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Quotes of the Week

People from where I’m from, people from this part of the world, aren’t expected to make it to the state Capitol, and that’s if they’re expected to make it at all. And that’s something we have to be committed to changing.
– Dem Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes during a speech on the north side of Milwaukee, near where he grew up, to announce his bid for U.S. Senate.

I’m running on behalf of every working class person in Wisconsin, every parent raising their children through a pandemic and every veteran who is struggling. There’s a whole lot of people who are feeling a whole lot of hurt, and I am in this race for them.
– Milwaukee Ald. Chantia Lewis on her bid to enter the crowded Dem U.S. Senate primary race. 

We’re mortgaging our kids’ future. You know, I feel really bad that I’ve been here now probably 11 years and we’ve doubled the debt. You know Obamacare is still in place and we’ve doubled the debt. I don’t feel like my time here has been particularly successful.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, speaking on a conservative talk show about addressing the national debt and pushing conservative legislation while nearing the end of his second term in Congress. 

Tuesday’s victory encapsulates the spirit of this team and the strength, resilience, unity, and pride of these players, the Bucks, the city of Milwaukee, and our state.
– Gov. Tony Evers celebrating the Milwaukee Bucks’ first NBA championship in 50 years. 

We as Wisconsinites have tremendous pride for our sports teams and stand tall together whether we win or lose, and we certainly endure the ups and downs together. I believe these traits speak volumes as who we are as individuals and the message we send as a state. No matter how rough the road gets, we always find a way to persevere.
– Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, celebrating the Bucks’ win.

Political Stock Report

-A collection of insider opinion-

(July 17-23, 2021)

Rising: Dem Senate field, Milwaukee Bucks

Mixed: Mandela Barnes

Falling: DNR Board appointments

Rising

Dem Senate field: The crowded race for the Dem U.S. Senate nomination in 2022 is starting to rival the party’s 2018 primary for guv — and there’s still more than 10 months until the filing deadline. Insiders just aren’t sure what the rationale is for most of the candidates getting in. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes’ entrance to the field had long been expected, and he’s immediately considered one of the frontrunners for the nomination. Milwaukee Ald. Chantia Lewis’ announcement doesn’t quite come with the same buzz. Lewis touts her background as an Air Force vet and a “fighter” while noting she’s the only Black woman in the race — seen as a reference to Barnes’ bid to become the state’s first Black U.S. senator. Lewis’ possible candidacy had been rumored for some time, prompting some insiders to ask, “Why now?” Had she gotten in, say, six months ago, maybe she would’ve given EMILY’s List something to think about before it endorsed state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. Others note the group wasn’t deterred from getting involved despite Wausau Dr. Gillian Battino being the first woman to declare. And in announcing the day after Barnes — and amid the Milwaukee Bucks championship celebrations — her launch is overshadowed. Then again, insiders note, she likely wouldn’t have been in that top tier even if she’d gotten in much earlier. Insiders largely see Barnes, Godlewski and Alex Lasry, who’s taken leave from his position as an exec with the Milwaukee Bucks, as the top tier with Outagamie County Exec Tom Nelson trying to elbow his way into the discussion. To some, Nelson’s strategy appears reminiscent of Russ Feingold’s surprise win 30 years ago, when the little-known state senator from Middleton won a three-way primary after his better financed rivals continued to throw mud at each other. Election watchers see a slightly different dynamic than 1992, though. That year, it was three white guys vying for the party’s nomination while this year has one of the most diverse fields in state history. Insiders debate the shortcomings of each of the top-tier candidates. But they can all largely see a path for each to win the nomination. It’s a different story for the rest of the field; insiders believe they will struggle for money and attention. In a field with nine candidates already in — and Millennial Action Project founder Steven Olikara expected to join as well — it can be tempting for some to believe that just 20 percent of the vote could be enough to win the nomination, providing avenues to pull off the upset. But look at the 2018 Dem primary for guv, some note. While it started off as a 10-way race, two candidates dropped out even after turning in their nomination papers after they realized the money just wasn’t there to support a bid. And Tony Evers, the most well-known candidate as the sitting state schools superintendent, ended up breaking away from the pack with 41.8 percent of the vote while second-place was more than 25 points behind. This year, state Sen. Chris Larson has his backers in Milwaukee, but some question if he can build the operation that he would need to break out of the lower tier. Barnes and Lewis are the fourth and fifth candidates, respectively, to get in from Milwaukee. Some of these candidates may not pull a significant number of voters in the end, insiders say, but they can complicate the math for the others and potentially cause a ruckus along the way. They could even possibly play spoiler for some top-tier candidates. What’s more, for some of the second-tier candidates, this could be an opportunity to build out some name ID in case they have designs on another bid for something down the line, insiders say.

