THU AM News: New radio ads on apprenticeship programs target Associated Builders and Contractors; Foxconn execs visit Evers, GOP leaders

— An organization called Millions of Great Americans is running radio ads in Wisconsin claiming the national Associated Builders and Contractors “wants to take our jobs away” by eliminating registered apprenticeship programs. 

The ad features two men at a work site discussing a flyer that details the organization’s stance on ABC’s efforts related to apprenticeship programs. It opens with industrial background noise and a younger man telling his older coworker about ABC’s plans to “take good-paying jobs away from American construction workers and military veterans.” 

The older speaker, referred to as “Steve,” adds the ABC plan would lower wages and remove safety protections for workers. The minute-long ad also claims ABC’s plan would “break President Trump’s promise to create more good-paying jobs.” 

The ad urges listeners to call the White House’s phone number and tell the president they oppose ABC’s “crooked plan.” 

John Mielke, president of the Wisconsin chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, pushed back on the ads, calling the group’s claims “fanciful at best.” 

“I know it’s standard procedure to dismiss critical ads as baseless,” he told “But I have no idea where the idea that we’re taking jobs away from anyone comes from.” 

Lori D’Orazio, spokesperson for Millions of Great Americans, claimed ABC is running a “closed-door campaign to kill existing apprenticeship and jobs-training programs.” 

Mielke countered that ABC was brought in by the federal government as part of a working group to explore how to get more people into apprenticeships. He said there was “nothing sinister or behind-closed-doors about it.” 

See more: 

— Foxconn execs, including the company’s new chairman, have visited separately with Gov. Tony Evers and GOP legislative leaders. 

But no one is saying much on the details of what they discussed yesterday. 

The meetings come as critics have continued to question whether Foxconn will follow through on its promise to create up to 13,000 jobs and invest some $10 billion in its Racine County site. 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, tweeted he met with Foxconn Chairman Young Liu, Vice Chairman Dr. Jay Lee and Alan Yeung, the company’s U.S. director of Strategic Initiatives. He added they “reiterated Foxconn’s commitment to #Wisconsin and updated us on future plans.” 

A Vos spokeswoman said they met in Vos’ Capitol office along with Senate Majority Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, but declined comment beyond the tweet. 

Fitzgerald tweeted, “Great to meet Chairman Young Liu today. I appreciate the update on the project and look forward to working with #Foxconn well into the future.” 

The company selected Liu to serve as chairman in June, replacing Terry Gou as he ran unsuccessfully for president of Taiwan. The Foxconn Technology Group said Liu also met with local officials and members of the state’s higher education community. 

“As part of normal business operations, Foxconn regularly engages with stakeholders in government and communities in which we operate,” the company said. 

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Evers said the guv met with the company leadership: “Our administration has been committed to building a good working relationship with Foxconn as a whole so it was important for the governor to meet personally with their new leadership team and start developing that piece of the relationship.” 

— Wisconsin has been chosen for a “policy academy” focused on helping the state’s manufacturers meet their most pressing challenges. 

The state’s proposal was drafted by WEDC and the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity, and was signed by Gov. Tony Evers. According to the release from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the application centered on four major themes: stronger supply chains, improved rural manufacturing, economic growth and identifying opportunities to leverage limited resources. 

The Policy Academy on Strengthening Your State’s Manufacturers is a program from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, organized by the State Science and Technology Institute and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness. 

Selected states will work collaboratively to expand existing strategies and develop new ones. Aside from Wisconsin, other participating states include: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Vermont. 

Each state will put together a team of up to 10 members, who will go through a planning process based on the needs and goals of their home state. Each team will get support from the program including access to manufacturing experts and other resources. 

Wisconsin’s representatives will travel to Washington, D.C., for the first meeting Aug. 19. 

See the release: 

— The Department of Health Services has announced opioid deaths dropped 10 percent in 2018 to 838, the fewest since 2015. 

The announcement follows the U.S. Centers for Disease Control releasing preliminary data for 2018 suggesting the number of Americans who died from drug overdoses fell in 2018 after years of increases. That includes about 47,600 opioid deaths in 2018 compared to 49,000 in 2017. 

Along with announcing the drop in opioid overdose deaths, DHS unveiled a new online tool, Data Direct: Opioids. It includes the most up-to-date information the agency has collected on opioid use, hospitalizations and deaths. 

