September 29, 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. For more information, please CLICK HERE.


Heidelberg Park (MAP)

700 W. Lexington Blvd.

Milwaukee, WI 53217


2011 Milwaukee Film Festival
Now 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.




October 1

Green Bay Packer Clay Matthews and I will be joining 5,000 of our neighbors as we stand in solidarity in the fight against AIDS by participating in this year's annual AIDS Walk along the shores of our beautiful Lake Michigan. Pledges raised for AIDS Walk will go to support the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), which provides HIV care and treatment to all people living with the diseases regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation or economic status. Wisconsin currently has one of the lowest AIDS mortality rates in the nation because patients have access to good HIV health care from organizations like the ARCW Medical Center. Registration for the walk begins at 10 a.m., while the opening ceremonies and walk start at noon. The event and parking are free. For more information about this event or to register online, please CLICK HERE.


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



Family Flicks: The Wizard of Oz
October 1
Enjoy a family-friendly movie screening while cuddling up under blankets in the great outdoors. Treat the whole family to a fun, free evening in the park. This week's movie is the Wizard of Oz and will begin at dusk.

Veterans Park (MAP)
1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202



Lakefront Marathon

October 2 beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Come and cheer on participants in this year's Lakefront Marathon. The 31st Annual Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon promises to be another exciting sporting event with 3,050 runners from 38 states, Washington D.C. and 5 other countries convening to participate in the challenging race. A Guinness World Record attempt is also scheduled to be part of this year’s race. The marathon will begin at 7:30 a.m. and at Grafton High School. For more information and a detailed route map, please CLICK HERE.




















































































































































































































Dear Friend,

This week, Governor Walker called for a second Special Session, after his first one resulted in a loss of about 14,000 jobs. Continue reading for more information on this and other important community and state issues.


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7




Special Session Needed Because of Misplaced Priorities

Governor Walker called for a special session earlier this week to take up roughly two dozen bills beginning in October. This session would not have been needed had the governor and his rubberstamp legislators focused on a bipartisan approach to creating jobs in Wisconsin, rather than pushing an extreme agenda that included power grabs, special interest pay-offs, and billions in tax cuts to the wealthy and big corporations at the expense of students, working families, and our seniors. Their divisive bills attacking education, health care, and public transit have proven to be a priority, while job creation has fallen by the wayside.

Because of this wrongheaded approach, nearly 14,000 Wisconsinites have lost their jobs since Governor Walker and his Republican Legislators took over our state. I hope that this second special session called by Governor Walker will not simply be just another opportunity for him to rush through more legislation that will be detrimental to our state.

I remain committed to creating jobs in Wisconsin and growing our economy while preserving our way of life and culture. I look forward to hearing your input on legislation as it comes up for debate. However, I will not serve as a pawn in the Republican's game of political chess by supporting any measures put forth under the guise of job creation that are aimed at further helping their cronies, campaign donors, or a radical ideological agenda.



Ensuring Truth on Our Property Tax Bill

Earlier this week my Milwaukee colleagues and I sent a letter to the Milwaukee Common Council, Mayor Barrett, Treasurer Whittow and Comptroller Morics requesting that they make our annual tax documents more transparent by separating the tax levy associated with the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) from the tax levy for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). Milwaukee’s taxpayers deserve to know exactly how much of their money is going to fund private and religious schools through the MPCP. Inclusion of the information requested would amount to a simple act of truth in advertising and transparency in government.

In 2010, state law compelled MPS to levy over $50 million in taxes to subsidize the private and religious schools that make up the voucher program, over which MPS has no authority or control. This amounts to 17% of the total MPS tax levy going to non-MPS schools. New legislation at the state level has expanded the voucher program in Milwaukee to allow private schools outside Milwaukee to participate, while also removing all enrollment caps on the program and raising the income limits on participants. Due to these policy changes in the state’s 2011-2013 biennial budget, the cost of the MPCP will rise significantly and likely exceed the state’s official 2012 estimate of $53.4 million.

All of these changes come at a time when our public schools statewide are forced to make do with $1.6 billion less in state aide over the next two years, while spending on programs like the MPCP continues to balloon. In truth, Milwaukee taxpayers are now being billed for both the largest school district in the state, MPS, and the sixth largest, which is what the MPCP has grown to be with more than 21,000 students. The tax levy for the MPCP already exceeds the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) by nearly $10 million and is expected to exceed that of Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) in the next few years.

Milwaukee's taxpayers deserve to know which programs are being funded with their hard-earned money. This is matter of public accountability, transparency and good government, which is why I remain committed to the request that local government separately displays the tax levy associated with the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program separately from the tax levy for Milwaukee Public Schools on all annual tax documents sent to tax payers.


To view a copy of the letter on property tax transparency submitted to the City of Milwaukee, please CLICK HERE.




Fairness for All Students

I am supporting legislation that was introduced this week to make instructional materials available to all students attending our universities, colleges or technical schools. Currently many students enrolled in Wisconsin's higher education institutions who are blind, visually impaired or have a learning or reading disability do not have access to the textbooks and written materials needed to complete their coursework. This places many of these students at a disadvantage to their classmates.