Milwaukee Bucks: No politician had anything to do with what the state’s NBA franchise achieved on the court with its first title in 50 years. But the Bucks story features a lot of political angles. Former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Milwaukee, bought the team in 1985 — three years before his first successful run for the Senate — to ensure the team stayed in town. When he sold the team 29 years later, he included a pledge of $100 million toward a new arena and took less for the team than he could’ve with the agreement it would stay in Milwaukee. The new owners — Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens — pledged $100 million as well. Then it was the Republican-dominated statehouse that stepped up with a $250 million package and then-Gov. Scott Walker’s “cheaper to keep them” selling point. The package cleared the Legislature with bipartisan support — and opposition. The resulting Fiserv Forum became a focal point for city officials’ redevelopment efforts in downtown Milwaukee, drawing the 2020 Democratic National Convention until COVID interfered. Now, the team’s story can be directly tied to the 2022 field for U.S. Senate with Alex Lasry, son of Marc Lasry, a longtime Dem backer, getting into the field. Meanwhile, as the Bucks celebrated their championship, insiders noted Gov. Tony Evers and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in prominent spots on the stage, while people like Walker and the GOP legislative leaders at the time who helped make the deal happen were nowhere to be seen. That rubs some the wrong way, particularly after the tough vote. Still, the city can for now bask in the afterglow of a two-month-long infomercial for Milwaukee and the Deer District, while an entertainment industry that struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic gets a much-needed shot in the arm.

Mixed

Mandela Barnes: The lieutenant governor is officially in the race for the U.S. Senate. Now insiders say he’s got to prove he deserves to be considered a top-tier candidate for the Dem nomination next year. As the Dem field for Senate has grown — and grown — much of the conversation has noted that the entire dynamic would change if — or when — Barnes got into the race. The lieutenant governor has an interesting mix of ties to Milwaukee and progressive groups in Madison, plus a bit of a national profile. But critics note he also has had his share of baggage — being late on paying his property taxes and parking tickets, for example. That teed up a question for some insiders: Could he hit the ground running right out of the gate? He snags a series of endorsements from progressive groups shortly after announcing, including the Working Families Party and The Collective PAC, which is dedicated to helping Black candidates get elected. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee also adds an endorsement of Barnes after previously backing state Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, in the race. Now, insiders say, Barnes has to turn that support into money. Alex Lasry, who’s on leave from his job with the Milwaukee Bucks, raised more than $1 million in each of the first two quarters of the year. But he’s banked just half of that, suggesting he’s spending money to raise money in an effort to build his donor list. State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski had $243,278 in the bank to end June, and Outagamie County Exec Tom Nelson had $406,356. At this point, no one is out of striking distance for Barnes financially — if Barnes can put together a solid fundraising base. Dem rivals are already trying to up expectations on what they believe Barnes needs to raise over the next three months, while fundraising vets note the summer of an off year can be a grind to raise money. Others argue any arbitrary number of what Barnes has to do in the next quarter is just fodder for the chattering class. Instead, many strategists see the race as more of a marathon. They want to not only see which candidates raise money and build campaign infrastructure, but who can respond to the dings coming their way. Each of the frontrunners has had a negative turn in the spotlight, whether it be Godlewski failing to vote in the 2016 election even though she worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign or Lasry getting the COVID-19 vaccine well before he would’ve otherwise been eligible. It’s questionable how much those things will really matter to primary voters about a year from now. But how the campaigns respond to questions about those issues are good gauges of how prepared the candidates are for what could be one of the most intense U.S. Senate races in the country. Barnes didn’t face that level of scrutiny running on a ticket with Tony Evers in 2018, so while he’s been on a statewide ballot before, this is now his moment in the spotlight, insiders say. Republicans would only be too happy to see the crowded Dem primary devolve into a nasty fight that leaves the eventual nominee battered and broke. Some Republicans also aren’t buying into what they say is the hype of a Barnes candidacy. A flurry of excitement on Twitter from liberal activists doesn’t necessarily translate into a viable campaign to win one of the nation’s top U.S. Senate races, they argue. Considering how little daylight there will be between the candidates on the issues, how else will they differentiate themselves other than tearing each other down? Others question if anyone will have the guts and the resources to put a well-funded hit on a fellow candidate. That’s a particular concern because if a campaign — or an ally — launches an attack on a rival and then wins the primary, it may be tough to pull in the support of the target of the hit. That’s especially true with such a narrow window between the primary and general election. Considering how crowded the field is and how important Wisconsin is to a U.S. Senate now split 50-50, some have wondered whether national forces could attempt to clear the field — or at least narrow it dramatically.

