August 27, 2015
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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.
Friday Fish Fry in the Parks
Fresh food is only one part of a healthy lifestyle. We need movement and
body awareness to complete our physical self-care. That's why this
year's annual Local Food Open House is expanded to include resources for
natural wellness activities. Enjoy workshops, presentations and visit
vendors as you learn about resources for eating locally and living well.
Learn basic bike maintenance skills while also helping keep our fleet of
program bikes rolling by attending one of our bike fixing workdays!
Bringing together both experienced and aspiring mechanics, you will
learn a specific skill such as replacing brake cables or truing a tire,
then practice by fixing our program bikes. Come and get your hands
greasy for a good cause!
Jazz in the Park
520 E. Wells St.
800 W. Wells St.
700 N. Art Museum Dr.
Description: Come enjoy a day of tasting, experiencing and learning about sustainably grown and locally sold coffee from the leaders in the field. Coffee sampling, presentations, door prizes and more. CLICK HERE fore more information.
Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,
Sadly, the summer is coming to a
close, and many of our smallest neighbors are gearing up for the new
school year. Even my son starts his very first day of K3 next week. As
such, this is a perfect time to take a look at the state of education in
Wisconsin -- from K-12 to higher education -- what's happening and what
we could be doing better.
|GOP Looks to Kill Education Institutions|
For the past several weeks, we have
heard rumors about Legislative Republicans putting together a strictly
partisan group -- five Republican representatives -- to "study" a
possible forced merger of the UW and technical college systems in
Wisconsin. These meetings will likely happen behind closed doors, and
the process will probably involve little or no public input.
UW Colleges, Tech Schools Have
Crucially Different Missions
The idea of merging the systems has come up several times in the past, in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. However, each time the issue was studied it was found that the missions and services of the colleges and technical schools are too different and that each institution runs so efficiently that little to no savings would be gained by merging the two institutions.
Notably, no one from the UW System,
Colleges, or WTCS has been invited to participate in the closed-door
discussions concerning the proposed merger.
Critical Questions Unanswered
At the end of last session, a Joint Legislative Council Study Committee on the Review of Wisconsin Technical College System Funding and Governance was conducted. The committee looked at removing property taxes as a form of technical college investment. While the committee ended before coming to any substantial conclusions or recommendations, several experts from the technical college system gave input to the committee on why their current funding model works. For instance, if the funding source was changed, it could force the technical schools to compete for funding in the state budget. This leads to problems as state revenue is volatile and times of economic downturn is precisely when many seek additional training through technical schools. Additionally, technical schools build relationships with businesses in the community, who drive training and educational outcomes based on the community's unique needs. What's more, this funding method keeps our technical schools transparent as they are accountable to the community taxpayers.
These funding concerns would need to
be addressed by the informal group of Republicans looking at this issue.
Unfortunately, there is speculation that, should a merger occur, it
would result in another cut to the UW System's overall state aid in the
|Heading Back to School|
the next couple of weeks our kids are heading back to school. This is an
exciting time for children and parents alike, and it is also an
opportune time to reflect on state of education in Wisconsin. There is
no doubt that our teachers, principals, and other educational support
staff will do an amazing job educating our children, even though they
have been given less and less in terms of resources and investment from
the state, while still expecting the highest quality of service
possible. Their dedication to educating Wisconsin's future leaders is
something we should all appreciate -- don't forget to give a big "thank
you" to your child's teacher on the first day of school for all they do.
Unfair Funding Formula
Disserves our Students
Schools Lacking Qualified
Wisconsin Education Pushed in
the Wrong Direction
Unfortunately, the most-recent state budget continues to push our state backwards by:
I have been vocal about the negative impacts the draconian cuts to our neighborhood schools and expansion of the separate -- but not equal -- for-profit voucher schools, therefore, I will continue to push for adequate investment in our shared values so that the 98% of students in our state that attend traditional Wisconsin schools have access to a quality education. In the future, I hope the state Legislature and governor will reinvest in our kids, our schools, and those who help educate our kids.
This is not meant to be a bleak
assessment of the current state of education, rather a reminder that we
should show a tremendous amount of appreciation to those who enter into
the teaching profession. We owe them our gratitude and support. Please
keep that in mind as we enter the first weeks of the new school year.
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.
I was particularly impressed with the declaration's phrase, "Human
activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of the earth
that the ability of the planet�s ecosystems to sustain future
generations can no longer be taken for granted."
Despite the ground swell of scientists and faith leaders working to turn
back climate change, Governor Walker and Legislative Republicans
continue their policies that have politically paralyzed Wisconsin by
reversing pollution safeguards and stifling renewable energy investment.
|Celebrating Women's Equality Day|
On August 26, we celebrate Women's
Equality Day. On that day in 1920, the 19th amendment officially became
part of the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing the right to vote for women.
This courageous fight for equality,
which spanned 72 years, was carried out by tens
of thousands of persistent women and men. They circulated countless petitions and gave speeches in churches, convention halls, and on street corners. Newspapers, pamphlets, and magazines were published to spread awareness. Supporters of the movement were frequently harassed and sometimes attacked. Some women were even thrown in jail.
