Personnel File

Jeff Plale

Jeff Plale is the Wisconsin Railroad Commissioner. He was formerly a Wisconsin State Senator before losing in 2010 to challenger Chris Larson. Before being appointed railroad commissioner by Governor Scott Walker, Plale was first hired to work as Administrator of the Division of State Facilities in the Department of Administration by Walker.

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Content referencing Jeff Plale

Chris Larson Files To Run for U.S. Senate

Chris Larson Files To Run for U.S. Senate

State senator hopes to make move to Washington.

Data Wonk: Must Democrats Have a Unified Message?
Data Wonk

Must Democrats Have a Unified Message?

So claims a NYT story. But the party generally fares better by allowing differing views.

The State of Politics: A State MPS Reform Proposal. Again
The State of Politics

A State MPS Reform Proposal. Again

Scott Walker joins a list of governors and others who’ve proposed reforms.

Op Ed: Opioid Crisis Demands Bipartisan Solutions
Op Ed

Opioid Crisis Demands Bipartisan Solutions

In 2015 more people in state died from drug overdoses than car crashes.

Eyes on Milwaukee: 9 Election Takeaways
Eyes on Milwaukee

9 Election Takeaways

Tom Barrett might be in trouble, Chris Abele definitely is. So is Puente.

Governor Scott Walker Appoints Yash Wadhwa as Commissioner of Railroads
Press Release

Governor Scott Walker Appoints Yash Wadhwa as Commissioner of Railroads

Wadhwa has over 44 years of consulting experience in numerous engineering fields including civil, environmental, and transportation engineering.

Spotlight shines on importance of rail safety with Wisconsin Rail Safety Week
Press Release

Spotlight shines on importance of rail safety with Wisconsin Rail Safety Week

Events around the state aim to increase awareness of safe practices at railroad crossings and around tracks

Data Wonk: Do Democrats Have a Future?
Data Wonk

Do Democrats Have a Future?

They need to get 55 percent of the vote to get back the legislature. Will any strategy work?

The State of Politics: Low-Turnout Election Had Big Results
The State of Politics

Low-Turnout Election Had Big Results

For first time, voters could elect two female candidates to top state-wide offices.

House Confidential: Chris Larson’s Simple Colonial Home
House Confidential

Chris Larson’s Simple Colonial Home

The state senator has less than 1,000 square feet of space to call home. But he does have good bus service.

How Legislators Grab Big Pensions

How Legislators Grab Big Pensions

A move into higher-paying state jobs greatly increases their pensions.

Murphy’s Law: The Rise of Chris Larson
Murphy’s Law

The Rise of Chris Larson

Is he a young liberal heavyweight? Or a punching bag for Republicans?

South Shore Listening Session Recap

South Shore Listening Session Recap

Following the veto of Milwaukee County transit sales tax by Governor Doyle, Representative Christine Sinicki, Senate Jeff Plale, and Representative Jon Richards held a listening session at the South Shore Park Pavilion.

Renewable Energy in the Midwest

Renewable Energy in the Midwest

The production of renewable energy continues to move forward in the Midwest as new projects are proposed and government adjusts to make construction of new developments easier. The most noteworthy is the planned 39 acre urban solar power plant in the City of Chicago's West Pullman neighborhood.

Plenty of Horne: Beer Protest Spill a Spash!
Plenty of Horne

Beer Protest Spill a Spash!

The Spirit of ’07 Milwaukee Beer Party Protest and Demonstration was a good old-fashioned publicity stunt that brought cameras and crowds to the Milwaukee Ale House on Tuesday, July 10th, 2007.

Plenty of Horne: Whose Scandal is it, Anyway?
Plenty of Horne

Whose Scandal is it, Anyway?

Republicans try, fail to shift blame to Dems on Kenilworth project

The Roundup: Scooter Schmidt Dead
The Roundup

Scooter Schmidt Dead

Water Street fixture Scott “Scooter” Schmidt, 42, was shot in his home at 202 E. North Avenue at 11:45 p.m. Wednesday evening.

