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Stop politics, help Kenosha

Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., made headlines together recently, sending a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to make good on his pledge to send federal funds to Kenosha.

The state’s two top Democrats reminded Trump of his commitment, made during his visit here to view the rioting damage and meet with law enforcement, “to help the city and state recover and rebuild . . . You told local business owners you would help them rebuild completely and also help with economic development.”

Evers and Baldwin questioned the funding announced, saying it cannot be used for rebuilding. They pointed out the $4 million to support small businesses is part of CARES Act money to recover from losses related to COVID-19 and the $42 million to support public safety statewide does not represent new money.

“We look forward to your plan to support a complete rebuild,” they wrote, “because the Kenosha community deserves more than empty promises.”

Asked to respond to these the letter, U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., gave an entirely partisan nonanswer that is so common in politics these days.

“When asked, President Trump immediately agreed to send resources to bring public safety to Kenosha,” the GOP congressman said. “Those resources and that leadership likely saved lives and prevented more damage from occurring.

“The administration acted quickly by bringing initial assistance to Kenosha, and going forward I will continue working with the administration to provide additional resources to help our community come together and rebuild.”

So we really still don’t know whether the points made in the letter are valid and under review, but what we do know is Kenosha businesses and the Kenosha community need money. And fast.

And we also know that it’s well past time that Evers, Baldwin, Steil and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., worked in a bipartisan manner for Kenosha. That should have started the day after the riots and fires left millions of dollars in damage.

Instead, we’ve had partisan statements and now letters, visits by Evers and Steil, and not much from either senator.

These four should begin today working for Kenosha in a bipartisan manner that is so absent in politics today. They can start by getting a meeting with the administration — Steil and Johnson should be able to arrange that, perhaps with the president himself — and reviewing funding needs and federal funding available.

They can hold a joint press conference and report what is coming here. They all can take credit.

Kenoshans are looking for leadership, and they deserve it from the state’s top elected officials. And now.

* This guest editorial is from Journal Times, Racine, Wis.

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