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.
I have completed a series of town hall meetings in state Senate District 28 in the communities that I represent: New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Big Bend, Muskego, Mukwonago, Waterford, East Troy, and Waukesha.
Constituents attending came armed with a variety of questions and topics they wanted to discuss. There were, however, specific issues residents of Senate District 28 consistently raised at virtually every town hall meeting. The consensus was these are top-of-mind, high priority, hot button items.
Let’s begin with the hands down number one concern. It usually began with a comment like, “Isn’t there something this state can do?” or, “Why can’t the Legislature and the governor just say no?”
Frustrated citizens cannot understand why, at a time of layoffs, shaky job security, home foreclosures, shrinking incomes, rising gas and food prices and state budget deficits that state government time and time again opts to increase taxing and spending. Citizens are making tough choices to adapt to difficult economic times and fully expect government to follow suit. Instead, state government taxes and spends even more.
The message at the town hall meetings was evident: enough is enough. I am pleased to report that I have kept my pledge and refused to vote for any tax increase. I also oppose and voted against the state budget and budget repair bill that increased spending.
Town hall attendees also made it abundantly clear they want a photo ID requirement for voting in Wisconsin. Support for the measure is overwhelming, and again, residents are dumbfounded as to why such a popular idea has been impossible to achieve.
Governor Doyle vetoed photo ID three times. During the legislative session, Democrats controlling the state Senate refused to bring a constitutional amendment requiring photo ID to the Senate floor for a vote, killing the measure. Had the amendment been put to voters in a statewide referendum, the margin of victory would likely have been substantial.
Residents attending the town hall meetings and that have contacted me are well aware of what transpired in Madison this past session and they are angry. I wish the governor and every Senate Democrat that obstructed the will of the people on photo ID would have been at the town hall meetings to hear how passionate voters are on this issue.
The “E” word also elicits great emotion: ethanol. The consensus, and I concur, is that there are far too many problems associated with ethanol, and with gas prices skyrocketing, there is growing opposition to ethanol mandates.
I was one of several legislators to sign a letter sent to Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation, requesting they take action to ease the cost of gas for consumers. The letter asks for a repeal of the federal renewable fuel mandate, the elimination of tax credits for ethanol production, and the lifting of the reformulated gas (RFG) mandate in six southeast Wisconsin counties.
I wish to thank everyone that attended the town hall meetings. It is great to meet constituents face to face and hear what’s on their minds. I also thank community officials for allowing me the use of government facilities, libraries and a local business to host the town hall meetings.