Rep. Jesse Kremer is proud to announce his endorsement by three solid pro-life organizations. The representative issued the following statement:
“I am humbled to once again be supported by three strong family-oriented organizations: Pro-Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Right to Life and Wisconsin Family Action. I will be honored to be the voice of my constituents to encourage traditional family values and champion legislation to save the pre-born residents of this state.”
In his first year of elected office, Kremer authored the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (often referred to as the “20 week bill”), was instrumental in voting the “Fetal Body Parts and Research” bill out of committee, voted for bills to cut the taxpayer funding and abuse of taxpayer dollars by abortion providers and authored the “Student Privacy Act” (also inaccurately portrayed by the media as the “transgender bathroom bill”).
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” – Winston Churchill.
Reflecting on Memorial Day and looking forward to Independence Day, we should reflect on the sacrifices made for our freedom. As an airline captain during 9/11 and military veteran, I feel compelled to share a story I read in the Washington Post that brought tears to my eyes.
In the fall of 2001, Heather Penney, a rookie, was the first female F-16 pilot the 121st Fighter Squadron in D.C. ever had. The squadron had just finished two weeks of air combat training and
were sitting in the briefing room when someone announced that a plane had hit the World Trade
Center. A few minutes later, the Pentagon was hit and a fourth plane was reported to be on the
way. Nothing was prepped and the jets were still equipped with dummy ammo. Weapons or not,
somebody had to fly – and now. It was decided that Penney would fly with Col. Sasseville. As
they scrambled to suit up, Sasseville volunteered for the cockpit. Without hesitating, Penney
agreed to take the tail. Doing away with the usual half hour of preflight checks and with the crew
chief still scrambling to pull the safety pins, she powered up the engines. They took off to the
northwest, flew over the Pentagon and scanned the sky. During the flight, they contemplated the
mission. Thoughts of how to ram the jet without allowing it to hit a target were racing through
their minds. Penney later reflected that the thought of failure was worse than the thought of a
kamikaze mission. However, thanks to brave passengers willing to give all for their country, they
didn’t have to take out the airliner. Penney and Col. Sasseville were able to return to their
families after learning United Airlines flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania.
God bless all who have served and are serving to ensure that we continue to live in the greatest
country on earth.
Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) issued the following statements following Rep. Mandela Barnes’ (D-Milwaukee) statement associating Christianity with hate and violence:
“I am fed up with the disgusting and divisive nature of some of the leaders in our state and nation. The politicization begins with our President, but has reared its ugly head here in our own state.
“I am calling out someone who should be a leader, but has instead become a laughing stock. Rep. Mandela Barnes, who is hoping to become a Senator by ousting one of his own for not being radical enough, is blaming Christians for the evil act of war on U.S. soil by an ISIS allegiant this past weekend. This guy, a sitting Wisconsin representative, is an absolute loon of a ‘leader’ doing everything he can to divide and conquer, politicizing a horrific event – the modus operandi of our own President. The Orlando rampage was derived from pure evil and hate – something that Christians and Muslims both denounce.
“Our country has been torn apart by President Obama’s divisive racism, hatred of Christianity and lambasting of the military and law enforcement. This terrible belief system has obviously crept into our own statehouse. The division must come to an end, and it should start with leaders like Rep. Barnes.
“The representative resides in a community that is crumbling around him, but doesn’t even have the courage and fortitude to address the real problems in his own backyard – an explosion of crime, the breakdown of the family and inner city youth who are thirsting for a strong, honest, father-figure leader with integrity. Rep. Barnes could be that strong, black leader – but that would take hard work and perhaps some criticism by his own colleagues.
Progressive activists have finally blatantly, and unintentionally, unveiled their real war on women. In an attempt to appease a few individuals, these extremists have overplayed their hand and we, as citizens, must stand up to their intolerance and bigotry.
Earlier this year, I authored a bill that addressed the federal Department of Education’s (DOE) revisionist tactics regarding Title IX and school funding. My bill would ensure that, in our public schools, any location where there may be partial or full nudity – for instance, bathrooms and locker rooms – would be designated exclusively for biological girls or biological boys, and that anyone identifying as a different sex would be given other accommodations. Unfortunately, the bill died in committee.
