Citizen Action Weekly

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, July 3rd

Friday, July 3rd

Citizen Action leads the fight for extending enhanced unemployment benefits and Federal appeals court reverses Citizen Action legal victory on voting rights.

We had our first live  in person news conference during the age of COVID19 in La Crosse this week, with appropriate masking and social distancing. Our Driftless Area co-op members who participated and our speaker got brand new Citizen Action face coverings! The focus was the need for the federal government to renew enhanced unemployment benefits, scheduled to expire July 1. We also advocated Senator Tammy Baldwin’s bill to create a New Deal-style publicly subsidized jobs program, to both address our depression-like conditions and to begin the green transition needed to prevent a climate cataclysm.

We got great media coverage, including TV 19 (ABC) La Crosse, WIZM News Talk 1410 AM La Crosse, and TV 8 (CBS) La Crosse

On a much more troubling note, a right-wing panel of judges on a federal appeal court reversed a Citizen Action legal victory on voting rights. The Citizen Action was a lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit that struck down both Scott Walker early voting restrictions and the ones the Lame Duck Legislature attempted to impose. Citizen Action members and organizers are leading the fight to expand access to both mail voting and in-person voting in cities and counties across Wisconsin. This horrendous decision makes it harder, but our initial reading of the ruling shows there are still many ways that local governments can expand access to both early voting and to vote-by-mail. Our lawyers conclude that despite reimposing the 14 day limit on early voting, there is no limit to the number of locations or early voting hours local governments can provide. We are also consulting with our lawyers about the possibility of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

See coverage from Wisconsin Examiner, The Nation, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Fox 6 TV Milwaukee, and Associated Press.

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was a guest on the Jeff Santos Radio Show, a Boston-based program that also is featured on Milwaukee and Madison progressive radio. He discussed the push to move Biden to a bold progressive position, and the federal appeals court early voting decision.

Request Your Absentee Ballot Today!

Request your absentee ballot today

Senator Tammy Baldwin Virtual Town Hall on Job Creation and Extending Unemployment

Join Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and Citizen Action Executive Director Dr. Robert Kraig on Wednesday July 8th, 11am, as they go over the opportunity to protect and create hundreds of thousands of jobs to prevent a growing economic recession!

Senator Tammy Baldwin has been leading the way urging a national subsidized employment program in future Congressional action to stop a growing recession. Join her and Citizen Action Wednesday July 8th, 11am,  as we talk about what it is, why it matters, and how we can help!

Register here to reserve a slot for this special event and receive further details for this event.

CALL TO ACTION: Send an email to your representatives in the Senate and the House to let them know you support creating millions of jobs.

In order to create jobs and secure federal employment we need to make our voice heard in Washington.  Our leaders in Congress need to hear from us NOW.  Please take a moment to use this link to send an email directly to your representatives in the US Senate and the House of Representatives letting them know you support the creation of federally subsidized jobs and an expansion of the federal unemployment benefits. It only takes a minute to email your representatives directly.

Attend a Black Lives Matter event near you!

Checkout list of events in Wisconsin.

Northwestern WI Co-op General Party Meeting – July 11, 2020 at 10:00am

Join us on Zoom on July 11, 2020 at 10am for a gathering of our Northwestern Wisconsin Co-op members!

We will be discussing what we have done so far this year, where we are heading, and what Citizen Action is doing for the 2020 elections.

Register in advance here for your Zoom link.

Northwestern Co-op Virtual Coffee w/Your Co-op Dates! 

We will be having numerous “Coffee w/Your Co-op” events in July! We are working on building our membership and activism in the rural communities across Northwestern Wisconsin and we need your help!

Please ask 1-2 friends to join us virtually on the date that corresponds to where they live and let them know how they would be paramount to our important organizing work in 2020 and beyond! Please register for one of the dates below (BYOCoffee!)

  • July 10th – Barron and Rusk Counties – Register Here
  • July 17th – St. Croix, Polk, and Burnett Counties – Register Here
  • July 24th – Pierce, Dunn, and Pepin Counties – Register Here
  • July 31st – Eau Claire, Trempealeau, and Chippewa Counties – Register Here

Action Opportunity: Help Citizen Action Endorsed Candidates Win on August 11th!

