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.
Chill on the Hill 2015
Date: Tuesdays, June through August, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Description: The Bay View Neighborhood Association, in
partnership with the Milwaukee County Parks, has brought the Humboldt
Park Band Chalet to life on Tuesday nights with live music and a
gathering of neighbors on the hill under the open sky. The concerts are
set in a family friendly atmosphere with ample street and inexpensive
lot parking, hillside seating, picnic baskets and blankets, with a focus
of bringing the neighbors out to Humboldt Park not just for one night,
but for all nights.
3000 S Howell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
South Milwaukee Heritage Days
Date: July 20-25
Location: South Milwaukee
Description: Events will include a Monday golf outing, a Tuesday
ice cream social, a Wednesday night firehouse spaghetti dinner, Thursday
Evening on the Avenue, the 2015 Lionsfest on Friday, and the Heritage
Days Parade and Great Duck Race on Saturday.
Click here for more information.
Gallery Night and Day
Date: Friday, July 24 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, July 25
from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Description: Premier art event in Milwaukee for gallery hopping
and art viewing. Admission is free to all participating venues during
Click here for more information.
Downtown & Historic Third Ward
(Map of participants)
Date: Friday July 24 through Sunday July 26
Description: Enjoy authentic German food and music, sheepshead,
dachshund races, cultural village, battle of the bands, live
Glockenspiel, fireworks, Capuchins� 5k run or two-mile walk for the
hungry, Marktplatz, and much more.
Click here for more information.
Henry Maier Festival Park, (MAP)
200 N Harbor Dr. Milwaukee, WI 53202
Brady Street Festival
Date: Saturday, July 25 11 a.m. to Midnight
Description: Brady Street will be rockin' the night and day away
with 4 stages packed with live entertainment, including some of your
favorite local bands. Besides the awesome entertainment, the Division
BMX Stunt Team, the Casablanca Rumble V Pro Wrestling Ring, and the CFSC
Bounce House will be present. A variety of vendors, local cheese makers
at the Glorioso cheese tent, jewelry and pottery crafters, a vast array
of food, and of course, ice cold beer to keep our crowds from getting
Click here for more information.
Farwell to Van Buren Streets
Milwaukee Air and Water Show
Date: July 25 and 26 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Description: The Milwaukee Air & Water Show will take place along
Milwaukee's beautiful lakefront. Back for its 7th consecutive year, the
2015 show will feature a variety of world-class performers, including
the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the Breitling Precision Jet Team, the
U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Demonstration Team, the U.S. Navy
Parachute Demonstration Team, "The Leap Frogs," the Aerostars Formation
Aerobatic Team and many more!
Click here for more information.
Bradford-McKinley Beaches (Map)
Patrick Cudahy Race for the Bacon
Date: July 30, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Description: Is there a better combination than running and
bacon? We don't think so. Join us for the 4th annual Patrick Cudahy Race
for the Bacon 5k and 0k Run/Walk at Sheridan Park in Cudahy. The course
is flat and scenic, and the post-race Bacon Bash party is full of
bacon-y delights. Your race entry includes a ticket to the Bacon Bash
and one free drink. New this year: a 0k option. Get the bacon and the
cool shirt, but without the 5k. We will even have a start/finish for all
Click here for more information.
4800 S. Lake Drive Cudahy, WI 53110
Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,
I hope you are enjoying your summer!
If you live in the 7th Senate District, you may see my staff and me in
the neighborhood as we will be going door-to-door to deliver the
2015-2016 Neighborhood Survey over the next couple months. For those of
you not directly in the district, I have a digital copy of the survey,
which you will find a link to below.
Additionally, a new threat to
Wisconsin's democracy has been a topic of recent discussion. You may
have heard Governor Walker come out in favor of dismantling our state
ethics board, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board. Read on
for more details on this and more.
State Senator, District 7
While Republicans have
failed to improve the lives
of average Wisconsinites, leaving Wisconsin with the fastest shrinking
middle class than any other state in the nation, they have proven vocal
on plans to decimate Wisconsin's prized, clean election system. In 2013,
Legislative Republicans put forth a proposal to polarize and
politicize the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board (G.A.B).
As you can imagine, the bill was widely unpopular, and they reluctantly
retreated. Unfortunately, the idea is gaining traction once again with
Governor Walker's recent announcement that he supports an overhaul of
our state ethics board.
Under the proposal introduced during the 2013-14 Legislative Session,
Republican legislators set their sights on converting the G.A.B. from a
nonpartisan agency to being run by partisan appointees.
