Category Archives: Politics – Wisconsin

Foxconn begins to deliver on its promise

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

While there is still a long way to go before Wisconsinites can evaluate the full impact of the Foxconn development, so far it is proving to be the economic boon for Wisconsin that Gov. Scott Walker and other supporters of the deal predicted. The official groundbreaking ceremony will be June 28, but the work has already started.

When Walker announced the deal with Foxconn, it marked the largest economic deal the state of Wisconsin had ever struck. Liberals vacillated between bemoaning corporate welfare and declaring that Wisconsin should have gotten a better deal. Conservatives cringed at the massive amount of tax dollars involved to lure one company to Wisconsin. Walker touted the deal as a transformational economic development that would benefit Wisconsin for generations. It is possible that everyone was right, but certainly Walker deserves credit for getting it done.

Before the first shovel could be put in the ground, nearly 500 subcontractors, suppliers, service providers, vendors and other companies attended an information session hosted by Foxconn for the projected $10 billion construction project. These businesses came from all over Wisconsin and the world for the chance to participate in one of the largest construction projects in United States history.

Late last month, Foxconn began announcing the contractors that they would use. True to their word, Foxconn officials strongly favored Wisconsin companies. Ninety percent of the contracts so far have been awarded to Wisconsin companies.

In just the first phase of the project, 27 Wisconsin companies and one Illinois company are sharing $100 million to do the preparation work for the site including excavation, erosion control, soil and water testing and stormwater management. A $100 million project would already be one of Wisconsin’s largest construction projects, and that is only 1 percent of what Foxconn is planning to spend to complete the project. Furthermore, as Walker predicted, the economic benefits are not limited to southeast Wisconsin. One of those Wisconsin companies already working is a Black River Falls construction company which has been tasked with moving about 325,000 dump truck loads of dirt and installing 120,000 linear feet of sewer. That company, Hoffman Construction, has indicated that they will need to hire about 150 additional seasonal workers to handle the work.

MJM Truckin’ LLC of Nekoosa, Wood County, Panacea Group LLC of Seymour, Outagamie County, and other businesses throughout the state are already seeing money flow from Foxconn into their businesses.

The reason that all of Wisconsin will benefit from Foxconn is simple. The Foxconn project is just so incredibly huge that southeast Wisconsin does not have the people or material necessary to complete it. Not only will Foxconn need to bring in workers from all over Wisconsin, they will have to bring people from all over the world to Wisconsin to work.

A study by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce estimates that Foxconn’s new Wisconsin plant will contribute about $51 billion to the state’s economy over the next 15 years. Calculating the exact economic impact of the massive Foxconn development is inherently difficult, but Wisconsin is already seeing a ripple effect spread across the state.

All of this positive development makes the stance of some of the Democratic candidates for governor even more puzzling. While some may disagree with the deal that Walker struck with Foxconn, it is done. The contracts are signed and both sides are obligated to honor their side of the agreement. Yet some of the Democratic candidates are hoping to see it all fail and rip a hole in Wisconsin’s economy as it does.

Rep. Dana Wachs has said “we will find a way to end it.” Matt Flynn said that he will end the deal, “no matter what.” Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and Rep. Kelda Roys want to renegotiate the deal — whatever that means. Try to imagine a world in which one of these Democrats wins the governor’s chair and uses it to douse the Foxconn economic fire with a vat of cold water. Not only would it hobble the Foxconn economic juggernaut, but it would neuter Wisconsin’s ability to attract business for decades to come. What company CEO in his or her right mind would make a long-term commitment to Wisconsin if all it takes is a new governor to tear up the contracts?

The argument over whether or not the Foxconn deal was a good one for Wisconsin will be decided in the years to come. One would hope that whatever one thought about the terms of the deal, we could all root for it to live up to its promise. Fortunately for our state’s economy, so far it has.

Andre Jacque Wins Primary

Excellent!

State Rep. André Jacque attributed his win against Alex Renard for the GOP Republican nomination in the 1st SD Tuesday to his “positive campaign” and independent record in the Legislature.

