GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde criticizes Sen. Tammy Baldwin for helping homeless kids - TAI News
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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde speaks at a rally for former President Donald Trump in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate Eric Hovde attacked incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin on a right-wing radio show on April 11 for securing federal funds for counseling for at-risk youths experiencing homelessness. 

Hovde, a wealthy California-based bank executive, who is challenging Baldwin in the November election, appeared on the right-wing radio program “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” and said of Baldwin: “She’s a career politician. She knows nothing about the economy, how the economy works. She’s totally bought-off by special interests. … She actually earmarked, in the last budget, $400,000 for a transgender-affirming clinic that doesn’t even tell parents that they’re doing that, with their own kids. Now think of that, I mean, this is how far out there she is.”

Hovde’s remarks appeared to be a reference to an item in the $1.2 trillion bipartisan spending package that passed on March 23 by a vote of 74-24. It directed that $400,000 in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration funds go to Briarpatch Youth Services in Wisconsin for “counseling services for at-risk youth.” The Dane County nonprofit agency says on its website that it “offers a broad array of services to youth who have runaway, are experiencing homelessness, and/or facing other challenges.”

A Hovde campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions for this story.

According to Baldwin’s earmark request, all of the funds were for the agency “to support therapeutic and clinical counseling for youth who are experiencing homelessness.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on March 21 that, while another Briarpatch program provides counseling and free gender-affirming clothing for LGBTQ+ kids, Baldwin’s office told the outlet that the $400,000 could not legally be used for that program and would go entirely to counseling and to providing a social worker for kids experiencing homelessness. 

A March 21 Newsweek report also debunked the claim that Hovde repeated and noted that former President Donald Trump’s administration gave $350,000 in grant funding to Briarpatch’s programs for homeless and runaway youth in 2020. 

“Senator Baldwin is proud to deliver resources for Wisconsin to help kids experiencing homelessness get the care they need and land on their feet,” a Baldwin spokesperson told the Wisconsin Independent in an email. 

Hovde is not the only Republican dishonestly attacking Baldwin’s efforts to help kids experiencing homelessness. Both the Republican Party of Wisconsin and Sen. Ron Johnson also blasted the earmark in March.

In addition to the Briarpatch funding, Baldwin secured $2 million in the spending package for a University of Wisconsin regional center to combat opioid and fentanyl addiction; $1 million for the state’s Children’s Hospital and Health System, Inc., “to help children and families access mental health services”; $150,000 for the Kettle Moraine YMCA for mental health programming for youths; and $100,000 for peer support and other substance abuse and mental health services through the Harbor Recovery Center in Portage.

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