August 25, 2011



Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might have.

Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487



Mailing Address:

State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707


Web Site:












Supporting our neighbors and being involved in our community is of the utmost importance. Some community events that might be of interest to you and your family are listed below. 


Mexican Fiesta
August 26 through August 28

Celebrate Milwaukee's Mexican festival this summer. Mexican Fiesta will offer a variety of music, the "Sanctuary of Our Lady of Zapopan," and a cultural village. Tickets for Mexican Fiesta are $11 in advance, and $13 at the gate. Kids 3-10 years old can get in for only $1. CLICK HERE for more information about the annual Mexican Fiesta event.

Henry Maier Festival Park (MAP)
200 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 273-3378


Eat Local Resource Fair  August 27th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Get ready for the two-week Eat Local Challenge that begins on September 1 by learning some new tips to help you eat locally all year Ė even during winter months. The Eat Local Resource Fair will also provide you with the opportunity to buy food directly from local food producers, see cooking demos, and pick up menu and recipe ideas. CLICK HERE for more information about the Eat Local Resource Fair as well as the Eat Local Challenge.


Urban Ecology Center (MAP)

1500 E. Park Place
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 964-8505



Made in Milwaukee
September 3 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Stop by this day-long arts festival that will feature the best of Milwaukee arts. Made in Milwaukee will also offer a wide range of activities for the whole family to enjoy including a kid's fair, local business fair, live music from neighborhood artists, talented dancers, an outdoor fashion show, and more. CLICK HERE for more information and a complete festival lineup.

Cathedral Square Park (MAP)
520 E. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 257-8005



Oak Creek Lions Labor Day Festival
September 2 through September 5
Attend this annual event and enjoy music, food, rides, and fun and games for all ages at the 52nd annual Oak Creek Lionsfest. Indoor and outdoor stages will feature live music from over 20 bands all weekend long, including the Britins, Mt. Olive and Pat McCurdy. For more information, please CLICK HERE.


American Legion Festival Grounds (MAP)

9327 S. Shepard Avenue Oak Creek, WI 53154


Labor Fest

September 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Attend the annual Labor Day parade that starts at Zeidler Union Square Park at 11 a.m. and works its way to the Summerfest grounds. Once at Summerfest, enjoy a free festival that includes music, Bingo, vintage cars, a children's area and much more. Local vendors will also be selling food and drinks throughout the afternoon.


Zeidler Union Square Park (MAP)

301 W. Michigan Street

Milwaukee, WI 53203

(414) 277-0860 

Henry Maier Festival Park (MAP)

200 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 273-3378








































































































































































































































































Dear Friend,

I have included an update on job creation in our community and across the state thus far. I have also provided information about two recycling bills I have authored, as well as a recap of two town halls that took place in our community earlier this week.


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7




Job Creation in Wisconsin

As Wisconsin continues to slowly navigate its way out of the most recent recession, job creation and unemployment reduction remain at the top of our priority list. Therefore, I am providing an update on the status of job creation in Wisconsin and how our neighbors have and continue to be affected as our state struggles to escape the clutches of this recession.


Wisconsinites Struggle to Find Work

Wisconsin has consistently posted unemployment rates lower than the national average since the most recent recession began in 2007. However, our state's unemployment rate remains an issue of constant concern as it has been steadily increasing over the past few months, virtually negating any progress that was made prior to Governor Walker's inauguration.


Please view the chart below, which shows our state's unemployment rate compared to the U.S. over the past year.


Chart Courtesy of BadgerStat


These statistics illustrate that just one year ago, Wisconsin faced an 8% unemployment rate, which has only decreased by 0.2% over the course of that time to 7.8% statewide. Unfortunately, our local community has been especially hard-hit by the economic downturn. According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), Milwaukee County is currently facing an unemployment rate of 9.6%, which means about 45,456 of our neighbors who have been displaced from their jobs continue to search for work.


Clearly more needs to be done by our governor and his administration in order to help our neighbors who have been knocked down by these hard economic times get back on their feet.


Job Growth Continues to Hit Road Blocks

Our state lost a total of 171,400 jobs between January of 2008 and January of 2010, and is still struggling to make-up ground and turn our job growth figures around. According to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, "Most of the jobs lost in the recession came from the two largest sectors: Manufacturing (75,800) and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (38,300)."


Wisconsin job growth progress has proven to be slow and unstable. Please view the chart below to see Wisconsin's monthly job change over the past year.


Chart Courtesy of BadgerStat


As you can see from this table, intermixed with several months of job growth, Wisconsin has also experienced three months of severe job losses and three months of relatively little change.


