Jim Sensenbrenner

Jim Sensenbrenner

WISCONSIN's 5th DISTRICT

Sensenbrenner Provision Included in Bipartisan, Bicameral NDAA Legislation

2016/12/08

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017 heads to President Obama to be signed into law after passing both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Among other things, the Act will provide a pay raise to active duty service members, funding for military readiness and ongoing operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Europe, and encourage advancement of military technology and innovation.

Also included in the bill is a Sensenbrenner provision to encourage the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) to expand the use of electronic quality management systems to help the agency conduct thorough and timely audits. This good government provision will help ensure defense contracts aren’t needlessly delayed, costs are kept in check, and errors are caught and addressed in a timely fashion to produce better results

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Keeping this nation safe is Congress’ number one priority – this bipartisan, bicameral bill does exactly that while simultaneously helping our military service members get the benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”

The NDAA passed the House of Representatives 375-34 and the U.S. Senate 92-7. 
 

 
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Congressman Sensenbrenner Urges President-elect Trump to Meet with Dalai Lama; Continue U.S. Relationship with Tibet

2016/12/08

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner sent the following letter to President-elect Donald Trump, urging him to meet with the Dalai Lama and continue the United States’ strong relationship with Tibet once in office: 

Dear President-elect Trump: 

As you meet with various world leaders in preparation for assuming your role as President, I would like to take the opportunity to suggest that you meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

In 2008, I had the honor of meeting the Dalai lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader and historic head of State. Since his exile from Tibet 57 years ago, the Dalai Lama has been a strong and persistent advocate for a peaceful resolution to the tension between Tibet and China.

In 1989, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in furthering the peaceful protest of the Chinese occupation of Tibet. In 2007, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush. These awards are just a small bit of recognition for the unwavering commitment to peaceful Tibetan independence that the Dalai Lama has demonstrated throughout his time as Tibet’s spiritual leader.

Tibetans have the right to preserve their culture, heritage, language, and religion. Over the years, the Tibetan people have undergone a constant struggle to free themselves from the Chinese government and to preserve these basic freedoms. However, the People’s Republic of China continues to refuse to acknowledge the autonomy of the Tibetan people, and have cracked down on protests and demonstrations by Tibetans.

Throughout the course of the last half-century, America has had a strong and stable relationship with the people and government of Tibet. I hope you will continue this strong relationship with Tibet, as well as promote peace between Tibet and the People’s Republic of China.

Sincerely,

F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. 
Member of Congress
 
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Weekly Column: Bringing Fairness to Music Licensing

2016/12/08

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Sensenbrenner released his weekly column regarding intellectual property rights and fairness in music licensing:

Intellectual property rights are critical to our nation’s unsurpassed creativity and cultural development. I’ve long been an advocate for intellectual property rights because individuals deserve to be compensated for their work. However, the process in which artists receive payment has become opaque. This is largely due to performing rights organizations (PROs), which operate in a complex manner. The music licensing system in which artists are compensated must be clear and transparent for the good of artists, consumers, and bar and restaurant owners.

Fairness in music licensing was brought to my attention in the early 1990s, when bar and restaurant owners from the Fifth District contacted me about being harassed in their places of business by representatives from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) — one of the three PROs in the U.S. While seeking payments from the small-business owners, ASCAP representatives were unnecessarily aggressive and combative.

Bar and restaurant owners frequently complained that these organizations exploited bureaucratic complexities to demand increasingly high payments. Worse, small businesses were often unclear about what exactly they were paying for. I became involved to enact meaningful reforms, and as I dove deeper into the complexities of the issue, the extent of the problems became clear. The Copyright Act of 1976 granted copyright owners the exclusive right to perform, or to authorize others to perform their works publicly. When establishments, such as restaurants or bars, turn on a radio or television for the benefit of customers, or feature live music, that constitutes a public performance of copyrighted works under current law. Unless an exemption applies, the copyright owner of a work publicly performed has the right to receive compensation.

To comply with the law, business owners pay licensing fees to PROs. However, each PRO represents different intellectual property, essentially forcing businesses to pay fees to every PRO to ensure compliance.

In response to this problem, I introduced the Fairness in Music Licensing Act. Despite strong opposition from PROs, the legislation was signed into law after having been attached as an amendment to the Copyright Term Extension Act. 

Studies have concluded that the act exempts roughly 70 percent of eating and drinking establishments, making it easier for small-business owners to operate and serve consumers. The Copyright Act of 1976 has helped; yet problems still exist, including the tactics used by PROs and the method in which they determine which spaces within small businesses are determined public or private — an important distinction when considering where music licensing is necessary.

