November 17, 2016




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




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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.

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival

Date: November 17 through January 1
Location: Milwaukee
Description: This six-week festival will spread holiday spirit with animated light displays in Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park, and Zeidler Union Square, as well as hundreds of events. Marvel at the spectacular sights aboard the convenient Jingle Bus, a Coach U.S.A. bus that takes visitors on a 40-minute tour. For $1 per person, visitors can relish in the holiday spirit while admiring a festive panorama. The tour is narrated by Milwaukee Downtown's Public Service Ambassadors who will acquaint riders with key attractions and landmarks. Tours operate Thursdays through Sundays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. from the Shops of Grand Avenue. CLICK HERE to learn more.


Step Afrika! at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center

Date: Friday, November 18 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Location: South Milwaukee
Description: Founded in 1994 as an exchange program with Soweto Dance Theatre of Johannesburg, South Africa, Step Afrika! became the first professional dance company dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Today, the company tours internationally and promotes stepping as a contemporary dance genre and educational, motivational and healthy tool for young people. Step Afrika! believes that the values of teamwork, discipline and commitment that are essential in stepping are also essential throughout life. Performances connect intimately with audiences creating a harmony of positive influences. CLICK HERE for more information, including ticket info.

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center

901 15th Ave

South Milwaukee, WI 53172


Deck the Streets Kickoff Event
November 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: The Milwaukee Public Museum is transforming the Streets of Old Milwaukee into a holiday wonderland! Be among the first to stroll the bedecked Streets and enjoy a day full of holiday programs, musical performances and family activities at our kickoff event on Saturday, November 19. The event is free with general Museum admission. CLICK HERE for more information.


Milwaukee Public Museum


800 W Wells St

Milwaukee, WI 53233


South Milwaukee's Old Fashioned Christmas

Date: Sunday, November 27

Location: South Milwaukee

Description: The South Milwaukee Lions Club invites you to the Annual Old Fashioned Christmas Parade. Parade starts at 1 p.m. Food and donations will be collected for South Milwaukee Human Concerns during the parade and at the South Milwaukee City Hall. For more information, including the parade route and an the opportunity to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, CLICK HERE.


Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Date: Sunday, Nov. 27, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: Oak Creek
This Oak Creek celebration begins at the Community Center Courtyard at 5:00 p.m. The family-friendly event is free for the public, and features holiday music, activities, and treats, and a special appearance by Santa arriving on an Oak Creek Fire Truck. Please bring a non-perishable food item for the Salvation Army Food Pantry.

Oak Creek  Community Center (MAP)
8580 S Howell Avenue
Oak Creek, WI 53154


Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,


The holiday season is near! I'm sure many of you are looking forward to spending time with family and friends over the next several weeks, especially after the strange history we just experienced and are about to embark on.

I've broken down what happened here in Wisconsin and how Republicans used power to successfully discourage our neighbors from voting. We also have some ideas on what what we can do to push back against fascism and the very real threat of scapegoating our neighbors. Now, more than ever, we need to be vigilant and speak up.

On a lighter note, as we shift to Thanksgiving next week, I want to thank you for your continued support and dedication to our state. I am thankful for the ability to stand up for you and our shared community.

I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving!

In Service,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7



The Numbers Are In 

Across the country and in Wisconsin, our friends, family, and neighbors are wondering what the future holds after
a turbulent presidential election.

It's no secret that our country is deeply and angrily divided and that a majority of Americans feel that we have dangerously slipped backwards. At this moment in history, we are about to embark on a journey that will undoubtedly be counter to the values and principles that we as Wisconsinites and Americans share.

Further, some of the most groundbreaking, influential policy spearheaded by President Obama -- such as the lifesaving health care reform law and the strides made in mitigating the damages of climate change -- now seem to have been written in sand, soon to be drowned by the political tides in Washington.  

Looking at Wisconsin's Election Day Numbers
I am proud of the Obama Administration and the progress we've made as a country, which is why the days following Election Day has left me wondering what Wisconsin's impact was in this historic national moment. 

The numbers are in, and at first look it appears that the restrictive voter laws, instituted by Governor Walker and legislative Republicans took their toll on turnout, particularly in Milwaukee County.

