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February 12, 2015
Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might
Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707
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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.
18th Annual Festival
of Films in French
Feb. 6 to Sunday, Feb. 15
a part of UW-Milwaukee's "Year of the Humanities," the French Program
will be screening 17 French films. This includes four special events: a
day-long hip-hop dance and music program, featuring special guest
Jean-Pierre Thorn, a classic double feature evening focusing on cinema
and politics in 1930s France, an afternoon devoted to Claude Lanzmann�s
most recent documentary, and Jacques Feyder's 1925 silent film, Mother,
with live musical accompaniment.
for more information about the show.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Union Theatre (MAP)
2200 East Kenwood Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53211
Winter Farmers' Market
Date: Now through April 11, Saturday mornings, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Description: The Milwaukee County Farmers� Market will be held
again this year at the Mitchell Park Domes. The Farmers' Market gives
Wisconsin residents a great opportunity to shop for local produce from
the 35 weekly vendors. Vendors provide a wide selection of fresh fruit,
vegetables, dairy, bakery, poultry and meats all winter long. Free
parking spaces are provided.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Mitchell Park Domes (MAP)
524 South Layton Blvd. Milwaukee, WI 53215
St. Ann Indoor
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from now
through April 2015
There are many great products sold including: Fresh, seasonal, natural,
and organic produce; preserves; canned goods; handmade items; jams and
jellies; soups; soaps; lotions and makeup; jewelry; household items; and
more. They feature live music, family fun, and free coffee every week!
Purchases from the market support local vendors and the young, elderly,
and clients with disabilities at the center.
St. Ann Center for
2801 E. Morgan Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53207
Performing Arts Center 10th Anniversary Performing Arts Series
Friday, Feb. 13, 2015 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., ends Friday, May 1,
Location: South Milwaukee
Description: The Performing Arts 10th Anniversary Series features
10 shows that highlight topics relevant to South Milwaukee and
surrounding communities. Each show speaks to a memory of South
Milwaukee's proud past, reflects on a shared experience, or brings hope
and optimism for a bright, creative future. Some shows are celebratory
and entertaining, while others address important social issues like the
changing nature of Main Street or what it means to be "broken," yet
inspired. For more information about each show,
South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (MAP)
901 15th Ave.
South Milwaukee, WI
Washington Birthday Banquet
16, 2015, 5:30 p.m.
Location: Bay View
Description: The Inter-Organization Council of Bay View, Inc. is
hosting its 100th Washington Birthday Banquet! Join Marina as she
celebrates this year's festivities, and congratulates the
Inter-Organization person of the year, Mr. Jim Wing. The event offers
dinner, door prizes and entertainment. Tickets are $22 per person.
Walker's Maple Grove (MAP)
3555 South 13th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53221
Brady Street Area
Association Firehouse Chili Social
17, 2015, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Description: Warm up with this annual chili event, and enjoy the
company of Brady Street neighbors and prizes from local
Milwaukee Fire Department Engine 6 (MAP)
1693 North Franklin Pl. Milwaukee, WI 53202
Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,
Last week, the governor introduced his proposed
2015-17 state budget. Although the budget is a complex document, there
are already an alarming number of concerns that our Wisconsin friends
and neighbors have with many of its provisions.
Read on for more about the state
budget, further attacks on the supreme court, as well as an update on
the Milwaukee Streetcar project.
State Senator, District 7
Last week, the governor announced his
budget, which will cover the 2015-2017 biennium. People across
Wisconsin tuned in hoping to hear the governor describe his plan for
rebuilding Wisconsin, after the harm done by the last two budgets.
Unfortunately, there was no long-term, sustainable vision conveyed.
Understanding How Wisconsin Got Here
The 2011-2013 Biennial Budget not only divided Wisconsin and damaged the
building blocks of our middle-class, but it also caused Wisconsin to be
ranked 42nd in the nation for job growth and is dead last in the Midwest.
