Bill Kaplan: Impeachment, facts matter

Bill Kaplan: Impeachment, facts matter

Photo by Gage Skidmore

I have been reluctant to support impeachment of Trump. Only 8 federal officials have ever been impeached by the House (majority of those voting) and convicted (removed) by the Senate (two-thirds of those present). Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached, but not convicted. And, Nixon resigned after the House Judiciary Committee approved 3 bipartisan impeachment articles. Today, a Senate conviction would require 20 Republicans to join all Democrats (if every senator attended). Unimaginable!

However, facts matter in a democratic society. Authoritarian rule requires constant deception, as well as undermining Congress, courts, intelligence agencies, law enforcement and the press. Disregarding facts will weaken America and send the nation into a speedy decline. The House impeachment inquiry has uncovered damning and inconvenient facts. Ignore at our own peril.

Public hearings, over two weeks by the House Intelligence Committee, made clear that Trump lied and subverted the Constitution. Trump’s infamous telephone call (partial) transcript with Ukrainian President Zelensky reinforced the whistleblower’s complaint. Any wonder why Trump called the whistleblower a “spy” and treasonous. Worse, Trump hinted that the death penalty should be imposed. And, for good measure Trump called the press “scum” (Los Angeles Times). Trump even “mulled” firing the intelligence community’s inspector general (a Trump appointee) for having told Congress about the whistleblower’s complaint regarding Trump’s telephone call (New York Times — NYT).

photo by: Gage Skidmore

However, Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson has attacked the whistleblower: “This would have been far better off if we would’ve just taken care of this behind the scenes. …(the whistleblower) exposed things that didn’t need to be exposed” (Meet the Press). What was exposed and confirmed by Trump’s telephone call (partial) transcript and congressional witnesses: Trump demanded that Ukraine dig up dirt on Joe Biden, a potential 2020 opponent, and endorse the fiction that it was Ukraine that interfered in our 2016 election.

“Johnson in the past has been an outspoken advocate of protections for whistleblowers… .” (NYT). But Johnson now says: “Not all whistleblowers are created equal”. Johnson believes that there’s Ukrainian dirt on Joe Biden and that Ukraine – not Russia – hijacked our 2016 election. This nonsense has been unequivocally disproved. Kurt Volker, former Trump special envoy to Ukraine and a GOP witness said: allegations against Biden were “not credible” and a Ukrainian investigation of Biden was “unacceptable”. And, Fiona Hill, former Trump-appointed National Security Council official, said: “I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine – not Russia – attacked us in 2016. These fictions are harmful … .”

After the hearings ended, the NYT reported: “In a briefing that closely aligned with … Hill’s testimony, American intelligence officials informed senators and their aides in recent weeks that Russia has engaged in a yearslong campaign to essentially frame Ukraine as responsible for Moscow’s own hacking of the 2016 election … .” Did Johnson or his staff attend? What else does Johnson know about this scandal?

Facts matter. A democratic society can’t survive without facts.

–Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 20

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, November 22nd

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, November 22nd

Friday, November 22nd

Southwest Co-op Membership Recruitment Drive Update

The brand new Citizen Action Southwest Wisconsin Organizing Co-op is nearly fully formed!  We currently have 242 pledged members. There is still time to join. We want to activate every area activist who cares about creating a better Wisconsin!  If you are interested in learning more about Citizen Action contact Ben at 608-386-2847! Together we can create a better Wisconsin for the next generation.

Click here to complete your co-op membership.

Even though we are almost to our goal we want to mobilize everyone in Southwest Wisconsin that believes in a better tomorrow for Wisconsin.  Do you have friends or family members who believe in progressive change across the state? Lets get them involved! You can make a huge difference by hosting a small group meeting.  These meetings can take place at someone’s home, a coffee house, over a nice dinner or at the public library. All you have to do is get people to show up and Ben will give the presentation and take all questions.  If you think you can help turn out 3-8 people for a one hour meeting contact your co-op organizer, Ben Wilson, right away and let’s get one scheduled!

CAW Long Term Care members take Detroit! 

