August 15, 2013







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:


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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. 


Garden District Farmers' Market
Date: Saturdays now through October 12

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Stop by this community market offering fresh produce from local farmers. The market runs each Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the area located just south of S. 6th Street and W. Howard Avenue. CLICK HERE for more information.


Irish Fest
Date: Thurs., August 15 through Sun., August 18

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Celebrate the 33rd birthday of Irish Fest. Gaelic poetry readings, theater events, historical displays, book sales, entertainment, and more will be featured. More than 100 acts on 16 stages will be performing such as Sprag Session, Tallymore, Makem & Spain Brothers, Cassie & Maggie MacDonald, and Finbar MacCarthy. Contemporary groups such as Red Hot Chili Pipers, Tom Sweeney, and Gaelic Storm will also be performing. Admission is $5 on Thursday and from 4 until 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Otherwise admission is $17 for adults, $12 for seniors (60 or over), and free for children 12 years or younger. CLICK HERE or call (414) 273-3378 for more information.

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


Lebowski Fest

Date: Fri., August 16 and Sat. August 17

Location: Milwaukee

Description: The Lebowski Fest is at it again. Come watch the outdoor showing of The Big Lebowski, the 'Lebowski-oke' After Party, the Lebowski Fest bowling party, and much more. The movie party is free for general admission, but for $25 get VIP seating and cocktail service. Bowling party costs $25 for general admission and a weekend pass is $50. CLICK HERE for more information.

Cathedral Square Park (MAP)
520 E. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202


Milwaukee Eat Local Resource Fair & Eat Local Challenge

Date: Sat., August 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: The Eat Local Resource Fair is an annual opportunity to celebrate local food. It offers tools, tips, and ideas to take the Eat Local Challenge and to eat locally all year long. CLICK HERE or call

(414) 964-8505 for more information.

Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park (MAP)

1500 East Park Place Milwaukee, WI 53211



Bradford Beach Jam
Date: Sat., August 17
Location: Milwaukee

Description: The 10th annual Bradford Beach Jam features non-stop reggae music, beach volleyball, dodgeball,  baggo, beach rugby, soccer, and wiffleball. Exhibitors will be selling Caribbean artwork and jewelry. Admission is free for this family-friendly event. CLICK HERE for more information.

Bradford Beach (MAP)
2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53211



Third Ward Sidewalk Sale
Date: Sat., August 17 and Sun., August 18

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Stroll the historic streets, shop the neighborhood boutiques, and enjoy the culinary treats. For one amazing weekend, enjoy sales throughout the historic Third Ward. CLICK HERE for more information including a list of participating vendors.



4th Annual Run for the Parks

Date: Tues., August 20

Location: Bay View

Description:  Join the Park People and Bay View Neighborhood Association for the annual event. This is a cross-country fun run that weaves through the parks. It begins and ends in front of the band shell stage with hundreds of people cheering participants on. All registrants will receive a commemorative T-shirt and a goodie bag. Stay after the event to partake in the special VIP area where you can sample wine and beer as well as well as fruit and snacks while listening to a great concert at the Chill on the Hill concert series. This year, money raised from the event will be put towards Humboldt Park and Washington Park. CLICK HERE for more information. 

Humboldt Park (MAP)

3000 S. Howell Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53207

Mexican Fiesta
Fri., August 23 through Sun. August 25

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Being one of the last major Lakefront festivals of the season, Mexican Fiesta is filled with fun, food, and mariachi. Artwork and music will be featured with headliners such as Paquitta la del barrio, Fidel Rueda, Banda Machos, and Emilio Novaira. Contests such as the Salsarengue, dance, el grito, and traditional costumes are featured as well. Presale tickets are $13 for adults and $1 for children 3 to 10 while accompanied by an adult. Adult tickets at the door are $15. Admission is free on Friday from noon to 3 p.m. for the public. Admission is also free on Saturday and Sunday for senior citizens, active military and veterans, and people with disabilities from noon to 1 p.m.

