WEDC Leaders Missed Opportunity to Apologize and Reform

Kathleen Vinehout
WEDC Leaders Missed Opportunity to Apologize and Reform
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“Are you going to follow the recommendations in the audit?” I asked the Board Chair of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). He crossed his arms, sat back and smiled at me.
A smile that, to me, said I was annoying him.
The clearest path to better outcomes at Governor Walker’s flagship jobs creation agency is to follow the recommendations of the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB).
However, during a recent and very long public hearing investigating the troubled agency, I repeatedly heard obfuscation, deception and disdain for the law.

Citizen groups form alliance to fight corruption and rescue democracy

Blue Jean Nation Logo

September 8, 2015

Three Wisconsin-based democracy reform groups – the Wisconsin Grassroots Network, Wisconsin United to Amend and Blue Jean Nation – announced the establishment of a partnership to maximize their collective impact.

“Separately, each of our groups possesses valuable assets and makes a difference,” said Mike McCabe, founder and president of Blue Jean Nation. “Together, our strength can be greater than the sum of its parts.”

What do we want? Open government reform. When do we want it? Not now.

I am looking at the current agenda for the upcoming meeting of the Lodi School Board (in whose district I reside). I see that it has a closed session scheduled for the first hour of the meeting under a grab bag listing of items that include “review minutes of regular meeting”, “review resignations and retirements,” and “review staff-2015-16.”

I went back a year and found the board has been doing this at every regular meeting with a catch-all closed session agenda with slight variations from month to month.

Audit Shows Riders Received Poor Services

Audit Shows Riders Received Poor Services

Elderly and disabled stranded when company did not deliver rides

By Senator Kathleen Vinehout


“Just how many ‘no shows’ are acceptable?” I asked Medicaid Director Kevin Moore at a recent Audit Committee Hearing. “Is 4,154 people left without a ride too many?”


Wisconsin needs a different system for getting seriously ill elderly and disabled to their medical appointments. A recent audit showed poor services provided by a private company contracted to give rides to some elderly and disabled.


A Rock County resident arranged for a wheelchair van. But the vehicle sent did not have a wheelchair lift. The wheelchair bound person missed their appointment. A developmentally disabled Dane County person walked home in a thunderstorm after being stranded at the clinic. A paralyzed Richland County resident could not get a ride to a surgery appointment.

Once Again, Republicans in the State Legislature Propose to Cut Off Access to Essential Health Care

September 2, 2015
Contact: Iris Riis
Once Again, Republicans in the State Legislature Propose to Cut Off Access to Essential Health Care
MADISON – Today, Republican leaders will hold a hearing on a pair of bills that are likely to be fast tracked to further defund Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI), making it harder for women across Wisconsin to access the essential health care they need. In 2011, Governor Scott Walker and the Republican controlled Legislature eliminated all state funding for patients accessing reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood in the Biennial State Budget. These cuts lead to the closure of five rural Planned Parenthood health centers and the loss of 18,848 health services for 3,104 women, men and families each year.  Since these closures, no other safety net provider has opened to provide coverage in these communities.
Despite those cuts, PPWI remains the largest community based reproductive health care provider in the state providing 60,000 individuals each year with breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual wellness exams, birth control, STD testing and treatment, education and referrals for prenatal care and mammograms. Through 22 health centers across Wisconsin, no one is turned away from health care because of their inability to pay. 

Teacher Shortage: Who Will Teach the Children?

Kathleen Vinehout

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“Please sound the alarm,” Superintendent Mary Baier wrote to me. “We are not able to find people to fill positions in Wisconsin.” She needed a special education teacher and only one applicant had applied to her rural Plum City district.

When the school bells ring across Wisconsin, parents expect classrooms to be filled with qualified teachers. But a dramatic decline in education majors at university-based programs and an exodus of both newly minted and experienced teachers have left Wisconsin parents asking, “Who will teach our children?”

The “impending crisis” is here.

Scott Walker Meets The Press

Re: Scott Walker today on Meet The Press. It's always interesting to see how our gov descends into half-truths, waffling, and plain old prevarication when pressed. Are we really all looking for a President who will tell us what to do? Is the Mexican border really the biggest threat to the US?

And really - how can you continue to keep saying you are "unintimidated" when you can't tell the same story two weeks in a row?

Watch it yourself and judge if this is who you want leading the country.

Tech nerds are smart. But they can't seem to get their heads around politics.

An interesting post I read this morning from Vox - I'm not sure I completely agree with the details, but it presents a strong and interesting argument for why people, particularly those of us in the Nerd community (and I guess since I'm speaking at the Nerd Summit in a couple weeks I must be there) don't really get politics, or apply politics to our lives.

Wisconsin graded B- by small business

Wisconsin Open For Business

Wisconsin Earns a B- for Small Business Friendliness, A- for Licensing Regulations

Texas, New Hampshire, and Utah top rankings in Thumbtack annual Small Business Friendliness Survey; New York and California are among the least friendly states

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- August 25, 2015 -- Small business owners gave Wisconsin a B- for its business friendliness, approving of its licensing regulations but expressing difficulty hiring in the state, according to Thumbtack’s annual Small Business Friendliness Survey. Complete results for Wisconsin will be published at

Nearly 18,000 U.S. small business owners responded to the survey, including 219 in Wisconsin. The study asked respondents to rate their state and city governments across a broad range of policy factors. Thumbtack then evaluated states and cities against one another along more than a dozen metrics.


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