Karen Kirsch, Lynn Carey, and Rita Simon flew to Detroit to attend the annual field convening of Caring Across Generations. Caregivers, organizers, activists and the disabled community attended. It was a productive table with all perspectives and insights into the care-giving economy.

Families are facing catastrophic stress and financial burdens around their care-giving needs ranging from the cradle to their golden years. We agreed that the best way to solve this problem is to band together and push for a care infrastructure that we all deserve. It’s called Universal Family Care and it will be the New Green Deal of Care-giving. Now is the time to get on board as its the next big push in building a better society.

Why you should be involved? 

If you are struggling with logistics and paying for quality childcare?
If you are struggling with logistics and paying for quality in-home elder care?
If you work in any care capacity?
If you care about children? If you care about the disabled? If you care about the elderly?
You can read more about this big initiative here.

Contact Karen.kirsch@citizenactionwi.org

Healthcare Leadership Team

We are looking for a few more members to join the leadership team that helps to steer the HealthCare Co-op. We meet once a month for an hour and then of course, you would help with events and issues as determined. Sometimes we work around the news cycle and sometimes we drive issues on our own but we are exclusively healthcare focused.

Contact Karen.kirsch@citizenactionwi.org

Attend Citizen Action’s Annual Meeting, Saturday, December 7th, 1pm

The Citizen Action of Wisconsin Annual meeting will take place on Saturday, December 7th, 1pm.at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet St. Milwaukee.

Each regional organizing co-op will be having a meeting within their region at the same time,

We will connect with the meeting in Milwaukee to hear year in review from all the co-op, 2019 member awards, and then turn our meeting back to the regional co-ops. This meeting is open to non-members as well as members.

RSVP for Milwaukee
RSVP for Southwest co-op meeting

Citizen Action Northeast Organizing Co-op Annual Meeting and Strategy Session, December 7th @12PM

Join our organizing co-op as we gather for a membership social, an update on our statewide work in 2020, and a regional strategy session!

Citizen Action Organizing Co-op Informational Meeting, West Salem, Saturday, Nov. 23, 10:30am

Are you concerned about the way things are going in our country? Do you feel like you have lost your political power? Do you want to do more to fight climate change? Do you want to help create well paying, skilled union jobs right here in our area? Do you care about making sure everyone in Wisconsin has healthcare? Join Citizen Action for our upcoming event!

Come and learn about how you can get involved in a true progressive movement dedicated to creating real change in the Driftless region.

This is a great opportunity to learn how you can be a part of our organizing co-op.

West Salem, November 23rd, 10:30am
Village of West Salem Hazel Brown Leicht Memorial Library
201 Neshonoc Rd.

“Green New Deal in Sconnie” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

After an impeachment discussion and analysis of the new MU law Poll, we are joined by Milwaukee County Supervisor Supreme Moore-Omokunde to discuss Milwaukee’s new joint County/City task force to address climate change and economic equity. The task force starts the process of developing a concrete plan to use the leverage of local government to restructure the local fossil fuel-based economy and reorganize it to dramatically reduce the shocking racial inequality that plagues Milwaukee.

To get involved in the MKE climate and equity campaign contact: Rafael.Smith@citizenctionwi.org

Next MKE Climate Task force Meeting
Tuesday, November 26th; 2pm
Milwaukee City Hall #301B

Listen Now – Episode #418

Facebook Post of the Week

“Green New Deal in Sconnie” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Green New Deal in Sconnie” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

After an impeachment discussion and analysis of the new MU law Poll, we are joined by Milwaukee County Supervisor Supreme Moore-Omokunde to discuss Milwaukee’s new joint County/City task force to address climate change and economic equity. The task force starts the process of developing a concrete plan to use the leverage of local government to restructure the local fossil fuel-based economy and reorganize it to dramatically reduce the shocking racial inequality that plagues Milwaukee.