Falling

DNR Board appointments: There are numerous ways to put a gubernatorial nomination on ice. Sending one to Senate Org is a new tactic. But insiders say it also sends a message that Gov. Tony Evers’ takeover of the Natural Resources Board isn’t happening any time soon. Three months ago Evers nominated Sandra Naas, an Ashland teacher and owner of an environmental consulting firm, and Sharon Adams, a community organizer and developer, to the board. Now Senate GOP leaders have referred the nominations to Org rather than a standing committee. Insiders note it’s an unusual move considering GOP leaders haven’t seemed to have a problem bottling up Evers nominations even after they’ve made it through the committee process. More than 2.5 years after he was nominated, Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson’s nomination has yet to see the Senate floor even though he’s twice won unanimous backing in committee. So some try reading a little extra into the newest move, wondering whether it’s meant to send a message that Naas and Adams aren’t moving or that leadership is trying to shield some members from the prospects of even a committee vote on their nominations. The intrigue is kicked up a notch because Naas joining the board would flip control to 4-3 in favor of Evers appointees. But standing in her way is Wausau dentist Frederick Prehn, who has refused to step down until a replacement is confirmed, even though his term ended May 1. Fellow Walker appointee Julie Anderson, whose term ended at the same time, left her post without a fuss, clearing the way for Adams to begin serving. But Prehn, who chairs the board, has cited precedent allowing members to continue serving until a replacement is confirmed and says his expertise is needed for upcoming discussions about the state’s next wolf hunt. He also said he decided to stick around following critical media coverage of his decision not to immediately vacate the spot once his term expired. With Prehn refusing to step aside, two animal rights groups ask Dem AG Josh Kaul to take action to forcibly remove him. The Humane Society of the United States and the Center for Biological Diversity, both of which opposed the Trump administration delisting the gray wolf, argue while state statutes regarding other government offices include “clear unambiguous language” that an appointee may lawfully serve until a successor is installed, there’s no such “hold-over” provision for the DNR board. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce jumps into the fray, encouraging Prehn to stick around and while praising him as “not merely a rubberstamp for the bureaucracy.” Insiders note this is another break with tradition in a Capitol that seems less bound by norms all the time. Nearly two decades ago, Senate Dems refused to bring to the floor the nominations of several UW regents from Govs. Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum. That allowed Gov. Jim Doyle to appoint new members once he took office in 2003, but two of the holdovers refused to vacate their posts. Insiders note it’s not quite the same situation. Those appointees could argue they should be allowed to finish out the terms they were appointed to because the Senate played politics with their nominations. This time, it looks like the Senate is playing politics to prevent an appointee from even getting onto the board. Unless Prehn steps aside — or a replacement is confirmed — the board would remain controlled by Walker appointees until May 2023, when the last two of the former guv’s appointments would see their terms end. That also just happens to be four months into the next gubernatorial term, when someone else could be in the East Wing. To some insiders, it’s another sign of increasing partisanship. While the appointees to these boards have partisan backgrounds, they largely haven’t served as partisans first. But if this is how things are going to be run, maybe guvs will go with those who are more geared up for a partisan fight.

Marquette Law pollster Franklin considers tweaks to methodology for 2022 cycle

Marquette University Law School pollster Charles Franklin has a challenge as Wisconsin prepares for another election cycle.

“How do you get people to talk to you that don’t want to talk to you?” Franklin said to WisPolitics.com, noting polling problems during the 2020 cycle.

The polling failures of 2016 forced the industry to do some introspection and revamping of methods to better account for the non-college educated voters who turned out for Donald Trump. But those tweaks still didn’t catch the surge in turnout among Trump supporters in 2020, leading to another round of questions about why polling failed once again to accurately gauge the electorate.

“If there were a glaring thing that we could’ve identified that was the source of the problem, we’d clearly fix that glaring shortcoming,” Franklin said. “The trouble is in our analysis internally and in the analysis of the polling done nationally by the pollsters association, we really don’t find a very clear smoking gun.”

