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.

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, November 1st

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, November 1st

Friday, November 1st

Vote in People’s Action Presidential Primary Candidate Survey!
Voting ends Sunday, November 3rd 

Citizen Action is surveying our members on their attitudes in the Democratic presidential primary election. We are encouraging all members to VOTE in the survey starting. Voting will continue until Sunday, November 3rd.

VOTE TODAY!    Voting ends Sunday, November 3rd 

Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment starts November 1st! Sign up today.

It’s that time of year again as open enrollment for the ACA begins. We will be sharing some informational social media posts so please be sure to share and help spread the word. The window for when you can sign up, barring special circumstances, ends December 15th.

Citizen Action Co-op member appointed to Greenfield School Board

Robert Hansen, the former School Board President of Greenfield, was re-appointed to the board Monday, October 28th. Robert first joined Citizen Action in its first wave of Co-op building in the Milwaukee area and has recently joined the Healthcare Co-op. When he was on the school board previously, his tenure produced one of the first in-school healthcare clinics in the Milwaukee area that serve the school district employees and their families.Today, that clinic has expanded to also offer some healthcare services to students. Congratulations to Robert and thank you for being a good example of how to build power at the local level.

Co-op Member Eric Genrich proposes budget to Green Bay City Council 

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich is bringing his budget proposals to the Green Bay city council. Included in his budget is the creation of a “Resilience Coordinator” to better position Green Bay to combat the negative effects of climate change and explore opportunities for the city to invest in Clean Energy. Another proposal includes the creation of a position within the human resources department to embrace diversity in our community. As an organization that is dedicated to both climate restorative justice and combating systemic oppression, we are pleased by the steps that Eric is taking to ensure our community is welcoming to all people. Thank you for your leadership, Eric! If you live in Green Bay, please contact your city alder and ask that they support the creation of these two critical positions.

Do You Want to Run For Office? The North Central Organizing Co-op, and our other Organizing Co-ops Across the State Can Help!

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has made it a priority to find and support candidates, at all levels, that share our vision for a world that puts people and the planet first. We call this Movement Politics, and many of our members, partners and allies played a role in the Movement Politics Candidate Platform, that is used in the local and state candidate endorsement process. In addition, our national network, People’s Action, has a complimentary national platform.

In 2018, 49 Citizen Action co-op members won spring elections. The NC Organizing Co-op had 16 members running for office in 4 different counties. They had members running for School Boards, City Councils, County Boards, Assembly and State Senate! Co-op members, after an official endorsement is made, can help candidates in many ways. In NC, the Steering Committee Chair knocked doors and phone banked in 4 different assembly districts and ran postcard writing efforts in some of the most rural areas.

There is support out there to help you get ready to run for office and to help you win! Spring is not that far away! The Co-ops already have members running for the House of Representatives, State Legislature, City/Town/Village Councils, County Boards, and School Boards in 2020. We are looking for more people to run! If you live in WI, and are interested in running, chances are that one of our Co-op Organizers, and the Co-op members can help. If you are interested in running, contact one of these Co-op Organizers:

Karen Kirsch – Health Care Organizer
karen.kirsch@citizenactionwi.org | 414-588-0927 Bio

Joel Lewis – Central Wisconsin Organizer
joel.lewis@citizenactionwi.org  | 715-551-2525 Bio

Noah Reif – Northeast Wisconsin Organizer
noah.reif@citizenactionwi.org | 262-343-6163 Bio

Ben Wilson – South West Organizer
ben.wilson@citizenactionwi.org | 608-386-2847 Bio

Breana Stanley – North West Organizer
breana.stanley@citizenactionwi.org | 715-642-3538

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Southwest Co-op membership update

The Southwest Wisconsin co-op is now 30 days into 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 142! We are getting closer everyday! If you know someone in Southwest Wisconsin who cares about creating a better Wisconsin have them reach out to Ben at ben.wilson@citizenactionwi.org.

Citizen Action Organizing Co-op Informational Meetings

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 two upcoming 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.