Listen Now – Episode #418
Download MP3

To get involved in the MKE climate and equity campaign contact: Rafael.Smith@citizenctionwi.org

Next MKE Climate Task force Meeting
Tuesday, November 26th; 2pm
Milwaukee City Hall #301B

Links:

New Marquette Law School Poll finds shifts in Wisconsin public opinion favorable to President Trump on impeachment and presidential election preferences.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes to Join U.S. Leaders at U.N. Climate Talks Despite Federal Action to Withdraw from Paris Agreement.
Task forces will tackle climate change issues across Wisconsin.
Members named to Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity.

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, November 15th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, November 15th

Friday, November 15th

Southwest co-op hosts media event spotlighting “Green Homes, Good Jobs” Campaign

Thursday afternoon Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Southwest Co-op hosted its first major media event to highlight the “Green Homes, Good Jobs” campaign.

100 home owners have already signed up to receive home energy efficient upgrades such as solar panels, new insulation, and new heating/cooling systems.

This campaign is designed to not only fight climate change but also save homeowners’ money and create good union jobs right here in Wisconsin.

You can read about this media event right here and here.

If you are interested in upgrading your own home you can get more information about the program here.

City of Milwaukee/Milwaukee County Climate Task force holds first meeting Monday

This Monday afternoon the first meeting of the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County Joint Task Force on climate change and economic equity was held.

Members of the task force took their oaths and then were given a warm welcome from Common Council President Ashanti

Erick Shambarger of the Environmental Collaboration Office followed with a presentation about the city’s current plans to meet the Paris Accords.

Dozens of community members attended and made their voices heard about what they would like the task force to focus on. The task force members decided they would meet two times a month over the next six months. The next meeting will be November 26th at 2pm in city hall in room 301-B. All are welcome to attend.

For more information on task force campaign contact: Rafael.Smith@citizenctionwi.org

Read media about task force.

New Southwest Co-op member (and state Senate candidate) spotlight

One of the newest members to join the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Southwest Wisconsin co-op is Joni Anderson.  Joni is the vice president of her union and is running for the State Senate in Senate District 14. Joni is running on a platform of Medicare for all, fighting climate change and fairer elections by ending unfair gerrymandering in our state. Citizen Action is excited to add Joni to our newest organizing co-op!

North Central Organizing Co-op Members Attend Fair Maps Summit

This past Saturday, several members of the NC Organizing Co-op joined a large turnout of people at the Fair Maps Summit in Marshfield. The large turnout of people from across the state demonstrate that this issues is a top priority for a lot of Wisconsinites.

Members of the Co-op from Oneida and Marathon County were in attendance, which is vitally important considering that these two counties have not passed a Fair Maps resolution. In Oneida County, Fair Maps activists have started going to each municipality to pass resolutions in support. The Town of Neubold has already passed one. Now, they’re working on the City of Rhinelander next. This work is being done by members of the groups that belong to the Fair Maps Coalition.

If you would like to know what you can do to help with Fair Maps, contact Joel Lewis at 715-551-2525 or joel.lewis@citizenactionwi.org

Attend Citizen Action’s Annual Meeting, Saturday, December 7th, 1pm

The Citizen Action of Wisconsin Annual meeting will take place on Saturday, December 7th, 1pm.at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet St. Milwaukee.

Each regional organizing co-op will be having a meeting within their region at the same time,

We will connect with the meeting in Milwaukee to hear the awards and to hear a synopsis of our work from Executive Director Dr. Robert Kraig, and then turn our meeting back to the regional co-ops. This meeting is open to non-members as well as members.

RSVP
RSVP for Southwest co-op meeting

Citizen Action Organizing Co-op Informational Meeting

Are you concerned about the way things are going in our country? Do you feel like you have lost your political power? Do you want to do more to fight climate change? Do you want to help create well paying, skilled union jobs right here in our area? Do you care about making sure everyone in Wisconsin has healthcare? Join Citizen Action for our upcoming event!

Citizens Action is hosting small group informational meetings. Come and learn about how you can get involved in a true progressive movement dedicated to creating real change in the Driftless region.

This is a great opportunity to learn how you can be a part of our organizing co-op.

West Salem, November 23rd, 10:30am
Village of West Salem Hazel Brown Leicht Memorial Library
201 Neshonoc Rd.

“Treasurer Godlewski is Back!” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast.

