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Gov. Evers tours recovery center in La Crosse, calling attention to mental health assistance



Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (center) is flanked by state Sen. Brad Pfaff (left) and Assembly Rep. Jill Billings at the Coulee Recovery Center on May 2, 2023 (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

Wisconsin’s governor called attention to the “Year of Mental Health” in the state by visiting a substance abuse recovery center in La Crosse on Tuesday.

Gov. Tony Evers toured the Coulee Recovery Center on Ferry Street and talked about the need for such facilities.

Gov. Tony Evers, La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds and Assembly Rep. Jill Billings join a group pose at the Coulee Recovery Center on Tuesday, May 2, 2023 (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

“Considering the behavioral health of the people of Wisconsin, visiting centers like this (is) really important,” Evers said. “This is obviously a very successful one, always short on funds but not short on their success.”

Evers has proposed $500 million in his latest budget to support services for people who have behavioral or mental health needs.

The governor had been to the Recovery Center in the past for a ceremony but did not have time on that occasion to tour the facility.

Tuesday’s visit happened as Republican lawmakers followed through on their promise to take more than 500 items out of the Democratic governor’s budget.

Evers isn’t happy about the cuts, citing one eliminated program for the Delavan Darien School District in southern Wisconsin, where students help their peers to battle health problems.

“The need is there, it’s overwhelming need,” Evers said. “They’re actually not only reaching out to kids, they’re reaching out to the community. They’re having mental health and behavioral health discussions in the community.” Evers calls cutting funding for such a program “foolishness.”

In 2021, the Recovery Center was awarded a peer recovery grant by the state, providing $30,000 a year for five years.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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