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 sent the following letter to Jessica Stice, Executive Director of the USO of Wisconsin-Southeastern Region, with copies to Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and members of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors about the possible closing of the Milwaukee USO office:
Enclosed is a copy of a letter, co-signed by legislative colleagues in Madison, to members of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation, requesting that the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate take the necessary action to ensure that the Milwaukee USO office, the only USO office in the state of Wisconsin, remains open to serve our military, their families, and veterans. We strongly urge our Congressional delegation to assist the Milwaukee USO in meeting and adhering to national Standards Of Excellence (SOE) to prevent its closing and secure its operation that will continue to benefit Wisconsin military members and their families.
I am aware that new criteria established by the national organization require USO affiliates to provide a center for troops and their families, and to increase their fundraising and community outreach efforts. The small USO office at the War Memorial is the only Milwaukee USO space. Additional space is unavailable at the War Memorial, so the USO would have to move to stay open. I am also aware that the Milwaukee USO Board has rescinded a vote taken during October 2008 to dissolve its charter and is now requesting additional time for the Milwaukee USO office to meet and adhere to SOE’s.
Constituents make the excellent suggestion that the Milwaukee USO office be moved to Mitchell International Airport. Apparently, other major cities have such outlets affording an area for those on active duty. It is my understanding that volunteers at the information desk at Mitchell International Airport often receive inquiries about a USO office at the airport. I sincerely hope that you discuss this option with Milwaukee County officials copied on this letter.
Milwaukee has maintained a USO office for the past 34 years, offering much-needed recreation programs and boosting morale for our brave military. Closing this important facility would be devastating to the brave men and women we entrust with our national security and greatly deserving our undying support. The timing could not be worse. About 3,400 members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard will be deployed to Iraq with the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team by next spring.
I wish you and the USO best wishes in your efforts to remain open. If I can be of further assistance, please contact me.
Wisconsin State Senate
Senate District 28