Hamilton Political Tidbits – July 8, 2016

Hamilton Header
Hamilton Consulting
Political Tidbits
Compiled by
The Hamilton Consulting Group
July 8, 2016

The July Fourth fireworks may be over, but the campaign fireworks are just beginning with the national party conventions later this month. In Wisconsin news, the governor has whittled down the list of Wisconsin Supreme Court finalists to replace outgoing Justice David Prosser. Read more about who is still in the running in this week's Tidbits. Also in this edition, we have a rundown of a couple more Wisconsin legislative races to watch and don't forget to check out the latest events in our political fundraising calendar.

The 2017-19 budget process nears its early stages as state agencies are beginning to prepare their budget requests for Governor Walker. Below you can read more about the governor's recent budget directive to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Health Services' latest Medicaid estimate.

Last, but certainly not least, Hamilton's Communications Manager and Tidibits guru, Rebecca Ballweg has left the firm to take a position at the Wisconsin Department of Justice. We wish her well in her new role and thank her for all her hard work putting together this publication. 

If you wish to receive additional information about a topic addressed in  Tidbits,  please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Hamilton Consulting Team.

Supreme Court Finalists Narrowed to Three

After the second round of interviews in late June, Gov. Scott Walker announced the final three contenders for the Supreme Court appointment. The three finalists include: Appeals Court judges Mark Gundrum, Thomas Hruz and attorney Daniel Kelly.

Judge Mark Gundrum was appointed by Walker in 2011 to the Wisconsin District II Court of Appeals. Prior to his appointment, Gundrum served as Waukesha circuit court judge from 2010 to 2011 and was a state representative from 1998 to 2010. Daniel Kelly is an attorney at Milwaukee law firm Rogahn Kelly and served on Justice Rebecca Bradley's campaign. Judge Thomas Hruz was appointed by Walker in 2014 to the Wisconsin District III Court of Appeals. Before his appointment, he was an attorney at Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols in Milwaukee.

Governor Walker Sends Letter to DOT Secretary on the 2017-19 Budget Request

On June 27, Governor Walker sent Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Gottlieb a letter requesting DOT's full budget submission in September. Typically, DOT submits their budget request in November.

In his letter, the governor asked the secretary to identify efficiency savings and prioritize projects based on needs. He also stated that the request should focus on maintenance and therefore, include an increase in local road aids and state highway maintenance. The governor also directed DOT to minimize spending on the mega projects in southeastern Wisconsin, this includes construction on the Zoo Interchange and the I-94 north-south freeway project.

Read more about the governor's DOT letter. 
DHS' Latest Medicaid Projection for 2015-17 Is Below Budget 

With the end of the first year of the biennium on June 30, the Department of Health Services (DHS) released their latest estimate on the Medicaid budget for the 2015-17 biennium. DHS projects that at the end of the biennium (June 30, 2017), the Medicaid expenditures will be below the appropriated levels set in the 2015-17 budget.

In March 2016, DHS projected that the expenditures for all funds would be $200 million less than the budgeted levels. The June 2016 estimate is 1.5 percent lower than the March numbers, mainly due to an enrollment decrease from March to May. In addition, interim Secretary Tom Engels cited other reasons driving the below budget numbers, including slow growth in prescription drug expenditures and personal care and home health services, revised nursing home utilization estimates, and higher drug rebate revenues.

Open 29th Assembly District May See Close Election

With the retirement of Rep. John Murtha (R - Baldwin), the open 29th Assembly District will be a coveted seat for both parties this November. The northern Wisconsin district lies in St. Croix and Dunn counties and is comprised of communities such as Menominee, New Richmond and Star Prairie.

Both parties will hold a primary election in August. There are two candidates running on the Republican side. One candidate, Rob Stafsholt of New Richmond, has worked as a mortgage loan originator, has managed his family's food manufacturing company called Scoop's Delight Salad Dressing, and currently helps run his family farm. Challenging Stafsholt to run as the Republican nominee is Vince Trudell, the former village president of Hammond.  

2nd Senate District: Incumbent Rob Cowles Faces Challenger

Sen. Rob Cowles (R - Green Bay) is seeking re-election to the 2nd Senate District, a seat he has held since first being elected to the Senate in a 1987 special election. The 2016 general election will be Cowles' first election facing an opponent since the 2011 recall election.
Democrat John Powers, a former school teacher and Vietnam veteran, is running to unseat Cowles. In both 2008 and 2012 Powers unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Gary Tauchen (R - Bonduel) for the 6th Assembly District, losing by more than 10 percentage points in each election.

Click to read more on the race.

Hamilton's Political Fundraising Calendar

As campaign season heats up and fall elections are just around the corner, consider utilizing Hamilton's political fundraising calendar. The  political fundraising calendar provides an excellent resource to find all upcoming fundraising events. Included are all fundraising events for state and national elected officials who represent Wisconsin. Fundraisers provide a great opportunity to get to know current and prospective legislators and other elected officials.

The information on the calendar comes from candidates and committees, so please be sure to RSVP to the person indicated in the event information, not the Hamilton Consulting Group.

The Hamilton political fundraising calendar can be found on our  website or through  Google Calendar.

Hamilton Consulting: Your Government Relations Easy Button


The Hamilton team is working to make sure our clients have the tools necessary to accomplish their government relations goals. We encourage our clients to remember to make use of all the many services we provide:

  • Political Tidbits - Political Tidbits is our FREE email newsletter on political and policy developments in Wisconsin, including links to relevant news articles, policy papers, and other informative documents. We are constantly updating our mailing list and we could use your help! Please let us know if your email address is changing so you will continue to receive our newsletter. Also, feel free to forward this newsletter to others who may be interested in subscribing.
  • News Clips - President Harry Truman once wrote that you can't get all the facts from just one newspaper, and without the facts, "you cannot make proper judgments about what is going on." The right column of Political Tidbits contains a selection of the most important news stories, but did you know you can always get the news sorted by subject on the Hamilton Consulting website? 
  • Political Fundraising Calendar - Hamilton's political fundraising calendar allows you to see all of the upcoming fundraising events and import them to your own calendar.
The Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits is a free newsletter on Wisconsin political and policy developments. Please it to others who may wish to receive this service.

If you require additional information about a topic addressed in Tidbits for your organization's board meeting or trade publication, please do not hesitate to contact a Hamilton Consulting Group lobbyist.


To ensure that Political Tidbits never gets caught in your spam filter, please add publications@hamilton-consulting.com to your address book/contacts list. If you are receiving these emails via a workplace email account, please advise your IT service desk to do this for you.  

News Clips 
Economic Development

Utilities & Energy
Lost generation of oil workers leaves few options for next boom: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 7, 2016.
State approves electric bill credits for Wisconsin ratepayers: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 7, 2016.
Can Green Bay afford to fix its infrastructure? : Green Bay Press Gazette, July 7, 2016.
Shirley Wind Farm opponents see ray of hope: Green Bay Press Gazette, July 4, 2016.
Wisconsin pipelines play key role in nation's energy infrastructure: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 4, 2016.

Contact Us 
For further information on these or other initiatives, contact a  Hamilton Consulting Group lobbyist.



Visit our blog 

Wisconsin Civil Justice Council

Promoting Fairness and Equity in Wisconsin's Civil Justice System