FRI AM News: Pollster says health care ‘among top issues’ for voters heading into 2020 election; WisBusiness: the Podcast with Laura Heisler for the Wisconsin Science Festival

— Kaiser Family Foundation pollster Ashley Kirzinger said health care is “among the top issues” voters want to hear about heading into the 2020 election.

But she said that voters would make choices in both the presidential election and in down-ballot races “almost entirely on their perceptions of President Trump.”

Speaking at the Midwest Polling Summit in Madison this week, Kirzinger touted the importance of health care in the last five presidential elections, saying it’s been a top-three issue for voters since 2000 and was the most important topic in the 2018 midterm elections.

But even as the polling showed concerns about health care becoming more prominent in voter’s minds nationally, Kirzinger said the data reflected a sharp partisan divide. 

“Seventy-five percent of Democratic voters say healthcare was the most important issue facing the country compared to 23 percent of the Republicans,” she said, citing a May 2018 KFF poll that found Republicans ranked immigration, economy and gun policy as higher priorities.

Kirzinger said that data tracked with results finding Dems have “long had the edge” on health care policy. But she warned Dem presidential candidates’ embrace of the so-called “Medicare for All” program could threaten that advantage.

See more: 

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Laura Heisler, director of the Wisconsin Science Festival. 

The podcast centers on the upcoming events, which run Oct. 17-20 with discussions, presentations and experiments planned across the entire state. It’s been held every year since 2011, around the same time the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery was launched on UW-Madison’s campus. 

“We were really interested in creating a community connection between scientific research at UW-Madison —  but also more broadly across the state — and the citizens of Wisconsin,” she said. 

Heisler says the Wisconsin Science Festival is part of a “global movement” of science festivals that have been rising in popularity over the past decade. 

“Every place that started the festival has seen it thrive and grow over the past 10 years,” she said. 

Hundreds of events are being held in dozens of communities across the state, covering topics in the fields of: technology, math and engineering; sports, health and medicine; agriculture and the environment; and a number of other focus areas. In the podcast, Heisler spotlights events of interest to the state’s business community. 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See a full list of podcasts, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

See more on this year’s Wisconsin Science Festival: 

— The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance has released numbers showing state residents will see more health insurance choices going into 2020. 

During open enrollment, 61 Wisconsin counties will have three or more options for health insurance on the individual market for 2020, compared to 46 counties in 2018. The OCI release shows residents of northeastern Wisconsin who purchase insurance on will have “significantly more options” next near than were available in 2019. 

Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable says the Wisconsin Healthcare Stability Plan is helping insurers keep insurance rates low and promote a stable marketplace in the state, which in turn leads to more choices. 

“A strong, competitive insurance market helps ensure consumers have more options when it comes to finding the right insurance plan for them and their families,” Afable said in a release. 

At least 25 counties will have more options for 2020 than they did this year. And many state residents will also get lower rates for next year. Rates on the individual market — including plans purchased on — will be 3.2 percent lower in 2020 than in 2019, based on a weighted average. 

See an interactive map showing insurance coverage options: 

See the release: 

— The president of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, Sean Marschke, is expressing gratitude following legislative approval of a bill that would guarantee health insurance for the families of police officers and others killed in the line of duty. 

The bill previously passed the Senate and yesterday unanimously passed the Assembly, clearing the way for Gov. Tony Evers to sign the measure into law. It was introduced by Sens. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, and Janet Bewley, D-Mason, as well as Reps. John Spiros, R-Marshfield, and Steve Doyle, D-Onalaska.

In a statement, Marschke thanked the bill’s authors as well as legislative leaders from both parties for moving to extend health insurance coverage for families of fallen officers and other emergency workers. 

“Family of fallen officers killed in the line of duty will know, that in their darkest hour, the people of Wisconsin not only back the badge — but we back the families of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our safety,” Marschke said. 