Establishment owners should not be forced to conduct business with every licensing society demanding a fee. There needs to be transparency in how establishments are billed, and we need to ensure that when a business pays a music licensing fee, it knows what it is buying. There can be no fair long-term marketplace outcomes when the playing field is weighted in favor of performance rights groups.

Music, film, literature and all other forms of intellectual property represent the soul of the American people. It’s vital we protect them, but there needs to be balance and fairness in the process. When that balance is lopsided, it’s the duty of Congress to take legislative action to ensure it is restored for the benefit of both the creators and consumers of intellectual property.
 
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Rep. Sensenbrenner Congratulates House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte on his Continued Service

2016/12/02

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement congratulating House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) on being voted by the House Republican Caucus to continue his service as House Judiciary Chairman:

Congressman Sensenbrenner:“Chairman Goodlatte has been a steady hand guiding the House Judiciary Committee through some of Congress’s most intricate and complex legislation. Under his strong leadership, the Committee has pursued an ambitious agenda, accomplishing significant, bipartisan legislative achievements. I look forward to working with him and the Committee in the new Congress.”
 
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Weekly Column: With New Opportunity, It’s Time to Deliver

2016/12/01

The American people have waited nearly a decade to see true, positive change in Washington. Now, we have the tools to deliver that change. The start of a new session presents a fresh opportunity and an obligation to take our country in a better direction. 

Through calls, emails, letters, and social media posts, the American people have made it clear that they want less gridlock, more cooperation, and a government that works for their best interests, not its own. Congress must seize this opportunity to affect real, meaningful changes that will improve the lives of all Americans; changes like simplifying our tax code, repealing and replacing Obamacare to make health insurance more accessible and more affordable, and reducing the amount of onerous and unnecessary government regulations that hurt small businesses and weaken the economy. We must address issues like comprehensive immigration reform to protect the border and enhance national security, and criminal justice reform that will bring increased fairness to the sentencing process, focus on work and rehabilitation programs within the federal prison system, and reduce recidivism for stronger, economically stable families and communities.   

My colleagues and I are moving forward to turn promises made into promises kept. It’s time to turn words into actions and produce results – to think big, reimaging the way our government can and should function, and bring the focus back to where it belongs – on the American people.
If Members of Congress put aside their differences and choose to work together– if we seize this opportunity – it will shake up Washington like never before and lead our nation into a new era of prosperity and promise. 

Together, we will work in tandem with the new president and his administration to change the status quo. There will be challenges and bumps in the road, but with cooperation, real change is possible.

I’m optimistic, hopeful, and excited to tackle the challenges ahead, and accomplish the reforms that will make this country stronger and more prosperous for generations to come.
 
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No online taxation without representation

2016/11/30

Since our nation’s founding, the idea of no taxation without representation has been a guiding principle. State taxes are collected to pay for essential governmental services, such as infrastructure, education, sanitation and many more. Since these services are for the benefit of citizens, it is entirely within the jurisdiction of state and local governments to collect taxes to pay for them. 

The Commerce Clause of the Constitution ensures residents are taxed only by their own state by vesting the authority to regulate interstate commerce with the federal government. Inherent in this authority is a prohibition on states from interfering with interstate commerce. In other words, no citizen should be subject to taxation without receiving the benefits of their government. That, however, is exactly what some states are attempting to do.

A sales tax is not in fact a tax on businesses, but instead, a tax on consumers for the purchase and use of the goods. For the sake of convenience, brick and mortar businesses are required to collect this tax on the government’s behalf. This point of sale tax poses no constitutional issues because the purchase within a state necessarily involves a sufficient nexus to the state to justify taxation. 

Exclusively online retailers, on the other hand, frequently sell products to people in other states who intend to use those products in their own states. In many cases, imposing a sales tax on an in-state retailer would mean taxing a citizen of another state who has little or no connection with the taxing authority. This is an explicit form of taxation without representation. 

Any state law requiring online retailers to pay state taxes would force consumers to give money to state governments that they have no representation in or receive no benefits or services from. It would also disproportionately favor large states, which could attract more online retailers and then collect taxes nationwide. 

In 1992, the tension over taxation between out-of-state retailers and state governments came to a head in Quill Corp v. North Dakota. The Quill Corporation — a catalogue retailer based in Illinois — received a notice from the state of North Dakota claiming the company owed use tax payments for sales made to North Dakota residents. Because the company had no physical presence or employees in the state, Quill Corp. denied the claim. The case ended up before the United States Supreme Court, which ultimately sided with Quill, ruling that a taxpayer must have a physical presence in a state to owe a sales or use tax.

