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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Governor Walker E-Update

E-update From the Desk of Governor Scott Walker

One of the most important duties I have serving as your Governor is to provide you directly with updates related to the operation of our state government. I also frequently provide updates on Facebook (Governor Scott Walker) and Twitter (@govwalker). Please feel free to share this update with your family, friends, and others who may be interested in state government operations.

Opportunity Squandered—Thousands of Mining Jobs Lost

I am disappointed that mining reform, which could have created thousands of jobs, was rejected by the State Senate this week. Ultimately the State Assembly, the mining company interested in a project in northern Wisconsin, the DNR and others offered numerous compromise proposals and made many concessions. Unfortunately because some State Senators refused to reasonably and responsibly work in good faith with all interested parties, they ultimately squandered an opportunity to create thousands of jobs. It’s frustrating that these Senators stood in the way of a major job creation project in an area of Wisconsin that is economically distressed.

After Senate action, the prospective mining company promptly issued a statement saying, “Senate rejection of the mining reforms in Assembly Bill 426 sends a clear message that Wisconsin will not welcome iron mining. We get the message.” They went on to say, “We are ending plans to invest in a Wisconsin mine.”

Thousands of good-paying, family supporting jobs left as a direct result of Senate Democrats and State Senator Dale Schultz rejecting reasonable mining reform.

While it seems like a longshot there is still time for State Senators who opposed mining reform to change their minds, we are still hopeful that in the future we can provide certainty to the mine permitting process so that we can get more Wisconsinites back to work.

Wisconsin Unemployment Rate Plummets—Private Sector Jobs Grow

This week the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary data for January 2012, which showed that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% (the lowest since 2008) and the state added 15,700 private sector jobs.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is well below the national average and after losing some 150,000 jobs in the three years before I took office, we have begun to turn the economy around. While I am encouraged by the statistics released this week, we still have more work to do to continue to grow jobs, improve the economy, and remain on a path of fiscal sustainability so the next generation won’t be saddled with our debt.

Program to Advance Job Training Announced

This week I announced a three-year, $4 million pilot program aimed at boosting skills training for jobs that are available now. The program, Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Grant, is designed to foster partnerships between the Wisconsin Technical College System and businesses with advanced manufacturing employment needs. The Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Grant, created by the non-profit Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, seeks to strengthen the ties between technical colleges, employers, and job seekers.

The goal is to tailor employee training to specific employers, which will help both those enrolled in technical colleges and the businesses in area communities. Closing the gap between jobs and available workers needs to be a high priority, especially in the area of manufacturing, where career opportunities are growing. Working with the Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Grant and the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation we will make substantial developments in workforce training and job placement. I want to thank the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) for partnering with us on this important program.

These grants will strengthen the pipeline between technical colleges and employers offering advanced manufacturing jobs. Specifically the grants will support the rapid development of degree or certificate programs that produce graduates who can meet specific employer needs.

Schools and businesses must partner on their application to the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation for up to $750,000 in funding for each grant over three years. The Wisconsin Covenant Foundation will select award application winners based on how many degree holders will result, how many jobs will be created, and how aggressive the employer proposals are among other criteria set by the Foundation.

By closely tracking the results of the grants, the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation can determine the impact of fostering mutually beneficial relationships between higher education and private industry to inform future funding priorities.

According to the Center on Education and the Workforce, nearly two-thirds of all new job openings in Wisconsin between now and 2018 will require some form of education beyond high school (some college through graduate degrees). Seventy percent of jobs in the next decade will require a degree above high school and below a four-year institution. The majority of WTCS graduates (more than 4 of every 5) stay and work in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Covenant Foundation is a private, non-profit corporation founded in 2007. The Foundation provides grants to make higher education possible for young citizens of Wisconsin. Board members include former Trek Bicycles executive Mary Burke, Boldt Company CEO Tom Boldt, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation CEO Richard George, Michael Best & Friedrich partner Dave Hanson, Foley & Lardner Public Affairs Director Scott Klug and UW-Milwaukee Vice Chancellor for Partnerships and Innovation Joan Prince.

The Wisconsin Covenant Foundation will be holding an informational webinar on April 3rd. Additional information on that can be accessed at www.wisconsincovenantfoundation.org. Questions about the grant application can be directed to Libby Gerds at wcfi@wisconsincovenantfoundation.org or by calling 877-396-6249.

Just Ask the Governor: Part VIII

Each e-update I will answer a question submitted by a recipient of the previous e-update or from someone who contacts my office directly.

Question: What is going on with the voter ID injunction?

Answer: I recently penned an op-ed for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel regarding recent developments relating to the implementation of requiring a photo ID to vote. Below are excerpts from that editorial:

Requiring a photo ID to vote is a common-sense reform that protects the integrity of our elections. Ensuring the integrity of the ballot box is an integral part of holding free, open and fair elections.

Photo IDs are already required to buy cold medicine, board a plane, cash a check and apply for public assistance.

The U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld the constitutionality of requiring photo IDs to vote.

We've already run an election in Wisconsin where a photo ID requirement has worked, the U.S. Supreme Court has declared it constitutional, it is a common-sense method to protect the integrity of our electoral system and it has been successfully implemented in states all across the nation.

The time has come to accept the fact that I worked hard to lawfully and constitutionally implement a law that I campaigned on and to move on. There are many pressing issues facing our state; rehashing and litigating voter ID at the taxpayers' expense isn't one of them.

You can read the entire editorial by clicking here.

It has been a pleasure communicating with you. It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.

Sincerely,


Governor Scott Walker

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