The data shows: 

*emergency room visits for opioid-related overdoses increased by 64 percent from 2014-18. Still, inpatient stays for overdoses dropped over that period by 15 percent. 

*the 838 deaths were down from 932 in 2017. In 2015, there were 850 opioid-related deaths. 

*an estimated one in six Wisconsinites were prescribed and used an opioid in the past year. 

See the release:

— A trio of Republican lawmakers are pushing a GOP backed-bill that would expand access to contraception by allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control pills. 

Reps. Joel Kitchens of Sturgeon Bay and Mary Felzkowski of Irma and Sen. Kathy Bernier of Chippewa Falls touted the bill’s dual benefits: cutting the high public cost of unplanned pregnancies while addressing the “intergenerational cycle of poverty” perpetuated by lack of access to birth control. 

In a public hearing yesterday before the Assembly Health Committee, Kitchens cited statistics showing nearly two-thirds of unplanned births in the state are publicly funded, costing taxpayers $313.5 million dollars per year in federal and state tax dollars. He also highlighted the myriad of additional costs of unplanned pregnancies, ranging from poor success in school to the negative impact on the child’s health and well-being. 

“Knowing all of these sobering facts, we should not be putting up artificial barriers that deny women more choices when it comes to reproductive healthcare,” the Sturgeon Bay Republican said. 

At the heart of the matter, all three said, was a lack of access to contraceptives. 

When birth control pills were first introduced to the market, they contained much higher doses of hormones, specifically estrogen and progestin, than needed to prevent pregnancy. This increased the severity and likelihood of negative side-effects and necessitated consultation with a doctor. 

But Kitchens said modern birth control pills had far lower hormone levels and noted the medical community broadly claim oral contraceptive pills are no more dangerous than ibuprofen. He added three prominent medical groups — the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Medical Association — agreed that birth control pills should be available over the counter, though the authority to make such a change lies with the federal Food and Drug Administration. 

See more at 

— The DNR is holding informational meetings in early September to discuss plans for managing fish populations in Lake Michigan. 

DNR staff will be on hand to present the latest biological data gathered, including information on stocking options for various types of fish. They will also discuss efforts to support “diverse fishing options and opportunities.” 

The first meeting will be held Sept. 3 at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, while the second is slated for Sept. 4 at UW-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Science in Milwaukee. 

See more: 


# Wisconsin State Fair attendance reached new high in 2019

# Report: Dairy sector contributes $45 billion to state’s economy

# Infamous Mothers builds a ‘digital campus’ for its second chapter

# Wisconsin Republicans pushing broader birth control access



– Wisconsin State Fair sets modern-day attendance record

– Wisconsin State Fair sets another attendance record

– Farms sought for top milk quality dairy herd awards


– Wall moved for Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Warner Grand Theatre restoration project

– Task Force Approves $66M Plan To Revitalize Milwaukee Domes

– County task force signs off on $66M plan to overhaul Milwaukee domes


– 49 Wisconsin companies make 2019 Inc. 5000 list


– UW-Green Bay chancellor leaving for University of Akron


– USFWS will review federal protections for lake sturgeon


– New Foxconn chairman in Wisconsin to meet with Evers, other officials

– Foxconn leaders, Wisconsin officials meet; details unclear 


– Milwaukee health care startup WellnessScript LLC raising $1.5 million


– Advocate Aurora Health subsidiary to invest up to $200,000 in startup


– IT firm’s Midwest recruiting center to bring 145 jobs


– Wisconsin selected for NIST program aimed at strengthening manufacturing

– Catalyst Exhibits named Kenosha County’s Business of the Year


– Trempealeau County frac sand mine shuts down operations


– Gov. Evers calls on Trump to end trade wars


– Prominent Milwaukee real estate leader James Barry Jr. dies at age 85

– West Allis Center sold for $18.1 million to Tennessee firm


– Bonus fall turkey harvest authorizations go on sale Saturday


– Plus-size retailer Avenue closing all 200+ stores


– Cray lands $600M supercomputer contract ahead of HPE takeover

– Milwaukee Public Museum curator lands $4.3 million National Science Foundation grant


– Mitchell Park Domes Task Force approves $66M renovation and expansion proposal


– Sen. Patty Schachtner: Clean water is a deliberate policy choice


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

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: First Wisconsin case of EIA confirmed 

Dairy Business Association: Dairy group calls proposed changes to farm siting rule unworkable, unfair

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: Applauds Gov. Tony Evers for focusing on workforce development