Bill Kaplan: State congressional Republicans fail Wisconsin

Bill Kaplan: State congressional Republicans fail Wisconsin

Back in May the Democratic-led House anticipated that the toll from COVID-19 and its economic consequences would continue to be devastating. The House passed relief and recovery legislation, largely along party lines. The $3 trillion bill would help

state, local and tribal governments facing huge holes in their budgets; fund more COVID-19 testing and contact tracing; hazard pay for first responders and essential workers; extension of unemployment benefits; aid to education and help with housing problems. Wisconsin Democratic Representatives Ron Kind, Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan voted yes. However, Wisconsin GOP Representatives Mike Gallagher, Glenn Grothman, Jim Sensenbrenner and Bryan Steil shamefully voted no (Tom Tiffany was not yet sworn in).

The legislation would help Wisconsin avoid draconian budget and service cuts. The Wisconsin Budget Project said the bill would: “Allocate $8.5 billion to the state and $7.5 billion to local governments … provide an additional $1.9 billion in Medicaid dollars … (and) $1.4 billion for education … .” But the irresponsible GOP-led Senate refused to consider the House bill. In the middle of a pandemic Republicans played the fiddle while everything burned down. Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson, unlike Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin, had excuses when urgent action was needed. Finally, last week Senate Republicans bestirred themselves, but failed to pass anything. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “Hopefully, we can come together behind some package we can agree on in the next few weeks.”

But the need is right now! For example, the emergency $600 per week in extra unemployment benefits expired last Saturday in Wisconsin. Moreover, thousands of unemployed Wisconsinites face eviction. And, Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers “seeks another $250M in state budget cuts to offset pandemic revenue losses” (MJS). But University of Wisconsin System interim President Tommy Thompson pleaded no more cuts to the UW System. (Hint for Thompson – ask Wisconsin GOP legislators to approve federally funded Medicaid expansion. State savings from it could help the UW System). The state faces higher unemployment, on top of an epic farm crisis with over 2,000 dairy farms out of business! What’s wrong with Wisconsin
congressional Republicans?

Democrat Kristina Shelton has big ideas.

Democrat Kristina Shelton is the Program Director at the YWCA of Greater Green Bay where she advocates for the needs of Green Bay residents. Kristina is a former educator who was elected to the Green Bay School Board in 2019 and is its Vice President.

Health Care

Kristina Shelton has never backed away from taking on the big challenges. She currently fights for our kids on the Green Bay school board. Now she has some big ideas for improving our health care. Kristina believes healthcare is a human right and no one should go bankrupt because they get sick or delay medical treatment because they can’t afford it.

With Kristina Shelton’s experience, we can trust her to fight for everyone to have affordable health care. Kristina will accept the federal Medicaid money that will expand BadgerCare to 82,000 people in Wisconsin. Kristina also supports opening up a BadgerCare “Public Option” so everyone can have health insurance in Wisconsin.

Kristina understands that prescription drug costs have become an emergency and no one should have to choose between medicine or groceries.

Kristina knows that reproductive care is healthcare. She is committed to protecting reproductive rights for Wisconsin women, and ensuring that the full scope of sexual health services are accessible to all.

COVID-19 relief while fighting the climate crisis.

Kristina Shelton believes Wisconsin must help working families struggling economically to survive during the coronavirus crisis, and can do so in a way that also begins to address the climate crisis.

During the New Deal, America addressed the pain of the Great Depression in a way that also built the foundation for the postwar economic boom.

Kristina Shelton will fight for a similar approach to the COVID-19 depression, creating jobs and income for struggling working families in a way that also builds the sustainable green economy we need to avert a climate catastrophe.

Most recently, she won the 2019 “Activist of the Year Award” from Citizen Action’s Northeast Wisconsin Co-op.

Kristina has been married to her husband, Jon, for 14 years. Together, they have two kids attending school in the Green Bay Area Public School District.

“Uncontrolled Contagion” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“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
Download MP3
Press Clips

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, July 17th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, July 17th

Friday, July 17th

Citizen Action announces more 2020 State Legislative Candidate Endorsements

Friday afternoon, July 17th the Citizen Action Board announced more candidate endorsements in state legislative elections. There will be more endorsements coming throughout the summer.

Senate District 16: Melissa Sargent
Senate District 18: Aaron Wojciechowski
Assembly District 37: Abigail Lowery
Assembly District 38: Melissa Winker
Assembly District 69: Brian Giles
Assembly District 78: Lisa Subeck
Assembly District 81: Dave Considine
Assembly District 85: Jeff Johnson

Milwaukee County Election
Register of Deeds: Israel Ramon, Citizen Action Healthcare Co-op member

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.

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich & Sen. Dave Hansen endorse Citizen Action co-op member Kristina Shelton for 90th Assembly District!