The G.A.B. was created in response to the caucus scandal in Wisconsin,
where legislators and their staff were found guilty of campaigning on
state time and with state resources. It is composed of six former judges
who are nominated by a panel of four Wisconsin Appeals Court judges,
appointed by the governor, and confirmed by the Senate. Both the Board
and its staff must be deemed nonpartisan. The mission of the G.A.B.
is to ensure accountability and transparency in government by enforcing
ethics and lobbying laws, and enhancing representative democracy by
safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process on behalf of the
people. The G.A.B. is also tasked with administering Wisconsin's
elections through a fair and impartial process that guarantees that the
vote of each individual counts so the will of the electorate prevails.
The comments by governor Walker about dismantling our nonpartisan ethics
board came a week into his campaign for president and just four days
after the Wisconsin Supreme Court halted an investigation -- approved by the
board -- into whether conservative groups' coordination with
Walker's 2012 recall campaign was illegal.
Importantly, this recent push by the governor is not a stand-alone idea
but rather a series of moves by the governor and Tea Party Republicans
in an effort to cement their power, dismantle our democracy, and muzzle
the political voice of the voters of Wisconsin. One of the initial
steps toward changing our elections was the controversial redistricting
process that occurred in 2010. Republican legislators worked behind
closed doors to craft the new legislative district maps and even signed
a secret contract vowing to hide details of their redistricting plan
from the public. When all was said and done, Republicans then stuck
Wisconsin's taxpayers with a $400,000 tab to cover the fees for the
private attorneys they hired to help them protect their jobs.
Republicans were sued over their controversial process after a
panel of three federal judges found that two Assembly maps on Milwaukee's
south side violated the voting rights of Latinos. The court redrew those two maps. The litigation continued, however, because the
plaintiffs discovered additional documents that should have been turned
over but were not.
In 2012, the court granted plaintiffs access to the computers used by
legislative aides and consultants to draw the maps.
Republicans introduced several motions attempting to keep the process
used to craft the maps secret. Not only did the three-judge panel rule
against these attempts, but they issued a scathing opinion saying the
"Quite frankly, the Legislature and the actions of its counsel give
every appearance of flailing wildly in a desperate attempt to hide from
both the court and the public the true nature of exactly what transpired
in the redistricting process."
The plaintiffs then began
a forensic examination of the computers and found large numbers of
documents had been deleted. Because a settlement between the plaintiffs and
defendants was reached in June 2013, the court's involvement in
investigating misconduct by GOP legislators and staff came to a halt,
leaving many questions unanswered.
Recently, a new lawsuit against Wisconsin's
partisan maps has been initiated. In the lawsuit, filed earlier this month, it is
argued that the maps are unconstitutional because they dilute the voting
power of some voters based on their political beliefs, therefore
infringing on their right to free speech and freedom of association.
Click here to read a Wisconsin State Journal article about
Additionally, due to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, there is still
hope to alter our statutes and establish an alternative to partisan
legislative redistricting. On June 29, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court
ruled in favor of Arizona's Independent Redistricting Commission, which
was sued by their state Legislature. The Commission was created after
citizens in Arizona approved it by utilizing the state's initiative
process. The Supreme Court, in a tight 5-4
decision, dismissed charges against the Commission on grounds that the
process and act of redistricting is essential to lawmaking which, in
accordance to the constitution, must be carried out by a method each
individual state prescribes for their Legislature. The court further
determined that the Election Clause respects the state's autonomy to
establish their own process to regulate the time, place, and manner of
elections as they see fit. Naturally, according to the court, this
includes the utilization of an independent or nonpartisan redistricting
commission voted on and created via the democratic processes respective
to each state.
This ruling paves the way for Wisconsin to transfer the responsibility
of redistricting from the majority in the Legislature to an independent
and/or nonpartisan commission. This session, my fellow
Democratic colleagues introduced Senate Bill 58, which would create new
standards for legislative and congressional redistricting.
Since taking office in 2011, Governor Walker has signed into law
numerous policies that seek to suppress transparency and voter
access in Wisconsin. Some of these
Limiting In-Person Absentee Voting
A bill passed last
session limits access to early voting by penalizing local municipalities
seeking to provide greater access to the polls for qualified voters.
Under the law, in-person absentee voting applications may only be
received by each municipal clerk's office Monday to Friday between the
hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day. In addition, the clerk's office may
not be open more than 55 hours a week beginning on the third Monday
preceding the election and ending at 7 p.m. on the Friday preceding the
election in order to receive in-person absentee voting applications.
This means that municipalities that choose to offer extended hours
during weekdays or open their doors on weekends prior to an election
will no longer be allowed to do so.
Unfortunately, the people that really lose out under this proposal are
Wisconsin's workers who may be unable to leave their job to vote
absentee during normal business hours. While employers often provide
workers the opportunity to leave work in order to cast their vote on
Election Day, many of these workers do not have the luxury to take their
employers up on this offer. Imagine you are a nurse working a 12-hour
shift in the emergency room. When are you going to have the time to
leave work for an hour or two to visit the polls? What if you are the
sole owner and operator of a small business? With no one to watch the
business while you are gone, your only option is to close up shop to
vote. How about the high school senior or university
student that has classes all day during normal business hours and wants
to participate in our Democratic process? Put simply, this law is an
attack on our freedom.
