Sen. Jon Erpenbach
The only silver lining for rural Wisconsin to the Foxconn $4.5 billion in tax dollars was the introduction of a bill that granted $50 million a year to rural Wisconsin communities for economic development. While $50 million seems dwarfed by the billions Foxconn will get, at least it was something. Somehow after passing the Joint Committee on Finance, which I am a member of, and the State Assembly this bill died in the Senate. Clearly the votes were there. It passed out of the Joint Committee on Finance unanimously and passed out of the Assembly 95-0.
Everyone knows the statistic, 22 veterans are victims of suicide each day in our country.
Wisconsin's economy is recovering in some factors, but in general, the measures are split and the divide between the economy of booming counties and struggling counties continues to grow. What does that mean and how can we fix it? That just means that the state of Wisconsin needs to use our money wisely when we invest in schools, roads and economic development.
For most of us, Washington, D.C., and the politics of President Donald Trump and a Republican Congress seem a million miles away.
Two amazing advocates and grieving mothers, Bonnie and Bev, brought Faces of Addiction and Hope a story quilt to the Capitol during our last session day of the year. It was a stark reminder we still have more work to do in the opioid crisis. Squares on the quilt showed people who have died, those incarcerated because of their addiction and those that are in recovery. It is a beautiful and tragic symbol. Both moms lost their children to addiction, and have taken their experience and turned it into advocacy and education.
Regardless of what happens in court or with the "call back" from President Trump, the Wisconsin Elections Commission will follow Wisconsin law and grant a request to release limited information about our voters as they must under our open records law. Information like name and address of voters as well, and when and where they voted will be given to President Trump's commission if they pay for the records.
Caring for our veterans is one of the most sacred duties we work to achieve as a state. The federal government entrusts us to care for elderly and disabled veterans, and their spouses, at our veteran nursing homes. These facilities should have the gold standard of care. Unfortunately, like many other operations of the state, infrastructure and maintenance delays, and failures have affected the lives of those in our nursing homes, most notable at the Veterans Home at King.