April 24, 2014

Hulsey enters race for governor

WRN photo

WRN photo

There’s another Democratic candidate in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial race. State Representative Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) announced Monday that he’s making a run for governor. Fresh out of the gate he took aim at the front-runner on the Democrat side, Mary Burke.

“We need somebody who can take on Scott Walker, not some spoiled rich kid,” Hulsey said on WIBA. Like Burke and Republican incumbent Scott Walker, Hulsey said his focus will be on jobs. He said his “Get Wisconsin Working Plan” is “backed up by UW economics professors.”

“We know it will create thousands of jobs, mostly by reversing Scott Walker’s reign of error” Hulsey said. Although he threatened to jump ship from the Democratic party to turn independent last year, Hulsey is running as a Democrat. “I’ve been encouraged that my Democratic colleagues in the legislature have started to realize that they have to fight Scott Walker at every step.”

Hulsey has been in the state Assembly for 4 years and served on the Dane County Board for 14 years. “Our focus remains squarely on Scott Walker,” said Joe Zepecki, spokesman for the Burke campaign, said “the focus remains squarely on Scott Walker.”


The war on poverty continues in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) includes several agencies creating local opportunities for economic self-sufficiency. Executive Director Bob Jones says poverty is not a partisan issue. He says the discussion about poverty and the role of government needs to be objective.

“What we want to do is to be able to make sure — to start, anyway — to be able to make sure that debate is an objective one, that it looks at the reality of what poverty is, and it becomes a constructive debate about how to attack it, and doesn’t get sucked into all the partisan morass of everything else that’s going on right now.”

The association celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. This milestone is a chance to focus on how members can raise awareness about poverty and provide value for years to come. Jones says the concept of member agencies is to provide low-income residents equal opportunity, but he says, not necessarily equal outcomes.

“Give them the tools so they can do these long term. Now, our agencies certainly engage in short term emergency services. Those are very important, they are very valid. You have to eat; you have to have a full stomach so you can look for a job or hold your job well. So we have food pantries, clothing shelters, bill payment assistance for energy — all very important. But the major flux is to get them the tools they need so they can get out of poverty, not stay in it.”

Tools, he says, like weatherization for homes to reduce utility bills for the long term and better paying jobs to help make ends meet.

They’ve had a lot of success in the war on poverty, but he says, “When you fight a war, you also need ammunition.” Resources include federal and state, local and private, human and material, but Jones says, it’s a battle to keep the funding alive.

AUDIOJones says there has been a lot of success, but “when you fight a war, you also need ammunition.” He says it’s a battle to keep the funding alive. :57

In 2013, WISCAP’s network reduced or eliminated more than 578,000 separate and distinct conditions of poverty that create barriers to economic security and community well-being. Funding comes from various sources — 60 percent from the federal government, the state, local government, and private sources also contribute.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:51

The WISCAP annual meeting is scheduled for May 8, 9 in Madison.

Representatives of the agencies of WISCAP were captured on WisconsinEye touting their accomplishments and future goals.

Nickles ponders run for Petri seat

Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickles is considering a run for the Sixth District Congressional seat being vacated by Representative Tom Petri. “I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody in the city that government and politics is what I love most in life, and everyone knows that ever since I was a young boy I wanted to be president of the United States,” said Nickles, who was became on of the nation’s youngest-ever mayor when he was elected at age 22 in 2009. “It’s not surprising that when an opportunity makes itself available, that I would look at the options that I have in front of me.”

Nickles, a Democrat, said he was ” a bit shocked” when Petri announced he wouldn’t seek another term. He reiterated that running the city is his top priority but admits a door has opened to explore what he calls “an amazing opportunity.” Nickles said he’ll make a decision “very soon.”

Also on Friday, state Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) confirmed that he’ll make an announcement regarding entering the race. If he does, he’d join fellow state Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) and state Representative Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville).



New London school employee arrested

A New London School District employee is free on a signature bond, following her arrest Thursday in a case of missing funds from Bulldog athletic events.

Wendy Swinton was booked into the Waupaca County jail Thursday on theft charges. New London Police Chief Jeff Schlueter says their investigation indicates the theft of thousands of dollars, occurring over several years.

Swinton is listed as a payroll and accounting specialist at the New London district.

No criminal complaint has been filed yet by the district attorney’s office, but Swinton did appear before a judge Friday morning for a magistrate’s hearing. She was released on a $10,000 signature bond.


Appeals court rejects Act 10 challenge

A federal appeals court has upheld Governor Scott Walker’s signature collective bargaining law.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals said Friday that the law limiting collective bargaining for most public employee unions does not infringe on the constitutional rights of workers, rejecting a court challenge brought by two unions in Dane County. Those groups claimed the law, commonly known as Act 10, violated their rights to free association and equal protection under the law.

In a decision released Friday, a three judge panel sided with Federal Judge William Conley, who ruled last September that the union law still allows public employees to organize…it just does not require the government to listen to their demands.

In a statement, Attorney General J.B Van Hollen called the ruling “a victory for the law and for Wisconsin taxpayers.  This ruling, once again, supports the rule of law and recognizes the diligence and hard work of our lawyers in defending Act 10.  I appreciate the court’s work.  I look forward to a successful resolution of the few remaining challenges to this important law.”

The decision is one of several rulings that have upheld Act 10, although the controversial law continues to face unresolved legal challenges. The state Supreme Court is currently reviewing another case, which deals with how the law applies to unions for local government and school employees.