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich and state Sen. Dave Hansen joined other Democrats this week as they endorsed Northeast WI Co-op member Kristina Shelton in the 90th Assembly District primary.

The backing from Hansen and Genrich comes less than a week after Democratic leaders in the Assembly threw their support behind Shelton, a member of the Green Bay School Board.

The primary election is Tuesday, August 11th.

“Words cannot express how tremendously honored I am to have the support of Mayor Genrich and Sen. Hansen. In their own way, they have both fought hard for the working people of Green Bay, and knowing I have them behind me shows the community that I am the one clear choice for Democrats on August 11.” — Kristina Shelton

Request your absentee ballot today!
Donate today to Kristina Shelton.
Volunteer to help the campaign!

Citizen Action holds 4 media events on Wednesday to urge Congress and the President to take action on COVID-19 relief & demand WE Energies and utilities stop power “cut offs”.

This Wednesday, July 15th, Citizen Action held 4 media events and a rally and march in Milwaukee telling Congress and the President to take urgent action in the next ten days to maintain existing pandemic relief efforts and expand them with new investments to address the full depth of the employment crisis in Wisconsin. The media events and the march in Milwaukee demanded that WE Energies and other utilities end planned “cut offs” of customers on July 25th.

When Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in March, it was impossible to know that the pandemic would continue to spin out of control after the four month sunset of many of its provisions. It is now essential for Congress to pass a new round of relief, extending current benefits and dramatically expanding them to the scale of the crisis.

Milwaukee: North Side Rising leads rally and march to We Energies.

In Milwaukee, Citizen Action’s North Side Rising organized a rally that called for federal action to provide financial assistance to institutions and individuals still struggling in Milwaukee during the pandemic. The rally included Supreme Moore-Omokunde, who is running for State Assembly District 17, who advocated for the Jobs for Economic Recovery Act and for calling for a moratorium on We Energies and utilities from cutting of power to those who can’t currently pay their bills.

Sign our petition calling on We Energies to stop the “cut offs”

The rally featured La Tesha Johnson who, like a lot of people, has been out of work for months. Before the pandemic, Johnson was going to start training with the U.S. Census Bureau, but it was delayed because of the coronavirus.

“I’ve always been one of those people that has kept a job, a good job. To me, being out of work is not easy … my life has changed. The community has changed; the world has changed,” said Johnson. Member of the Milwaukee City/County Climate Equity Task force and NAACP leader, George Martin, spoke passionately at the rally about the huge opportunity before us to make a transition to a green economy that creates good paying green jobs for Milwaukee residents.

Following the rally, people marched from Victory Over Violence Park to WE Energies in downtown Milwaukee demanding justice and mercy during this pandemic to “keep the lights on!”  The march was lead by Rev. Jonathan Barker, Min. Adante Jordan and Rev. Dana Kelley, Lead organizer of North Side Rising.

State Representative Jodi Emerson leads Eau Claire pandemic event.

State Representative Jodi Emerson (AD 91), Eau Claire City Council member Emily Berge, and Citizen Action Wisconsin’s Executive Director Robert Kraig joined together in Eau Claire Wednesday to urge congress to extend unemployment relief to thousands of families struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emerson and Berge, who is also a Citizen Action endorsed candidate for the 68th assembly district, made a point to explain that this isn’t about people not wanting to work, but rather unable to due to businesses wrestling with their bottom line, child care, and health concerns.

Madison leaders speak out on pandemic relief and jobs creation

Citizen Action of Wisconsin hosted a major press event with Executive Director Robert Kraig, Madison’s Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and representatives from Kids Forward and the United Way to advocate for pandemic relief packages.  Presenters spoke of the need to pass Tammy Baldwin’s legislation to extend the federal pandemic unemployment benefits AND to create millions of federally subsidized jobs.  You can read more about this event here and here.

In Green Bay, Mayor Eric Genrich and Citizen Action urge extension of Pandemic Relief

“We really don’t have the resources to respond in a way that’s necessary, so that’s why we’re relying on the federal government that does have the resources at their disposal… They need to act expeditiously, as quickly as possible to respond to the needs of these families that are going to have these benefits cut off in the next few weeks.” Green Bay Mayor and co-op member, Eric Genrich

You can find out more about our Green Bay event here! Both members Desiree May and Eric Genrich spoke at the event, along with Kevin Kane.

Sign Petition to Stop the WeEnergies “Shut Offs”

Home Healthcare Workers deserve so much more

The ladies of the Care in Action team held a zoom party with the main goal of advocating for better benefits for home healthcare workers.  There is a shortage in this workforce and because now, more than ever people are starting to realize how valuable and noble these workers are.  They allow people to live as independently as possible in their own homes.

Governor Evers appointed a task force to study the shortage and we only had a short amount of time to submit public written advocacy in the form of an online survey.  Many members of the healthcare co-op stepped up and submitted a uniform push for higher pay, health coverage and paid leave. We submitted over 60 surveys statewide and I am sure our effort was noticed.

