Petri and Obey Urge More Involvement — and More Problem-Solving — in Politics

One is spicy and one is mild, but two formerly-influential members of the United States Congress were united in serving the same flavor messages Wednesday at Marquette Law School:

Young people should step up to get involved in politics and the political system needs to function in ways that serve the broad needs of the country.

David Obey is a Democrat who represented northern Wisconsin for 42 years and Thomas Petri is a Republican who represented central Wisconsin for 35 years before each retired. Each held major committee chairmanships that put them at the center of momentous decisions.

The two have joined in making appearances around Wisconsin in what they call “a civic dialogue tour” encouraging engagement in politics, and that brought them to an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Eckstein Hall. (more…)

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Kleefisch Advocates for Walker’s Positions During “On the Issues” Session

The only formal duty of a lieutenant governor stated in Wisconsin’s  constitution is to become governor if a vacancy occurs in that office.

“My constitutional duty is succession.  I know my job and I understand my constitutional duty,” Rebecca Kleefisch, Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Marquette Law School on Wednesday.

The question asked by Gousha, the Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, was whether Kleefisch wanted to be governor at some point in the future. Her answer dodged that question – and that points to the informal main duties of a lieutenant governor:  Don’t make trouble for the governor, don’t get out on a limb, and always speak up for the things the governor is doing. (more…)

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New Cristo Rey High School Has High Career Aims for Students

For Maritza Contreras, the Cristo Rey experience began with seeing high school kids in her neighborhood on the way to school all dressed up. She was about nine at the time and the idea of going to school in your best clothes was “the weirdest thing I ever heard of.” But she was attracted to it.  She made it her goal to go to Cristo Rey High School, a private school in her Chicago neighborhood where teens were required to work part time in real jobs in real work places and to aim to go to and succeed in college so that they could become adults working in places like the ones where they did their student placements.

For Contreras, Cristo Rey meant being asked for the first time about her college plans. It meant learning a set of skills and expectations that opened avenues for her, including small but important things such as how to shake hands firmly while making eye contact with someone.

And it meant enrolling in Marquette University with major scholarship support, graduating cum laude with a degree in nursing, and setting aside her nursing ambitions “for now” to get involved in helping the community as director of administrative management services for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin.

Cristo Rey has grown also. Starting in 1996 with the school Contreras attended, there are now 30 Christo Rey schools across the country. A local school, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, opened this fall with 129 ninth graders, almost all of them low-income and benefitting from the state’s private school voucher program. The school is based in a church in West Milwaukee, just south of Miller Park. (more…)

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Walker Poll Ratings Hit a New Low — Again

Through all the tumultuous politics of 2012 (the recall election for governor), 2013 (passage of a controversial state budget) and 2014 (a successful campaign for re-election), Gov. Scott Walker’s numbers in the Marquette Law School Poll barely budged. About half of voters had favorable opinions of him and just under half had unfavorable opinions. It was close, but it was a winning picture for the Republican governor.

But 2015, with a front-running, then troubled, then failed presidential bid for Walker, with long periods of Walker being out of the state, and with another round of budget controversies, has been a different story.

Results of the third Law School Poll of the year, released Wednesday, brought favorable opinions about Walker to a new low. It wasn’t a big difference from a poll released in August. Walker’s favorable rating was 39 percent a month ago and 37 percent this time. In April, 41 percent gave Walker a favorable rating. (more…)

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In Eckstein Hall Session, Schimel Emphasizes Fight Against Opiate Drug Abuse

Drug overdose deaths don’t usually make big headlines. But ask Brad Schimel about his priorities as Wisconsin’s still quite-new attorney general (he took office in January) and they are at the top of his priorities. Here’s a powerful reason why: More people die each year in Wisconsin from overdoses of opiate drugs, the kind issued through prescriptions at drug stores, than die from breast cancer, traffic accidents, hand guns, or heroin combined, Schimel said during an “On the Issues with…

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