The DOE has also attempted to force the hands of local school districts as nearby as Palatine, Illinois, to implement a policy that would allow a biological boy to change in the girls’ locker room. Their argument? We can’t discriminate based on sex. The only problem is, the feds do not have a definition of sex. Is sex what you think you are, or what your birth certificate confirms that you are? Where is the missing-in-action feminist movement and the ACLU? In 2006, Washington State passed the “Washington State Gender Identity Law, a law that is proving to be highly discriminatory to women as there have already been instances of blatant sexual harassment and indecent exposure in changing rooms. In Washington, a guy who thinks he’s a woman today can legally walk into a swimming pool changing room, expose himself to a female high school swim team and the law can do absolutely nothing. After all, genitalia aside, he stated that he is a woman. Is this a safety concern for women and young girls? Absolutely! Will I take my daughters to Target to change in a stall that has cracks between the door, and an open top and bottom? No way! Will I drop my girls off at an open high school swim to change in their respective changing room? Not on your life! Not if there is any chance that they will be exposed to the whims of the sexless progressivism of the business, professional sports and entertainment community who have absolutely no regard for women’s physical and emotional privacy and safety.
With a Republican legislature and governor, there is absolutely no reason that we should not act to protect the safety of children and the rights of women in this state. I, for one, will continue fighting to put a stop to this madness and legally enshrine social boundaries to protect our women and children.
April 19, 2016, Kewaskum, Wisconsin
Wisconsin has a jobs crisis. A lack of workers to fill skilled trades, lofty expectations from recent college graduates and public benefits are stifling a will to work here in our great state.
According to a 2012 report produced by the ManpowerGroup, “Wisconsin will have fewer than half the metal manufacturing professionals that it needs by 2021…” Because Wisconsin is still very much a manufacturing center, we must continue to encourage our youth to consider opportunities for skilled -trade apprenticeships to help fill these jobs. It has also become apparent that many recent college graduates feel their degree entitles them to cushy, white collar jobs with $50,000+ salaries. This is not the real world! In fact, many graduates will often have to begin at the ground floor until they learn the ropes and garner experience. Public benefits are also contributing to our jobs crisis. I recently requested a study from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau which revealed that a family of four, earning $30,000 per year could receive $36,000 in state and federal benefits! Some local employers have told me of potential prospects who turned down an offer because additional, non-cash earnings would cut into their benefits. As a state, we must continue to have serious discussions and encourage ideas to reform these social engineering experiments.
The latest Department of Workforce Development report states that Wisconsin ranks 5th nationally, at 3.6 percent, in average weekly private sector wage increases over the same quarter last year. Wisconsin is also one of only ten states with a 2015 average annual unemployment rate (4.6 percent) that was lower than when the recession began in 2007. Wisconsin is making great progress, but there is still a lot of work to be done to solve our jobs crisis.
Breaking News: “Wisconsin legislators pass a bill requiring private and parochial schools accepting voucher payments to abide by open records and open meetings laws.” Does this statement shock you? While this has not become law, there is a very real possibility that this could be law a decade from now. Let me explain. Early last year, many private and parochial schools were pushing for a statewide voucher program. After all, this would be the greatest thing since sliced bread, right? Free money! Fortunately, not every parochial and private school board and principal sees it this way. Yes, I did vote for the voucher program via the 2015-17 state budget; it was the right thing to do. Low-income parents – parents who, previously, had zero ability to pay for a parochial or private school education – now have the opportunity to choose a school where their children can thrive. A word of caution though, the political winds will eventually shift in Wisconsin and program rules will change. Need proof? How about this real life anecdote – during one of our last Assembly floor sessions in February, Democrats attempted to bring a bill to the floor for a vote that would have required any school in the choice program to abide by open meetings and open records laws, thereby opening every Christian, choice school and their policies to public scrutiny.
