LARSON REPORT

NEWSLETTER

 

December 29, 2016

     

 

CONTACT ME


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

Email:
Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov

 

Mailing Address:

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

 

Website:

SenatorChrisLarson.com

 

Find Me on Facebook and Twitter:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMUNITY EVENTS
 

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 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

(MAP)
524 S. Layton Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53215


The Pfister Afternoon Tea
Date: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 12:30, 1:00, 1:30, and 2:00 p.m. through April 2
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Enjoy the Pfister Afternoon Tea experience on the 23rd floor-lounge of the Pfister Hotel, where you have a panoramic view of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan. You can stay relaxed in the lounge by drinking Rishi Tea, a popular tea thatís headquartered right here in Milwaukee! CLICK HERE for more information, including how to make reservations.

The Pfister Hotel

(MAP)
424 E Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202


Kooky Cooky House
Date: Now through January 8
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Come to Discovery World this holiday season and enjoy the same Kooky Cooky House that kids in the 60's, 70's, and 80's loved, but with new memories! CLICK HERE to find out more information.

Discovery World

(MAP)
500 N Harbor
Milwaukee, WI 53202


Milwaukee Coach and Carriage
Date: Ongoing; on weekdays starting at 6:00 p.m. and on weekends starting at 5:00 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Have a romantic couples ride, a warm family ride, or a ride for the whole extended family ride inside a real carriage with a horse! Half-hour and hour rides are available. CLICK HERE for reservation and location information.

 

Family Fun Walk
Join Historic

Date: Now through January 15 at 1 p.m.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Milwaukee's family-friendly history tour! Geared to ages 6-12, this special winter tour winds through the skywalk system overlooking downtown for a unique perspective and brings the early history of Milwaukee to life. Tour will visit the interiors of several buildings along the way. The tour meets at 1 pm in the main atrium of the Milwaukee Center, at 111 E. Kilbourn Ave. and concludes at the Plankinton Building at 161 W. Wisconsin Avenue. Tour guide can assist you in returning to the tour's starting location. CLICK HERE to learn more.

 

Milwaukee Center

(MAP)

111 E Kilbourn Ave

Milwaukee, WI 53202

 

 

Momentum: MBII@SMPAC
Date: January 28

Location: South Milwaukee Performances at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Description: In the crowning show of their season, Milwaukee Ballet II (MBII) dancers showcase their technique, artistry and athleticism in a diverse display of dance. The program features three world premieres by choreographers Thom Dancy (an MBII graduate), Tania Bolivia Vergara from Cuba and Rolando Yanes (Director of Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy and MBII) with piano accompaniment by Milwaukee Ballet Company's Daniel Boudewyns. Drama, beauty, grace and power -- this show is entertaining and exciting and has something for everyone. Both shows will be followed by a talkback with the artists. For more information, including ticket pricing, CLICK HERE.

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center

(MAP)

901 15th Ave

South Milwaukee, 53172

 

 

 

Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,

 

I hope you had a great holiday filled with family, friends, and fun. With the New Year and new legislative session fast-approaching, it's a great time for each of us to reflect on the things that have happened over the year, and take steps to make positive changes in our lives.

One thing I am committed to in 2017 is making sure that each and every one of my neighbors feels like they have a government that is working for all and being true to our shared values. With a rough, emotional presidential election, and an uncertain future, it is my hope for Wisconsinites across the state to have the freedom to pursue the American Dream.

To that end, this week's Larson Report is a reflection on some of the positive accomplishments of 2016 that were driven by neighbors like you, as well as a look forward to a future worth working toward.   

 

In Service,



Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

 

Reflection of 2016
Thank you to each of you who came to the listening sessions held last week in our community.
You and our neighbors were able to engage in thoughtful discussions on a wide-range of topics concerning the future of our state.

It's clear folks care about our kids and are concerned with ensuring tech schools, the UW System, and K-12 education system are adequately funded. We talked about the status and importance of the redistricting lawsuit still in progress. It also came up several times that we should work to keep our lakes and public lands clean and easily accessible. This feedback is crucial to me as the Legislature reconvenes next month.

