More pork may come to the land of cheese: The Legislature’s budget committee voted Tuesday to spend $3million to help build a Hmong cultural center in Milwaukee – a project Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed because it was part of a pork-barrel deal that got a now-recalled senator to vote for the state budget. On a 10-4 vote, the Joint Finance Committee cleared for debate by the full Legislature a $3 million grant for a Hmong cultural center at a site to be chosen by state and local officials. The Hmong were this nation’s allies during the Vietnam War and came here as refugees beginning in the 1970s, noted Rep. Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem). Steven Xiong, an official with the Lao Family Center in Milwaukee, said a Hmong cultural center in Milwaukee would give children, teens and older generations an important central gathering place. “The Hmong people in Milwaukee need it,” said Xiong, who participated in a Capitol protest after Doyle vetoed the funding added by George. The Hmong came to America as refugees, learned a new language and settled in Wisconsin where the climate could hardly be more different than their native land. It may be a bit strong to say they “need” anything like this. (Thanks to PolicyGuy for the tip.)
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.