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Vulnerable children and aging veterans in Wisconsin need our help. Shocking investigative reports have exposed a range of problems at the King Veteran Home and the Lincoln Hills School for youth. From assaults and infection outbreaks to outdated facilities and financial mismanagement, Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican legislature have failed Wisconsin families.

At the King nursing facility, veterans and family members are concerned about worsening conditions and ongoing staff shortages. For more than a year, workers have complained of urine-soaked carpeting, tainted drinking water and outdated medical equipment.

Instead of approving $18 million in facility repairs and upgrades, Gov. Walker diverted $12 million from the veteran nursing home fund to backfill budget deficits. Republican leaders are set to raid another $18 million from King over the next two years.

Similar problems exist at the Lincoln Hills School in northern Wisconsin. Staff vacancies and inadequate facilities are jeopardizing safety and putting children at risk. Assaults have become all too common and the Department of Justice is currently investigating several reports of child neglect, intimidation of witnesses and tampering with public records.

Families have been left to wonder: Is this really the best we can do? Shouldn’t the care and safety of Wisconsin children and veterans be a top priority?

What’s become painfully clear after numerous investigative reports is that these problems didn’t pop up overnight. They’ve been allowed to fester for years under an administration that operates in secrecy, discourages transparency and refuses to accept responsibility.

Gov. Walker spent millions of dollars and countless hours traveling across the country in pursuit of his presidential ambitions. Had that same attention been paid to the concerns of children and veterans here in Wisconsin, perhaps we could have avoided the crisis we currently find ourselves in.

But we’re here now and families deserve solutions. We can’t delay action any longer, so let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Security upgrades at Lincoln Hills and an overhaul of the tainted drinking water system at the King Veteran Home are badly needed. Rather than delaying infrastructure investments, we should immediately approve shovel-ready projects and rehabilitate outdated facilities.

Staff shortages have worsened as a result of pay cuts, forced overtime and safety concerns. We can reduce staff turnover by fairly compensating employees, improving working conditions and limiting the unsustainable use of forced overtime.

Rather than more tax breaks for multi-millionaires, we should prioritize funding for these facilities, improve services and expand opportunities for residents. And we should immediately block Gov. Walker’s plan to raid $18 million from our veteran nursing homes.

Care for our veterans shouldn’t suffer as a result of Gov. Walker’s fiscal mismanagement.

We need leaders willing to put aside personal ambitions and stand up for those who have been silenced and marginalized for too long.

Legislative Democrats will continue to push for action until Wisconsin families receive the care and attention they deserve.

This election, help us protect Wisconsin children and veterans by voting for leaders who will focus on proven solutions rather than personal ambitions.

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Jennifer Shilling represents the 32nd Senate District in western Wisconsin and currently serves as the Wisconsin Senate Democratic Leader.

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(21) comments

Clarification

Pity the society that pays the least to those who care for our toddlers, teach our children and care for our war veterans, aging and infirm.

Condor Kid

Enough is enough! Vote for all D's.

tower

Buggs, you aren't listed that way but than you are a wolf in sheep clothing.

tower

I am sure Dan is a nice guy. Seemed pleasent when I met him. But I won't vote for him. We don't need another rubber stamp for every wingnut, skrew the people idea the lunatic fringe puts out. Been six years with the clownservatives passing one stupid idea after another. Haven't seen the economic nirvana yet.

olderthandirt

Yet Jennifer supports the killing of our most vulnerable through abortion. She is another politician that only cares about people at election time. All year long, she can be heard complaining everything in Wisconsin is terrible, but doing nothing to help the problem except blame Walker and Republicans. Time to get someone who can work with people, and has done so much for our community out of the spotlight. Dan Kapanke is a great man, who loves Wisconsin, and is positive about our future.

oldhomey

It is good to have a humanist like older set us straight. He is against abortion, but, dang, why should the taxpayer be on the hook for unwanted, troubled youth? Let them rot in underfunded, understaffed institutions where they can luxuriate in urine-soaked carpeted comfort, assailed by sexual predators and violent psychopaths, left with no encouragement and little educational opportunity or even push. They're all bound for the big house, anyway, right, older? You get the Mother Theresa award for this week because of your big and caring heart.

Tim Russell

Supporting a woman's RIGHT to make her own health related decisions is NOT supporting "the killing of our most vulnerable".
Nice try though.

Tom McDonald

Politics, Politics, Politics, shameless self promotion as the 'good guy' using another politician as the bad guy. Enough!
Why don't you reach across the aisle, and collectively collaborate, to fix the problem?
Or is it more important to continue shameless, divisive, self promotion?