Read more about the voter suppression laws passed in Wisconsin in a past Larson Report, here.

Overall, voting turnout in Wisconsin on November 8, was grossly less than anticipated with just around 66% of the voting population actually making it to the polls. That amounts to about 2.9 million people, a stark difference from the higher turnout predicted by the Wisconsin Elections Commission. This number is also the lowest in the past 20 years.

Over 51,000 Milwaukee County residents who voted in the 2012 presidential election did not get to the polls for the general election. Notably -- although turnout was much lower in this election than in recent history -- the county results maintained an equal proportion of votes cast for either political party by percentage.

For instance, in 2012, President Obama received 79% of the total votes cast in Milwaukee County. This percentage was relatively maintained by Secretary Clinton, who received 77% of total votes in the recent election.

Suppressing Wisconsinites' Access to the Polls
While there is much speculation and complex reasoning behind why turnout was so low in Wisconsin, especially for Secretary Clinton, we discussed one factor last week in great detail -- that is, Wisconsin's voter suppression laws.

Restrictive voting laws targeting specific populations seem to have led to confusion leading up to Election Day, as well as at the polls.

For months, my Democratic colleagues and I have implored the state to increase funds to reach out to voters who have limited access to Web-based information, as well as increasing aid to municipalities who know best how to distribute information to their neighbors. The inability and unwillingness of the state to reach out to Wisconsinites seems to have exacerbated voting issues and confusion, leading to some staying home rather than getting to the polls. According to the executive director of Milwaukee's Election Commission, some of the "greatest declines were in the districts we projected would have the most trouble with voter ID requirements."

The city of Milwaukee's election commissioner also alarmingly noted that they received an abundance of phone calls from students or individuals with roommates or spouses who had everything in one person's name, making it confusing and difficult to navigate the more restrictive voting registration process.

Further, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin had 250 volunteers acting as poll observers. Some of them reported that voters were being turned away at the polls without having been offered a provisional ballot. These potential voters were wrongly denied this right to cast a ballot.

Read more about these election observations in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.

While voter suppression in Wisconsin cannot be deemed as the sole cause of a Democratic loss in Wisconsin, given the 27,000 vote difference President-elect Trump and Secretary Clinton, the significance of an estimated 300,000 registered voters who lacked the strict identification required to cast their ballot should certainly be seen as the toxic public policy that it is. Even the slightest of signs that our elections may be dangerously influenced by the barriers to voting imposed on our citizens is undemocratic and a matter that should be taken seriously.

Read about how voter suppression not only impacted Wisconsin, but other key state's like North Carolina and Florida, here.

Moving Forward
Looking ahead, I am proud to be an elected official in Wisconsin, now more than ever. I value the opinions and concerns of my neighbors and am ready to continuing fighting for a better Wisconsin.

We all have key principles in common -- we want our children to have a bright future, we want our communities to be safe and prosper, a chance at a healthy life, and we want the freedom of economic security -- to name a few.

Let's square our shoulders and be ready to meet the challenges that will come and be prepared to stand tall for our shared progressive values. We all should have the opportunity and ability to pursue the American Dream.


Standing Firm Against Hate
Since last week's election, I have already begun to hear from Wisconsinites who are concerned about our future given the recent appointments President-elect Trump has made. One notable appointment is that of Stephen Bannon who has a proven record of white supremacy, bigotry, and intolerance. As Americans who care about the future of our great nation, we must reject efforts to mainstream fear and hate as Trump begin to cobble together his inner-circle.

Read this editorial by the New York Times for more about the appointment of Stephen Bannon.

Additionally, you can a petition by clicking here to denounce Stephen Bannon.

We must stand tall for our values, including standing firm against fear, hate, and bullying, which is disproportionately directed at people of color, our LGBTQ friends and neighbors, and religious minorities.

In fact, over the past year, there has been an alarming escalation in violence and hate speech aimed at people based on their ethnic, racial, and/or religious backgrounds.

The Arab and Muslim communities, and those perceived as Muslims, have unfairly received the brunt of these acts of violence and hate-speech. The Islamophobia, abuse, and discrimination experienced by members of these communities conflicts with the ideals of tolerance, equality and justice that were cornerstones to our nation's founding principle of religious freedom. Acts of violence and hate truly hinders our state from moving 'Forward.'

