Rep. Ron Kind
The drug epidemic is an all-hands-on-deck moment for Wisconsin. In 2016, over 64,000 people died in America from a drug-related overdose. In Wisconsin, we saw emergency room visits for opioid overdoses more than double over the course of a year. We need strong partnerships at the federal, state and local levels in order to provide more treatment opportunities and get impacted Wisconsin families the help they need. That's why I recently unveiled a Drug Epidemic Action Plan, to take a comprehensive look at how to fight this problem.
For the last few weeks, I've been holding listening sessions across western and central Wisconsin to hear your concerns and questions. While our conversations were different from Alma to Platteville, one topic came up at every session: How are we going to protect our farmers and our local economies from the impact of retaliation and tariffs?
Voting and representation was a fundamental concern and priority to our founding fathers. In 1776, our nation's leaders never could have imagined the rapid advances to technology we experience today, and the subsequent consequences of exercising our democratic elections with computers and software — not paper and pens.
Over the past several months, I have held listening sessions and meetings across Wisconsin with law enforcement, school officials, local leaders and Wisconsinites about the safety and health of our communities. While concerns differ from Amherst to Wauzeka, one thing is clear: we're facing an all-hands-on-deck moment in Wisconsin.
Farmers and their families have helped create and grow Wisconsin's economy since 1848, but recently their hard work and sacrifice has come under attack by bad policies and unfair tax burdens. Like many farmers, I am concerned about failing infrastructure, low commodity prices, labor shortages, and the uncertain future of our trade agreements. Our farmers have also been hit by the negative effects of an unfair tax bill. Clearly, we need a set of new policies that are focused on supporting Wisconsin farmers.
As we work together to expand job opportunities in Wisconsin, one important factor is to increase access to affordable job training programs. Last week I heard about the importance and availability of job training programs from representatives and students from Chippewa Valley Technical College, Mid-State Technical College, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, and Western Technical College.
This month I kicked-off my annual 18-county listening session tour in Eau Claire. Hearing from Wisconsinites about the issues that matter most to them is my favorite part of this job. I believe that the only way to effectively represent you is to listen to you first. That's why I am holding listening sessions in all 18 counties of the 3rd Congressional District. This spring, I'll be on the road from Amherst to Wauzeka — and everywhere in-between — to hear what's on your mind.
Wisconsinites know that today's economy and jobs are more diverse than the options that were open to our parents and grandparents. In order to make sure Wisconsinites are prepared for good-paying jobs, I am unveiling my Education Action Plan which equips Wisconsin students for success with preparation, affordability, training and high-demand jobs (PATH).
As I talk with veterans and their families throughout western and central Wisconsin, I continue to hear about issues they are having cutting through the bureaucracy at the Department of Veterans Affairs to access the benefits they have earned. We are here to help.
These last few weeks have been bitter cold, even by Wisconsin standards. For many of our rural residents who depend on propane to heat their homes and businesses, historically cold weather this early in the winter causes concern. As many know, in 2014 nearly 250,000 residents and countless businesses throughout Wisconsin experienced a severe propane crisis, which drove up the cost of propane and prevented people from keeping their homes and businesses warm during the coldest months of the year.