September 15, 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. 


Now Through October 1
Celebrate the oldest and most authentic Oktoberfest in the Midwest! Oktoberfest is home to brass bands, authentic dancers, traditional foods and of course, German beer. The festival will be held every Friday and Saturday through October 1. Family-friendly activities are offered Fridays from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. and Saturdays from 4 p.m. until midnight. Cost is $4 in advance and $5 at the door.


Heidelberg Park (MAP)

700 W. Lexington Blvd.

Milwaukee, WI 53217



Bay View Bash

September 17 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Bay View Bash is Milwaukee’s largest all-volunteer street festival on Kinnickinnic Avenue between Potter and Clement. Join me at this annual neighborhood festival, which will feature booths offering food and drinks, merchandise, and information about groups located in our community.
For more information about this fun, family-friendly event, please CLICK HERE.

Tomato Romp!
September 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Enjoy one of Milwaukee's messiest events of the year. Attend the annual Tomato Romp, which includes an old fashioned tomato fight and a Bloody Mary competition. Tomato Fighters must be at least 16 years old to participate. Everyone signing a waiver and donating $3 to Feeding America can get in the cage at 3 p.m. in the parking lot between Beans & Barley and Von Trier. The Best Bloody Mary competition begins at 11 a.m. and goes through 3 p.m. at the various bars in the district. For $10 you get 12 5-ounce samples. For an extra $5 you'll get beer chasers provided by Pabst. The official judging of the winner takes place at 3:30 p.m. Both Bloody Mary and Fight registration will take place in the Beans & Barley parking lot. Call (414) 224-0212 or CLICK HERE for additional information.

Global Union
September 17 and 18 from noon to 5 p.m.

Watch bands from all over the world as they take the stage at Bay View's Humboldt Park Bandshell.
This annual two-day concert will offer musical performances from noon to 5 p.m. each day and is free and open to the public. Please CLICK HERE for more information.

Humboldt Park (MAP)
3000 S. Howell Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414) 482-4270


2011 Milwaukee Film Festival
September 22 through October 2

Stop by the 2011 Milwaukee Film Festival, which will feature hundreds of the world's best films. Films will be shown at the Oriental, Ridge and North Shore Cinemas. For a complete list of films, descriptions and showtimes, please visit the festival's Web site by CLICKING HERE.


Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

September 24

In the spirit of Smithsonian Museums, which offer free admission everyday, Museum Day is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket for free. Only an official Museum Day ticket is eligible for free entry. Individuals can receive one ticket per household, which covers two people. Tickets do not cover the cost of special exhibits or parking. CLICK HERE for more information and a list of participating museums, many of which are right here in our community.



Bay View Neighborhood Association Beach Clean-Up

September 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Join the Bay View Neighborhood Association for the final beach cleanup of the year. This is a great opportunity to beautify our community before the snow hits. Volunteers at the last clean-up in August collected 17 pounds of trash off the beach, including foil wrappers, plastic cups, and cigarette butts. Garbage bags and gloves will be provided.  The stairway to the beach is located on Lake Drive just south of Oklahoma Avenue. Look for the brown Bay View Park sign and one of the Bay View Neighborhood Association volunteers will be posted nearby to set you up.

Bay View Park (MAP)

3120 S. Lake Drive

Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414) 482-4270


South Shore Park Watch Bluff Weed Out & Planting Day

September 24 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Get to know your neighbors by volunteering to promote native plants and wildlife diversity in our community. In cooperation with Milwaukee County Parks, the South Shore Park Watch is leading a native bluff restoration effort between the Oak Leaf Trail and South Shore Drive. This naturalization project will enhance and secure the bluff by removing invasive species and replacing them with native plants. All ages and abilities are welcome to help out. For more information, please CLICK HERE.


Oak Leaf Trailhead at South Shore Park (MAP)

2900 South Shore Drive

Milwaukee, WI 53207




















































































































Dear Friend,

The Legislature was back in session this week to take action on bills that will negatively impact Wisconsin's air quality. We also had the opportunity to hear about the state of Wisconsin's schools from our superintendent.


