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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

The 2019-2020 Legislative Session is now officially underway! It's been a busy couple of weeks filled by meetings with organizations and other stakeholders who are informing legislators of their priorities for the new session. It has been great to catch up with union members, credit unions, health care organizations and many others over the past several weeks. 

This month's newsletter is full of updates, including key takeaways from Governor Evers' first State of the State Address, an introduction to my legislative staff for this session, an update on our recent EMPOWER-MKE event, and more! I also have a new district office and will be hosting an open house on February 21 -- more details below! 

As always, please let my office know what state and community issues are important to you! 


Sincerely, 

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LaTonya Johnson
State Senator

 

Contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stay Safe this Winter

Governor Tony Evers recently declared a State of Emergency for all of Wisconsin in response to dangerous weather conditions experienced the past couple of weeks. 

While our state is no longer in a State of Emergency, it is still important to keep in mind that cold weather can quickly become dangerous and even life-threatening. Please keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe as well as check in on your friends and neighbors. If you or someone you know needs access to a warming shelter and needs help finding a location, dial 2-1-1 for assistance. 

Check out more winter safety tips on the City of Milwaukee Health Department's Website.

 

Governor Evers gives his first 'State of the State' Address
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Late last month, Governor Evers gave his first 'State of the State' address, an annual speech given by the current Wisconsin governor to reflect on how our state is faring and lay out their vision for the future of Wisconsin. It was refreshing to hear a vision that puts the health, education and well-being of children and families in Wisconsin first. Governor Evers acknowledged what residents across the state have been calling for: bipartisan solutions that put people over politics. 

The governor painted a vision for our state that seeks to improve the lives of every Wisconsinite by focusing on initiatives such as:

  • Expanding affordable health care. In order to ensure more Wisconsinites have access to quality, affordable health care Evers said he will be expanding Medicaid. Not only will taking advantage of the increased federal funding to expand our state's BadgerCare program open it up to more people, but it will also save our state money. It is simply a win-win for Wisconsin and I hope to see bipartisan support for this common-sense proposal.

  • Fully funding our schools. It was promising to hear Governor Evers acknowledge the work that needs to be done to close racial disparities in education. A step in the right direction towards this goal is his plan to return our state budget to its historical precedent of two-thirds funding for public schools. This means that our state budget would provide two-thirds of the funding needs for our local school districts. Evers also said he will substantially increase our investment in special education and mental health in schools. 

  •  Making sure our drinking water is clean. It is no secret that our community has a serious problem with lead poisoning from water and other sources. This is a huge concern of mine, and I have previously introduced legislation to do ensure rental properties disclose information about lead in water. There are other water quality issues throughout the state, so I was encouraged to see our governor promise to designate a position within the Department of Health Services to specifically oversee water quality improvement efforts. 

Those are just some of the highlights from Governor Evers' first 'State of the State' address. If you missed his speech last month, you can watch it on WisconsinEye by clicking here. You can also see a transcript of the address, here

In addition to the State of the State address, I also had a chance to sit down with the new governor one-on-one to talk about my vision to move our community forward. I am excited to continue these conversations with Governor Evers and my colleagues in order to create a Wisconsin that works for everyone. 

 

Meet my Staff!

With the new legislative session underway, I want take a moment to introduce you to my staff. When I am unavailable, they are working hard to make sure to attend events in the district, assist you with any state or community concerns you have, connect you to state agency resources, and help me with session day preparation. Please do not hesitate to reach out to them with any concerns or issues you may have.  

  

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Lacy Fox - Chief of Staff

Lacy serves as my Chief of Staff. She is responsible for general office oversight and management of office operations in Madison. She also is the point person for scheduling meetings in my Madison office. Additionally, Lacy is my lead communications staff person. She joined my office in January 2018, with over six years of experience in the Legislature. Lacy has a Master of Social Work from UW-Milwaukee. 

 

Shannon McCoy - District Director 

Shannon primarily works out of my Milwaukee office. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the district office and is the point person for scheduling requests for events and meetings in Milwaukee. She is also available to assist community members with finding local resources or helping with questions related to state services. She has two years of legislative office experience. Shannon is a Milwaukee native and received her bachelor's degree in business administration. 

Christian Ullsvik - Legislative Director 

Christian is my Legislative Director. As such, he is the primary contact person for legislative issues and lobby relations. Additionally, he is the lead staff person in my office for my work on the Joint Finance Committee. Christian has over nine years of experience working for legislators representing Milwaukee's northwest side. He has a bachelor's degree from UW-Madison and a law degree from the University of San Francisco. 