The Roundup: The Kerry Rally
The Roundup

The Kerry Rally

Senator John Kerry paid another visit to Milwaukee on Monday, August 2nd at a public rally in Pere Marquette Park. Gates to the park opened at 4:30 p.m. while the presidential candidate was still racing across Lake Michigan on the Lake Express ferry. Access to Kerry these days requires a thorough screening by security personnel, so by 6 p.m. a line stretched from Plankinton and Kilbourn, the park’s entrance, across the river to the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, at which point it headed north, wrapped itself around the building, headed east on E. State Street and finally tapered off at N. Edison Street. For pictures click here. The line moved slowly as security guards checked the attendees, emptied pockets, etc. Once inside the secure enclosure, the crowd was able to buy bottled water and pizza from Amazon Pizza, a fun new spot on W. Wells St. However, many people never made it to the security screening, and they simply camped out along the riverfront, enjoying the event from the Marcus Center riverwalk. It made for a nice sight for cameras, since Candidate Kerry, speaking from a raised platform on the north end of the park, would gesture from time to time toward those on the distant shore. Alas, milwaukeeworld had almost resigned itself to distant coverage of the event, but as it turns out there was a special entrance to the event, and we designed to make it ours. Joe Klein and I headed to Kilbourn and N. Third Street where an officer was in place to tell us that we could not advance to the press table set up in our sight, but out of our reach. Meanwhile, he waved in such prominent figures as Sen. Herb Kohl, Rep. Sheldon Wasserman, Steve Marcus and others, all of whom had red tickets, while we had none. Providentially, Margaret Henningsen showed up on the scene with an extra red ticket, which we begged for and received. The red ticket made us legit for the officer, and we proceeded through our screening, after watching several of the people mentioned above get screened themselves. (Steve Marcus does not look like a guy who gets frisked a lot.) Inside the gates of the special section, where the red-ticketed people go, we were treated to a fascinating caste system in which our “Kerry Edwards From Sea to Shining Sea Believe in America Tour” Press pass marked us as scum. The real media stars, and there were dozens of them, were members of the “Traveling Press.” The Traveling Press spends its time apart from the regular press, and they dine together in a fancy tent. The food was from Chef Pat’s catering. Pat Houlihan said the campaign kept changing its meal plans, but he settled on roast pork sandwiches, a couple of salads, pretzels, soft drinks and Miller Beer. The Traveling Press drinks very little beer, which in the end turned out to be a blessing for Chef Pat’s weary and thirsty crew. The […]

The Roundup: Plale Recall Drive Begins
The Roundup

Plale Recall Drive Begins

Can a group of south side political activists pull themselves together enough to acquire 13,212 signatures to force a recall election against Sen. Jeff Plale? Rep. Jon Richards said he doubts it. “This thing is going nowhere,” says Rep. Josh Zepnick. “These people are so lazy! They’ve taken out a newspaper ad asking people to come by and sign a recall petition. Who is going to do that?” True enough. To win an election, you’ve got to knock on doors, post signs in windows and do all kinds of grass-rooted activities. There is scant evidence of this in the Plale recall attempt, and absolutely no evidence of it in the northern fringes of Plale’s district, including Brady Street and the East Side. That hasn’t stopped Plale from printing up thousands of football schedules that he is handing out at every turn. The South Milwaukeean made the journey to St. Rita’s Church last week to attend the Brady Street Association monthly meeting where he was asked about the recall. “They’ve got until September 7th to get the signatures to recall me,” Plale told the audience. When told there seemed to be no effort on the East Side to circulate petitions, Plale said, “well, these people wouldn’t know how to find Brady Street.” Plale was also in the Brady Street area for what the neighborhood hopes is an annual Artisinal Food Festival. The gig was held Sunday, July 25th, and Plale was there along with his schedules. The recall effort against him stemmed from his crucial vote to uphold Governor Doyle’s veto of a republican-sponsored measure to limit property tax increases. Plale says the upcoming plans to sponsor a constitutional amendment known as the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, (TABOR) is similarly flawed, and a potential recipe for disaster. He cites Colorado, a state that has enacted similar provisions into its laws and is now in the midst of its worst fiscal crisis ever. Amendment on the Run The legislature republicans spent the last unedifying session promoting the agenda of Gays, Guns and Gambling. The Madison gang came up with loads of goofy legislation, none of which could sustain a veto by the governor. Leave it to this group to be able to reconvene and pass a constitutional amendment, no less, in just one week. This was the decision of Sen. Mary Panzer, the republican leader who had earlier been criticized for not rushing a Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights law through the Solomonic deliberations of the nation’s most august lawmakers. But, as soon as she faced a primary challenge from Rep.Glenn Grothman, an ambitious fellow republican who covets her senate seat, Panzer decided to schedule a vote for this week. Then, the legislature can go home and come back next year to vote again. Then, finally, the matter will be put to public vote in a referendum, if it is still alive. But, if the legislature does not act by August 5th, the whole procedure would have to be repeated in yet one […]