During recent CESA 6 meetings with area public school superintendents and school board members there was dissent over the requirement that public school districts transport voucher kids and provide special education resources. Truth be told, I can envision a day when legislation will rear its ugly head requiring voucher schools that receive state transportation aid get their own kids to school and fund their own special education programs (even though special education dollars are allocated from the federal government to run the program). And what about the trending requirement that public schools provide changing rooms for kids who identify as the opposite sex? What about the sex education curriculum? When will creationism be challenged by the requirement to also teach evolution? How about Bible study, discussions of sin and societal ills in a Christian school? Prayer in school? And what kids will be required to attend religion class? I can guarantee that no voucher school will be safe from these mandates, intense scrutiny and oversight. Activist courts have already bastardized the First Amendment; thus, I don’t believe the Supreme Court would stand in the way of a law prohibiting prayer in publicly funded parochial schools if voucher students are present. Consider the following excerpt from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) convention resolution in 1967: “…1) avoid any aid that would hinder our Christian schools from carrying out their objectives, 2) avoid any aid that would lead to dependency upon the government and would undermine our Christian stewardship, 3) avoid any aid that would bring with it improper government control…”
While the choice program is an excellent outreach tool and a truly useful welfare program, it will be evolving for years to come and must be utilized with extreme caution. I urge any school considering participation in the voucher program to set defined limits and remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch – there must be an exit strategy.
By Rep. Jesse Kremer
February 20, 2016, Kewaskum, Wisconsin
Many Wisconsin communities, especially in rural or light urban areas, rely on pre-hospital, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) care from dedicated volunteers. In fact, according to the Wisconsin EMS Association, 75 percent of Wisconsin EMS providers are staffed by volunteers. It has been, and will continue to be, a challenge to recruit and retain volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). This is a rapidly evolving and much more demanding field than it was even a decade ago – more time is involved in training, lower staffing levels and there are a broader scope of pre-hospital medications and treatments.
Many departments, including the Kewaskum and Edgerton Fire Departments, contract with nearby services for a higher level of care, e.g. paramedic services, should the need arise. In an effort to remain proactive and provide a greater value to residents, the Kewaskum Fire Chief and EMS officers pushed for an Advanced EMT (AEMT) program at the Department just over a year ago. There were approximately a dozen EMT Basics (EMT) who were able to attend the 180 hour course. Because Kewaskum is now an AEMT service, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) requires every ambulance response to include at least one AEMT on board. The problem? Due to minimal staffing levels, this good faith benefit to the community has put departments like Kewaskum and Edgerton in a real bind. They don’t always have enough AEMTs to go around and are therefore at risk of either dispatching no ambulance at all, or dispatching one that is only staffed with EMT Basics – something that the state does not currently allow. It should be noted though, that if a higher level of service is required, nearby contract communities and Medivac are still available.
State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Representative John Jagler and I have requested a Legislative Council study of this and other pending, pre-hospital care concerns. My proposal, one that Illinois has apparently already addressed, would be to encourage our ambulance services to provide the highest level of care possible, based on the staff that they have available, assuming that a contracted, higher level of service is nearby. I, for one, do not want to hamstring our ambulance providers through state level mandates that are currently unattainable if it is detrimental to the public safety of our residents.
We held a press conference at Badger Middle School in West Bend this morning so that Superintendent Ted Neitzke of the West Bend School District and Dr. Mary Pfeiffer of the Neenah Joint School District could present an idea to allow schools more flexibility regarding mandatory time limits in-classroom during the school year.
Neitzke, Pfeiffer and I were joined by other area superintendents who are interested in allowing our classrooms to get out of the “cookie-cutter” model of 8:30-3:30 classroom educating.
State Representative Mike Rohrkaste from the Fox Valley and Senator Duey Stroebel have been instrumental in the working draft of this potential piece of legislation, likely to be introduced after the next election cycle.
“One of my primary goals as a lawmaker is to ensure every child in Wisconsin has the opportunity to succeed,” Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) said.
Kremer says public schools are at a disadvantage compared to “Choice” schools.
“The days of traditional cookie cutter style education are over,” Kremer said.
Kremer says even as both public schools and Choice schools receive taxpayer money, Choice schools are free to account for classroom time differently.
“That might be what gives us the competitive edge,” Kremer said.
Flanked by Ted Neitzke, superintendent of the West Bend School District, Kremer on Monday, February 1st said districts should have more discretion when it comes to what counts as “class time.”
“We’re very highly regulated and there are so many rules that are good rules, but there are so many that are antiquated,” Neitzke said.
Ted Neitzke, superintendent of the West Bend School District
Students must spend 180 school days in the classroom, totaling nearly 1,200 hours. But in order for the hours to count, they must be tallied “bell to bell.”
Not so for Choice schools.
“Frankly, we are jealous. We want to have the flexibility of our students to do more innovative things and not have so many constraints that drive when that is,” Neitzke said.
