Citizen Action Weekly: Mail in your absentee ballot!

Friday, April 3rd

Mail In Your Absentee Ballot
or Vote Tuesday, April 7th!

If you have an absentee ballot, mail it in today!

All absentee ballots must be received by April 13th.

Watch Don’t lick your ballot envelope video!

Unfortunately, it appears we are headed for an election on April 7th in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you don’t have an absentee ballot and are planning on voting on Tuesday we urge you to be safe and follow the latest CDC guidelines for being in public places.

Vote Jill Karofsky for Wisconsin Supreme Court.

In the critical Wisconsin Supreme Court race, Citizen Action of Wisconsin is strongly endorsing Jill Karofsky.

Jill Karofsky will be an independent judge who will fairly interpret and apply the law for everyone, regardless of their race, their income, or where they live. Karofsky’s judicial integrity is in sharp contrast to the current Supreme Court that regularly twists the law to rubber stamp the priorities of a single political party, and caters its decisions to the interests of the rich, the powerful, and the well connected.

Jill Karofsky will make excellent and impartial Wisconsin Supreme Court justices who give every case a fair hearing and render decisions based on rigorous legal interpretation not ideology. She will be a breath of fresh air on a Supreme Court where the majority regularly puts politics and ideology ahead of the fair interpretation of the law.

Volunteer with Citizen Action to make calls for Jill Karofsky

Citizen Action of Wisconsin field staff and co-op organizers have been leading a phone banking effort in support of our endorsed Supreme Court candidate, Jill Karofsky.  Last weekend the co-op organizers rolled this program out to co-op member volunteers. The 90 minute training was designed to explain the Race, Class Narrative messaging we are using in the campaign and give Citizen Action of Wisconsin members a chance to get involved this election.

Please use this link to watch the Zoom training.

If you want to get involved with phone banking from home please reach out to your local co-op organizer.

Other Citizen Action April 7th Endorsements

Milwaukee Area Organizing Co-op

Chris Larson, Milwaukee County Executive

Senator Larson, who is a Citizen Action co-op member, is prepared to implement bold reform of county government. Chris Larson would be the first progressive Milwaukee County Executive in modern history. Senator Larson is committed to using the power of county government to address the climate crisis in a way that provides living wage jobs for people currently locked out of economic opportunity.

Vote Yes for Milwaukee Public Schools Referendum

Vote Yes for MPS and the future of Milwaukee students! Passing this referendum will raise $87 million for Milwaukee Public Schools. This increase in funding will help to ensure that students are not only supported in their classrooms, but also outside, as well, through the staffing of nurses, psychologists, and social workers. Investing in the well being of our children means investing in the well being of our community. Remember to flip your ballot to find the referendum!

City of Milwaukee Drive-Up Early Voting location:

Zeidler Municipal Building
841 N Broadway

Wednesday, April 1 – Sunday, April 5
Monday – Friday 8am to 5pm
Saturday – Sunday 10am to 3pm

City of Milwaukee Common Council

Nikiya Dodd (District 5) – Nikiya Dodd is a proven progressive leader.  She led the fight for voters’ rights by opposing Governor Scott Walker’s Voter ID law. Dodd was also a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Senate, where she pushed for an increase in the minimum wage and for expanding affordable healthcare. She also put forth initiatives to repair Milwaukee’s foreclosure crisis and reform Wisconsin’s broken criminal justice system and mental health system.

Fred Royal  (District 7) – Fred Royal is a former Vice President of the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) Local 438 which got him started in a career path towards public service, community activism, and politics. Fred will be a leader on the council who will work with Citizen Action to address the climate crisis in a way that provides living wage jobs for people currently locked out of economic opportunity.

JoCasta Zamarripa (District 8) – State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, who is a member of our board of directors, will be a strong progressive leader on the council who will fight for Citizen Action’s climate and racial equity agenda. In this majority people of color southside district we believe JoCasta will do a tremendous job of bringing the diverse voices of the area to City Hall.

Peter Burgelis (District 11) – Peter Burgelis has been civically engaged for years and active in the nonprofit community. He is challenging one of the most extreme conservatives on the Common Council. Burgelis has many issues he plans to work on, including infrastructure improvements, city services and creating jobs.

Marina Dimitrijevic (District 14) – As our County Supervisor, Marina Dimitrijevic has led the way to reduce the county’s environmental footprint. At City Hall, Marina will be a partner in Citizen Action’s efforts to win a Milwaukee Green New Deal which dramatically reduces community-wide greenhouse emissions and creates family supporting jobs for those who need them most.

