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.
Posts of: Brian Wooldridge
Friday, July 24th
North Side Rising Campaign Keeps the Lights On for WeEnergies Customers
Last week, North Side Rising and community allies held a rally and march to We Energies calling for an extension of the moratorium on We Energies and utilities from cutting of power to those who can’t currently pay their bills. As of early this week, We Energies had not agreed to a moratorium extension Therefore, Northside Rising held another march and protest at We Energies this Wednesday.
The event focused attention on how important it is for everyone to have essential energy and power. “Please just have a heart, please look at us as people and not as profit,” said Dana Kelley, Citizen Action North Side Rising organizer. “We are struggling,’ said Kelley. “So to struggle to whether you’re going to pay the electric bill, or buy food, that’s not something right now that people need to be struggling and worrying about.”
In addition to the protest, North Side Rising organized people to contact the Public Service Commission to extend the moratorium on cutting off people’s power.
BREAKING UPDATE: On Thursday, the Public Service Commission voted 2-1 to extend the moratorium that bars utilities from disconnecting residential customers behind on their bills to Sept. 1. A huge victory for people in Wisconsin unable to pay their bills due to COVID-19. Citizen Action of Wisconsin got some of the credit, see story in the Milwaukee Journal SentinelRead media from North Side Rising rally.
Driftless Co-op Anniversary Meeting, Saturday, August 29th
On August 29th the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op will have its one year anniversary of organizing in the area. In honor of the big day we will be hosting a virtual meeting for all our members, friends and allies.
This will be a chance to hear about all the work we have done to expand healthcare, protect voting rights, fight climate change and elect progressive candidates. We will also be laying out our plans for the rest of the year. Several members will be presenting on projects they have been working on with Citizen Action.
We encourage everyone to come out for this very special virtual meeting. Please use the link below to RSVP. Space is limited so RSVP today! Details on how to join this Zoom meeting will be sent once you RSVP.
Vote safely and conveniently from home in 2020!
All Registered Wisconsin voters are eligible to vote with an absentee ballot. You can request ballots for both the primary and general elections in 2020.
Request your absentee ballot today.
Primary Election is Tuesday, August 11th; Thursday August 6th is the last day to request your absentee ballot.
General Election is Tuesday, November 3rd; Thursday, October 29th is the last day to request an absentee ballot.
Meet Wisconsin State Assembly district 96 candidate Josefine Jaynes by watching her Citizen Action town hall.
On July 21st 2020 Citizen Action of Wisconsin was thrilled to host a candidate town hall with Wisconsin’s 96th Assembly district candidate Josefine Jaynes. Thank you to all of you who were able to join us for this very special event. For those who could not make it a video of the town hall can be found right here. Please watch the video and feel free to share it with friends and family.
After you watch the town hall please fill out this quick and easy survey. This survey will help us make sure that future town halls are informative for voters. It will also help generate feedback for Josefine’s campaign.
Wisconsin’s primary election is just three weeks away. It is so important that Josefine’s supporters lend a hand to turn out the vote. Below are a few ways to get involved with Josefine’s campaign.
- VOTE FOR JOSEFINE NOW VIA ABSENTEE BALLOT OR IN PERSON ON AUGUST 11TH
- Request an absentee ballot at myvote.wi.org
- Email Josefine at [email protected] to request a yard sign
- Use this link to follow Josefine’s campaign on Facebook and share content
- Follow Josefine’s campaign on Instagram @jaynes4wi
- Visit josefinejaynesforwi.com and sign up to be a volunteer
- Text Josefine at 608-606-5306 to schedule a one on one meeting
- Talk to your friends and family and encourage them to vote for Josefine
- Make a small dolar donation to help Josefine win right here
Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be working with Josefine’s campaign to schedule several days of action to help her win her primary. Keep an eye open for information about the following events
- Phone banking
- Text banking
- Sending handwritten postcards to voters across the district
- Volunteer shifts to drop flyers on voters’ doors
Green Bay Passes City-Wide Mask Ordinance
After a week of intense community discussion, the Green Bay City Council passed a City-Wide mask ordinance 7-5. Mayor Eric Genrich unveiled the proposal at a press conference on Monday. “I think we all want our schools to be open, but in order to do that, we need to crush this curve,” he said. “We all want the Packers season to be back and for fans to be able to witness the games … We want our economy back going strong, but in order to do that, we really need to bring the fight to the coronavirus.”
