The Sargent Voice Issue #117                                           March 13, 2020

Friends and Neighbors, 

Yesterday, Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency in Wisconsin in response to the impacts of COVID-19 on our state, which will allow for more access to necessary resources to respond to and contain the outbreak. As your State Representative, I want to ensure that all of us have the resources and knowledge we need to stay healthy during this global health issue. Over the past few weeks, I have been in legislative briefings regarding the spread of this virus and am continuing to closely monitor the situation and its impact on our community.

With the worldwide health impacts that this virus is having, and the recent increase of cases here in Wisconsin and Dane County, it is imperative that we do all we can to contain the spread of COVID-19 and prepare for response measures. Governor Evers, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Wisconsin National Guard, and countless health professionals, are working around the clock to keep the spread contained and to keep our state safe. However, this is not possible without individual action being taken as well.

While this is an uncertain time, it is critical that we as individuals work to stay healthy by frequent hand washing with soap and water, covering all coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching your face, staying home when sick, and reducing travel. Further, many communities, organizations, and offices (mine included-- see more details below) are taking proactive steps to prevent the spread, including measures such as social distancing, replacing in-person meetings with telework when possible, reviewing workplace sick leave policies, modifying, postponing or canceling mass gatherings, and more.

This public health emergency requires an all hands on deck approach to contain, so please share this information and be sure to stay updated.

For more resources visit:

Wisconsin Department of Health Services: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/disease/covid-19.htm

Center for Disease Control & Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html


In Service,

Melissa Sargent
State Representative
48th Assembly District



February 20, 2020: Representative Melissa Sargent presents Reverend Doctor Carmen Porco with a Hometown Hero award.


Our Democracy Initiatives 

What’s Happening in 11-North?

Team Melissa is practicing social distancing

Starting Monday March 16th my office and myself will be following public health recommendations and joining many other businesses and organizations in social distancing, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This means that, for the time being, I will not be participating in or sponsoring in-person public gatherings, and my office will work from home whenever possible. I am urging you all to consider doing the same.

Although my office will be closed physically, we will still be answering all emails and phone messages, and working diligently from outside the office. While this is certainly not a time to panic, it is imperative that we take preventative steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and protect our vulnerable friends, family, and neighbors. While this may feel like an abundance of caution to some, we need to act decisively to keep our community safe. Social distancing is one of the best ways we can slow down this virus, and we must all take responsibility for the well-being of our community.


50 Piece Rule

Pursuant to Wisconsin State Statutes, legislators are prohibited from distributing more than 50 pieces of substantially identical materials during election cycles. Starting April 15th, this so-called “50 Piece Rule” will go into effect, and consequently e-updates such as this will no longer be able to be distributed. I will send out one final e-news before April 15th to finish the 2019-2020 legislative session, but wanted to give you a heads up now! 

I’ll continue to post regular updates on social media (follow along on Facebook and Twitter!), keeping you in the loop on all things taking place over the next few months.


Community Updates

Early Voting

It is difficult to foresee the impacts that the COVID-19 outbreak will have on our Wisconsin elections come April 7th, but we do know that voting is fundamental and this is an imperative time to get out to vote. Fortunately, there are alternative options to going to the polls in person, which are available now:


F-35A Potential Beddown at Truax Field

As many of you know, Truax Field Air National Guard Base here in Madison is currently being considered for the potential placement of F-35As aircrafts by the United States Air National Guard. On February 19th, the United States Air Force released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding the potential beddown.

The Final EIS incorporates community input from the public comment period, and will provide the Secretary of the Air Force (the decision-maker) with a final review of the impacts, concerns, and options associated with each of the potential locations.

Going forward, the Secretary of the Air Force will be making a final decision to be expected this March. The Record of Decision (ROD) will be announced no sooner than the end of the Final EIS 30-day waiting period.

As the 48th Assembly District encompasses the 115th Fighter Wing and the surrounding impacted communities, I am dedicated to continuing to share this vital information. In addition, whether Madison is ultimately chosen or not, I am committed to continuing to fight for mitigation efforts and environmental protections for our community.