We welcome the return of State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski to the show. Sarah talks about the importance of paid family leave policies and the new state task force she is leading on retirement security. Our panel discusses the implications of the entrance of Deval Patrick in the presidential election. We review the do-nothing legislature which is adjourning for 2 months with little to show. Sean Duffy reveals he really left Congress to become a lobbyist for wealthy financial interests. Citizen Action’s new co-op in the “driftless” region launches effort to fight climate change, including  through renewable energy upgrades to over 100 homes.
Listen Now – Episode 417
Download MP3

Facebook post of the week

“Treasurer Godlewski is Back!” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast.

“Treasurer Godlewski is Back!” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast.

We welcome the return of State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski to the show. Sarah talks about the importance of paid family leave policies and the new state task force she is leading on retirement security. Our panel discusses the implications of the entrance of Deval Patrick in the presidential election. We review the do-nothing legislature which is adjourning for 2 months with little to show. Sean Duffy reveals he really left Congress to become a lobbyist for wealthy financial interests. Citizen Action’s new co-op in the “driftless” region launches effort to fight climate change, including  through renewable energy upgrades to over 100 homes.
Listen Now – Episode 417
Download MP3

Links:

Deval Patrick announces White House bid.
Deval Patrick Makes A Late Entry Into The 2020 Presidential Race.
Evers hasn’t ruled out calling a second special session regarding gun control laws.
The Politics of Medicaid Expansion Have Changed.
Sean Duffy to lobby for financial industry.
Dozens rally in front of Milwaukee Federal Building for DACA.
Wisconsin Democrats Reintroduce Family Medical Leave Insurance Act
Task Force confronts ‘retirement crisis’.

Listen on iTunes.

Bill Kaplan: Senator Baldwin fights for retirees

Bill Kaplan: Senator Baldwin fights for retirees

Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin has a first-rate personality, impressive political skills and a social conscience. She long ago made the transition from representing the Madison area Second Congressional District to the entire state. One issue that Baldwin has singularly led on is economic security for retirees. No surprise for someone raised by her grandparents.

In December, 2016 Baldwin drove to Milwaukee during a heavy snowstorm to meet with the Milwaukee-SE Committee to Protect Pensions. Bob Amsden, one of the group’s leaders, told me there were about 170 retirees and supporters there. Baldwin spoke about the financially troubled Central States Pension Fund (CSPF), which covers 400,000 Americans including 25,000 Wisconsinites. The CSPF and other similar pension fund plans “are projected to become insolvent over the next decade due to investment losses from the (2008) financial crisis, jobs moving overseas, industry deregulation and other factors” (Pension Rights Center). The retirement benefits of 1.5 million Americans are at risk.

Baldwin told the retirees – Democrats, Republicans and independents: “Congress must go back to the table to come up with a workable and bipartisan solution”. She became one of the first sponsors of the Butch Lewis Act, named after Lewis, a Vietnam War veteran and pension activist. “The measure would help pension plans sponsored by several employers … by giving (low-cost) loans to insolvent plans (to make investments that are not risky) so they can continue to distribute the promised retirement benefits” (Washington Post).

In July, the Democratic-led House passed the bipartisan Butch Lewis Act. 29 GOP representatives, including Wisconsin firebrand Sean Duffy, joined all Democrats in voting for the legislation. Wisconsin Democratic Representative Ron Kind said: “By passing the Butch Lewis Act, Congress is helping ensure that thousands of Wisconsinites have access to their earned benefits and a secure future and it is done is a fiscally responsible way”. Wisconsin pension rights leader Amsden was thrilled to meet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He told me that Wisconsin retirees had persuaded Duffy to vote for the bill.

Senator Baldwin is a lead sponsor, with 35 other senators, of S.2254 – Butch Lewis Act of 2019. She recently tweeted: “I’m on the Senate floor to once again call on the Senate to take action and keep our pension promises to nearly 25,000 workers and retirees in (Wisconsin) who have paid into the Central States Pension Fund. Mitch McConnell should allow a vote on the Butch Lewis Act.” What will Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson do?

