July 22, 2019
Wisconsin's 12th Senate District contains communities in Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Shawano, and Vilas Counties.

Committee Assignments:
  • Joint Committee on Finance
  • Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry Committee (Chair)
  • Elections, Ethics, and Rural Issues (Vice-Chair)
  • Local Government, Small Business, Tourism and Workforce Development
  • Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions
State Government Shutdown

Last Friday, a fire at the MG&E substation in Madison took out power to the surrounding area - including most of the Madison isthmus. State websites and services were also interrupted during the power outage. Governor Evers declared a State of Emergency and closed state agency office buildings, including the Capitol. I was unable to send an update on Friday. 

Apologies to everyone who attempted to access state websites or communicate via e-mail. All services should be back up and running.
Public Service Update

This weekend, storms caused significant damage and power outages throughout Wisconsin. I want to share  updates from We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service outages and power restoration. I also want to extend a big thank you to all of the workers getting power back up and running and those helping with storm damage clean-up. Governor Evers has declared a State of Emergency due to the extreme weather.

The Sunday night statement from We Energies and WPS:

WPS and We Energies continue to recover from some of the most powerful storms to hit central and eastern Wisconsin in the past 20 years. Winds above 80 miles an hour caused extensive damage to our networks. We’re rebuilding circuits in hard hit areas in and around Appleton, Stevens Point, Wabeno and Green Bay. The multiple rounds of storms were so strong that as they continued east they took out power to more than 800,000 utility customers in Michigan.

WPS and We Energies workers have successfully restored power to more than 150,000 customers combined since Friday evening. Crews from other Midwest utilities have been arriving to help. We will have more than 1,000 field and support personnel dedicated to power restoration tomorrow and we expect to continue to make significant progress.

We thank our customers for their patience and our crews appreciate the prayers for their safety that have also been conveyed in calls and social media messages.

An updated Monday morning statement:

We have restored power to more than 180,000 WPS and We Energies customers since Friday. Over 39,000 WPS and 21,000 We Energies customers remain without power this morning in the areas significantly impacted by this weekend’s storms. 

We continue to work around the clock to restore your power. We will have more than 1,000 field and support personnel dedicated to power restoration today and we expect to continue to make significant progress. At this time, we do not have a specific estimate to when all customers will have power restored, however, some customers may be without service for multiple days

I will continue to update residents as more information becomes available. Please feel free to contact my office or your County Emergency Management if you need assistance.
Money For Local Roads

Senate Republicans prioritized funding for local roads and bridges in the budget, and we provided $90 million in the Local Roads Improvement Program (LRIP) to allow our local governments the ability to fix and maintain critical infrastructure.  

After spending the past six months telling us to, “fix the damn roads,” Governor Evers cut $15 million and created great uncertainty about how the remaining $75 million would be spent, highlighting public transit as an area of possible investment.  My local government officials and constituents have been asking me to fix the roads and bridges that are in the most need throughout the state.  

Last week, DOT, under the direction of Governor Evers, unveiled their plan on how to spend the $75 million.  I’m grateful that the legislative intent behind the $90 million investment was somewhat met.  However, I remain concerned that projects that don’t fund roads and bridges, such as funding buses, bike baths and the Milwaukee Streetcar could be approved.  That was not our intention, so I will be keeping a close eye on how the department develops and evaluates criteria in awarding the grants. 

I believe that the proposal Senate Republicans introduced was much simpler and would have a greater impact on rural roads in Wisconsin.  I am cautiously optimistic that the department will meet its pledge to ensure funding will be spread out among the regions so the economic impact is felt throughout the state.  The temptation to send the majority of dollars to Madison and Milwaukee will be high, so I will be vigilant.  I remain committed to working alongside local elected officials from the 12th Senate District and the DOT to deliver as many dollars back to Northern Wisconsin to fund our roads and bridges.

Before the DOT's plan was introduced, several of my colleagues penned a letter to the DOT asking them to maintain the legislatures intent of using the money to fix roads and bridges. You can read that here.
Towns Association Meeting

Last week, I had the opportunity to address the Lincoln County Town's Association meeting. We had discussions focused on the recently signed budget and in particular transportation funding. Thanks for the invitation, and I look forward to working together on areas of shared interest.
Senator Tiffany addressing the Lincoln County Towns Association
President Trump’s USMCA Speech Reminds Us to Focus on the Economy

President Trump’s speech in Milwaukee reminded us that no matter what flashy issue dominates political headlines at any given moment, we need to continue to keep focus on how to make our economy stronger.

