October 23, 2014

Walker, Burke differ on significance of abortion debate among voters

Mary Burke, Scott Walker (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Mary Burke, Scott Walker (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Republican Governor Scott Walker, who is pro-life, says voters don’t want to belabor the abortion issue. “You guys are asking a lot of interesting questions that quite honestly I don’t hear anyone ask.” He says people who talk to him on the campaign trail prefer to talk about jobs and education.

During a meeting with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board on Tuesday (jsonline video), Walker said people who talk to him on the campaign trail have other priorities. The following day, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, who is pro-choice, met with the same editorial board, whose meeting was streamed live on its website.

Burke said people do want to discuss women’s health — and abortion. “I think people do care. And the fact that there are ads running on TV I think indicates that it is a subject that is important to people.”

And not just women. Burke says men who have daughters want them to have options, the right to make their own decisions about their bodies.

Some arguments include a mandated 24-hour waiting period before having an abortion, a required ultrasound, and bans on abortions after 20 weeks. Walker and Burke agree on parental consent of minors.

The two candidates meet for the second of two debates tonight in Milwaukee.

Governor Walker outlines Ebola prevention plan

WRN file photo

WRN file photo

Governor Scott Walker is directing state leaders to implement emergency preparedness measures, aimed at protecting the public in the event the Ebola virus spreads to Wisconsin. The virus has only been reported in Texas so far, and the state says there have been no confirmed cases in Wisconsin.

Walker outlined a planned response Friday that includes having the State Health Officer work with the Wisconsin National Guard to train teams on the proper protocols and procedures for treating individuals infected with Ebola. The state will also partner with the Wisconsin Hospital Association and hospitals around Wisconsin to develop an advisory team that can help provide technical and medical expertise to the Department of Health Services.

Finally, Walker joined a growing list of state and federal officials who are calling on the U.S. government to ban commercial travel for West African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. The ban would still allow for charter, military, and other flights that are deemed “medically necessary” to help fight the spread of Ebola.

In a statement, Walker said “We must balance our continued efforts to support medical systems and contain and eradicate the virus in West Africa with taking necessary steps to protect American citizens from the virus spreading further within our country.”

In addition to the steps outlined Friday, Walker said the state has a surveillance policy in place to monitor people who have traveled in Ebola-stricken countries.

Governor Scott Walker may request Ebola travel ban

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said Friday that he’d consider requesting travel bans in response to Ebola. With some members of Congress calling for a travel ban from west African nations beset by Ebola, Walker was asked to weigh in.

It’s something he’d consider – and which may come up as he meets up with state health officials and representatives from the health care sector. “I want to get their assessment as to whether they think that would be effective,” Walker told the media after addressing the Wisconsin League of Municipalities in Middleton.

The governor noted that it’s not a decision that can be made at the state level. “That would have to be . . . a matter of speaking out and asking the federal government to do that.”

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has called for travel restrictions and quarantines for air passengers from Ebola-striken nations, and congressman Reid Ribble has suggested a travel ban to the region and emergency action by Congress.

Congressman Reid Ribble wants Ebola travel ban

Congressman Reid Ribble

U.S. Representative Reid Ribble (R-WI)

A northeastern Wisconsin congressman is calling for stronger action to deal with the Ebola outbreak.

Congressman Reid Ribble (R-WI) sent House Speaker John Boehner a letter Thursday, calling for an emergency session to address the problem. The Sherwood Republican wants to ban commercial travel to Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea.

Ribble is also calling for increased medical and military aid, to help fight the disease. He says it’s very important to deal with the problem at its source.

Ribble said the CDC predicts there could be up to 1.5 million Ebola cases in Africa alone, by the end of January. He says the world needs to end the threat before it gets out of control.


Senator Ron Johnson calls for Ebola screenings at U.S. borders



With federal officials stepping up screening efforts at major U.S. airports, a member of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation says more needs to be done to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus. “We should be at the border control stations, understanding that anybody who’s been in either Sierra Leone, or Liberia or Guinea over the last 30 days, if they get into America, they’re going to be isolated for 28 days,” said Senator Ron Johnson.

“To me that’s a prudent action,” the Wisconsin Republican told Durand radio station WRDN. “I’d much rather be safe than sorry in this case, and we haven’t done that yet.” Johnson said he is also concerned that the Centers for Disease Control is not providing enough information on controlling the spread of the virus.

Customs and health officials at airports in Washington, Chicago, Atlanta and Newark will take the temperatures of passengers from the three West African nations starting Thursday. Screenings began at New York’s Kennedy International Airport Saturday.

Governor Scott Walker said Monday that he’d look into extra screenings at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, if necessary. But he said state government in Wisconsin is ready to deal with public health issues at airports and elsewhere.