Teacher contract talks settling quickly

Ten years ago this summer, more than half of Wisconsin’s school districts had gone without teacher contracts for over a year. This summer, contracts talks are being completed in as little as 15 minutes.

“I mean really, what’s there to talk about?” said Christina Brey, spokes-woman for the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state’s largest teachers union.

Under last year’s law that curbed collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin, only changes to base wages are subject to negotiation. And those raises are limited to a cost-of-living increase set by the state Department of Revenue, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

For the just-ended school year, the maximum cost-of-living increase was 1.64 percent. For 2012-13, the maximum increase will be 3.16 percent. Districts that want to exceed the limit must put the question to the voters through a referendum.

Brey said it’s still too early to establish an average for how long it’s taking to settle contracts. But negotiations are going quickly for the most part, said Barry Forbes, associate executive director of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.

In the Cadott School District, bargaining only took one meeting to settle, with additional correspondence to finalize the agreement. Superintendent Joe Zydowsky said this year’s negotiating went shorter than last year’s, as both sides had a better understanding of the new bargaining laws.

“It was the first time we negotiated under the new rules,” Zydowsky said of the 2011-12 contracts.

He added the union agreed to the capped cost-of-living increase for both this coming year and last year (1.64 percent for 2011-12 and 3.16 for 2012-13).

In Bloomer and Chippewa Falls school districts, union talks have yet to take place. Chippewa Falls Superintendent Tom Hughes said he expects a quick settlement for contracts at his district as well.

Bloomer and Cadott will be entering their second year of negotiations under the state’s new bargaining laws, while Chippewa Falls will face the restrictions for the first time. Chippewa Falls passed its union agreements before Act 10 went into effect in 2011.

Contract negotiations in other regions of the state have gone about as quickly as Cadott’s. It took just 15 to 20 minutes for teachers and the Whitefish Bay School District to reach an agreement, said Mark Kapocius, the district’s director of human resources.

The two sides met a week ahead of the formal negotiations, when Kapocius said the district established that money was available only for a 1.25 percent increase in base wages. When the two sides got together, the only thing to determine was how to distribute the increase. Kapocius said the two sides came with nearly identical proposals.

It took an hour, maybe an hour and a half, for the Hamilton School District in Sussex to negotiate a 1.64 percent increase, said Bryan Ruud, associate superintendent for business services.

While bargaining is largely precluded under the new law, it’s still possible for the two sides to have a good relationship, said Miguel Salas, executive director of the Lakewood Uni Serv Council, which represents Hamilton teachers.

“Where employees are organized and you have a district that is willing to listen, like Hamilton, the parties can still reach some productive results,” Salas said.

Hamilton spread its pay increase evenly, Ruud said, with each teacher’s salary increasing 1.64 percent.

Whitefish Bay’s top-earning teachers were given lump-sum payments of $200, Kapocius said, while the rest were paid $758 in addition to their regular salary, essentially condensing the salary structure.

Actual salary structures are no longer negotiable; they’re being incorporated into employee handbooks. Forbes said some districts have simply dictated what the handbook will say while others have worked with teachers. Many districts are maintaining their old salary structures for the time being, he said.

With a new teacher evaluation system on the horizon, Forbes said, it does not make sense to change the structure when more changes would be needed in a couple of years.

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Closing arguments being made in vet’s center assault

Closing arguments are being made this morning in the trial of a man accused of sexually assaulting a worker at the assistance center for homeless veterans at the former Northern Center grounds last January.

Robert C. Piringer, 55, is charged with two counts of second degree sexual assault with the use of force, as well as strangulation or suffocation, false imprisonment and battery. A jury of 12 women and one man was sworn in Tuesday to decide the case.

The victim was a worker at the center, who testified that she went to Piringer’s room at the center on the morning of Jan. 4 after having arguments with him over the phone the previous day and that morning.

She said she found him apparently drunk, and she tried to wake him, fearing for his safety since he had made suicidal statements previously.

Piringer got up and the two argued, according to her testimony. At one point, Piringer left the room to see if the doors of any of the other resident rooms were open, then returned and shut his door and told the woman to get on the bed. She testified that she refused and he pushed her hard onto the bed.

The woman said she curled up in a fetal position and held her clothes tightly as he tried to pull them off. A struggle continued and she was able to get up at one point and move toward a window to call for help, but was pushed back onto the bed.