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



Milwaukee Masterpiece

Date: Sat., August 24 and Sun., August 25

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Milwaukee Masterpiece is an event celebrating the history and beauty of automobiles with hundreds of rare and classic vehicles displayed. Saturday will feature American and European models by local and regional car clubs with the owners on hand to give the history and context. Sunday features award-winning and restored cars. Admission is $15 per day and $20 for a two-day pass before Aug. 22. Day-of ticket prices are $20 for one day and $25 for a two-day pass. All proceeds from event and social will benefit the Jewish Family Services, which provides meals, counseling, development, and support for those in need. CLICK HERE for more information.

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





Dear Friend,


With summer coming to a close, this week's newsletter will provide updates on issues related to women's health, federal health care implementation, water quality, and transportation. Continue reading for more information on these and other important community and state matters.


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7



Permanent Injunction on Portion of Forced Ultrasound Bill

In June, Republicans introduced and quickly passed controversial legislation mandating that women seeking abortions undergo an invasive and medically unnecessary ultrasound procedure. This legislation also requires all-option family planning doctors to have admitting privileges to a hospital located within 30 miles of their clinic. By passing this bill, Republican legislators confirmed their belief that women are incapable of making personal decisions about their own body.


In response to this damaging legislation, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services immediately filed a lawsuit contending the law is unconstitutional. On July 8, 2013, the day the law was to take effect, U.S. District Judge William Conley issued a temporary restraining order blocking the portion of the law related to admitting privileges. Since then, he has extended the restraining order twice. Most recently, on August 2, Conley put in place an injunction that will block the law until the November 25 trial is held.


Conley explained the injunction by stating that the requirement of admitting privileges is not reasonably related to a woman's health, and that organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, could show that the mandate is a significant obstacle for women seeking abortions. Of his decision he wrote, "Given the substantial likelihood of success on the merits and of irreparable harm, the public's interest is best serviced by imposing a preliminary injunction on the enforcement of the admitting privileges requirement until this court can address its merits after trial."

Should this law stand, Planned Parenthood would be forced to close two of four clinics offering all methods of family planning in Wisconsin. As the legal debate over this legislation moves forward, I will be sure to keep you updated on the status of this bill and its implications on the health of Wisconsin's women and families.



Health Care Exchange Launches Web Site

The Health Insurance Marketplace or "exchange" begins open enrollment on October 1, 2013. Through this exchange families, individuals, and small business owners can shop for health insurance online. Therefore, the federal government has launched a Web site,, that will help individuals get the coverage that meets their needs and budget once the exchange is up. Although actual costs and plans are not on the Web site yet, you can answer a set of questions on the site that will allow you to see what coverage you may be eligible for, links to content, and a checklist to help you apply. While this is not the actual application, it is a great way to get started and to see what you might be eligible for when the Marketplace is in full swing.

In order to use the Health Insurance Marketplace once it is up and running you will simply fill out an application to learn if you are eligible for free or low-cost coverage, if you can get lower costs on monthly premiums for private insurance plans, and if you qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs. The exchange helps to simplify getting affordable health care, as it complies all of your options and allows you to compare them in one place. All of the information presented in the Marketplace is written simply so it is easy to understand, allowing you to make the best decisions about your health care.


Click here to visit this new Web site.

The creation of the Health Insurance Marketplace and its corresponding Web site is just one of aspect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA offers states the option of extending coverage of our health safety net programs for our family, friends, and neighbors. The federal government picks up 100% of the cost for the first three years and no less than 90% every year thereafter. Unfortunately, the governor and legislative Republicans decided to reject the ACA's recommended path to pursue their own Medicaid plan, which will cost the state more in taxpayer money to cover fewer Wisconsinites. It is shocking that Republicans would choose to reject the opportunity to expand health care coverage to nearly 85,000 more Wisconsinites, save the state $119 million over the biennium, and create approximately 10,500 new jobs. Why they made this decision is beyond comprehension and flies in the face of logic.



Higher Education Survey Now Available!

Share your thoughts on higher education affordability today by taking my short, online survey!


Over the years, exponential increases in tuition and fees coupled with challenging economic times has made it nearly impossible for students to work their way through school, as was commonplace in the past. While 45% of 1992-93 bachelor's degree graduates borrowed money from the government, private loan providers, or family, according to a recent U.S. Department of Education survey, approximately two-thirds of 2007-08 bachelor's degree graduates borrowed money from the government or private lenders (family loans were not considered in this figure). In fact, the U.S. recently surpassed $1 trillion in outstanding student loans, with the average debt in 2011 totaling $23,300.