Our Muslim neighbors have been invaluable in the expansion and development of the United States. The over 3 million Muslims in the United States and over 15,000 in Wisconsin contribute heavily to our economy, social and political life, and culture.

Despite Arab and Muslim Americans' invaluable place in our society, there has been a disconcerting growth in hate crimes and speech towards these communities. The hateful rhetoric used by many of today's political figures and elected officials has been even more alarming.

The role of elected officials is to represent their constituents' interests and bring growth to their districts to the best of their ability. Fostering mistrust and hate against a portion of those constituents is not how government should operate. Members of -- or those perceived to be a part of -- the Arab and Muslim communities have increasingly been subjected to hate crimes. As elected representatives of the people, we cannot sit idly by as any of our constituents are faced with hate, violence, and/or discrimination.

For these reasons, my colleague Rep. Jonathan Brostoff and I wanted to provide our colleagues with an early opportunity to denounce racism and hate speech and support our Arab and Muslim friends and neighbors. That's why we circulated for co-sponsorship a Joint Resolution denouncing racism and hate speech.

We are proud to have support for this resolution from the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. Here is a quote from Ahmed J. Quereshi, President of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee: "We thank Senator Larson and Representative Brostoff for their leadership in organizing co-sponsorship for introducing this important resolution affirming a commitment to religious freedom and respect for diversity. The resolution would be a clear repudiation of anti-Muslim hate and bigotry and would send a strong message to those who seek to promote fear and division in our nation and State."

Learn more about the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, here.

Over the past week, neighbors who are part of the Arab, Muslim, and other communities of color have been shocked with fear over what the future holds. This Joint Resolution is a small act to show our friends and neighbors within these communities that we stand firmly and proudly with them. As Wisconsinites we must reject the fear, hate, and intolerance some would like to wrongly promote.

Click here to read the Joint Resolution.


In Case You Missed It
Each week, the Larson Report strives to provide up-to-date, in-depth information to its readers. Between editions, a lot happens in Madison and in our Wisconsin communities. I want to make sure you know the most pressing issues facing our neighborhoods across the state. Below are some of the top stories from the past couple of weeks:
  • Our neighbor, George Rainer, was named Oak Creek Veteran of the Year at a great ceremony recognizing Veterans Day.  I was happy to be a part of the great event led by Joe Maniscalo of VFW Post 8482. See this Facebook post for more.
  • As shown by a recent report released by the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (WCCF), our state must do more to protect our vulnerable children from being poisoned by lead. The numbers are heartbreaking and alarming: 4.6% of Wisconsin children (under six) tested were lead poisoned in 2015. Compare this to Flint's 4.9% and the reality of our state's situation will leave you shocked and speechless.
    The safety and prosperity of our children is at stake. Wisconsin must prioritize addressing and preventing lead poisoning in our children. Read some of WCCF's recommendations in their report, here.

  • Recently, after the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) ignored advocates like you and moved forward with loosened regulations that favor corporations over our public waters, Clean Wisconsin filed nine lawsuits, specifically challenging nine of the high-capacity well permits granted last month. The lawsuits seek to put pressure on the DNR to return to safeguarding our lakes and streams to ensure the health and viability of our waters. Read more about the history of this issue, and the aforementioned lawsuit, here.
  • President-elect Trump has named Myron Ebell as the Environmental Protection Agency transition administrator, making it clear he is already making moves to dismantle the Obama Administration's efforts to combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions. Here in Wisconsin, we have historically been leaders in protecting our shared lands and waters. I know that my neighbors share my deep concern with where we are heading when it comes to conservation. You can fight back against this dangerous, pro-pollution agenda by signing this League of Conservation Voters' pledge.
  • I've received several phone calls from Wisconsinites who are deeply concerned and disgusted with President-elect Trump's recent appointment of Stephen Bannon. While I believe we must all move forward together, Trump has made is painfully blatant that he wishes to leave certain communities behind. Bannon has a proven record of white supremacy, bigotry, and intolerance. As Americans who care about the future of our great nation, we must reject efforts to mainstream fear and hate. See my friend, Rep. Gwen Moore's, Facebook post about this issue, here.


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