She screamed for him to stop, while he ripped her underwear into pieces, she testified. Piringer would slap her and tell her to be quiet and also put his hand over her mouth and nose so she couldn’t breathe, according to testimony.

The alleged assault eventually ended with the announcement of a 10 a.m. meeting, and Piringer knew people would be looking for the woman. According to her testimony, he got her to promise to come back and have sex with him. He then helped her straighten her appearance and let her go.

The woman went immediately to the supervisor’s office where the meeting was gathering and police were called. Piringer was taken into custody.

In his opening argument and in other statements in court, defense attorney Robert Thorson of Chippewa Falls indicated the alleged assault did not take place.

The woman acknowledged in her testimony that she and Piringer had a previous relationship, which ended well before the alleged assault. However, the woman was Piringer’s case worker and such a relationship was a violation of work rules that would have cost the woman her job.

The two had been arguing previous to the alleged assault, and Piringer had declared, “I’m taking you down,” meaning he planned to tell her supervisor so she would be fired.

Piringer testified on his own behalf Tuesday afternoon and denied that a sexual assault took place.

According to Assistant District Attorney Wade Newell, the defendant admitted to slapping the woman but said it was because she was hysterical, and pushing her on the bed because he wanted to talk to her.

Check chippewa.com for updates on the trial later today.

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Veja quem tem direito a comprar carro sem imposto e como fazer

O Brasil é conhecido por possuir elevada carga de impostos que penalizam seus cidadãos, e, muitas vezes, não oferecer a contraparte adequada. Algumas pessoas em situações específicas, porém, são isentas de pagar determinados exigidos, incluindo o Imposto sobre produtos industrializados (IPI), Imposto sobre operações financeiras (IOF), Imposto sobre circulação de mercadorias e serviços (ICMS a cargo dos estados) e o Imposto sobre propriedade de veículos automotores (IPVA também cargo dos estados).

Entre os que podem ser beneficiados com a regimento, instituída pela Receita Federal, encontram-se portadores de disformidade física, visual, mental e autistas. E a norma pode Carro com desconto para deficientescooperar bastante na diminuição do custo do carro, já que, em 2016, os impostos representavam de 38,1%, a 55,1% do valor cobrado pelos automóveis produzidos em território nacional, de acordo com o ex-presidente Associação dos Fabricantes de Veículos (Anfavea) Luiz Moan.

Um Chevrolet Onix zero km, por exemplar, custava R$ 41,1 mil pela guia do modelo de 2016. Sem os tributos, o bem veículo sairia por R$ 18,5 mil.

Quem tem direito à isenção na compra de carro zero? Veja aqui quem são e como fazer em cada caso

Todos que possuem alguma alteração parcial ou completa de um ou mais membros do corpo humano, que acarreta prejuízo de alguma função. Para efeito de concessão deCarro com desconto para deficientes benefícios, não serão levados em consideração defeitos meramente estéticos que não provoquem dificuldades na realização de funções:

  • Paraplegia;
  • Paraparesia;
  • Monoplegia;
  • Monoparesia;
  • Tetraplegia;
  • Tetraparesia;
  • Triplegia;
  • Triparesia;
  • Hemiplegia;
  • Hemiparesia;
  • Amputação ou ausência de membro;
  • Paralisia cerebral;
  • Membros com deformidade congênita ou adquirida.
  • Pessoas com deficiência visual e autistas
  • Deficientes visuais que apresentem acuidade menor ou igual a 20/200, de acordo com a tabela de Snellen, no melhor olho;
  • Deficientes visuais que apresentem campo visual inferior a 20º;
  • Deficientes visuais que apresentem a ocorrência das duas situações acima simultaneamente;
  • Serão considerados aqueles que apresentarem os requisitos definidos pela Portaria Interministerial SEDH/MS nº 2/2003.

IPI – Imposto sobre produtos industrializados

O IPI, tem incidência sobre todos os produtos produzidos pela indústria, seja ela nacional ou estrangeira. No caso de carros produzidos em território nacional, a alíquota de IPI varia de 5 a 11% sobre o valor de compra do veículo, de acordo com dados do ano passado segundo o sindicato de fabricantes de autopeças (Sindipeças).

Para solicitar a isenção de IPI você deve ser dirigir a um posto da secretaria da fazenda de seu estado.


O IOF é imposto de competência da União e incide sobre Operações de Crédito, Câmbio e Seguros (IOF). No caso de veículos incide sobre a operação de financiamento. Esse imposto possui diversas alíquotas: 3% ao ano para pessoa física e 0,38% na abertura da operação de crédito.

