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
Download MP3
Press Clips

Facebook post of the week

“COVID-19 sickens Wisconsin democracy” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“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
Download MP3
Press Clips

Watch & Share, Can I get a witness… for my absentee ballot video and DON’T lick your envelope!

Links:
Free COVID-19 treatment is a critical missing link
More than 1,000 in US die in a single day from coronavirus, doubling the worst daily death toll of the flu
Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear.
Housekeepers are quitting at Ascension St. Francis Hospital, saying they are cleaning coronavirus rooms without proper gear.
Milwaukee-area healthcare worker during pandemic: ‘I don’t feel essential, I feel disposable’.
Health care workers scrap old routines, confront new risks.
Wisconsin health care workers worry limited access to paid leave will allow COVID-19 to spread.
Doctor Group: ‘This Is An Unprecedented Time In Health Care’.
Wisconsin Republicans: COVID-19 package in progress, unclear when action will come.
Federal judge blisters Gov. Tony Evers and GOP lawmakers for not delaying Wisconsin’s election.
Federal judge says he can’t move the election.
Warning to absentee ballot filers: Don’t forget to get a witness signature or your vote may not count.
Journal Sentinel news staff furloughed.

Citizen Action endorsed candidates for the April 7th election.

Citizen Action endorsed candidates for the April 7th election.

If you have not, please vote absentee. Request your absentee ballot until Thursday, April 2nd!

Jill Karofsky, 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.

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.

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.

 

Bill Kaplan: Trump downplays coronavirus in Midwest

Photo by: Gage Skidmore

Trump said: “Those (California and New York) are really two hotbeds. …(Y)ou go out to the Midwest … and they’re watching it on television but they don’t have the same problems.” Facts: there are many thousands of coronavirus cases and a rising death toll in the Midwest. Wisconsin cases doubled in a week to over 1,000.

That is why the CDC sent a team to Wisconsin. The CDC said: “(W)hat we’re seeing in New York City … right now is a real warning to other areas about what may happen or what may already be starting to happen … .” And, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) chief medical officer Ryan Westergaard said: “I would characterize the risk in all Wisconsin counties as high.”

With the national toll above 125,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 2,500 dead, Trump wants the economy “opened up” by Easter: “You’ll have packed churches… .” However, Trump is not relying on data and science. He said: “I just thought it was a beautiful time (Easter) to loosen limits.” Ohio GOP Governor Mike DeWine strongly disagrees: “Protecting people and protecting the economy are not mutually exclusive. The fact is, we can save our economy by first saving lives. And we have to do it in that order.”

Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers told the Washington Post: “We had the president one time saying it’s a hoax, then a few weeks later, it’s really, really bad, then let’s shoot for Easter. There is a disconnect, … it’s confusing to people… . My health care officials and scientists are telling me it’s still a big deal. They’ll make the decisions based on science.”

Evers is not alone. Over 25 Democratic and GOP governors across the U.S. have issued statewide orders to stay at home. Six Midwest states agree with Evers’ “Safer at Home” policy. Wisconsin GOP legislative leaders had second thoughts about challenging Evers, perhaps after noticing GOP governors in Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Vermont and West Virginia on the same page as Evers.

Wisconsin DHS Secretary (nominee) Andrea Palm said: “It is certainly safe to assume that there are more … positive numbers of cases considering the prioritizing we are doing to assure that our frontline health care workers and those in hospitals and long-term care are getting tests.” She thinks Wisconsin could have 1,000 deaths and over 20,000 coronavirus cases shortly if Wisconsinites don’t stay at home. Palm has not been confirmed by the GOP-led Senate, but has risen to the crisis.

Meanwhile, all Wisconsin congressional members supported the $2 trillion coronavirus spending bill, which includes checks to more than 150 million Americans, loans to small and big businesses, and help for hospitals and modest spending for dairy and other farmers. It’s a start.

The additional health care funding is needed for Wisconsin – but may fall short. One prominent Wisconsin doctor said a coronavirus “tsunami” is coming. Hospitals will become overwhelmed. Circumstances have changed. It’s time to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid. It’s urgent.

– Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C., for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday March 27th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday March 27th

Friday, March 27th

VOTE from HOME.

Request an absentee ballot for the April 7th election.

You can now register to vote online until March 30.

All voters in Wisconsin can request an absentee ballot be mailed to them for any reason.