This bill would enable schools within the UW System or Technical College System to request that a publisher provide textbooks and other materials in electronic format at no additional cost to the school or student. These digital texts can then be converted into a variety of additional formats, such as Braille, large print texts, audio recordings, digital texts, or any other format needed to meet the needs of our students. This service is in place for K-12 students and would simply be expanded to include continuing education students.

This legislation will empower students with disabilities by ensuring they have the same opportunity to succeed in their academic pursuits as their classmates. It will also help keep costs down at schools within the UW and Technical College Systems, while also enabling these educational institutions to better serve their students.


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



Wisconsin Voter Rights Targeted Again

This past Tuesday, Republicans set the stage to roll back the ability of Wisconsin Students to use their college ID to vote and prohibit the use of certain technologies in recall elections. Click on the video below for more information.



While Scott Walker and his rubberstamp legislators have been working to silence Wisconsin's voters, I have been working hard to keep Wisconsin's voters informed of their rights. I have created a simple handout answering some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding Wisconsin's new voter restrictions. To view this handout please CLICK HERE or visit my Web site,




Milwaukee Bike Ride

Tuesday, October 4 from Noon to 1 p.m.

Senator Chris Larson, Representatives Jon Richards and Christine Sinicki, Milwaukee Common Council and County Board members, and bike enthusiasts from around Milwaukee will come together on October 4 from Noon to 1 p.m. to bike from the Humboldt Park Pavilion to Discovery World.

The ride will illustrate the considerable safety concerns bikers face while biking on city streets if they wish to get from Milwaukee's South Shore suburbs to Downtown or Milwaukee's Eastside neighborhoods.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently conducting a feasibility study on including a bike and pedestrian lane as part of the Hoan Bridge reconstruction. The proposed project would be the last major piece to complete a trail network, which runs from Downtown Chicago through Milwaukee and up to Sheboygan. Having a bike and pedestrian lane on the Hoan will provide our neighbors wishing to travel North and South with a direct route that is also safer for pedestrians, bikers and motor vehicles.

Representatives from the DOT, the governor’s office, and members of the press have also been invited to join the ride. A press conference will take place after the ride at Discovery World around 1:15 p.m.


Maps of the bike route are shown below. The map on the left is the route for north of the Hoan Bridge, while the Map on the right is for south of the Hoan Bridge.



















Do not hesitate to contact me directly if you have questions or would like additional information.




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.




Call 2-1-1 for Social Services in the Community

If you or someone you know is in need of immediate social service assistance, I encourage you to utilize the services provided by calling 2-1-1. The 211 social services hotline is free and available for all Milwaukee area residents 24 hours a day. The service is similar to the 911 network that can be called in case of police, fire and medical emergencies, but instead operators will provide callers with information on a wide variety of non-emergency family, financial, health and social service issues, including but not limited to: 

  • Emergency Food

  • Alcohol or Other Drug Abuse

  • Health Care

  • Homelessness and Emergency Shelter

  • Financial Assistance

  • Family and Parenting Issues

  • Mental Health Care

  • Legal Assistance

  • Housing Concerns

To utilize this community resource, simply dial 211 from a land-line. You can also access the same 211 social services hotline by dialing 414-773-0211 or 1-866-211-3380 (toll-free) from a cell phone or pay phone. A community resource specialist - a professional trained to listen carefully to the caller's needs - will then assess their situation and connect them to an agency or organization that will respond directly to their needs.


The 211 social services hotline also has many of its resources available online and organized by ZIP Code. To search for services in your neighborhood, please CLICK HERE.


Brewers Headed to the Playoffs

Congratulations are in order for the Milwaukee Brewers who recently won their first Division Championship since 1982! This season both our Milwaukee Brewers and their steadfast supporters proved to be world class by setting records for most wins at home and crowd attendance.


With a final season record of 96-66, the Milwaukee Brewers will now continue on to the play-offs, which are scheduled to begin this upcoming weekend. I look forward to cheering on our Milwaukee Brewers as they seek absolute victory in the 2011 World Series.


For more information about our Milwaukee Brewers and their schedule for the playoffs, please CLICK HERE.




Check Your Tire Pressure

The weather is starting to change as we approach winter. One of the most commonly overlooked vehicle maintenance requirements is tire pressure. A nationwide survey by the Rubber Manufacturers Association states that 85% of drivers do not properly check their tire pressure. 


Keeping your tires properly inflated will also increase your overall gas mileage, the life of your tires and save you money. Additionally, Failure to maintain the correct air pressure can affect vehicle handling and increase your chance of being in an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration one out of every four vehicles on the road has a significantly under inflated tire. Additionally, 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries occur every year as a result of low tire pressure-related crashes. Therefore, checking your tire pressure once a month should be as basic as buckling your safety belt.


For more information and tips about weatherizing your car and staying safe on the roads this winter, please visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Web site by CLICKING HERE.



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