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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

MADISON (AP) - \Wisconsin dairy farmers have broken their streak of year-over-year production increases.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Wisconsin farmers produced about 2.5 billion pounds of milk last month, down 0.6 percent from 2017.

Bob Cropp is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He tells Wisconsin Public Radio that the slowdown in production is good for milk prices. Prices have been low for three straight years because of an abundance of milk on the market.

The USDA report says there were 5,000 fewer cows in the state compared to last year.

Darin Von Ruden is president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union. He says farms that remained open faced cold and snowy conditions this spring.

Cropp says some experts believe milk prices may reach $17 per 100 pounds by November.

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BEAVER DAM (AP) - Wisconsin Democratic voters are getting nervous over their large field of candidates running for governor.

The primary isn't until Aug. 14. No one has emerged as the clear front-runner ahead of next weekend's state convention. And no one is showing signs of dropping out.

Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Scott Walker is stockpiling resources and is in the middle of a $1.4 million TV ad campaign where he's run three ads unopposed touting his record.

Democrat Denise Hutchison, of Green Bay, says she hopes the field will narrow. She's optimistic that may happen after this weekend's state Democratic Party convention. But she also thinks whoever wins the primary will get the full support of Democratic voters.

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NORTHWOODS - At most Memorial Day services you might see planes, cannons and the presentation of colors.

But at the Union Grove Cemetery in Harshaw you'll also see dozens of motorcycle riders.

"Just paying respect to those who lost their lives for our freedoms," said motorcycle rider and Vietnam veteran Tim Iding.

Each year, the Veterans Memorial Motorcycle Procession starts from American Legion Post 93 in Tomahawk and heads to the cemetery in Harshaw.

The previous procession leader recently died of Agent Orange, a chemical used in the Vietnam War.
"Sniper Mike was a really good friend of mine," said Iding.

Vietnam Veteran Tim Iding took over as the new precession leader this year.

"I'm honored," said Iding.

Even though it may seem like a celebration. Memorial Day is not a happy day for all.

"It's a sad day for me. I hear a lot of people say, 'Happy Memorial Weekend.' Well to me, it's not a happy weekend," said Iding.

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RHINELANDER - Some people bought a brat Saturday in support of a Northwoods organization. Wild Instincts held a brat sale fundraiser outside of Trig's in Rhinelander.

Volunteers sold brats, hot dogs, and even veggie dogs for the sale. 

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TOWN OF RINGLE - Emergency responders got a report of a garage fire around 12:43 a.m. Saturday morning in the Town of Ringle according to the Marathon County Sheriff's Office.

When firefighters arrived to the 11000 block of Oasis Drive, the unattached garage was engulfed in flames. The sheriff's office reports the garage, which was used as a workshop, is a total loss. 

Ringle Fire, along with Wausau Fire, Easton Fire, and SAFER Fire, were able to extinguish the fire before the home became totally involved. But the side of the home does have significant damage.

The fire department and sheriff's office are investigating the cause of the fire. 



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RHINELANDER - Dozens of people geared up for golf with top of the line, professional golfing equipment at Northwood Golf Club in Rhinelander Saturday.

The annual demo day let people try out the best clubs, grips and hedges on the market.

General Manager Kyle Christian says it's a great way to bring tourists to Rhinelander.

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MILWAUKEE - Law enforcement officers are looking for 25-year-old inmate Tasir Bhatti who escaped from the Marshall Sherrer Correctional Center in Milwaukee. 

Bhatti was serving a five-year sentence for drug charges. The Department of Corrections reported the inmate's escape to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and the Milwaukee Police Department.

Bhatti is 5'9, 179 lbs., and has brown hair and eyes. Anyone with information regarding Bhatti's location should immediately contact law enforcement. 

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