You have until April 2, 2020, 5pm.

Voters can possibly request and vote an absentee ballot in-person in their municipal clerk’s office through April 5th.

Please contact your municipal clerk for absentee voting hours. 

Watch and Share video on how easy it is to get an absentee ballot online.

Read step-by-step directions to request an absentee ballot.

Spring Endorsements in North Central WI

Katie Rosenberg for 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 Organizing Co-op announces spring endorsements!

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.

Spring Endorsements in Milwaukee County

Tearman Spencer for Milwaukee City Attorney

Tearman 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.

Milwaukee County 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.

See previous Milwaukee County endorsements.

North Central and Central WI Volunteer Opportunities from home!

We need your help to win this April 7th election and then the May 12th special election for Tricia Zunker!

Starting next week, we will have an opportunity for you to help us on a virtual phone bank to help us win in April! We will be helping folks learn how register to vote absentee and promoting Jill Karofsky for Supreme Court.The NC Organizer, Joel Lewis and two Field Canvassers, Don Dunphy and Melissa Engels-Lewis have been calling folks for the last few weeks and were on the doors before that. Please call Joel at 715-551-2525  or email him at joel.lewis@citizenactionwi.org

Statewide Virtual Phone Banking Training (March 29th @2pm)

Join our Citizen Action Statewide Phone Banking Training this Sunday at 2pm. Learn how you can help Citizen Action reach out to persuadable voters asking them to be a voter for Jill Karofsky on Tuesday, April 7th!  We will be discussing our implementation of the Race Class Narrative in our voter outreach and how to navigate our virtual phone dialer. Whether you are a virtual phone bank veteran, or this is your first time, our co-op organizers will be on hand to make sure all your questions are answered! Come to our training and get ready to elect Jill Karofsky to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 7th.

Please reserve your space today for our statewide training!

“Not Dying 4 Wall Street” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the latest COVID-19 pandemic news, including this week’s Congressional action. Is the $2 trillion relief package the biggest corporate giveaway in American history, or vital help for working Americans and small businesses in a time of dire need? We welcome Susannah Dyen from Caring Across Generations to talk about the Texas Lt. Governor’s comments that grandparents would be willing to die to preserve America’s economy. We close with the latest on the troubled April 7th spring election, including changes to election procedures imposed by a federal judge and growing opposition to holding this election during a state lockdown.

Listen Now – Episode #535
Download MP3
Press Clips

Citizen Action adapts to the new normal during COVID-19 Safer At Home.

Citizen Action weekly staff meeting

Northwestern WI Co-op Hosts Virtual Town Hall with Sen. Jeff Smith and Rep. Jodi Emerson this week. 

Rep Emerson and Sen. Smith digital town hall

Citizen Action’s Northwestern WI Co-op held a Virtual Town Hall with State Senator Jeff Smith and Representative Jodi Emerson on Tuesday, March 24th. The two legislators talked about the state of healthcare in Wisconsin amid the COVID-19 pandemic as well as responded to Ron Johnson’s statements after voting “no” to the Families First Corona Virus Relief Bill. Other topics around Medicare expansion and Criminal Justice protocols during this time. There were 30 people in attendance via Zoom Meetings. Several engaging questions were asked and participants enjoyed having the opportunity to tele-connect with their representatives.

Thanks to all the members who joined and thanks to Rep. Emerson and Sen. Smith!

Driftless Co-op Virtual house meeting, Wednesday, April 1st, 2pm 

On Wednesday April 1st Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op will be hosting a virtual house meeting via Zoom to discuss ways that our co-op can help people through these hard times.  We need input from member leaders on ways our co-op can help our community deal with healthcare access, financial insecurity, and protect Wisconsin during the COVID19 outbreak.

We are looking for 10 devoted co-op members to join us, from home, on this call.  Your input is valuable as we build strategies to help our communities during these times.

Call to action:  Will you commit to join Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op for a one hour virtual house meeting on Wednesday April 1st from 2:00 to 3:00?  You must RSVP to attend. Instructions on how to join will be sent when you RSVP.  

Please click here to RSVP.

Send an electronic postcard to Congress in support of Universal Family Care

UFC is a new social insurance program that would make early child care, paid leave, support for people with disabilities and elder care accessible and affordable for all. You can read more about it here.

