This week we take on huge issues: the threatening new scientific consensus on the faster than expected warming of the climate; the biggest social legislation since the New Deal advances in the Senate; and the COVID pandemic escalates at an alarming rate among the right-wing anti-vaxers. We also touch on the escalating threat to democracy, the retirement of Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind, and the latest on America’s worst Senator, Wisconsin’s own Ron Johnson. Listen Now – Episode #505 Download Mp3 Press Clips
The panel learns the news that the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the latest attempt overturn the ACA just as we are beginning to tape this week’s episode. Listen to our immediate reactions and analysis. After digging into the ACA decision, our panel reviews the dreary final week of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee state budget process, including terrible healthcare decisions and the rejection of bipartisan criminal justice reform compromises. The state’s 5 largest school districts tell Republican leaders they’re halting 2021-22 school year planning because of funding uncertainty caused by the draconian state budget cuts to education. Meanwhile Assembly Republicans find time to to target trangendered teens, passing legislation banning transgender athletes from competing in womens sports. We close with a look at the increasing power of the QAnon caucus within Assembly Republicans, including a new push to bring the Arizona vote audit to Wisconsin as part of a plot to declare Donald Trump President. Is Robin Vos losing control of his caucus to the even more radical right? Listen Now – Episode #497 Download Mp3 Press Clips
For Immediate Release–April 20, 2021
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 [email protected]
Citizen Action Praises Chauvin Guilty Verdict: Calls for Transformational Reform of the Entire System
Milwaukee: Citizen Action of Wisconsin praises the murder conviction of George Floyd’s killer, former Minneapolis Police officer Derrick Chauvin, and calls for the structural reforms needed to end the police assault on Black lives.
“This murder conviction is a step forward and a great relief to everyone who cares about true human equality, but it must only be a start, not an exoneration of the system that made it possible,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The downside is that the verdict required singling out one police officer while giving cover to the police department in Minneapolis (and others around the country) for the responsibility of a structurally racist system that does not truly respect Black life. The only real solution is an unwinding of the current systems of policing and mass incarceration and its replacement with a new balanced system that truly promotes community safety for everyone in America.”
“The truth is, without the over policing of Black and Brown communities, the over funding of police departments compared to nonviolent interventions, and the social and economic investments needed in low-income and marginalized communities, George Floyd would not have had to fight for his life after being accused of a petty crime. This verdict does not change what we know to be true: the deadly official violence aimed at Black people in America will not end until we uproot the whole system, root and branch, and replace it with a system that equally values all human lives, especially Black lives and the many others that are devalued by our out of control system of policing and mass incarceration.”
The whole Citizen Action of Wisconsin team supports and fights alongside George Floyd’s family and the people demanding justice and accountability. But we also know that Justice is not just Chauvin’s conviction. Justice would be George Floyd being alive.
This week we discuss the historic passage of the American Rescue Plan, universal GOP opposition, and its implications in Wisconsin. In addition to the massive aid it provides to working people, the new law puts an extra $1.6 billion dollars on the table if Wisconsin finally passes BadgerCare Expansion. Will Legislative Republicans still stand in the way? After reviewing major new agenda items that are moving in the next stage of Biden’s reform agenda such as labor law reform, voting rights, and a massive green infrastructure plan, we have an exclusive interview with Wausau Mayor (and Citizen Action member) Katie Rosenberg on the city’s exciting new guaranteed income pilot program. Listen Now – Episode #483 Download Mp3
For Immediate Release – February 17, 2021
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324/[email protected]
Commends Governor’s Budget on Healthcare Costs, Climate, and Economic Equity.
Statewide: On behalf of its grassroots members across the state, Citizen Action of Wisconsin commends Governor Evers for the important advances in his state budget to address the crippling cost of health care, and the pressing need for an immediate climate transition that expands economic opportunity for everyone in Wisconsin, especially all of the people left out of prosperity and in desperate need of family supporting jobs.
The crushing cost of health care has been the top issue in Wisconsin for two consecutive elections. Governor Evers included major health care initiatives that Citizen Action members have been fighting for, including full BadgerCare Expansion under the Affordable Care Act, a new BadgerCare Public Option to give Wisconsinites a more affordable choice than corporate for-profit insurance, and a Prescription Drug Price Review Board to restrict price gouging by the Pharmaceutical industry. The Governor also includes in his budget the creation of a Wisconsin health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, a critical cost, access, and accountability reform for which Citizen Action has long fought for.
Citizen Action members across Wisconsin have also been organizing for a large-scale climate transition that uses the opportunity to radically expand economic opportunity and equity for working Wisconsinites left out of access to good family supporting jobs, especially those from marginalized communities and economically challenged rural areas.
Following up on the recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change, Chaired by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the budget includes several initiatives Citizen Action members have been fighting for. These include on-bill utility bill financing (zero cost financing for home energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades for homeowners and renters), and a requirement that Wisconsin municipalities develop comprehensive climate action and resilience plans.
Citizen Action commends additional major budget items included by Governor Evers. The Governor’s investment in rural broadband, especially the enabling of public broadband in the most undeserved areas, is a major issue Citizen Action’s rural members have been pushing for to level the playing field for Wisconsin’s rural communities. In the area of voting rights, the budget mandates automatic voter registration, a common sense reform to remove needless obstacles to voting for which Citizen Action has advocated for over a decade.