Listen to a recent podcast with Marschke: 

— The UW System Board of Regents has approved a resolution of appreciation to recognize research conducted at UW-Superior’s Lake Superior Research Institute and Great Waters Research Collaborative.

These entities are studying issues such as preventing the spread of invasive species, freshwater resource management and other related topics. A release shows the LSRI has received $1.4 million per year on average since 2010 to study fixes for ships bringing invasive species in their ballast water. 

UW-Superior recently purchased the only land-based ballast water technology testing facility in the Great Lakes region, the release shows, located on Montreal Pier in Superior. 

See the release: 

— The WMC Foundation has announced dates for an upcoming rural listening tour as part of the group’s Future Wisconsin Project. 

Six town halls are planned for this fall featuring discussions focused on rural Wisconsin, led by Ted Abernathy, a researcher, futurist and founder of Economic Leadership. He will present economic and demographic data for the state and nation, highlighting trends and strategies for bridging the rural and urban divide. 

Events will also feature hour-long town hall discussions with attendees. 

The first two discussions are set for Oct. 17 — a morning session at John Deere Horicon Works in Horicon, and another in the afternoon at the Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce. A third will be held Oct. 18 at the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce offices in Madison, and the next three are planned for mid-November. 

The Future Wisconsin Project is run by the WMC Foundation and aims to address “long-term systemic economic challenges” by assembling stakeholders from industry, government and education. Results of the project will be highlighted at the end of the year at WMC’s Future Wisconsin Summit. 

See more on the listening tour: 

— A rifle manufactured by Henry Repeating Arms of Rice Lake has won the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest. 

The Big Boy All-Weather Rifle was recognized this week at the annual WMC Foundation Business & Industry Luncheon. More than 160 nominees were narrowed down to the top 16, which then competed in a “Manufacturing Madness” tournament-style bracket. Over 240,000 votes were cast for this year’s contest. 

Winning companies from prior years include Harley Davidson, Oshkosh Corporation and a baked goods producer called Uncle Mike’s Bake Shoppe.

See the release: 

— The state Department of Workforce Development has received notice that TGI Friday’s of Wisconsin will be closing its Miller Park restaurant in early December, cutting 86 jobs. 

Most of the laid off workers are wait staff, barbacks and restaurant hosts. DWD and regional partner Employ Milwaukee will assist affected employees with services aimed at getting them back to work. 

See the release: 


# Wisconsin generator manufacturers see growth in California market with preemptive power shutoffs

# Wisconsin Assembly approves insurance for police survivors

# Milwaukee is world’s top Airbnb travel destination for 2020

# Milwaukee police seize nearly $1M after uncovering THC vaping operation



– Heart of the Farm Conference coming to River Falls

– Slight drop in World Dairy Expo attendance this year


– Dan Defnet named president of Johnson Bank


– Postal Service moving ahead with more than $36M Oak Creek mail processing center


– Foundation gives UW vet school $15m for building project

– UW agriculture leaders tout new funding for Dairy Innovation Hub


– Sikich acquires Brookfield-based accounting firm


– Captain D’s second Milwaukee-area location opening soon


– Evers: More health insurance options on tap this fall


– Downtown Milwaukee post office eviction case tossed out by judge


– Scott Heberlein growing teams, community at Mortenson


– Assembly approves resolution supporting F-35s in Madison

– Bill giving tax break for apprenticeships moves ahead


– Developer for The Couture is delinquent on property taxes for project site


– Wisconsin kids could run lemonade stands under bill passed


– New research highlights Milwaukee’s tech workforce strengths


– Enbridge offers at least $24M to settle tribe pipeline suit


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

UW System Board of Regents: Approves resolution recognizing UW‑Superior freshwater research

LDF Construction: Awarded First Federal 8(a) Contract by USDA Forestry Service

Dept. of Workforce Development: Wisconsin Business Closing & Mass Layoff (WARN) Notice: TGI Fridays