We have an easy digital action for you to take.  Fill out an electronic postcard to show your support for this idea! You can do so here.

If you send one, please let Karen, Co-Op Healthcare Organizer,  know with an email with “healthy solidarity in UFC” in the subject line as she is trying to keep track. Karen.kirsch@citizenactionwi.org

Can you sew?  Will you consider joining an effort to make face masks to slow the spread of COVID19?

Governor Evers is calling on Wisconsinites to make 50,000 protective face masks.  We are calling on anyone who can sew to help out.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin member Betty Ottesen, along with New Horizons Women’s Shelter, is leading a local effort to make masks.  If you can donate time and energy to making masks you can help protect Wisconsin and slow the spread of COVID19.

If you are interested in helping please reach out to Betty at either 608-526-4227 or by email at hipnotions@gmail.com.  Betty can supply you with patterns and even help you with the necessary elastics. She can also help you get those masks where they can do the most good. A video showing how easy masks are to make can be found here.

Captain Census

Call to Action:  Will you commit to filling out your 2020 census and contacting 10 friends and helping walk them through the process. 

The 2020 Census has started and it is still very important that you fill out your census.  You should have received a letter in the mail from the census. Included is a personalized code and instructions how to go online and fill out the 2020 census.  The 2020 census will help determine how federal funds are spent and how district maps are drawn for the next ten years!

Captain Census (see picture) says, “make sure that you and your loved ones are counted in 2020.”

Share Citizen Action of Wisconsin content across social media

Most of you are connected to hundreds of people across social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.  You can use that audience to create positive change. Please take a moment to follow the statewide Facebook and Twitter accounts and share the content to your friends.

Call to action:  Follow Citizen Action of Wisconsin on Facebook and/or Twitter.  Share content to your own personal feeds.  As we rapidly move towards the April 7th election please share our content supporting Jill Karofsky for Supreme Court.

Wisconsin’s Race Class Narrative Project

Although the outcomes of the 2016 elections felt shocking to many people with the overt racism, sexism, and all the other “isms’ many of the candidate campaigns included, this is actually nothing new–dog whistle politics have been driving American political rhetoric for over 50 years.

The intent and effect of the dog whistle strategy is to divide people by race and class– even within race and class stratifications– in order to lower public support for collective public action, also known as government action. The conservative movement has mastered the use of coded language to animate racism and classism as political weapon.  The 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump created a new evolution of the dog whistle strategy with the use of social media in new ways, but he was standing on the foundation built by the conservative party over several decades.

The Race Class Narrative Messaging Project is designed to foster and organize a multi-racial, progressive, populist, political governing coalition in our state that will unite all people across race and class that share our values and vision for a better Wisconsin.  We have a vision of multi-racial democracy that realizes economic and racial justice for everyone.

Watch Video about the project

What the Race Class Narrative Project IS….

  • It is a series of messaging frames that form a “messaging architecture” around progressive centric issues that affect all Wisconsinites and Americans on a broad scale; Education, Immigration, Racist policing and criminal justice reform, the Environment, Minimum Wage, and Healthcare.  It is also a series of messaging tips and “tricks” that we can all use to frame and message our individual issue and policy campaigns, organizations, and work in general, and that candidates can also use to appeal to their base and draw in persuadables.
  • It is both a shared branding campaign, AND a way of messaging our issues and work as individual entities.  The shared brand is an image and/or slogan that any group or individual can use and put their own logo on it, as well as a set of messaging frames based in a common Wisconsin identity that we can all use to create content with.  The shared brand will be based off of recommendations informed by the National RCN Research Team and collectively approved by in-state participating partners. The National RCN Research Team worked with more than 21 Wisconsin specific groups in addition to doing comprehensive research on what traits forms a collective Wisconsin identity, or what are the commonalities that most (not all) Wisconsinites can relate to or understand, like Friday fish frys, supper clubs, weird/extreme/rapidly changing weather, tailgating, casseroles, hard work for a decent days pay, digging your neighbor out of the snow etc. (*These are just examples, we don’t yet have the finalized research and recommendations around the shared brand).
  • It is an open source project at the state and national level intended to unify us on the left, both around a shared analysis and worldview that includes Healthcare for all, family supporting wages and jobs, Immigrant and Racial justice, access to excellent and affordable (if not free) education, and a beautiful and healthy environment, among other things that we all need and deserve, no matter the color of our skin, if we are Indigenous or a new comer, or where we live in Wisconsin or America.
  • It is potentially at least part of a solution to the problem of the leftist movement being divided, and our base being de-centered in dominant political theory and the persistent effectiveness of racialized, weaponized, dog whistle politics of our opposition. Race Class Narrative messaging re-centers those who share our values and vision for a better Wisconsin and America, and who are most drastically impacted by a scarcity of resources mentality and the lack of anti-racist policies and governing.