Green Bay Alder Randy Scannell first proposed a communication last week encouraging a city-wide mask ordinance, however it was not passed through the Policy and Protection committee. Thanks to you, we were able to help over 130 people contact the Green Bay City Council in favor of passing a mask-ordinance! Thank you to everyone who took action with us to encourage our elected leaders to put the health of our community above all else.
Join One of Multiple Solar Jobs & Green Homes Presentation Coming Up
Join a live video Zoom discussion about new ways Citizen Action of Wisconsin has found to help support job creation and fight climate change based on new federal actions that makes it easier for homes to get solar and/or cut mortgage & utility costs.
These presentations will go over what we are doing, how it fits into a movement for change, and how people can help, whether or not they are able to add solar panels. Virtual events are coming up on all the following dates/times:
- Wednesday, Jul 29 at 10:00 AM, co-hosted by Connie Raether, click here
- Wednesday, Jul 29 at 04:00 PM, co-hosted by Kay Hoff, click here:
- Wednesday, Jul 29 at 04:00 PM, co-hosted by Bryan Milz & Renee Gasch, click here
- Thursday Jul 30 at 04:00 PM, co-hosted by Jonathan Barker, click here:
- Thursday Jul 30 at 07:00 PM, co-hosted by Max Winkels, click here
- Friday Jul 31 at 09:00 AM, co-hosted by Jackie Cody, click here:
- Friday Jul 31 at 11:00 AM, co-hosted by Laura Lokken, click here
- Friday Jul 31 at 01:00 PM, co-hosted by Karen Lemke, click here:
- Tuesday Aug 4 at 03:30 PM, co-hosted by Rebecca Alwin, click here
- Tuesday Aug 4 at 05:00 PM, co-hosted by Randall Wendt, click here
- Thursday Aug 6 at 07:00 PM, co-hosted by Michael Karolewicz, click here
Vote August 11th & Volunteer for Citizen Action Candidate Kristina Shelton
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 Kristina Shelton in the 90th assembly district.
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. You can help Kristina win her election by sending texts, calling voters, and helping do lit drops in her district. You can help learn more about her action opportunities by visiting //www.kristinaforassembly.com/volunteer.
North Central Organizing Co-op is Working on a Solar Group Buy…Help Create Union Jobs and Cut Your Energy Bills and Carbon Emissions All at Once!
Citizen Action of Wisconsin has helped convince multiple banks through a public campaign to offer green home upgrades, where the bank provides resources to help cut a home’s carbon emissions and utility bills that pay for themselves right away. According to the Nature Resource Defense Council, reducing the carbon emissions coming from our home is the number one thing that we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. Plus, it’s good for the pocketbook!
Now, we are launching a project to train and coach homeowners through the steps of accessing solar through this campaign victory where they can help create good jobs fighting climate change through this “green mortgage” program saves more than it costs from the get go!
Citizen Action of Wisconsin is currently accepting applications for 20 homeowners from North Central Wisconsin to be fellows in this program at this time and participate in this “Group Buy”. Fellows chosen will be trained through video meetings and 1-1 coaching sessions to undertake and communicate how to fight climate change at home. Fellows will only be chosen if we are confident we can reduce their costs and cut their carbon emissions, with extra consideration for Citizen Action members and/or those from historically under-invested areas (especially rural and communities of color) and/or union members. You do not need to be a Citizen Action member for consideration.
Through this group buy, we will achieve better savings, and help push the industry to be better at delivering carbon-cutting upgrades to people in the Northwoods/Wausau area! Sign up here!
