The Day NASA Came To Waukesha
This week I got to meet a real live astronaut! On Wednesday I was at Weldall Manufacturing in Waukesha with Dr. Don Thomas, a veteran of four Space Shuttle missions, and a team of NASA engineers. They were in town to thank Weldall for the company's crucial role manufacturing complex structural fabrications for use in the Space Launch System rocket core that will take us into deep space. I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty awesome.
Weldall is typical of many companies in Wisconsin's 200-strong aviation and aerospace cluster--namely, they do the precision manufacturing for parts that go into aviation or aerospace vehicles that someone else assembles (for instance, did you know that there are about 150 Boeing suppliers in our state?). If you're an astronaut like Dr. Thomas sitting in a space shuttle atop 1.6 million pounds of rocket fuel, you rely on the parts in that rocket to be absolutely perfect. And that's why people like NASA come to companies in Wisconsin like Weldall--because they know that the workers of our state deliver the incredibly high-quality advanced manufacturing they need and expect.
On the other side of the state, I saw the next generation of manufacturing employees in training at New Richmond High School. New Richmond is one of a number of schools across Wisconsin that are transforming shop class into job prep, so students come into technical college already equipped with a baseline set of skills for a particular field. While in town, my friend Senator Shelia Harsdorf and I also stopped at Grace Place, a shelter for homeless individuals and families. The folks at the Salvation Army are doing such good and important work providing a roof for the night, but also a start on a new life with the care and support folks need to eventually live independently again.
Not only in this Christmas season, but throughout the year we need to be thankful for our blessings and mindful of those who encounter homelessness, hunger, and the myriad other challenges of life. And we in government need to do our part to enact policies that support people through these struggles until they realize our shared goal of full, productive lives characterized by dignity and independence.
Ag energy alternatives
This week I spoke to the Wisconsin Clean Cities Alliance about our support for a full range of energy resource options for Wisconsin families and companies. I'm especially enthusiastic about the possibility to embrace energy innovation in one of Wisconsin's major industries, agriculture. Our state budget included a property tax exemption for biodigesters, ensuring they're treated the same as wind and solar facilities. I've toured biodigesters at UW-Oshkosh and Potowatomi and seen their potential as a double-win to both biomass waste and local electricity generation.
A new voice for american values
Occasionally I mention my colleague lieutenant governors across the country to you, but I should perhaps do it more, because I believe that lieutenant governors are often on the cutting edge of innovation in America. I'm so proud of so many of my colleagues, and this week in particular I wanted to introduce you to America's newest lieutenant governor, Jenean Hampton of Kentucky. I called on Tuesday to congratulate her on her inauguration day.
Here are a few lines from Jenean's first day in office: "Gov. Bevin and I believe in the American Dream because we have both been blessed to live the American Dream. A dream built on a foundation of Christian principles, love of liberty, self-reliance and a strong work ethic....We want to encourage our citizens to dream big, remembering always that each of us has the ability to harness our God-given freedom and liberty..." Lt. Governor Hampton's hopes for her state mirror my hopes for our Wisconsin -- a land of liberty where everyone can embrace the American Dream.