February 27, 2014
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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.
It's a Major Deal!
Exciting and refreshing juried works from sophomore and junior students
representing all majors from MIAD's dynamic curriculum. This event is
free and open to the public.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Andy Warhol: 10
Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century
Uncommon Folk: Traditions in American Art
Date: Now through Sun., May 4
features an unprecedented selection of American paintings, drawings,
sculptures, photographs, textiles, furniture, and decorative arts from
the Milwaukee Art Museum's world-class collection of folk and
self-taught art. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as American
art struggled to find its own voice separate from the classical European
style that dominated the art world, an authentically American artistic
expression was identified in the work of folk and self-taught artists.
CLICK HERE or call (414) 224-3200 for more information.
Body Worlds & The
Cycle of Life
BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life is the latest exhibition from physician
and pioneering anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens. At BODY WORLDS & The
Cycle of Life, you will see the body throughout the human life cycle and
across the arc of aging. More than 200 real human specimens preserved
through Dr. von Hagens' invention reveal the human body in all its
stages, across youth, growth, maturity, and advanced age, and in all its
conditions, from health to distress to disease.
CLICK HERE or call (414) 278-2702 for more information.
South Milwaukee Indoor Spring Market
Date: Sat., March 1 and Sat., April 26
Location: South Milwaukee
Description: The South Milwaukee Downtown Market is bringing back the popular Indoor Spring Market at South Milwaukee High School. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CLICK HERE for more information.
South Milwaukee High School (MAP)
801 15th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53172
Museum Free Admission
Description: Admission to the Milwaukee Art Museum is free for everyone on the first Thursday of every month. Admission includes access to the entire Museum; including special exhibitions, programs, and lectures. CLICK HERE for more information.
Thank You Thursday
at the Milwaukee Public Museum
Description: Milwaukee County residents receive free general admission to MPM on the first Thursday of every month through the Thank You Thursday program. Evening hours will also be extended until 8 p.m. on this day. Adult residents must present valid photo identification showing Milwaukee County residency to receive free admission, and children must be accompanied by an adult showing proof of residency to receive free admission. CLICK HERE for more information.
Milwaukee Public Museum (MAP)
800 W. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233
12th Annual Local
Farmer Open House
Description: Know your farmer, know your food. Whether you are learning about Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) or have been a member for years, this is a great opportunity to talk with local farmers, learn about their growing practices and share options, and choose which farm is best for you. Short workshops on issues such as cooking from your CSA, will also be featured. This event is free and open to the public. CLICK HERE for more information.
Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park (MAP)
1500 E. Park Place
Milwaukee, WI 53211
Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,
The problems at Governor Walker's unaccountable jobs agency continue to grow. In the past we have heard about WEDC losing track of over $50 million in loans and the agency misusing credit cards to purchase items like iTunes gift cards, Badger tickets, and alcohol. Now, a recent report has shown that WEDC may be playing political favorites by targeting job creation efforts to Republican legislative districts. Continue reading for more about this and other important issues, such as the repeal of basic education standards and increasing economic security for Wisconsin workers.
New Level of Corruption at WEDC?
Wisconsinites and legislators cannot deny the overwhelming problems at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) that grew out of insufficient accountability and transparency measures. However, a report released last week by Citizen Action of Wisconsin--a coalition committed to achieving social, economic, and environmental justice--shows a new level of corruption achieved by this failing public-private agency. It appears that Governor Walker's WEDC may have been heavily investing in jobs in Republican districts while leaving behind the workers located in districts with Democratic representation, including Milwaukee.
Below are some alarming statistics contained in the recent Citizen Action report:
The overwhelming majority in Wisconsin believe it is unacceptable for our state's job creation agency to be playing favorites. Wisconsinites and local businesses in every corner of the state are in need of jobs or support with economic efforts. We cannot afford to have WEDC be a tool for the Walker administration to reward its political allies. The taxpayers of Wisconsin deserve to know if their money is being used incorrectly, as is suggested with the statistics contained in this report. I hope this matter, in addition to the other problems previously uncovered at WEDC, is investigated in a future audit of the agency. Continue reading for more information about WEDC's other accountability and transparency issues.
Audits Show Problems Persist at WEDC
creation is imperative as Wisconsin continues to lag behind its
neighbors and the nation ranking 37th in job creation. Yet Governor
Walker's Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has made our
economic development efforts a running joke across the country. The
people of Wisconsin are at their breaking point with this agency.
Republicans hastily-created WEDC--to replace the Wisconsin Department of
Commerce--and it has had persistent problems since its inception in
2011. These include circumventing Wisconsin's fair and competitive
bidding process and ignoring federal and state laws when giving out
grants. The final straw was losing track of over $50 million in loans,
including about $12 million that were overdue.
WEDC's Poor Performance Affecting
Radical Push to Gut Basic Education Standards
The Senate Committee on Education is slated to take up a bill, Senate Bill 619, on Thursday, March 6 that would completely repeal Wisconsin's Common Core Standards. Educational standards are supposed to cement our children's learning foundation. However, if this partisan takeover succeeds, the quality of our children's education will be in jeopardy as these educational standards will be subject to change after each election.
Wisconsin adopted the Common Core Standards (CCSS) in 2010 to measure state performance in mathematics and English language arts. The new standards are being used to replace the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam. Teachers, parents, experts, and community leaders all weighed in to help create the Common Core State Standards for English language arts, mathematics, and literacy in all subjects. Wisconsin is also currently participating in a multi-state project to develop new common standards for science.
Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, Wisconsin's state assessments will be based on the CCSS. While the authors of Senate Bill 619 reject these basic educational standards, they have been adopted by 45 states and have received bipartisan support nationwide as more rigorous standards are needed to help students prepare for the demands of our 21st century economy. Further, the support for the Common Core Standards remains overwhelming. Supporters include students, parents, educators, experts, community leaders, editorial boards, the University of Wisconsin System, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and even the conservative businesses group Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
Opposition to the standards looks like
a grassroots movement, but these opponents appear to be organized and
motivated by an array of extreme, Tea Party organizations with
multi-million dollar budgets and experience in mobilizing crowds and
lobbying lawmakers, including groups with deceptive names such as: The
Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, the Pioneer Institute,
Concerned Women for America, and FreedomWorks.
Baselessly discarding the Common Core Standards would also have a negative impact on our children's curriculum. Instead, partisan politics would dictate if our children take up evolution, creationism, and climate change when addressing science standards. Whether or not such essential American topics as civil liberties, civil rights, genocide, religious history, and political movements would also be up for debate.
Legislative Democrats, some Republican legislators, and State Superintendent Tony Evers have raised concerns about attempts to get rid of the Common Core State Standards. According to Superintendent Evers, "We cannot go back to a time when our standards were a mile wide and an inch deep, leaving too many kids ill prepared for the demands of college and a career. We cannot pull the rug out from under thousands of kids, parents and educators who have spent the past three years working to reach these new, higher expectations that we have set for them. To do so would have deep and far reaching consequences for our kids, and for our state." I share these concerns and will oppose Senate Bill 619 in its current form if it reaches the Senate for a vote.
Stronger Economic Security in Retirement
Like many other states, Wisconsin is currently experiencing a retirement crisis. In fact, nearly 1.5 million Wisconsin workers do not have a retirement plan. Further, those that do have a plan are not always able to contribute the amount needed to cover their living expenses once retired. Therefore, my Democratic colleagues, Senator Dave Hansen and Representative Eric Genrich, have introduced legislation to provide Wisconsin workers a path to an economically secure retirement.
The Wisconsin Private Secure Retirement Act would create a private retirement system based on the best retirement system in the nation--the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). While the private funds invested by Wisconsinites would be held separately from those in the WRS, they would still be managed by State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), who has also managed the WRS so effectively. Additional components of the Wisconsin Private Secure Retirement Act are listed below:
The WRS is an efficient and
sustainable retirement system, making it a stellar model for the rest of
the country and desirable to those in the private sector. According a
June 2012 study conducted by the Department of Administration, the
Department of Employee Trust Funds, and the Office of State Employment
Relations, the key to the system's success is that it is insulated from
large swings in annual contribution rates or funding levels due to the
plan�s unique cost-sharing and risk-sharing features.
It is now time to share the success of the WRS from the public sector to the private sector. This bill goes a long way to creating a retirement system for employees in the private sector that will provide them with peace of mind upon retirement. It also ensures that all Wisconsinites will have access to our world-class retirement system. I encourage my Republican colleagues to give this bill proper consideration this session.
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.
Below are some of the actions that Wisconsin legislators and their staff are prohibited from doing while at work. The also greatly apply to other public offices.
As you can see, the Legislature has a number of safeguards in place to ensure that campaign activities are kept separate from state office activities. These policies help protect the integrity of each legislative office to ensure that legislators are focused on working for the people of their community. It is important that the state of Wisconsin maintains these safeguards on behalf of taxpayers statewide.
Did You Know...?
You may be aware that the 2014 Sochi Olympics recently held its closing ceremony. But did you know that Wisconsin has a history of producing medal-winning speed skaters?
According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, between 1976 and 2002, speed skaters born and raised in Wisconsin state won 13 Olympic medals. Further, Madison's Eric Heiden made history when he won five gold medals in at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York.
Celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Jump Rope For Heart
Friday, I had the honor of attending the 35th Anniversary Celebration of
Jump Rope For Heart in Milwaukee. As you may know, the program was
founded in 1978 at our very own Riverside University High School by
physical education teacher Jean Barkow. Over the past 35 years, this
program has helped the American Heart Association raise millions of
dollars to help combat heart disease and increase awareness about a
healthier life style for our children. Today, more than 28,000
elementary schools across the country take place in the program every
Sign the Marriage Equality Petition Today!
Democratic colleagues and I introduced a proposal that would remove
Wisconsin's ban on marriage equality. The support for this legislation
has been overwhelming. After being in circulation for two weeks, the
Marriage Equality Wisconsin Petition has already garnered over 22,000 signatures. If you have not yet signed the petition
still have time to join our Wisconsin neighbors in supporting the
proposal to remove Wisconsin's ban on marriage equality. If you have
already signed, please encourage your family, friends and neighbors to
do so as well. Continue reading for more information about the details
of this marriage equality proposal.
Support the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Bill
Exponential increases in tuition and
fees coupled with challenging economic times over the years have made it
nearly impossible for students to work their way through school, as was
commonplace in the past. In fact, nearly 40 million Americans now hold
over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt nationally.
Wisconsin's Student Debt Crisis
Some issues related to student loans
can only be dealt with at the federal level. Unfortunately, Congress'
current partisan gridlock leaves little hope for real relief for student
loan borrowers in the near future. We cannot wait for Congress to act.
It is time for innovative, common sense solutions that will provide real
relief for Wisconsin's student loan borrowers.
As you can see, this legislation offers common sense solutions for real savings on behalf of Wisconsinites managing student loan debt. I hope legislative Republicans will see the economic value of moving forward with such a proposal. Therefore, I encourage them to join me in supporting the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill. Wisconsinites cannot afford to wait any longer for more affordable college education and decreasing their debt burden.
Sign the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Petition
If you would like to see the Higher
Ed, Lower Debt bill become law, I encourage you to sign onto the Higher
Ed, Lower Debt petition. The petition states the following:
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. In addition, I
have also made this survey available online.
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