Milwaukee County Board

Liz Sumner (District 1) – Citizen Action co-op member Liz Sumner is fully prepared to become a leader on the county board. Liz will work to ensure that Milwaukee County serves the people who fund it and will fight to make sure our most valuable community assets, our parks, are protected and receive the investment they deserve so everyone in our district can enjoy the public spaces.

Sequanna Taylor (District 2) – Sequanna Taylor has been a rock solid progressive voice on the board who brings her background as an educator to legislating. Sequanna also serves on the Milwaukee School Board.

Joseph J. Czarnezki (District 11) – Citizen Action co-op member Joe Czarnezki has a long history of public service representing Milwaukee County as both a Wisconsin state representative, from 1981 to 1983, and a Wisconsin state senator, from 1983 to 1993.

Sylvia Ortiz-Velez (District 12) – Citizen Action co-op member Sylvia Ortiz-Velez has in one 2-year term already distinguished herself as an active progressive leader on the board who is willing to support new ideas. Sylvia is a supporter of Citizen Action’s efforts to win a Milwaukee Green New Deal which dramatically reduces community-wide greenhouse emissions and creates family supporting jobs for those who need them most.

Eddie Cullen (District 15) – In only a few short years on the board Eddie Cullen has established himself as a progressive member who works collaboratively with other members.

Tearman Spencer, Milwaukee City Attorney

Tearman Spencer is ready to use the City Attorney office to help advance our agenda. He was particularly impressive in his interview with his promise to work proactively with Citizen Action to ensure our climate and equity proposals at the City of Milwaukee pass legal muster and are implemented effectively. The incumbent has regularly used his office to work against most progressive legislation proposed at the City over the past three decades.

Dennis McBride, Mayor of Wauwatosa

Dennis McBride is a Citizen Action co-op member who has a long track record on public education and other important issues in Wauwatosa. Dennis would be the first progressive mayor in the history of Wauwatosa.

North Central WI Organizing Co-op

Katie Rosenberg, Mayor of Wausau

Katie has served the Marathon County Board of Supervisors for the last two terms. She attempted to pass a resolution for fair maps back in 2018, and has been supportive of our work around healthcare. She is also an advocate for renewable energy and responsible environmental practices. She is a vocal supporter of our Organizing Co-ops. It’s hard to capture all that she has accomplished as an elected leader, but her willingness to work with all parties involved is something that gives her an edge in governing.

Wausau City Council

Tiffany Rodriguez-Lee (District 2) –  Tiffany is a political newcomer, but her family has been very active in the local nonprofit world. She was recently elected as the Vice President of the Governance Council for the Wausau Area Montessori Charter School, and is the Grants & Outcomes Director at the Wausau Boys and Girls Club. Tiffany felt compelled to run because she believes the Wausau City Council does not embrace diversity. Her opponent is opposed to our platform and goals.

Tom Kilian (District 3) – Tom is a founding member of the Citizen Action NC Organizing Co-op, and has been one of our strongest supporters from the beginning. He has led the fight in Wausau to expose decades of environmental contamination in his neighborhood, covered up by industry and minimized by local and state governments. He co-created a group called Concerned Citizens of Wausau. Several Co-op members are also active in this group. Tom brought in the assistance of a Harvard toxicologist who is a member of Citizen Action’s national network People’s Action. He is challenging an incumbent who once recited biblical verses in response to organizers seeking a permit for a pride parade in Wausau.

Tracy Wheatley (District 7) – Tracy is a political newcomer, and is a young woman with a lot of passion who shares our values.

Sarah Watson (District 8) – Sarah is a Citizen Action co-op member,  a member of WEAC, and the co-president of her local. She is running against a woman who once served as Mayor of Wausau and has a history of making racial comments. Sarah was recommended to the Co-op by one of our founding members.

Marathon County Board of Supervisors

Jen Bizzotto (District 2) – Jen is a political newcomer. She currently works for Judicare, and believes that the Marathon County Board of Supervisors needs to be more inclusive of the diverse people that make up the community. She is running against someone that stands for the opposite of what our members stand for.

William Harris (District 3) – William is a political newcomer. He works for Judicare, and believes that we should be working to help families that are struggling and believes that local governments play a vital role in this. William is opposing a man that is opposed to much of what the Co-op wants to accomplish. The NC organizer serves on a candidate recruitment committee, made up of several groups and community leaders, and Will was found as a result of the efforts of this committee.

