Sen. Jennifer Shilling column: 
Wisconsin is full of potential

After a vigorous debate over Christmas Trees and plastic bags, the Wisconsin State Senate adjourned for the year leaving hundreds of bills dead in committee. 

Years of Republican control have left Wisconsin in a worse position. Family wages remain stagnant and Wisconsin has trailed the nation in job creation for seventeen consecutive quarters. We have seen attacks on our local schools, higher education, worker’s rights, women’s health, and open records laws.

Instead of looking for ways to invest in families, strengthen communities and grow local economies, this session has been dominated by more Republican giveaways to special interests and efforts to boost Governor Walker’s short-lived presidential campaign.

Republicans made it easier for unlimited corporate spending to flood our political system while ignoring the growing student loan debt crisis. They cut funding from K-12 education and referendums are now the new norm as communities look for ways to keep their schools running. With the largest cut to our universities in state history, campuses across the state, including UW-La Crosse, face serious budget cuts and layoffs. 

Planned Parenthood and community health centers were targeted as Republicans limited preventive care services, cancer screenings, and birth control and made it more difficult for women to make their own healthcare decisions. Families have been hit hard by these misplaced priorities with over 10,000 Wisconsin workers affected by mass layoffs and business closings last year alone. 

I know we can do better. If we want to grow our middle class and help our next generation succeed in a competitive global economy, we need to invest in our state and retain the best and brightest. 

Democrats have offered dozens of forward-looking solutions to expand access to quality education, invest in infrastructure and improve workplace flexibility for hardworking Wisconsin families. We’ve introduced bills to address long-term transportation funding, expand BadgerCare, provide student loan debt relief, and invest in local schools.

These are the issues that impact families across Wisconsin and these are the issues that families want fixed. By focusing on policies that encourage growth and drive innovation we can expand economic opportunities and move Wisconsin forward. 

It is disappointing and frustrating that Republicans have adjourned for the session with so much unfinished business. Rather than throwing in the towel and calling it quits, we should work together to achieve Wisconsin’s full potential. 

Jennifer Shilling represents the 32nd State Senate District which covers La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford and part of Monroe Counties. She currently serves as the Minority Leader in the Wisconsin State Senate.

MEDIA NOTE: For an official photo of Sen. Shilling click here.