Post-Election Analysis with Loftus and Thompson at Noon Today

WisconsinEye will stream post-election analysis with former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson and former Democratic Assembly Speaker Tom Loftus at noon today, November 5. The pair will discuss election results with Steve Walters, senior producer at WisconsinEye, and JR Ross, editor at WisPolitics.

Loftus and Thompson, Wisconsin’s longest serving governor, both enjoyed service in the federal government after leaving state politics — Thompson as Secretary of Health and Human Services for President George W. Bush and Loftus as Ambassador to Norway for President Bill Clinton.

The program will also be available live on the WisconsinEye website, the WisconsinEye YouTube channel, Charter Cable channel 995, and Time Warner Cable channel 363.



Legislative Update

Fall elections will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4. Polls will be open statewide from 7 am to 8 pm. Polling places in Madison are available here. Statewide polling information is here.

Photo identification is not necessary to vote as a result of last month’s United States Supreme Court ruling. Voters with proof of residence may register at the polls on Election Day. More information is available on the Government Accountability Board website.

In addition to the statewide constitutional offices, all members of the Assembly and 17 members of the Senate are on the ballot. Republicans are expected to maintain control of the Assembly, but Democrats hope to win control of the Senate by flipping three seats:

  • District 9 (Fond du Lac/Manitowoc/Sheboygan): Democrat Martha Laning and Republican Devin LeMahieu face off in this traditionally conservative area. This seat became open when Senator Joe Leibham ran for Congress.
  • District 17 (Southwestern Wisconsin): Democrat Pat Bomhack and Republican Howard Marklein are vying for this seat vacated by retiring Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center).
  • District 19 (Fox Valley): Democrat Penny Bernard Schaber will face Republican Roger Roth in this race which became open after Senator Michael Ellis (R-Neenah) announced he would not run for reelection.

Assembly Republicans outlined their agenda for 2015 last month. With regard to the university, they say they would like to “(r)eform UW System schools to be responsive to Wisconsin job markets and economic needs . . . Resources should be focused on major study areas that are identified as needs for today’s economy and for the future of Wisconsin.

Governor Scott Walker and Mary Burke on Higher Education
Both candidates have spoken about higher education on the campaign trail and offer differing points of view:

  • Walker supports a two-year tuition freeze as a way to ensure affordability for students and their families. He also prefers keeping tuition low rather than increasing governmental aid programs.
  • Burke supports a tuition freeze when coupled with increased support for UW System. She also advocates for a larger income tax deduction for tuition and student loan refinancing programs.

Alumni for Wisconsin Event
Faculty are encouraged to attend the fall meeting of Alumni for Wisconsin, the advocacy group of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. The group,will meet at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street on Saturday, November 15. The meeting will begin three hours before the kick-off of the Wisconsin-Nebraska football game, which has not yet been announced.

The chancellor will participate in the meeting, which comes on the heels of the gubernatorial election. The 2015-17 state budget will be the focus of the discussion. The meeting will be followed by a tailgate luncheon (reservation and fee required). More information is available here.

Early Voting Ends Today

Early voting in Wisconsin ends today. Madison residents may vote at the City Clerk’s office until 7 pm tonight. More information about voting in Madison is here. Statewide information is here.

The polls will be open statewide Tuesday from 7 am to 8 pm.

Center for American Progress: Wisconsin Lags Neighbors in Higher Education Funding

The Center for American Progress released a report (below) Monday calling for a renewed social compact between states and their institutions of higher education. The report illustrates how the Great Recession resulted in a disinvestment in public higher education, directly resulting in large tuition increases.

Comparing its recommendations to those of the Truman Commission on Higher Education in 1947, the center argues the federal government should offer incentives to states that enroll students receiving Pell Grants or benefits from the G.I. Bill. In particular, states should reach out to low- and middle-income students to ensure access to higher education, while addressing the burden of student debt.

How Wisconsin Fared
The report
found from 2008 to 2012 public higher education funding per student in the state fell 18 percent, while overall higher education spending dropped 8 percent. In 2012, state funding per student in Wisconsin was $4,439, the lowest of all Midwestern states with the exception of Michigan.


A Great Recession, a Great Retreat: A Call for a Public College Quality Compact by Center for American Progress

Alumni Advocacy Fall Forum November 15

waa_logo_4cAlumni for Wisconsin, the advocacy group of the Wisconsin Alumni Association, will meet at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street on Saturday, November 15. The meeting will begin three hours before the kick-off of the Wisconsin-Nebraska football game, which has not yet been announced.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank will offer her perspective on UW-Madison and the upcoming state budget process. The extension of a tuition freeze coupled with declining state support has forced UW-Madison to examine its budget priorities. This post-election meeting will be among the first conversations about how the university may fare in 2015 and beyond.

Faculty are encouraged to attend this free event. The meeting will be followed by a tailgate luncheon (reservation and fee required). More information here.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Maintaining Quality Education Requires Money

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is offering its opinion on key issues in the gubernatorial race, and K-12 and higher education is the focus of today’s editorial.

The editorial board writes that a tuition freeze is politically popular, but ultimately can harm the university:

. . . the fact is that such a continued freeze could hurt the system’s ability to attract and retain faculty. UW schools are a bargain, with average costs, and quality doesn’t come cheap.

The Journal Sentinel maintains the state should eliminate the tuition freeze while improving funding for UW System.