I appreciate community members taking time during the busy holiday season to talk with their fellow neighbors about their concerns, and hopes, for Wisconsin. If you were not able to join us last week, don't worry, I will continue to reach out throughout the legislative session to hear your concerns and to keep you up-to-date on state and community news. As always, I appreciate hearing from you in the community, as well as your emails, letters, and phone calls.

2016: A Year of Engagement and Advocacy Across the Spectrum

Many of us continue to be unsettled by the uncertainty plaguing our federal government. However, seeing our neighbors come together and engage in respectful conversation -- from all across the political spectrum -- undoubtedly gave many of us hope and reassurance that we all want what is best for each other and our community.

In fact, when my staff and I went door-to-door this summer handing out neighborhood surveys, we received hundreds of responses from individuals about the issues of critical importance to them. I am inspired not only by the overwhelming engagement of my neighbors but also by the thoughtful and positive responses received. 

Click here to view the neighborhood survey results.

Looking back on the past year, I am proud of our community and the dedication of our neighbors to ensure Wisconsin maintains its rich heritage, especially when it comes to our shared, public lands and waters. For instance, when community members learned of a bill last year that attempted to allow unaccountable, out-of-state corporations to buy up our public water services, Wisconsinites and fresh water advocates quickly mobilized. Our neighbors called, emailed, and wrote members of the Legislature voicing their strong opposition to the shortsighted bill (Assembly Bill 554). This hard work from water advocates and neighbors, like you, successfully blocked this damaging legislation.

Another memorable and inspiring moment of 2016 was an example of advocacy of our students. The fourth and fifth graders of Cooper Elementary School came up with legislation to make bicycling the official state exercise as a part of a project on how bills become law.

Biking is a huge part of Wisconsin's culture and so I introduced legislation on behalf of our young neighbors. I had the legislation drafted as Senate Bill 600 and introduced it.

The students went further and contacted the Senate committee chair and requested a public hearing be held. Because of their grassroots advocacy and dedication, the bill received a public hearing and the students were able to travel to our Capitol and testify on the bill's importance.

Unfortunately, despite amazing testimony and advocacy from the children, the chair of the Republican-led committee decided not to schedule a committee vote on this bill. As a result, it did not become law this session.

I am extremely proud of the students at
Cooper Elementary School for their hard work on this bill and I will be reintroducing this bill
during the upcoming legislative session.

We have no doubts that they will continue being strong advocates for biking and for our community!

Click here to see a Fox6 News story about the bill.

On the ceiling of governor's office there is a quote that embodies the spirit of the Wisconsin people, "the will of the people is the law of the land." It's a testament to our tradition of civic involvement.

When the governor proposed dismantling our long-term care system as we know it in his last state budget, our neighbors whose quality of life depends on these programs quickly mobilized and fought against these changes. Not once did they give up, and when their voices were ignored with the signing of the Republican budget last year, they only ramped up their efforts.

This past summer, families and advocates across the state celebrated a huge victory after news broke that the Walker administration withdrew its request for changes to Family Care and IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct).

This victory was a result of the hard work and dedication of the older adults and individuals with disabilities who are served by our long-term care programs, our Managed Care Organizations, our Aging and Disability Resources Centers, and other groups who fought tirelessly to maintain our nationally recognized system.

The fight is almost certainly not over, but with the governor's next budget address poised to happen in February, this success will make it more difficult for Governor Walker to recklessly hand over Family Care and IRIS to profit-motivated insurance companies.

Click here to read a previous Larson Report article regarding these changes.

It is stories like these that keep me -- and surely many of my neighbors -- motivated and ready to meet whatever comes next with passion and vigilance.

Hope for our Future
While this year was one of challenges, and it's easy to feel like we are heading into an even more challenging 2017, there are strong positives that came out of the past year, as many of  our neighbors mobilized, called their legislators, and voted for their first time ever.

Heading into the new year, many members of our community are also feeling concerned with our democratic process and the integrity of our elections, but are feeling hopeful at the prospect of having fair legislative maps drawn for upcoming elections.

In November, a federal court ruling recognized a gross abuse of power by legislative Republicans and ruled their redistricting maps as unconstitutional and going too far in shutting out our neighbors' voices in elections.

