State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
One of the most important duties I have serving as your Governor is to provide you directly with updates related to the operation of our state government. I also frequently provide updates on Facebook (Governor Scott Walker) and Twitter (@govwalker). Please feel free to share this update with your family, friends, and others who may be interested in state government operations.
More Positive Economic News
This week CNBC’s Top States For Business Ranking came out and Wisconsin jumped to 17th place, which is our state’s highest ranking ever. CNBC scored all 50 states on 43 measures of competitiveness in ten categories including: cost of doing business, workforce, quality of life, economy, infrastructure and transportation, technology and innovation, education, business friendliness, access to capital, and cost of living.
In addition, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced that wages were up 6.7% in the first quarter of 2012 in Wisconsin. Wisconsin wage earners received record first quarter wages of $27.6 billion, up 6.7% or $1.75 billion from the first quarter in 2011. Total wages in the first quarter of 2008 exceeded $26.53 billion, but declined in the 2009 first quarter and again in the 2010 first quarter. Wages grew in the first quarters of both 2011 and 2012.
These improvements show we are on the right track. We’ve made great strides over the past year and a half, and I will continue to move our state in the right direction.
State of Emergency - Drought Declaration Issued
This week I declared a state of emergency in 42 Wisconsin counties due to drought or abnormally dry conditions. This allows farmers to receive certain permits in an expedited manner, helping them manage the abnormally dry weather.
The declaration covers these counties: Adams, Brown, Buffalo, Calumet, Clark, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond Du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, LaCrosse, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago, Wood, and any county contiguous to the named counties at the discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and upon written notification to the Governor.
I’ve also encouraged farmers to report crop conditions to their local U.S. Farm Service Agency office.
One additional resource available to farmers is the Wisconsin Farm Center, housed in the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The Farm Center staff can provide referrals and information about available services, including such things as finding feed, financial planning assistance, and mediation between farmers and creditors. Farmers can call the center toll-free at 1-800-942-2474, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The center is staffed 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
I am hopeful that this emergency declaration will help our agricultural community withstand the recent hot weather. Avoiding long term damage to Wisconsin’s agricultural industry is important as we work to create the economic environment that allows employers to create jobs.
The UW-Extension also provides frequent updates on the situation through their Drought 2012 Blog, which can be accessed at: http://fyi.uwex.edu/drought2012/.
Whitetail Deer Trustee Final Report Released
Last year I signed Executive Order #44, which created a Whitetail Deer Trustee position to independently and objectively review and evaluate Wisconsin’s deer herd management practices.
This week the final Whitetail Deer Trustee report was released. The report marks the conclusion of an independent study aimed at evaluating our current deer herd management practices. Moving forward we need to act on the report to enhance Wisconsin’s rich hunting tradition.
While DNR staff has worked hard, we need to do more to ensure hunters and conservationists have confidence in the Department’s ability to manage the deer herd. Dr. Kroll and his team have gone through an exhaustive process to receive and evaluate comments from the public. The input incorporated into this report from hunters and conservationists will help us restore trust in the DNR’s ability to enhance Wisconsin’s hunting heritage as we move forward with implementation.
I look forward to working with Secretary Stepp and her team to follow through on Dr. Kroll’s report.
A copy of the final report can be accessed at: http://www.doa.state.wi.us.
Just Ask the Governor
Each e-update, I will answer a question submitted by a recipient of the previous e-update or from someone who contacts my office directly.
Question: I have heard via the news media 3 times in the last week that Wisconsin businesses are "screaming" for skilled labor. I have 3 questions:
Which businesses are screaming for skilled labor?
What trades are they looking for (specifically)?
Where exactly do young adults go to get this training?
Answer: Employers in manufacturing, health care and information technology are having trouble filling openings. Manufacturing employers have increasingly sought workers with post-secondary certifications and degrees due to the integral role technology has assumed in manufacturing, including the use of computerized machines and other sophisticated equipment.
Most of the manufacturers that are seeking workers are looking for production workers with the skills to operate advanced machinery, such as CNC machines, or do metal fabrication, such as welding. Health care facilities are looking for nurses, medical technicians, personal care aides, and individuals with strong IT backgrounds to manage medical records.
There are several resources available. For example, The Department of Workforce Development has a strong youth apprenticeship program to build interest and experience among high school students in high-growth, high-wage fields, including manufacturing, health care and information technology. The youth apprenticeship program combines real-world experience and academic learning. Students can also access the state's technical colleges and university system to pursue opportunities in a wide variety of fields. Currently, the College and Workforce Readiness Council that I established is examining how our state's educational system can better align to meet skilled labor needs.
It has been a pleasure communicating with you. It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.
Governor Scott Walker