A Fresh Start

 

As I looked out my kitchen window the other morning, I noticed that the snow was beginning to melt.  I could see a little more of the White River, which runs past my home up in Delta.  It finally felt like we’d turned the corner on winter.   I’m sure we’ll have more snow, but Spring is coming, and for most of us, it can’t come fast enough.

 

It’s a feeling of a fresh start in the State Capitol as well.  Legislators from around the state are proposing new ideas on how to make Wisconsin an even better place to live and work. I appreciate the opportunity the voters gave me to represent them for another four years.  I look forward to working with colleagues both familiar and new.  And of course we have a new Governor in Tony Evers, who just two weeks ago unveiled his budget proposal before a joint hearing of the legislature.

 

It’s a departure from the budgets we’ve seen in the past. During his campaign for office, Governor Evers spoke of a budget that works for everyone in the state, not just a select few. That means reinvestment in our public schools, finding ways to pay for our roads and bridges, and ensuring that all of us have clean water, both to drink and enjoy recreationally. To me, this budget is like springtime. A new beginning after winter’s deep freeze.

 

It is clean water that I think about as I watch the White River meander pass my window. We’re incredibly lucky here in the North to have access to such amazing lakes and rivers; it’s part of our identity.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges.  Over the last several years we’ve watched the erosion of science in our DNR, and seen many wells, primarily in Northeastern Wisconsin poisoned by runoff from CAFO’s.  Governor Evers budget helps address these issues.

 

Through the creation of the Bureau of Natural Resources Science, five new scientists will be brought on to research water quality statewide and help identify areas of contamination. It also authorizes $6.5 million for a program known as Target Runoff Management or TRM. This will provide municipalities the financial assistance to combat runoff of animal waste from CAFO’s throughout the state, and it will also incentivize the owners of those CAFO’s to police themselves to help combat this issue.

 

The legislative process is long, and no doubt changes will be made to the Governor’s budget along the way.  I hope that regardless of party or political ideology, my colleagues and I can all agree that clean water is essential to our way of life and work together to pass these proposals. It’s time for a fresh start.  I will be holding listening sessions on the state budget across the district in the coming weeks and months. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Governor’s proposals as well as your ideas about how to make this great State even better.