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7




Wisconsin Air Quality Threatened

Many of us in Southeast Wisconsin were reminded this week of the importance of clean, breathable air to the health of our communities when smoke-filled air blew in from a large forest fire in Minnesota. Ironically this happened on the same day that the Wisconsin State Senate met to take action on three bills that were introduced to suspend state rules that ensure we have pollution-free air. These bills would force the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to reduce air quality protections across Wisconsin, which could have a detrimental impact on our public health.


Below is a summary of the three bills with a brief description of the impact such legislation would have in our community and across Wisconsin:


Senate Bill 110: This bill prevents the DNR from setting better air quality standards than federal minimal safety limits, turning back the Wisconsin tradition of protecting our citizens by promoting healthy air. Suspended particulate pollution can lead to numerous health-based issues and be detrimental to our plants, soil and buildings. CLICK HERE to view this legislation.


Senate Bill 111: This bill will overturn current DNR rules that protect our air quality by enabling the DNR to issue air pollution control permits from indirect sources, such as massive parking facilities. Without this rule, the DNR will be unable to monitor and control possible air pollution sources, resulting in poorer air quality and negative health effects. To view a copy of this bill, please CLICK HERE.

Senate Bill 138: This bill seeks to allow large agricultural farms to continue using production methods that result in hydrogen and ammonia polluting our air. Large farms often build giant ponds for animal waste, this concentrated manure can create significant hazards to our health. Wisconsin has been a leader in addressing this health concern, as the federal government has yet to act on this issue. This legislation would undue the progress our state has made. A copy of this legislation can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.


Wisconsin statutes allow the Legislature to suspend state protections and rules through a vote by the majority of members of the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules. Therefore, these rules protecting our air quality will be suspended until the Legislature acts on them or the session ends, which ever happens first.


Those that may be most greatly affected by the suspension of these rules are our neighbors living with asthma. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, one in 10 adults in our state suffers from asthma. The rate is roughly the same among Wisconsin's youth, as 9.7% of children in Wisconsin were diagnosed with asthma in 2009.


It is imperative that our state continues to go beyond the bare minimum for air quality standards. I will continue fighting for stronger air quality protections to ensure that our family, friends and neighbors can breathe safely in Milwaukee County and across the state.




Work Together to Fix Education

This past Thursday, State Superintendent Tony Evers addressed hundreds gathered at the State Capitol about the state of Wisconsin education.


Wisconsin's schools are envied throughout the country for their leading graduation rates, high test scores and breadth of educational opportunities, such as college-level classes. In order for our state to continue its tradition of quality education, we are going to need our state's leaders to start working together for the betterment of our children.


Our state superintendent shared a vision for Wisconsin that included measures to ensure greater accountability in our schools and higher academic achievement from our students.


Superintendent Evers also expressed a need to bring everyone to the table to address some of the greater concerns within our education system, including the way we fund our schools. Now more than ever, we all need to work together to help bring about change to our current funding formula. Changing the funding formula for our schools is crucial to ensuring greater parity between school districts and the amount each receive per pupil to guarantee that every child in Wisconsin will receive the quality education that they deserve and have been promised.


I look forward to working with the Legislature, education leaders and our neighbors to help bring about these changes and provide our children with the brightest future possible.


To view Superintendent Evers' speech, please CLICK HERE.



Protecting Victims of Domestic Abuse

Current Wisconsin law does not go far enough to protect the victims of domestic abuse. In 2008, there were 29,769 domestic abuse incidents reported to law enforcement and referred to the district attorney's office in Wisconsin. Approximately one-third of these incidents occurred in Milwaukee County.


I recently signed on to support legislation that would help keep the victims of domestic violence protected from their abuser. Under current law, an individual who has been arrested for a domestic incident must avoid the victim's residence and contacting the victim for 72 hours, unless the victim signs a waiver. The penalty for violating the current 72-hour no-contact condition is a civil penalty of no more than $1,000. This meager consequence gives little incentive for abusers to respect current laws, which can place their domestic violence victims in danger.