Ka Lo (District 5 & Wausau School Board) – A Citizen Action Co-op member, Ka has served on the Marathon County Board of Supervisors for the last 2 years, and is supportive of our platform. She is the first Hmong woman elected to the Marathon County Board of Supervisors. If she wins the race for school board, she will be the only voice for the Hmong community on that board. Ka used to run the progressive Democrats group in Marathon County, and is also active with Our Wisconsin Revolution.

Yee Leng Xiong (District 19, Village of Weston Board of Trustees, and DC Everest School Board) – Yee is a Citizen Action Organizing Co-op member, and is a fierce advocate for the Hmong community and for Citizen Action. He is the Youth Program Coordinator for the Hmong American Center in Wausau. Yee has served on the Marathon County Board of Supervisors since 2014, and has been on the DC Everest School Board and the Weston Village Board of Trustees for several years.

Jonathan Fisher (District 38) –  A founding member of the Citizen Action Organizing Co-op. Jonathan’s wife is also on the local Steering Committee of the co-op. Jonathan strongly supports our issue platform, and  is a huge supporter of health care reform and renewable energy. He and his partner are strong supporters of renewable energy and healthcare reform.

Tomahawk School Board

Mark Martello  – Mark is a founding member of the Citizen Action and is on the local steering committee. He ran for the 35th Assembly District in 2018 and played a role in developing Citizen Action’s issue platform. Mark is a veteran, and works for the VA Clinic.

Oneida County Board of Supervisors

Steven Schreier (District 4) – Steven and his partner are both Citizen Action organizing co-op members, and spoke at the JFC hearings in support of expanding BadgerCare and Fair Maps. Steven has helped lead the Fair Maps fights in the Town of Newbold and City of Rhinelander, and is committed to the Citizen Action platform.

Langlade County Board of Supervisors

Sandy Fischer (District 2) – Sandy is a founding Citizen Action co-op organizing member, has served on the Langlade County Board for many years, and has always been a champion for progressive causes. Sandy is committed to Citizen Action’s issue platform.

Northeast WI Organizing Co-op

Brown County Board of Supervisors

Lindsay Dorff (District 4) – Lindsay is a long time co-op member. She is a leader in the Fair Maps coalition and has demonstrated her commitment to progressive ideas many times over.

Megan Borchardt (District 8) – Megan is a co-op member and leader in Brown County on the issue of mental health and criminal justice reform. She works very closely with our WISDOM Affiliate and LGBTQ+ Leadership in her advocacy on the Brown County Board.

Cassandra Erickson (District 19) – Cassandra is a co-op member. She is a strong progressive leader in Brown County and spends her time volunteering in the local schools, and lead a transgender support group in Brown County.

Green Bay City Council

Barbara Dorff (District 1) – Barb is a long time member and supporter of progressive politics in Green Bay. She is a vocal supporter of Co-op member Mayor Eric Genrich’s push for inclusivity and diversity positions in Green Bay.

Randy Scannel (District 7) – Randy is a co-op member and vocal progressive on the Green Bay City Council. He has been working closely with the Green Bay sustainability commission to implement their recommendations on a municipal level.

Calumet County Board of Supervisors

Emily Voight (District 3) – Emily is a co-op member and political leader in Calumet county. Her three main goals as a county board member are fair maps, health, and human services and clean water for her community.

Free COVID-19 treatment is a critical missing link. It’s up to state leaders to make sure everyone gets help

By: Robert Kraig

This article originally appeared in the Wisconsin Examiner

The coronavirus pandemic confronts us with a cascading medical emergency that would challenge the greatest leaders.

Fatefully, at a moment when hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance, the Trump Administration has made the threat exponentially worse. The administration’s catastrophic failures include a delay of at least a month in ramping up testing, no uniform national social distancing rules and a rigid ideological refusal to wield the power of the federal government to ramp up production and assure timely and cost effective distribution of desperately needed medical supplies and protective equipment. Compounding this chain of errors, the president’s daily press conferences are sowing public confusion and likely impeding social distancing.

That’s why the United States — the most powerful and capable nation on earth — has by far the most COVID-19 cases, and is testing at among the lowest rate in the developed world. It’s so bad that a president who spent a month downplaying the threat is redefining success as holding the death toll to 100,000, nearly double the American fatalities in the Vietnam War.