As a result, higher education affordability has been a hot topic in our state and nationally. Currently, the federal government has taken up legislation to address the growing concerns surrounding this issue. I would like to hear your thoughts on higher education affordability. Therefore, I have created a survey to learn more about you and your perspective. Please take the time to fill it out.

Click here to take the 2013 Higher Education Affordability Survey.

I look forward to hearing back from you on the important issue of higher education affordability.


August is Water Quality Month

August is National Water Quality Month. Water quality is especially important here in Wisconsin where we have tremendous water resources, and this month is dedicated to reminding our citizens how crucial it is to protect these vital bodies of water.

We increasingly hear about alarming situations in which the quality of water is no longer suitable as a result of increased bacteria and micro-organism activity, sewage and oil spills, and pollutants channeling their way into streams, lakes, and rivers. Such growing problems are not without consequences, which can include causing illness to our family, friends, neighbors, and pets; endangering plant and wild life; and causing excessive aquatic plant or invasive species growth.

Wisconsin boasts over 15,000 lakes, 88,000 miles of streams, 5.3 million wetland acres, and 1.2 quadrillion gallons of groundwater. It is our job, as stewards of this state, to help maintain and protect these resources. To accomplish this goal, we have developed Wisconsin's Clean Water Act Programs. The Federal Clean Water Act identifies water quality goals for the nation and outlines processes and legislation for monitoring and managing water protection. Using these guidelines, Wisconsin's Water Quality Standards define specific goals for each water body in the state by designating its uses, establishing criteria to protect its uses, and setting provisions to protect its water quality from pollutants.

Groundwater quantity and quality problems have persisted in Wisconsin and occur both naturally and from human activities. There are several steps everyone can take at home to help with Wisconsin's water quality preservation effort, including:

  • Help reduce water run-off by turning the downspouts of your rain gutters towards your garden and making sure your sprinklers are not watering the street instead of plants

  • Avoid blowing or sweeping lawn clippings and other debris into the street where it will eventually be washed into the local water supply

  • Reduce or eliminate chemical use when landscaping or maintaining your lawn by using environmentally friendly alternatives to pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides when possible

  • Try using permeable surfaces such as pavers, stone, and mulch that allow water to seep into the ground rather than being washed away into the street

In addition to pollutants in groundwater, the 2012 Wisconsin Water Quality Report to Congress states that algae blooms and climate change are two rising concerns for Wisconsin's water systems. Taking preventative steps against blue-green algae has been a priority of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources because blue-green algae can be harmful to humans and there is no method in place to control this algae growth once it enters a lake. In addition, the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts has issued steps to combat climate change at the state level encouraging community participation. Developing healthy water habits in communities around the state can help Wisconsin maintain its beautiful lakes, rivers, and wetlands.

Click here for more information on Wisconsin's water quality and easy steps to help conserve our water.


Ask Chris

I often have neighbors contact me looking for my perspective on various local and state issues. I very much appreciate our neighbors' questions and want to dedicate a portion of my newsletter to common questions that I hear to maintain an open dialogue. Please continue reading for this week's question.

Q: I have a sesquicentennial license plate and have heard that I may need to get a new one for my car. Could you tell me more about this, including what the cost of this will be?

A: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that they will be reissuing all sesquicentennial license plates, as well as all remaining license plates that have red lettering. This is because license plates become less reflective due to letters fading. Such wear and tear makes it more difficult for other motorists to see you at night, and also makes it more difficult for law enforcement to read the license plates. Therefore, when a series of license plates gets too old, DOT issues new ones.


License plates will be reissued automatically when they are renewed, starting in October 2013 and lasting until September 2014, when the renewal cycle for the sesquicentennial and red letter license plates ends. This will all be done at no cost to you. If you have sesquicentennial license plates or plates with red letters on them, you will be sent a letter from DOT notifying you that your license plates needs to be renewed, and explaining the process for doing so. Drivers who do not have sesquicentennial or red letter plates will not be affected.


