Services............................608-266-1865
Workforce Development......................................608-266-3131
Public Service Commission..................................800-225-7729
SeniorCare Wisconsin.........................................800-657-2038
WI Commissioner of Insurance Complaints.......800-236-8517


For other useful phone numbers, click here!