Tuesday, August 2, 2022
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Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Milwaukee Press Club 'Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism' 2020 & 2021 Award Winners

Wisconsin State Senator Bewley Involved in Fatal Crash

Ashland Police are not recommending charges against a Wisconsin state senator following a deadly car crash last friday.

Police say Senator Janet Bewley, D-Mason, pulled out in front of a mother who was driving along U.S. Highway 2 last Friday, causing a fatal wreck.

“The preliminary investigation showed that the accident occurred when a vehicle driven by Janet Bewley, age 70 of Mason, WI, pulled out from the entrance of Maslowski Beach to turn east onto US Hwy 2,” the police report read. “That vehicle collided with a vehicle that was westbound on US 2 driven by Alyssa Ortman, age 27 of Clearfield, PA. That vehicle then spun across the highway and was struck by an eastbound vehicle driven by Jodi Munson, age 45 of Mason, WI.”

Police say Ortman died at a local hospital, her five-year-old daughter died at the scene.

Ashland Police say it does not appear that alcohol was a factor in the crash.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, one of its intern reporters, Ben Baker was on the phone with Bewley at the time of the wreck. After the interview began, Bewley told Baker she had cataract eye surgery the day before. Minutes later, she stopped talking mid-sentence and the call went silent. When Baker asked Bewley if she was still on the line, she sounded concerned. When Baker asked if she was OK, she said, “Yeah, I’m OK. This is not a good accident.”

Bewley, who is the top Democrat in the Wisconsin Senate, was not injured. Her office issued a statement on Monday.

“Senator Bewley was involved in a three-vehicle accident in Ashland, Wisconsin on Friday, July 22nd. Tragically, two people lost their lives. This is a heartbreaking event for the community. Our thoughts and prayers are focused on the individuals involved, their families and their loved ones,” the statement read. “A police investigation is ongoing. Out of respect for that investigation and the privacy of all the families involved, our office will be withholding further comment at this time.”

Ashland’s police chief told the local newspaper that he has not recommended charges in the case.

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Two life-long Democrats are now running for judicial reelection as Republicans in Texas border communities. Both women say they are fighting against the Biden administration’s open border policies that they argue are wreaking havoc in their small communities.

The single reason they switched parties, they say, is because the Biden administration's policies led to more than 2 million people coming through the southern border from over 150 countries. The costs of crime stemming from an open border – increased trafficking and smuggling of people, weapons and guns – to their communities has prompted them to say, “enough is enough” and do something about it.

Both judges were among the first to declare an invasion on July 5, citing an imminent threat to the lives of their residents.

First elected as a Democrat, Terrell County Judge Dale Carruthers is now running for reelection as a Republican.

On Tuesday, at a campaign event in Fort Stockton, Texas, she said, “I come from a Hispanic heritage, which was prominently Democrat. The chaos at the border and everything that’s been going on makes me realize that I needed to switch parties.

“I am very happy to be a Republican and to represent this great state of Texas as a judge.”

“Judge Dale Carruthers switched parties due to Biden's failed open border policies,” Gov. Greg Abbott, who attended the event, said. “She's now running for re-election as a Republican, joining a growing number of Hispanics who have walked away from the Democratic Party. Together, we'll secure the future of Texas.”

Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara also was a life-long Democrat until Biden came into office and her residents began grappling with record high inflation, increased crime and fear stemming from an open border. She also issued a disaster declaration and declared an invasion at the Texas-Mexico border.

“I’ve been a Democrat since 1992," Guevara said. "I’ve always ran as a Democrat and this is my first year to run as a Republican. I’m very grateful for Gov. Abbott for all he has done for Texas and continues to do for Texas, especially with our border crisis.”

On July 5, six counties and one city declared an invasion at the southern border, including Terrell and Presidio counties. They also expressed their commitment to uphold the Constitution, arguing they needed to take such an extraordinary measure to defend the lives of their residents.

When declaring the invasion, Carruthers said her county with a small population of roughly 1,000 people has been inundated with foreign nationals illegally entering through Mexico.

“We have experienced an invasion that is something of every language,” she said. “We are trying to protect the sovereignty of Texas. I am a constitutional judge and we are standing behind the constitution.”

After the counties of Kinney, Goliad, Terrell, Jeff Davis, Edwards, Presidio and the City of Uvalde declared an invasion, two additional counties declared an invasion on Monday: Parker and Atascosa.

Other Republican women running for office in Texas border communities are Monica De La Cruz and Cassie Garcia, who are both running for Congress in Districts 15 and 28, respectively. Mayra Flores, of Hidalgo County, recently won a special election to become the first Mexican-born Republican woman elected to Congress.

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