The President spoke at Derco Aerospace in Milwaukee, a defense contractor that is among the many manufacturers in the midst of the American factory revival that was once thought impossible.

“We're here today to celebrate the triumphant return of American manufacturing,” President Trump announced, and it wasn’t mere bluster. Manufacturing jobs make up a growing proportion of the six million new jobs created under President Trump’s administration, and manufacturing confidence is setting new records.

Here in Wisconsin, the foundation built by Governor Walker and legislative Republicans combined with Trump’s pro-growth policies have driven the unemployment rate down to a historic 2.8 percent — the lowest level ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. President Trump’s tax cuts have boosted the successes we’ve seen due to Wisconsin Republican reforms.

At Derco, the President shared a simple secret to his success, saying, “We’ve powered our economic turnaround by following two fundamental rules: if it hurts American workers, we don’t do it ... if it helps American workers, we definitely do it.”

Trade reform is central to that America First approach. For 25 years under NAFTA, American companies have been able to do their manufacturing in Mexico, taking advantage of low wages and virtually non-existent labor protections, and then ship those products into the United States without any problems. The passage of NAFTA in 1994 corresponds precisely with the manufacturing exodus we have seen in the United States. 

The blame doesn’t rest solely with any single administration or political party. NAFTA was conceived under President George H.W. Bush, signed by President Bill Clinton, and left in place by successive presidents from both parties. However, the same President who brought us the recent manufacturing renaissance has delivered — in the form of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA — a replacement for NAFTA that will right the wrongs of 1994.

The new agreement seeks to do more than simply maximize GDP, which was the overarching priority of the NAFTA negotiators. Experts believe the USMCA will foster economic growth as well, but the goal is to deliver an equitable economy in which factory workers in Wisconsin benefit as much from North American free trade as financiers on Wall Street.

Many issues will dominate the news coverage, but just because our economy is humming along doesn’t mean we lose focus. We can continue to grow. President Trump’s push for Congress to approve the USMCA is just another example of his commitment to the economic vision he has laid out, and we should join the call to ask Congress to pass the USMCA.

District Events
Date Event Location
July 24-28 Langlade County Youth Fair Antigo
July 25-28 Midsummer Bluegrass Music Festival Manitowish Waters
July 26 Music by the River Oconto Falls
July 26-28 Dirt City Duel Lena
July 26-27 St. Mary's Summer Festival Tomahawk
July 26-28 Northwoods Art Tour Across the District
July 27-28 Phelps Slow-Pitch Softball Tournament Phelps
July 27 Forest Fest Eagle River
July 27 Kentuck Day Festival/Car Show Crandon
July 27 Ride for Rescue Crivitz
July 31- Aug 3 Antique Outboard Motor Show Tomahawk
August 1-4 Oneida County Fair Rhinelander
August 2-3 Pig in the Pines: Bacon, BBQ & Bands St. Germain
August 2-3 Presque Isle's Oktoberfest in August Presque Isle
August 3 Laona Community Soup Laona
August 3 Annual Phelps Fireman's Pig Roast and Picnic Phelps
August 3 Deerbrook Rumble Motorcycle Ride Gleason
August 3 Lakewood Arts and Crafts Show Lakewood
August 3 Normal Park Craft Festival Merrill
August 3 Wabeno Art & Music Festival Wabeno
August 3-4 Annual Arbor Vitae Firemen's Picnic Arbor Vitae
August 4 Fireman's Picnic Presque Isle
August 4 Sayner/Star Lake Street Fair Sayner
Contact Me:
Mail: Senator Tom Tiffany, PO Box 7882, Madison, WI, 53707
Phone: (608) 266-2509  Fax: (608) 282-3552
Copyright © 2019 Office of State Senator Tom Tiffany, All rights reserved.

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As always, if you have any events for our calendar, comments or thoughts regarding the subjects of this newsletter, please feel free to contact me.