If you want to join us email [email protected]. We have a great camaraderie while also making the world a better place.  Friendship and change is very uplifting during this time so you should join us.

Make Medicines Work with Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes

Medicines can’t work if nobody can afford them. That’s why people all across the country are coming together to MAKE MEDICINES WORK. Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, Maine State Senator Rebecca Millett, experts on pharmaceutical monopolies and grassroots leaders directly impacted by this crisis joined us last Thursday in a special live event hosted by the Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE), Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), People’s Action, Public Citizen and Social Security Works.

This is just the beginning of this campaign so there will be plenty of opportunities to be active around this issue. Email Karen at [email protected]

You can watch the whole event here, if you missed it.

La Crosse County joins 70+ other communities demanding Guaranteed Health Care for All

This week the La Crosse County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution calling on Senator Ron Johnson, Senator Tammy Baldwin, and Representative Ron Kind to work toward the immediate implementation of universal health care, like Medicare For All Act of 2019.

The resolution is one of more than a dozen that have been passed in 2020. The effort is organized by numerous local, state, and national organizations and elected officials, including Citizen Action of Wisconsin, the Coulee DSA, Public Citizen, and Our Wisconsin Revolution.

County Board Chairperson Monica Kruse stated, “Our voices will join those of the many other counties across Wisconsin and throughout the nation demanding a more equitable, more efficient and more inclusive healthcare system.”

“Single payer, publicly funded, national healthcare insurance is the most economical and most equitable way to achieve full healthcare services for all people,” agrees Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op member Mark Neumann.

The Medicare for All Act of 2019 would guarantee comprehensive health care coverage for all Americans and would eliminate co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs that are keeping needed health care out of reach for residents of La Crosse County.

Volunteer to Help Citizen Action endorsed State Assembly candidate, JoAnna Bautch

Calling all volunteers! Join Team JoAnna for volunteer opportunities every weekend (including this weekend) leading up to the August 11th primary election. Pick a date or a few that work best for you and help us connect with voters across the 8th Assembly District on Milwaukee’s near south side. We will have a variety of safe volunteer activities for folks to engage in.

Sign up here: //forms.gle/oYyZSJ5je4AxnFeKA
Learn more: //www.facebook.com/JoAnnaforWI/events

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

We will be having numerous “Coffee w/Your Co-op” events in July! We are working on building our membership and activism in the rural communities across Northwestern Wisconsin and we need your help! Please ask 1-2 friends to join us virtually on the date that corresponds to where they live and let them know how they would be paramount to our important organizing work in 2020 and beyond! Please register for one of the dates below (BYOCoffee!)

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

Driftless Co-op hosting a candidate town hall with endorsed State Assembly candidate Josefine Jaynes

Please join Citizen Action on July 21st at 6:00 PM for a very special town hall with State Assembly candidate Josefine Jaynes.  Josefine is running for the 96th Assembly seat covering Vernon, Crawford and Monroe Counties.

Josefine was one of the first candidates to receive a Citizen Action endorsement in the new Driftless Region Co-op.  At age 18 Josefine is also the youngest candidate Citizen Action of Wisconsin has ever endorsed. Josefine is committed to fully funding our public schools, ensuring that every Wisconsinite has access to healthcare, addressing the housing and daycare shortage in the district and safeguarding our water both for our health and our tourism. Even though Josefine has spent her entire life surrounded by politics she has committed to not being a career politician. She wants to get in, make the kind of changes Wisconsin needs and get out.

This very special, virtual, town hall is open to the public (even those outside of her district) but RSVP is required to join.  Please use this link to RSVP.  You will receive the Zoom link after you RSVP.  Space is limited so reserve your spot now!

“Stand Against Medical Debt” Rally and Protest August 2nd 3:00 PM

Citizen Action and SEIU Healthcare are taking a stand against medical debt. Join us for a socially distant rally and protest to let Gundersen Healthcare System know that they need to stop suing their employees and the community over medical debt!

Please use this form to RSVP for this important event.

We demand Gundersen:

  1. Cease suing our community members and employees for medical debt
  2. Forgive existing medical debt
  3. Provide Gundersen employees with affordable health insurance coverage

Remember to bring water and sunscreen.  Also please wear the color purple in solidarity.

PLEASE USE THIS FORM TO RSVP
PLEASE USE THIS FORM TO SIGN OUR DIGITAL PETITION AGAINST MEDICAL DEBT

 

“Schools during COVID-19 pandemic” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, and Wisconsin state government is at a standstill, Wisconsin municipalities are stepping up with new mask ordinances. Citizen Action holds news events around the state to call attention to the damage inaction in Washington is doing to the economic well being of working families. Without urgent action by the middle of next week, the unemployed will be cut-off of enhanced unemployment assistance, and we are already facing a wave of utility cut-offs, evictions, and foreclosures. As corporate leaders and their political puppets demand the reopening of schools, we welcome Ben Ward from the MTEA (the Milwaukee teacher’s union) to discuss whether it is even possible to have in-person classed safely when the pandemic continues to rage. We also talk with Voces de la Frontera’s Christine Neumann-Ortiz and Mario Ramirez about their follow up meeting with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services concerning the outrageous decision to withhold the COVID-19 infection numbers of businesses.