Neitzke insists there are more accurate ways to account for classroom time, which equates to good test scores. He says if districts can prove certain mandates are arbitrary by making the grade without them, then why not.
“How we do that with the rules that are in place is very difficult,” Neitzke said.
“Allow the higher performing schools to take advantage of it and for the lower performing schools, it’s more of a carrot to get them to perform better and then have the option take advantage of these tools,” Kremer said.
Kremer plans to introduce the bill during the next legislative session, because the current one is winding down.
There have been other efforts to change school start times and school day requirements in the past without much success.
A bill to protect the privacy of consumer data was circulated for support Wednesday by Representatives Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum), Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake) and Senator Duey Stroebel (R- Saukville). The bill would protect data recorded by motor vehicle event data recorders, onboard diagnostics and infotainment centers from unauthorized access and transmission.
Often referred to as “black boxes,” event data recorders (EDRs) are information gathering systems that record a required set of data in relation to an event, such as a crash. EDRs have been a component in vehicles since the 1970’s and continue to be used in today’s new vehicles. In 2006, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) created an EDR rule standardizing the data that EDRs in vehicle model years 2013 and newer must collect. Speed, braking, acceleration, seat belt status and airbag data are among the 15 required data points.
Event data recorders are not the only systems recording information about your vehicle and driving habits. Onboard diagnostics and vehicle “infotainment” systems are also recording and storing data. This bill would limit access to and transmission of data to an owner’s written consent. Cases in which written consent would not be necessary include court orders, subscription services for which the owner has contracted, usage-based insurance policies, law enforcement investigations and diagnostic assessments for vehicle repair purposes. Additionally, insurance companies are prohibited from making policy issuance or renewal contingent on the release of EDR data.
In response to the bill’s release, Rep. Kremer issued the following statement:
“Privacy concerns often follow in the wake of rapid technological advances, and are frequently brought to the forefront of the public debate with common-place technologies such as smart phones, Google Earth cameras and drones. Legislators must step up to address the constantly changing world in which we live. If this bill becomes law, it will clarify who owns the data collected by a motor vehicle and who has the right to view, store and transmit that information. As EDRs develop in complexity and interactivity, this legislation would ensure Wisconsin’s motorists are sufficiently protected from unauthorized data access, tracking and transmission.”
By Molly Beck, Wisconsin State Journal
January 25, 2016, Madison, Wisconsin
Kewaskum’s Jesse Kremer has sparsely decorated his Capitol office with two American flags, photos of his 2003 tour in Iraq and books like Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ” and President George W. Bush’s autobiography.
Save for a few fish swimming around a small tank near his desk, the Republican freshman Assembly member’s office is as straightforward as his style in the Legislature: an unapologetic social conservative with a deep Christian faith.
Kremer has already earned a reputation for being, in his words, “too honest” as he pursues legislation that can be “frankly, red meat for conservatives.”
“He’s really been behind some of the most extreme and controversial bills of the session,” said fellow freshman Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, who sits on the Assembly’s committee on public benefit reform with Kremer. “Just in terms of sheer number of bills, and doing it as a freshman, he has jumped right in and tackled a range of controversial issues.”
Longtime lobbyist and Republican strategist Brandon Scholz, who works for The Capitol Group, said Kremer represents a state Legislature that is trending younger in recent years and leadership’s relatively new approach of allowing freshmen lawmakers a more prominent role.
“It is a much younger and less institutional Legislature than it has been,” said Scholz. “I also think it is reflective of an attitude — not held by everybody — but certainly held by some of those like Jesse Kremer, who don’t care if they buck the system and don’t care if they get re-elected because they are there on principle.”
Since taking office, Kremer has authored legislation that banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, would place gender restrictions on school bathrooms and locker rooms, allow concealed carry permit-holders to carry weapons on public school grounds and college campuses, put photo IDs on food stamp recipients’ debit cards and prohibit city officials from blocking police officers from asking people about their immigration status.
Spreitzer calls that an “extreme agenda” that is “certainly headline-grabbing, but unfortunately, doing it by attacking marginalized groups.”
But Kremer describes his work as representing his constituents — who live in a mostly conservative district north of Milwaukee.
“There are no surprises with me,” he said. “There’s nothing that people could not see coming, because I said exactly who I am and I’ve done exactly what I said.”
