Ron Johnson talks about border, terrorism at Antigo and Stevens Point

January 18, 2015

ANTIGO, Wis. (WXPR) — U.S. Senator Ron Johnson says there appears to be an emerging consensus in the nation’s capitol that cyber security should be a priority.

The Republican from Oshkosh chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security. He says the level of cyber attacks on the U.S. is alarming. “The hacking of SONY, the hacking of the Central Command’s Twitter site, those are just a couple of examples of the cyber attacks the private sector and government websites are incurring, literally millions of times a week. Cyber security will be a top priority.”

He says on greater cyber security it appears Congress and President Obama are in agreement about that issue.

Johnson says finding a solution to border security problems are key to protecting the homeland. The Senator says with the recent attack in Paris and the outbreak of Ebola as examples, securing the borders will take a Congressional priority. “To help us against those threats by securing our borders. Not just for the immigration problem but it’s imperative for public health and safety. Drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, Ebola, but also from a national security standpoint with ISIS and Al-Qaeda.”

Senator Johnson is one of many Republicans hoping to break what he calls a “logjam” of bills held up in the U.S. Senate. Johnson says a Republican majority in the Senate means issues that were stalled from his party, and those from Democrats, will move forward in the new Congress. Johnson blamed former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for slowing the process to a near halt. “Totally shut out the minority party from being, and by the way, shut out his own party as well. We only voted on 23 amendments in a year in the U.S. Senate. That is how you debate. I think we had 14 Republican, 9 Democrat. We’re going to open up the process so you can vote on it.”

The Wisconsin Senator also believes there will be action to try to open up the national forests in Wisconsin to more logging. He has made several trips to northern Wisconsin to discuss the issue and thinks a policy by the U.S. Forest Service to limit cutting is not helping the forest “You have to harvest timber. That is how you keep your forest healthy. When you don’t do that…it’s not a healthy forest…it’s better for the forest, it reduces fire danger.” Johnson says more cutting will also bring in more revenue which can help fund firefighting efforts, especially in the western forests. He says county and state lands are what he calls responsibly logged without damage.

He says a key issue is the effort to put the Northern Long Eared Bat on the Endangered Species List because of White Nose Syndrome. He says he will fight that classification because it could negatively impact the forest products industry.

Along with the stop in Antigo, Johnson also held a town hall meeting in Stevens Point Saturday.