The fluctuations in job growth are expected to have a significant impact on the future success of our community. In a June 2011 report, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce stated that "...there has been some slippage in the aggregate number of positive indicators over 2011's first six months giving some pause for concern about the strength of future growth."


There is also some concern over the types of jobs being created. According to Governor Walker, much of Wisconsin's job growth can be attributed to the state's tourism industry. Such jobs are often seasonal and will soon disappear causing unemployment to rise even further and the number of jobs created to drop once again. Placing all our eggs in the tourism basket is only a temporary fix and will result in the same catastrophic results as putting a band-aid on a wound that requires stitches. Instead, we should be focusing our efforts on creating high-quality, year-round jobs that will translate into stable economic recovery for our community and our state.


Governor Walker Plays the Blame Game

Immediately after the job creation numbers for June came out, Governor Walker was quick to credit his policies with this success. However, when the July numbers were released, he was even quicker to place the blame on national and international factors. In order for our state to move our economy forward by lowering our unemployment rate and increasing the number of jobs statewide, we need our governor to take responsibility and ownership of his policies.


Governor Walker promised the people of Wisconsin that he would create 250,000 jobs statewide during his term. According to the nonpartisan organization BadgerStat, Wisconsin needs to gain about 5,200 jobs per month on average to reach that goal, but is currently moving at a pace below what is needed.


In order to increase Wisconsin's job growth prospects, Governor Walker should be focusing his efforts on supporting factors that encourage businesses to start-up or relocated to Wisconsin. For Wisconsin to be a state that can live up to these standards desired by businesses, we need our governor to halt his most recent attacks on key areas of our state's infrastructure. Instead, Governor Walker needs to start investing in K-12 education, our technical colleges and our universities so that we will have a skilled workforce. He also needs to work on protecting our natural resources and reducing our crime and poverty rates so that employers can see Wisconsin is a state with a high quality of life. Additionally, we need him to demonstrate that he values an accountable and transparent government, which tells businesses that government will work with them on all aspects of job creation and growing their company.


I encourage Governor Walker to take the first step towards boosting our employment and encouraging companies to do business in Wisconsin by repealing the corporate tax cuts that he recently passed. If those types of quick fixes worked, I would be the first to advocate for them, however the evidence does not support the idea that cutting corporate taxes will spur job growth. Rather, we should be reinvesting those funds into our schools, public transit, parks and other programs vital to our overall infrastructure. This will be a long-term investment in our state and spur job growth economic development and more sustained job growth for generations to come.


For more information about our state's job growth and unemployment rate, please CLICK HERE to visit the Web site for DWD.


You can also CLICK HERE for facts, statistics and brief analyses from the nonpartisan group BadgerStat.


Recycling Fund Restoration Act Circulating

Representative Mark Pocan and I began circulating legislation we authored this past week that would reverse the backwards cuts made to our state's recycling program in the most recent budget. The Recycling Fund Restoration Act would reinstate Wisconsinís proud tradition of protecting our natural resources by restoring $13 million of the recycling fund that was gutted by the Republican budget.

Current law requires each Wisconsin community to be responsible for operating a recycling program to manage solid waste generated within its jurisdiction. Our local communities then receive financial assistance from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to maintain and operate their recycling programs. Unfortunately, Governorís budget made devastating cuts to our statewide recycling program eliminating 40% of funds and shifting much of the financial burden to our local communities at a time when they are also facing massive cuts to education, public transit and shared revenue.


Recycling programs are crucial to reducing the amount of waste that ends up in our state landfills. On average, an individual Wisconsin resident generates 1,980 pounds of waste each year, 34% of which is recyclable or can be composted. The cuts made to Wisconsinís recycling programs are an assault on the environmental health of our communities. Furthermore, these cuts will also prevent additional growth of our economy, as current recycling programs keep 1.69 million tons of materials out of Wisconsin's landfills, support 97,000 jobs and contribute $5.4 billion to our state's economy, according to Recycle More Wisconsin.

I will continue to dedicate my efforts towards sensible conservation and environmental health. The Recycling Fund Restoration Act will provide local communities with much-needed resources to create jobs and protect our natural resources by keeping millions of tons of waste out of landfills.

To view a copy of the Recycling Fund Restoration Act, please CLICK HERE.




Bipartisan Effort to Improve Recycling in Our Community

This past week Rep. Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) and I circulated legislation for co-sponsorship that updates Wisconsin law regarding battery deposits.


Current law requires anyone selling a lead acid battery to a consumer to accept the consumerís used battery and cannot charge the consumer a deposit that is more than $5. However, the mandated cap no longer reflects the prevailing market value of used lead acid batteries. For this reason, large corporations have been ignoring the $5 limit for years opting to instead follow the market rate. In addition to losing out compared to bigger businesses, our small businesses have also been losing money when depositing old lead acid batteries to the nearby recycling center as most of these facilities charge the market rate, which is usually greater than $5.

