***Thanks to the city of Milwaukee, we've updated some of the Larson Report newsletter to include additional information provided to us after the original report was released.***

December 15, 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




Find Me on Facebook and Twitter:













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.


Milwaukee Winter Farmers Market

Date: Now through April 8, 2017
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Formerly known as the "Milwaukee County Winter Famers Market," the "Milwaukee Winter Famers Market" takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday in the Greenhouse Annex at the Mitchell Park Domes. In its 8th year, the almost 50 weekly vendors gather each Saturday to promote fresh, local food, varying from fruit and vegetables, to various meats and poultry, to freshly baked goods, to our community. CLICK HERE for more information.

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

524 S. Layton Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53215

A Christmas Carol

Date: November 29, 2016 through December 24, 2016
Location: Milwaukee
Description: The Milwaukee Repertory Theater presents a brand new version of A Christmas Carol, the famous Milwaukee family tradition for over 40 years. This new version features the same traditional story, with the same characters with a family friendly adaptation written by Rep Artistic Director, Mark Clements. This is a perfect opportunity to relax and get into the Christmas Spirit as the cast brings you on a journey through Christmas Past, Present, and Future. CLICK HERE for more information, including how to purchase tickets.

Milwaukee Repertory Theater

108 E. Wells St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202


Bay View Annual Tree Lighting with Santa's Arrival

Date: December 5 at 6:30 p.m.

Location: Bay View

Description: Enjoy Christmas carols by St. Thomas More High School Choir and an outdoor sing-a-long with children, family, and guests at this annual event! Tree lighting with Santa's Arrival is at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to anyone.


Immaculate Conception Catholic Church


1023 E Russell Ave

Milwaukee, WI 53207


Community-Wide Hanukkah Celebration

Date: Monday, December 19 from 4:00-6:30 p.m.

Location: Whitefish Bay

Description: Join the Milwaukee Jewish Federation for their FREE community-wide Hanukkah Celebration! It's fun for all ages with plenty of food and activities including building a giant Lego Menorah! All members of the community are welcome at this event, which this year is being hosted by the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center. CLICK HERE for more information.


Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center


6255 N Santa Monica Blvd.

Whitefish Bay, WI 53217



MillerCoors Holiday Lights
Date: Daily, December 2 to December 23, from 4:40 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee
Description: The tradition of lighting up the Miller Valley dates back to the 1950s and was revitalized in 2005 as part of Miller Brewing Company's 150th anniversary.
The family-friendly show kicks off Friday and runs every 20 minutes from 4:40 to 9 p.m. You're encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots or a nonperishable food item for Hunger Task Force.

Miller Brewery Visitor Center
4251 W. State St

Milwaukee, WI 53208

BMO Harris Bank Annual Holiday Display
Date: Now through January 2, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends
Location: Milwaukee
Description: For more than 40 years, the BMO Harris Annual Steiff Animal Holiday Display has created lasting memories for families in and around Milwaukee. For every visitor to the display this year, BMO Harris will donate $5 to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. You and your family can make a world of difference just by stopping by!

BMO Harris Bank


770 N. Water Street

Milwaukee, 53202

Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Kwanzaa Events
Dates: December 26 through January 1
Description: Daily events, ceremonies, dances, game nights, and potlucks. CLICK HERE for a full schedule of events.


Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,


Our Midwestern winter is in full force, and I hope you are staying warm and safe!


Speaking of safety, it is one of our shared values that each of us is able to live in a safe community. This comes in a variety of forms, and in this week's newsletter we will discuss safe drinking water and precautions for our neighbors concerned about being harassed about their citizenship status.

Also, I wanted to let you know that next week I will be out around the neighborhood hosting community conversations. Your input is important to me, and with the new legislative session starting in just a few weeks, I am hoping to hear from you about your hopes and priorities for our state. See below for dates and details.


Hope to see you soon!