Sign MTEA petition to open schools safely.
Sign our petition to stop the We Energies shut offs!

LISTEN NOW – EPISODE #451
Download MP3
Press Clips

Facebook post of the week

 

“Schools during COVID-19 pandemic” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Schools during COVID-19 pandemic” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, and Wisconsin state government is at a standstill, Wisconsin municipalities are stepping up with new mask ordinances. Citizen Action holds news events around the state to call attention to the damage inaction in Washington is doing to the economic well being of working families. Without urgent action by the middle of next week, the unemployed will be cut-off of enhanced unemployment assistance, and we are already facing a wave of utility cut-offs, evictions, and foreclosures. As corporate leaders and their political puppets demand the reopening of schools, we welcome Ben Ward from the MTEA (the Milwaukee teacher’s union) to discuss whether it is even possible to have in-person classed safely when the pandemic continues to rage. We also talk with Voces de la Frontera’s Christine Neumann-Ortiz and Mario Ramirez about their follow up meeting with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services concerning the outrageous decision to withhold the COVID-19 infection numbers of businesses.

LISTEN NOW – EPISODE #451
Download MP3
Press Clips

Sign MTEA petition to open schools safely.

Sign our petition to stop the We Energies shut offs!

Links:

Wisconsin sees 821 new coronavirus cases as more counties bumped to ‘high’ activity levels.
Milwaukee community organizers call for more federal coronavirus assistance and a continued moratorium on power disconnections.
Madison mayor urges state, federal aid to assist communities during pandemic.
Local leaders urge extension of current unemployment benefits. In Brown County nearly 1,000 people filed their initial application in the last week alone.
Don’t let the utilities shut off people’s power.
Wisconsin won’t name businesses with multiple COVID-10 cases.

 

Bill Kaplan: Trump and Johnson, dead wrong about COVID-1

photo by: Gage Skidmore

Trump and Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson’s incompetent response to COVID-19 continues to hammer the economy. Double-digit unemployment nationally, and in WI. “The Wisconsin Economic Forecast, a state report, said … that it could take two years for the state to recover to pre-coronavirus employment levels, with personal income growth projected to fade dramatically this year and next” (Washington Post-WP). Meanwhile, COVID-19’s toll skyrockets.

More than 3.2 million cases nationally, over 36,000 in WI. U.S. cases are on track to rise to 100,000 a day. COVID-19 deaths are increasing nationally to past 135,000 and over 800 in WI. Health experts predict a death toll of 200,000 soon. Moreover, COVID-19 is hitting northern rural WI (Ashland and Douglas County). Community spread in rural WI would be catastrophic for a region that is uninsured and is underserved by hospitals and doctors.

However, Trump and Johnson continue to be dead wrong about COVID-19. “White House officials … hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day …” (WP). Trump said: “I think we are going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think that, at some point, that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope” (WP). Trump also falsely claims “99 percent” of COVID-19 cases are “totally harmless”. He wants us to forget the dead and thousands with long-term serious health problems. Johnson, on Trump’s wave-length, said: “I think we overreacted. We closed too much of our economy down … .” But premature state reopenings, failure to wear masks and limited adherence to social distancing caused the renewed surge.

All reminiscent of when Trump and Johnson opposed controlling the spread of COVID-19 by heartlessly comparing COVID-19 fatalities to auto-related deaths. But they were wrong on the science, pretended COVID-19 deaths would be similar to or less than the 40,000 annual auto accidents deaths and overlooked the fact that auto accidents aren’t contagious. It’s the same when Trump and Johnson pushed unproven medication such as hydroxychloroquine. And, who can forget when Trump thought it might be useful to ingest disinfectants!

Trump and Johnson are now attempting to take health coverage and protections from 23 million, including hundreds of thousands in WI. Again, they have gone to the Supreme Court – in the middle of a pandemic! All on top of nearly 27 million, including 446,000 Wisconsinites, losing private health insurance because COVID-19 is out-of-control. Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers has done his best, e.g., helping enroll about 85,000 in Medicaid.

However, more could be done if the GOP-led WI legislature expanded Medicaid like 37 other states. “Missouri’s the next red state test for Medicaid expansion at ballot box” (Forbes). The business community, hospitals and doctors have gotten behind the August 4 vote. WI GOP state Senator Luther Olsen wants the legislature to consider Medicaid expansion. Interim UW System President (former GOP governor) Tommy Thompson should weigh in. State savings from federally funded (90%) Medicaid expansion would help the UW System.