Whether you are Black, Brown, or white, and no matter where you live in Wisconsin, most of us on the progressive left want the same things– including a healthy and beautiful Wisconsin for future generations, access to quality education, economic security, and racial and Immigrant justice.

But today, certain politicians and greedy corporate lobbyists use race and class to divide us so that they can continue to profit and hold onto power at the same time as turning around and blaming poor people and People of Color for the lack of economic security and racial justice.

By joining together on the left and using Race Class Narrative messaging to shout down and drown out racist, fear mongering, hate speech, and dog whistling, we can mobilize our base and add to it, so that we can elect candidates and pass policies– that no matter what we look like or where in Wisconsin we live–we ALL benefit from– instead of benefiting power hoarding politicians and the wealthy few.

Help us reach out to persuadable voters with a Race Class Narrative Message asking them to be a voter for Jill Karofsky on Tuesday, April 7th!  

We all want pretty similar things when it comes to our families. Whether white or Black, Asian or Latino, Indigenous or newcomer — Wisconsinites are hardworking people.  Most of care deeply about making sure our public schools are well funded, that women have the choice to decide what happens to their bodies, and that we leave a healthy and beautiful Wisconsin behind for future generations.

But today, certain politicians work to divide and conquer us by rigging our voting maps to make sure that they stay in power.  Instead of working to pass policies that benefit all of us, they work to keep the greedy lobbyists and special interests that foot the bill for their campaigns happy.  But we don’t have to accept that. Wisconsin’s strength comes from our ability to come together toward a common purpose.

Jill Karofsky will bring fairness and balance to our State Supreme Court.  Jill will work hard to make sure that our public schools are funded, that women have the choice to decide what happens to our bodies, and that we leave a healthy and beautiful Wisconsin behind for future Generations.  Jill Karofsky will also work to ensure our voting maps are fair maps so that our leaders create and pass policies that benefit all of us, and not just the wealthy few.  

When we come together and vote for leaders who will govern for all of us, not just the well connected wealthy few— we can start making improvements so that Wisconsin is a place where fairness, freedom, and prosperity is for everyone, no exceptions.

To sign up for a training and to help us make calls, contact you local Co-op Organizer:

Southeastern Wisconsin: Trevonna Simms
Northeastern Wisconsin: Noah Reif
Northcentral Wisconsin: Joel Lewis
Driftless: Ben Wilson
Northwestern Wisconsin: Breana Stanley

Healthcare Professional Social Media Action with our ally SEIU

Tell President Trump: More Masks Now! President Trump has the power to direct companies to re-purpose to produce masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE). We need to ensure that healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic have the equipment they need to protect themselves, their families, and their patients. Post a video of yourself on social media telling the President to act NOW!

Here is an Example. (You Can Do This Too!)

Here’s an example of a video short.

  1.   Tag President Trump @realDonaldTrump, @POTUS;
  2.   Use the hashtags #MoreMasksNow #ProtectAllWorkers #SEIUHCWI;
  3.   Nominate five other workers to post their own video.

Video Campaign. Film in a well-lit, quiet space (in scrubs if healthcare worker). Videos should be under a minute and from the heart.

VIDEO SCRIPT:

  1. “I’m (first name) and I’m a (job title) from (hometown or state).
  2. Speak from the heart about whatever you are feeling about the lack of personal protective equipment and the potential effect on you, your family and, if you’re a healthcare worker, your patients.
  3. End with this question: President Trump, Where are our masks?

It’s better if you share your post with it set to the public setting for greater reach and then SEIU can find you.  The above hashtags help them find you,so it’s really important to use them.

The public setting can be found by toggling this menu.
Selfie or Photo with #MoreMasksNow #ProtectAllWorkers

For a selfie photo, write out a sign in large clear handwriting that says: “I’m (first name), a (job title) in (hometown, state). President Trump, where’s my mask? #MoreMasksNow #ProtectAllWorkers!