Quem tem direito

Pessoas com deficiência física, atestada pelo Detran onde fixarem residência. A condição deverá ser atestada por laudo de perícia médica, detalhando a espécie de deficiência, além de rovar a total inabilidade do requisitante para conduzir carros normais.

Na perícia, também deverá conter a habilitação do requerente para dirigir veículo com adaptações especiais, descritas no referido laudo.

Essa isenção não é válida para pessoas com deficiência visual, mental severa ou profunda, ou autistas, por falta de previsão legal.

Como proceder

O candidato a deve dirigir-se ao Ministério da Fazenda e preencher a requisição disponível no site da Receita Federal anexando o laudo de perícia médica de deficiência física.

O benefício pode ser utilizado uma única vez ao longo da vida.


O Imposto sobre a Propriedade de Veículos Automotores (IPVA), é uma taxa incidente sobre o valor do veículo e é cobrada todos os anos dos proprietários de veículos. A alíquota do imposto varia de estado para estado mas fica em média 4% do valor do veículo. Descubra aqui o valor do IPVA de cada modelo de carro em 2017.

Como proceder

Inicialmente deve-se preencher o pedido de isenção disponível no site da secretaria da fazenda do estado e apresentar a presentar cópia autenticada do CRLV juntamente com cópias de documentos do requerente, beneficiário e representante (CPF ou CNPJ, RG ou CNH com CPF e procuração).

Deve ser apresentado também laudo médico pericial e caso haja alienação fiduciária, também deverá ser entregue o contrato de financiamento do veículo.

Atentar para os prazos que no caso de carro novo é de 30 dias a contar da emissão da nota fiscal e até o final do ano anterior ao da vigência da isenção no caso de veículo usado. Para os que já possuem isenção é de até 30 dias após o fim da vigência do benefício anteriormente concedido.


Imposto de responsabilidade dos estados, Imposto sobre Circulação de Mercadorias e Serviços, tem incidência sobre a aquisição de qualquer mercadoria no Brasil. A alíquota varia bastante de estado para estado.

Como proceder

Para solicitar a isenção, deve-se dirigir à Delegacia Regional da Receita Estadual com o requerimento do ICMS preenchido, comprovante de residência e laudo de Perícia Médica ou de Avaliação. Levar também, se for o caso, declaração de serviço médico privado e pegar termo caracterizando o tipo de carro e valor. Obter Certidão Negativa de Débitos de Tributos Estaduais.

Importante também levar cópia autenticada da CNH, na qual constem as restrições e, se for o caso, as características e adaptações que o veículo deverá sofrer.

Levar também cópia autenticada da autorização expedida pela SRF. Para os beneficiários pessoas com deficiência visual que apresentem visão monocular e beneficiários submetidos à mastectomia esse documento é dispensado.

Veja mais a respeito no vídeo abaixo.

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Genetic testing averts cancer recurrence for area woman

Kathy Sockness of Stanley is living proof that cancer research can help save lives.

After a breast cancer diagnosis in 2008 revealed it ran in her family, genetic testing showed she was a carrier of a defective gene that put her at an extremely high risk of another bout of cancer. Knowing this helped her choose a course of action to ensure the likelihood she wouldn’t have to deal with such a diagnosis again.

Friday’s Relay for Life event, which begins at 6 p.m. at Chippewa Falls Middle School, will again help raise funds for the American Cancer Society to continue research on cancer. Sockness, along with Rebecca Hanson, have been named the event’s honorary survivors this year.

As of Tuesday evening, this year’s event had 131 participants on 22 teams who raised $13,652 for cancer research.

Kathy’s story

After Kathy underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy after her initial diagnosis, her doctor recommended she have genetic testing done. Kathy’s mother had cancer twice — first in her breast and five years later in her ovaries. Both of her mother’s sisters died of cancer. Two of her aunts also passed away from cancer, as did one niece.

Genetic testing, using a blood sample, began.

Women having inherited a defective BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have very high risks for breast and ovarian cancer. Mutation carriers are urged to have a complete mastectomy and hysterectomy to save their lives.

A week and a half after her blood sample was mailed in, the results of the test showed she carried the defective gene. Her chances of getting cancer in her other breast or her ovaries was 90%.

At 52, Kathy initially didn’t want to have any more surgery.

