Some Things Are Worth Celebrating

It’s easy to get discouraged when there's so much bad news on the front page of the newspaper, on your TV and on your friends’ Facebook pages. I know people on all sides of the political spectrum are frustrated when they hear that the leaders of the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly can’t pass the State Budget on time because they can't agree on a way to pay for our roads and bridges.  Equally frustrating to many is the uncertainty caused by the United States Senate’s inability to agree on the future of the nation’s health care system. 

When I start to get discouraged, I stop and remind myself that there are positive things happening right here in Northern Wisconsin, things that are worth celebrating. There certainly were a lot of happy people gathered at the former Leamon Mercantile building in Superior this Wednesday morning.  We were there for an announcement that the State was providing a 100,000 dollar grant to help renovate the building on the City’s North End into the new 16,000 square-foot Earth Rider Brewery.  I’m thrilled to see this addition to the wave of craft breweries spreading across the state.  It’s another reminder of Wisconsin’s rich brewing heritage and an important step forward for the City of Superior.

Craft beverage makers across Wisconsin are making investments in their local economies. Those investments are paying off – they are creating jobs, utilizing local products, attracting visitors and revitalizing our downtowns.  That’s why we need to step up and protect Wisconsin’s craft breweries, wineries and distilleries from a sneak attack that threatens to regulate them out of existence. Special interest groups are working to create a massive new bureaucracy called the Office of Alcohol Beverages Enforcement, which would stifle innovation, strengthen monopolies and devastate local businesses.  Stop by your local brewer, wine maker or distiller to find out how you can show your support.

Another thing worth celebrating is that a bill suggested to me by the Barron County Sheriff and District Attorney moved one step closer to becoming law last week. The State Assembly passed my proposal to close a loophole in current law that makes it difficult to charge a person who makes a threat to injure or kill unnamed people in a school zone.  I hope the State Senate leadership will soon follow suit and pass this common sense piece of legislation.

And last, but certainly not least, every July 4th we celebrate the Independence and Freedom that were declared on that day in 1776. Two hundred and forty-one years later -- from the Atlantic shores of those 13 original colonies to here in the Heartland and beyond -- Americans will celebrate our shared freedom, our shared rights and our shared history.

The Independence that was declared that day led to the Bill of Rights a decade later and freedom to make ourselves heard today in a nation we all can and should be proud to call home.  

Here on the Northern frontier of the nation that took root that day we’re especially proud of our independence. With appreciation for the sacrifices that have given us freedom from the days of the Continental Army to the men and women serving under our flag today, let’s never forget why - and how - we have it.