Click here to read an article about the federal ruling.

These attempts to suppress the public's voice by politically gerrymandering districts in order to weaken the voting power of the public is a betrayal of our fundamental freedoms and values.

Republican legislators secretly drafted the district maps -- including the Assembly maps now affirmed as unconstitutional -- behind closed doors for months before hastily adopting them. They left little time for public input or scrutiny. During legal proceedings regarding specific district lines, Republicans were caught red-handed destroying evidence instead of lawfully handing it over to the judges. Hundreds of thousands of records were deleted at "suspicious times."

Walker and state Republicans have shown themselves to prioritize power grabs over serving all people. It is past time we move forward with an unbiased system of redistricting to ensure the voices of all our neighbors can be heard.

Last week, briefs from both sides of the lawsuit were filed at the request of the federal court panel. When the panel made its initial ruling, it did not decide how to change the maps, rather, it ordered both sides to write briefs on what they believe should happen with the maps. Next week, both sides will have an opportunity to respond to the other's position.

Voters should choose their politicians; politicians shouldn't choose their voters. It is my hope that the courts will side with the plaintiffs and decide that the unconstitutional maps should be redrawn and ready for the 2018 elections. I will be sure to keep you updated as this critical court case continues to develop.

I look forward to continuing to have conversations with each of you regarding how we can make our state a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

I encourage you to reach out to me if you need assistance or have specific legislative ideas:

Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487
Email:
Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov

Mailing Address:

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

Website:

SenatorChrisLarson.com

Find Me on Facebook and Twitter.


 

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 U.S. Department of Justice is considering opening an investigation into Sheriff Clark's Milwaukee County Jail. This comes after Congresswoman Gwen Moore's call for a federal investigation.
    Last week, some of my colleagues and I called for the resignation of Clarke due to his dangerous lack of supervision over his department, and the tragic deaths that resulted from his negligence. Clarke's response of insults and attempts to change the subject only enforce the need for further scrutiny. I applaud the Justice Department for taking this grave situation seriously and considering an investigation. Over the past six months, four families lost their loved ones due to Clarke's gross mismanagement. Click here to read more about this critical issue.
     
  • The unfolding crisis at Lincoln Hills is deeply troubling and concerns all of us. The mismanagement, incompetence, and horrific conditions that have resulted from Walker administration's neglect and indifference is appalling. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel conducted hundreds of interviews with guards, inmates, and parents, while also reviewing thousands of internal documents, court files, and emails. Documents obtained by the Journal Sentinel found that Governor Walker sat on documents for four years showing prison officials failed to adequately treat a sexual assault victim; leading to criminal investigators opening up their own probe, and even an FBI investigation for alleged child abuse. Documents also showed that prison guards received improper training. For 10 years, guards were trained to place their knee on young inmate's backs to subdue youth. Experts say that technique is dangerous, and can result in broken bones or strangulation. No child deserves to have their limbs mutilated, to be sexually assaulted, or to be abused. Governor Walker must take responsibility for his failure to address the alarming conditions that occurred under his watch. It is time Wisconsin changes the culture of corrections, particularly for our youth. I will continue to work with local and state leaders to develop a strategy to keep our youth closer to home and in safe, supportive, and secure environments. Read this Facebook post to learn more.
     
  • Our neighborhood schools do best when they are able to implement new strategies and policies at the local level. The Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Board of Directors recently approved a plan spearheaded by MPS Superintendent, Dr. Darienne Driver that will create a brighter future for our next generation. I am proud and grateful for Dr. Driver's leadership and dedication to our children, which you can read more about here.
     
  • Neighbors and transit users in Milwaukee County should note some changes coming to Milwaukee County Transit System in January.
    The price of regular and premium 7-Day and 31-Day passes is going up. Single ride fares, 1-Day Passes, and reduced fare passes are staying the same. Also, if you have paper tickets you have by December 31 to use them, as paper passes will no longer be used starting in January. If you have some left over, however, you can turn in full sheets of 10 tickets at the MCTS Administration Building (1942 N 17th Street, Milwaukee) and receive the value of the tickets on an M-CARD. See this Facebook post for more information.


 

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