In Quill, the Supreme Court provided specific requirements to demonstrate a significant nexus thereby justifying the collection of taxes. These requirements, such as owning or leasing real or tangible property or employing workers in a state, set a national standard for future tax collection cases. It has also served as an important taxpayer protection for more than two decades. But as e-commerce continues to grow, states are passing new laws that would widen the nexus standard and increase their revenues. 

In places like South Dakota and Alabama, state governments are increasingly ignoring Quill and passing laws that require online retailers to pay state taxes, based on the dollar amount of annual sales in the state. Tennessee, Colorado and Louisiana are all following suit.

In an effort to uphold the principles established in Quill and to protect online retailers and consumers, I introduced H.R. 5893, the No Taxation Without Representation Act of 2016. If passed, this bill would keep government overreaches in check by limiting the ability of states to impose a use tax or sales tax on remote online sellers and would codify the standard the Supreme Court set in Quill. It would also reduce burdensome government regulations, helping online retailers conduct business more efficiently and cost-effectively, while ensuring that only residents of a state are held responsible for state tax obligations.

The passage of H.R. 5893 is crucial because states should not have the ability to tax non-citizens, plain and simple. Forcing use and sales tax on internet sales is unconstitutional and would slow the growth of the e-commerce industry, one of the few bright spots in our economy over the past decade, as well as needlessly knock American consumers where it hurts the most — their pocketbooks.

No taxation without representation is a mantra that speaks to the founding principles of this nation and is as true today as it was at this country’s conception. This legislation is a step in the right direction and will go a long way toward ensuring fairness in state taxation and upholding the standards set to protect American businesses and consumers.

Read the full piece here.
 
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Rep. Sensenbrenner Statement on the Passing of Congressman Melvin Laird

2016/11/16

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on the passing of former Wisconsin Congressman Melvin Laird: 

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Congressman Laird committed his life to public service and his fellow Americans. His accomplished legislative record and distinguished service at the Department of Defense made him well-respected among his colleagues and one of the most effective leaders in Washington. Although today we mourn his passing, we must also celebrate his illustrious life and legacy.” 
 
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Rep. Sensenbrenner: It’s No Surprise Speaker Ryan Was Unanimously Selected to Serve a Second Term

2016/11/15

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement congratulating friend and colleague Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on his unanimous backing by fellow House Republicans for another term as Speaker:

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Speaker Ryan is a true conservative leader who exemplifies what it means to serve others. His unfailing optimism inspires his colleagues, and his unique brand of leadership encourages an inclusive, open process that strengthens trust and builds positive, effective relationships. His ambitious plan to give America a better way forward makes it no surprise that he was unanimously selected by his peers to serve another term as Speaker.  I look forward to continuing to work with him as we head into a new Congress.” 
 
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Sensenbrenner Congratulates Chairman Reince Priebus on his Presidential Appointment

2016/11/14

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement congratulating Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on his appointment as President-elect Donald J. Trump’s chief of staff:

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “President-elect Trump’s choice to name Chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff is not only a wise decision for his administration, but also a true victory for the American people. Reince will be an astute advisor, advocating for the core conservative values that are fundamental to our nation’s prosperity. I have had the distinct privilege of working with him as he successfully reinvigorated the Republican Party and united Americans in a new, transformative way. He has proven himself time and again to be an effective leader, and I look forward to continue working with him in his new role.”
 
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Without a modernized Voting Rights Act, there’s no such thing as an honest election

2016/11/02

On Tuesday, Americans will elect a president without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. The last time that happened they were deciding between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater — more than a half-century ago.

In 2013, the Supreme Court declared that voter discrimination was no longer a problem and effectively struck down the only portion of the act designed to stop discrimination before it affects an election. The court let stand the provisions of the act that allow lawsuits after a discriminatory law takes effect, but unfortunately, the United States has learned the hard way that there is no satisfactory cure for discrimination after an election occurs.

At issue is a practice known as preclearance. Under the 1965 law, jurisdictions with a history of discrimination had to submit changes in voting practices to the Justice Department for review. But in 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down the trigger used to determine which jurisdictions would be subject to preclearance, effectively removing this safeguard.

