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November 27, 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. 


Sheridan Park Centennial Raffle

Date: Now through Fri., February 14

Location: Cudahy

Description: Enter the Sheridan Park Centennial Raffle for your chance to win a grand prize that includes a trip to New York, a tour of Central Park, and tickets to a Broadway play. This is a fundraising effort to help improve the park. Raffle tickets will be available beginning Friday, November 8 through Friday, February 14 at Joe's "K" Ranch, the Cudahy Library, City Hall, Cudahy Historical Society, Pulaski Inn, and through members of the Chamber of Commerce and Friends of Sheridan Park. The raffle drawing will take place during a Valentine's Day dinner on February 14 at Pulaski Inn. Tickets for the dinner will be available at Pulaski Inn. Raffle ticket holders do not need to be present in order to win. Support a great cause to improve Sheridan Park and buy your raffle tickets today.


Pulaski Inn (MAP)

3900 E. Pulaski Avenue Cudahy, WI 53110



Les Miserables

Date: Now through Sun., December 29

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Centerpiece to their season, Les Miserables is the show that inspired Skylight to focus on freedom and revolution as a conversation through the entire year. Set in 19th century France in the midst of revolution, this timeless musical follows Jean Valjean on his quest for redemption after being jailed for stealing a loaf of bread, inspector Javert who relentlessly pursues parole violator Valjean, and an abundance of other compelling and entertaining characters. Skylight looks forward to producing this legendary, Tony Award-winning musical in the intimate Cabot Theatre. This epic tale of passion and sacrifice will be a phenomenal way to share live theatre with the family during this holiday season. CLICK HERE or call (414) 291-7811 for more information.

Skylight Music Theatre (MAP)
158 N. Broadway Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202



White Christmas
Date: Now through Sun., December 1

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Direct from Broadway, the classic holiday movie "White Christmas" comes to the stage at last. This brand new musical shines with classic Berlin hits like "Blue Skies," "How Deep is the Ocean?" and, of course, the unforgettable title song. Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" tells the story of two buddies putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and finding their perfect mates in the process. Full of dancing, laughter, and some of the greatest songs ever written, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" promises a merry and bright theatrical experience for the whole family. CLICK HERE or call (414) 273-7206 for more information.

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts (MAP)
929 N. Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202



A Christmas Carol
Date: Now through Tues., December 24

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Nineteenth century London comes to life when you and your family join Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and, of course, Ebenezer Scrooge on a fantastical journey through Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Enjoy the music, dancing, and timeless message of hope, peace, and love, as the Dickens' classic masterpiece celebrates its 38th year at the Milwaukee Rep. CLICK HERE or call (414) 224-9490 for more information.

Milwaukee Repertory Theater (MAP)
108 E. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Skai Academy of the Performing Arts presents
The Snow Queen

Date: Tues., December 10 and Wed., December 11

Location: South Milwaukee

Description: After fragments from a magic mirror strike the eye and heart a young boy named Kai, causing him to see only the negative side of life, he is taken away to the icy world of the Snow Queen. Trapped under her power, he cannot leave until his best friend Jamie finds a clever way to break the spell and rescue him. Jamie embarks on a perilous journey, meeting delightful characters on the way that help her to learn the value of kindness, and the true meaning of courage and determination. Using storytelling, music, and dance, this exuberant, heart-warming production will take you on a theatrical adventure of gratitude and friendship, and warns us against cleverness for its own sake, exploring ideas of how our perception of the world is a reflection of our own ideas and beliefs. CLICK HERE for more information.

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (MAP)

901 15th Avenue

South Milwaukee, WI 53172



Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,


This Thanksgiving, I am thankful not only for the chance to celebrate with friends and family this holiday season, but also for the continued privilege to serve our community in the Wisconsin State Senate. I wish you a happy holiday weekend. Enjoy celebrating this festive day and remember to give thanks.

Due to the holiday, this week's Larson Report will be somewhat abbreviated, but will return to covering the most up-to-date state and community news topics next week.


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7



Happy Thanksgiving!

This week, families across Wisconsin will celebrate our nation's 150th Thanksgiving holiday. In fact, it was President Abraham Lincoln who issued the Thanksgiving Proclamation, creating the national holiday we still celebrate today.

The first national Thanksgiving, in 1863, was celebrated in the midst of America's Civil War that pitted family against family, neighbor against neighbor.

President Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation called for the whole American people to give thanks for "peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the military conflict." Despite the brutal war that engulfed the entire nation resulting in the largest American death toll of any military war in our history, President Lincoln created a holiday for us to reflect and give thanks for the nation's many blessings.

Now, 150 years later, we honor President Lincoln's relentlessly positive spirit by temporarily setting aside lingering divisions in our state and giving thanks for Wisconsin's many blessings. From our hard-working, middle-class families who wake up every day fighting for a better tomorrow; to our bountiful lakes, rivers, prairies, and forests; to the promise of the next generation, Wisconsin has much to be thankful for. Please keep this in mind while enjoying the beginning of the holiday season with family, friends, and neighbors.

Celebrating in Our Community
Our community hosts an array of activities to help us celebrate the holiday season. Continue reading to see a list of family-friendly holiday events taking place throughout our neighborhoods around Thanksgiving weekend, which are listed below and in the sidebar of this newsletter.


Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival
Now through Sunday, December 29

This six-week festival will spread holiday spirit with animated light displays in Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park, and Zeidler Union Square, as well as hundreds of events. Marvel at the spectacular sights aboard the convenient Jingle Bus, a Coach U.S.A. bus that takes visitors on a 40-minute tour. For $1 per person, visitors can relish in the holiday spirit while admiring a festive panorama. The tour is narrated by Milwaukee Downtown's Public Service Ambassadors who will acquaint riders with key attractions and landmarks. Tours operate Thursdays through Sundays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. from the Shops of Grand Avenue.


Click here for more information.


South Milwaukee Christmas Market

Saturday, November 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The indoor version of the Downtown Market returns to South Milwaukee High School with more than 70 vendors selling arts, crafts, baked goods, prepared foods, and more. The market is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

South Milwaukee High School (MAP)
801 15th Avenue

South Milwaukee, WI 53172


Oak Creek's Annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting
Sunday, December 1 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Watch the annual tree lighting ceremony in front of City Hall at 5 p.m. You will also be able to catch a glimpse of Santa as he arrives on fire truck. After the ceremony, move into the Community Center for some cookies and milk, a coloring contest for kids, and various entertainment.

Oak Creek City Hall and the Community Center (
8580 S Howell Avenue
Oak Creek, WI 53154


Click here for more information.

South Milwaukee Lions Christmas Parade

Sunday, December 1 at 12:30 p.m.

Line up at 12th and Milwaukee at noon for the Christmas Parade, which begins at 12:30 p.m. The parade route starts at 12th and Milwaukee Avenues, goes west to 15th Avenue, and then south to the South Milwaukee City Hall. Call (414) 651-2221 for more information.

Give Back This Holiday Season

The holiday season also provides many opportunities to give back to our community. This Thanksgiving, try volunteering in one of our local food pantries. Hunger Task Force Inc. and Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, both based out of the Milwaukee area, provide excellent volunteering opportunities. More information can be found on their Web sites.

Click here to visit the Web site for Hunger Task Force Inc.

Click here to visit the Web site for Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.



November is Homeless Youth Awareness Month

November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, one in 45 children experiences homelessness in America each year. This means that 1.6 million children nationally are struggling with homelessness and the ramifications that often accompany such a traumatic and stressful life situation. Losing a home for a child is often accompanied by a loss of community, friends, routines, health, and a sense of stability and safety. Below are some statistics from the National Center on Family Homelessness related to what homeless youth experience:

  • Sick four times more often than other children

  • Go hungry at twice the rate of other children

  • Have high rates of obesity due to nutritional deficiencies

  • Four times more likely to show delayed development

  • Twice as likely to have learning disabilities as non-homeless children

  • Have three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems compared to non-homeless children

  • 83% have been exposed to at least one serious violent event by the age of 12

  • Almost 25% have witnessed acts of violence within their own family

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers a number of resources tailored to communities, families, educators, mental health and child welfare professionals, and policy makers and advocates. This information helps these groups and individuals better understand youth homelessness and learn how to be proactive in making others aware of the issue.


Click here to view these resources.



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: When is the deadline for Wisconsin's No Call List?

A: The deadline for the Wisconsin No-Call List is fast approaching, so be sure to register or re-register your phone number by the November 30th deadline.

This free no-call service, offered through the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, covers both residential land and cell phone lines. The list is updated four times per calendar year (January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1). Wisconsin residents who add their numbers to the list by November 30 will receive protection from unsolicited telemarketing phone calls and text messages by January 1, 2014. Political calls, calls from non-profit organizations, and calls made in response to your written or verbal request or permission are not covered by the no-call law.