Please visit our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/SEIUHCWI/ or our website http://www.seiuhcwi.org/more-masks-now/

Facebook post of the week

Chris Larson: A strong and experienced leader in a time of crisis.

Democrat Chris Larson is a lifelong resident of Milwaukee County . He graduated from St. Thomas More High School and UW-Milwaukee. Now, he and his wife, Jessica, are raising their own family here.

Chris had never backed away from taking on the big challenges. He fought for increased funding for public education, BadgerCare expansion, and commonsense gun safety reforms.

With Chris’s experience we can trust him to keep Milwaukee County health and strong in time of crisis.

Chris knows that to get through this and keep Milwaukee safe we must pull together and work closely with state and federal agencies, health care workers, and small businesses.

Health care is a human right, and the safety of the whole community depends on everyone receiving testing and treatment for COVID-19. Chris has a plan to allow Milwaukee County residents and employees to purchase more affordable prescription drugs from Canada, including COVID-19 medications, when they become available.

 

“Not Dying 4 Wall Street” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Not Dying 4 Wall Street” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the latest COVID-19 pandemic news, including this week’s Congressional action. Is the $2 trillion relief package the biggest corporate giveaway in American history, or vital help for working Americans and small businesses in a time of dire need? We welcome Susannah Dyen from Caring Across Generations to talk about the Texas Lt. Governor’s comments that grandparents would be willing to die to preserve America’s economy. We close with the latest on the troubled April 7th spring election, including changes to election procedures imposed by a federal judge and growing opposition to holding this election during a state lockdown.

Listen Now – Episode #435
Download MP3
Press Clips

Register to vote. Until March 30th.
Request your absentee ballot today. Until April 2nd.

Links:

Coronavirus spreads across Wisconsin with a spike in confirmed cases, an outbreak in a senior facility and questions over spring election.
‘We put the value of human life at a higher level’.

Businesses close, unemployment rises as Evers’ stay-at-home order comes with a dire warning.
Texas’ lieutenant governor says US should get ‘back to work’.
Senate passes historic $2 trillion stimulus package to curb effects of coronavirus.
Thinking big while staying at home: Progressive policy wonks on how the pandemic could change everything.
How the coronavirus stimulus bill helps you.
‘At their own peril’ federal lawsuit from city of Green Bay requests election delay.

Battleground Wisconsin Podcast panel and Susannah Dyen.
Local Governments Have Power to Lower Dangerously High Prescription Drug Cost

Local Governments Have Power to Lower Dangerously High Prescription Drug Cost

And Trump Administration and GOP just rigged the coronavirus relief so Big Phrama can price gouge on the future COVID-19 vaccine

By Robert Kraig, Executive Director

Outrageously high prescription drug prices, forced on the public by pharmaceutical corporations who have been granted monopolies over life saving medications, are at the very top of voter concerns in 2020. Ultimately, the federal government (which performs most of the nation’s drug research then grants unnecessary monopolies to predatory corporations) has the most power to fix this problem. State governments can provide some relief as well. But few realize that local governments have an opportunity to provide lower cost prescription drugs to their residents, although none have yet taken advantage of it.

More on this innovative local angle in a moment, but first a little on the magnitude of the problem.

The poster child drug for Big Pharma’s reign of medical terror is insulin, which makes it possible for diabetics to live healthy and productive lives. National data shows one in four people with diabetes skip or ration insulin because of cost. This practice comes as little surprise when the price of some varieties of insulin have increased by more than 17.5% per year from 2012 to 2017. Already in 2020, drug corporations have hiked the price of prescription medicines by over twice the current rate of inflation.

Meanwhile pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly–the nation’s largest insulin producer–continue to reap billions of dollars in revenue. In just 2018 alone, Eli Lilly brought in $9 billion in revenue from their diabetes medications. Rather than take action to stop this assault on patients, President Trump has rewarded bad behavior by giving big Pharma billions in tax breaks.  Eli Lilly paid $0 in federal taxes in 2018 thanks to Trump’s 2017 tax law.

When high prices force patients to ration their medicine, the consequences are clear: their conditions worsen, and some even pay with their lives. Here in Wisconsin, according to a statewide survey by the Healthcare Value Hub and Citizen Action of Wisconsin, 18% of respondents had not filled a prescription in the last year because of excessive prices.