They did not give up and in January
1918, women won the right to vote in the House and then the Senate in
1919. Wisconsin was among the first states to ratify the amendment and
on August 18, 1920, it was ratified by its 36th state -- Tennessee. It
arrived in Washington, D.C. the morning of August 26, 1920. Secretary of
State Bainbridge Colby promptly certified the amendment, which simply
stated: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be
denied of abridged by the United States or by any State on account of
sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate
Today, equality continues to elude many women in our own communities across the nation and state. It is clear our work towards equality is not done. We must continue to fight for fairness by passing policies that will improve the lives of women and girls in Wisconsin. Particularly, women in Wisconsin face barriers in attaining economic freedom and security. For instance, women make an average of almost $10,000 less per year than their male counterparts. With almost 60% of households with children depending on the income of both parents, fixing this pay gap could pay for a family of four's rent and utilities for the year. We can achieve greater equality by passing simple policies, such as:
These are just a handful of policies that are steps toward closing the gender gap in economic fairness. For 95 years, we have celebrated one huge step forward by ensuring women have access to the ballot. Looking ahead, we must acknowledge inequality in our state and nation and work towards changing the status quo.
|Labor Day Celebrations in the Community|
As we celebrate Labor Day on Monday,
September 7, we should take time to remember Wisconsin's deep labor
history and the generations of workers and reformers who have made
significant contributions to building a strong middle class across our
Our Community Fights for Worker's Rights
Our community played a pivotal role in Wisconsin's labor movement, which began over a century ago. Wisconsin's first unions were formed in Milwaukee--the bricklayers in 1847 and the carpenters in 1848. In the 1880s, as the eight-hour work day became a central concern across the country, laborers in Milwaukee formed the Milwaukee Labor Reform Association (later the Eight-Hour League) to advocate for the eight-hour day. Milwaukee workers fought for the eight-hour day with a five-day sweeping industrial work stoppage, halting production in factories throughout the city.
During the 20th century, Wisconsin's workforce continued to seek fair treatment and safe working conditions for all under Robert La Follette's progressive movement. In 1911, the State Legislature passed the first workman's compensation law. Then in 1932, our first unemployment compensation laws were enacted. Wisconsin continued to support its workers by passing the Wisconsin Employment Relations Act in 1937, which provided workers with the right to organize.
The labor movement was vital to growing a strong American economy and a solid middle class. The ability to organize, receive fair treatment, and work in safe conditions are fundamental values that built our state and our country.
Celebrate Labor Day in Our Community
Annually, we celebrate our hard-working Wisconsinites and the Labor Day holiday with family-friendly neighborhood festivals. Join me in our community this Labor Day weekend as we celebrate Wisconsin's current workforce, as well as those that came before us and fought for better workplace rights for all. See a list of local Labor Day events below:
Monday, September 7
This family-orientated festival is the largest Labor Day event in southeastern Wisconsin. Enjoy this free event, which starts with a parade at 11 a.m. and then continues on to the Summerfest grounds where a children's area, classic car show, live music, and union industry displays will be featured. There will also be and plenty of food available for festival goers to purchase.
Henry Maier Festival Park (MAP)
200 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Click here for more information.
St. Francis Days
Thursday, September 3 through Sunday, September 6
This annual four-day music festival is free and open to the public. Visitors should expect to see live musical entertainment, a movie showing, helicopter rides, chicken and rib dinners, and a parade.
Milton Vretenar Municipal Park (MAP)
4230 S. Kirkwood Avenue
St. Francis, WI 53235
Click here for more information.
St. Martins Fair
Sunday, September 6 through Monday, September 7
Vendors at this fair sell an assortment of merchandise including clothing, shoes, hardware and household items, paper products, pet supplies, cleaning supplies, sporting equipment, gift items, dried flowers and arrangements, furniture, antiques, shrubs, flowers, fruits and vegetables, prepared food, and other miscellaneous merchandise. Special music groups also entertain the crowd throughout the Labor Day weekend event. This event takes place on St. Martins Road from the intersection of W. Forest Home Avenue to W. Church Street.
Click here for more information about this event.
|Intern at the Capitol|
legislative internship at the Capitol is an excellent way to gain
valuable real life experience about everyday operations of the Wisconsin
State Legislature and the state's legislative process. This internship
is a wonderful opportunity open to both students and recent graduates.
Intern responsibilities vary, but include policy research, summarizing proposed legislation, and responding to constituent inquires. All interns also assist with general office operations, including answering the phone. In addition, there may be opportunities for interns to attend session days, sit in on committee meetings, and participate in in-district events.
Applicants must be able to work during normal business hours, and dedicate a minimum of 10-12 hours each week to the internship. All intern positions are unpaid and are based in Madison.
To apply for an internship, please submit the internship application, a cover letter, and a resume electronically to Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov or mail them to Wisconsin State Capitol, P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707. Please specify which office you are interested in working at when you submit your application materials. Do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions about this internship opportunity.
|Share your Thoughts on State and Community Issues!|
the 2015-2017 state budget process now concluded, the Legislature will
be taking a brief break until Fall. The damaging effects of the state
budget will be long-lasting, and I will continue to update you
throughout the summer on the implications of the budget.
In the meantime, I want to hear
from you! Therefore, I created a 2015-2016 Neighborhood Survey asking
about various issues that are important to our community and our state.
Your input is greatly appreciated and will help me prepare for session
to resume in the coming months.
I look forward to hearing your views on these important issues! As always, please do not hesitate to contact me about any state or community matters important to you
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