Below are just some of the staggering cuts that were seen in the
previous budget in order to provide $2.3 billion in special interest
$1.6 billion cut from public
schools, which was the largest education cut in Wisconsin history
$315 million cut from our UW
System, which has campuses across the state to educate future
$72 million cut from our tech
colleges, which are responsible for training the workers our local
businesses are demanding
The 2013-2015 state budget continued
Walker's pattern of creating budgets that are unsustainable, fail families on education and
health care, and don't do anything to represent middle class values. In
that budget, the governor expanded the unaccountable, unproven voucher
system statewide, while at the same time also choosing to expand the per
pupil budget for voucher schools by at least 9% for K-8 students and 22%
for high school students. The governor also rejected funding from the
federal government to increase health care access to thousands of
people, by rejecting the federal Medicaid expansion money. This choice
not only costs taxpayers more to cover fewer people, but it also turned
away an estimated 10,500 net new jobs.
So how bad is the 2015-2017 budget?
What we heard from Governor Walker last week confirmed what we expected
to hear: simply put, this is a Groundhog Day budget -- a repeat of two
years ago. Once again, the governor lacks any long-term vision for
Wisconsin -- he is ignoring Wisconsin's middle class families and
students, in favor of special interest giveaways and unsustainable tax
cuts for the wealthy. He is once again dividing our state into winners
and losers by
gutting $300 million from our UW System, while at the same time
increasing spending on big highway and interstate projects, and
borrowing an additional $1.5 billion to do it.
Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, he does nothing to address the more
than $500 million Values Deficit he created when he made the largest
cuts to public education in our state's history just a few years ago. At
the same time he continues to allow more private, for-profit voucher
schools to operate by expanding the voucher system statewide. To make
matters worse, he directly attacks hardworking families, who are already
struggling to get by in the Walker economy, by throwing up illegal road
blocks for families in need of access to BadgerCare or FoodShare until
they can get back on their feet.
Here is a breakdown of a couple of key issue areas of the budget,
starting with ten things you may not know about Walker's proposed
It removes the cap on the
unaccountable voucher program, allowing for unlimited enrollment
It spends 17.2 million more of our
tax dollars for the voucher program
It cuts per student funding by
It also creates a Charter School
Authorizing Board, which will further privatize education and take
resources from our traditional neighborhood schools
It cuts almost $90 million in
funding for students with special needs
It allows voucher schools to take
different tests than public schools to compare performance, creating
an apples-to-oranges comparison
It mandates DPI assign schools
with letter grades in both school and district report cards
It effectively bans Common Core
Standards for WI
It permits people with no
background in education, and no proven skills they can adequately
teach our kids, to become licensed teachers
It cuts funding for school
breakfast, school libraries, SAGE, grants for gifted and talented
students, and school violence prevention programs
As mentioned earlier, the governor
cuts $300 million from the UW System budget. This will have a huge
impact on what was viewed nationally as a world class University System,
and will negatively impact the education our kids will receive. Here is
a table that outlines the cuts per campus:
Governor Walker's budget also makes significant changes to policies that
that will greatly impact the condition of our shared lands and waters
and the way we leave it for future generations.
If you care about our public land
and water here are ten things you may not have heard about in Walker's
It kills the Wisconsin
Knowles-Nelson Stewardship fund, rejecting investment in saving wild
areas for public recreation and future generations
It guts citizen guidance of the
DNR, by stripping the authority of the citizen-led Natural Resources
It cuts over 65 DNR staff
positions vital to safeguarding our land and waters
It slashes investments to programs
that protect our water, land, and forests
It eliminates public funding for
our state park staff
It increases fees for entering and
camping in our state parks
It shatters partnerships with
groups and organizations who work to preserve and enhance
It cuts DNR forestry staff, in
favor of privatization and out-sourcing
It cuts millions from recycling
grants, jeopardizing programs and efforts.
It stops the PECFA program,
cutting clean-up of contamination sites
Finally, If you care about the health
of Wisconsin's working families and seniors, this budget makes
significant cuts and changes to programs that have been models used
around the nation, because of their innovation in helping Wisconsinites
and because of the quality of care they produce at a low cost to the
individual and state.
