16 results for author: Senator Jeff Smith


THE PEOPLE’S MAPS COMMISSION: BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE

 Partisan gerrymandering is one of the greatest detriments to truly having a democracy that works. States are obligated to redraw electoral districts after every census. Population shifts over a decade make it logical to adjust lines so districts are evenly represented. In the past, self-serving politicians learned, through trial and error, how to manipulate the district maps in such ways that people of color would be disenfranchised. Eventually, the courts ruled, that drawing district lines to disenfranchise people of color was unconstitutional. This ruling didn’t completely stop partisan gerrymandering, ...

AGING IN RURAL WISCONSIN

 Growing old is an inevitable part of life. When it comes to aging, we can’t help but wonder where we’ll live when we retire, the quality of life we’ll have and how we’ll stay healthy. While most of us want to remain in our homes for as long as possible, aging in place is almost a must for farmers in rural Wisconsin. Last week, I participated in a webinar about aging on the farm in rural Wisconsin. We learned about the unique challenges farmers face when it comes to aging, compared to older adults in other areas of the state. Farmers have to be more than just an agricultural expert. They must be efficient in ...

RESTORING TRUST IN TRYING TIMES

 By Senator Jeff SmithAt times, there is a real disconnect between science and politics in our country. But, in the case of how we handle a pandemic, it can be dangerous.For decades, we’ve been fed the philosophy that government can’t be trusted. Don’t get me wrong, too many politicians throughout history have brought that on by corrupt and often selfish behavior. Problems within government can become sensationalized and people begin to think that is the standard rather than the exception. It begins to impair our judgement of government and the important role it has in our lives. For every problem reported on by the media there are ...

CONNECT WISCONSIN WITH BETTER BROADBAND

Governor Tony Evers called a special session to take up agriculture bills, creating the Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity and establishing the Office of Rural Prosperity. In western Wisconsin, we have an opportunity to step up and continue leading the way.We should think of rural prosperity as a jigsaw puzzle. Rural prosperity relies on our agricultural industry, job security, entrepreneurial opportunity, tourism, quality schools, community spaces and more.Each individual piece contributing to rural prosperity has a purpose and need. However, these pieces don’t create an image and illustrate rural prosperity unless all the pieces ...

LET’S FINISH WHAT WE STARTED

 During this time of year, we’re surrounded by reminders to set goals for the next twelve months and fulfill our New Year’s resolutions. As the weeks pass by, we typically find ourselves falling back into our old habits and routines. Once we slip up, it may seem like our resolutions are hopeless and we push off our goals to next year.While preparing to head back to Madison, I thought about small, yet realistic intentions to continually motivate me in this New Year. Step by step, I’m hopeful these intentions will guide me to put differences aside and finish what we started in 2019.To begin, I’m determined to stay away from ...

RECOGNIZING INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S DAY

There’s quite an interest in genealogy these days. We can now order a kit to learn what ethnicities make up our DNA to better understand our heritage and ancestry. Even beyond this initial discovery, we can connect to unknown relatives. It’s a privilege to learn more about who we are from our ancestry.Last week, Governor Tony Evers declared the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day. This day is an opportunity for Wisconsinites to recognize the rich ancestral history and cultural impact of Native Americans in our state that often goes unappreciated. Just as important, this day allows us time to reflect on our country’s ...

WHERE’S THE COMPASSION FOR DAIRY FARMERS?

You rarely hear complaints from farmers about their job because they love what they do, but you will hear an earful about the weather, milk prices and the occasional tractor breakdown. June is Dairy Month. There is no better time to recognize the work dairy farmers do and the challenges they face.Farmers need to be expert mechanics, scientists, business owners and creative geniuses to make a farm thrive. Factors beyond their control make even the smartest or the hardest working farmers face bankruptcy.Farmers have seen glorious and terrible times throughout our history. In the 1930s, many farmers lost it all when the soil they relied on was ...

POLITICS OR THE PEOPLE’S PRIORITIES?

My role representing the 31st Senate District didn’t just start when I was sworn into office on January 7 this year. It began last year when I started talking to voters in the 31st Senate District. I heard over and over from voters that they want lawmakers to work together to support our rural schools and to fix our roads.The people’s budget presented by Governor Tony Evers provided a $1.4 billion increase for K-12 education. The Governor’s plan included sparsity aid for rural districts and a start for restoring dramatic cuts made in the past eight years.Just last week, the Republican Joint Finance Committee members cut the Governor’s ...

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

How many times have you heard the expression, “Knowledge is Power?” I heard it from an unexpected source last week during one of our public hearings in the Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection Committee.Who could disagree with the statement that knowledge is power? In fact, when someone used that line representing the conservative group, Americans for Prosperity, I thought it might be an opportunity to find agreement. The person testified in favor of a bill (Senate Bill 179) to force gas stations to post a sticker on each gas pump stating the tax being charged per gallon.I asked the woman testifying if she also ...

EARTH DAY SHOULD BE EVERY DAY

It’s been eight years since anyone in our executive branch of government uttered the words “climate change.” Thankfully, Governor Tony Evers brought science, common sense and the term climate change back to Wisconsin.Since the 1970’s, Wisconsin Governors have shaped our nation’s conservation legacy. In my office, over my desk, hangs a poster from Governor Gaylord Nelson’s campaign. The man from Clear Lake was ahead of his time. He did all he could to raise awareness that the earth is worth protecting.We recently celebrated Earth Day. From recycling to burning less fossil fuels, we in 1970 already felt responsible to preserve and ...