Bill Kaplan: Speaker Vos postures, President Biden delivers

Bill Kaplan: Speaker Vos postures, President Biden delivers

GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, pretending to overturn supposed “illegal executive overreach” by Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers, did it again. Vos led the effort to blowup a compromise COVID-19 relief bill agreed to by Evers and the GOP-led state Senate. Then Vos and the GOP-led legislature repealed the mask mandate, saying it was “not about (Evers’) mask order.” Poppycock! If Vos and other GOP legislators really supported wearing masks they could vote for a Democratic-sponsored bill “to reinstate the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (including increasingly contagious virus variants).”

Democratic state Senator Jon Erpenbach said: “As elected officials, we took an oath to protect the lives of Wisconsin citizens and Republicans should have no problem supporting this bill.” Even with improved vaccination, Wisconsin is still fighting the pandemic: 550,000+ cases, 6,000+ dead. The science prove masks work. 11 GOP-led states have mask mandates.

Moreover, Vos’ politicking led to other dire problems. Repeal of Evers’ emergency order on masking jeopardized about $50 million per month in federal food assistance for 243,000 Wisconsinites. Other federal aid for transit funding may also be threatened by GOP games. Moreover, GOP legislators tried to shift the blame to Evers for this fallout, including re-imposition of a one-week waiting period for jobless claims. Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley rebuked Republicans: “It’s their policy.”

Similar nonsense transpired in Congress. GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy refused to penalize Georgia GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene for her anti-Semitic, racist and murderous rants and threats. Greene said California’s terrible wildfires were caused by Jewish bankers using a space laser, and “liked” a Facebook post calling for “a bullet to the head” of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. UW-Madison political science professor Eleanor Neff Powell said: “Typically the party (of the offending member) has asked the person to step aside, they’ve taken the vote themselves (to discipline), and then the chamber as a whole takes the vote to confirm that action.”

However, McCarthy pretended the problem was that Democrats wanted Greene removed from House committees, rather than Greene’s conduct and his inaction. This forced the hand of the Democratic-led House. It voted 230-199 to remove Greene from House committees. Only 11 GOP representatives (none from Wisconsin) joined all Democrats, including Wisconsin’s. Wisconsin GOP Representative Mike Gallagher shamefully voted no, ignoring McCarthy’s inaction. Gallagher disingenuously said: “I’m not sure we should want to set the precedent of another party being able to remove people from their committee assignments, no matter how outlandish (murdering Pelosi) their comments.”

But there’s hope. A $1.9 trillion COVID-19 recovery plan has moved forward in Congress. It includes help for the 10 million who lost their jobs, nearly 8 million additional poor, funding to reopen schools safely, healthcare coverage expansion and paid sick-family leave, relief to small business, assistance for local-state governments and public health funding. Wisconsin congressional Democrats voted yes while state Republicans opposed. President Joe Biden will sign it. He delivers. Political games vs. tangible benefits for struggling Americans.

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

Bill Kaplan: Speaker Vos postures, President Biden delivers

Bill Kaplan: Speaker Vos postures, President Biden delivers

GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, pretending to overturn supposed “illegal executive overreach” by Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers, did it again. Vos led the effort to blowup a compromise COVID-19 relief bill agreed to by Evers and the GOP-led state Senate. Then Vos and the GOP-led legislature repealed the mask mandate, saying it was “not about (Evers’) mask order.” Poppycock! If Vos and other GOP legislators really supported wearing masks they could vote for a Democratic-sponsored bill “to reinstate the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (including increasingly contagious virus variants).”

Democratic state Senator Jon Erpenbach said: “As elected officials, we took an oath to protect the lives of Wisconsin citizens and Republicans should have no problem supporting this bill.” Even with improved vaccination, Wisconsin is still fighting the pandemic: 550,000+ cases, 6,000+ dead. The science prove masks work. 11 GOP-led states have mask mandates.