Rick Czeczok

Well stated, unfortunately the equation for politicians have changed over time it was people + common sense = politics. It has now become an equation of power + money + ego’s = politics.
So sad….
[sad][thumbdown]

Tim Russell

Reach across the aisle LOL! The Republicans control all branches of the government. They could care less about compromising.

Buggs Raplin

As I read this plea for more tax dollars for vets and children, I thought of Senator Shilling's cooperation in providing $250 million tax dollars to the wealthy owners of the Milwaukee Bucks. I also thought about her silence on the north/south corridor highway project, which would cost taxpayers $140 million dollars for a road, not wanted by most people in La Crosse, and I thought about Senator Shilling's desire to raise the gas tax and registration fees. It seems the taxpayers are the least of her concerns. She also wants to raise more tax money for the UW system. It's spend, spend, spend, and tax, tax, tax with her. It's, certainly hard to argue against more money for kids and vets, but I do believe if the senator got her priorities in order, there would be money to help them out.-Chip DeNure, Independent candidate form the state senate

Machiavelli

[lol][lol][lol]BuggChip: "As I read this plea for more tax dollars for vets and children, I thought of Senator Shilling's cooperation in providing $250 million tax dollars to the wealthy owners of the Milwaukee Bucks. I also thought about her silence on the north/south corridor highway project, which would cost taxpayers $140 million dollars for a road...

You back the GOP, which backed the shady Bucks deal, which could kill the unwanted new La Crosse road at any time because the GOP now totally controls Wisconsin state government.. pot, kettle,....

“When you're way too real, fake people be like: "You're a trip. I want somebody with real game (lies).”
― T.F. Hodge, From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with "The Divine Presence"

Buggs Raplin

I am not a Republican. I'm an Independent. The Republicans who voted for the Bucks deal are just as bad as Shilling. She had to have known there was no support for it in her district or outside of Milwaukee. Yet she gave in the extortion of the NBA. Jen's an establishment candidate, a tax and spend liberal. Hey, Mac, if that's your cup of tea, vote, for her.

Machiavelli

[alien][alien][alien]BuggChip, you publicly supported Republican Scott Walker on this very board... so I'm not going to let you weasel out of this one. Walker could have killed the Bucks fiasco deal, he could kill the corridor road fiasco now. You're with the Bucks scam crowd, you're with the road scam crowd.. you said so yourself!

No One Wants Publicly-Financed Stadiums—Except The People Who Count

http://deadspin.com/no-one-wants-publicly-financed-stadiums-except-the-peop-1748487455

This team, if you recall, is what the state of Wisconsin recently decided was worth spending $250 million of state funds on for a fancy new downtown arena. It was easy to get excited about this team and the future its owners could sell behind budding stars like Antetokounmpo and Parker, the big contract extension for Khris Middleton, and the major free agent acquisition of Greg Monroe. But when the Bucks are losers, as they have been this year, they become an afterthought in Wisconsin, at best a distraction until the next Packers game.

That gets to an important question about the whole Milwaukee Bucks arena issue that hasn’t been resolved to my satisfaction yet: How many Bucks fans are there, actually, in Wisconsin? If the state is going to spend $250 million—a number that is expected to come out to $400 million or more over the next 20 years, and, if the local history with Miller Park means anything, could be far, far higher—shouldn’t the people footing the bill actually want it first?

fish37

bugs you are not independent . you are a full blooded repub.

Buggs Raplin

That's not how I'm listed on the ballot for state senate

awol2009

What a great letter of revelations, Ms. Schilling. But where have you been?? This "sudden" expose' appears to be nothing short of campaign fodder as it is once again, an election year. Have you been asleep at the wheel while this has been going on for, it appears to be years now? Oh, don't worry, you still have my vote as there aren't any other good options. But geeze, why don't you and your colleagues muster up some guts and make a uniform effort statewide to expose the GOP corruption. Ever since Act 10, you've just wallowed in your own self-pity and opined on the pity pot. You're supposed to be a leader! Start acting like one or get out of the way to usher in a new generation that can take on and rid us of the T-Baggers that ruin our state.

oldhomey

Fair comment, awol, and Ms. Schilling should take heed of it.

Tim Russell

Elections have consequences. The Democrats have continually harped about the corruption of the Republicans. Where have you been?

awol2009

Tim Russell, guess you missed the point. That's all they have done, harped about it. I haven't seen much of a plan of action from Dems, other than just that and gosh, WHO knew it's an election year? It's almost time to leave this formerly great state, the corruption stinks!

Tim Russell

I get it but apparently you don't. In case you missed it the Republicans control all 3 branches of the State Government and aren't interested in compromise.

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