Holmen, November 7th, 6:30pm
Holmen Library, 121 Legion St W
More information and RSVP

West Salem, November 23rd, 10:30am
Oma cafe 234 Leonard st N
More information and RSVP

“Speaker Vos says climate change is real… probably” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

photo by Blake Imeson

We discuss Republican Assembly leader Robin Vos saying climate change is “probably” real but there is nothing we can do about it the same week a new Harvard study says Wisconsin should invest in windmills and solar to reduce our high dependence on coal which has significant health impacts on residents and climate. We are joined by Citizen Action’s Healthcare Director, Claire Zautke to discuss a new Georgetown study finding a second consecutive year of increases in uninsured children in America and Wisconsin continues to trail our neighboring states in coverage rates. We also discuss new legislation for marijuana decriminalization in Wisconsin, Wisconsin again has the worst gap in academic achievement between black and white students, and Sean “Duffman” Duffy put his foot in his mouth again and facing criticism after questioning decorated Army veteran’s loyalty to country in an effort to defend Trump.

Listen now – Episode #415
Download MP3

Facebook post of the week

“Speaker Vos says climate change is real… probably” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Speaker Vos says climate change is real… probably” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

photo by Blake Imeson

We discuss Republican Assembly leader Robin Vos saying climate change is “probably” real but there is nothing we can do about it the same week a new Harvard study says Wisconsin should invest in windmills and solar to reduce our high dependence on coal which has significant health impacts on residents and climate. We are joined by Citizen Action’s Healthcare Director, Claire Zautke to discuss a new Georgetown study finding a second consecutive year of increases in uninsured children in America and Wisconsin continues to trail our neighboring states in coverage rates. We also discuss new legislation for marijuana decriminalization in Wisconsin, Wisconsin again has the worst gap in academic achievement between black and white students, and Sean “Duffman” Duffy put his foot in his mouth again and facing criticism after questioning decorated Army veteran’s loyalty to country in an effort to defend Trump.
Listen now – Episode #415
Download MP3

 

Vote in People’s Action Presidential Primary Candidate Survey 

Citizen Action is surveying our organizing cooperative members on their attitudes in the Democratic presidential primary election. We are encouraging all members to VOTE in the survey starting. Voting will continue until Sunday, November 3rd.

VOTE TODAY

Show Links:
Wisconsin GOP leader Robin Vos says climate change is ‘probably’ real.
Vos: Climate Change Is ‘Probably’ Real.
Harvard study suggests Great Lakes region should install more solar to improve health, environment.
New report shows high levels of uninsured children
Wisconsin fares better than some states, but is still losing ground.
Wisconsin again has the worst gap in academic achievement between its black and white students.
Democrats Push for Marijuana Decriminalization in Wisconsin.
Sean Duffy faces criticism after questioning Army veteran’s loyalty to country.
Report: CNN executive defends Sean Duffy in wake of his comments on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.

Bill Kaplan: Affordable Care Act premiums down

Bill Kaplan: Affordable Care Act premiums down

Photo by: Douglas Fron

As the 2020 enrollment period nears, Affordable Care Act (ACA) private health insurance premiums are down for the second year in a row. The average price for the second lowest cost silver plan (most commonly used) will drop 4 percent for 2020. Moreover, 20 more health insurers will sell ACA insurance on the federal exchange. Most Americans will have at least 3 insurers to choose. The news is also good in Wisconsin.

The 2020 rate for ACA private health insurance will be 3.2 percent lower in Wisconsin. And, the number of Wisconsin ACA insurers will increase from 12 to 13. “Sixty-one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties will have 3 or more insurance carriers” (Wisconsin Public Radio). Donna Friedsam, UW-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty, said: “The marketplace has stabilized quite substantially in the last couple of years.” 193,303 Wisconsinites are enrolled in an ACA health insurance plan (89 percent receive federal tax credits to lower premiums).

That’s down from 2018. Why? The Trump administration has done everything it can to sabotage the ACA: cutting the open enrollment period by half; slashing advertising and enrollment assistance; ending federal cost-sharing payments (now paid by insurers); and allowing the sale of worthless “junk insurance”. Trump is also trying to have the ACA declared unconstitutional through a federal lawsuit orchestrated by former GOP Governor Scott Walker. A decision is imminent.

However, Democratic Governor Tony Evers is fighting back. He withdrew Wisconsin from Walker’s lawsuit. And, Evers has awarded $500,000 to Covering Wisconsin to help eligible Wisconsinites sign up for ACA private insurance and the state Medicaid program (BadgerCare). He also supports the Medicaid expansion bill introduced by state Senator Jon Erpenbach (D) and state Representative Daniel Riemer (D). “(E)xpanding Medicaid in Wisconsin would substantially lower private health insurance premiums for insurance coverage offered through the (ACA) exchange …” (Health Affairs). Low-income individuals with acute costly health conditions and enrolled in ACA private insurance could move to BadgerCare, thereby improving the risk pool for ACA private insurance, further decreasing premiums.

