Milwaukee County Chief Judge Maxine White said Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to close the troubled Lincoln Hills School for Boys, and move juvenile offenders to smaller regional facilities is a welcome move, and follows a “proven formula” that has worked in other places.

“This is huge; this is absolutely huge,” White said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“The court is just absolutely ready to step up to the plate and do whatever we can to expedite this new process,” White said.

The governor’s plan would close Lincoln Hills and the adjoining Copper Lake School for Girls, turning the buildings into an adult prison, and open five new regional facilities for young offenders.

White praised the plan, which would provide more emphasis on mental health and trauma-informed care. She said it also is important to separate the boys from the girls.

“There are great needs that can be better met in the medical model, the public health model, rather the criminal, sanctional kind of model,” she said.

She said the governor’s call for five regional facilities was the right number and “will give us significant resources that we need to meet the crisis.”

She hopes two of the five facilities will be located in the Milwaukee region. She said having community and family nearby are “key factors that really make a difference in a kid’s life.”

In another segment, Democratic candidate for governor Kelda Roys said she is running because she wants to “make Wisconsin a place of opportunity and fairness.”

“I want Wisconsin to be the very best place to raise a family, and the best place to grow a business,” Roys said.

Roys is a former state lawmaker, lawyer and small business owner.

She said her campaign would be talking a lot about what she called shared values, including “health care for every person, great public schools for every child, clean air and water.”

“But I also am very much in touch with issues that face voters that I think don’t get a lot of play, things like paid family leave, and affordable child care,” she said, noting that she and her husband have young children.

Roys said the large field of Democratic candidates for governor is a reflection of the enthusiasm and energy on the Democratic side. She also said she thinks Republican Gov. Scott Walker is vulnerable.

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon said the Air Force’s choice of Truax Field as a home for a squadron of F-35 fighter jets will reach beyond Madison and Dane County.

“The economic impact will stretch well beyond Madison, but on the front line, it is about $100 million a year,” Brandon said.

Shortly before Christmas, the Air Force said the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing, based at Truax, was a preferred candidate to receive the F-35A Lightning II, a next-generation fighter jet with advanced technology and stealth capabilities.

The chamber joined local politicians and business leaders in an effort to win the F-35 for Madison.

Brandon said the 128th Refueling Wing, based in Milwaukee, and “some of the best airspace in the country” at Volk Field in Juneau County were factors in the Air Force decision.

Brandon also said the presence of the F-35 should guarantee the future of Truax as a base for several decades.

The first of 18 F-35 jets are expected to arrive at Truax in 2023.

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