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.
Disney's The Lion
Nov. 14 through Sunday, Dec. 7.
The award-winning musical returns to Milwaukee on Friday, Nov. 14. From
the unforgettable score, to the breathtaking sets and props, you will
not want to miss this show. Tickets range from $24 to $116.
CLICK HERE for more information about the show.
The Milwaukee Theatre (MAP)
500 W. Kilbourn Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53222
November 15 through December 13, 1:00 p.m.
Take a winter
walking tour of historic Milwaukee, all without braving the cold. The
"Skywaukee" indoor tour of Milwaukee's best sites takes place in
Milwaukee's skywalk system. Skywaukee is operated by Historic Milwaukee,
Inc., and is led by a certified HMI tour guide. The tour is free for
non-HMI members and children under 6, and $10 for all other adults.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Plankinton Building (MAP)
161 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53203
Winter Farmers Market
Saturdays, Nov. 1 through Apr. 11.
The indoor Milwaukee Farmers Market starts early November, and
encourages community members to buy local. The Farmer's market takes
place at the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory. On Saturdays from
9 AM to 1 PM, enjoy the wide array of Farmer's Market offerings
including fresh herbs, grass-fed meats, free-range eggs, baked goods,
seasonal jams, and more.
Horticultural Conservatory (MAP)
524 S Layton Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53215
Holiday Folk Fair
Date: Friday, November 21 through Sunday, November 23
This year's annual Holiday Folk Fair will focus on artisans and their
crafts, featuring masterfully crafted items like pottery, quilts,
stained glass, clothing, jewelry, and more. At the event, enjoy live
entertainment and delicious foods, highlighting a variety of cultural
traditions. For more information, including timings and a schedule of
Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park (MAP)
640 S 84th St, West Allis, WI 53214
Heritage Place Tree Lighting
Date: Saturday, Nov. 22, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Stop by this holiday event located at Heritage Place Park on the northwest
corner of 10th and Milwaukee Avenue. Santa will stop by for a
visit and hot cocoa and cider will be available to enjoy. A music
performance by Milwaukee School Choirs will begin at 4:30
p.m. with the tree lighting immediately following performance.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,
As we prepare for the next session, we
hear a lot of questions surrounding other legislators' priorities for upcoming
issues and legislation. Some of the most
important questions facing us include how we will fix the budget deficit
created by Governor Walker and Republican legislators while
maintaining vital programs and services for our neighbors and families.
Throughout the election, Republican legislators denied or avoided the
existence of their $1.8 billion budget deficit. But now, with future
budget considerations in mind, Legislative Republicans are forced to
address the reality of the crisis they created. And as predicted, their
proposals for "fixing" the deficit will force the average Wisconsinite
to pay even more. In state agency budget proposals, we see hardworking
Wisconsinites bear the brunt of GOP mistakes, while their leadership
continues to engage in pay-to-play political schemes.
My Democratic colleagues and I will
continue to push back against harmful policies, and fight for the values
and programs that make Wisconsin great -- like early childhood education,
universal access to healthcare, and ensuring every one of our neighbors
has access to pursue the American Dream.
Continue reading for more important news on developments for the
upcoming legislative session.
State Senator, District 7
a few months ago, a right-wing group, the Wisconsin Policy
Research Institute, released a report where they detailed fixing
Wisconsin's deficit through a number of tax increases on basic, everyday
necessities. These strategies, called "broadening the base," brought
about a great deal of concern, as implementing them in Wisconsin would
place an undue burden on struggling families. But these ideas were just
suggestions -- until now.
Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb submitted his
agency's budget proposal, which involves "broadening the base" in
transportation, or adding additional taxes and fees to basic purchases.
The DOT introduced this new plan to fund their $680 million
The largest fee increase proposed will be on newly purchased vehicles,
called the "highway use fee." This fee increases taxes on new vehicles
to 2.5%. That means, for a $32,000 vehicle, a purchaser could pay
$2,544.50 in taxes and fees -- $800 more than current levels. This proposal has already received
criticism from the Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealer's Association,
as it has the potential to drive purchasers away from Wisconsin
dealerships. Of Midwestern states that impose similar fees, Wisconsin
would have the most expensive fee. But, the DOT's increased taxes go far
beyond new purchases.
