Even though his budget proposal is already in, Governor Tony is continuing to listen to what residents want to see prioritized over the next two-year cycle. T
he latest stop on that tour was in Wausau at the Hmong Mutual Association where he met with leaders from across the state who displayed what he called "extraordinary needs and extraordinary energy." "They are hopeful that our budget will provide the resources they need," said Evers. Many of those needs fall into categories such as mental health and economic development.
During the discussion, many pointed out the high suicide rate amongst the Hmong community, particularly for those that are younger. Evers said that goes hand-in-hand with a shortage of mental health professionals in the area, something he's hoping to correct for everyone and not just the Hmong community.
Others spoke of difficulty finding health insurance coverage. For that, Evers doubled down on his call for the state to accept federal money to further expand programs like BadgerCare. He went on to say that many of these proposals are not earmarked specifically for the Hmong community, but he does want to make sure the resources will be available for them when they need it. The budgeting process is expected to go on for several months. Evers said he has had dozens of meetings in the last few weeks with lawmakers to hear what they have to say along with the public sessions. "We are just at the beginning of this process, and we look forward to meeting with leadership [on the issue.] But, at the present time we are also spending time with people in the community saying 'this is what's at stake.'"
Evers says he would also like to see money spent on some kind of memorial for Hmong Veterans who have served in various wars. While that issue may mostly fall on the federal government, he says there may also be ways Wisconsin can help make that happen.