Letter from Rep. Petryk: Veterans Day
November 11th marks a very important day in our county, Veterans Day! This is one of the most important days in which we recognize the service and sacrifice of our country’s men and women who have served in our armed forces to selflessly serve in the protection of our nation’s freedom.
Veterans Day originally began as Armistice Day which was a day to recognize the end of World War I on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. President Wilson first celebrated Armistice Day in 1919. He said, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory…”
In 1938, Armistice Day was made a federal holiday to celebrate all veterans. However, after several other wars that men and women of this country served in to protect our nation, it was decided that the scope of this day needed to be expanded. Therefore, it was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day so that all who have served these United States of America would be recognized for their selflessness.
Around Wisconsin and the nation, there will be celebrations to honor these heroes for their commitment to freedom. I myself am planning to attend several Veterans’ Day celebrations around the 93rd Assembly District. However, even if you cannot attend a formal celebration of this day, please take the time to reflect on the meaning of Veterans Day and if possible, thank a veteran for their service and commitment to keep our freedoms intact.
It will be my distinct honor to sing and/ or speak at the flowing events:
November 8th: Operation Dust Off – Vietnam Remembered, Wisconsin State Capitol
November 10th: Memorial Service for Veterans at the Pentecostal Assembly Church (9 9th Ave, Eau Claire) at 10:30 a.m.
November 10th: Chippewa Falls Veterans Home (2175 E. Park Ave, Chippewa Falls) at 1:15 p.m.
November 11th: Veterans Day Event located at Minnesota Wire (2515 Prospect Ave, Eau Claire) at 11:00 a.m.
November 13th: Breakfast for Veterans at the VFW (1300 Starr Ave, Eau Claire) at 6:00 a.m. Special guest will be Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, John Scocos.
Assembly Supports Worker Training Legislation
On Tuesday, November 5, 2013, the Wisconsin State Assembly was in session to discuss twenty-five new pieces of legislation. Included amongst these twenty-five were seven bills related to worker training, one of which I am proud to be the Assembly author.
These worker training bills focus on helping our youth transition from high school to technical colleges or straight into the workforce. We need to remain focused on providing our future employees with the specific skills that employers are looking for. In many cases, technical degrees obtained through Wisconsin’s technical college system are in more demand than four-year degrees. This package of legislation helps to fill-in the skills gap that employers have been struggling with.
The following is a brief description of three pieces of workforce development legislation that were passed with bi-partisan support in the Assembly:
Technical Education Incentive Grants (Assembly Bill 399/ Senate Bill 331): This bill was authored by Senator Gudex and myself. This legislation is for high schools that decide they could and would be willing to work with the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and their local technical colleges to identify shortages in industries and occupations. The high schools that implement an industry recognized certification program and promote the program in their schools can earn $1,000 per student to help defray the upfront costs.
This legislation creates a wonderful partnership between our state’s high schools, our future workforce, and the industries and occupations most in need of a skilled workforce. The creation of such a program also allows students to connect with the workforce much earlier in their lives than currently possible.
Youth Apprenticeship Grant Investment (Assembly Bill 402/ Senate Bill 336): This legislation will increase the funds for the Youth Apprenticeship Grant program by $500,000 in each fiscal year.
The Youth Apprenticeship program allows students to train for careers that are in high demand and provide them with the training and skills needed to obtain employment upon their graduation from high school.
Academic Excellence Higher Education Scholarship Reform (Assembly Bill 398/ Senate Bill 334): This legislation will build upon our current scholarship program intended to help high school seniors with high grade point averages. This legislation puts an emphasis on those students who wish to pursue an education in a technical college. Currently, about 1 percent of scholarships awarded go to students who plan to attend a technical college. With this legislation, we hope to encourage more high school students to pursue a technical career that often times can earn them a higher salary than those with a four-year degree.
All seven pieces of legislation focused on the development of our state’s workforce passed with strong bi-partisan support. With these new pieces of legislation, Wisconsin can build upon our past successes to help provide the skills and access necessary to develop a qualified workforce. The state Senate also passed this bill package and the legislation will now move onto the Governor’s office for his signature.
An Important Warning from Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen released the following warning with regards to ObamaCare:
Any time a new, large-scale program, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is unveiled, fraudsters and identity thieves may try to take advantage of consumers who may not be familiar with the specifics of the program. Of particular concern is the potential for fraudulent websites designed to obtain consumers’ personal information or steal their money.
Reports of suspicious websites, advertisements, telemarketing calls and door-to-door solicitations have turned up since the rollout. Therefore, to protect your personal information and your pocketbooks, keep in mind the following precautions when signing up for an ACA program:
Stop. Call. Confirm. Protect your social security number, health information and financial information. Before you give out any personal, health, or financial information STOP. CALL the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI). CONFIRM with OCI that the entity is legitimate. If someone discourages you from contacting OCI, or pressures you into giving up private information, you may be dealing with a fraudster.
OCI’s contact information is:
Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
Phone: (608) 266-3585, Madison;
(800) 236-8517, statewide;
Verify the legitimacy of websites you visit. Using search engines may lead you to fraudulent websites if you are not careful. A good practice is to type the name of the website you want into your browser window, rather than merely searching for information about the Affordable Care Act. The official, primary site is healthcare.gov. Other federal and state governmental websites provide links to legitimate sites relating to the ACA.
Keep good records. Keep a record of everyone who assists you, who they work for, and their telephone number, address, email address, and website.
Think before signing. Don’t sign anything you don’t fully understand.
Be suspicious. Are you being asked to transact business in an unusual way – for example by using money order, or by buying a money card? Stop, call and confirm. Also note, insurance discount cards are not the same as insurance.
Don’t give into high pressure tactics. Threats, limited time offers or misinformation about Medicare are “red flags.” You cannot go to jail for failing to enroll in the Affordable Care Act. The ACA’s enrollment period runs through March 31, 2014, therefore, you should not feel pressure to decide on a plan “today.” If you are on Medicare, you do not need to enroll in the ACA or reapply for Medicare.
If in doubt, check with the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI). OCI licenses anyone authorized to engage in the business of insurance in Wisconsin, and OCI can verify the legitimacy of anyone purporting to be trained to help enroll people in the Affordable Care Act. And, as always, if you suspect criminal activity, contact local law enforcement, or contact the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) at 800-422-7128. My office, in cooperation with the OCI and DATCP, is committed to prosecuting fraud and will work together protect Wisconsin consumers.
In-District Office Hours
I will be holding in-district office hours on the following Mondays: November 4th, November 18th, and December 2nd, 2013. The goal of these office hours is to welcome constituents from the 93rd Assembly District to come and speak directly to me on issues of importance to you.
The following are the times and locations for office hours. Individual constituent meeting times will be based on a first come first serve basis as time allows:
November 18, 2013
Pierce/ Pepin Cooperative: W7725 US Hwy 10
Ellsworth, WI 54011
Prescott: Prescott City Hall – Council Chambers
800 Borner St
Prescott, WI 54021
December 2, 2013
Pleasant Valley Pleasant Valley Town Hall
S10414 County Road I
Eleva, WI 54701
Downsville: Downsville Town Hall
E4583 County Road C
Menomonie, WI 54735
Plum City: Senior Center
501 Main St
Plum City, WI 54761
Spring Valley: Spring Valley Village Hall
E121 South 2nd Street
Spring Valley, WI 54767
Upcoming Events in the 93rd Assembly District
Pepin County Shooting Range Hours
Monday through Friday November 11-15; 8-5:00 p.m.
Monday through Friday November 18-22; 8-5:00 p.m.
Closed during gun deer season