The hour is late and the situation dire. “Retirees (facing pension cuts) have told us they’re going to lose their houses, they can’t pay their medical bills – and they are panic-stricken. The rug has been pulled out from under them” (Pension Rights Center). Moreover, conservative American Enterprise Institute economist Alex Brill said that if the CSPF plan collapsed 55,000 jobs would disappear and over $1 billion in federal taxes and another $450 million in state and local taxes would be lost. Listen to Baldwin.

Passing the Butch Lewis Act will help retirees.

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

 

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, November 8th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, November 8th

Friday, November 8th

Citizen Action members travel to Detroit for Universal Family Care convention. 

Citizen action members Lynn Carey and Rita are attending the annual field convening meeting in Detroit to talk about the Universal Family Care movement which includes the issue of long term care.

SAVE THE DATE: Annual Meeting, Saturday, December 7th, 1pm

The Citizen Action of Wisconsin Annual meeting will take place on Saturday, December 7th, 1pm.at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet St. Milwaukee.

This year we are trying something a bit different. Each regional organizing co-op will be having a meeting within their region at the same time, rather than asking their members to travel to Milwaukee. We will connect with the meeting in Milwaukee to hear the awards and to hear a synopsis of our work from Executive Director Dr. Robert Kraig, and then turn our meeting back to the regional co-ops. This meeting is open to non-members as well as members.

RSVP for MKE
RSVP for Southwest co-op meeting

La Crosse City Council Judiciary and Administration committee approves solar ordinance

On Tuesday November 5th Southwest Co-op organizer Ben Wilson and co-op member Janette Dean attended the La Crosse City Council Judiciary and Administration committee meeting.   The committee voted to move forward with a solar ordinance that will make it much easier for La Crosse homeowners to install solar. It completely legalizes solar installation on roofs or on the ground anywhere in La Crosse.  It also changes the classification of solar panels to be considered an accessory which means the permitting process will be much quicker for anyone looking to upgrade. This ordinance helps fulfill the city’s goal of 100% carbon neutrality by 2050 (hopefully much sooner).  Janette, along with students from Fridays for Future, spoke in support of the bill. The full council votes on the ordinance next week.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Southwest Co-op membership update

The Southwest Wisconsin co-op is now more than halfway through our 60 day recruitment drive and we are over halfway to our goal!  We are looking for 250 passionate activists to join and so far we have 164! We are getting closer everyday! If you have not fully joined the organizing co-op you can do so right here.

Northeast Co-op Update: Green Bay City Council passes budget that includes Resiliency & Diversity Coordinator

Thanks to the leadership of Mayor (and co-op member) Eric Genrich and members of the city council, Green Bay has taken a critical step towards addressing the growing climate emergency and fighting for a more inclusive city. The final vote was 7-5 in favor of passing the budget, with the yes votes including two co-op members, Barbara Dorff and Randy Scannell. Thank you to everyone who called your alders in support of the creation of these two positions, your voices made a difference in this fight!

Read more on city budget
Read more on Resiliency Coordinator.

Citizen Action Organizing Co-op Informational Meeting

Are you concerned about the way things are going in our country? Do you feel like you have lost your political power? Do you want to do more to fight climate change? Do you want to help create well paying, skilled union jobs right here in our area? Do you care about making sure everyone in Wisconsin has healthcare? Join Citizen Action for our upcoming event!

Citizens Action is hosting small group informational meetings. Come and learn about how you can get involved in a true progressive movement dedicated to creating real change in the Driftless region.

This is a great opportunity to learn how you can be a part of our organizing co-op.

West Salem, November 23rd, 10:30am
Village of West Salem Hazel Brown Leicht Memorial Library
201 Neshonoc Rd

More information and RSVP

People’s Action candidates and agenda win Tuesday! Setting the stage for a big 2020.

Tuesday was big!

Omari Shakur, a longtime community activist & leader of Community Voices Heard, won his race to be Councilman-At-Large in Newberg, NY

While there were very important high profile victories in the Kentucky Governor race and the Virginia statehouse last night, it is worth highlighting some amazing members of People’s Action affiliates who also won last night. These leaders are committed to co-governing with our organizations to help make our agenda a reality.

