Citizen Action Weekend E Newsletter; Friday, December 23rd
Happy Holidays from Citizen Action!
Please consider a year end donation to Citizen Action’s 2023 Supreme Court Action Fund.
Hold the Date Madison Area: Citizen Action Fundraising Happy Hour featuring Executive Director, Robert Kraig.
Delta Beer Lab, 167 East Badger Road
Wednesday, January 4th 5-7pm.
Citizen Action North Side Rising stages protest of We Energies in frigid conditions.
Braving dangerous wind chills Thursday evening, a hardy group of Citizen Action members gathered in front of the We Energies branded Milwaukee Christmas Tree in the Firsev Forum’s Deer District to protest the socially damaging policies of the lucrative utility monopoly.
The protest was led by Citizen Action’s African American led chapter in Milwaukee, North Side Rising Organizing Co-op, and supported by our Citizen Action co-op members across the metro area working on the climate and equity crisis.
The protesters called out We Energies as a driving force behind the energy affordability and climate crisis.
“We Energies wants to take credit for holiday cheer by branding our city’s 109th Christmas Tree. The truth is that the profit-hungry energy monopoly is really giving Milwwaukeans a lump of coal in our stockings this holiday season in the form of massive rate increases, discriminatory prices for low income people, and foot-dragging on the climate crisis,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
First, We Energies imposes racially discriminatory energy burdens on red-lined communities which have been forced to live in zip codes with the oldest least energy efficient buildings, charging high prices and fees while blocking access to energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades for low income homeowners and renters. As a result, Black and Brown Milwaukeeans often pay 10 to 20 times more of their income for energy than their white counterparts, forcing them to choose between keeping the lights on and basics such as food, rent, and medical care.
In the rate case before the Public Services Commission this fall We Energies, which has a guaranteed 10% profit written into public policy, won a huge 11% rate increase on top of what are already the 2nd highest utility prices in the Midwest. Citizen Action coalition partner Walnut Way intervened in the case, demanding a new pricing system that capped the amount charged to low income customers. But We Energies used its political muscle and decades of rigging the rules by which they are regulated to win the case by a 2-1 vote.
Second, We Energies is dangerously slow-walking the necessary climate transition to squeeze maximum profit out of the dirty coal plants it should never have built given the scientific consensus on climate change, while laying the groundwork to dominate the rising renewable energy system and lock in future price gouging. The investments We Energies is making in a clean energy transition are both too slow to meet the climate crisis and over focused on centralized energy production they can control and exploit. They are deliberately blocking access to more democratic renewable energy production such as roof top and community solar, and to energy conservation upgrades which reduce demand for their product.
“The lobbying and political might We Energies has amassed has undermined the original social compact where the utility was guaranteed reasonable profits for operating in the public interest,” continued Kraig. “Current Wisconsin energy policy is rigged to meet insatiable demand for more windfall profits by We Energies management and its Wall Street backers.”
Citizen Action members made it clear Thursday evening that the rate case was only the first battle, and the fight for fair rates and a rapid and just climate transition is beginning.
Contact [email protected] to get involved with the campaign.
Watch CBS 58 news coverage of event.
Attend Citizen Action’s State Supreme Court Forum, January 11th, 7pm
Citizen Action is hosting a virtual State Supreme Court forum on January 11th, 2023 at 7pm for all Democratic and progressive State Supreme Court candidates!
The State Supreme Court is the next key race in getting Wisconsin back on track, including stronger and more representative maps and ensuring fair voting practices around the state.
DONATE today to Citizen Action’s 2023 Supreme Court Action Fund
Citizen Action launched our NEW 2023 Supreme Court Action Fund a few weeks ago, and the support from our members has been tremendous. End 2022 with a donation to our Fund!
Citizen Action in the News
Members and organizers from Citizen Action’s NorthSide Rising Organizing Co-op (our African American led chapter in Milwaukee) staged a protest in the frigid cold against We Energies for their massive rate increase, discriminatory prices for low income communities of color, and foot-dragging on the climate crisis. The event took place at Milwaukee’s public Christmas Tree in the Deer District, which is branded by We Energies.
The event drew excellent coverage from CBS 58 in Milwaukee, despite the need to give airtime to misleading statements by the We Energies PR flack. Read more on the damage We Energies is doing to economic equity and the climate crisis in Citizen Action’s Explainer.
Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig wrote an extensive debrief of the Wisconsin midterm elections which assesses our gains and charts a path forward to victory in future elections. It appeared in a new rural focused news outlet, Barn Raiser.
Listen to “St. Francis Nurses Stand Up & Fight Corporate Healthcare” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast
We welcome Connie Smith, president of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals and Jamie Lucas, executive director, to discuss Ascension’s profit-maximizing closure of St. Francis Hospital’s Labor and Delivery unit, creating a new healthcare desert for women and their families on Milwaukee’s south side. We discuss the economic forces driving Ascension’s decision, and the leverage public mobilization and protest, and elected officials willing to speak out, can create to back them down.
We also evaluated the effectiveness of Democrats in the recent Congressional “Lame Duck” session; Was it irresponsible to not deal with the debt limit through reconciliation and other filibuster proof progressive priorities or did Democratic leaders do the best that was possible with a bad hand? We talk about a new article Robert wrote for Barn Raiser debriefing Wisconsin’s 2022 election. Robert urges us to spend less time on punditry and more on deeper conversations with voters. We look ahead to the huge opportunity the 2023 Supreme Court Election for us to talk to more voters and win.
Listen to the show.
Contact Milwaukee Mayor Chevy Johnson in support of reversing Ascension’s scheme to close the Labor and Delivery unit at St. Francis. Call the mayor’s office: 414-286-2200.
RSVP for Citizen Action’s 2023 Supreme Court Candidate Forum, 6pm.
Donate to Citizen Action’s 2023 Supreme Court Action Fund to support paid “deep canvass” voter contact program.
Volunteer to talk to voters in the 2023 Supreme Court election.
Social media post of the week