Meanwhile, in the 42nd AD, Jon Plumer, who owns a Lodi karate school, won a four-way GOP primary

Jacque said in a phone interview he’d bring the same strategy he used in the primary to the June 12 general election where he’ll face Dem Caleb Frostman, the former executive director of the Door County Economic Development Corp.

“I expect we’ll certainly see more negativity out there, but we’re going to continue to talk about the things we’ve been able to do,” he said. “I think we have a really strong record of results we’d like to communicate.”

Washington County Votes to Keep State Tax Limits

Good to see!

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Wisconsinites Will Continue to Leave State for Legal Sports Betting

This isn’t a surprise.

MADISON, Wis – On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that prohibited all states except Nevada from allowing sports betting.

New Jersey led the lawsuit, with the support of 18 other states that want to use sports gambling for college and professional teams to bring in more tourism and tax revenue.

A representative with the Wisconsin Department of Administration said “sports gaming is prohibited by the Wisconsin Constitution, state law, and is not allowed under the state tribal compacts.”

“Between the constitution and the compacts that are in place already in the state of Wisconsin, it really won’t have a bearing one way or the other,” said Gov. Scott Walker.

First, Walker is morally opposed to the expansion of gambling, so he’s not going to try to move mountains to get it in Wisconsin. Second, the state compact with the Tribes that protect their gambling monopolies can’t be reopened without the Tribes agreeing. There isn’t much incentive for them to do so with a Republican administration.

Liberal West Bend School Board targets November for $80 million referendum

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

As the West Bend School Board continues to search for a new superintendent after the unfortunate departure of the previous one, it is also aggressively following the liberal playbook to bamboozle the taxpayers into approving a new, massive, $80 million (plus interest) spending referendum. While every one of the school board members ran for office on a platform of conservatism and transparency, their governing is indistinguishable from the arrogant liberal school boards in Milwaukee or Madison.

Since Act 10, the liberals in Wisconsin have fought for more spending and stumbled upon a process to get school spending referendums passed that plays on the fears and best intentions of goodhearted people. The West Bend School Board is following that process and looking to take advantage of the projected “Blue Wave” in November to get more money from district taxpayers.

First, the School Board created the Citizens Facility Advisory Committee last year with a strong majority of members who were already convinced of the need to spend more money. The only questions were “on what” and “how much?” The board hired a company based in Milwaukee called Bray Architects to run the CFAC meetings. Bray brags on its website about the expensive building projects funded by referendums it helped get passed.

Bray did its job for the board and ran a rigid CFAC process that would only lead to the outcome that the board had predetermined. In one unguarded moment, the Bray facilitator admitted that “the decision to build a new Jackson school was made in the prior efforts.” The taxpayers of West Bend would be surprised to know the decision to build a new school was already made. When the facilitator was asked by a CFAC member about why they were even bothering with the committee, he answered, “because we need to help the community understand why a new Jackson is being considered.” In other words, CFAC was a sham propaganda tool from the beginning — not an actual advisory committee. Recent events confirm that conclusion.

After the bogus CFAC process, the School Board is taking the next step of spending $35,000 of our money to conduct a sham survey. The board pretends that the survey is going to be used to gauge public support for areferendum. The survey is a propaganda tool used to build support and, like CFAC, has a predetermined outcome.

The West Bend School Board has hired SchoolPerceptions to conduct the survey. A recent column

by Mark Belling exposed School Perceptions for the propaganda machine it is. Instead of conducting an objective survey that is honestly seeking answers, “the whole point of School Perceptions is to influence opinion through framing questions,” Belling writes.

The upcoming survey in West Bend will not be any different. It is telling that while asking respondents about a list of projects, there will not be an option to just say “no.” The West Bend School Board has decided to intentionally spend taxpayer money to conduct a propaganda effort under the guise of a survey with the intent to sell a spending referendum. It is a shameless act of liberal activism at taxpayers’ expense.

It is worth noting that while the West Bend School Board members are intent on jacking up spending and taxes, the transparency that constituents have enjoyed with previous boards has muddied. Many meetings are no longer recorded, meeting minutes are missing from the district’s website, the use of special and closed sessions has become the norm and many agenda items appeared to have been already discussed and decided before the public meetings. This School Board has made a practice of obscuring their actions from public view.

