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Politicians need to work together to solve problems

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Sometimes you may share the same goal, but not be on the same page as to how to get there. We’re seeing that in Wisconsin, where state agencies, lawmakers and task forces are all working to reduce instances of suicides by farmers. But they sure aren’t working together to try to get that done. The head of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, former La Crosse County board member Brad Pfaff, criticized the Joint Finance Committee for stripping $100,000 designated for mental health assistance for farmers from the state budget. Pfaff scolded lawmakers, saying there is only enough current funding to help five Wisconsin farmers, and asked in a snarky fashion, “which five farmers will it be?” Legislative leaders bristled. But more significantly, Rep. Joanne Ballweg claims she asked Pfaff for the latest numbers of farmers in need of mental health assistance. But she says Pfaff refused her requests repeatedly. If so, that is not helpful. Ballweg chairs the legislature’s task force on suicide prevention, and should have the latest information about mental health needs. If these two both have the same goal of reducing suicide numbers and increasing assistance, they should work together and stop playing political games.

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