“Then I got to thinking about it,” Kathy said. “Ninety percent was a big chance. The odds were against me. So I had it done. I’m glad now I chose to.”

Knowing she had the gene undoubtedly saved her from another bout with cancer, which she might not have been as lucky to win.

Kathy’s daughter, Wendy, also chose to be tested for the defective gene and learn if she was at risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

“She doesn’t have the gene, and she’ll never have it,” Kathy said. “It was a big relief.”

Kathy is looking forward to attending the Chippewa Falls Relay for Life, which she’s never been to before, with her husband Leonard, daughter Wendy and granddaughter.

She knows firsthand the importance of continued research in cancer.

“This gene testing actually gives people a chance for early detection, which is so important in saving lives,” Kathy said.

Rebecca’s story

Rebecca Hanson was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2009. A scan revealed that the only treatment that would work is removal of the majority of her colon.

“When she was first diagnosed and before the surgery, things looked grim,” said her husband, Russell Hanson. “But after the surgery, and adapting, she’s back to herself — and that is one very happy grandmother.”

These days Rebecca works full time in addition to caring for two grandchildren and one adopted grandchild, all who live with her.

She’s on medication to help her body cope without having a colon, and has some diet restrictions, but all-in-all she’s back to living life to the fullest.

“It hasn’t slowed her down,” Russell said. “She does what she wants to do within her medical limitations.”

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Little known about interest in Hallie land

So who is interested in placing some sort of sand facility in Lake Hallie, off of Highway 124? So far, very little is known, and the notion that it has to do with sand is only a suspicion.

Here is all that is really known for sure:

Landmark Christian Church Senior Pastor Brad Crocker and Youth Pastor Mike Cohoon confirmed that a Minnesota company expressed interest in buying the church in a letter sent to the church  a couple of weeks ago.

Neither would disclose the name of the company, but theuy said the letter was not an offer to purchase the the 8.25 acres owned by the church.

Landmark Christian Church was built on the site in 1986.

“The church has not made a decision on what to do (with) the letter of intent. We’re just trying to gather more information” Cohoon said Monday. He said the letter does not specify what the company wanted to do with the property, and did not set a deadline.

Cohoon said the church will respond “when we have enough time to gather enough information and prayerfully consider what needs to be done.”

There have been unconfirmed reports of nearby businesses also receiving letters of interest.

Lake Hallie Village Board President John Neihart contacted Spickler’s Auto Salvage at 4258 Highway 124 to see if that company had been approached, and a company representative said Spickler’s had not.

The Lake Hallie Village Board has not received any contact from a company looking to purchase the church or any of the adjacent parcels.

Still, the interest of some company in buying land in the area, which is next to a rail line, was enough to start the rumor that a sand company was involved.

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Walker, GOP took eyes off the ball on job creation

Tom Lyn

Scott Walker winds down his first day of campaigning for the recall election with an appearance at Maynard Steel Casting on April 10.

The governor and lawmakers got distracted by other issues – and Walker overpromised during his 2010 campaign.

Certainly, Gov. Scott Walker is responsible for politicizing job creation in Wisconsin – and then taking his eye off the ball as his fellow Republicans embarked on fulfilling a conservative wish list ranging from concealed carry to the castle doctrine to voter ID. But is Walker responsible for the state’s dreary job numbers? And is any politician really capable of creating significant job growth?

Walker made a promise over which he had little control – essentially he was betting on the come – by pledging that Wisconsin would create 250,000 new private-sector jobs during his first term. That may have been a political mistake.

But the actions of any single politician are bound to be feeble when it comes to quickly turning around an economy as dynamic and complex as ours. What’s ailing Wisconsin’s economy has much more to do with global winds that are blowing from Asia and Europe, where our biggest exporters sell their goods, than with policy decisions in Madison.

Businesses make decisions about hiring based on whether that additional worker will help them sell more goods or services and improve their bottom lines. The actions of state government in such matters as tax policy and business regulation are important at the margins in those decisions – but only at the margins.

Businesses have to have demand for what they do before they hire. And for whatever reason, Wisconsin companies are doing less hiring over the past few months than their peers in other states. Even the much-maligned Illinois has performed better. There is no obvious answer to this riddle.

Walker will claim the reason is the recall elections – that they are creating an overwhelming arc of uncertainty. That’s overblown, but we do think it is a mistake to underestimate the effects of the ugly political warfare of the past 16 months. While we believe those battles have had only a marginal effect on the business climate, it would be inaccurate to say they have had no effect. There is tremendous political uncertainty in the state at the moment, and at the margins that might translate into caution on the part of some businesses.