Fair Maps Coalition Update – Marathon County
Citizen Action of Wisconsin members from all across the state are part of the Fair Maps Coalition, and there has been some movement in the North Central region to get Fair Maps resolutions and/or referendums passed. Currently, the Marathon County Board of Supervisors is preparing to vote on a Fair Maps resolution. This will be the 2nd time that this has been attempted. The difference is that this time there is a new board, and several new members now exist. But the votes will be close!! Calling your County Board Supervisor, if you’re a Marathon County resident, and telling them that you support this, could be the difference between them voting yes or no! If you would like to call your County Board Supervisor, you can identify them and find their contact information here!
If you would like to stay up-to-date on the Fair Maps Coalition and the work that they are accomplishing, check out their latest newsletter, and stay tuned for future issues. One of the founding members of the Citizen Action of WI North Central Organizing Co-op is featured in this newsletter!
Citizen Action in the News
Citizen Action’s protest last week in Milwaukee on COVID-19 relief, led by our new African American led North Side Rising project, included the demand that the Public Services Commission extend the moratorium on utility shut-offs. On Wednesday the PSC reversed itself and extended the moratorium until October. Citizen Action got some of the credit in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story on the decision.
Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig sat down for a deep interview with People’s Action Executive Director George Goehl on how progressives can build governing power in the Biden Administration. It was a full episode of the Next Move Podcast, the newest feature of People’s Action, Citizen Action national federation of state and local social justice groups.
Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos Radio Show to discuss progressive movement building, following an interview with path-breaking African American Political Scientist Adolph Reed. The program, which originates from Boston, is replayed on the commercial progressive radio stations in the Madison and Milwaukee media markets. Citizen Action’s Battleground Wisconsin is also featured on these stations every week.
“Uncontrolled Contagion” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast
The panel digs into the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, now one of the worst 19 states in the country in containing the virus. How bad is it? What is the State Legislature, the Evers Administration, and local governments doing about it? As the federal cut-off of pandemic unemployment benefits looms, the panel discusses dissension in the ranks of the GOP, and the likely inadequate proposal they will make to the Democrats. We also look at the immense economic impact being inflicted on working Americans, and the disproportionate impact on communities of color. Will right-wing conservatives in The Senate and the White House get their act together, or will they unleash a historic wave of utility cut offs, hunger, evictions, and foreclosures?
Listen Now – Episode #452
Facebook Post of the week
New Report: Loss of Federal Unemployment Stimulus Will Devastate Wisconsin Working Families, lead to over 65,000 additional jobs losses
Report finds every metropolitan area to see substantial job loss as families lose funds.
STATEWIDE: On a media webinar today Citizen Action of Wisconsin was joined by State Senator La Tonya Johnson to release a new report showing the economic consequences of a failure of Congress to extend the $600-per-week benefit for out-of-work and partially working Wisconsinites. Without a renewal by Congress and the President, the benefits will expire on Saturday in Wisconsin. Republicans in Washington remain gridlocked, and will not make a counter proposal to House Democrats (who passed an unemployment extension in May) until next week at the earliest.
The report breaks down the economic impact of cutting the $600-per-week federal funding stimulus for major Wisconsin metropolitan areas. Over 200,000 Wisconsin unemployed workers and underemployed workers participating in Work-Share programs will lose more than half of their family incomes. Taking this money out of the pockets of working families across Wisconsin will have a cascading impact on local economies, cutting demand for groceries, auto repairs, and other basic services, damaging already struggling businesses and forcing additional layoffs. It will also force many to go without enough food and other basics, and spark an unprecedented wave of evictions and foreclosures.
- For workers, the drop in the $600 enhanced UI stimulus weekly will result in an over 60% drop in weekly earnings for those out-of-work. (Figure 1)
- Statewide, Wisconsin could expect to see a loss of 65,635 jobs over the rest of the year by a drop in consumer demand from the ending of the $600-per-week federal support to out-of-work Wisconsinites. (Figure 2)
- At current levels of unemployment, $3.1 billion in federal funds will be taken out of the pockets of working people and local Wisconsin economies from August through December. An extension through the end of the year is included in the HEROES Act passed by the House of Representatives in May but stalled by the U.S, Senate and the President. (Figure 2)
- Because metropolitan areas often cover large regions, county level unemployment figures alone do not fully capture the impact. The 3 metropolitan areas most impacted are Greater Milwaukee (20,458 jobs at risk), Greater Madison (6,842 jobs at risk) and Greater Green Bay (3,238 jobs at risk).