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

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, July 10th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, July 10th

Friday, July 10th

Watch a very special Citizen Action town hall with Senator Tammy Baldwin about pandemic relief and job creation.

On Wednesday July 8th Citizen Action was very proud to host a town hall about pandemic relief and job creation with special guest Senator Tammy Baldwin.  Over 150 Citizen Action members and reporters from eight media outlets joined us for this important call. You can watch the recording of the town hall here.

Senator Baldwin is leading the charge to offer relief during this pandemic.  She is introducing legislation to extend the $600 a week federal unemployment benefit, create millions of transitional federally subsidized jobs, pass another relief package and kick start a new “New Deal”.

You can take action to help right now.  We need to contact our representatives in Congress RIGHT NOW and let them know that we support these relief packages and a major jobs creation program.  You can use this link to automatically send an email to your representative in the US House and Senate letting them know you support these important pieces of legislation. It only takes a minute but it can have a huge impact on how the country recovers from the COVID19 pandemic!

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

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

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

Register in advance here for your Zoom link.

“Stand Against Medical Debt” Rally and Protest August 2nd, 3:00 PM

Citizen Action and SEIU Healthcare are taking a stand against medical debt. Join us for a socially distant rally and protest to let Gundersen Healthcare System know that they need to stop suing their employees and the community over medical debt!

Please use this form to RSVP for this important event.

As one of the largest employers and health care providers in our community, Gundersen has a responsibility to our most vulnerable citizens. In just the past few years, Gundersen has taken hundreds of our community members to court for unpaid medical debt – including its own employees who cannot afford the Hospital’s insurance plan.

Gundersen is one of the most profitable hospitals in the country. Community members and employees should be able to receive services at a nonprofit Hospital without being sued, taken to collections, or having their wages garnished.

We demand Gundersen:

  1. Cease suing our community members and employees for medical debt
  2. Forgive existing medical debt
  3. Provide Gundersen employees with affordable health insurance coverage

Remember to bring water and sunscreen.  Also please wear the color purple in solidarity.

PLEASE USE THIS FORM TO RSVP

PLEASE USE THIS FORM TO SIGN OUR DIGITAL PETITION AGAINST MEDICAL DEBT

La Crosse County Residents contact the county board RIGHT NOW and let them know you support Medicare For ALL

We are living through the worst global pandemic of our lives.  Americans across the country have lost their jobs, their income, and their access to healthcare.  This moment, more than any moment in American history, is showing us just how dangerous it is to have healthcare tied to employment.  La Crosse County needs to stand up with counties, and cities, across the country to demand a universal single payer healthcare system so that no one goes without the health coverage they need to live!  Please use this form to contact the county board and let them know that La Crosse County supports universal, single payer healthcare!

Universal single payer healthcare will not only make sure that EVERY AMERICAN can access the healthcare we all need, it will also boast our economy both locally and nationally.  It will allow Americans to look for the kind of employment that allows them to follow their dream without the worry of losing healthcare.  It will take the burden of providing healthcare off the backs of our local employers.  It will end the toxic political influence of the health insurance industry.  Most importantly single payer healthcare will guarantee that every American is able to see a doctor, or receive life saving healthcare, when they need to regardless of income.

You can help make health coverage a reality for every American, regardless of income by urging the La Crosse County Board to pass a resolution in support of Medicare For All.  Dozens of places across the country such as Austin Texas, Warren County Tennessee, Cook County Illinois, and Philadelphia Pennsylvania have all passed similar resolutions.  There is a national movement of cities and counties showing Washington that Americans need healthcare; La Crosse County needs to add its voice to that movement.  Together all of these resolutions will show Washington that America demands a universal, single payer healthcare system NOW.

If you live in La Crosse County please use this form to send an email to members of the La Crosse County Board letting them know they need to pass a county resolution showing supporting Medicare For All.  Once you fill out this form, and customize the email if you want, your email will be sent directly to every member of the La Crosse County Board.  If you are outside of La Crosse County thank you for your support but please do not submit this form; this form is for La Crosse County residents only.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is hosting a candidate town hall with State Assembly candidate Josefine Jaynes

lease join Citizen Action on July 21st at 6:00 PM for a very special town hall with State Assembly candidate Josefine Jaynes.  Josefine is running for the 96th Assembly seat covering Vernon, Crawford and Monroe Counties.

Josefine was one of the first candidates to receive a Citizen Action endorsement in the new Driftless Region Co-op.  At age 18 Josefine is also the youngest candidate Citizen Action of Wisconsin has ever endorsed.  Josefine is committed to fully funding our public schools, ensuring that every Wisconsinite has access to healthcare, addressing the housing and daycare shortage in the district and safeguarding our water both for our health and our tourism.  Even though Josefine has spent her entire life surrounded by politics she has committed to not being a career politician.  She wants to get in, make the kind of changes Wisconsin needs and get out.