You can read the Final EIS and additional documents at: http://www.angf35eis.com/Documents.aspx 


Rotunda Report

Legislative Update

State of the Tribes Address

Last month the Wisconsin State Legislature had the privilege to welcome the 11 sovereign tribal nations to the Capitol for the annual State of the Tribes Address.

From addressing the opioid epidemic and safety in our communities, to investing in our youth and protecting our environment for Wisconsin’s future, the goals laid out by the Chairman of the tribal council highlight the commonality of our state’s needs. Whether it is preventing violence and human trafficking, protecting our natural resources, or increasing access to broadband internet and affordable housing, we must do more to create a more sustainable and equitable Wisconsin.

As Chairman Ned Daniels Jr. pointed out, we must look back so that we can see ahead. We must learn from our state’s history and mistakes, in order to better move forward and serve others. Communication and understanding are vital in our ability to work together to create change and solutions that lift up members of our tribal nations, and all Wisconsinites.


Diabetes Care & Prevention

Last week I had the pleasure to join Governor Tony Evers as he signed a bill that I am a proud co-author of, Senate Bill 217, to create a diabetes care and prevention plan in our state.

This legislation, now officially a state law, takes important steps to reduce instances of diabetes in our state, improve diabetes care, and control the complications associated with diabetes. In addition, the law requires reporting to the state legislature so that we may take action-- a pragmatic life and cost saving decision for our state.

I know that this legislation will go far in bringing awareness to and educating about this oftentimes preventable disease. With Diabetes being the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, I am confident that this legislation will save lives in Wisconsin.

I am proud to work on this issue here in the State Legislature, and am thankful that Governor Evers signed this bipartisan piece of legislation into law!


Advocacy Group Meetings

One of my favorite parts of my job is to meet with individuals and groups from the 48th Assembly District, and across our state, as they use their voices to advocate on behalf of the issues that matter most to them. 

I would like to personally thank the following organizations for meeting with me to share their stories and to advocate on behalf of causes they’re passionate about, for the betterment of Wisconsin. As always if there is ever a cause or issue you would like to discuss with me, my door at 11-North in the Capitol building is always open!

Thank you to the following advocacy groups for meeting with my team in recent weeks:

  • The Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (WPMCA)
  • Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
  • American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin (ACEC)
  • Chippewa Valley Chamber Alliance
  • The Girl Scouts of Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Nurses
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

Community and In-District Events

Standing in Solidarity with the UW Nurses at the UWHCA Monthly Board Meeting

February 27, 2020: On December 19th I proudly stood in solidarity with the nurses who are bravely working to make their voices be heard as they announced their unionization efforts. They know that patient care is at risk due to over-scheduling, under-staffing, and overburdened caseloads, so they took action. They asked the UW Hospital & Clinic Authority (UWHCA) Board to voluntarily recognize their union in order to best be involved in this crucial decision making process. We know that by truly having a seat at the table nurses will be able to better advocate for themselves, and above all, for their patients.

Over 2 months later, and the UW nurses have still not had their concerns be truly heard by the Board, nor have they had their union recognized. Last month, the Board granted nurses– those on the front-line fighting for patients' lives each day– a mere 15 minutes of public meeting time to discuss their concerns and still have not recognized their unionization efforts. This is unacceptable.

As a former surgical patient of UW-Hospital myself, after I donated my kidney to my father, I know the diligent and lifesaving work that is done by the nursing staff. I owe my life to the nursing staff at UW Hospital. That is why I am proud to continue to support the nurses from the UW Hospitals & Clinics, as they continue in their mission to advocate for patients, to have their concerns be truly heard, and to gain a seat at the decision making table through having a recognized union. I call upon the UWHCA Board to voluntarily recognize these efforts and give the consideration to these brave individuals that they deserve.