Citizen action also commends the Governor’s proposals to end the failed prohibition of marijuana, the expansion of workers rights to form unions and bargain collectively in the public and private sectors, a dramatically enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit for moderate income working families, juvenile justice reform, rural flooding initiatives, overhaul of the state’s antiquated unemployment insurance system, and gun reform.
“Without question, Governor Ever’s budget is the most visionary and progressive we have seen in Wisconsin in over a decade,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action. “The Governor’s budget is a breath of fresh air packed with meaningful advances that will improve the health and economic well being of working Wisconsinites.”
During the tenth anniversary of Act 10, we consider its legacy, what it says about the ruthlessness of modern conservatism, and the continuing ramifications of historic protests it sparked. We dig into a number of major state and federal issues, including the latest attacks on the mask mandate, a bill in Congress that would supercharge the ACA, and Governor Evers pre-budget announcements on BadgerCare Expansion, Marijuana Legalization, and Prescription Drug reform. Do these initiatives bode well for a more progressive state budget? We look at some huge federal issues in the heady early days of the Biden Administration, including COVID relief, impeachment, and protecting the housing rights of the LGBTQ community. Finally we raise concerns about the wave of anti-Asian violence in the U.S. sparked by right-wing rhetoric, and a rogue ICE which is flaunting President Biden’s executive orders and continues to follow Trump’s immoral deportation policies. Listen Now – Episode #479 Download Mp3 Press Clips
Citizen Action of Wisconsin is seeking to hire a Health Equity Organizer beginning as soon as January 15th of 2021. This is a full time (40-50 hrs/week on average) salaried position. Some evenings and weekends required, as well as in-state travel and occasional out-of-state travel. Normally, this position would be based in the Milwaukee office, but during the COVID-19 public health emergency, it is a majority work from home position. In person usage of the Milwaukee Office will be granted on a need basis and in compliance with Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Covid 19 Safety Policy. Applicants must have unlimited access to reliable high speed internet and cellular service at home, and an aptitude for/ desire to learn how to conduct organizing though digital and phone communications. Applicants must live in (or be willing to relocate to) the Greater Milwaukee Area. Women, Bi-racial/People of Color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and formerly incarcerated individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.
Description of Work: This position reports to the Health Care for All Director and works closely with the Climate and Equity Director. A successful Health Equity Organizer will work to advance a Health Equity Campaign primarily with and in communities of Color in Milwaukee, and with a multi-racial and cultural constituency in other rural and suburban areas of the state. The Health Equity Organizer will work closely with other organizing staff who lead Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Organizing Cooperatives (a modernized chapter system). The role involves community organizing and multi racial and cultural coalition building. Together with member-leaders and Citizen Action of Wisconsin staff, the Health Equity Organizer will advance diverse/multi level healthcare related issue and electoral campaigns that lead to real impacts on their community and lay the groundwork for large scale changes in communities of Color and for all of us in Wisconsin.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin organizers are expected to learn new skills on the job, and are provided with training and onboarding that may take up to 6 months, while also “jumping in” to the work to gain lived experience. After 6 months to a year, the successful Citizen Action of Wisconsin Organizer will be highly skilled in traditional community organizing; coalition building; public speaking and providing issue education to members of the public; event planning, hosting, and turnout; dues-paying membership recruitment and retention; development and implementation of short and long term issue and electoral campaigns; at least at an intermediate level in regards to all technology and tools they have at their disposal; as well as crafting organizing messaging and maintaining social media presence.
On a special Thanksgiving edition of Battleground Wisconsin we dig into the question of how Joe Biden can govern effectively in the face of a Republican Party whose base is supercharged and will do everything to undermine his administration. First we talk with Rick Perlstein, the author of 4 major books on the rise of the radical right, including the recently released Reaganland, about the prospects for passing progressive reform when 73 million American believe a dangerous and counterfactual ideology. Next, John Nichols joins the conversation to discuss what we can learn about Biden’s strategy from his early cabinet picks. Is this a group that can move progressive policy on the pandemic, economic reconstruction, structural racism, and the climate threat, or is it more of the same from establishment Democrats? Listen Episode #469 Download Mp3
We are on tape from last week’s from the Democratic National Convention, in our long planned counter programming to the proto-fascist Republican National Convention. Will not be able to comment on the latest racist atrocity in Kenosha until next week (but links to our latest statements are below). For this week’s program, on radio row at the Democratic National Convention we taped 4 interviews about a central question for the future of racial justice, economic equality, and the future of the planet: will a future Biden Administration, if we can elect him, be boldly progressive? The alliance between Biden and Bernie Sanders on policy is a great sign, but there are huge challenges to making this alliance between moderates and progressives really happen after the election. We ask two moderates and two progressives for their views. We start the moderates, leading off with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, whose storied political career in state and national politics has made him a very well informed player within the Democratic Party. Next we talk to Jason Rae, the Secretary of the Democratic National Committee, who knows the inner workings of the party as well as anyone. Then, we talk to two progressives with national reputations. John Nichols the National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation, and one of the most prolific writers in the entire progressive media and a large following in his native Wisconsin. Finally George Goehl, Executive Director of People’s Action (Citizen Action’s national network), bats clean up on our powerhouse panel. George is one of the most respected and strategic progressives organizers in the country.