MADISON (WRN) - A Wisconsin Assembly leader from Milwaukee accuses the UW System of hurting his city’s effort to become a world renown water technology center. The university recently hired a consultant to create water-related investments and job opportunities throughout the state. But Milwaukee Democrat Jon Richards, the Assembly’s assistant majority leader, wants consultant Jeff Smoller fired. The Milwaukee Water Council is struggling to grow its water research efforts. And Richards says the UW should be helping Milwaukee’s project instead – and to make UWM a center for water technology just like the university in Madison is a center for biotechnology. Richards says Milwaukee is the only big Midwest city without its own major research university. And Richards is asking other local legislators to help him put the squeeze on the UW to boost his city’s water program and – “end its program to take fresh water research dollars from Milwaukee.” UW spokesman David Giroux said Richards is misinformed about the university’s goals – and the system strongly supports more research at the Milwaukee campus. Giroux said the UW boosted its state funding to Milwaukee the past couple years before the recession hit. And Giroux said the UW needs to “re-educate” Richards about its record of supporting UW-Milwaukee. But Richards told the Journal Sentinel, “I don’t need re-education – I need action.”
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