September 30, 2014

Michelle Obama and Chris Christie campaign in Wisconsin

There was high-profile help, for the candidates for Governor in Wisconsin on Monday. First Lady Michelle Obama took to the stump for Democrat Mary Burke during an afternoon rally in Milwaukee, while earlier in the day, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie joined Republican Governor Scott Walker on the campaign trail in Hudson. The locations couldn’t have been farther apart, but the message was essentially the same: with most polls showing a close race between the two candidates, their supporters will need to turn out every potential vote between now and November 4th.

“If we don’t elect leaders like Mary Burke, who will put people first instead of just fighting for special interests, then we know exactly what will happen. We can’t pretend we don’t know,” Mrs. Obama warned. She urged Burke supporters to keep working to connect with voters. “Tell them that we’ve got just a little over a month until Election Day, and we all need to be as passionate and as hungry for this election as we were back in 2008 and 2012.”

In Hudson, Christie warned supporters that “big government union bosses” want to make an example of the Republican governor, whose signature Act 10 legislation greatly diminished the impact of public employee unions on state politics.

“One of the reasons you go to Hudson is that the rest of the state is not going to hear much about it, said Wisconsin Democratic Party Mike Tate. Hudson is only a half hour east of St. Paul, and in the Twin Cities media market.

Superintendent Tony Evers unveils plan for addressing Wisconsin’s achievement gap

State Superintendent Tony Evers has unveiled plans for addressing the state’s achievement gap. The gap between white and black students here is the widest in the nation, and Evers has released recommendations from a task force. Evers said “cultural competency” is critical if parents are going to be supportive

“Not only about how culturally competent we need to be in our schools, but culturally competent so that we respect and honor cultures other than our own, and respect to the families that these kids are coming from,” Evers said. “We need to reach out, we can’t just assume that support is there.”

In his State of Education address, Evers said adequate funding continues to be a challenge for K-12 education in Wisconsin. “I’d say we pretty much aren’t meeting expectations there,” he said. Evers said the state “can’t afford to or three different public school systems,” with tax money being siphoned off to choice schools.

Door County site of Wisconsin’s first confirmed Enterovirus case

Enterovirus has been confirmed in Wisconsin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a child in Door County tested positive for the Enterovirus D68, according to a release from Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Symptoms of EV-D68 include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. At its most severe, the virus can make breathing difficult and cause wheezing. DHS says children with underlying illnesses such as asthma are much higher at risk.

“EV-D68 is not a reportable illness to DHS, so we will have to wait to know whether tests by the CDC confirm any additional cases in the state,” said Karen McKeown, State Health Officer. “In the meantime, DHS will continue to provide information to the public and to health care providers on what to watch for and ways to help keep children healthy.”

  • · Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers or using the bathroom.
  • · Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • · Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • · Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Individuals with asthma should continue to take medication used to control the condition, as people with asthma are at higher risk for respiratory illnesses.


Groups want Governor Walker to act on living wage in Wisconsin

At the Capitol in Madison on Wednesday, there was a public push for a “living wage” in Wisconsin. A coalition of worker groups is employing an obscure state statute, trying to force Governor Scott Walker’s hand on the minimum wage issue.

“We are filing an official complaint, under Chapter 104 of the Wisconsin state statutes, calling on the governor and the Department of Workforce Development to follow the law, and raise Wisconsin’s minimum wage to a living wage,” announced Peter Rickman, a community organizer with Wisconsin Jobs Now.

The groups held a press conference on Wednesday in the state Assembly parlor.

Robert Kraig with Citizen Action said the Walker administration now has 20 days to respond. “They have to decide whether not there is a . . . decent case that wages are too low, that $7.25 is not a livable wage. Or they could determine its enough. Or they could try not to follow the law,” Kraig said

The groups insist the action has nothing to do with the approaching election for governor. Spokespersons for Governor Walker and the Department of Workforce Development said DWD will review the complaint to determine the appropriate next steps.

Senator Ron Johnson encouraged by Arab participation in combating ISIS

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson was at the United Nations, as the U.S. launches airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. “I was very encouraged by the fact that 5 Arab states were not only participating, but were willing to go public with their participation, which I think is the most important and significant part of that,” Johnson said on Tuesday.

“This is not going to a perfect strategy that is going to defeat this enemy in two weeks to three months or a year. This is going to be a long-term threat that we’re going to have to deal with well after this administration and beyond,” said Johnson.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama tapped Johnson, a Republican who has often been a critic of the U.N., to serve on the U.S. delegation to the 69th General Assembly. “There are many, many, many problems with the United Nations,” Johnson said. “But there are some advantages. This isn’t a black and white situation. There needs to be a forum where world leaders can come together and discuss shared interests.”

In New York, Johnson participated in forums on gender-based violence and global counter-terrorism. “I’m always looking for the positive in things, I really am. I’m trying to find how can you utilize a situation to make it as substantive as possible, and that’s really what I’m trying to do with my time here at the United Nations.”

Johnson arrived in New York on Sunday, in the wake of big demonstrations calling for action to combat climate change. “I passed by where the protesters were, and all I saw was a whole lot of garbage on the street. So, if we’re trying to save the planet and clean it up, that protest made it dirtier.”