- As covered in Figure 3, every county in Wisconsin would be impacted, hurting rural and urban Wisconsin alike as dollars are not spent consumer-to-business then business-to-business.
Figure 1: Percent of Income Reduction from Drop in UI Benefits
|Impact by Worker Characteristics||Weekly Benefit Currently||Weekly Benefit Without Stimulus||Reduction in Earnings|
|Full-time worker who normally earns $20/hour or more*||$970||$370||61% reduction in spending potential|
|Worker who normally earns $10/hour, 30 hours a week||$756||$156||79% reduction in spending potential|
|Worker on a “Work-Share” plan, hours reduced 50% to 20 per week, $20/hour||$1,185||$585||50% reduction in spending potential|
* – Unemployment insurance amount is based on the quarterly earnings, a combination of hours and hourly wage. Data gathered from Department of Workforce Development’s Weekly Benefit Rate Calculator. UI weekly benefits are capped in Wisconsin at $370 per week at most.
Figure 2: Statewide and Metropolitan Economic Impact of Not Extending the $600/Week Unemployment Stimulus Until the End of 2020
|Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)||Jobs at Risk||Federal $ Taken from Wisconsin Working Families|
|STATEWIDE||65,635 jobs||$3.1 billion not coming to families|
|Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI MSA (covering Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington & Ozaukee counties)||20,458||$975.1 million|
|Madison, WI MSA (covering Dane, Iowa, Columbia & Green counties)||6,842||$326 million|
|Green Bay MSA (covering Brown, Oconto & Kewaunee counties)||3,238||$154.3 million|
|Appleton, WI MSA (covering Outagamie & Calumet counties)||2,344||$111.7 million|
|Racine, WI MSA||2,204||$105 million|
|Janesville-Beloit, WI MSA||1,873||$87.2 million|
|Wausau-Weston, WI MSA||1,490||$71 million|
|Oshkosh-Neenah, WI MSA||1,644||$78.3 million|
|Eau Claire, WI MSA (covering Eau Claire & Chippewa counties)||1,583||$75.4 million|
|La Crosse, WI-MN MSA||1,160||$55.2 million|
|Sheboygan, WI MSA||1,030||$49 million|
|Fond du Lac, WI MSA||874||$41.6 million|
* – Source: US Census designation of Metropolitan Statistical Areas
** – Methodology: Using the state-level calculation of job loss from the Economic Policy Institute, we estimate the local impact through adjusting for the proportion of unemployed Wisconsin workers eligible for the $600-per-week benefit by multi-county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). MSA’s are preferred as they better capture the flow of money between adjacent communities and local economies.
*** – Based on DWD UI Week 26 estimate of weekly claim recipients by county, grouped by MSA, multiplied the number of weeks remaining in 2020 and by $600 per week. Figures may be low, as they do not count residents waiting for unemployment determinations and UI funds.
Figure 3:Number of Residents Unemployed by County, as of DWD Week 26, and Estimate of Jobs at Risk Per County from End of $600 Unemployment Stimulus.
|County||Estimated Job Loss from Conclusion of $600/week*||Weekly unemployment claims as of DWD UI Week 26**|
|Adams||109 jobs at risk||375 people unemployed|
|Fond du Lac||874||3,020|
|Not allocated to a specific county***||5,419||18,718|
* – Methodology: Using the state-level calculation of job loss from the Economic Policy Institute, we estimate the local impact through adjusting for the proportion of unemployed Wisconsin workers eligible for the $600-per-week benefit by county. While county level spill-overs no doubt occur (money is not only spent in the county one lives in) we assume spillovers occur in both directions between counties.