Walker is popular with business, as every survey of business leaders shows. And he deserves credit, especially early in his term, for attacking Wisconsin’s most pressing problem: a lack of jobs. His effort to reform the moribund Department of Commerce into the more nimble Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. was successful. Tort reform, regulatory relief, tax incentives for business creation and a pioneering venture capital effort by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority all were sound policies. But despite these efforts, job growth has lagged.

One reason may be that the incentives and programmatic changes Walker’s administration has pursued simply need more time to work. But we also think there were strategic missteps and problems with execution.

Walker seems to believe the magical thinking that Wisconsin can recruit businesses from other states. This approach has seldom worked for the Badger State. It is far better to create incentives and capital pools for start-up businesses. But the centerpiece of that effort – a bill to jump-start venture capital – flopped because Walker couldn’t persuade his own party to abandon a risky version of the bill in the Assembly last year. Another centerpiece initiative – to loosen mining regulation – did too little to protect the environment and couldn’t achieve bipartisan support. Republicans thought they could ram it through without proper input. They were wrong. We suspect former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson would have found a way to get both bills passed.

Walker’s Republican colleagues in the Legislature did find time for voter ID, promoting abstinence in the place of comprehensive sex education and other issues that play well with social conservatives. But their lack of political discipline was disappointing at a time when the state needs smart strategic thinking and execution and to maintain a laserlike focus on the main problem the state has: a lack of jobs.

Like we said: The eyes came off the ball.

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Dexter to challenge state Sen. Moulton in recall

After being out of office for only a year, former Democratic legislator Kristen Dexter plans to announce today she will challenge GOP state Sen. Terry Moulton in an expected recall election later this year.

Dexter, of the town of Washington, said she was encouraged by many supporters to run and inspired by the hundreds of Chippewa Valley volunteers who collected an estimated 21,500 signatures, or 40 percent more than necessary, on petitions calling for a 23rd Senate District recall election aimed at Moulton, of the town of Seymour. Those petitions were submitted Jan. 17 to the Government Accountability Board, which is reviewing the signatures.

“That’s 21,500 people who said, ‘Whoa, put the brakes on here; we are going over a cliff fast,’ ” said Dexter, 50, who believes she can help get Wisconsin heading back in the right direction.

The names may be the same, but the circumstances and district will be different than when Moulton and Dexter squared off in a hotly contested 68th Assembly District race in 2008. Dexter knocked off Moulton, then a two-term incumbent, in that race by 272 votes out of more than 30,000 cast.

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Part 2: Dexter, Moulton share few stances

On June 5, voters in the Chippewa Valley will see a rematch race between Sen. Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls, and Eau Claire Democrat Kristen Dexter for the 23rd Senate District.

Voters in the 68th Assembly district will remember the two from their first matchup in 2008, when Dexter narrowly edged incumbent Moulton for the Assembly seat.

Each candidate met recently with the Herald to talk about their campaign platform, important issues facing the state, and their plans to benefit 23rd Senate district residents.

Collective bargaining

The sweeping changes made to collective bargaining rights for public employee unions sparked the divisive political climate in the state and led to more than a dozen recalls. Moulton admits the situation could have been handled differently.

“I think one of the things we could have done was gotten more information out about how it could help the state,” he said of the collective bargaining changes.

However, he does not disagree with the changes made by Republicans. Those changes helped get the state into a better fiscal situation while avoiding massive layoffs of public employees and massive tax increases on citizens.

Dexter rejects this argument, saying that while not mandated by law, many public unions were already contributing to health care coverage at levels similar to the new state law. Thus, the increased contributions did not amount to as much savings as Gov. Scott Walker has touted.

To her, collective bargaining rights are a matter of fairness to employees. If elected, she would vote to restore collective bargaining.

Budgeting approaches

Moulton defended the budget approaches taken by Walker and his party, saying cuts needed to be made after former Gov. Jim Doyle left the state with a $3.6 billion deficit.

“I’m proud to say I was part of a team that balanced the budget without raising property taxes,” Moulton said.

He added that it isn’t just Republicans saying the state is in better shape economically. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released budget projections showing a surplus at the end of the 2011-13 biennium budget.