In Service,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7


Poison Lead in Wisconsin Water
Each of us deserve to live in a healthy, safe community. Over the past few decades there has been significant research into how harmful lead exposure is for both children and adults. Growing knowledge of this danger has led groups and community leaders to mount efforts aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating lead-containing products from daily use.

Not too long ago, we were tragically reminded of the dangers of lead poisoning after the Flint, Michigan water crisis, especially among our children. Not only can lead-poisoning in children contribute to juvenile delinquency, it can inhibit brain development and reduce educational achievement.

Wisconsin's Lead Poisoning Rates
As noted in an alarming report released by the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, 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 perilous reality of our state's lead exposure crisis will leave you shocked and speechless. This harsh reality for children in the Milwaukee area is even more incomprehensible -- as nearly 9% of our community's children are lead poisoned each year.

See the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families report, here.

It goes without saying that the safety and prosperity of our children is at stake. Wisconsin must prioritize addressing and preventing lead poisoning in our children. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), our state would save $7 billion if the threat of lead poisoning was eliminated. This includes savings in medical care, special education, and even crime among adults and youth. There is an economic security component to lead poison prevention as well. DHS estimates a $21 billion increase in new earnings if lead poisoning was eliminated, as more of our youth would graduate high school, increasing their lifetime ability to earn. When more of our neighbors are able to attain economic security, we all benefit.   

Path to Prevention
Lead-contaminated infrastructure is a significant issue in the Milwaukee area, with over 70,000 residential properties in Milwaukee having service lines made of lead, and the surrounding communities relying on water service lines made of lead. The service line connects the water main in the street to the property. The city of Milwaukee owns the section of the service line from the water main to the curb stop at the property line. The property owner owns the section of the service line from the curb stop to the water meter. While the city of Milwaukee has already taken initiative to address this public health crisis -- planning to replace lead service lines at 385 child cares and eight private schools in 2017 - very few homeowners have replaced their section of the lead service line from the meter to the curb stop when the city has replaced its section from curb stop to water main after a service line leak.

Beginning in 2017, Milwaukee city ordinance only requires private laterals to be replaced with copper if there is a leak. During that replacement the city would replace its section of the service line. To prevent lead from dissolving into the water, the Milwaukee Water Works adds a compound that forms a protective coating inside pipes. The utility has been adding corrosion control since 1996 to meet Environmental Protection Agency standards. However, with Milwaukee being one of the highest lead poisoning rates among children in the U.S. any more contamination would be incalculably harmful to our neighbors and communities.

That's why the Milwaukee Common Council met earlier this week to pass a plan to solve the concerning issue of lead service lines that provide drinking water to our neighbors. This new citywide ordinance, passed on December 13, mandates that all private property owners, businesses, rental properties, and private residences replace their lead lateral lines should they leak, and when the city is doing planned road construction or water main repair/replacement might disturb a lead service line.

The Milwaukee Water Works will provide full replacement of lead service lines with copper in response to leaking or damaged lead service lines at eligible residential properties.

A lead service line might also be eligible for replacement when a planned infrastructure project would disturb it. While there are no planned projects that are known to include lead service lines, it is possible that some lead service lines may be impacted in 2017.

As this lateral replacement can be quite costly, averaging around $5,000, the city has enacted a cost sharing program where the city takes up 2/3 of the cost, lowering the replacement cost to residential property owners with 1-4 units, residents, and property owners to $1600. This cost can be paid over a 10 year period at very low interest, costing property owners about $16 per month. As this program only affects properties with a leaking lead service line or a lead service line that may be disturbed by infrastructure work, the Milwaukee Water Works will coordinate the replacement, hire a contractor, and pay all costs up front. When the project is complete, the City will bill the owner.

Click here for a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article to read more about the Milwaukee plan.

To find out if your home is serviced by lead pipes in Milwaukee, CLICK HERE.

The Milwaukee investment is partially possible thanks to the Obama Administration, as states are now allowed greater flexibility in how water infrastructure funding can be allocated due to a recent decision by the Environmental Protection Agency. This flexibility has allowed for the state to invest in addressing lead pipe concerns through the Lead Service Line Replacement Funding program. Communities across the state, including Milwaukee, received grant funding to invest in replacing lead pipe infrastructure. In fact, the city of Milwaukee is receiving $2.6 million through this program.