These victories should inspire our movement nationally and here in Wisconsin. We at Citizen Action remain committed to continue our organizing to find new member leaders who are willing to run for office in 2020 and beyond to help change our communities, state, and country.

Arizona

  • Regina Romero, who has committed to co-governing with People’s Action affiliate LUCHA, was elected as Tucson’s first Latina mayor! She won in a landslide victory! “I’m still savoring the historic community-led victories of last night,” said Alejandra Gomez, executive director of LUCHA. “LUCHA is so proud to have been part of the collective that supported Regina.” Romero ran on a bold agenda to battle climate change, reform criminal justice and improve education and economic inclusion in Tucson. LUCHA worked tirelessly to turn out the vote for Romero.” Read more.

Maine

  • Safiya Khalid became the first Somali American elected to Lewiston’s city council, with support from the Maine People’s Alliance

Massachusetts

  • Neighbor to Neighbor Action Fund (N2N) is celebrating the victory of member Victor Davila, who won a Springfield city council seat by 39 votes!
Kissy Coakley, a member-leader from Take Action Minnesota, won her race for the Minnetonka City Council.

Minnesota 

  • Long-time Take Action MN leader Kissy Coakley, who was a leader in their campaign against Target to Ban the Box, was elected as the first African-American woman to serve on the Minnetonka City Council. “Kissy wants to take what makes Minnetonka a safe, supportive, and thriving community and make it accessible to everyone, “ said Elianne Farhat, executive director of TAMN.“As a leader at TakeAction Minnesota, Kissy has been a champion for criminal justice reform measures—including taking on Target Corporation to change their hiring practices,” Farhat said. “She will bring that same determination and vision to City Council—and will listen and lead with the people to make sure everyone in Minnetonka can live full, joyful lives.”
  • Nelsie Yang, a TakeAction Minnesota organizer, will become the youngest member of the Saint Paul City Council ever! She is also the first ever Hmong woman council member. Read more about Nelsie

Michigan

  • In Kalamazoo, Michigan People’s Campaign leader Patrese Griffin won her election to Kalamazoo City Council. She was selected by the Kalamazoo City Commission to fill a vacant seat earlier this year, and last night’s vote validates her bold leadership with the voices of the community she represents.

Missouri

  • In St. Louis, Rasheen Aldridge – a former leadership team member of Missouri Jobs With Justice who was active in the Ferguson protests, served as a member of the Ferguson Commission and fought to raise the minimum wage, will be joining the Missouri state legislature as a State Representative for the 78th District.

New York

  • Omari Shakur won a seat on the City Council in Newberg, NY. Omari is now the first formerly incarcerated council member in the city. Over the past year, Shakur has been actively working with Mayor Torrance Harvey and Councilman Anthony Grice, who won reelection, to hold landlords accountable. Their victories, which were won in a coordinated effort by CVH, the Working Families Party and Democratic Party, solidify a strong council to fight for rent control, local hiring and housing ordinances, as they give the coalition four of seven seats on the council.
  • Jumaane Williams, who spoke at the People’s Action’s Convention in Washington, D.C. in April, was re-elected as Public Advocate in NYC.  NYTimes Article

Pennsylvania

  • Kendra Brooks won a seat on Philadelphia City Council running as a 3rd party candidate on the Working Families Party ticket!

Thanks to People’s Action’s Laurel Wales for contributing to this story.

Movement wins on Election night” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss this week’s election results from around the country, and what they portend for 2020. We look at the significance of high profile victories in the Kentucky and Virginia and highlight some amazing members of the Working Families Party and People’s Action affiliates who won elections. We analyze the latest escalation of the Legislature’s partisan war against Governor Tony Evers: the State Senate firing of Agriculture Secretary Brad Pfaff. What does it mean, and who in Governor Evers’ cabinet is their next target? Foxconn wants to omit sprinklers from part of their new factory (what could go wrong?), the special session on gun safety comes and goes with no action, and the top electoral issues, healthcare reform, remains a no show in the legislature, despite GOP vows to do something about pre-existing condition discrimination.
Listen Now