Moreover, Vos’ politicking led to other dire problems. Repeal of Evers’ emergency order on masking jeopardized about $50 million per month in federal food assistance for 243,000 Wisconsinites. Other federal aid for transit funding may also be threatened by GOP games. Moreover, GOP legislators tried to shift the blame to Evers for this fallout, including re-imposition of a one-week waiting period for jobless claims. Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley rebuked Republicans: “It’s their policy.”

Similar nonsense transpired in Congress. GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy refused to penalize Georgia GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene for her anti-Semitic, racist and murderous rants and threats. Greene said California’s terrible wildfires were caused by Jewish bankers using a space laser, and “liked” a Facebook post calling for “a bullet to the head” of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. UW-Madison political science professor Eleanor Neff Powell said: “Typically the party (of the offending member) has asked the person to step aside, they’ve taken the vote themselves (to discipline), and then the chamber as a whole takes the vote to confirm that action.”

However, McCarthy pretended the problem was that Democrats wanted Greene removed from House committees, rather than Greene’s conduct and his inaction. This forced the hand of the Democratic-led House. It voted 230-199 to remove Greene from House committees. Only 11 GOP representatives (none from Wisconsin) joined all Democrats, including Wisconsin’s. Wisconsin GOP Representative Mike Gallagher shamefully voted no, ignoring McCarthy’s inaction. Gallagher disingenuously said: “I’m not sure we should want to set the precedent of another party being able to remove people from their committee assignments, no matter how outlandish (murdering Pelosi) their comments.”

But there’s hope. A $1.9 trillion COVID-19 recovery plan has moved forward in Congress. It includes help for the 10 million who lost their jobs, nearly 8 million additional poor, funding to reopen schools safely, healthcare coverage expansion and paid sick-family leave, relief to small business, assistance for local-state governments and public health funding. Wisconsin congressional Democrats voted yes while state Republicans opposed. President Joe Biden will sign it. He delivers. Political games vs. tangible benefits for struggling Americans.

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

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, Feb 5th

February 5th 

Medicare for All with a Local Twist

Join us SUNDAY FEB 7TH @ 2PM CT for an exclusive COVID Teach-In with Dr. Abdul El Sayed and People’s Action’s very own health care justice leaders to learn about the roots of healthcare injustice in the US, and what it looks like to fight for REAL COVID Relief which can set us on a path to winning Medicare for All. 

Milwaukee’s own, Norma Duckworth will be talking about her experience and survival of Covid. We are so glad she is feeling better and able to tell her story. There will be local level work around this issue amping up soon so this is a good  for you to get involved.

Sign up here

 

TAKE ACTION NOW to help Wisconsin residents reduce carbon emissions AND lower utility costs.

Residential carbon emissions account for 30% of all greenhouse gases.  Green home upgrades (like solar panels, new insulation and air sealing) help to reduce carbon emissions, save money on utility bills and create family supporting jobs in the green energy sector.  Thousands of homeowners in Wisconsin are unable to upgrade their home because of up front cost, credit history or due to the fact they are a renter.  We can address this problem and upgrade homes by supporting On-Bill Financing through the public utilities in La Crosse and throughout the state.

On-Bill Financing allows utility customers to upgrade with energy saving green upgrades at no up front cost.  Watch this video for a simple explanation of how these programs work.  The utility pays for the upgrades initially and the home owner pays them back as a line item on their utility bill.  Customers see a net saving right away on their utility bills!  This clears the way for so many people to add solar panels to their home.  It reduces carbon emissions and creates jobs in the green sector, America’s fastest growing job sector.  On-Bill Financing even creates new public revenue streams through financing charges.

La Crosse residents your city could offer On-Bill Financing opinions through its public utility.  Please use this form to contact the mayor and city council and let them know you support efforts to create an On Bill financing program through La Crosse’s public utility.