Paving the Way for Pay-to-Play Politics
Another controversial election-related
bill, now 2013 Wisconsin Act 153, was passed last session. It promotes a
pay-to-play atmosphere in governing as it allows lobbyists to contribute
to legislative campaigns earlier than under our previous law. Not
surprisingly, this bill was seemingly the work of conservative corporate
lobby group Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Senate Republican
Removing Local Control
Several other proposals that
passed last year place additional restrictions on local municipal clerks
by dictating who can volunteer on Election Day.
Disenfranchising Voters with Strict
The most frequently discussed attempt
to alter elections in a way that favors GOP candidates was 2011 Assembly
Bill 7, Wisconsin's Voter Suppression Law.
With a cost of over $7 million, the voter identification (ID) law put up
road blocks for those wishing to cast their vote in our democracy,
increased the residency requirements from 10 days to 28 consecutive
days, and arbitrarily eliminated straight-party voting.
The law disproportionately impacts students, the elderly, people with
disabilities, and the homeless, by increasing the requirements on what
people would need to do in order to obtain a photo ID for voting while
nothing to increase their access to actually obtaining an ID.
Many lawsuits were filed, so the implementation of the law was put on
hold until September 2014, when the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
failed on a split vote to take up the case. In March 2015, the U.S.
Supreme Court also chose not to hear the case on the voter suppression
law, therefore, it is now being enforced in Wisconsin.
All of these arbitrary laws do nothing
to solve any existing problems, but instead showcase the lengths
Wisconsin Republicans will go to suppress rights of Wisconsinites and
cement a regressive era in Wisconsin. Their actions are a thinly veiled
attack on our constitutionally guaranteed freedom to vote. It's simply un-American.
Judge Richard Posner -- a Reagan-appointed judge who sits on the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has an interesting perspective on the
issue of requiring photo IDs for voting is that of. Once a proponent of voter ID laws, he upheld
Indiana's law in 2008. However, due to data now available, Judge Posner
has changed his mind about voter ID restrictions. Last year, he noted in his
dissent written that voter ID laws are motivated by
conservatives wanting to discourage voting by "persons likely to vote
against the party responsible for imposing the burdens." This, among
other strong statements written in the dissent, affirms that these laws
are only meant to suppress votes of those who typically lean Democratic,
such as students, minorities, and seniors.
Wisconsin's Regressive Era of
Politics is Upon Us
Wisconsin used to be renowned for our progressive approach to voting
access. Our state has historically enjoyed one of the highest percentages of voter
turnout in the country. But now, under Republican rule, we are hastily
dismantling laws and policies that are national models and represent our shared values. In fact, the G.A.B was recognized in a 2013 as
"America's Top Model." The author stated, "I conclude that GAB has
been successful in administering elections evenhandedly and that it
serves as a worthy model for other states considering alternatives to
partisan election administration at the state level."
Governor Walker and Legislative Republicans have already rigged the
game, changed the rulebook, and tilted the playing field. Now, they are
trying to cheat by firing the impartial referees
and replacing them with their buddies. Overhauling the G.A.B. would be
detrimental to ensuring some sort of fairness and transparency remains
in our elections.
26, 2015, marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA).The ADA and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) give civil
rights protections to our neighbors with disabilities similar to those
provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national
origin, age, and religion. The ADA and ADAAA also assure equal
opportunity for individuals with disabilities for access to businesses,
employment, transportation, state and local government programs and
services, and telecommunications.
The ADA breaks down many of the barriers that used to limit the public
participation of nearly 50 million Americans with disabilities. As such,
celebrations of the signing of the ADA on July 26, 1990, are taking
place across the nation. Below is information for an event in the
Ability Fest: The 25th
Anniversary Day Party for ADA
Date: Sunday, July 26, 2015
Time: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m
Where: Wil-O-Way Recreation Center Grant Park
Address: 207 Lake Drive , South Milwaukee, WI 53172 (MAP)
Description: The celebration will include a vendor fair,
health expo, employment board games, card games, dice games,
storytelling, show-and-tell, community picnic, sport and recreation
activities, music, art, and more!
To many of our neighbors, the ADA
is more than just good public policy, it is a better quality of life.
Briana of Stoughton, Wisconsin feels that her community doesn't see her
as a "disabled person." Instead, they see her as who she is -- Briana,
an artist, a teacher, a friend, a church member, a neighbor who shares
her talents through her local Timebank. She just happens to also have
disabilities. The ADA has helped people to get to know her and see her
as a whole person.
Read more about Briana's story, by clicking here.