Furthermore, when I have repeatedly asked the elected school board members to comment on issues for more than a year, the only member of the School Board who has ever responded was Ken Schmidt. Every other Board member has refused to respond — including the two who were just elected. This is a sharp departure from previous years where even the most liberal School Board members were willing to chat with me over a cup of coffee. Elected officials have a duty to speak with their constituents. It is part of the job. Sadly, most of the members of the West Bend School Board lack the sense of duty or humility that good public service requires.

West Bend is proud of our conservatism and proud of our public schools. The School Board is failing our public schools by failing to govern as the conservatives they professed to be. Before they come hat in hand for another $80 million to spend, they need to get their house in order and rebuild the public trust that they have squandered.

 

Madison School Board Denies President

Only in Madison

Madison School Board members quashed a proposal Monday that could have allowed the board president to block other members from requesting information about the school district they are elected to govern.

During an Operations Work Group meeting, board members agreed not to pursue a proposed change to board policy that would have given the board president the ability to deny or alter requests for district information made by other board members.

District spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson said the policy change is part of a routine update of policies and is meant to “codify the board’s current ways of working.”

“We work very hard to fulfill all requests in a timely way,” she said. “In the very rare instance that a request is very difficult to fulfill, we run that request past the board president so they can decide the best way to move forward.”

Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said the intent of having the president deny a request would be to make it clear that a district employee does not have to tell a board member a request is too difficult to fulfill.

Senator Leah Vukmir Wins GOP Endorsment

Excellent!

MILWAUKEE — State Sen. Leah Vukmir has won the official endorsement of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, a key stamp of approval from the party’s grassroots heading into a primary battle with businessman Kevin Nicholson.

The vote came at the state GOP’s annual convention Saturday in Milwaukee. Vukmir, R-Brookfield, and Nicholson, of Delafield, were seeking their party’s nod to face Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin in November.

Vukmir won the support of about 73 percent of delegates. The threshold to secure the endorsement was 60 percent.

“Let’s tell Tammy Baldwin it’s time for her to go home,” Vukmir told cheering GOP delegates after securing the endorsement.

Vukmir’s speech was really, really good. You can watch it at this link.

Nobody expected Kevin Nicholson to win, but it was uncertain whether or not Vukmir could get the super majority necessary to win the endorsement. Vukmir got an overwhelming number of votes. I’m happy to report that Washington County was the county that took her over the top.

The party endorsement tells us a couple of things. First, as expected, Vukmir is the overwhelming favorite of the party stalwarts. This makes sense because Vukmir has been working in Wisconsin for years and has built a lot of trust a loyalty within the party. Nicholson will use this to affirm his spin that “Vukmir is the establishment candidate.” The basic messaging of the candidates is well established (pardon the pun) at this point.

Second, the party endorsement actually means something in Wisconsin. This gives Vukmir access to the party apparatus, donor lists, victory centers, etc. for the primary campaign. So while Nicholson is going to run a very strong, very well financed air campaign, Vukmir will have the grassroots activists working to her benefit. Given that we are talking about a primary election, turnout of the party faithful is critical. This endorsement will have a tangible benefit for Vukmir.

Taylor’s Tantrums

This senator

Sen. Lena Taylor is decrying what she called a “political lynching,” insisting she had done nothing that warranted her removal from the Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee.

Flanked by supporters at a Milwaukee news conference yesterday, Taylor defended her actions at a Milwaukee bank last month that resulted in a disorderly conduct citation. She also disputed she bullied staff, which is what Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling cited in replacing Taylor with fellow Milwaukee Dem La Tonya Johnson on JFC.

Shilling announced the move Tuesday after an investigation into a human resources complaint determined the Milwaukee Democrat had violated: the Senate Policy Manual’s anti-bullying provisions; and the anti-retaliation section related to an employee’s Family Medical Leave Act leave.