With lives hanging in the balance, we don’t have the luxury of dwelling on the past. There will be a time for honest accounting, but in the present we have a moral obligation to get ahead of the curve of this pandemic. One lesson learned is that we can’t rely on the federal government to lead. This shifts an immense and unexpected burden on governors and state legislators.

There are hopeful signs that Gov. Tony Evers is stepping up to the challenge. He has already made two critically important moves, and I will suggest a third: guaranteeing to everyone in Wisconsin free treatment for COVID-19, and any medical care that follows.

The governor’s first critical action was mandating social distancing, which he did over the objections of Republican legislative leaders and powerful corporate lobbyists. This would not have been necessary if the federal government had tested in a timely fashion, which would have allowed us to trace the chains of transmission. But now that the coronavirus is spreading invisibly through the population, the best available containment strategy is drastically curtailing social interactions, putting the economy into what some economists term a “medically induced coma.”

This first step gives Wisconsin a fighting chance to slow the virus before the case volume overwhelms our hospitals. But because of the president’s refusal to force production of medical supplies and federalize the supply chain, it will not be enough. Understanding that we can’t wait for federal leadership, Evers made a second essential move: appealing for an immediate special session of the Legislature to expand his emergency powers and give Wisconsin the resources to meet the coming tsunami of infections. So far, the GOP leadership is playing politics as usual and dragging its feet, putting thousands of lives at risk.

Now that the governor is pursuing these two critical steps, my colleagues and I at Citizen Action of Wisconsin are recommending a third step that is essential for containing the pandemic: free universal treatment. This is the best way to identify everyone who already has been or will be infected, and interrupt the deadly chains of disease transmission. We need to start by testing and treating everyone with symptoms, and then once there is sufficient capacity test community-wide, identifying seemingly healthy people spreading the infection.

This is achievable through the power of state government, but only if Wisconsin immediately fixes a deadly flaw in the American health care system: unaffordable cost. A survey of over 1,000 Wisconsinites by Citizen Action and the Healthcare Value Hub found shockingly that nearly half have gone without needed medical care because of fear of the cost in the last year. Given unprecedented unemployment generated by the stay-at-home order, this fear is now even more intense.

Congress has taken the first necessary step by making COVID-19 testing free, but despite the efforts of progressive Democrats, any treatment is still subject to the unaffordable deductibles and copays of private insurance. There are also 321,000 Wisconsinites who are uninsured, and mass layoffs are certainly causing this number to skyrocket. The Kaiser Family Health Foundation estimates COVID-19 treatment will typically cost up to $20,000. In addition, the patients most at risk of life-threatening illness have underlying health conditions which also must also be addressed during coronavirus treatment.

Wisconsin can eliminate this barrier to containing the pandemic by making all medical follow up and treatment that results from seeking a COVID-19 test cost free, including any other urgent medical issues that are discovered.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has a common sense plan to make this happen which we have shared with the governor.

First, use emergency powers granted by the federal government to deploy BadgerCare to guarantee that everyone has health coverage during the pandemic.

Second, immediately expand BadgerCare by accepting the Medicaid Expansion authorized by the Affordable Care Act. This would cover at least 75,000 more people, and free up $340 million that can be immediately put into the COVID-19 fight.

Third, mandate that health insurance plans pay for all treatment resulting from seeking medical attention for COVID-19. If this creates too much of a burden on some local health plans, Wisconsin can limit the price gouging built into our profit-centered system by requiring hospitals to accept more reasonable Medicare rates for all treatment that results from a COVID-19 test.

This unprecedented public health emergency focuses us on the truth that we are all interconnected, and that leaving people out of our healthcare system risks the lives of everyone in our community.

I urge you to contact your state legislators today and demand an immediate special session to both act on the Governor’s coronavirus relief bill, and to adopt Citizen Action’s plan to guarantee free coronavirus treatment for everyone in Wisconsin.

“COVID-19 sickens Wisconsin democracy” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast   

Remaining safer at home, the panel discuss COVID-19 and Citizen Action’s call for free treatment and other critical health care emergency actions needed to contain the pandemic. We dig into dysfunctional political situation in Wisconsin that is careening into a dangerous and anti-democratic election on April 7th. We urge listeners to get their absentee ballots in immediately and encourage everyone to remind friends, family and social networks to do the same. Finally, we dive into a conversation about healthcare workers being fired for speaking out about lack of proper gear and unsafe conditions.

Listen Now – Episode #436
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