Those of you outside of La Crosse can take action now to help communities across the state create on bill financing programs.  No matter where you are in the state you can use this link to contact the Governor and State Legislator to let them know that you support On-Bill financing.

Rural Wisconsin needs your help to fight the climate crisis and grow in these uncertain times

Rural Wisconsinites have been suffering for too long.  Our small towns are shrinking.  Our small and medium sized farms are disappearing.  Our people are going without the broadband they need to compete and thrive.  Not enough young Wisconsin families are choosing to raise their families in Wisconsin’s rural areas.  Rural areas are suffering the real world effects of climate change in real time. 

Scott Walker era politics and politicians have been tearing local control away from rural towns and counties.  Wisconsin’s elected leaders need to pass a 2021-2022 state budget that helps rural areas.  You can help RIGHT NOW by contacting elected leaders and demanding they fund programs that will help our struggling communities.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is asking our elected leaders to include funding for local climate action plans, broadband expansion, support for our struggling farms, and so much more.  Wisconsin can’t allow our rural areas to be left behind!  We are asking our leaders to fight for the following budgetary demands:

  • Investments to make rural small businesses, local rural factories, and small/medium sized farms competitive  through targeted grants and loans to underwrite family supporting jobs and reverse the “brain drain” by incentivizing people to stay in or move to rural communities across Wisconsin
  • Large scale investment into farmer led watershed groups with a focus on flood resilience 
  • Funding for rural communities to create and maintain local climate action plans that dramatically reduce carbon emissions, prepare for impact of extreme weather events (such as major flooding and drought)  and improve economic development without harming Wisconsin’s small and medium sized farms
  • Restore DNR funding and authority to hold CAFOs to higher environmental standards and give counties the local authority to prevent new CAFOs or expansion of existing CAFOs
  • Invest to scale in local (and regional) food distribution models to dramatically and measurably lower rural carbon footprints and to support Wisconsin’s small and medium sized farms
  • Funding a study to establish how 100% broadband coverage across Wisconsin can be achieved by 2025 through nonprofit, local communication co-ops or  public broadband utilities 
  • Fund a study to establish how state government can dramatically increase the supply of affordable housing and family supporting jobs in rural Wisconsin

You can help RIGHT NOW by using the link below to send an email to the Governor, Lt Governor and your state representatives and ask them to include our demands in the state budget.  No matter where we are, the color of our skin or how we pray all Wisconsinites rely on rural areas to put food on your table.  No matter where we are in the state we need to stand up and fight for rural areas in every way that we can.  Please contact your elected leaders right now and help protect our rural communities.

 

Join Co-op Organizers Ben Wilson and Joel Lewis to learn How you Can Help with the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Rural State Budget Efforts

The Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Organizing Co-op recently developed a rural state budget campaign and list of demands. On Monday, February 8th, at 6:30 pm the Wood County Democratic party is holding their monthly membership meeting, and they have invited North Central Organizing Co-op Organizer Joel Lewis, and Southwestern WI (Driftless) Organizing Co-op Organizer Ben Wilson to discuss how people in this region can help. It’s also the possible beginnings of a coalition to continue to work on issues that affect rural Wisconsin in the future. All are welcome. Click here to join on Monday.

The Meeting ID is: 873 6685 0959 and the Passcode is: 055412

 

This week UpNorth News revealed emails between Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke and Speaker Robin Vos about their true intentions on setting up a criminal justice task force. Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig responded in a follow up story, saying the revealed the Republican’s “true intentions” do undermine any progress on racial justice and a “toxic cynicism.” Lt Governor Mandala Barnes, State Senator LaTonya Johnson, State Rep. Francisca Hong, and BLOC’s Angela Lang also responded. Read the whole story here.

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos Show for 60 Minutes talking about Biden’s political strategy on COVID relief, Republican Sabotage Efforts, and other major issues. Listen here.

