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GOP Leaders Prepare to Reform Image for Next Round of ElectionsSubmitted: 05/04/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

GOP Leaders Prepare to Reform Image for Next Round of Elections
ROTHSCHILD - Wisconsin GOP leaders and a headliner from Washington rallied party members at today's convention.

Legislators say they're taking stock of the party, learning from a disappointing 2012 election cycle, and strategizing for upcoming mid-terms.

Governor Scott Walker echoed optimism heard from other speakers today. They said Wisconsin is the model the national GOP should follow.

"So I think going forward in 2014 the choice is pretty clear. We don't want to go back to the days of double digit tax increases, of billion dollar budget deficits and record job loss. Do you want to go back?" says Gov. Walker.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says the party has the right leaders and the right message. But he says Wisconsin has a disconnect when it comes to getting that message to voters when it matters most.

"And we're winning just about everywhere, almost everything. Except we get into this presidential election cycle. And if we're being honest, we haven't won a decisive presidential race in 24 years. So what's going on? I want to talk to you about that," says Priebus.

Tomorrow night we'll have more from Priebus on his bold challenge to the GOP to soften its image.

I also sat down with 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. He told us how he thinks Republicans can connect with disenchanted voters.

That's tomorrow night on Newswatch 12 Weekend.



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 IN OTHER NEWS

WAUSAU - Drugs led to four arrests and one death in north-central Wisconsin on Monday.

The Marathon County Sheriff's Office reports a 37-year-old Shawano man died after apparently overdosing on methamphetamine.  

Witnesses say 37-year-old Lucas Groshek and his wife, Carolyn, were shaking and convulsing in a car in the eastern Marathon County town of Norrie.  Mr. Groshek died before getting to the hospital.   Mrs. Groshek, 33, is in stable condition as of Tuesday afternoon.

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MADISON - Budget talks between Wisconsin state Assembly and Senate Republicans have broken down.

On Tuesday, leaders from both sides called each other's positions on how to pay for road construction projects "laughable." A meeting with Republican leaders abruptly ended after 40 minutes.

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MERRILL - Six years ago, Merrill promoted the River Bend Trail across the city to try to get people to use it. Now, the trail sees more than 100 people every day and is scheduled for more expansion.

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RHINELANDER - Three decades-old signs greet people coming into Rhinelander from various sides.  But if you drive past them every day, you likely don't even notice them.  Rhinelander wants to make sure those old signs stand out.

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WAUSAU - Many of us try to honor our veterans whenever we can.

Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) added one more way.

The Governor visited several veteran-owned businesses across the state Tuesday for Veteran-Owned Business Day.

Tuesday afternoon he stopped at Prosthetic Orthotic Center in Wausau.

He says veteran-owned businesses are good for other veterans and the economy.

"We found statistically that veterans are about 30 percent more likely to hire fellow veterans as employees," Walker said. "So it's good all the way around."

If you are a veteran-owned business, you can register with the state at WisVets.com

That way you can get a decal that says Wisconsin Veteran-Owned for your business window or door.

You also get listed in a state veteran-owned business directory.

"We're branding it, letting the public know that businesses that are owned by veterans, letting them know whether it's in a sign in their window or whether it's on the website, or other ways that we can draw attention," Walker said.

About 390,000 veterans live in Wisconsin, and about 11 percent of the state's businesses are veteran-owned.

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WAUSAU - We won't see a vote on the new GOP healthcare bill until after July 4.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) postponed the senate vote Tuesday afternoon.

Several Republican senators, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), have said they're not ready to
vote.

Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) says he supports Johnson on this.

"We've given Senator Johnson some suggestions," Walker said. "I think he wants to vote for it, he made the promise when he ran in '10 and then last year in 2016 that he would vote to repeal it, he wants to do that, he just wants to make sure that the repeal ultimately ends up serving the people of Wisconsin well."

Both Democratic and Republican senators say they have issues with the bill.

Some Republicans say the bill doesn't get rid of enough of the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats worry about Medicaid cuts.

Walker says he wants Wisconsin to continue to do what it does well in healthcare.

"What I've asked Senator Johnson is help us do the things we've been successful at," Walker said. "We're a top ten state when it comes to access for healthcare for citizens, we're a top ten state with the quality of our healthcare systems. We want to maintain that going forward."

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said the new bill would cause 22 million Americans to be uninsured.

Johnson put out a statement Tuesday saying he was glad there won't be a vote this week.

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ADAMS COUNTY - Police are asking for help finding an Illinois man who disappeared while out for a walk in Adams County.

Fifty-nine-year-old William Sheeran was last seen near a boat landing on Browndeer Avenue in the Adams County Town of Monroe.

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