** – Source: Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance Initial and Weekly Claims Filed, UI Week 26
*** – DWD statistics do not account for the county of origin for all UI recipients.
Figure 4: Wisconsin UI Weekly Benefit Rate Compared to Other States, National Average
Data source: CNBC story, 7.17.2020, link
“It is absolutely stunning that in the middle of a pandemic-induced depression, conservatives in Washington are forcing the cut-off of the unemployment payments that keep millions of working families afloat,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The important data in this release document the needless economic pain that will be inflicted on Wisconsin working families in every corner of the state, and the additional working families. The data also document the cascading impact this cut-off of support will have on tens of thousands of additional working families who will also lose their jobs as a consequence. With enhanced unemployment payments ending next week in Wisconsin, and Republican in Washington in gridlock, the State Legislature must come back into immediate emergency session. This is a time for leadership, and it is time for conservative politicians at the federal and state level to start doing their jobs,” Kraig concluded.
“For many families the extra 600 federal unemployment benefits means the difference between financial security during a time when they are struggling due to no fault of their own, and the risk of losing their home”, said State Senator La Tonya Johnson. “We need our leaders at both the state and federal level to take immediate steps to support Wisconsin families, including removing red tape that makes it difficult to successfully navigate the UI system and maintaining the $600 federal lifeline that families-and our economy- depends on.”
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 #449
Wisconsin Billionaires’ Net Worth Rose 36% During Pandemic
Federal appeals court decision, implications, next steps
Cynical appeals court helps Wisconsin GOP
Voting in WI: New Rules, New Limits
Judge throws out Racine’s coronavirus plan, says it’s unconstitutional
Job Description: Citizen Action of Wisconsin 2020 Regional Phonebanker
Citizen Action of Wisconsin is seeking to hire 2020 Regional Phonebankers beginning as soon as February 14th of 2020. This position is temporary, part time to full time (20-40 hours a week), hourly, with very flexible hours. The position is guaranteed throughNovember 3rd, 2020. Phonebankers will report directly to the Statewide Field Director and Regional Lead Field Organizers.
We are currently looking to hire Canvassers/Phonebankers in the following regions. Preference will be given to applicants who currently live in or near these areas:
- La Crosse/ Coulee Region
- Northcentral Wisconsin (Marathon, Portage, Lincoln, etc..)
- Fox Cities
- Eau Claire/Chippewa Valley Region
- Southeastern Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha area)
Citizen Action of Wisconsin is an issue and electoral focused non-profit organization committed to achieving social, racial, gender, economic, and environmental justice. We are dedicated to achieving a Wisconsin and an America where every human being has an equal opportunity to live a meaningful and fulfilling life. Citizen Action of Wisconsin brings together thousands of activists and allied groups across Wisconsin to deepen democratic participation and create an issue environment that advances a progressive public policy agenda. More information on current Citizen Action of Wisconsin programs can be found at citizenactionwi.org.
Phonebankers will work to implement an issue and electoral deep canvass phone program that will incorporate voter registration/vote by mail assistance, issue education and identification, race class narrative messaging, and other cutting edge components into an electoral turnout program.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin is an equal opportunity employer, and individuals from communities of color, veterans, individuals with disabilities, individuals from the LGBTQ3 community, formerly incarcerated individuals, and women are all strongly encouraged to apply.
- Spend the majority of the hours you work any given week on average making calls field/making utilizing the Voter Activation Network (VAN) and other technological tools to implement and track phonebanking efforts. .
- Work with Regional Lead Field Organizers to conduct daily, weekly, monthly, interim, and post project reporting.
- Work with organizational management to create and maintain office, team, and organizational culture that is equitable and inclusive for all people.
- Philosophical commitment to progressive values, gender and racial equity and inclusivity, social and economic justice, and health care freedom for everyone in America, and experience with or commitment to working in communities of color and/or other communities that are currently oppressed and underrepresented in our democracy.
- Some previous canvassing/phonebanking experience, or a strong desire to learn effective models of door-to-door canvassing and phonebanking.
- Strong accountable self care ethic that leads to personal time management and task prioritization, organization skills, and the ability to be effective in peak stress work times.
- Bilingual a plus
- Ability, aptitude, or desire to learn how to understand complex public policy issues and translate them into compelling organizing issues that motivate people to act.