Facebook post of the week

Movement wins on Election night

We discuss this week’s election results from around the country, and what they portend for 2020. We look at the significance of high profile victories in the Kentucky and Virginia and highlight some amazing members of the Working Families Party and People’s Action affiliates who won elections. We analyze the latest escalation of the Legislature’s partisan war against Governor Tony Evers: the State Senate firing of Agriculture Secretary Brad Pfaff. What does it mean, and who in Governor Evers’ cabinet is their next target? Foxconn wants to omit sprinklers from part of their new factory (what could go wrong?), the special session on gun safety comes and goes with no action, and the top electoral issues, healthcare reform, remains a no show in the legislature, despite GOP vows to do something about pre-existing condition discrimination.

Kissy Coakley, will be the first African-American woman to serve on the Minnetonka City Council.

Links:
Tuesday’s Elections Show Impeachment Might Not Boost GOP As Much As It Hoped.
3 takeaways from Tuesday’s elections in Kentucky, Virginia and Mississippi.
Election Results 2019: GOP Incumbent Refuses to Concede in Tight Kentucky Governor Race.
People’s Action candidates and agenda win last night! Setting the stage for a big 2020.
Full-court press for Pfaff puts GOP senators in a bind.
Evers sits on the Senate floor as Republicans fire his ag secretary.
Wisconsin tourism secretary designee confirmation unsure, ‘there’s a storm brewing’
Foxconn wants to omit firefighting sprinklers in part of its factory, and a consultant says that’s safe.
Anticipating Thursday’s special session on gun safety? Don’t blink.
Legislature set for another clash with Tony Evers.
What hasn’t happened in health care. Some health legislation passes, but major issues fall from legislature’s agenda.

People’s Action candidates and agenda win last night! Setting the stage for a big 2020.

People’s Action candidates and agenda win last night! Setting the stage for a big 2020.

Last night was big!

Citizen Action WI is a proud affiliate of People’s Action

While there were very important high profile victories in the Kentucky Governor race and the Virginia statehouse last night, it is worth highlighting some amazing members of People’s Action affiliates who also won yesterday. These leaders are committed to co-governing with our organizations to help make our agenda a reality.

These victories should inspire our movement nationally and here in Wisconsin. We at Citizen Action remain committed to continue our organizing to find new member leaders who are willing to run for office in 2020 and beyond to help change our communities, state, and country.

Arizona

  • Regina Romero, who has committed to co-governing with People’s Action affiliate LUCHA, was elected as Tucson’s first Latina mayor! She won in a landslide victory! “I’m still savoring the historic community-led victories of last night,” said Alejandra Gomez, executive director of LUCHA. “LUCHA is so proud to have been part of the collective that supported Regina.” Romero ran on a bold agenda to battle climate change, reform criminal justice and improve education and economic inclusion in Tucson. LUCHA worked tirelessly to turn out the vote for Romero.” Read more.

Maine

  • Safiya Khalid became the first Somali American elected to Lewiston’s city council, with support from the Maine People’s Alliance

Massachusetts

  • Neighbor to Neighbor Action Fund (N2N) is celebrating the victory of member Victor Davila, who won a Springfield city council seat by 39 votes!

Minnesota 

  • Long-time Take Action MN leader Kissy Coakley, who was a leader in their campaign against Target to Ban the Box, was elected as the first African-American woman to serve on the Minnetonka City Council. “Kissy wants to take what makes Minnetonka a safe, supportive, and thriving community and make it accessible to everyone, “ said Elianne Farhat, executive director of TAMN.“As a leader at TakeAction Minnesota, Kissy has been a champion for criminal justice reform measures—including taking on Target Corporation to change their hiring practices,” Farhat said. “She will bring that same determination and vision to City Council—and will listen and lead with the people to make sure everyone in Minnetonka can live full, joyful lives.”
  • Nelsie Yang, a TakeAction Minnesota organizer, will become the youngest member of the Saint Paul City Council ever! She is also the first ever Hmong woman council member. Read more about Nelsie

Michigan

  • In Kalamazoo, Michigan People’s Campaign leader Patrese Griffin won her election to Kalamazoo City Council. She was selected by the Kalamazoo City Commission to fill a vacant seat earlier this year, and last night’s vote validates her bold leadership with the voices of the community she represents.