The Roundup: Lautenschlager’s Mess
The Roundup

Lautenschlager’s Mess

Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager’s drunk driving arrest last week removes her from behind the wheel of her state-owned vehicle for a year, and puts Governor Jim Doyle in the driver’s seat. The two had squabbled, privately, over terms of the Governor’s jobs bill, with Lautenschlager threatening to use her authority to see that the law comply with the state’s environmental regulations, which she intimated it did not. This sort of independent action by an attorney general is not new in Wisconsin. Doyle was the chief practitioner of it, but then again, he was a Democrat, and the Governor at the time was a Republican. The press has made note that Doyle suggests Lautenschlager forgo some of her pay as a sort of penance for her indiscretion, a matter that remains unresolved at this time. Doyle also suggested that Lautenschlager consider entering a program to treat problem drinkers. He said that he had a number of friends who had been in a similar situation and that the treatment had helped them. In fact, the public admission of guilt and responsibility (which Lautenschlager made) is usually accompanied these days with a prompt acknowledgement that a problem exists. The subject then usually promptly enters a treatment program and completes it, after which the matter is forgotten. Lautenschlager has not made that admission thus far, which leaves her in the position of either not having a “problem” or being “in denial” of it. It does leave Doyle high and dry, however, and much less likely to face interference in his plans from that peskiest of all politicians – an ambitious Attorney General. Walker at the War Memorial County Executive Scott Walker welcomed about 100 well-clad guests to a fundraiser February 26th at the War Memorial Center. The strictly upper-crust affair was a Republican-type fundraiser, which meant that hard liquor was consumed (in moderation) and beer, for the most part, was ignored. For those fans of the frothy stuff, Walker offered Miller products and Heineken. Food was by Ellen’s Prestige Catering, and included strolling waiters, another classy touch. Menu items included spinach somethings, meat and melted cheese on sandwich rounds, wrapped up little salmon tidbits, an entirely unsuccessful raspberry-brie tart, platters of some kind of 21st century sandwich product along with perfectly delicious fruit. The event was unmarred by public oratory, but was enhanced by an A-list of locals practicing up for the next time Bush is in town. Among the exalted: George Dalton, Dennis Kuester (on crutches), Michael Cudahy, mourning the recent death of Daniel Urban Kiley, creator of the $4 million Cudahy garden outside the adjacent Milwaukee Art Museum, Fred Luber, Tim Hoeksma, Carol Skornicka, John Finerty, Jim Weichmann, Joe Rice, Mary Buestrin, Corey Hoze and developer Mark Irgens. Hoze has secured speaker Dennis Hastert to appear at a $2000 fundraiser on his hopeless behalf in his upcoming congressional campaign. That’s rich. Marvin Pratt popped in and worked the crowd for about 20 minutes before his cop told him it was time to […]

The Roundup: Carpenter to Run For Congress
The Roundup

Carpenter to Run For Congress

Rep. Jerry Kleczka is the son of a machinist. A Carpenter wants to replace him.