“I don’t think I did anything that warrants me being taken off of Finance, since in the midst of all that was going on, I don’t think anybody was able to stop me from dealing with 9,000 constituent cases,” Taylor said.

Taylor criticized the process in the HR case and said she disputes the findings.

“That report, I disagree with it,” Taylor said “And those findings are not accurate. And that the process alone, being a kangaroo process, where they failed to follow their own rules, is not even one that I want to give credence to.”

I admit that I have a soft spot for Taylor because she supported concealed carry when so much of her caucus didn’t. But man… she’s a piece of work.

Hovde Endorses Vukmir

I agree.

Republican businessman Eric Hovde announced Tuesday that he is endorsing state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) for U.S. Senate. Hovde made the announcement on the Mark Belling Show on WISN-AM.

“I know Leah and I know where she stands,” Hovde said.

Hovde said it was not a slight against Nicholson, but he just doesn’t know Nicholson and is uncomfortable about Nicholson’s past as a Democrat.

Wisconsin Still Needs Broad-Based Tax Relief

Indeed. But we must cut the corresponding spending too.

“(S)ales tax experts and economists widely agree that there is little evidence of increased economic activity as a result of sales tax holidays,” according to a research report released last year by the Tax Foundation, which is currently touring Wisconsin along with the Badger Institute to gather insights from Wisconsin citizens concerned about the state’s tax code.

Applying that rationale here means that Wisconsin would be better off reducing permanently its high marginal income tax rates for all taxpayers, rather than dishing out small, one-time — and, therefore, relatively inconsequential — tax breaks to a limited group.

To be sure, beneficiaries of the child tax rebate and sales tax holiday won’t turn up their noses up at the short-term savings. But once the savings are gone, they’re gone, and the lasting value to the beneficiaries or the Wisconsin economy will be negligible at best.

If tax rates were already low (or nonexistent, as they are in nine income-tax-free states), targeted breaks might have some appeal. But that is clearly not the case in Wisconsin, whose individual income tax rates rank high in comparison to most of the rest of the country.

One hopes that these short-term tax breaks do not divert attention from the need for broader-based rate reductions. That’s where the focus should be. It is good policy and, as Gov. Walker says, “Good policy is always good politics.”

Special Meeting to Spend Money Tonight

I’m not sure why the West Bend School Board has to do all of these things with special meetings and not as a part of their regular order, but here it is:

May 7, 2018 – West Bend, WI – The West Bend School Board will hold a special meeting at 5:15 p.m. tonight, to approve spending $35,000 on a community-wide survey regarding Jackson Elementary School and the West Bend High Schools.

The Washington County Insider has a lot of background information and financial information.

I’ll remind the gentle reader that this is part of a predictable liberal playbook to con the taxpayers into passing a referendum. The school board is about to spend, and has already spent, tens of thousands of dollars hiring sham companies whose sole purpose is to get school referenda passed. In this case, the district doesn’t even have a superintendent. This is all on the school board.

West Bend School Board Follows Liberal Playbook

From the Washington County Insider:

May 1, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Six members of the West Bend School Board, (Tiffany Larson was not in attendance), spent nearly two hours discussing a proposed survey to test the waters on a possible $80 million referendum. The referendums would focus on Jackson Elementary and the West Bend High Schools.

The survey would be created by Slinger-based School Perceptions. Bill Foster, the president of the company, was in attendance.

You can follow the link to watch the videos. Here’s where we are:

Last year, the School Board started down the path to a building referendum. They engaged an architectural firm that specialized in running a sham process to build support for the referendum. As I wrote back in August, they are following this proven roadmap to referendum:

  1. Form a committee loaded with people predisposed to support more spending
  2. The committee will conduct a needs analysis that has a very wide definition of “need”
  3. Conduct a propaganda campaign through the committee (so that it appears to be coming from the community) that bemoans all of the facility “needs” (expect to hear about sewage backups in Jackson Elementary again)
  4. The committee will determine that existing district resources are inadequate to meet the facilities “needs”
  5. Conduct a community survey with slanted questions, e.g. “Would you support a referendum to prevent the children having to learn while standing in a foot of sewage?”
  6. The committee recommends that the board go to referendum based on the survey results
  7. The School Board puts the referendum(s) on the ballot

They have completed steps 1 through 4. During the CFAC process, they even admitted that it was a sham designed to build support for a predetermined conclusion. You can find that video here.