Dexter argued that Walker and Republicans did nothing extraordinary in balancing the state’s budget. By state law, the budget must always balance — having any deficit is illegal.

She said the budget made steep cuts to some areas, such as education and BadgerCare, while other areas went untouched. Dexter said Doyle also faced a tough budget situation and opted for “shared sacrifice,” spreading the cuts out across government programs.

Economic growth and jobs

Dexter would rather see the state focus on growing its small businesses and rural economies. To her, poaching out-of-state businesses does not seem worthwhile.

“You spend more trying to get them in, with tax credits, incentives and all that, than each of those jobs could ever possibly produce (in revenue),” she said.

Moulton highlighted the importance of having an attractive business climate in Wisconsin, and said  Republicans have been working toward that goal.

Among the measures he cited was tort reform, which caps the amount of punitive and compensatory damages plaintiffs can receive in lawsuits. Tort reform creates a more welcoming business climate, which Moulton said will encourage more companies to relocate or expand in Wisconsin.

Republicans also helped businesses by offering targeted tax relief and incentives, he added.

“I think we’ve set the stage, and we can keep moving forward,” Moulton said.

As for the recent job numbers, Moulton points to the state Department of Workforce Development’s recent report about the state’s net gain of 23,321 jobs in 2011.

This report, however, differs from numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the federal agency, the state lost 23,900 jobs between March 2012 and March 2011. Those figures put Wisconsin worst in the nation for jobs lost.

Sand mining

Neither candidate is opposed to sand mining outright, though Dexter has some reservations.

“It bothers me aesthetically,” she said of the mines’ effect on the local landscape. “But I understand there’s also a family getting a good wage from that sand mine. Who am I to deny that family?”

She thinks there can be good compromise on any kind of mining in the state, provided the environment is not adversely affected.

Moulton highlighted how mining is a part of the state’s heritage, given its nickname as the Badger State. He trusts the Department of Natural Resources to monitor regulations and potential hazards.

He also thinks decisions about zoning and regulations should largely be left to local governments, saying that Chippewa County has actually become a model for its zoning and reclamation agreements.


Dexter criticized the steep cuts made to K-12 state aid revenues. A former Altoona School Board member, she said state aid cuts put districts in a difficult position to maintain quality education.

Public school funding comes as a tandem between state aid dollars and property tax revenue. This means if state aids decrease, districts either rely on property taxes to recoup the difference or must make budget cuts.

She also knocked Republicans for the cuts made to the technical college system, saying the state cannot grow a skilled labor force if technical colleges aren’t properly funded.

This is one of the rare stances shared by Moulton. He was a vocal opponent of  the technical college funding cuts, but the measure had enough support to pass.

“Education is a No. 1 priority,” he said. “I did not like cuts we made to technical colleges.”

He also agreed that the K-12 public school funding formula should be fixed, and has repeatedly said that he is open to any ideas on the topic.

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Opinion: Vote for Women

Wisconsin has never been as divided as it has become over the past 18 months. The Republicans in the state Legislature, led by Gov. Scott Walker, are the reason.

There are some things we all agree on – polls show most Wisconsin citizens support common sense policies – such as mandatory comprehensive sex education for our youth, the ability to go to state court to seek punitive damages in employee wage disputes regardless of gender, and access to cervical and breast cancer screenings. Yet state Sen. Terry Moulton voted to repeal all of these!

That is why I support Kristen Dexter in the Senate recall election.

Dexter is a proven leader who will stand up for Wisconsin women and families. Kristen also has a proven record of protecting women’s health and was instrumental in passing comprehensive sex education, pay equity protections, and improving access to women’s health care programs for cervical and breast cancer screenings. As a nurse I know that these measures improve women’s health and save lives while Moulton’s votes to repeal these laws will have the opposite effect. As more and more jobs are lost so too is health insurance, leaving many women and their families without health care. While the Walker administration and Republican legislators promised to create more jobs, the opposite happened, leaving Wisconsin families behind the rest of the nation. We need Dexter to once again move the state forward!

Elections are important, and this historical recall election will be no exception. Take a stand to restore access to women’s health and rights by voting for Dexter June 5.


Eau Claire

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Moulton, Dexter take different approaches to recall campaign

Last February, newly-elected state Sen. Terry Moulton was inundated with thousands of emails, letters and phone calls to his office.

The state Capitol had erupted into protests that went on for the better part of a month, as Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators pushed legislation to strip many public employees unions of most collective bargaining rights.

