By Senator Howard Marklein
December 21, 2018
2018 Year In Review
Each year, I take time to look back at the past year to review my work on your behalf and plan for the future. I do not take my role for granted and work hard to do my best to represent the 17th Senate District while delivering real results.
I am proud of my work on your behalf and consider the last year to be very successful. I am honored to be re-elected for another four-year term, which will begin on inauguration day on January 7, 2019. Thank you to all of the people who put their trust in me.
In addition to re-election, I was recently appointed to be the Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions. I volunteered to participate on the Agriculture Committee and was delighted to be given this leadership role. I am excited to be able to take on this valuable role on behalf of the farmers I represent.
I am also looking forward to continuing my leadership on issues related to revenue and financial institutions. This appointment directly correlates with my professional background and expertise. I know that we will have some unique concepts to tackle along with our work on Agriculture. Additional committee assignments will be announced soon.
In the 2017-18 legislative session, I successfully moved more than 30 initiatives through the legislative process. More than 65% of the bills and budget motions I worked on were successful. Just in this session, 10 of the bills we successfully moved through the legislative process started with a constituent who lives in the 17th Senate District. These kinds of ideas are essential to our democracy. They begin with the people who are living, working, volunteering and leading in our own communities. It is these ideas that are born from real-world, real-life situations in which our state government could be serving us better.
Several budget initiatives I worked on in 2017 also came to fruition over the last year.
- Education Funding and Sparsity Aid for Small, Rural School - We distributed $100 more per pupil for small, rural schools via the sparsity aid program. More than $1 million more was provided to schools in the 17th Senate District as a result of my bill. This was in addition to the unprecedented overall investment we made in all schools.
- Rural Broadband Expansion – We distributed $14.5 million in grants statewide. Nearly $2 million of those funds were awarded to projects in and near the 17th Senate District. In the last grant cycle alone, more than $1.6 million in grant funding was awarded for six projects that will create connections for 140 businesses, 1,267 homes and eight community facilities.
- Rural Roads – We increased transportation aid for towns by 8.5% and dedicated $40 million more to General Transportation Aids (GTA) which fund road maintenance and projects for counties and municipalities. This is 9.5% more than they received in the last budget. We also provided funding to complete all outstanding bridge projects on our schedule.
In the 17th Senate District, there were 58 active road projects worth at least $83 million in 2018, including Hwy 154 in Sauk County, which I asked to be expedited by two years!
I am also reflecting on the work of the legislature’s Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding Reform. We wrapped up our work on December 19, 2018 with a document of recommendations that will be presented to Governor-Elect Tony Evers and the legislature as we begin work on the state budget. The diverse membership of the Commission collaborated on 19 different concepts and thoroughly discussed each of our perspectives. I also reached out to all 34 school districts in the 17th Senate District for input. I heard from many of the school district leaders in your communities who shared their thoughts on our recommendations. This is truly a collaborative effort.
Again, I am honored to work on behalf of the 17th Senate District to advance legislation and initiatives that make a positive difference in the lives of the people who live in Wisconsin. I am also privileged to be able to work with engaged, intelligent people who are willing to contribute to the legislative process in a meaningful way.
As we enter the new year, I look forward with optimism and positivity. We have a lot of work to do, but we also have tremendous opportunities.
For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and subscribe to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to Sen.Marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov. Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have any questions or need assistance with any state-related matters.