What it is like to be a new legislator

Kathleen Vinehout
What it is Like to be a New Legislator
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Good morning, Senator,” said a Capitol staffer. It took me a moment to realize the man was talking to me. That was ten years ago.
 
This week fifteen new lawmakers raised their right hand and swore to uphold the Constitution. They celebrated with a day of family, photos and receptions.
 
I recall how exciting the day was and how that excitement quickly turned to the daunting challenge of adjusting to my new role of Senator.
 
Following Election Day, the new legislators-elect attend orientation sessions, which provide vital information relating to all aspects of the Legislature. I remember thinking there was too much information packed into a few days. I realized, as my new colleagues will, the orientation is simply a glimpse of what they will need to learn over the course of the coming months.
 
Most new legislators come into office with ideas about changes they want to see in state government. Fresh ideas can be a good thing. Wisconsin does face difficult problems that require innovation. However, it’s hard to innovate when, as a rookie legislator, you are just learning the language. There are new acronyms, new processes, and new agencies.
 

Looking forward to the challenges of 2017

Kathleen Vinehout

by

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

 

The turn of the calendar to 2017 brings us hope for better prospects in our public affairs. I am particularly inspired this season for the many who wrote with solutions to problems facing our state.

 

The many letters from readers gives me optimism for a coming bloom of civic mindedness. Certainly your notes and letters bring a fresh approach to lingering problems.

 

I do see signs on the horizon that our state may be stumbling.

Scotty Walker sends Santa a letter

Walker and Trump

Apparently Scott Walker has gotten word that the old Obama Grinch is about ready to be replaced by a new, happy, Jolly Old St. Nick - and he's written a letter asking for presents. Lots of presents. Presents for Wisconsin. 

Lots of drug tests for people who need a hand because -- well, okay, I have to admit I just don't understand that one at all, but maybe the new Santa in town does. 

Ethics Commissioner Kinney resigns

Only a few months after the creation of the state Ethics Commission, one of the commisioners has resigned, expressing serious concerns about transparency in the behavior of the commission and the ability of the commission to actually enforce ethics on state politicians.

Commissioner Rober Kinney resigned, apparenlty partly due to the inabilit of the commission to take action on an ethics complaint filed by the Democrats against the Republican Assembly Campaing Committee for not filing proper accounting of their fundraising and expenditures. Kinney was also unhappy the the commission could not vote to keep themselves from making political contributions. Many have felt that the splitting of the former GAB into two commissions was a mistake, particularly since it was structured to make it difficult for either of the two new bodies to make decisions. More on this story later.

Christmas Eve Music and Fun from Our Valley to Your Radio

Kathleen Vinehout
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
Looking for a homegrown Holiday treat for Christmas Eve? Look no further than your radio for a special holiday performance from Wisconsin’s beautiful west coast.
 
Big River Radio Wave’s Christmas Show airs on Wisconsin Public Radio across Wisconsin on Christmas Eve. The show comes straight from our valley to your radio.
 
The show originates at the renovated Big River Theater in Alma, Wisconsin. In fact, the creator and host, Mac Cherry, is my neighbor.

Happy Holidays

Holidays

We're quickly falling into that time of year when people start to think about the holidays and stop thinking so much about politics.  Maybe not this year. 

Anyway - I'd like to invite you all to spend a little more time over the next few weeks thinking about your families and those things in life that make you happiest, and to stop thinking about the past election and the upcoming  coronation  err --- inauguration. It's coming no matter what, so you might as well try to have a little peace and joy for a while. The recount in Wisconsin is supposed to end tomorrow and be reported on Tuesday, so that will be one more thing that will be over with. I'm working on relaxing a little and getting caught up on the rest of my life. I'm sure you'll hear more from us before New Years, but it may be a little less than normal.  That Turkey ain't gonna eat itself.

New Transportation Ideas Needed to Handle More Intense Storms

Kathleen Vinehout
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
Winter came to Buffalo County. The weather turned to snow and then to ice.
 
In our hilly part of the world, rural people are used to finding new ways out of the valleys during bad weather. However, for residents living in Schoepps Valley (pronounced “Sheps”) the usual way out is not an option.
 

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