WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Democratic candidates for Attorney General tout their strengths during Tuesday's night forum
The three Democratic candidates for Wisconsin attorney general agree on issues of crime-fighting and protecting the environment. So they used a forum in Madison last night to tout their experience, and their ability to win the office in November. State Assembly Democrat Jon Richards of Milwaukee cited his years as a lawmaker, attorney, and small-business owner. Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ said she would work to protect women from domestic violence, and preserve their access to reproductive health care. Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said he proved he could stand up to the state's power brokers, by filing an unsuccessful lawsuit against the Republican Act-10 collective bargaining limits. All three candidates said they would not have appealed the federal court ruling that struck down Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage. They also agreed on expanding treatment for drug users, more aggressively enforcing open government laws, and expanding diversion programs for first-time offenders. Richards has the most in his pre-primary campaign war-chest, with 170-thousand dollars as of July first. Happ had 121-thousand dollars, and Ozanne 35-hundred. The primary winner on August 12th will face Republican D-A Brad Schimel of Waukesha County, who has over 400-thousand dollars in his campaign fund.
Governor Scott Walker's office says it will not rush to create Wisconsin's own health care marketplace, to preserve tax subsides that were placed in doubt yesterday. A federal appeals court in Washington said the federal subsidies in the Affordable Care Act apply only to 14 states which run their own exchanges -- and not Wisconsin and 35 other states which use the standard federal exchange. However, another appeals in court in Virginia upheld an I-R-S rule which grants subsidized care for people in all 50 states. Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster would not say if Wisconsin would create its own exchange if it meant preserving subsidies for users. She said the 130-thousand Wisconsinites under Obama-care are not affected at this point -- and the Republican Walker won't deal in "hypotheticals." The White House said consumers would keep getting the subsidies until the legal implications are sorted out. Media reports said about 90-percent of Wisconsinites who bought care in the federal exchange qualified for subsidies when they signed up. Walker's office put the blame on what Webster called the government's "inept interpretation of their own flawed law." Walker's main election opponent, Democrat Mary Burke, said the governor's health care decisions "defy common sense" and are "politically-driven." Most others were confused by the dueling court decisions. Milwaukee's Arise Health Plan heard from a number of confused Obama-care clients.
Brett Hulsey says he wants a state park instead of an iron ore mine at the proposed Gogebic Taconite project in far northern Wisconsin. Hulsey is a state Assembly Democrat from Madison who's running a long-shot campaign for governor against Mary Burke. In a campaign stop in Wausau yesterday, Hulsey -- a former Sierra Club leader -- said the market for iron ore is not good right now, and a state park is the only thing that makes sense. He said a Penokee Hills State Park would help create jobs in the far north, while the proposed mine would only create jobs for lawyers. In Hulsey's words, "I don't want any more fighting." Also, he's said he's staying above the fray as Burke and Governor Scott Walker debate their job records -- namely the out-sourcing of Wisconsin jobs to foreign countries. Hulsey agreed that job creation is the big issue. He also said he wants to restore state aid to schools and local governments to at least what they were before the Republican Walker took office in 2011.
It's Mike McCarthy's turn to be immortalized in the Green Bay area with a street named in his honor. Last night, the Ashwaubenon Village Board voted to change a stretch of Potts Avenue to Mike McCarthy Way. Businesses are located on the street, which is south of Lambeau Field and the Packers' practice facilities. McCarthy has been the Packers' head coach since 2006, and his team won the Super Bowl four seasons ago. Former coach Mike Holmgren has a major street named in his honor east and southeast of the stadium. Brett Favre and Donald Driver are among the famous Packer players who also have streets named for them in Titletown. The McCarthy name change could take a year to complete, giving businesses time to get rid of items with their old street addresses. Also, officials insisted that the street have McCarthy's first name so there's no confusion with the late controversial Senator Joseph McCarthy from nearby Appleton.
A woman and an eight-year-old boy almost drowned yesterday, during an attempt to save three young swimmers in a lake in far northern Wisconsin. Vilas County sheriff's deputies said two women were apparently trying to save the three youngsters who were swimming in Star Lake near Sayner. A family friend in a boat pulled out a swimmer and a rescuer after they had gone under -- and they raced to paramedics waiting at a boat landing. The eight-year-old was taken to a hospital in Woodruff, and the 47-year-old woman was flown to a Wausau hospital. Their conditions were not disclosed. The others escaped harm. No names have been released.
It's either too hot or too cold -- rarely 'just right.' That's been the story of Wisconsin's weather this week. Temperatures plunged into the 40's in parts of the north overnight, after Lone Rock in Sauk County had a heat index of 106 yesterday. Much of central and eastern Wisconsin had its first 90-degree days of 2014, as it got up to 91 in Oshkosh, Appleton, and Green Bay. That was before a cold front moved through. The northwest was the first to get relief from the heat early yesterday morning. Afternoon readings were in the 70's after storms moved through. Trees fell in parts of Douglas, Ashland, and Bayfield counties. High winds pulled soffit and shingles from several roofs near Poplar in Douglas County. No other storm damage was reported throughout Wisconsin. By six this morning, it got down to 48 in Rhinelander and Tomahawk. It will be 'just right' for lots of folks today, as highs are predicted in the 70's statewide under clear to partly cloudy skies. But it will get cold tonight, as some areas could get down to the 30's -- just a few degrees above freezing. A chance of rain returns tomorrow.
Governor Scott Walker will take time out from his state campaigning tomorrow, to be in a panel discussion with other G-O-P governors in Aspen Colorado. Walker will attend events put on by the Republican Governors Association. He'll discuss issues in a group that also includes G-O-P governors Rick Scott of Florida, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and Sam Brownback of Kansas.