SOMERS — Shoreline erosion and the future of Medicare were issues before U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil Friday at a listening session in Somers.
Steil, R-Janesville, held five listening sessions during the day, each 50 minutes, in multiple counties throughout his congressional district.
Kenosha County on Friday declared a state of emergency due to recent storm-driven shoreline damage and ongoing erosion. Steil said he is committed to doing his part to help local areas receive federal resources, particularly as it pertains to assistance from the Army Corp of Engineers.
“We need to make sure we get a fairer shake on this,” Steil said. “One of our greatest resources is the Great Lakes. It’s something we need to continue to protect.”
Steil said he will continue to fight for programs such as Medicare. Despite some pundits’ concerns, he said he is optimistic about the program’s continuation in decades to come.
“I am confident we can protect it for future generations,” Steil said. “We need to make sure these programs are protected. For generations beyond (the current one), there’s going to have to be a conversation.”
During the session, he criticized the nation’s growing debt.
“I think Washington could learn what’s going on in Wisconsin,” Steil said, comparing the budgeting process at the federal and state levels. If federal lawmakers mimicked the budgeting practices in Madison, Steil said, “It would be a much more thoughtful, deliberate process.”
At the beginning of his listening session, Steil spotlighted some initiatives he has supported since taking office. He described them as “below the radar” because “they’re just not the big ticket items.”
Steil said he remains critical of what he describes as federal roadblocks hindering the accreditation process in higher education.
He complimented Gateway Technical College for its prowess in being a leader in addressing skills gaps at a time when job needs are going unfilled.
“They’re absolutely in front of the pack,” Steil said. “But there’s still a long way to go.”
Steil also discussed his work on initiatives at the federal level on veterans programs, laws aimed at combating human trafficking and policies addressing rising prescription drug costs.