When you renew your plate, you will be issued a standard, black-letter auto plate of the current "sailing farmer" design. If you have personalized sesquicentennial plates, you may need to select a new personalized message. Plates can be renewed by mail, online, through a third party agent, or in person. When you do renew your license plates, you do not need to return your old ones to the DMV. You can keep, discard, or recycle the old plates. In total, about 160,000 sesquicentennial and 130,000 red letter auto plates will be reissued.



Alert: Bus Route Changes Coming Soon

Several bus routes on the Milwaukee County Transit System, which provides 45 million rides annually, will transition to new schedules starting August 25, 2013, to accommodate seasonal changes. Additionally, two routes will also have altered bus stops.

Riders can check out new bus schedules by viewing a preview online at starting today. Alternatively, beginning August 21, riders can also call a 24-hour automated bus information line at (414) 344-6711.


Click here for more information about these impending changes.


Did You Know...?

You may be aware that Wisconsin is often a leader in health care innovation. But did you know that in 1968, a team of scientists and surgeons, that included Dr. Fritz Bach, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison performed the first successful bone marrow transplant?

Bach was an assistant professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin in 1965 when he devised a lab test that could identify individuals who were "matched" for genes that control organ transplantation. He was convinced that a bone marrow transplant with a "matched individual" could boost the immune system and restore normal marrow function for individuals with a variety of life-threatening diseases, including various forms of cancer.

Bach's theory proved correct in 1968, when a two-year-old boy diagnosed with Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, a deadly disease that causes unstoppable internal bleeding, was the first to receive a bone marrow transplant. The patient's nine-year-old sister was considered a match by Bach. While the first transplant between these siblings failed to work, the second attempt was a success.


Click here to visit the Web site for the Nation Marrow Donor Program for more information on how to become a donor.


Keeping Our Neighborhoods Safe

Staff, interns, and I have been going door to door to deliver a community survey and get feedback from neighbors. During these visits, we received many of the same comments, specifically in the Bay View community: neighbors are not always reporting crimes to police. Each of the neighbors that brought this up had recently had items stolen from their house or yard. Further, they knew of other individuals that had similar experiences, yet had not reported the incident to police.

Therefore, I wanted to remind neighbors in our community to contact the non-emergency police line or a Milwaukee liaison officer if such a situation should happen to you. Reporting theft not only increases your chances of having your property recovered and returned, but it also provides local police officers with an accurate picture of crime activity in our community so that they can make better determinations of where to saturate officers in an effort to prevent future crimes.

You can find the information to report non-emergency crimes below:


Cudahy: (414) 769-2260
Franklin: (414) 425-7500
Milwaukee: (414) 933-4444
Oak Creek: (414) 762-8200
South Milwaukee: (414) 768-8060
St. Francis: (414) 481-2232


Another option for city of Milwaukee residents is to contact your community liaison officer. You can find their contact information below:

Officer Thomas Kupsik (7 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Phone: (414) 935-7258


Officer Devennuette Prince (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)  

Phone: (414) 935-7258


Officer Laurel Osiewalski (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Phone: (414) 935-7258



Take the 2013-2014 Neighborhood Survey

I created a survey for the 2013-2014 Legislative Session asking about various issues that are important to our community and our state. The input of neighbors is greatly appreciated. My staff and I will be working hard to deliver as many surveys door to door as possible before winter arrives. In addition, I have also made this survey available online.

Click here to download and print a copy of this survey, which you can return to my office via mail, email, or fax upon completion.

Click here to save a stamp and take the survey online.

I look forward to hearing your views on these important issues!



Summer Activities in Our Community

Our community offers a wide variety of summer activities for families, children, and adults alike. Below are just a few activities that you can take part in this summer.


Food Tours in Milwaukee
Take part in food tours that will have you discovering the sights and savoring the flavors of Milwaukee's most delicious and historic neighborhoods. Milwaukee Food Tours offers food tours in a number of different neighborhoods, such as the Historic Third Ward and Brady Street, and features a variety of themes. These one-mile walking tours usually last between two to 2.5 hours and make four to six stops.

Click here for more information or to book a tour.


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