Now they are working on step number 5. They have engaged School Perceptions, which is the go-to group for creating biased propaganda to build support for school referendums. Mark Belling wrote a column cataloging School Perceptions’ fraudulent business practices last week. Belling concluded:

Foster’s a hustler. He’s come up with a way to get hired by dozens of school districts who want to get referendums passed. Even my attempts to expose him aid his business by publicizing to other districts how he aids them in their referendum con jobs. What is not defensible is that school boards and superintendents are using public money to mislead their residents and pretending to conduct honey surveys.

Yes. That’s the same Foster who attended the West Bend School Board meeting last night.

Where are the alleged conservatives on the West Bend School Board? As far as I can tell, they are just walking down the exact same path to more spending and debt as any liberal school board would. They are using the same techniques. They are using the same propaganda. They are using the same companies. They are spending our tax dollars to advance this propaganda. And they are about to ask the taxpayers for tens of millions of dollars to dump into buildings in a district with flat-to-declining enrollment.

As far as I can tell, the Milwaukee School Board might as well be running the schools in West Bend. We would be getting the same result. But at least the liberals on the Milwaukee School Board are honest about their liberal intentions.

Baldwin Votes Against Qualified SOS

Well, there’s an incoherent rationalization.

But Baldwin, D-Madison, said Tuesday the nation needs a secretary of state that is “committed to using American diplomatic leadership to solve problems, protect our national security interests and advance human rights.”

“After meeting with Mr. Pompeo, I don’t have confidence that he shares this commitment and I am concerned that he is inclined to choose military force as a first option over diplomatic solutions to the many challenges we face around the world,” she wrote on Twitter.

So based on a conversation, Baldwin thinks that Pompeo might prefer military action instead of diplomacy in some future unnamed conflict.

Uh huh. That’s not even enough of a fig leaf to cover a toe.

Wisconsin DOJ Doles Out School Safety Grants

Get your free money here! I hate this election year handout of the taxpayers’ money.

Wisconsin schools could complete safety upgrades by the time students return in the fall under a grant program launched this week by the state Department of Justice.

Public and private K-12 schools throughout the state have until June 8 to apply to receive grants from a $100 million school safety fund, to be used for building upgrades or staff training.

“We owe our children and our communities the promise of safe school environments,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel during a news conference on Wednesday at St. Dennis Catholic School in Madison.

To be eligible for funding, schools must develop a plan with local law enforcement. Schools must also give all full-time teachers, aides, counselors and administrators at least three hours of combined training in adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and trauma-informed care/trauma-sensitive schools (TIC/TSS) by the end of the 2018-19 school year if they have not already done so.

Applications will be considered in two categories: primary upgrades, to ensure all schools meet a security baseline set by the state, and advanced upgrades to build on existing measures.

DOJ officials estimate about $30 million of the grant pool will go toward primary measures such as installing classroom door locks and shatterproof glass.

If local school districts haven’t been taking reasonable actions for school safety with the billions of dollars that taxpayers already give them every year, then I would suggest that their priorities are hopelessly flawed. Having districts make up new “safety” projects just to get a state handout is just waste compounding waste.

West Bend School Board Ousts President

You don’t see this very often. After only a year as president, Tiffany Larson was cast completely out of the leadership. Is this a tacit admission of the exceedingly poor management from the board in the past year?

The West Bend School District Board of Education restructured Monday after Kurt Rebholz and Christopher Zwygart took their oaths of office.

Joel Ongert was elected as the new president of the board with Nancy Justman as vice president. Tonnie Schmidt held her position as board clerk and Zwygart was named the board treasurer.

Cryptocurrency for Campaigns

It’s an interesting quandary.

The state Ethics Commission is taking public testimony today on whether to allow Wisconsin campaigns to accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins.