This legislation criminalizes violations of the 72-hour no-contact condition for domestic abuse offenders, in order to keep the women, children and men that have suffered abuse safe from further harm. Under this bill, those violating the 72-hour no-contact condition would be guilty of a misdemeanor and be subject to a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to nine months, or both.


The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV) and The Wisconsin District Attorney Association are in support of this proposal. This legislation is a positive step forward towards making our community a safer place to live for our family, friends and neighbors.


To view a copy of this bill, please CLICK HERE.



Resources for Improving Your Energy Efficiency

With energy costs continuously rising, it is important now more than ever for individuals and local businesses to learn what they can do to become more energy efficient. Increased energy efficiency at work and at home will not only help to safeguard our environment, but also be advantageous for those hoping to save their hard-earned money. I have included resources in our community that may be able to assist you or your business in achieving this goal.


Milwaukee Energy Efficiency Program (Me˛)

Me˛ is a federally funded program to help City of Milwaukee homeowners and businesses finance energy efficiency upgrades to their properties. Me˛ makes it easy and affordable to make energy saving upgrades such as insulation, air sealing, new heating equipment and lighting. With Me˛, you can pay for your upgrades as you save on your energy bills, and in most cases with no money down. Me˛ helps you:

  • Save money

  • Increase comfort and safety

  • Get the facts about your home or business

  • Find personalized, budget-conscious solutions

  • Do your part for the environment

For more information about this neighborhood program, please CLICK HERE.


MATC Business Energy Audits

MATC will be conducting FREE Energy Audits for businesses as part of their Green Corridor development program. This is a great opportunity for businesses to learn how they can be more environmentally friendly and also save money on their day-to-day operations. Audits will be conducted with instructors guiding students between September 15 and October 15. Audits could include:

  • Energy audits based on the needs of the business

  • System trouble shooting for measuring electrical, lighting temperature and relative humidity

  • Lighting level survey

  • Set-up energy tracking

  • Assist with LEED certification

If your business is interested, please contact Ted Wilinski, the Sustainable Facilities Management Instructor at MATC, by phone at (414) 571-4570.



Q&A for ID Voting Restrictions Now Available

Scott Walker and Republican legislators recently enacted some of the most restrictive ID requirements for voters in the country. These restrictions will go into effect for the Spring 2012 Primary. I have included a handout to provide you with updated information on some of the most common questions asked by Wisconsinites with regards to the new ID requirement for voters. To view this Q&A document, please CLICK HERE.




Milwaukee County to Host Budget Meetings

The Milwaukee County Board Budget Committee will hold listening sessions this month to hear from neighbors on the county's 2012 budget. These meetings will be your opportunity to have your voice heard by your local elected officials to ensure that they know what our community values and what services need to be maintain. Next year's county budget faces a potential shortfall of up to $55 million, prompting concerns over possible program cuts. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is expected to release his 2012 budget plan on September 29.


The dates, times and locations for these upcoming listening sessions are listed below.

Date: Wednesday, September 21

Time: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Wauwatosa Library at 7635 W. North Avenue in Wauwatosa


Date: Monday, September 26

Time: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center at 1531 W. Vliet Street in Milwaukee



Petition to Bike the Hoan

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 city’s commitment to providing multi-modal forms of public transit, while simultaneously promoting tourism and business. Play the video below to learn more.



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. 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.




Intern at the Capitol

I currently have an opening for a legislative intern in my Madison office. A legislative internship is a great opportunity for students and recent graduates to learn more about the legislative process while gaining practical work experience.

With Interns from the Spring 2011 Semester

Intern responsibilities vary, but include policy research, summarizing proposed legislation, and responding to constituent inquires. All interns also assist with general office operations, including answering the phone.

Applicants must be able to work during normal business hours, and dedicate a minimum of 10 hours each week to the internship. All intern positions are unpaid.

To apply for an internship, please submit a cover letter and resume electronically to or mail them to Wisconsin State Capitol, P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707.




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