Kremer was born to two Lutheran school teachers and has enrolled his three daughters — Keturah, 12, Miriam, 10, and Michaiah, 6 — in a Lutheran school in West Bend.
“I don’t bring it up real often that they go there because I support parochials, privates, choice, public — I don’t care as long as kids get a good education,” he said. “I tell people who send their kids to public schools that I send my kids there because I know they are getting the beliefs that I want them to have.”
Keturah was born two months after Kremer returned from his U.S. Army deployment during the 2003 invasion of Iraq — and about two years after Kremer married his wife, Janet, whom he met at church.
“I just called her out of the blue one day and asked if she wanted to go on a date, and go flying to Madison,” said Kremer, who also has worked as a commercial pilot. “I think she liked it.”
Kremer owns a Web design business, manufactures high school diplomas, owns a couple of rental properties and is a volunteer firefighter and EMT for the Kewaskum Fire Department.
He points to his variety of work experience and his religious convictions as part of the formula for the kind of legislation he pushes.
“I’ve got a lot of real-world, grounded situations to draw from. I’ve been on unemployment, I’ve been in unions, I’ve been in private unions, I’ve been in government unions,” he said. “If I ever lose that sense of reality then it’s time for me to go home. … I think there are a lot of people in this building who try to protect a career, on both sides of the aisle.”
Kremer said he doesn’t plan to be a lawmaker forever, accounting for why he’s considered “outspoken” about bills that he considers the right thing to do — regardless of how it plays politically. Kremer pointed to a bill he recently introduced that would allow churches to have real Christmas trees — now advised against by some fire departments, including his own.
“That might hurt me,” he said. “I feel uncomfortable going to calls now because I did that bill. I feel uncomfortable approaching the chief and talking to the chief. And these are friends of mine.”
Kremer acknowledged that some of his bills may not be successful.
Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, who sits next to Kremer on the Assembly floor, said his colleague could be compared in some ways to U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, a former Washington County Assembly Republican also known for being outspoken and a “strong conservative.”
“His passion is really what you see in Jesse,” said Born. “There’s no secret to what’s important to him and it fits well for him because it’s the same type of stuff his district cares about. He fits his district and the district fits him.”
Still, a number of Kremer’s most-controversial bills have failed to gain traction, even among his own caucus. Most recently, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, quickly dismissed a bill that would allow concealed carry on public school grounds. And Kremer’s bill setting gender restrictions on school bathrooms received a hearing but no vote has been scheduled.
But Vos said in a statement that Kremer “is a strong conservative voice in our caucus. He’s a problem solver and works tirelessly on behalf of his district.”
Kremer acknowledged the hurdles his choice of bills — and his candor with media — create. But Kremer also said he doesn’t have a problem calling out “unprofessionalism” — most recently on Twitter apologizing for fellow Washington County Rep. Bob Gannon, R-Slinger, when Gannon raised his middle finger to a Democratic colleague during a floor debate.
“I think it’s hard as a freshman for you to earn people’s trust and like some of these bills. I’ve had a hard time getting people to come to me and tell me what they’re concerned about because they’re afraid I’m going to go call them out and have people knocking on their doors, and that’s not me,” he said.
“I’ve been accused of being too honest,” Kremer said. Fellow Republicans will say, “ ‘Shut up. You’re too honest.’ That’s just who I am, I’m sorry.”
Proud of abortion bill
Kremer said the legislation he’s most proud of is a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The toughest vote he’s taken yet was voting to finance the building of a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team.
“I am still not sure I did the right thing,” he said. “My philosophy is, yes of course those guys can pay for the arena … but if they leave, we lose everything.”
Spreitzer said he agrees with Born that much of the legislation Kremer puts forward are laws he genuinely hopes become law “but I do think some of them are headline-grabbing.”
He pointed to a bill Kremer wrote that would block the state from providing money for a Milwaukee streetcar project, which has been a target of conservatives.
“Obviously that’s a hot topic, certainly there’s a lot of pressure in conservative circles to attack the Milwaukee streetcar, so there’s a bill to do that,” he said.
While Kremer has authored a number of other bills that have not grabbed media attention, some Republicans have said he should be “working on other things,” because of the bills he has put forward that have created controversy.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Kremer said. “At least people know what I’m doing and that I am working.”
Molly Beck covers politics and state government for the Wisconsin State Journal.