Here is a list of ten changes in
Walker's budget that will hurt Wisconsin�s working families and seniors:
It makes low-income adults, who
are already struggling to get by, pay even more for BadgerCare
It limits access to basic health
care services to 48 months
It slashes SeniorCare funding by
almost $97 million
It pushes seniors out of the
It eliminates IRIS, a program for
people with disabilities
It limits participation in the
Wisconsin Works program from 60 months to 48 months
It allows for removal of people
from Wisconsin Works without notice or reason
It privatizes the Family Care
program and puts the integrity of the program in jeopardy
It makes it easier for the state
to take a widow's money through estate taxes
It doesn't accept federal Medicaid
money to cover more people under BadgerCare for less money The
aforementioned health care cuts could be avoided by expanding
BadgerCare, which would save the state around $300 million between
January 2016 and June 2017
In this budget, Governor Walker makes
it clear that he is more distracted by his own ambitions of appealing to
Tea Party voters in other states, than articulating a long-term vision
of hope for Wisconsin, which should start by cleaning up the mess he has
already made over the past four years.
Instead, Walker's Groundhog Day budget once again doubles down on failed
schemes and perpetuates a values deficit by choosing campaigns over
classrooms, highways over high schools, and borrowing over Bucky. This
budget does not reflect the priorities and values of the people of
As I continue to dig through the budget, I will make sure to update you
on other provisions and concerns as they arise. If what we have seen at
first glimpse is any indication of things to come, I imagine I will have
much more to share with you in the coming weeks and months.
Governor Walker's proposed 2015-17
state budget was introduced as Senate Bill 21 (SB) 21 on February 3,
2015, and was referred to the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee (JFC).
Since being introduced, there have been strong, bipartisan criticisms
expressed over portions of the governor's budget. I will ensure the
views of our neighbors are considered as the state budget makes its way
to the Wisconsin State Senate for a vote.
Additionally, JFC will be holding
public hearings as they review the budget, and will make changes over
the coming months, before approving a final version to be voted on by
the full Legislature, which typically occurs in June. I am strongly
advocating for having one of these committee hearings in the Milwaukee
area, so the voices and concerns of our neighbors can be heard. I will
be sure to keep you updated as details become available.
For up-to-date information on
the state budget, connect with me on
Facebook and follow me on
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: Aside from Senate Joint Resolution 2, are there any other attempts
to politicize or attack the Wisconsin Supreme Court?
A: Previously, the Larson Report talked about that passage of
Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 2, a constitutional amendment that alters
the way the State Supreme Court elects its chief justice. Under SJR 2,
which passed the Senate along party lines, the chief justice must be
selected through an election among the other justices on the court. This
controversial measure seems to be a direct attack aimed at removing
Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson -- the longest serving member on the
court. Republicans have often railed against Justice Abrahamson because
they view her as a liberal on a court that has been shifting to be more
conservative over the years.
As if the move to remove Shirley Abrahamson from her post wasn't enough,
we have recently learned the governor is now proposing to cut the pay of
the chief justice as well.
The troubling provisions, with regards to the supreme court, slipped
into the budget by the governor are twofold: First, he calls for the
repeal of current law, which compensates the chief justice and associate
justices differently. Second, he creates a Judicial Compensation
Commission, made up of mostly political appointees, which will set the
pay of justices moving forward, including salaries for the justices of
the supreme court, the court of appeals judges, and the judges of the
While the chief justice has no additional authority than the associates,
there are numerous responsibilities, spelled out in state law, that are
not shared with the other justices. These additional responsibilities
include things like: scheduling, budgeting, and working with the
director of the court. Most of us probably expect our own compensation
to reflect factors such as our workload, responsibilities, and
experience -- a notion that the governor seemingly rejects.
Once again, rather than focusing on
priorities that will increase jobs and support hardworking families in
Wisconsin, the governor is doing more to politicize the Wisconsin
Supreme Court and attack the current Chief Justice.
This attempt to give the chief justice a pay cut may prove problematic
for the governor; however, as some legal experts say it may be in
conflict with the Wisconsin Constitution, if enacted. According to a
professor at UW-Madison, the Constitution includes a provision that
prohibits diminishing the compensation of any public officer during the
term of office. Since the current Chief Justice, Shirley Abrahamson, is
in the midst of a ten-year term, her salary cannot be singled out for
pay reduction prior to the end of her term.
to read more about this controversial proposal.
Update on Milwaukee
This week, the Milwaukee Streetcar received its final vote of approval.
