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Local Republican leader critical of Shankland & Vruwink budget votes, abandoning Skyward employees


STEVENS POINT, WI (WSAU) -  Being in politics forces leaders to make tough decisions. The State Budget vote in the Assembly yesterday may be a good example.  Lawmakers must vote the budget package up or down based on what issues are most important to them.

Two central Wisconsin representatives are being criticized for having their priorities out of order. Portage County Republican Party Chairman Patrick Testin says his former assembly opponent Katrina Shankland and Milladore Democrat Amy Sue Vruwink’s “no” votes betrayed local constituents. The jobs Testin is referring to are at Skyward in Stevens Point, which under this budget, would be allowed to continue servicing school districts in Wisconsin instead of losing all of their clients to Infinite Campus in a single-vendor statewide arrangement. “Back in May, both Representative Vruwink and Shankland held a press conference at Skyward, where they stated they were going to do whatever they could to fight for their constituents and fight for the people of Skyward, and today, during the budget debate or lack thereof, they basically turned their backs on those very same people and voted ‘no.’”

Testin agrees no budget is perfect, but Legislators have to decide what issues are most important back home. “There’s always going to be something where each individual person is going to feel like something should be different within that piece of legislation, however, in regards to something as local as this, in regards to Skyward where we’re talking over four hundred jobs, I think you kind of have to weigh your options. Are you going to fight for a federal government mandated program, or are you going to fight for jobs right in your own district? Ultimately, I think that’s what’s most important are people that you truly represent at the most local level.”.

The Assembly passed budget package is now in the hands of the State Senate, which starts debate Thursday. Democrats never offered a single amendment in the Assembly, but are planning several amendments and changes in the Senate. Democrats believe they can win over two Republican votes in the upper chamber to put this budget back on the negotiating table.