This very special, virtual, town hall is open to the public (even those outside of her district) but RSVP is required to join.  Please use this link to RSVP.  You will receive the Zoom link after you RSVP.  Space is limited so reserve your spot now!

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

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

Kristina Shelton is in a tough race against the incumbent in Assembly District 90. She continues to demonstrate a commitment to her community and her experience, integrity, and vision to lead is greatly needed in the State Assembly. You can help learn more about her action opportunities by visiting //www.kristinaforassembly.com/volunteer.

Jonathon Hansen is in a primary to represent the Democratic Party in Senate District 30. Jonathon tirelessly served his community during his time on the De Pere City Council. He brings that same determination to his run for State Senate. Jonathon will fight to bring a living wage and affordable, quality healthcare coverage to the people of Wisconsin, no matter your ZIP code. His pride in serving every single resident of his community, district, and state will move Wisconsin forward. His campaign is looking for people to make phone calls before his Primary on August 11th! You can sign up here: //bit.ly/Phone4Hansen

Volunteer to Help JoAnna Bautch

Calling all volunteers! Join Team JoAnna for volunteer opportunities every weekend (including this weekend) leading up to the August 11th primary election. Pick a date or a few that work best for you and help us connect with voters across the 8th Assembly District on Milwaukee’s near south side. We will have a variety of safe volunteer activities for folks to engage in.

Sign up here: //forms.gle/oYyZSJ5je4AxnFeKA

Learn more: //www.facebook.com/JoAnnaforWI/events

North Side Rising Presents: Rally for Good Green Jobs, July 15th, Noon

Join North Side Rising for a rally on Wednesday, July 15th,  12-1:15 pm, at Victory Park, 2601 N Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr. The rally will support bring awareness and support around the need for Good Living Wage Jobs on the North Side of Milwaukee; the most impoverished, disproportionate, and most affected by the negative effects of COVID-19, Racism and Mental Health Disorders perpetually infringed upon our community city after city, state after state, and generation after generation! Now is the time to right those wrongs and level the playing field. If you truly believe black lives matter then sand up for what matters to black lives and that is their inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Rally Topics:

  • Publicly Subsidized Job Funding on the Federal level (The Need for Living Wage Jobs and what Good Green Jobs look like/do)
  • The End of Work Share Date, July 31, (The need to extend it especially due to End of Utilities Moratorium and the continued crisis of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
  • The End of Utility Moratorium Deadline Date, July 25 (Our Demands, Solutions and Actions to take)

Speakers:

  • Milwaukee County Supervisor Supreme Moore-Omokunde
  • State Senator Latoya Johnson
  • NAACP Rep. George Martin

Do You Live in Marathon County? You’re County Board Supervisor Needs to Hear From You!!

Several community members have worked with Marathon County Board Supervisor, Will Harris, to get a referendum question on the ballot asking if people support Fair Maps (an end to partisan gerrymandering). This proposal has passed the Executive Committee narrowly, and will now be presented to the full board. County Board Supervisors rarely hear from their constituents, and contacting your Supervisor (or helping recruit others to do the same) could be the difference that it takes to get this passed through the full board. Time is of the essence. If you are willing to help with these efforts in some way, please contact NC Organizing Co-op Organizer Joel Lewis at 715-551-2525 or [email protected].

Tell our Gov Task Force that we want equitable green jobs!

Wisconsin has fallen behind other states in addressing climate change. A state task force will advise the Governor on strategies the state can take to mitigate and prepare for global warming. The task force is looking to hear from speakers to emphasize the need for Bold and Equitable actions meaning:

Bold: We need recommendations that help reach the 100% carbon free goal set by Governor Evers. We need to reduce emissions quickly and on a large scale. Our recommendations need to be bold.

Equitable: Communities of color have higher rates of air pollution than white communities. They are disproportionately home to more fracking and other fossil fuel production sites and they bear the greatest impact from severe weather catastrophes. The solutions we recommend should build up communities of color, not continue to tear them down.

Our Climate Equity team will demand the task force to subsidize jobs to take on mitigation and climate change in our communities. The climate equity team is an initiative established by Citizen Action to look at ways to effectively stop climate change and a healthy economy and environment for everyone. To be equitable, we put a major focus on black and brown people who have experienced economic depression since deindustrialization in Wisconsin.

//secure.everyaction.com/EkCrpq3UykK1mA1OKQfYdQ2

For more information, visit the official webpage at //climatechange.wi.gov/Pages/Home.aspx or

contact the co-op organizer at [email protected]

We Want to Help You Make Your Home More Energy Efficient and Help Support Union Jobs

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.

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 Northern 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!

After submitting the information, you can schedule a call to discuss how we might be able to help! (Questions? Email [email protected] and [email protected]).