Instead of holding the drug corporations accountable, President Trump keeps promising to lower drug prices while proposing tweaks and half-measures that protect the drug corporations’ power to set and keep prices high. And now, according to The Intercept, Trump is using his power to make sure Big Pharma will have a monopoly on the Covid-19 vaccine once it is developed with our public research dollars, yet another massive corporate giveaway. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) fought to put price controls in coronavirus relief legislation, but it was stripped by Trump’s team and GOP legislators, meaning Big Pharma will be able to charge whatever they want. This is not a surprise, as Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is a former Pharma lobbyist, as are two members of his Coronavirus Taskforce.

This means that when a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, the U.S. will likely be the only country without any price limits on the life saving medication. The Intercept also reports in a separate article that Wall Street lobbyists are actively pushing Pharma executives and other health care industry leaders to jack up their prices to wring more profits out of the unprecedented national health crisis we are now facing. This gives the attentive public a rare glimpse into the role Wall Street plays in pushing Pharma and other big corporations to extract windfall profits out of the American people in every sector of the U.S. economy. For them, no level of profit is enough, they always demand more, no matter what the consequences to average people.

This brings me back to what local governments can do. I want to be clear that the problem of runaway prescription drug prices is caused by the federal government, and the ultimate solution must be found there by electing a new crop of leaders that will shift the balance of power away from profit-hungry corporations and towards the people. But there is an interesting policy tool local governments can use to get the lower prescription drug prices negotiated by other advanced industrial countries. These prices are also too high, but they can be up to 80% lower than the prices in the U.S., where Axios reports that Big Pharma makes 63% of its profits.

According to Kaiser Health News and NPR, over 500 U.S. cities and counties are already making it possible for their employees to buy brand name FDA approved drugs from Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. These drugs often come in the same packages as the Big Pharma drugs sold in the U.S. The employee ordering the medications has to have a valid prescription from a local doctor, so it works just like it would with a local pharmacy. Although the federal government, at the behest of Big Pharma lobbyists, bans these governments or other large scale buyers from purchasing directly from overseas, this course of action is legal because the local governments work through middlemen located in Canada, with whom employees deal directly. The cities and counties are merely enabling a transaction that is legal in the U.S., the importation of small amounts of prescription drugs for personal use. The savings are substantial, as the drugs cost as much as 80% less than in the United States! The Trump Administration has tried to deter the practices, but more and more local governments are signing up, many of them in red states.

Now you may be asking, it’s great that local governments are saving money for public employees, but what does that do for other residents? Well here at Citizen Action of Wisconsin we wondered why a city or county could not enable the same benefit for all of their residents. We called the largest middleman firm that provides these services, and a representative told us that it could work, but no local government has asked the question!

Already one of the two finalists for Milwaukee County Executive, Chris Larson, is campaigning on making it possible for both county employees and local residents to import prescription drugs from Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. (Note, Citizen Action of Wisconsin has endorsed Larson in this race).

As I said the ultimate solution to Pharma price gouging is at the national level, and requires fundamental structural reform of the system, but in the meantime smart and innovative local officials can at least take advantage of the negotiations other advanced industrial economies do with Big Pharma to lower prescription drug prices. This could mean great relief in the short term for diabetics and others with chronic conditions, and for all of us when the COVID-19 vaccine finally becomes available next year.

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 20th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 20th

Friday, March 20th

Emergency Powers Give Wisconsin Authority to use BadgerCare to Fight Coronavirus

Federal Emergency Declaration opens new avenues to guarantee everyone is tested and treated without cost sharing, fully covering all uninsured Wisconsinites

Under pressure from a number of states seeking to stem the alarming speed of novel coronavirus transmission, the federal government late last week issued emergency regulations that would allow Wisconsin to use BadgerCare to guarantee that everyone in Wisconsin has health coverage during the pandemic. This would dramatically improve Wisconsin’s odds for slowing the coming pandemic by removing a major barrier to seeking testing and treatment. The federal government took similar steps during the H1N1 epidemic and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

If Wisconsin acts boldly and swiftly, this federal declaration gives the Wisconsin state government new power to slow the speed of the pandemic, and potentially save tens of thousands of lives. According to public health experts, one of the most critical things we can do to protect both the afflicted and the general public is to maximize the number of people with symptoms who immediately seek testing and treatment. COVID-19 is so contagious that delays in seeking medical care can lead to the infection of thousands of additional people. After we have tested and treated everyone with symptoms, and the federal government has addressed the shortage of testing kits, it is essential to test and treat community wide, because the disease is spread by seemingly healthy people without symptoms.