Habitat for Humanity Souper Bowl

February 29, 2020: It was an honor to serve meals at the Habitat for Humanity of Dane County Souper Bowl, helping them to continue the great efforts that they provide to our community. Safe and secure housing is essential for strong families and communities, yet too often is inaccessible. Habitat for Humanity is doing an incredible job in working to break down these barriers and provide Dane County residents with the housing that they need and that they deserve. We must do more to ensure safe and affordable housing for all residents in our state.

Habitat for Humanity of Dane County is doing crucial work to provide an opportunity for equitable housing here in the Madison area, and it was an honor to join them and many others to lend a hand!


Mikva Challenge’s Project Soapbox Competition

March 10, 2020: This week I had the honor to be a judge for the Mikva Challenge's Project Soapbox Competition. Project Soapbox is a program designed to help teens develop communication skills, including persuasive writing, public speaking, and issue research, all of which are critical to young people’s ability to 'get on a soapbox' and become advocates for, and find solutions to issues affecting their communities.

Youth voice is so important in our communities, as they are our future leaders and also the ones who will be most impacted by the decisions made today. It is vital that youth continue to be informed, empowered, and active community leaders, and it was a pleasure to be a part of this competition to help young people do just that.

From speeches on gun violence, mental health, healthy relationships, environmental sustainability and more, it is always so inspiring to see these young leaders in action!


Class Visits

February 18, 2020: Capitol Tour with LaFollette High School Renewing Futures Program

February 27, 2020: Project Soapbox judge at LaFollette High School

March 04, 2020: School Makes a Difference Day at Blackhawk Middle School

March 06, 2020: Edgewood College School of Nursing class visit


If there is something happening in the community that you think I should attend, please reach out to my office at Rep.Sargent@legis.wisconsin.gov, or at (608)-266-0960. 


Rep. Sargent in the News

Wisconsin Examiner - February 12, 2020 - Rape victims on the losing end of Assembly drama

WORT - February 12, 2020 - GOP “Poison Pills” Stymy Rape Kit Legislation

Wisconsin Examiner - February 17, 2020 - What is Wisconsin doing to address violence against women?

The Cap Times - February 18, 2020 - Rep. Melissa Sargent: A $15 minimum wage will raise up Wisconsin

Madison 365 - February 20, 2020 - Carmen Porco Named “Hometown Hero” in State Assembly

NBC 15 - February 20, 2020 - Local leader honored as “Hometown Hero” for work with low-income community

NBC 15 - February 27, 2020 - UW Board of Directors votes to not recognize proposed nurses union

WORT - February 27, 2020 - UW Hospital Authority Board Walks Out On Nurses Union

Pew Charitable Trusts - March 10, 2020 - Bee Lawns Generate National Buzz


Special Highlight!

Hometown Hero Award

On February 20th it was my distinct honor to recognize Reverend Doctor Carmen Porco as the Hometown Hero from the 48th Assembly District.

Carmen Porco is greatly deserving of the Hometown Hero award for his incredible dedication to addressing housing needs here in Wisconsin, and for his work within low-income communities. Rev. Porco has selflessly dedicated his life and work to fighting for just and equal opportunities, and has changed the lives of many.

Not only has he significantly improved the lives of many here in Madison through his work, but he has dedicated himself to improving the economic well-being of Wisconsin as a whole, and his Anti-Poverty Model has been influential nationally used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carmen and his business focuses on providing organizations and individuals access to the resources, information, and ideas necessary for growth and development, and for the establishment of strong communities. For over 40 years, he has worked to build partnerships, and establish systems and practices, that invest in growth and development, ongoing innovation, and leadership development in our state.

In short, his work and dedication to Wisconsin communities has been nothing less than life-changing, and I am proud to honor his service to our state. I am pleased to recognize him as an Assembly Hometown Hero. Thank you Doctor Reverend Porco!


Contacting My Office

Team Sargent is here to help you! Please reach out to us with general inquiries, as well as any thoughts, questions, or concerns regarding legislative matters, at 608-266-0960 or via email at rep.sargent@legis.wi.gov

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