Madison (WQOW) - State Representative Jeff Wood was at the Capitol Wednesday for a special session. He helped vote through a new bill aimed at toughening the state's drunk driving laws.
It has been months since Wood was on the assembly floor, but that's exactly where he was Wednesday. The Chippewa Falls Independent has recently been in and out of rehab for his admitted addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs.
In the past 12 months he has been arrested in Columbia, Marathon and Monroe counties. He's facing OWI charges after all three arrest.
A reporter from our sister station camped outside of Wood's office trying to get a comment from the lawmaker. He was told by Wood's assistant that Wood was on the phone, and asked the reporter if he'd like to make an appointment. Thirty minutes later he asked the same assistant if Wood was available then, she replied, "He's stepped out for the day."
The only way out of Wood's office appeared to be through the window of his first floor office. The reporter found footprints near the window.
Wood released this statement following his vote Wednesday:
"I have learned first hand how difficult it is to combat this disease. I myself tried to enter treatment last year, but my insurance was unwilling to cover the expense and I was unable to pay for it myself. Since that time, I have taken out a personal loan and attended an inpatient treatment program at L.E. Phillips-Libertas Treatment Center in Chippewa Falls, WI. I truly wish that I had been able to do so sooner. I can't say enough about the wonderful staff and their outstanding program. It gave me a second chance at a life of sobriety."
"Unfortunately, for most people, obtaining the treatment they require is out of reach due to financial constraints. I hope Wisconsin continues to look at helping people treat the disease instead of addressing the punishment alone."
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