The August 11th primary is fast approaching! In addition to making sure that you have your absentee ballot requested and filled out, you can make a huge impact in supporting two of our endorsed candidates:

Kristina Shelton is in a tough race against the incumbent in Assembly District 90. She continues to demonstrate a commitment to her community and her experience, integrity, and vision to lead is greatly needed in the State Assembly. Her opponent, Staush Gruzynski, has been removed from all committee assignments after an investigation determined he sexually harassed an employee of the state legislature. You can help learn more about her action opportunities by visiting

Jonathon Hansen is in a primary to represent the Democratic Party in Senate District 30. Jonathon tirelessly served his community during his time on the De Pere City Council. He brings that same determination to his run for State Senate. Jonathon will fight to bring a living wage and affordable, quality healthcare coverage to the people of Wisconsin, no matter your ZIP code. His pride in serving every single resident of his community, district, and state will move Wisconsin forward. His campaign is looking for people to make phone calls before his Primary on August 11th! You can sign up here:

Don’t forget these two Citizen Action of Wisconsin endorsed candidates come August 11th!

Meet Citizen Action’s 2020 Field Team Leaders

Lead Organizer Viola Myers: (most people call me Vi or V, choose the one that best resonates with you) I support my team in creating the antidote to what got Trump elected. We conspire to rewrite the narrative that continues to oppress and demean the lives of the vast majority of American’s (and citizens of the World). Together we elevate our strengths (and diminish our weaknesses) to accomplish a collective goal in Wisconsin and throughout America that will give the 99 percenters a voice in the political system. Creating a narrative that includes all of us and not just the wealthy few.

My political activism started last year when I was approached by the Andrew Yang Campaign to start a Yang Gang chapter in my community.

My first feat as a Yangsta was to prepare a speech for his May 5th 2019 Rally in Minneapolis, MN; there were 2,000 in attendance. Nervously, I accomplished the task and was instantly activated and wanted to do more. I began to actively promote my Eau Claire Yang Gang through the various tactics that the Campaign provided. I soon realized that these activities were not going to get him elected. I started immersing myself in any Democratic political groups that I could find online. In my journey I ran across the Young Democrats of America. I had the opportunity to attend their biennial convention.

There I was blessed to meet young, active and motivated activists and politicians; I was hooked. I listened to their stories of the experiences and knowledge that they had accumulated in their young lives. It was apparent that I also needed those resources and tools in order to accomplish my goal of getting Yang elected. There was only one thing left and that was to dust off my resume and apply with the Campaign. I began my first political job October 16 2019 with the Campaign. This took me to Iowa for the 2020 Caucus season as well as Nevada where I lead our team in our Early Voting endeavors. In March, after the suspension of the Campaign, I came back to Wisconsin on a mission to help local democratic (conscious)  politicians win local elections in an effort to defeat D.J. Trump. Now, I work as a Lead Field Organizer with Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Lead Organizer Ken Hood:  My path to political activism has not been a straightforward one. I grew up in a conservative household. Six sisters and one younger brother crammed into a small house in the suburbs. We were a poor family in a rich neighborhood. Growing up I was taught the value of hard work and education.  At the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, I got outside of my conservative bubble. I learned about other religions, cultures, and worldviews. I made mistakes. I asked a lot of questions.  By the end of my college experience I had earned a BA in English, I had gotten married, and I was about to become a father to my first child. Upon graduating I completed a 1 year “leadership development” internship doing church ministry in Minneapolis. My proudest accomplishment from that time was the work I did tutoring Somali refugees.

Moving our family to Wisconsin has turned out to be a transformative experience for me. It was here that I fully shed my conservative beliefs and became interested in progressive ideas and organizing. I searched for opportunities to expand the circle of compassion and social justice in ways that fit my skills and circumstances. My career path branched into customer service where I became a tier-two phone support specialist representing several retail brands. I attended UW Eau Claire for two years and earned a degree in Education. Now our three children enjoy living in the small town that their mother also grew up in. I love the amazing scenery and the friendly people. I’m an active member of the Blue Hills UU Fellowship in Rice Lake. And I can’t imagine being part of a better organization right now than Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Lead Organizer Kaile Sepnafski: (she/her/hers): I grew up around Wausau, Wisconsin and, thankfully, I was raised by parents who showed me what it means to serve the public and supported – even pushed – me to venture as far away as I felt comfortable. First, I went to the University of Minnesota for undergrad at a time when I was certain I would be a public-school teacher. Act 10 happened, and I decided to find a different path without forgetting my love for education. As a part of my journey down a new path, I studied post-conflict transformation in Gulu, Uganda and Kigali, Rwanda. Studying abroad provided me experiences and spaces to both expand and dig deeper into my views on justice, equality, race, and humanity. Studying abroad also helped me recognize my interest in governmental affairs and advocacy and set me in a direction toward grad school at The Ohio State University to pursue a master’s degree in education policy and a law degree.

