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STATE GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL ROUNDUP: Plans announced to reduce fraud in public assistance programs

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Governor Scott Walker says new plans will be unveiled this week to reduce fraud in Wisconsin's public assistance programs. The Republican Walker says he's been alerted to problems exposed in recent weeks by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel plus quote, "other things that have come up since then." He didn't say what those things were -- and he did not indicate what reforms might be proposed. Walker said the Health Services Department would roll out the new measures. The Journal Sentinel found cases in which the incomes of those applying aid were not verified -- including a Milwaukee woman with four-million-dollars of rental properties who got 150-thousand in assistance. Also, the paper said front-line government workers have been pressured to approve as many public benefit requests as possible -- including some which may be fraudulent -- so the state can receive millions-of-dollars in federal incentives.

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Mary Burke is not the only wealthy person considering a run for her state's top office next year. Several others of both parties are hoping to do the same elsewhere. The Associated Press says 36 other states are just like Wisconsin, where one party controls the governor's office and the full Legislature, and the opposing party gets almost no chance to accomplish anything. In the Badger State, a lot of minority Democrats are looking to Burke -- a former executive for her family's Trek Bicycle Company -- to help provide a well-funded campaign to keep up with Republican Governor Scott Walker. In Illinois, Republican Bruce Rauner hopes to use his 30 years of experience in running a large private equity firm. He says that being an outsider makes him more honest about discussing the state's problems -- something his State Capitol needs more of. Former venture capitalist Tom Foley is expected to run for a second time as a Republican for Connecticut's governor. Investment banker Scott Honour plans to challenge Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. And former hospital CEO Charlie Baker plans to run for governor in Massachusetts. They all have success stories to tell from the business world -- but some will face incredible odds, like Honour will in heavily-Democratic Minnesota.  

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Funeral services will be held a week from Wednesday for Glen Pommerening, a Milwaukee native who served in a variety of state and federal government posts. The 85-year-old Pommerening died last Tuesday at his home in Alexandria Virginia from lung cancer. He served for 12 years in the state Assembly, and then became a deputy administration secretary under former Governor Warren Knowles. In 1970, he moved to suburban Washington D-C to become a deputy attorney general in the Nixon administration. After the Saturday Night Massacre in 1973 in which the Justice Department was shaken up, Pommerening moved up to an assistant attorney general post for administration. He later spent 17 years as a deputy assistant director in the U-S Bureau of Prisons. Pommerening retired from public service in 1998. His funeral will be in Alexandria, just outside of Washington.

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Jason Schulte
Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts with his wife and two daughters. 
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