Sign up here!

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

We will be having numerous “Coffee w/Your Co-op” events in July! We are working on building our membership and activism in the rural communities across Northwestern Wisconsin and we need your help! Please ask 1-2 friends to join us virtually on the date that corresponds to where they live and let them know how they would be paramount to our important organizing work in 2020 and beyond! Please register for one of the dates below (BYOCoffee!)

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

Citizen Action in the News

Our virtual town hall with Senator Tammy Baldwin drew some good media coverage. See coverage in Up North News and WXPR Radio.

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos Radio Show this week to discuss how Democrats can win a landslide election and govern effectively. The Boston-based show is available on-line and airs in the evenings on the two commercial progressive radio stations in Milwaukee and Madison.

Media Stories 

“Forecast: Hot & Humid” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the latest Wisconsin Supreme court ruling upholding most of the Lame Duck power grab. The panel then moves to the deadly Wisconsin COVID-19 surge, and the movement towards mask mandates at the local level. Will Governor Evers pursue a state mask order? We tee-off on the troubling decision of the Wisconsin Department Health to withhold the names of businesses with multiple COVID-19 cases. Are they caving to Republican corporate interests? On a more positive note, we look at the bold New Deal-style jobs initiatives highlighted by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin on a statewide town hall hosted by Citizen Action. Could it be used to protect family incomes, and jump start a green climate transition that also dramatically reduced racial inequality? We also discuss the looming July 25th cut-off of enhanced unemployment benefits, which would leave the unemployed and work-share participants high and dry. We close with an analysis of the just announced Biden-Sanders platform comprises aimed at party unification. Does it signal a new progressive-moderate alliance within the Democratic Party?

Listen Now – Episode #450
Download MP3

Facebook post of the week

“Forecast: Hot & Humid” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Forecast: Hot & Humid” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the latest Wisconsin Supreme court ruling upholding most of the Lame Duck power grab. The panel than moves to the deadly Wisconsin COVID-19 surge, and the movement towards mask mandates at the local level. Will Governor Evers pursue a state mask order? We tee-off on the troubling decision of the Wisconsin Department Health to withhold the names of businesses with multiple COVID-19 cases. Are they caving to Republican corporate interests? On a more positive note, we look at the bold New Deal-style jobs initiatives highlighted by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin on a statewide townhall hosted by Citizen Action. Could it be used to protect family incomes, and jump start a green climate transition that also dramatically reduced racial inequality? We also discuss the looming July 25th cut-off of enhanced unemployment benefits, which would leave the unemployed and work-share participants high and dry. We close with an analysis of the just announced Biden-Sanders platform comprises aimed at party unification. Does it signal a new progressive-moderate alliance within the Democratic Party?
Listen Now – Episode #450
Download MP3
Press Clips

Links:
Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds most lame-duck laws, throws out provisions on government documents.
Nearly Two-Thirds Of Wisconsin Counties Have A ‘High Level’ Of Coronavirus Activity
Wednesday Sees 598 New Cases Of COVID-19, Bringing 7-Day Average To 565 Daily Cases.
Wisconsin Has Fastest COVID-19 Spread In U.S.
Tony Evers signals he might try to mandate face masks statewide but expects a legal challenge.
Milwaukee citywide mask mandate now circulating through Common Council.
Mask ordinance to be considered for city of Green Bay.
Wisconsin won’t name businesses with multiple COVID-10 cases.
Senator Baldwin & Citizen Action Call for Bold COVID-19 Economic Relief.
6 Takeaways From the Biden-Sanders Joint Policy Proposals.
Biden, Sanders Release Progressive Unity Platform for Democratic Party.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Supports Milwaukee Mask Ordinance

For Immediate Release–July 6, 2020

Media Contact: Robert Kraig, (414) 322-5324, [email protected]

The public health measure is essential, but must also be equitably enforced

Milwaukee: With the COVID-19 pandemic dangerously accelerating, governments have a moral obligation to take every step necessary to save lives. In Wisconsin, due to the hyper partisanship of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court and the conservatives who control the State Legislature, the onus falls entirely to local units of government.

With COVID-19 cases accelerating, the proposed City of Milwaukee mask ordinance (MKE Cares) proposed by Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic is a great first step. It is scheduled to be considered this week. Public health experts now agree that wearing masks in public is one of the most important steps we can take to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus, and yet public compliance is mixed at best. The Milwaukee proposal is modeled on the ordinances enacted by the Cities of Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Francisco.

In Milwaukee and in Wisconsin, the virus is again spreading at an alarming rate (see data below). There is also a critical racial equity element of the crisis, as COVID-19 continues to infect and kill people of color at shockingly disproportionate rates. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 24% of Wisconsin COVID-19 deaths have been to African Americans, and 30% of the people infected have been Latinx.