The DOT budget request also proposes replacing the gas tax with a sales
tax of 8%. This added sales tax has been proposed by Republican
legislators in the past, and was touted by Governor Walker in October.
As a general concept, replacing the gas tax with a sales tax does not
sound as though it could negatively impact Wisconsin's consumers.
However, the current gas tax and proposed sales tax are not equal.
Imposing a $0.36 sales tax on gasoline would increase the price of gas
by 5 cents per gallon. With this new sales tax, for a typical car with a
12-gallon tank, you would pay approximately $4.32 in taxes every time
you fill up your car. Over time, this expense would add up to quite a
hefty sum for the average driver.
The most concerning feature of the DOT proposal is its penalty for
owners of electric or other fuel-efficient vehicles. In the budget,
owners of fuel-efficient vehicles would have to pay a yearly fee of $125
(compared to $75 for standard vehicles) simply for choosing a
more responsible option. In the U.S. overall, 37 states grant incentives
for fuel efficiency, both in the home and in transportation use, in
order to highlight the importance of reducing our carbon footprint. Both
Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club have voiced opposition to this
proposal, noting the negative long-term effects it could have on our
environment. As climate change worsens, Wisconsin should be incentivizing, not penalizing smart,
Overall, Walker's DOT budget proposal amounts to a $750 million increase
in fees for Wisconsinites over the next two years.
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 keep hearing about the "Hill Farms" real estate deal. What is it,
and why does it matter?
A: The "Hill Farms real estate deal" involves the sale of the Hill Farms
land in Madison to private developers, in order to create the city's
largest office complex. The Hill Farms site is currently occupied by the
Department of Transportation's office building. The 600,000 square-foot
renovation on the Hill Farms site would cost an estimated $197 million.
Though renovations of the Hill Farms site have been discussed for
several years, the quick timeline of recent action has raised question
by many. In October, the Walker Administration quietly accepted
proposals from private developers for the site, without notifying the
public or legislators on the State Building Commission. According to The
Cap Times, the initial request for proposals (RFP) was posted on October
13, with interested developers required to express interest by October
15 to receive a mandatory tour of the facility and submit final
proposals by November 7. Considering the proposal was not announced
publicly, nor were legislators informed of the action, this gave
developers a very small window to submit proposals for the project.
Why is this important?
The suspiciously short timeline suggests certain developers were
already informed about the potential project. The rush to sell state
property like this is similar to what happens in bid-rigging schemes.
Alarmingly, this is not the first time the public should be concerned
about potential bid-rigging. Recently released John Doe documents
indicate that in 2010 one of Walker's top aides shared information about
Milwaukee real estate dealings with a consultant for a potential bidder,
who was also the treasurer for Walker's gubernatorial campaign. Three
bidders in the Hill Farms project made donations to the Walker campaign
shortly before, or during the timeframe, that the RFP was posted. This
raises concerns that more of the same pay-to-play politics are
The owner of T.Wall Enterprises, a finalist for the construction project, made a
contribution of $9,975 to Friends of Scott Walker on October 25. Two
other construction groups' executives who are working in conjunction with T. Wall
Enterprises, Miron Construction, and Potter Lawson, made contributions
of $2,500 and $1,000, respectively, to Walker's campaign during the same
Scott Walker and his allies are trying to sell our state to the highest
campaign bidder. But Wisconsin should not be for sale, and this most
recent scheme should outrage Republicans and Democrats alike. Everyone
should agree that our Governor should be focused on our state's economy,
not cutting deals for political pay-outs.
Shave November" and "Movember" have become popular in the past few
years, encouraging men to grow facial hair for one month, and document
the results on social media. But did you know that these month-long
events are actually for a good cause?
Participating in Movember is meant to raise awareness about men's health
issues, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental
illness. The sponsors of the event, The Movember Foundation, note that
12.1% of adult men in the United States are in poor health, and the
reasons for this often include a lack of understanding about men's
health issues, a lack of open discussion on men's health and wellness,
and stigmas surrounding mental health.
