Wisconsin News Roundup, Hatch Act Violation, Transgender Military Ban

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

President Trump recently tweeted that transgender people will no longer be accepted or allowed in the military. We discuss how much power his words have and how the idea is being received in Washington. We also look into a report that the U.S. Postal Service violated the Hatch Act by letting workers engage in Democratic campaign work while on unpaid leave. Plus, get the latest on the Foxconn manufacturing plant slated for construction in southeastern Wisconsin and check in on other state news stories.

Featured in this Show

  • State News Roundup For July 28, 2017

    On Wednesday, Foxconn Technology Group pledged to invest $10 billion to build a plant in Wisconsin that could employ up to 13,000 workers. A news editor joins us to talk about this and other top news from the past week, including the campaign announcement of Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson, who’s running against U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin in 2018.

  • U.S. Postal Service Employees May Have Run Afoul Of The Hatch Act

    A Wisconsin mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service is the whistleblower in a case alleging postal workers were told by their unions to seek time off in order to campaign for Hillary Clinton last year. T We speak with Law Professor Paul Secunda about the news and whether or not the Hatch Act was violated.

  • Trump Issues Ban Of Transgender Individuals From The Military

    President Trump announced through his Twitter account this week that he would seek a complete ban of transgender individuals from the armed services. We’ll speak with Sheri Swokowski, retired-Army Colonel and the highest ranking transgender veteran in the country, about the news.

  • Openly Transgender Veteran: Trump's Policy Will Have 'Devastating Effect' On Military Readiness

    Retired U.S. Army Col. Sheri Swokowski, of De Forest, is the highest-ranking openly transgender veteran in the U.S. She served in the military for 34 years, eventually working her way up to be a colonel in the Army.

    After President Donald Trump’s tweets this week proclaiming openly transgender individuals would no longer be able to serve in the military, Swokowski, who is a transgender advocate, said she was disappointed.

    “I was extremely disappointed that the commander in chief would even question whether or not transgender service members were capable of or worthy of defending our nation, particularly since we’ve been doing that since the nation was founded in the 1700s.”

    There are as many as 15,000 transgender individuals serving in the military, Swokowski said.

    Trump tweeted Wednesday in a series of three tweets: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

    Swokowski took issue with Trump’s claim that transgender members of the military are a disruption or burden to military and hinder any duties.

    “The Rand Corporation, commissioned by the Pentagon, did a year-long study, and came up with an estimate between $2.4 million and $8 million to meet the trans-related health care of service members. Compare that to the fact that the DOD (Department of Defense) supplies $45 million a year and up just to dispense Viagra to individuals,” Swokowski said.

    “The budget to take care of transgender soldiers’ health care needs comes to 0.13 percent of the medical budget, not the (overall) defense budget. It’s really a miniscule amount compared to other things,” she said.

    Military officials responded to Trump’s announcement by saying they had received no guidance or directives on implementing the policy outlined in the tweets and that there would be no changes until further information is provided.

    Military officials, including Gen. Mark Milley, the Army chief of staff, and U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, have said they will wait for clarification from the White House and will not make any changes until that happens.

    “We had the desegregation of the military 15 years before the Civil Rights Act was implemented. The ability to have gays and lesbians serve openly. And of course, in 2016 in January, all jobs in the military opened to women. Each time critics have warned about decreased readiness and cohesion. And each time they’ve been wrong.” Swokowski said. “The U.S. has the best fighting force on the planet because of these changes, not despite them.”

    If implemented, the policy would have a “devastating effect on military readiness and armed forces’ capabilities,” she said.

Episode Credits

  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Rob Mentzer Guest
  • Paul Secunda Guest
  • Sheri Swokowski Guest

Related Stories