Franklin says he’s looking at tweaks to the Marquette University Law School poll’s methodology, not wholesale revisions. The first MU Law School Poll of Wisconsin voters in 2021 will be released Aug. 11.  

“I do think it has to do with President Trump’s remarkable ability to turn out some voters that don’t turn out for other Republican candidates,” Franklin said.

Franklin pointed out the Marquette Law poll was actually more accurate in 2020 than 2016 when it came to the presidential race.

The final poll in 2016 had 46 percent of likely voters backing Hillary Clinton and 40 percent supporting Trump, while the Senate race was about even. Trump won 47.2-46.5, while U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, won his rematch with Dem Russ Feingold 50.2-46.8.

The last poll ahead of the 2020 presidential race had Joe Biden at 48 percent and Trump at 43. Biden ended up narrowly winning Wisconsin 49.5-48.8.

In both years, the poll underestimated Trump’s support. Franklin chalked that up to the then-president’s backers being unwilling to talk to pollsters, an issue that was also seen nationally.

In between, the poll nearly nailed the 2018 races. 

The final poll of likely voters had the guv’s race a tie at 47 percent apiece. Dem Tony Evers went on to beat Scott Walker 49.5-48.4.  

Meanwhile, it had U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, up on then-GOP state Sen. Leah Vukmir 54-43. Baldwin won reelection 55.4-44.5.

Franklin said the recent polling record suggests Trump brings a unique dynamic. And it has him focused on several areas:

*ensuring each region of the state is accurately reflected in its share of the sample. Trump has done particularly well in western and northern Wisconsin. Franklin noted that even if the partisan balance of the sample is in line with historical trends, Trump’s support among Republicans was stronger outstate than with suburban GOP voters. One way to improve the sample is to try reaching more people in underrepresented regions during the polling process. Another is to weight the data to ensure it correctly reflects the state’s geographic balance.

*fine-tuning the wording of questions, including trying to press respondents more if they say they’re undecided to see if they lean one way or another.

*working on voter turnout models to add questions to gauge if respondents will truly cast ballots. The poll has largely relied on asking respondents how sure they are they’ll vote, as well as probing those who aren’t registered if they plan to do so. That effort includes adding questions about voter excitement.

One of the biggest challenges is addressing the drop-off in response rate, particularly among those believed to be Trump supporters. Some pollsters have tried to connect with hard-to-reach respondents by sending them text messages that invite them to fill out an online survey. Franklin said he tried that in 2020 to research if it was feasible for the Marquette Law poll. But he didn’t find it significantly improved the ability to connect with hard-to-reach voters; plus the profile of those who responded to the text invite didn’t match known demographics of the state as well as the telephone survey does. What’s more, those in rural areas who lack high-speed internet access also face a hurdle in completing surveys online.

Franklin said he may use online polling more a couple of election cycles down the road, but he believes live callers remain the best option in Wisconsin in the short term.

He also acknowledged there is a lot on the line in the 2022 cycle as pollsters look to improve upon their performance. Those struggles likely won’t help them reach those who were hesitant to participate in polling last year, especially as Trump ripped surveys showing him underperforming as efforts to suppress turnout among his base. Franklin said no report will persuade those hard-to-reach voters to start participating in polls again. Ultimately, it would require a better performance by pollsters.

“If we have another year like 2018, I’ll feel pretty good,” Franklin said. “If we have another year like 2016, I’ll feel a lot worse.”

Listen to the full interview

Assembly plans to meet Tuesday

The Assembly plans to meet Tuesday with an agenda that will be released later, according to the office of Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna.

Assembly Org today sent notice a ballot will be distributed to members of the committee early Monday afternoon to amend the June extraordinary session to meet at 9:01 a.m. on Tuesday. 

The office of Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment on whether that chamber planned to convene next week as well. 

Meanwhile, the office of Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley, D-Mason, sent a notice to members that Assembly Republicans planned to go to the floor to try overriding some of the guv’s vetoes, but it didn’t appear the Senate would be in as well.

The original extraordinary session call included the state budget, as well as bills to repeal the personal property tax and to use $65 million in federal COVID-19 aid to finance loans for two paper mills in central Wisconsin. Others included legislation to create a human resources office that raised concerns about a provision related to open records.

Steineke’s office said other bills could be added to the extraordinary session.

Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the bills on the personal property tax, the mills and the HR office, part of the more than two dozen he’s nixed so far this session. That includes a bill that would cut off enhanced federal unemployment benefits that add $300 a week to the maximum state benefit of $370.

Those benefits are scheduled to run out in early September. The next time the Legislature is scheduled to meet in regular session is Sept. 28-30.

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, tweeted this afternoon, “Scheduling a veto override but not being forthcoming about the bills they’re taking up is clearly them playing more politics. Not giving anyone any idea what’ll be on the floor in 3 days’ shows Vos/LeMahieu have no plans to be bipartisan on anything. We’ll uphold the veto.”

Dem Party plans national search to replace departing exec

Nellie Sires, who served as the state Dem Party’s executive director during the 2020 cycle, is leaving the post next month for a new opportunity.

Sires told WisPolitics.com she couldn’t share details of the new job yet, only that, “It is an opportunity to continue to fight for small ‘d’ democracy.”

State Dem Chair Ben Wikler hired Sires in October 2019 after she had previously worked as a vice president for The Management Center, which teaches effective management techniques to social change organizations. She began the party’s executive director post full-time on Jan. 2, 2020.

Sires helped oversee the party’s transition to a largely virtual approach to the 2020 elections amid the pandemic as Joe Biden returned Wisconsin to the Dem column.

Sires said the party had 30 permanent, full-time staffers when she began, but that has more than doubled.

“The unfinished business is making sure that Gov. Evers is reelected and Ron Johnson is kicked out of office,” Sires said.

The party had split the executive director’s job into two under former Chair Martha Laning. But Wikler returned it to a single position before hiring Sires. 

Wikler said he intends to keep it as one position and will launch a national search for someone to replace Sires. He called her a “transformative executive director” as well as a “super strategist and individual manager and coach.”

Sires’ last day is Aug. 13. Wikler said he hopes to fill the job as soon as possible.

Political TV

(Check local listings for times in your area)

“UpFront” is a statewide commercial TV news magazine show airing Sundays around the state. This week’s show, hosted by ADRIENNE PEDERSEN, features VISIT Milwaukee’s PEGGY WILLIAMS-SMITH, Milwaukee Ald. and U.S. Senate candidate CHANTIA LEWIS, and Cook Political Report analyst JESSICA TAYLOR.
*See more about the program here: http://www.wisn.com/upfront/
*Also see a recap of the show online each Monday at WisPolitics.com 

“Rewind,” a weekly show from WisconsinEye and WisPolitics.com, airs at 8 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. on Sundays in addition to being available online. On this week’s episode, WisPolitics.com’s JR ROSS and the Appleton Post-Crescent/Gannett’s JESSICA VANEGEREN  discuss Lt. Gov. MANDELA BARNES joining the Dem primary for U.S. Senate, the latest in the state Department of Justice’s clergy abuse investigation, Wisconsin’s likely share of a $26 billion settlement with opioid manufacturers and the Milwaukee Bucks clinching the NBA championship title.
*Watch the show here.

Check out WisPolitics.com’s Midday, which offers insights into the state’s top political news.
*Listen to the podcasts here

“The Insiders” is a weekly WisOpinion.com web show featuring former Democratic Senate Majority Leader CHUCK CHVALA and former Republican Assembly Speaker SCOTT JENSEN. This week, the two offer their views on how legislative redistricting will play out if Gov. Tony Evers and the GOP-controlled Legislature can’t agree on boundaries.
*Watch the video or listen to the show here.

“In Focus: Wisconsin” airs Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on Spectrum News 1 on channel 1. This week’s show will include conversations with Rep. KALAN HAYWOOD, the state’s youngest legislator, about what young voters are looking for from their elected officials; and UW-Madison professor MICHAEL WAGNER and As Goes Wisconsin founder and content creator KRISTEN BREY on connecting and communicating with Wisconsinites about politics.

PBS Wisconsin’s “Here and Now” airs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays. On this week’s program, anchor FREDERICA FREYBERG speaks with University of Minnesota Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Dr. Michael Osterholm about the latest threat from COVID-19. The show also features Milwaukee County Executive DAVID CROWLEY on the impact of the Milwaukee Bucks winning the NBA championship, UW-Madison political science Prof. RYAN OWENS on his campaign for attorney general, and more. 

“Capital City Sunday” airs at 9 a.m. Sunday on WKOW-TV in Madison, WAOW-TV in Wausau, WXOW-TV in La Crosse and WQOW-TV in Eau Claire. Host A.J. BAYATPOUR interviews UW-Madison professor BARRY BURDEN, Outagamie County Exec TOM NELSON and Dr. NASIA SAFDAR, the UW Health Medical Director of Infection Control.