It is good that Milwaukee and other communities are leading to protect their neighbors. However, they need state and federal help to speed up efforts to protect from lead poison. This legislative session, I will be working with state and local leaders to priorities these efforts.

Water Filter Access
Replacing lead pipes should be a priority for all our neighbors, but unfortunately this can't happen overnight. Therefore, it's important to be aware of options to protect you and your family from the harms of lead. If you have a lead service line, the easiest way to ensure that your drinking water is safe is by flushing your tap until it runs noticeably colder, drink and cook only with water from the cold water tap, regularly remove and rinse aerators from faucets. Families with small children and women or are pregnant or breast-feeding should also consider using a drinking water filter certified to remove lead and using lead-free bottled water. The organization Aquasana is offering discounted home filtration with the promo code 'Milwaukee.'


Join Me at an Upcoming Town Hall Listening Session
Hearing your thoughts and concerns is important to me. While serving you, I have held town hall meetings, listening sessions, coffee and conversations, business tours, and in-district meetings. I advertise these by posting on my website, Facebook and Twitter, via neighborhood groups, with media alerts, and through direct emails.

Below are a few of the upcoming events that I invite you to attend if you are interested in talking to me about issues facing our community or state, or if you want to listen to the concerns and thoughts of our fellow neighbors.

Now, more than ever, I am proud to be your state senator. I'll continue fighting to make Wisconsin a better place to live, work, and raise a family. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our community and to stand up for our shared Wisconsin values:
  • Quality Education for All
    Every child deserves a quality education. Our neighbors know the commitment to improving the lives of our children. We must prioritize proven policies that fully and fairly invest in our neighborhood schools. Likewise, our Wisconsin priority must be to support our traditional neighborhood schools over those that are profit-motivated, unaccountable, and have continued to fail.
  • Fair Workplaces and Wages
    Workers are the true economic engine of Wisconsin, and as such, deserve fair wages and economic security. No Wisconsinite should work full-time and still live in poverty nor should they be forced to choose between their paycheck and caring for a sick loved one. In addition, corporations that operate in our community and benefit from the hard work of our neighbors should contribute back to the community.
  • A Healthy Environment for our Future
    The quality and health of our public lands and waters directly affects recreation, tourism, public health, and property value in Wisconsin. As a state that thrives on recreation and tourism, a decline in the quality of our waters means fewer visitors, not to mention limiting our freedom to be healthy and have a good quality of life. Our state must ensure we have quality, accessible parks, safe water to drink, and pristine lakes and streams for all to enjoy.
  • Safe, Inclusive Communities
    Promoting and protecting our neighbors is a core Wisconsin value; no matter their race, ethnicity, or national origin; the religion they practice; the gender they identify as; or who they love. Our community is richer because of the diversity of cultures represented, and as neighbors we must protect and look out for each other.
  • Affordable, High-quality Health Care for All
    You and your family deserve to be able to see a doctor when you get sick and get regular check-ups to prevent chronic illnesses. Additionally, a healthy economy is dependent on a healthy workforce. Wisconsin needs fair health care options to best promote a good quality of life for us all.

I value your input, concerns, and opinions and hope you'll join us for one of these upcoming community discussions:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

East Side:
Milwaukee Public Library East Branch
2320 N Cramer St, Milwaukee, WI 53211
Noon to 2 p.m.
See event details on Facebook, here!

Bay View:
Humboldt Park Pavilion
3000 S Howell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
See event details on Facebook, here!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Oak Creek Library
8040 S. 6th Street Oak Creek, WI 53154
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
See event details on Facebook, here!

Please do not hesitate to contact my office for additional information. Hope to see you there!