 

Ryan Lashua - Policy Analyst 

Ryan joined our office this year to assist with duties related to the Joint Finance Committee. He previously worked as the Senate Democratic Caucus Joint Finance Committee staff person. Additionally, he helps to staff my other Senate committees and assists with bill preparation on session days. Ryan is also available for community members to reach out if they have questions about state agencies or need assistance receiving a state-administered benefit. Ryan grew up in Madison and attained a bachelor's degree in political science from UW-Oshkosh, while also taking courses from George Mason University. 


Kadijha Marquardt-Davis - Legislative Advisor

Kadijha joined the office this year as our new Legislative Advisor. Through this, she provides assistance with constituent case management, legislative processes, and community outreach. In addition, Kadijha is a first-year Master of Social Work candidate at UW-Madison. Prior to enrolling in graduate school, she worked as a Community Outreach Coordinator for a non-profit specializing in reproductive and sexual health education. Kadijha is passionate about supporting policies and initiatives that promote social, racial, and reproductive justice. 

 

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: Housing and Tenant 101

I want to thank everyone who joined us for our 3rd EMPOWER-MKE summit. 
I started EMPOWER-MKE in January 2018 as a way to bring stakeholders and community members together for thoughtful discussions about important and relevant topics. EMPOWER-MKE is a platform for all of us to engage in a meaningful dialogue about how we can make our community a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Housing and tenant information is one topic that many past participants said they wanted as a focus of a future EMPOWER-MKE event.

Every member of our community deserves to have a safe and affordable place to live. Conversations at the most-recent EMPOWER-MKE event were very informative and engaging. Representatives from several city, state, and community organization were able to answer questions and provide information related to housing and renting issues that people sometimes face.

I also want to thank the organization who presented at the summit, including Impact 2-1-1, Community Advocates, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and Legal Action of Wisconsin. 

If you weren't able to join us on January 26, visit www.EMPOWERMKE.com to view the resources that were handed out at the event. Also, stay tuned for a future newsletter that will re-cap the information provided in more detail! 


New District Office -- Open House!

I am pleased to announce that I have a NEW district office located at 6815 W Capitol Drive. I consider it an honor and privilege to serve the people of the 6th Senate District. My staff and I are here to listen to any state or community concerns you have. I will be hosting an open house on Thursday, February 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hope to see you there!


6th Senate District Welcomes State Representative Kalan Haywood II! 

Within each senate district, there are three assembly districts. The 6th Senate District contains Assembly District's 16, 17 and 18. On January 7, Kalan Haywood was sworn in as the new state representative for the 16th Assembly District, which was previously represented by Leon Young. Haywood is the youngest state legislator currently serving in Wisconsin. He was born and raised in the 16th Assembly District and has previously served as the president of Milwaukee's Youth Council. Learn more about Kalan Haywood, here. 


Observing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On January 21 we recognized the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Each year, our community comes together to host a variety of events and programming opportunities in order to acknowledge the importance of MLK Day. I was honored to take part in several community events, such as the 22nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Breakfast hosted by the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee and the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center celebration. 
 

 

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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Legislative Black Caucus to Celebrate Black History Month at the Capitol 
As in previous years, the Legislative Black Caucus will be hosting a variety of programming at the Capitol to observe Black History Month in February. Black History Month is an opportunity to reflect on the history, culture, and progress of African Americans. This year, the Black Caucus will focus on a specific topic each week. Topics will include economic development, health and mental health, education and families, and criminal justice. All events are open to the public. See the flyer above for a full list of programming. Also, be sure to check out the new Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus Facebook page! 

2019-2020 Legislative Session Committee Assignments Announced
I am ready to get to work to make Wisconsin a better place for children and families in our state. This session, I will be serving on the following legislative committees:


Bipartisan Trucker Education Bill
Reintroduced
Truck stops and rest areas are two of the most common places where human trafficking can occur, so it's important for truck drivers to know what to look for. I was proud to reintroduce the Trucker Human Trafficking Education bill. Trafficking is a huge concern in all areas of Wisconsin and we must do more to combat this issue. This bill is a step in the right direction. Read an article about the bill, here.


Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee Urge Committee Co-Chairs to Hold a Vote on the ACA Lawsuit
Recently, my Democratic colleagues on the Joint Finance Committee and I sent a letter to the co-chairs of the committee urging them to convene for a vote to withdraw Wisconsin from the lawsuit seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Wisconsinites should be able to access affordable, quality health care, and this lawsuit goes against the will of Wisconsin voters. Learn more, here.  

 

Wisconsin Democrats:
Under the Dome Update

Senate and Assembly Democrats provide a weekly update to help keep Wisconsin citizens informed about activity happening at the State Capitol and stay updated on how your elected officials are voting on important issues in Madison. Click on the links below to view recent editions of 'Under the Dome.'

 

 

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 Evers.....................................................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!