The fear of financially crippling health care bills in the profit-centered American health care system is a grave risk not only to affected individuals and their families but the entire community because it actually discourages people from seeking medical care.

The Coronavirus Relief Act passed by Congress this week guarantees free testing for COVID 19, which is a critical step forward, but is silent on the cost of any treatment for that disease or any other underlying illnesses discovered by testing. Without free treatment, many will be deterred from seeking medical help – especially people who lack health coverage, a rapidly expanding group in an economy experiencing mass layoffs!

A survey of 1,000 Wisconsinites in every corner of the state released last week by Citizen Action, in partnership with the Health Value Hub and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that nearly half of Wisconsinites have gone without needed medical care because of fear of the cost in the last year! This dangerous situation will be intensified by the large number of people losing their income during the pandemic. The affordability crisis in the American healthcare system is dangerous in normal times; during a pandemic, it is a deadly threat to the health of everyone in Wisconsin!

A preliminary analysis of the new emergency rules by Citizen Action of Wisconsin has identified two major steps Wisconsin can take to use BadgerCare to contain COVID-19. We also propose a third vital step that Wisconsin can take to make sure those who have private health insurance will not be deterred from seeking treatment due to unaffordable copays and deductibles associated with even the best American health insurance plans. Many of these proposals are already being pursued by other states. (The Evers Administration may be developing plans internally that are not yet public which include some of these proposals.)

Step 1: Wisconsin has the authority to propose waivers to the federal government, which can be approved within days of submission. These waivers can make it much easier to enroll in BadgerCare and to retain it, including online and phone enrollment, extension of renewal deadlines, suspension of cancellations, and elimination of barriers such as premiums, copays, work requirements, and many other administrative hurdles.

Critically, Wisconsin could adopt a “presumptive eligibility” policy that allows medical providers, enrollment staff, schools, and community health centers to enroll people in BadgerCare without any income test if they appear eligible. This is especially helpful in an environment where there are mass layoffs and it would be time consuming to confirm that a family was eligible when unemployment insurance claims are likely to overwhelm the state’s processing capacity. The Coronavirus Relief Act which passed Congress this week increases the federal share of Medicaid costs in Wisconsin to 65.5%, offsetting part of the state cost for expanding BadgerCare enrollment.

Step 2: Wisconsin should immediately expand BadgerCare by accepting the Medicaid Expansion authorized and funded by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Without ACA Medicaid Expansion, “presumptive eligibility” will not work for many adults who do not fit into specific Medicaid eligible categories and are (or appear to be) above the federal poverty line. In addition, as Wisconsin is losing $340 million in the current state budget because it turned down the ACA Medicaid expansion funding, this revenue could immediately be deployed in the fight to contain COVID-19. Accepting Medicaid Expansion would allow Wisconsin to use presumptive eligibility to get the state close to universal health coverage and to reassure the public that cost should not deter them from seeking COVID-19 testing and treatment. It would also defray some and perhaps all of the state’s costs for increased enrollment resulting from all of the emergency measures we propose.

Step 3: The massive level of cost sharing in most private health insurance plans also deters people from seeking COVID-19 testing and treatment, endangering public health. Our recent statewide survey showed that almost half of respondents had avoided medical treatment and services in the last year, and most of them had health insurance coverage. A number of states already mandated that health insurance plans cover COVID-19 testing and treatment with no consumer cost sharing. So far, Wisconsin has only recommended that insurers suspend copays and deductibles. It would be prudent for Wisconsin to actually ban cost sharing as a danger to public health. If this creates too much of a burden on health insurance and self-insured plans, Wisconsin could also outlaw hospital price gouging by requiring them to accept Medicare rates for all treatment that results from a COVID-19 test. There is no justification for hospitals and medical providers to charge unreasonable prices for their services during this state and national emergency.

“We need bold leadership now more than ever. This unprecedented public health emergency focuses our attention on the reality that we are all interconnected, and that leaving people out of our healthcare system risks the lives of everyone in the community,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Tens of thousands of Wisconsinites who could otherwise have avoided infection may be needlessly put at risk if we don’t come together to assure that no one in Wisconsin delays or avoids treatment because they can’t afford the high cost of healthcare.”