Week Ahead

Tuesday: Assembly session. Agenda TBD.
– Time TBD: Assembly chambers, state Capitol

Wednesday: The Assembly Committee on Regulatory Licensing Reform holds an executive session on Clearinghouse Rule 21-001, relating to reciprocal credentials for service members, former service members and their spouses. The committee is also holding a public hearing on ratification of the Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact.
– 9:30 a.m.: 417 North, state Capitol.

Wednesday: The Senate Committee on Health holds a public hearing on SB 394, relating to advanced practice registered nurses, and SB 453, relating to prior authorization of specially formulated nutritional supplements and replacements.
– 10 a.m.: 201 Southeast, state Capitol.

Wednesday: The MMAC’s World Trade Association hosts a panel discussion on the state of U.S. shipping and transportation logistics.
– 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.: MMAC offices, Milwaukee. 

Thursday: The Assembly Committee on Health holds a public hearing on AB 396, relating to advanced practice registered nurses; AB 86, relating to providing complementary and alternative health care practitioners with exemptions from practice protection laws; and other legislation.
– 9 a.m.: 412 East, state Capitol.

Thursday: The Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce hosts a discussion on the hemp and cannabis industry.
– 9 a .m. – 10:30 a.m.: Online event.

Friday: The Wisconsin Policy Forum hosts a discussion on new proposals to address public safety in Milwaukee.
– 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Online event.

Names in the News

Upcoming events from WisPolitics.com and partners include:

*SAVE THE DATE: A Sept. 8 discussion at the Madison Club exploring the post-pandemic trade economy and how it may help expand U.S. influence in Europe, the former Soviet states and northern Africa. Discussion panel includes: TOM LOFTUS, former U.S. ambassador to Norway, STEVE KING, former U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic and MARK GREEN, former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania who now heads the Wilson Center in D.C. 

*A Sept. 14 program at Western Technical College’s Lunda Center in La Crosse with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture TOM VILSACK (invited) about the important role of agriculture and how to promote prosperity in rural Wisconsin. Discussion panels will focus on broadband, workforce, health and education. Panelists include: PATTI BALACEK, director of regional workforce development at Western Technical College; MARCY WEST, director of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s Office of Rural Prosperity; ANGIE DICKISON, executive director of the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development; BRIAN KRAMBEER, president/CEO of MiEnergy Cooperative/MiBroadband; MARI FREIBERG, CEO of Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers; and MIKE BEIGHLEY, superintendent of the Whitehall School District. Dairyland Power Cooperative is an event partner. Register here.

*SAVE THE DATE: A Sept. 29 DC breakfast event in cooperation with MMAC’s “Milwaukee Night in DC.’’ Details to come.

All of the above events are in-person.

The Institute for Reforming Government has hired CHRIS READER as its executive vice president. Reader, former senior director of workforce and employment policy at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, will oversee efforts to generate policy solutions in his new role. 

GREGORY B. HUBER, chief judge of the Ninth Judicial Administrative District, will serve as chair of the Committee of Chief Judges beginning Aug. 1. Huber, who was first elected to the Marathon County Circuit Court in 2004 and has served as the district’s chief judge since 2016, will replace current committee chair Chief Judge ROBERT P. VANDEHEY of the Grant County Circuit Court.

Empower Wisconsin has hired STEPHAN THOMPSON as its spokesman. Thompson previously served as executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin and as campaign manager for former Gov. SCOTT WALKER during his successful 2014 re-election campaign.

Sen. ANDRÉ JACQUE, R-De Pere, announced the birth of his sixth child, EMMA LEONA JACQUE. Jacque has two other daughters and three sons.

Endorsements: The following is a list of recent endorsements in statewide and federal races, based on emails received by WisPolitics.com.

U.S. Senate

MANDELA BARNES: Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Collective PAC, Democracy for America, Working Families Party

3rd CD

RON KIND: Democrats Serve PAC

State Treasurer

ANGELITO TENORIO: Rep. DANIEL RIEMER, D-Milwaukee; Rep. JONATHAN BROSTOFF, D-Milwaukee; Milwaukee County Clerk GEORGE CHRISTENSON and others.

Lobbyist Watch

Eighteen changes were made to the lobbying registry in the past 10 days.

Follow this link for the complete list.

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