The Movember Foundation aims to increase awareness of men's health by
"putting a fun twist on this serious issue. Using the moustaches as a
catalyst, the idea is to bring about change and give men the opportunity
and confidence to learn and talk about their health and take action when
If you are interested in taking part in Movember, you do not necessarily
have to grow a mustache. In fact, even women can take part in Movember
as a "Mo Sista," by raising funds and awareness for men's health.
Click here to learn more about Movember and sign up to raise awareness
for men's health.
Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner, and the Milwaukee area is
already getting ready for the holidays. Here are a few early holiday
events that will be taking place in our neighborhood:
Milwaukee Holiday Parade
Date: Sunday, Nov. 30
Location: South Milwaukee City Hall
South Milwaukee begins its holiday
celebrations with the Lions' Christmas Parade, which starts at 12:30
p.m. at 12th and Milwaukee, and ends at City Hall. At City Hall, enjoy a
number of holiday traditions including ornament decorating, visits with
Santa, a performance by the South Milwaukee High School Madrigal
Singers, and much more. Make sure to stay until 5:00 p.m. to see the
lighting of the city Christmas tree.
Milwaukee Holiday Parade
Date: Saturday, Nov. 22, 9:30 a.m.
Location: Downtown Milwaukee
This year, Milwaukee's annual Holiday Parade will include approximately
100 units of marching bands, floats, giant helium balloons, local
personalities, costumed characters, and more! The parade starts at 9:30
a.m., at the intersection of Kilbourn and Astor in downtown Milwaukee.
Can't bear the cold? The parade will also be broadcasted live at 9:30
a.m. on Fox 6, so you can experience the holiday cheer from the comfort
of your home.
week, November 10-14, was Winter Awareness Week. Wisconsinites are no
strangers to harsh winter weather. However, the Midwest is set to face
an "Arctic Outbreak" (coined by the Weather Channel) early next week.
Even though Winter Awareness Week only lasts five days, after last
year's "Polar Vortex," it is important that Wisconsinites are well
prepared for the effects of severe weather throughout this season. The
Wisconsin Emergency Management team (WEM) has complied a number of
helpful tips to keep you and your family safe this winter.
In the home
Severe winter weather can often cause a loss of heat, power, and
communications (including telephone and internet services). To protect
yourself, the Emergency Management team suggests putting together a
"disaster survival kit." Disaster survival kits should contain the
Flashlights and extra batteries
Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio
and a commercial radio
Bottled water and non-perishable
Fire extinguisher, smoke detector,
and carbon monoxide detector
If needed, extra medications and
Proper ventilation for an
emergency heating source, such as a fireplace or space heater
Temporary shelter and plenty of
food and water for pets
Keeping all of these items in an
accessible location in your home can prevent many of the unforeseen
effects of severe weather.
On the road
As many of you know from past winters, road conditions become
increasingly difficult during winter months. According to WEM, in the
past five years, Wisconsin averaged 18,000 motor vehicle crashes during
the winter months. To prevent accidents and ensure the safety of your
vehicle, it is important to take a number of steps before the winter
season begins, and periodically throughout the season.
Before severe winter conditions set in, make sure to winterize your
vehicle and check that your car's battery is in good shape.
Additionally, much like an in-home kit, WEM suggests making a winter
storm survival kit and placing it in the back seat of your car. In
especially severe conditions, you could find yourself stuck on the road
for hours before a storm subsides. The storm survival kit includes:
Blankets or sleeping bags
A flashlights with extra batteries
Shovel, tools, booster cables and
High-calorie non-perishable food
Sand or cat litter to use for
Cell phone adapter
On a day-by-day basis, check weather
conditions before heading out to avoid winter storms, and keep your gas
tank near full to avoid ice in fuel lines. For your convenience, the
Wisconsin Department of Transportation offers up-to-date travel
Click here to view the Department of Transportation's travel information
In the neighborhood
During colder temperatures, it is also important to keep in mind your
personal health. Being out in the cold without proper protection can
cause frostbite, and in extreme cases hypothermia. Make sure to keep
warm by covering up before heading outside, and make sure children and
pets do not stay outside for long periods of time (over 15 minutes)
during colder temperatures.