53 percent of Americans “now view the ACA favorably”, and many want to “build” on the ACA (Kaiser Family Foundation). The American Medical Association (AMA) said: “The ACA is not broken, but it is imperfect. Improving the ACA appropriately targets providing coverage to the uninsured population, rather than upending the (private) health insurance coverage of most Americans.” The AMA supports: covering more Americans by “expanding eligibility for (ACA) premium tax credits beyond 400 percent of the federal poverty level”; making those tax credits more generous; and covering more with help for out-of-pocket costs.

The AMA is willing to help expand Medicaid by working “with state and specialty medical societies in advocating at the state level to expand Medicaid eligibility to … 138 percent of the federal poverty level … .” In addition, the AMA supports extending 100 percent federal funding (3 years) to states like Wisconsin that finally expand Medicaid. Doctors are leading.

The ACA works well; millions are covered. Premiums are down nationally and in Wisconsin.

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

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, October 25th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, October 25th

Friday, October 25th

Vote in People’s Action Presidential Primary Candidate Survey 

Citizen Action is surveying our organizing cooperative members on their attitudes in the Democratic presidential primary election. We are encouraging all members to VOTE in the survey starting. Voting will continue until Sunday, November 3rd.

VOTE TODAY

Northeast Wisconsin Co-op and The Future of Higher Education

Pictured left to right, Dave Hansen*, Katrina Shankland, Jon Shelton
Citizen Action would like to recognize the hard work of two Northeast co-op members, Senator Dave Hansen and Professor Jon Shelton in their commitment to advancing higher education. Senator Hansen and Representative Katrina Shankland introduced a comprehensive higher education package that would address the overall lack of funding our University of Wisconsin schools are currently facing.
Spearheaded by Representative Shankland, the “Reaching for Higher Ed” bill package includes provisions to “Fund the Freeze”, create a Bill Ribbon Commission for Higher Ed, with the stated purpose of restoring affordable higher education programs in Wisconsin.
Through his work with UWGB United, Professor Jon Shelton helped to organize an event at UWGB where Hansen, Shankland, and other stakeholders could answer questions about their proposed legislative package. If you wish to learn more about the legislative package, you can do so here. Thank our legislators for their exceptional work in the state by calling Senator Hansen’s office at (608) 266-5670 and Representative Shankland’s office at (608) 267-9649.

Citizen Action Presents: Deindustrialization and the Green New Deal Panel Discussion Event, Tuesday, October 29th, 6pm

The Climate Justice Issue Team of the Citizen Action SE Wisconsin Co-op is hosting a series of forums on topics related to the Green New Deal in Milwaukee. The next forum in the series is on Tuesday, October 29th, 6:00pm to 8:00pm, at the Amalgamated Transit Union Hall, 734 N. 26th St. in Milwaukee. Panelists will discuss the history of deindustrialization and the current reality of insufficient jobs and economic opportunity in communities of color in Milwaukee and how green new deal investments can help end the depression-like conditions that many Milwaukee area residents live in.

RSVP on facebook

New “Driftless Organizing Co-op” Drive Hits Halfway Mark to Advance Good Jobs, Green Homes and “Solar for All”!

Less than 3 weeks into the drive to launch a new “Driftless Organizing Co-op” in the Southern/Western urban & rural communities of the state, we have found over 125 people wanting to join! There is still plenty of time in the drive, we encourage you to join us if you live in communities between Madison & La Crosse and/or share via the buttons on the page. And click here to set up your membership dues if you haven’t yet done so!

Working with allies such as IBEW 14 & 159, Western WI Building & Construction Trades Council, environmental, faith, community and small businesses, we are advancing a campaign to challenge utilities and financial institutions to make it easy for people to upgrade their home to fight climate change. Experts say doing so has the biggest impact on carbon reduction. We believe we can help hundreds of thousands of homes now, but we won’t stop until every building has the ability to afford and install solar panels, green building upgrades, etc. & ensure high skilled trades jobs are created. Good for the planet, the person and the workers.

Northwestern Organizing Cooperative Fall Social and Summit this Saturday, October 26th, 10AM

The Northwestern WI Co-op is hosting their annual Fall Social and Summit! There will be food, beverages, and amazing conversation. Please bring a brunch dish to pass. Angelique Rogers, Organizing Director, will be the guest speaker. She is going to talk about our strategic planning going into 2020.There will also be opportunities to talk to leaders in the co-op about our work in healthcare reform, climate change, and voter suppression. This is not just for members! If you know anyone that may be interested in becoming a member, bring them along.