- Experience with productive and collaborative conflict resolution processes and the ability to resolve conflict while maintaining effective and productive working relationships as well as excellent listening, interpersonal, and problem solving skills.
Salary and Benefits: This is a part time to full time hourly position, paying a base rate of $17.00 per hour, and includes cell phone allowance, and paid sick, personal, and vacation days. Weekend and evening hours are required.
To apply: Please send either a resume, OR an email listing relevant experience or explaining why you are interested in learning how to do this work to [email protected]. Please, no in person or phone inquiries.
For Immediate Release: May 14, 2020
Contact: Robert Kraig, (414) 322-5324, [email protected]
Supreme Court Shifts Life & Death Responsibility for Pandemic onto Legislature
What the state now must do to save lives and successfully open the economy is clear: will the GOP Legislature start doing its job?
Statewide: GOP legislative leaders may think they won a victory in their campaign to strip powers from Governor Evers, but they have actually shifted an immense burden of moral responsibility to themselves. The moral of the story for one Aesop’s fables encapsulates the moment: Be careful what you wish for, less it comes true.
The scientific consensus is overwhelming on how to best save lives, and restore the level of public confidence necessary to safely re-open the economy. Now the leaders of the Legislature have a choice: actually cooperate with Governor Evers to do the hard work of quickly implementing an effective response, or continue their campaign of obstruction and face the moral and political consequences for the human and economic toll.
By their very acts of publicly undermining the Governor’s popular emergency measures, and inducing the Wisconsin Supreme Court majority to render one of the most divisive and nakedly partisan decisions in Wisconsin history, they have made the task harder by prematurely ending state-wide social distancing without any back up plan, and undermining the social unity and commitment to norms necessary to contain a pandemic.
Because the Evers Administration took bold necessary action, and the millions of Wisconsinites who followed the directives voluntarily, no matter what the personal and economic sacrifice, Wisconsin made tremendous progress over the last 6 weeks in reducing the rate of infection. According to the CEO of the Medical College, Wisconsin has the reproduction rate (the number of additional people each Covid positive person infects) down to 1.0, the minimum for moving to more targeted virus containment strategies. But if the reproduction rate increases even slightly, to 1.1 or higher, the virus will within a few weeks begin spreading out of control.
We are in danger of losing all these hard won gains if the Legislature does not immediately fund, to whatever scale is necessary, a robust targeted containment strategy. There is an overwhelming scientific consensus, being pursued by the most effective pandemic responses around the globe, on what must be done to contain the pandemic and safely re-open the economy. There is no choice between public health and the economy. The economy will not bounce back until Wisconsinites feel safe, regardless of what politicians tell them to do.
- Fill the containment gap created by the sudden and premature ending of mandated social distancing with a well resourced and targeted approach that is capable of identifying and isolating new pockets of infection as soon as they emerge. This includes:
- Universal and rapid testing that reaches asymptomatic Wisconsinites and is immediately available in all at risk public and business locations.
- A massive ramp up in contract tracing which means hiring thousands of new public health workers.
- A medical surveillance system capable of rapidly intervening and isolating all of the new hotspots identified through testing and contact tracing.
- Free testing and treatment are a necessity because of cost barriers which are unique to the unique profit-centered American health care system. Without an enforced guarantee of no out of pocket costs, hundreds of thousands of Wisconites will avoid testing and treatment, even if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Reinforce the norm of social distancing in all public interactions. In Wisconsin, there is much damage to repair. The mixed messages and the divide and conquer politics must end. GOP leaders must join Governor Evers in reinforcing this social ethic and dispense with their divisive rhetoric of oppression and liberation. The Supreme Court majority did the opposite in their divisive and dog-whistle racism oral arguments.