As a strong supporter of the Milwaukee Streetcar project, I was happy to
see the Milwaukee Common Council vote 9-6 this past Tuesday to
approve the project's $124 million capital budget. Thank you to the
following for voting in favor of the proposal: Ashanti Hamilton, Nik
Kovac, Bob Bauman, Milele Coggs, Willie Wade, Jose Perez, Terry
Witkowski, Russell Stamper, and Common Council President Michael Murphy. This project has
received strong support from Milwaukee business and community leaders
alike and is a positive step towards improving our community's
transportation infrastructure and economic prosperity. The 2.5 mile
initial footprint of the streetcar connects the lower East Side of
Milwaukee to Downtown with a spur that will connect to the proposed 44
story Couture project.
CLICK HERE to view the letters that Milwaukee legislators and I
submitted to the Milwaukee Common Council in support of the
Milwaukee Streetcar project.
This project is a direct investment
of $124 million in the future success of Milwaukee. The immediate
benefits of approving this plan will be the creation of over 300 new
construction jobs. Many of these jobs will go to family, friends, and
neighbors in our community who have been struggling to find work due to
the economic downturn.
Furthermore, it is estimated that over the next 20 years the economic
development potential within the quarter-mile buffer of the initial
route and extensions of the Milwaukee Streetcar could generate
- 20,500 new jobs (23% increase)
- 1,000,000 square feet of new
occupied retail space (31% increase)
- 4,000,000 square feet of new
occupied office space (28% increase)
- $3.35 billion in new tax base
- 9,000 new housing units (63%
- 13,500 new residents (55%
Establishing this successful
initial streetcar system will allow for practical expansions in the
future as funding and market demand dictates. Ideally, the Streetcar
will one day include lines connecting UWM, Marquette University, Bronzeville
Neighborhood, down to Rockwell Automation, and eventually Mitchell
You can find more information about the Milwaukee Streetcar project
by CLICKING HERE to visit their website. The site includes route,
timeline, ridership, and cost information for the project.
Bay View Winter Blast
me this Sunday, February 15 from Noon to 4 p.m. at the 13th annual Bay View Winter Blast
festivities. Formerly known as Bay View's chili cook-off contest, this
winter event is featuring its first-ever Pizza Tasting Contest. A
tasting plate is just $5 and entitles its "taster" to a slice of pizza
from each contest entrant. The contest will kick off at 1 p.m. and each
taster will receive three tickets to cast their ballots for Best Pizza,
Best Sauce, and Best Crust. Additionally, several neighborhood and
community organizations will be present to connect with neighbors.
Some of the other festivities include: an appearance by the Milwaukee
Fire Department�s mascot, Sparky, and the Milwaukee Police Department�s
mascot, McGruff. This event will also boast live music by the Get Hot,
and local sponsors include First Federal Bank, Goodwill Workforce
Connection Center, Mac's PET DEPOT Barkery, 91.7 WMSE, Pick'n Save,
County Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, and Bay View Maytag Laundromat.
Time and location information is provided below.
Bay View Winter Blast
Sunday, February 15 from Noon to 4 p.m.
South Shore Park Pavilion (MAP)
2900 South Shore Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53207
February 14 is Valentine's Day. This special day typically serves as a
time to celebrate and show your loved ones how much they mean to you.
Approximately 150 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually,
making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday
This year, Valentine's Day is
particularly significant for our LGBT neighbors, as it will be the first
one in Wisconsin since the affirmation of freedom to marry for all
Click here for a list of Valentine's Day events in the Milwaukee
Player to Compete in Slam Dunk Contest
Antetokounmpo, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks, will participate in
the NBA's Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on February 14.
known as the "Greek Freak," is just 20 years old, but has led the Bucks'
resurgence as a playoff contender. The Bucks are at their best winning
percentage in five years.
will attempt to be the first Bucks player to ever win the Slam Dunk
Contest. Only two others have ever competed, the last being Ray Allen,
Hunger Next Door
Next Door is an exhibit by the Hunger Task Force that made its public
debut at Gallery Night in Milwaukee's Third Ward. The project
illustrates the reality of hunger in our community. Five families were
given digital cameras to capture their story through photos. These
families generously shared their privacy with the hope of changing how
we view, understand, and work to solve hunger.
Mu Tah, Paw Kler, and their family are residents in the 7th Senate
District who recently immigrated from Burma. They have struggled to
balance a new language and culture with putting food on the table. Mu
Tah's photos are part of this eye-opening exhibit, which will be on
display at the Wisconsin State Capitol from February 4 - 16, 2015.
Click here to view the Hunger Next Door photos.
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