Along with Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), I introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015 to modernize the original law and to respond to the Supreme Court’s objections in Shelby County. The bill recognizes the importance of preclearance, but applies it evenly across all 50 states. Under the new law, any state or jurisdiction that demonstrates a consistent pattern of discriminatory voting practices would be subject to preclearance. When the discrimination stops, the jurisdiction would automatically be freed from the requirement. This bill offers a modern and thoughtful response to voter discrimination that ensures the minimal possible federal interference in state elections. Unfortunately, despite the legislation having more than 100 co-sponsors, Congress still has not acted on it.

If opponents take issue with the details of how preclearance would operate or the way the bill defines consistent discrimination, I will happily work with them on changes. But to not act at all suggests they believe that Congress should not allow federal oversight of local elections no matter how discriminatory and unfair those elections are. I do not believe that is an acceptable position.

The country is already suffering from Congress’s failure to modernize the Voting Rights Act. Without the full law in place, Americans face unnecessary legal battles, confusion and inefficiency at the polls, and a potentially discriminatory election process.

To date, there have been a number of significant cases brought against states regarding election laws — some with litigation still pending as Election Day approaches. The case League of Women Voters et al. v. the State of North Carolina challenged the state’s new voting laws, which implemented a state voter identification requirement and made changes to early voting and same-day voter registration practices. In early October, the Florida Democratic Party filed suit against Gov. Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner seeking to extend the voter registration deadline in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. In Arizona, litigants brought suit against the Arizona secretary of state’s office, challenging polling-place closures in Maricopa County, which reduced locations by 70 percent since 2012 — opening only 60 polling stations in the 2016 primary election compared with more than 200 in 2012 and 400 in 2008.

Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, each of these cases would have been reviewed directly by the Justice Department, eliminating the need for costly litigation and ensuring that election laws were settled before Election Day. The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015 would not only restore Section 5 and preclearance practices, but also help relieve complications caused by state and local changes to voting laws. It would modernize the VRA to apply to all states equally and include transparency provisions, such as requiring officials to give public notice within 48 hours of certain voting changes that are made 180 days before a federal election. This would help reduce hours-long wait times for voters, give the public ample time to adjust to changes in polling locations and secure proper identification in states that require it.

At the core of the Voting Rights Act is the desire for equality in elections. I supported the act’s reauthorization in 1982, was instrumental in its reauthorization in 2006 and now urge my colleagues to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015 during the upcoming lame-duck session.

The opportunity to reauthorize the VRA for the 2016 election has passed, but enacting the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015 would be an enlightened congressional response to what has been an ugly presidential race.

The right to vote is fundamental to a successful, prosperous nation. It is imperative that the process is fair, accessible and protected from discrimination, doubt and partisan gamesmanship. If voters are worried about rigged elections, Congress must act with urgency to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015.

View this piece online here.
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Clyman Office Hours at 10:30am

2015/09/21

Please join me at the Clyman Village Hall, located at 713 Morgan Street. Should you require special accommodations to attend, please contact my Brookfield office at (262) 784-1111 or (800) 242-1119. Read More

Fort Atkinson Town Hall Meeting at 9:00 AM

2015/09/19

Please join me for a town hall meeting at Fort Atkinson City Hall, located at 101 N. Main Street. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers on the 2nd floor. An elevator is available in the main lobby. Read More

Hartland Town Hall Meeting at 9:00am

2015/09/12

Please join me at 9:00am at the Hartland Village Hall, located at 210 Cottonwood Avenue. Read More

Delafield Town Hall Meeting at 7:00pm

2015/07/19

Please join me the Delafield City Hall, located at 500 Genesee Street. If you have any questions or require special accomodations, please contact my Brookfield office at (262) 784-1111. Read More

Waukesha Town Hall Meeting at 1:00pm

2015/04/18

Please join me on Saturday, April 18th at 1:00pm for a town hall meeting at the Waukesha Public Library, located at 321 Wisconsin Avenue. The meeting will be held in the Community Room, located on the lower level. Read More

Watertown Town Hall Meeting at 9:00am

2015/04/18

Please join me on Saturday, April 18th at 9:00am at the Watertown Municipal Building, located at 106 Jones Street. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers on the 2nd Floor. An elevator is available adjacent to the main lobby. Read More

Brookfield Town Hall Meeting at 9:00am

2015/03/28

Please join me at the Brookfield Public Safety Building, located at 2100 N. Calhoun Road, for a town hall meeting on Saturday, March 28th at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in the Court Room.