Moulton, a Republican from Chippewa Falls, supported the legislation and is now facing a recall effort from Eau Claire Democrat Kristen Dexter to remove him from his 23rd Senate District seat.

Public criticism

During the Capitol occupation and for some time after, Moulton was confronted with backlash from union supporters.

“We got thousands of emails daily, and we had to try to sort through them to respond,” he said of his office staff. “Many were from out of state.”

The intense public divide not only impacted Moulton as a politician but also as a person and a business owner. Protests took place at his sporting goods store, he and his family were threatened, and he has lost friends and customers.

While the debates raged, constituent outreach was rocky. Moulton recalls the high emotions during local listening sessions in Lake Hallie and Bloomer. For Lake Hallie’s meeting, the question-and-answer format broke down into volatile comments and accusations. Moulton nearly walked out after about 50 minutes.

“It was kind of difficult … but we made it through,” he said.

The volume of emails, letters and phone calls has calmed down substantially since last spring, and Moulton has heard more positive comments and support from constituents.

But he is not the only politician facing public criticism. Dexter said she has also been subjected to rude comments and personal attacks while out campaigning.

“When I get those comments made to me, I say there is no need for that,” Dexter said. “I’m here as a real person for a real reason. You don’t have to vote for me, but you don’t have to say those things to me.”

Dexter said most of her campaigning has remained positive, and those who aren’t supporting her are generally polite.

Differing campaigns

The accelerated timeline of recall elections has left little time for either candidate to spend on campaigning.

Not that either is a stranger to voters. Moulton served two two-year terms in the Assembly before being elected to the Senate, and Dexter is a one-term state representative. That election came against Moulton in an extremely close race, so this is the second time they have faced off.

Between the familiarity of the candidates and the issue at the core of the recall, there isn’t the level of indecision that is often found with general elections.

“About 98 percent have their mind made up already,” Moulton said, noting that polls have showed very few independent voters. “The key to this election is getting voters out to the polls.”

Dexter said she has been surprised to find some voters unaware of who she or Moulton are. She has been contacting people who were previously contacted by volunteers and said they were undecided.

While not all of them say they will vote for her, Dexter likes to make the gesture.

“Even if they don’t completely agree, they appreciate the effort,” she said. “It still comes down to personal contact.”

The candidates have appeared together in one forum so far, at the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce, but none that have been open to the public.

Recall changes?

Moulton is one of 13 state senators to have faced recall elections in the past year, including three others next month. Also facing recalls on June 5 are Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

Last year’s recall wave left a one-seat Republican majority for the state Senate. When Sen. Pam Galloway (R-Wausau), who was also facing a recall, resigned in March, leaving the majority up for grabs on June 5.

Moulton said in 2011 he heard rumors that he would be targeted for recall, but did not expect it to become a reality.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “There was no malfeasance, I didn’t do anything criminal.”

Given the many recall efforts launched over the past year, Moulton thinks the state should refine recall criteria to focus on misconduct rather than a difference of opinion.

Dexter disagreed, saying recalls are an important tool to protect citizens against corporate influence and abuse of power. She also does not think this will lead to more recalls.

“I see this as being a period of turmoil, and I do believe the turmoil is lessening,” she said.

Recall aftermath

Dexter decided to run against Moulton in January after a few points were resolved. The first was that more than enough petition signatures were collected to force a recall election.

“If (volunteers) just barely get enough signatures, it’s not a strong statement,” she said. “But when about 21,000 were collected, I realized I could do it.”

Her decision also hinged on whether the current 23rd Senate District lines would be in place for the recall election. The new redistricting maps passed by the Legislature last year (and set to take effect this November) put Dexter’s residence in the 31st Senate District. So if she is elected next month, she would have to move to run for re-election in the same district in 2014.

Dexter does not see a single term as the 23rd District state senator as a negative, equating it to that of a two-year state Assembly term.

If Moulton holds onto his Senate seat, he said he will keep his focus on the work set forth by Republicans in getting the state back on track fiscally.

“Give us a chance to allow the reforms to take effect,” he said.

If defeated by Dexter on June 5, Moulton said he would go back to running his two businesses — Mouldy’s Archery and Tackle store in Lake Hallie, and his manufacturing company Mouldy’s Tackle. He would also spend more time with his family and out on his fishing boat.

He is unsure if he would run again for political office.

“Something I would have to think about,” Moulton said. “One of the things I’ve always thought was never say never.”

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