- Create enforceable safety requirements for all workplaces. Workers cannot be forced to choose between their health and their livelihoods. (The WMC’s preferred voluntary standards will not work, and were immediately violated by some taverns the evening of the Supreme Court ruling)
These core elements of effective and effective pandemic containment are not just Citizen Action’s position, this is an overwhelming consensus of public health experts and responsible elected leaders across the globe. Some of these items will cost money, and if the majority of the Legislature will not invest the necessary resources, whatever it takes, the costs of inaction will be astronomical. The stakes could not be higher as Dr. Rick Bright, the former Director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority testified in Congress today: “Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history.”
Wisconsin has done it before. In 1918, when there were three major parties and as much partisan contention as today, Wisconsinites pulled together to take unified action on the worst pandemic in our history. “Wisconsin was the only state in the nation to meet the crisis with uniform, statewide measures that were unusual both for their aggressiveness and the public’s willingness to comply with them.”
“We have entered a season of consequences. In a pandemic success depends on elected leaders putting aside the divisions of normal politics and pulling together to take effective and decisive action,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The GOP leadership of the Legislature got what it wanted, and stripped the Governor of much of his power to lead in this crisis. The onus of responsibility now falls squarely on their shoulders. It is our hope that they will elevate their leadership to the demands of the challenge we face, and work in concert with Governor Evers to do not what is politically convenient but what is required to save lives.”
See Citizen Action response to Wisconsin Supreme Court decision here.
Citizen Action case for free COVID 19 testing and treatment here.
Link to his press release //www.citizenactionwi.org/category/news/press-release/
The panel diggs into the repercussions of the Super Tuesday primaries, and the dramatic thinning of the Democratic primary field down to two major candidates. What are the implications? We also discuss yet another right-wing threat to health care coverage for millions, the implication of Covid-19 for caregivers, two Wisconsin State Supreme Court scandals, and media stories indicating that a “culture of racism” may have played some role in the mass shooting at Miller-Coors factory in Milwaukee.
Listen Now – Episode #432
For Immediate Release–March 2, 2020
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 [email protected]
U.S. Supreme Court Threatening Health Care of Millions
Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions, marketplace health insurance, at grave risk of having coverage taken away by right-wing federal judges
Statewide: Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case being pushed by the Trump Administration that could take health care away from millions of people in America. The court will take oral arguments in October, and likely rule in early 2021, on a case that seeks to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA). The timing cynically capitulates to the Trump Administration’s politically-motivated request to move until after the 2020 election what would be one of the most unpopular decisions in American history.
In December, a Republican dominated Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled in favor of the Trump administration in Texas vs. United States, striking down the ACA’s individual mandate. President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr are using the case as a vehicle for invalidating the entire ACA, including the popular protections against pre-existing condition discrimination.
If the ACA was struck down the following provisions would be eliminated from federal law:
- Guaranteeing coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, impacting an estimated 852,000 to 2.436 million Wisconsinites.
- Prohibition of price discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions. In Wisconsin, without this protection a patient with a pregnancy could be charged $17,060 more, and someone with metastatic cancer could be charged $140,510 more.
- Free coverage of preventative care such as mammograms and colonoscopies for 2,804,258 Wisconsinites.
- Mental health parity.
- Prohibition of gender discrimination in coverage and pricing.
- Prohibition of age discrimination in pricing, the so-called “age tax.”
- Prohibition of lifetime and annual care limits.
- Protections against junk health care plans by requiring that all essential health benefits be covered.
- Substance abuse coverage.
- Resources and funds to hold insurance companies accountable to regulation.
In addition, 153,000 Wisconsinites would have their health coverage taken away if the ACA was struck down, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute.
Citizen Action is urging lawmakers to codify the ACA’s consumer protections and health insurance regulations in state law to protect Wisconsinites in the event of a damaging U.S. Supreme Court decision. Senate Bill 37, sponsored by Sen. Jon Erpenbach, is a huge step in this direction. Citizen Action is also urging lawmakers to create a plan, triggered by an adverse court decision striking down the ACA, to replace marketplace plans for people who buy insurance on their own and the federal subsidies that make them more affordable.
“The nullification of the ACA by right-wing judges is a predictable human-made disaster that would wreak havoc with the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “We urge state lawmakers to take action to put the popular federal protections against pre-existing condition discrimination and other insurance industry abuses in state law, and beyond the reach of activist federal judges.”