Missouri

  • In St. Louis, Rasheen Aldridge – a former leadership team member of Missouri Jobs With Justice who was active in the Ferguson protests, served as a member of the Ferguson Commission and fought to raise the minimum wage, will be joining the Missouri state legislature as a State Representative for the 78th District.

New York

  • Omari Shakur won a seat on the City Council in Newberg, NY. Omari is now the first formerly incarcerated council member in the city. Over the past year, Shakur has been actively working with Mayor Torrance Harvey and Councilman Anthony Grice, who won reelection, to hold landlords accountable. Their victories, which were won in a coordinated effort by CVH, the Working Families Party and Democratic Party, solidify a strong council to fight for rent control, local hiring and housing ordinances, as they give the coalition four of seven seats on the council.
  • Jumaane Williams, who spoke at the People’s Action’s Convention in Washington, D.C. in April, was re-elected as Public Advocate in NYC.  NYTimes Article

Pennsylvania

  • Kendra Brooks won a seat on Philadelphia City Council running as a 3rd party candidate on the Working Families Party ticket!

Thanks to People’s Action’s Laurel Wales for contributing to this story.

Bill Kaplan: Sen. Johnson is a bomb thrower

Bill Kaplan: Sen. Johnson is a bomb thrower

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson is a bomb thrower, peddling conspiracies. In 2011, Johnson was asked if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a “bigger threat than communism?” Johnson responded: “It is the greatest single threat to my freedom, our freedom.” And, in his first Senate speech, Johnson warned ominously of a “threat of our own making” (the federal government). Johnson always sees sinister forces at work. He voted against Senate ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Unfounded fear of U.S. sovereignty being compromised.

In 2013, he called President Obama’s reelection a “body blow to freedom”. And, “Johnson tied Democrats to socialists and Marxists” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Now, Johnson says he has “never seen a new president (Trump) face such resistance.” Notwithstanding his earlier incendiary remarks on Obama’s reelection, Johnson wants to rewrite history. The New York Times reported: “The challenge for Mr. Obama became evident as soon as he took office, when Republicans almost unanimously opposed his economic stimulus package even as the recession was erasing nearly 800,000 jobs a month.” Moreover, then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “Our top political priority … should be to deny President Obama a second term.”

Johnson seems especially unglued about the ACA. When Trump and Republicans failed to repeal the ACA, Johnson slandered Arizona GOP Senator John McCain for his vote against ACA repeal. Johnson said: McCain “has a brain tumor … some of that might have factored in.” McCain’s office responded: “It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Senator Johnson would question the judgment of a colleague and friend. Senator McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote.” But slander is Johnson’s way. He falsely claims that ACA “Medicaid expansion may be fueling the opioid epidemic … ,” an assertion debunked by Health Affairs. Now, a new Urban Institute study says: “Expanding Medicaid is probably the most important thing states can do to increase treatment rates.”

However, Johnson can’t resist being a bomb thrower. The Washington Post headline said: “An analysis of Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s conspiracy-filled defense of Trump” (on NBC’s Meet the Press). The Post opined: “Johnson refused to answer basic questions (about the Trump-Ukraine scandal), instead bringing up a completely unrelated conspiracy theory … .” Johnson wanted to peddle debunked nonsense: “I’m (Johnson) here to report today that, unlike the narrative of the press that President Trump wants to dig up dirt on his 2020 opponent (Joe Biden), what he wants is an accounting of what happened in 2016. Who set him (Trump) up? Did things spring from Ukraine?”

Johnson was ridiculed. He then posted his Meet the Press interview. Reminiscent of Virginia GOP Senator William Scott. In 1974, after journalist Nina Totenberg described Scott as the “dumbest” senator, he held a press conference to deny it. Scott said: “Obviously not true”, giving more attention to the charge. You can’t make this up!

It’s long past time for Johnson to stop being a bomb thrower.

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