*This meeting was previously scheduled for March 21 at 9:00 a.m. Read More

Richfield Town Hall Meeting at 7:00pm

2015/02/24

Please join me on Monday, February 23rd at 7:00pm at the Richfield Village Hall, located at 4128 Hubertus Road. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers on the lower level. Read More

Slinger Town Hall Meeting at 7:00pm

2015/02/10

Please join me on Monday, February 9th at 7:00pm at the Slinger Village Hall, located at 220 Slinger Road, for a town hall meeting. Read More

West Allis Town Hall Meeting at 1:00pm

2014/04/05

Please join me at the West Allis Public Library, located at 7421 W. National Avenue, on Saturday, April 5th at 1:00pm. The meeting will be held in the Constitution Room, located off of the main lobby. Read More

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Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner Introduces the SAFE Justice Act

2015-07-09 18:42:32


Sensenbrenner Urges Passage of Freedom Act

2014-05-22 17:35:42


Sensenbrenner presses Holder on Clapper's perjury

2014-04-09 14:41:35


Sensenbrenner: EPA rulemaking picks pockets of consumers

2014-03-06 20:33:33


Sensenbrenner promotes Private Property Rights Protection Act

2014-02-25 22:56:58


Sensenbrenner Discusses NSA Reform with Neil Cavuto

2014-01-13 21:47:04


Sensenbrenner discusses NSA on America's Newsroom

2013-12-09 16:29:35


Sensenbrenner questions Gina McCarthy on E15

2013-11-15 15:35:38


Sensenbrenner discusses introduction of USA FREEDOM Act

2013-10-30 16:58:33


Sensenbrenner speaks at March on Washington Anniversary

2013-08-28 13:32:13


Sensenbrenner discusses Patriot Act abuses on Happening Now

2013-08-28 13:10:01


Sensenbrenner supports the Amash Amendment

2013-07-25 19:40:44


Sensenbrenner discusses abuses of the Patriot Act

2013-06-18 14:07:30


Sensenbrenner questions FBI Director Mueller on Patriot Act abuses

2013-06-18 14:06:56


Sensenbrenner: AG Holder must explain his testimony

2013-06-18 14:06:01


Sensenbrenner: Holder has lost the trust of the American people

2013-06-18 14:05:40


Sensenbrenner and Cavuto discuss Holder and the Media Surveillance Scandal

2013-06-04 21:31:17


Sensenbrenner Talks to Shannon Bream on America's News HQ

2013-06-03 14:20:56


Sensenbrenner Talks to Megyn Kelly about Holder's Misleading Testimony

2013-05-29 18:53:24


Sensenbrenner Questions Holder at a Hearing on Oversight of DOJ

2013-05-15 19:16:30


Contact Information

2449 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5101
Fax 202-225-3190
sensenbrenner.house.gov

F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., (Jim), represents the Fifth Congressional District of Wisconsin. The Fifth District includes parts of Milwaukee, Dodge and Waukesha counties, and all of Washington and Jefferson counties.

Jim was born in Chicago and later moved to Wisconsin with his family. He graduated from the Milwaukee Country Day School and did his undergraduate studies at Stanford University, where he majored in political science. He then earned his law degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1968.

After serving ten years in the Wisconsin State Legislature, Jim ran for a U.S. House seat and was elected in November, 1978. He has been reelected since 1980.

Jim’s current committee assignments include serving on the Committee on Science and Technology and the Committee on the Judiciary. Congressman Sensenbrenner is Chairman of the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Oversight Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and Internet, and the Subcommittees on Environment and Oversight.

He is the former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and as a long-serving committee member, Jim has established a strong record on crime, intellectual property and constitutional issues. Previously, Jim also served as Chairman of the House Committee on Science, where he solidified his reputation as an independent leader on science issues, as well as oversight.

Throughout his public life, Jim has been at the forefront of efforts to preserve the sanctity of life, eliminate wasteful government spending and protect the interests of American taxpayers. He has regularly been cited by the National Taxpayers Union as one of the most fiscally responsible House Members and is well known for completing his financial disclosure forms down to the penny.

Jim is proud of his many legislative achievements that have helped improve the lives of many during his tenure in Congress.

In 1977, Jim married Cheryl Warren of Green Bay, Wisconsin, a staunch advocate for the rights of the disabled. They have two adult children, Frank and Bob. In his free time, Jim enjoys watching the Packers and reading.


Serving With

Paul Ryan

WISCONSIN's 1st DISTRICT

Glenn Grothman

WISCONSIN's 6th DISTRICT

Sean Duffy

WISCONSIN's 7th DISTRICT

Reid Ribble

WISCONSIN's 8th DISTRICT

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