Knowing Your Rights
Our Wisconsin community is full of dedicated neighbors and organizations who believe in lifting up each other in times of need or uncertainty. Our friends at Voces de la Frontera have worked tirelessly over the years to build a community that is fair and just for everyone -- regardless of your race, ethnicity, or national origin. Just a little over a month since the General Election, with Donald Trump poised to be our next president, they are hearing from concerned members of our neighborhood about what this new administration will mean for their family and friends.

For instance, Lola Flores, an undocumented mother of four from Waukesha, had the following to say after the election, "I have a beautiful daughter called me from her middle school and told me that her Latino classmates were crying. It's heartbreaking. But I will never stop fighting for the future of my children."

Lola's family is not alone. I know that many of you are personally affected by the results of the presidential election and are worried about yourself or your neighbors. That said, I wanted to make sure to pass along critical information, provided by Voces de la Frontera, regarding your rights if you or a friend is questioned by the police or other authority about your citizenship status:
  • You have the right to remain silent
  • You may ask to speak to a lawyer
  • You have the right not to sign any documents
  • You have the right to ask for a translator and/or have the documents translated in your language
  • You may ask for the number assigned to your case
  • You do not have to open the door of your residence unless the officers has a warrant
  • You may ask to speak to the consulate of your country

In addition, Voces de la Frontera reminds folks:

  • Don't lie or give false documents
  • Give your real name
  • Have the contact information for a lawyer ready and share it with your family
  • Have a plan for your kids (power of attorney) and a formal copy in a designated place

Please call Voces de la Frontera at 414-643-1620 if you need more information.


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:
  • The publicly owned Packers capture the spirit and values of Wisconsin and proved it again recently when they announced that they were joining the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce as a gold founding member. Inclusivity is one of our greatest Wisconsin values and strengths. Revered Packer Coach, Vince Lombardi, embodied this spirit, as one of the first professional football coaches to firmly stress acceptance of all: on the field, in the locker room, and in the community. He expected everyone to take the opportunity to give it their all to move the whole team to success. I'm happy to see the Packers continue and affirm their commitment to opportunity and success through fairness and inclusion. If you are proud of our Green and Gold, click here to share this Facebook post regarding this topic.
  • Recently released private sector job numbers show that Wisconsin has continued to lag behind the rest of the nation for the 20th straight quarter. With wages remaining stagnant and job growth still stalled, Republicans in control of the Legislature need to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats on moving our state forward. Our neighbors are depending on their elected leaders to hit the ground running when session resumes in January in order to create good paying, family-sustaining jobs, increase access to a secure retirement, and invest in our kids by fairly funding our neighborhood schools. Click here to see a graphic regarding this job numbers.
  • A couple stories came out last week that show the dangerous effects climate change is having across the state. In fact, according to the National Weather Service, Wisconsin saw one of its warmest falls on record. With the average temperature reaching 57.3 degrees, Wisconsin recorded its highest average temperature for fall since 1931, and it's second highest ever. This increased temperature explains why mosquitoes were still thriving well into November. Click here to read more about this. The other revelation that came to light recently is the explosion of the growth of a tiny algae, called cyclotella, which has increased due to the rising temperatures in Lake Superior. While the mere growth of cyclotella is not alarming in and of itself, the effects cyclotella can have on the ecosystem is chilling. Cyclotella has been crowding out larger algae, leading to the decline of cornerstone species like daphnia, which is a major food source for small fish in the lake. This is alarming to everyone and especially to lake enthusiasts, anglers, and commercial fishermen as there is potential for radical change in the food chain, something that could lead to a significant decline in the population of fish at the top of the food chain, such as walleye, bass, and trout. Read more about this story, here.
  • This week, a state reserve judge and Democratic appointee to the Ethics Commission, Robert Kinney, announced his resignation from the commission. In his resignation statement, Kinney cited partisan dysfunction and lack of commitment for enforcing state ethics safeguards. While Kinney commended the few commissioners and staff that approached their work from a nonpartisan standpoint, his statements suggest these efforts were continuously stifled by other members, hamstringing the commission's ability and duty to serve the people of Wisconsin. Read this Facebook post for more information.


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