Saturday, October 26th, 10:00AM
2010 W. Moholt, Eau Claire.

North Central Organizing Co-op Wins Long Running Fight

Members of the NC Organizing Co-op joined members of Citizens For a Clean Wausau (CCW) at Wausau City Hall, to urge the Council to vote in favor of allowing City residents to test soils in a park that is potentially contaminated with dioxins from years of pollution from various entities. Here is more on this victory, from Co-op member, and founder of CCW, Tom Killian:

“After a year and a half of community concern and deliberation at City Hall regarding Riverside Park, on Tuesday, October 22, the Wausau City Council approved the request of Citizens for a Clean Wausau (CCW) for access to the park to take soil samples and analyze them for dioxins and furans.

Results from 2006 private soil samples near a culvert area in the park revealed Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) direct contact soil exceedances for dioxins and furans. The samples were taken in relation to a lawsuit involving WAULECO and Sentry Insurance. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit alleged that dioxin contamination stemming from the former industrial site west of the park had caused certain illnesses in the past and – in some cases – death.” The vote in favor of testing passed 8-3, with multiple Council members voting yes, who in the past, resisted voting in favor.

Citizen Action Organizing Co-op Informational Meetings

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 a small group informational meeting. 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. You can also learn about Citizen Action’s unique organizing model.

La Crosse, October 26th, 10:30am
Pearl St Books 323 Pearl St.
More information and RSVP

La Crosse, October 26th, 2:00pm
University of Wisconsin La Crosse Student Union 521 East Ave South
More information and RSVP

Holmen, November 7, 10:30am
Holmen Library, 121 Legion St W
More information and RSVP

West Salem, November 23rd, 10:30am
Oma cafe 234 Leonard st N
More information and RSVP

Good Jobs and Green Homes
October 27th, 2pm
Reedsburg Public Library, 370 Vine St., Reedsburg

“The con continues” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss this week’s impeachment news, including the storming of a closed hearing by right-wing Members of Congressmen. Foxconn announced this week that their highly touted “innovation centers” in Wisconsin cities will not happen any time soon. Gov. Evers’ special session on guns is immediately rejected by Sen. Fitzgerald and other Republicans, who plan not to hold any debate or hearings. Also Chicago educators are on strike joining autoworkers in taking direct action against economic injustice, and yet another MU Law School poll is released, with interesting results. We also welcome Citizen Action co-op member and Eau Claire County Board Supervisor Zoe Roberts to discuss the Eau Claire City Council passage of a resolution officially recognizing November 14-20 as Transgender Awareness Week and November 20th as Transgender Day of Remembrance.

LISTEN NOW – EPISODE #414
Download MP3

Facebook Post of the Week

“The con continues” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“The con continues” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss this week’s impeachment news, including the storming of a closed hearing by right-wing Members of Congressmen. Foxconn announced this week that their highly touted “innovation centers” in Wisconsin cities will not happen any time soon. Gov. Evers’ special session on guns is immediately rejected by Sen. Fitzgerald and other Republicans, who plan not to hold any debate or hearings. Also Chicago educators are on strike joining autoworkers in taking direct action against economic injustice, and yet another MU Law School poll is released, with interesting results. We also welcome Citizen Action co-op member and Eau Claire County Board Supervisor Zoe Roberts to discuss the Eau Claire City Council passage of a resolution officially recognizing November 14-20 as Transgender Awareness Week and November 20th as Transgender Day of Remembrance.
LISTEN NOW – EPISODE #414
Download MP3
Press Clips

Vote in People’s Action Presidential Primary Candidate Survey 

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is a member of the national organizing network, People’s Action. Citizen Action is surveying our members on their attitudes in the Democratic presidential primary election.

We are encouraging all members to VOTE in the survey. Voting will continue until Sunday, November 3rd.

VOTE TODAY!

Show Links:
Protesting Republicans bring impeachment hearing to a halt by storming secure hearing room.
House Republicans’ impeachment stunt is an attempt to distract from the allegations against Trump.
Will Trump shut down the government to fight impeachment?
Foxconn Innovation Centers On Hold Across The State.
‘It’s Time To Get Something Back:’ Union Workers’ Voices Are Getting Louder.
City of Eau Claire declares November 14-20 as Transgender Awareness Week