I love learning – from people, from places; I love exploring; I enjoy trying to meet people where they are and listening to people talk; I love trying things (I mean I may not like it). I want every child, every student to have access to all the same resources, and nurturing attention and support that my teachers and professors showed me at every step in my education. Unfortunately, our public education system as a cornerstone of our democracy is being eroded. Thus, I wanted to take all that I had learned to work for a nonprofit that advocates for public schools. That is still what I want to do.

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work for CAW. I feel so fortunate to work with an organization that not only shares my values, but also allows me to work on projects I care deeply about in a way that attempts to meet people where they are, treat them like whole, complex humans with their own unique experiences and set of circumstances, while not shying away from the difficult but crucial conversations about race and class.

La Crosse residents you can TAKE ACTION NOW on climate change and expanding voting access 

If you live in La Crosse county you can take action right now to fight climate change and expand voting access by joining our lobbying efforts.  Citizen Action of Wisconsin has two very important lobbying campaigns going on in your area right now and we need your help.  Your elected leaders need to hear from you so that they know that you support clean energy and safe elections!

First of all Citizen Action is working with the Sierra Club, Wisconsin Conservation Voters, and NextGEN to push the La Crosse County board to pass a resolution committing to 100% clean renewable energy by 2050.  This resolution lays out a plan to transition the county off of carbon emissions in energy production.  We need to send a message to the county board that residents want a cleaner, greener future.  You can help by filling out this form to send an email directly to county board members and let them know that you support 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050.

Citizen Action (along with several area partners) is also hard at work to demand that the city of La Crosse expand voting access during the age of COVID19.  People should never have to choose between their health and being able to vote.  We need to make sure that our November election goes smoothly to avoid the kind of scenes that happened in Milwaukee in April.  We are asking the city to create drive through polling locations, add absentee ballot drop off locations, and create a plan to guarantee at least 75% of polling locations are open and staffed on election day.  You can help by using this form to send an email directly to the mayor and the city clerk to let them know you support expanding voting access during the pandemic!

Attend a virtual listening session of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change.

Wisconsin has fallen behind other states in addressing climate change. A state task force is advising the Governor on strategies the state can take to fight global warming.

You can be part of this efforts to move Wisconsin forward by attending or speaking at one of the 3 remaining scheduled public hearings. Let our leaders know how we can make our state a healthier, safer, and more sustainable place to live. The first listening sessions of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change drew in more than 200 members of the public who expressed a lot of passion for the issue. There are 3 more scheduled online hearings:

  • July 7th, 6-9pm
  • July 9th, 6-9pm
  • July 15th, 6-9pm

For more information, contact the co-op organizer at [email protected]

“Judges, Billionaires, and Pandemic Chaos” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

The panel digs into the racist federal appeals court ruling restricting Wisconsin early voting, and risking a dangerous replay of the infamous pandemic primary. Citizen Action is a lead plaintiff in the case. We discuss a new report co-released by Citizen Action of Wisconsin on how 8 Wisconsin billionaires have made an economic killing from the pandemic.  The pandemic continues to accelerate, confounding Donald Trump and the GOP by refusing to go away on its own.  We point out some of the hotspots and controversies around the Badger State. We look at the rising pressure for Congress and the President to extend coronavirus economic relief, and to make bold new investments in publicly-subsidized jobs and a green transition. We report back on a major news event Citizen Action led in La Crosse this week to put pressure on the feds to act. Finally, we look at the latest Wisconsin racial justice protest developments, and unveil the latest round of Citizen Action legislative endorsements.

Listen Now – Episode #499
Download MP3

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