Vote Absentee for April 7th Election!

Request an absentee ballot for the April 7th election.

All voters in Wisconsin can request an absentee ballot be mailed to them for any reason.

If you are a regular or a Permanent Overseas Voter, your absentee ballot request must be received by your municipal clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on  April 2, 2020.

If a voter is indefinitely confined, your absentee ballot request must be received by your municipal clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 3, 2020.

Voters can possibly request and vote an absentee ballot in-person in their municipal clerk’s office through April 5, 2020. Some municipal offices may not offer additional in-person absentee hours Please contact your municipal clerk for absentee voting hours. 

It’s easy to request an absentee ballot today!

Watch video showing how to request an absentee ballot on line from your phone.

Follow these simple steps to request YOUR absentee ballot and let’s stay safe this election season! Request your absentee ballot now.

North Central and Central WI Volunteer Opportunities from home!

We need your help to win this April 7th election and then the May 12th special election for Tricia Zunker.

Starting next week, we will have an opportunity for you to help us on a virtual phone bank to help us win in April! We will be helping folks learn how register to vote absentee and promoting Jill Karofsky for Supreme Court.

The NC Organizer, Joel Lewis and two Field Canvassers, Don Dunphy and Melissa Engels-Lewis have been calling folks since last week Thursday, and we’re on the doors before that.

Please call Joel at 715-551-2525  or email him at joel.lewis@citizenactionwi.org

Help Citizen Action make April 7th Election calls from home !

We need your help making calls form home.  All door canvassing has stopped but the election is still going forward.

Contact a regional co-op organizer to get involved:

Northeast Co-op: noah.reif@citizenacitonwi.org
Northwestern Co-op: breana.stanley@citizenactionwi.org
Driftless Co-op: ben.wilson@citizenactionwi.org
Southeastern Co-op: trevonna.sims@citizenactionwi.org
Healthcare for all Co-op: karen.kirsch@citizenactionwi.org

Wisconsin Republicans oppose COVID-19 relief” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Practicing social distancing, our panel joins us this week from separate locations. We discuss the rapidly evolving Covid-19 virus pandemic and the political response. We call out Sen. Ron Johnson and 4 Wisconsin Republicans Congressmen for voting against the bipartisan coronavirus recovery bill over their opposition to paid sick days for workers. We also dig into the impact the pandemic is having on the April 7th election. Should the elections be postponed?

We encourage everyone to request an absentee ballot at myvote.wi.gov. The panel closes with a discussion of a Wisconsin Public Radio story on how the major Democratic candidates for president have run to the left of Gov. Tony Evers and State Legislative Democrats.

Listen Now – Episode #434
Download MP3

Press Clips

Facebook post of the week

 

Wisconsin Republicans oppose COVID-19 relief” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Wisconsin Republicans oppose COVID-19 relief” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Practicing social distancing, our panel joins us this week from separate locations. We discuss the rapidly evolving Covid-19 virus pandemic and the political response. We call out Sen. Ron Johnson and 4 Wisconsin Republicans Congressmen for voting against the bipartisan coronavirus recovery bill over their opposition to paid sick days for workers. We also dig into the impact the pandemic is having on the April 7th election. Should the elections be postponed? We encourage everyone to request an absentee ballot at myvote.wi.gov. The panel closes with a discussion of a Wisconsin Public Radio story on how the major Democratic candidates for president have run to the left of Gov. Tony Evers and State Legislative Democrats.
Listen Now – Episode #434
Download MP3
Press Clips

Links:

Battleground WI Podcast studio goes home.

Congress clears 2nd major coronavirus package; 3rd in the works
Sen. Ron Johnson was one of only eight votes against the bipartisan measure.
State not yet sure how many ventilators and ICU beds will be available.
Possible coronavirus treatment could be in clinical trials within weeks, using plasma from recovered patients, if doctors get FDA approval.
Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson one of eight senators voting no on coronavirus package.
Sen. Ron Johnson is telling people to keep coronavirus in perspective.
Amid pandemic, Democrats sue to ease absentee voting rules in Wisconsin.
Coronavirus: Amid Fears, Wisconsin’s April Election Stays Put.