The bill authored by Rep. Honadel and me will update an outdated law by requiring a deposit no less than $5 for all businesses, allowing the market to set the core charge amount. This legislative change will help to ensure that our small businesses are no longer at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to the cost of recycling lead-acid based batteries. 


This legislative idea was brought to my attention by a small business owner in Oak Creek at my very first "Coffee with Chris." Since that time, I have received support from other local businesses in our community. Rep. Honadel and I jumped at the opportunity to work with our local companies to draft a bill that would solve a problem plaguing our small, neighborhood businesses. We look forward to continuing to work together in a bipartisan way to move this bill forward through the legislative process to bring about a positive change in our community. Shared innovation amongst the two parties is an important feature to working together towards success for Wisconsin.

Wisconsin has a long tradition of supporting our small businesses and protecting our natural resources. This bill seeks to ensure a fair and level competitive environment for Wisconsin consumers and businesses while continuing the benefits of battery recycling. We anticipate that this legislation will encourage increased battery recycling efforts and profits at participating businesses.


I will continue to advocate for common-sense legislative changes that will help our local businesses to continue to grow, as well as proposals to safeguard Wisconsinís environment and natural resources through responsible recycling and waste management. 

CLICK HERE to view a copy of the bill.




Hundreds Voice Opinion on Hoan Bridge Bike Path Proposal

Thank you to everyone that attended the neighborhood meeting on the Hoan Bridge reconstruction project this past Tuesday. The Beulah Brinton Community Center was overflowing with 250 fellow neighbors, many of which made their voices heard by speaking on the proposal to create a bicycle and pedestrian lane across the Hoan Bridge. I greatly appreciate the thoughtful comments and concerns regarding this important community issue.

The Hoan Bridge is crucial to our neighbors as it is the transit artery connecting south side residents to the rest of their community, including downtown Milwaukee and the entire interstate freeway system. Expanding access to the Hoan Bridge would be a positive step forward in cementing our cityís commitment to providing multi-modal forms of public transit, while simultaneously promoting tourism and business.


Hearing the perspectives of our neighbors on this and other issues that will have a significant impact on our community is crucial as we continue working together to move Wisconsin forward.


If you would like to sign on to the petition to request that DOT create a bicycle and pedestrian lane on the Hoan Bridge, please CLICK HERE.

You can also print feel free to encourage your family, friends and neighbors to show their support by circulating this petition throughout your community. CLICK HERE to download or print the PDF for the Petition to Bike the Hoan.


For up-to-date information about the Hoan Bridge project, please CLICK HERE to visit DOT's recently-launched Web site devoted to the project. You can also CLICK HERE to view a PDF document from DOT that outlines the Hoan Bridge rehabilitation project. This document provides additional information on the timing and scope of the project, along with contact information for the project personnel from the DOT. If you are looking for more information about the benefits of a bicycle and pedestrian lane on the Hoan Bridge feel free to visit the Bike the Hoan Web site by CLICKING HERE.


Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or thoughts you have on the Hoan Bridge project, including the proposed bicycle and pedestrian lane.




Town Hall Held on Increased Voter Restrictions

I would like to thank those that attended the Grassroots North Shore neighborhood meeting this past Sunday to discuss protecting your constitutional voting rights after the passage of voter suppression legislation. About 100 of our neighbors attended the meeting and shared their thoughts and concerns regarding voting rights.

Protecting the integrity of our democratic election process is imperative and the thoughtful comments and questions are greatly appreciated. It is important to have these conversations in order to educate our family, friends and neighbors on the new voting laws and ensure they know their rights to make their voices heard at the polls on Election Day.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any further questions or thoughts regarding the new voting laws.




August is Physical Activity Awareness Month

In honor of August as Physical Activity Awareness Month, learn what you can do to stay healthy and get moving.

According to the American Heart Association, only 15% of American adults achieve the recommended levels of moderate aerobic physical activity of 150 minutes per week. Even simple activities, such as walking briskly for only 30 minutes a day, promote weight loss, decrease the risk of coronary heart disease and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Please view these seven health and behavior factors, known as ďLifeís Simple 7Ē that impact health and can improve your quality of life:

  1. Do not smoke.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight.
  3. Engage in regular physical activity.
  4. Eat a healthy diet.
  5. Manage your blood pressure.
  6. Take charge of your cholesterol.
  7. Keep your blood sugar, or glucose, at healthy


For more information on what you can do to stay healthy and to learn about the current state of your overall health, visit the My Life Check Assessment by CLICKING HERE




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