In February, the chair of the Wisconsin Libertarian Party asked the commission for a public hearing and formal opinion on accepting cryptocurrencies. Chair Phil Anderson wrote in the request that the party and its campaigns has been offered donations in cryptocurrencies and sought advice on:

*how to calculate such donations toward campaign limits;

*what registration of cryptocurrency accounts is required;

*what information must be provided — such as donor address and profession — for accepting and disbursing campaign funds from cryptocurrencies.

Since it isn’t legal tender, I’d think it would be treated as an “in-kind” donation and calculated at its dollar value at the time donated.

A proven conservative for US Senate

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. I’ve been waiting a long time to be able to cast a vote for Leah Vukmir (I don’t live in her district). Here you go:

There is still a little time for additional candidates to jump in, but it looks like there will be two Republicans vying for the right to challenge incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Republican primary voters will choose between Kevin Nicholson and State Sen. Leah Vukmir on Aug. 14. I will be delighted to cast my vote for Vukmir for the first time in her storied political career. It isn’t even a close call.

Vukmir is a career registered nurse who was compelled to run for the Wisconsin Assembly in 2002 with a passion for education. It is a passion that has never diminished. Vukmir has been a staunch advocate for education reform and school choice throughout her time in office. In 2006, she almost single-handedly rescued the expansion of the Milwaukee School Choice program by battling other Republicans to get it passed.

For the past 16 years, Vukmir has been at the epicenter of Wisconsin’s conservative movement pushing for smaller, more efficient, more effective government. In 2010, Vukmir was elected to the State Senate as Scott Walker was elected governor. Vukmir has been a powerful ally of Walker in Wisconsin’s conservative revolution. She voted to expand the exercise of our gun rights. She voted for tax cuts. She voted to protect the unborn. She voted for welfare reform. She voted for cutting back regulations. She fought for right-to-work even when many of her fellow Republican legislators opposed it. She pushed to end the corrupt Government Accountability Board.

Amongst her lengthy list of conservative accomplishments, Vukmir singles out her steadfast advocacy for, and defense of, Act 10 as one of her proudest achievements — and rightfully so. Act 10 was transformative for Wisconsin and faced a withering onslaught from entrenched special interests. Vukmir stood firm in the Legislature and in public.

Beyond Vukmir’s very public actions, she has also been tireless in supporting conservatism behind the scenes. For years, it has been common to find Vukmir working in Republican offices around the state helping get other conservatives elected. She has always been willing to show up and do the grunt work of working the phones, stuffing envelopes, or whatever else was needed to move the ball forward.

The reason it is easy for conservatives to supportVukmir is because she is one of us. She has been one of us for decades and has been a leader in the Wisconsin conservative movement. Furthermore, she went to Madison with her conservative beliefs and has been an effective leader who advanced mountains of conservative legislation into law. It is not an exaggeration to say that Vukmir has been one of the most important conservatives in Wisconsin in the past 20 years.

Nicholson also touts his conservative beliefs. After years of being a paid activist liberal Democrat, Nicholson went to war and returned a conservative. In 2002, when Vukmir was first elected to office as a conservative, Nicholson was still being paid to work for Democratic candidates in Minnesota. In 2005, the year before Vukmir helped save the Milwaukee School Choice program, Nicholson was living in North Carolina as a registered Democrat. Nicholson’s parents have donated to Baldwin’s campaign.

One must take Nicholson’s battlefield conversion to conservatism at face value. Certainly, many people have made the transition from liberal to conservative as they gain the wisdom that comes with age and experience. I welcome Nicholson into the conservative movement with open arms. We have a big tent. But now Nicholson is running for one of Wisconsin’s two seats in the United States Senate and he does not have any actual track record of conservative achievement to evaluate.

So far, Nicholson has proven to be an articulate spokesman for conservatism, but only since he began running for the U.S. Senate. Where was he during the battle for Act 10? Where was he when the Wisconsin Legislature was passing concealed carry? Where was his advocacy for the rights of the unborn? Where was Nicholson when Republicans were battling over right-towork legislation? Where was he when Republicans were cutting taxes? Where was he when liberals were protesting Walker and Republican leaders? Where was Nicholson when school choice was being expanded statewide?

