Campaigns and Elections,Public Policy

Fact: Every Wisconsin Republican Lawmaker Who Supports Infrastructure Investment Rewarded with Re-Election

10 Nov , 2016  

So, as you know, I support efforts to invest in our transportation infrastructure. I think it is a key component in economic development efforts in Wisconsin. All the job training programs and incentive grants in the world won’t mean didily if getting raw materials and manufactured goods to and from market becomes harder and harder every year.

Fortunately, more and more lawmakers get it. And so does the public.

One of the key takeaways from this past election is that sensible lawmakers who aren’t afraid to tackle real problems have nothing to fear come election time.

Every single Wisconsin Republican lawmaker who has pledged to meet our economic development needs and invest in transportation infrastructure won on Tuesday.

Every single one. More…

Just Fix It!,Public Policy

Wisconsin Business Leaders Want Roads Fixed Now and a Sustainable Budget for Future

22 Aug , 2016  

Wisconsin’s transportation infrastructure is in crisis. As I’ve written, I believe it is imperative for conservative lawmakers to take the lead to find the most responsible and efficient ways to address this crisis and create a sustainable revenue source so things never get this bad again. But no matter your political persuasion, the transportation crisis is an issue that impacts every business in Wisconsin.>

We’ve come a long way but we can’t ignore the fact that the job is not yet done.

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Fraley,History,Public Policy

Our Fight Against the John Doe Ringleaders Continues

2 Aug , 2016  

If you thought conservatives’ counter assault against the partisan witch hunters who tried to silence us was over, think again.

On Monday, the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy filed a class action in Federal Court.

From the official press release: More…

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Public Policy

Conservatives Must Lead the Way With Transportation Fix

31 May , 2016  

It’s time to get serious about the Wisconsin road, bridge and highway crisis, and it’s time for conservatives to lead the way toward resolving it.

Conservatives are guided by facts, not emotion. Here are the facts:

  • 42 percent of Wisconsin’s major roads are in mediocre to poor condition
  • In a report card for 2015, the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance gave the condition of Wisconsin’s highways a D–this was the worst grade of the 23 factors that were measured
  • 14 percent of our bridges need immediate repair or modernization and 919 are currently posted with weight restrictions, so many of today’s heavier trucks and farm implements can no longer safely go over them
  • Our Interstates, which are beyond their 50 year life span, are in the process of being reconstructed
  • While income and property tax receipts to the state increase every year (even in a sluggish economy) gas tax receipts do not because of increased fuel efficiency
  • Our vehicle registration fees are also relatively low compared to other states, which makes the annual cost to drive (gas tax and vehicle registration fees) lowest in the region by a wide margin
  • We’ve relied upon bonding so much in recent years that debt service now accounts for 19.3 percent of every dollar spent from the transportation fund, that’s up from 10.8 percent in 2010
  • The rightly-applauded property tax freeze implemented in Wisconsin is going up in smoke as municipality after municipality relies on bonding, new taxes, and referenda-approved spending to cover dwindling state transportation aid

More…

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Fraley,Public Policy,Social Media Medley

NRA Misfires with Their Unrelenting Trump Love

24 May , 2016  

NRA Letter

The NRA misfires with their unrelenting Trump Love, as they turn a blind eye to his past, and current, positions on the right to bear arms and the rights of individuals and organizations to speak out against their government..

Bad timing, National Rifle Association. I received this urgent fundraising appeal just days after you gave Donald Trump a tongue bath at the national convention in Louisville.

I understand that the NRA, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, views Hillary Clinton as an existential threat to American’s 2nd Amendment rights. I’m not shocked that they would endorse her opponent, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

For the sake of their own reputation, I would rather have held them hold his hand instead of engaging in a public display of affection that would make the most hormonal teenager go, ‘Ewww.’

More…

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Public Policy

Senator Ron Johnson was doing this, and you had no idea

23 May , 2016  

United States Senator Ron Johnson was doing this and you had no idea.

No, it’s not some tawdry personal indiscretion. Rather, he’s helping Project Joseph make progress on closing the skills gap here in Wisconsin. Employers have needs for a skilled workforce and he’s helping real individuals get the training required to meet those needs.

The Senator recently posted this update on his Facebook page:

More…

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Public Policy

Happy Anniversary

11 Feb , 2016  

Five years ago today, Governor Scott Walker began what I refer to as the Conservative Surge in Wisconsin. He introduced a budget repair bill that became known as Act10. It contained some of the provisions I laid out months before. More…

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Public Policy

Legislature poised to make voter registration process more secure

8 Feb , 2016  

Wisconsin’s voter registration process is about to become a lot more sane, and a lot more secure.

The courts have thwarted every attempt to overturn Wisconsin’s photo voter identification requirements. So, with this safeguard finally in place, voters here should now be able to register electronically using a valid driver’s license (or free state ID).
More…

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Campaigns and Elections,Public Policy

Sales Tax Holiday = CYA

27 Jan , 2016  

So now Republicans are now proposing a one week sales tax holiday?

What a dumb idea.

A one week sugar high for consumers?

If lawmakers really want to provide consumers relief when buying retail goods in Wisconsin, repeal the damn minimum markup.

Now, there is no one lobbying against the sales tax holiday and a lot of orgs like the price fixing MM, but still.

Minimum markup repeal would bring long-lasting, free market relief that won’t reduce state tax revenues.

This sales tax holiday is dishonest pandering. We should be better than that.

And I believe for many, this proposal is a CYA move over their failure to repeal the dumb minimum markup law.

But I bet this fast-tracked proposal gets a public hearing…

Unlike the Vukmir/Ott Minimum Markup Bills that have languished in committees since October.

This is shameful.

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Public Policy

Don’t blame the lobbyists…

25 Jan , 2016  

Lobbyists get a bad rap. No, stick with me here, they do. A decade ago I was a lobbyist for a few years. I’ve also worked as a legislative aide and as a senior executive who’s retained lobbyists. A good lobbyist isn’t a power broker or puppet master (although for many, they market themselves as such). No, at their core, a good lobbyist is a conduit of information. A good lobbyist advocates for their client, using facts and reasoning to persuade. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, and sometimes their cause survives to be discussed at another day.

Lawmakers can not possibly know everything about everything. Our system relies upon advocates (some paid lobbyists, others just passionate individuals) to help make sure their decisions are educated ones.

I know dozens of outstanding men and women, liberal and conservative, who are solid professionals in the government relations industry. Some even admit to being my friend.

That being said, the public is growing weary over the behind-closed-doors aspect of governing. Public discourse is the life-blood of a healthy democracy. When the public believes lawmakers are led by lobbyists, (or the oft-used ‘special interests’ ) faith in government plummets. I believe that’s why approval ratings for all levels of government are at record lows right now.

It’s not a partisan thing. The public’s disdain is not driven by loyalty to party. People feel like only the insiders matter. That’s a huge problem if you’re a fan of representative democracy.

The problem is not lobbyists. The problem is lawmakers who think the public good and the desire of their constituents is the same as what they’re hearing from their ‘team’s’ lobbyists.

Lawmakers bring the public’s disdain upon themselves. It’s not necessarily because of what they vote for or against. But how they go about it.

Whether they are advanced quickly or over the course of years, the best legislative initiatives are explained, promoted, voted upon, and their success is promoted after the fact. The worst are shoved down our throats (or killed in back rooms) without regard to the public.

When lawmakers in control of the levers of government fear public discussion of their work, we all are worse off.

The lobbyists don’t have the power. Constituents lease power to lawmakers.

When things are done or not done, don’t blame the lobbyists. Blame the lawmakers.