One of the most important duties I have serving as your Governor is to provide you directly with updates related to the operation of our state government. I also frequently provide updates on Facebook (Governor Scott Walker) and Twitter (@GovWalker). Please feel free to share this update with your family, friends, and others who may be interested in state government operations.
2013 BIO International Convention
On Tuesday, I joined Wisconsin bioscience companies and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) at the 2013 BIO International Convention in Chicago, the largest bioscience event in the world. The event gave us an opportunity to promote our bioscience community and demonstrate that Wisconsin is a place for growth and opportunity.
The Wisconsin pavilion was coordinated by BioForward, an association that represents many of Wisconsin's bioscience companies, universities, non-profits, service providers, and government agencies. Over 50 Wisconsin companies and associations represented our bioscience industry at the convention.
WEDC provided branding and logistical support for the pavilion, which used the "InWisconsin" brand created by WEDC in 2012 to highlight the economic advantages of the state. You can read more about the conference, here.
University of Wisconsin System Surplus
It is very concerning to learn the University of Wisconsin (UW) System has been running a surplus balance of this size, especially at a time when students, families, and lawmakers have continually heard from the UW System about the need for more money to offset "devastating cuts." At a minimum, on behalf of students and their families, I am asking legislative leaders to freeze tuition increases for two years for the entire UW System during their deliberations on the budget.
Together with the Legislature, we will ensure a thorough review of UW System finances and increased transparency and accountability for students, their families, and taxpayers moving forward.
ICYMI: Appleton Schools to Change Insurance Provider
On Monday, the Appleton Board of Education voted unanimously to change insurance providers which will save $750,000 within the first six months according to Mark Huenink, the district's director of personnel services.
The total savings for the district will depend on the structure of the plan, but looking only at the premiums, the savings could reach $6.2 million. The new contract, which has been awarded to UnitedHealthcare®, will lower premiums and include a health reimbursement account. The majority of the savings will fund the new reimbursement system.
Act 10 gives school districts the opportunity to "shop around" for lower health insurance rates and over two dozen districts have taken the chance to change their insurance providers. You can read more about the savings that have resulted from Act 10, here.
Tribute to POW Captain Guy Gruters
Thursday, I was honored to meet and hear the story of Captain Guy Gruters. Captain Gruters spoke about his experience in Vietnam at the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee. He was held captive for more than five years after being shot down over Vietnam. While he was held captive, he met Captain Lance Sijan. Gruters shared stories of Sijan's heroism with other POWs and because of his testimony, Captain Sijan was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
The tales of heroism and selflessness that were told remind us of the debt we owe to all of our service members and veterans. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and we must remember and honor those who were wounded, those who are unaccounted for, and those who gave their lives for our nation.
It has been a pleasure communicating with you. It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.
Governor Scott Walker