While racial equity demands bold action to contain the spread of the virus, there are major equity concerns related to enforcement and access to face masks that must also be addressed. A shocking report by Wisconsin Watch documents massive racial and ethnic disparities in arrests related to the now expired stay at home order. A stunning 77% of arrest were of African Americans, 22% were of Latinx, and only 6% were of white. The city map produced by the investigative journalism outfit shows that arrests were highly concentrated in African American and Latinx neighborhoods. Another concern being raised is access to masks for low-income Milwaukeeans. Citizen Action urges the Common Council to address both concerns by holding Milwaukee police strictly accountable for racially biased enforcement, and providing face masks to Milwaukeeans who cannot afford them.

By the Numbers: The Milwaukee COVID-19 Crisis is Growing Worse

The Milwaukee Health Department reported Friday that COVID 19 testing positivity rates have skyrocketed to 12.2%, a dangerously high number that rivals some of the most impacted southern states. Georgia has a 13.1% positive test rate and Alabama, has a 13.6% positive test rate. In Alabama many cities have already enacted mask ordinances. In addition, Milwaukee’s critically important reproduction rate R0 (also called infection rate) has risen to 1.07. (The number of additional persons each COVID positive person infects). According to academic public health experts a reproduction rate over 1 means the pandemic is growing and will over time overwhelm local hospitals. Many of the countries who have been most effective in controlling the pandemic are shutting down regions with reproduction rates over 1.

“We applaud Alderwoman Dimitrijevic for introducing this lifesaving ordinance,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “While our top priority must be a pandemic which is infecting and killing very unequally, it is also important that public health standards be enforced fairly and equally. We therefore also urge City of Milwaukee leadership to ensure equitable enforcement of the measure, and provide masks to those who cannot afford them, so that we do not exacerbate already severe racial disparities in Milwaukee.”

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Bill Kaplan: 446,000 Wisconsinites lost health insurance

Bill Kaplan: 446,000 Wisconsinites lost health insurance

The COVID-19 pandemic has crushed the economy with double-digit unemployment in the U.S., including Wisconsin (WI). Recovery is uncertain while COVID-19 is out-of-control. High unemployment has resulted in nearly 27 million, including 446,000 Wisconsinites, losing employer sponsored private health insurance (Kaiser Family Foundation, KFF). Meanwhile COVID-19 is exploding.

Now nearly 3 million cases nationally, over 31,000 in WI. One-day records have been broken in the U.S. and WI. Doctor Anthony Fauci said: “I’m not satisfied with what’s going on because we’re going in the wrong direction.” Fauci expects new infections to exceed 100,000 a day! COVID-19 deaths are seemingly on a slower trajectory with about 130,000 nationally and 800 in WI. However, health experts caution there is a lag between confirmed COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and death.

Moreover, Modern Healthcare reported: “Researchers found some of the most vulnerable populations – including African Americans, Native Americans, lower-income individuals, those residing in rural areas and in states that have not expanded Medicaid – were both more likely to be at high risk of severe COVID-19 illness and lack adequate health care coverage to get care if they did get sick, according … (to) the Journal of General Internal Medicine.” What is needed at a minimum is health care coverage for all Americans.

But the Trump administration has gone to the Supreme Court to have the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) declared unconstitutional. 23 million Americans, including over 200,000 Wisconsinites, would lose health coverage and 54 million (nearly 1 million in WI) with preexisting conditions would no longer have ACA protections. The Democratic-led House countered Trump by voting to expand ACA coverage and financial help. Wisconsin Democratic representatives voted yes while state GOP representatives mostly voted no (Representative Mike Gallagher didn’t vote).

WI Democratic Governor Tony Evers has established a new online site to help Wisconsinites who have lost their health coverage get covered through Medicaid and the ACA. KFF estimates thousands on Wisconsinites are now eligible either for Medicaid or ACA subsidies for private insurance. But others will get inadequate help because the GOP-led WI legislature has not passed Medicaid expansion. Evers has continued to urge WI Republicans to expand Medicaid. He now has a partner.

Retiring GOP state Senator Luther Olsen has called for the legislature to consider Medicaid expansion. Olsen explained that circumstances have changed: COVID-19 pandemic, soaring numbers of uninsured and a budget shortfall. Olsen said WI can no longer leave “that kind of money on the table”. The 90 percent federal funding would replace the current 59 percent federal funding for about 150,000 individuals enrolled in Medicaid (2019) and allow tens of thousands more to enroll. Will the state Senate pass it?

Perhaps GOP state Senator Jerry Petrowski, who previously endorsed Medicaid expansion, would support Olsen. But WI Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald needs to allow a vote. In 2018, Fitzgerald briefly said he would not “rule it out” (Medicaid expansion). Circumstances have changed. GOP-led Oklahoma (in 2016, 65% supported Trump) just voted for Medicaid expansion. It’s time to expand Medicaid in WI.

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