I don’t know where he was. I know exactly where Vukmir was. She was right in the thick of it.

I am eager to cast my vote for Vukmir because she is an effective, proven, conservative leader. We need more of those in the U.S. Senate.

Second Chances

Former governor Tommy Thompson penned an interesting piece last week that suggests that Wisconsin do a better job of training ex-cons to reenter the workforce.

Our prisons are full of people who want another chance to succeed.  Here’s how we can help create better parolees and in turn help our state address workforce shortages:

• Create a core criteria/survey/interview process to find those incarcerated individuals who have both the desire and will to succeed after prison.

• Develop a “Second Chance Skills Institute” that would deliver certified job and entrepreneurial tools along with necessary life skills training. Participation would require a signed contract and a “no mistakes,” immediate expulsion policy.  The program would have to be fully completed, similar to a skilled technical college degree.

• Work with state government, employers, business groups such as Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and trade unions both financially and for instructional and mentoring support.

• Convert an existing prison (or build a new one) to house the “Second Chance Skills Institute.” This secure hub would be part of the Department of Corrections, but fully supported by other state agency efforts including the Department of Workforce Development and the University of Wisconsin and technical college systems.

• Draw on technical schools, two-year colleges and social service organizations along with specifically-hired instructors.

• Develop a highly-structured early parole opportunity, with specific responsibilities and a “no mistake” clause for the most qualified graduates, in which a sponsor-business would provide a skills-specific job opportunity.

The end product, a highly-skilled and marketable job applicant best-equipped to enter the workforce and far-better equipped to reenter society. This high-quality program would create a highly marketable and sought after payroll-ready employee, permanently attached to an ongoing “Second Chance Skills Institute” support network.

There’s a lot of merit in some of these ideas. We need to have harsher penalties and less lenient judges when people violate the laws, but we also need to do a better job of reintegrating these folks back into the mainstream when they are released. The best way to keep people from committing further crimes is to get them integrated into the mainstream culture where criminal behavior is discouraged and where they have more to lose if they get put in prison again.

Bryan Steil Announced Run in 1st District

The road has been cleared for him on the Republican side, but this is going to be a bruising race.

JANESVILLE — Republican Bryan Steil announced on Sunday, April 22 that he’s running to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan in Congress, becoming the frontrunner in the GOP primary.

“I want to take our Wisconsin work ethic and my problem-solving experience to Washington’s nonstop crisis factory,” Steil told several dozen supporters gathered at Performance Micro Tool in Janesville.

Steil has been a member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents since 2016. He is a lawyer. Steil has been a longtime friend and former aide to Ryan.

Complaint Against Gender-Neutral Bathrooms Tossed

Heh.

In January, Mary Jo Walters, far-left activist and independent candidate for U.S. Senate (because ultra-liberal Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, could use the competition), filed a discrimination complaint against the Rape Crisis Center in Madison. 

Walters’ liberal resume includes Wisconsin Capitol “occupier” during the left’s 2011 protests over Gov. Scott Walker’s public sector collective-bargaining reforms, a Democrat candidate for Wisconsin lieutenant governor in 2014, a grassroots activist in the campaign to legalize cannabis, and a self-described advocate of social justice issues.

Her allegation: That a November #MeTooMadison fundraiser for the Crisis Center, in an attempt to make all event-goers feel welcome, established “Gender-Neutral” bathrooms, according to documents obtained by MacIver News Service. 

The event, held at downtown Madison’s Majestic Theatre, featured the stories of sexual assault victims – in the spirit of the national #MeToo campaign to bring awareness and support to survivors of sexual violence. 

Walter’s complaint was eventually dismissed for lack of probable cause.

In her original complaint, filed with Madison’s Department of Civil Rights and the Madison Equal Opportunities Commission, Walters wrote that having to use a gender-neutral bathroom was “upsetting emotionally, seeing it was at a rape event.” 

Walters’ criticism seems obvious, but perhaps we shouldn’t assume the gender of a potential rapist.