Currently, consumers must register or re-register every two years to ensure their phone number remains protected. However, legislation has been introduced, Senate Bill 155, which would change current law by merging Wisconsin's No-Call List with the federal one so that Wisconsinites would only have to sign up once to permanently remain on the list. Senate Bill 155 passed the full Senate with unanimous support, but has yet to reach the Assembly floor for a vote.


Click here for more information on Senate Bill 155.

Remember to sign-up today! You can add your phone number to the list by dialing 1-866-9NO-CALL(1-866-966-2255) or by filling out your information online.


Click here for more information or to sign up online.


Did You Know...?

In 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England carrying about 102 passengers--mostly religious separatists--seeking a new home. You may recall that the first Thanksgiving feast occurred soon after the Pilgrims landed and established the Plymouth Colony on the East Coast. But did you know that there are now 32 municipalities across the nation that pay tribute to this founding village by sharing its famous name?


Two of these municipalities are located right here in Wisconsin. Sheboygan County is not only home to the town of Plymouth, but also the city of Plymouth, which is surrounded by the town of the same name.


Attention High School Juniors and Seniors: Apply to Senate Scholars Today

The Senate Scholars Program is an intensive week-long education program offered by the Wisconsin State Senate. This is a wonderful opportunity for Wisconsin youth to view the role of the Legislature in democracy first hand and gain experience in the areas of policy development, constituent relations and processing legislation. Senate Scholars will also have the chance to work closely with senators, legislative staff, and University of Wisconsin faculty. Admission to the program is highly competitive and limited to 33 academically exceptional high school juniors and seniors from across the state. Applications are due on Friday, January 3, 2014. Applicants will then be notified of their acceptance on or shortly after January 17, 2014.

2014 Senate Scholar Sessions:
February 9-14
February 16-21

March 9-14

If you have additional questions about the program or the application process, I encourage you to call Cyrus Anderson or Erin Allers by phone at (608) 266-2610 or via email at


Click here to visit the Senate Scholar Program's Web site for more information.


Sign the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Petition

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
Unfortunately, Wisconsin currently ranks 10th in the nation for number of college students with debt, with 67% of graduates from four-year schools having loans to repay. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve System there are 753,000 Wisconsin residents with federal student loan debt (this does not include those with private student loan debt). Further, college tuition costs have doubled over the last 12 years and Wisconsin's student loan borrowers have an average debt of $22,400. It is estimated that Wisconsin residents paying student loans from obtaining a bachelor's degree are currently paying an average of $388 per month for about 18.7 years.

Student debt is the only kind of household debt that continued to rise through the Great Recession, and is now the second largest consumer debt in our country, more than credit cards or auto loans. Having this money tied up in debt is a huge drain on our already struggling Wisconsin economy as the money spent on student loans could instead be spent on cars, new homes, and at local businesses in our communities.


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.

Therefore, I am asking that the Wisconsin State Legislature passes the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill, authored by Senator Dave Hansen and Representative Cory Mason, which would do the following:

  • Allow Wisconsin's student loan borrowers to deduct their student loan payments from their income tax, resulting in annual tax savings of approximately $172 for the typical borrower or as much as $392.

  • Enable Wisconsin's student loan borrowers to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates, putting potentially hundreds of dollars back in their pockets and into Wisconsin's economy annually. For example, a borrower with an interest rate of 6.8% and the average University of Wisconsin graduate's loan debt of $27,000 who could lower their interest rate to 4% could save over $40 per month. That would put nearly $500 back in their family's pocket over the course of a year.

  • Provide students and parents with detailed information about student loans, the best and worst private lenders, and ensure that students receive loan counseling so that Wisconsin's student loan borrowers can make informed financial decisions about student loans.

  • Ensure data is collected and tracked about student loan debt in Wisconsin to help policymakers and the public better understand the depth and breadth of the debt crisis in our state.

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:

I support the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill authored by Sen. Hansen and Rep. Mason. It is a positive step forward in making higher education more affordable in Wisconsin and frees up money for Wisconsinites to spend in local communities and our state.

Click here if you would like join me in supporting the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill by signing on to the petition to encourage the Wisconsin State Legislature to pass the bill.

I also encourage you to tell your family, friends, and neighbors to join you in taking action. The more Wisconsinites that advocate for the bill, the more likely it is to pass.


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!



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