For Immediate Release: January 29, 2020
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 [email protected]
Citizen Action endorses Chris Larson for Milwaukee County Executive
Announces more key endorsements in Milwaukee area spring elections
Milwaukee: Today Citizen Action of Wisconsin, a statewide membership group headquartered in Milwaukee, announced its endorsement of state Senator Chris Larson for Milwaukee County Executive. Additional spring election endorsements we would like to highlight include candidates in three key Milwaukee Common Council races: State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa in the 8th district; Marina Dimitrijevic in the 14th district; and Fred Royal in the 7th district.
In the hotly contested Milwaukee County Executive race, Citizen Action members and board leaders decided that Senator Larson, who is a Citizen Action member, made the strongest and most comprehensive case for bold reform of county government. “Chris Larson would be the first progressive Milwaukee County Executive in modern history,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Local Citizen Action members are particularly excited about Senator Larson’s strong support for 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.”
While we are endorsing Larson, Citizen Action members also were impressed with Milwaukee County Executive candidate State Representative David Crowley, and believe he would also be a solid progressive leader for Milwaukee County.
In the 14th Common Council District, Citizen Action is endorsing Marina Dimitrijevic. “As our County Supervisor, Marina Dimitrijevic has led the way to reduce the county’s environmental footprint,” said Kraig. “She authored Milwaukee County’s Greenprint and her plan to eliminate forever plastics will make an enormous impact in keeping our waterways clean. At City Hall, I know she will be a partner in our 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.”
In the 8th Common Council District, Citizen Action is endorsing State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, who is a member of our board of directors. “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,” said Kraig. “We also believe that Zamarripa will be a strong progressive leader who will fight for Citizen Action’s climate and racial equity agenda.”
While Citizen Action is endorsing JoCasta Zamarripa, members and board leaders concluded that her opponent Justin Bielinski is aligned with our values, and also would be a positive voice at City Hall.
Citizen Action also made endorsements in a number of other Milwaukee Common Council and County Board races, as well as the Milwaukee Comptroller and Wauwatosa mayoral races.
Milwaukee area endorsements
- Milwaukee County Executive
- Chris Larson
- Milwaukee Comptroller
- Alex Brower
- Wauwatosa Mayor
- Dennis McBride
City of Milwaukee Common Council
- District 5
- Nikiya Dodd
- District 7
- Fred Royal
- District 8
- JoCasta Zamarripa
- District 11
- Peter Burgelis
- District 14
- Marina Dimitrijevic
Milwaukee County Board
- District 1
- Liz Sumner
- District 2
- Sequanna Taylor
- District 12
- Sylvia Ortiz-Velez
- District 15
- Eddie Cullen
The Primary Election is Tuesday, February 18th and the General Election is Tuesday, April 7th.
For Immediate Release: January 29, 2020
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 [email protected]
Citizen Action of Wisconsin endorses Fallone and Karofsky for WI Supreme Court race
Milwaukee: In the critical Wisconsin Supreme Court race, Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s board voted to endorse both Ed Fallone and Jill Karofsky.
After interviews which included members from across the state, Citizen Action member and board leaders concluded that both would be independent judges who will fairly interpret and apply the law for everyone, regardless of their race, their income, or where they live. Their 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.
“Both Ed Fallone and Jill Karofsky would 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,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Fallone or Karofsky would 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. Does any fair minded person doubt that the Supreme Court majority would have struck down the lame duck session laws, if the shoe was on the other foot and a newly elected Republican governor’s power were curtailed by a Democratic Legislature?”
Citizen Action is a statewide membership group with chapters (organizing co-operatives) in Metro Milwaukee, Green Bay/Fox Valley, Wausau, Eau Claire, and the Driftless Area. Citizen Action’s top issues are health care reform, a just climate transition that creates living wage jobs for communities of color and rural regions that need them most, and protecting and expanding our democracy. Citizen Action was a lead plaintiff in the federal lawsuit that struck down Governor Walker’s restrictions on early voting, and the lame duck session attempt to restore this attack on democracy.