 

Support Local Elections! Voting and engaging in local elections is important for ensuring your voice is heard. When you get involved in local elections, you have the opportunity to elect leaders who represent your community and will take action for YOU! Support local candidates this upcoming weekend and make sure you complete your plan to vote by the Spring Primary on February 16, 2021. 

Sign up to Volunteer: Jilly4MPS

Facebook: Jilly for MPS

Instagram/Twitter: @Jilly4MPS

 

 

 

 

Sign up to Volunteer: Kelly for District 4

Facebook: Vote 4 Dana Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

Save the date! February 22nd at 6PM an exclusive DPI Superintendent Candidate Interview. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Making Change in Washington. Can Progressives Co-Govern with Biden?” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Progressives have more influence in the Joe Biden’s Washington than we have had since the 1960s, but are we prepared to translate our outside power into the governing power we need to win bold reform? In this special edition of Battleground Wisconsin, we discuss how the progressive movement must evolve to meet our moment with two national organizing strategists, George Goehl, the Director of People’s Action and Bree Carlson, the Deputy Director of People’s Action.

Listen Now – Episode #478
Download Mp3

Read In These Times article on the same subject.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook post of the week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Making Change in Washington. Can Progressives Co-Govern with Biden?” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Making Change in Washington. Can Progressives Co-Govern with Biden?” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Progressives have more influence in the Joe Biden’s Washington than we have had since the 1960s, but are we prepared to translate our outside power into the governing power we need to win bold reform? In this special edition of Battleground Wisconsin, we discuss how the progressive movement must evolve to meet our moment with two national organizing strategists, George Goehl, the Director of People’s Action and Bree Carlson, the Deputy Director of People’s Action.

Listen Now – Episode #478
Download Mp3
Press Clips


Read In These Times article on the same subject.

Bill Kaplan: Speaker Vos’ foolhardiness vs. healthcare security

Bill Kaplan: Speaker Vos’ foolhardiness vs. healthcare security

The U.S. leads the world in COVID-19 cases and deaths, 26+ million and 440,000+ respectively. Wisconsin has 542,000+ cases and 5,900+ deaths. There is hope, vaccines are being administered, but it will take months for the Biden administration to ramp up production and distribution. In the interim, the American Hospital, Medical and Nurses Associations said: Americans can “help stop the spread of the virus (by) wearing a face mask … – allowing science and evidence to shape our decisions and inform our actions.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said: “(The) main thing about the economy, is getting the pandemic under control, getting everyone vaccinated, getting people wearing masks … . That’s the single most important growth policy that we can have.” Moreover, the CDC reported that universal masking protects the mask wearer and the public. Masking is the bridge to prevent shutdowns until vaccination is completed.

However, Wisconsin GOP legislative leaders seem oblivious. Several weeks ago the GOP-led Senate and Democratic Governor Tony Evers compromised and agreed to a modest COVID-19 relief bill. But GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos blew it up, insisting that the bill be amended to include “poison pills” unacceptable to Evers. Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley said: “Legislative Republicans take one step forward, and then three steps back.” The GOP-led Senate also – alarmingly – voted to end Governor Evers’ mask mandate. GOP Senator Rob Cowles dissented: “I think it’s the wrong message. I’m coming from the science (and) healthcare point of view … .”

It looked like Speaker Vos was going to pell-mell end the mask mandate. But Democratic Representative Evan Goyke, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau and the MJS revealed that ending the mask mandate would cost Wisconsin about $50 million in federal food assistance for 243,000 Wisconsinites. It was the “gang that couldn’t shoot straight.” Vos paused, blaming the Senate and looking for a way out.

Vos should reconsider the human toll from ending universal masking, especially with increasingly contagious virus variants. GOP legislators from 7 states have died from COVID-19. MN GOP state Senator Jerry Relph died after attending a post-Election Day party, with most GOP legislators not wearing masks. NH GOP House Speaker Dick Hinch also died after attending a similar event. NH GOP Representative William Marsh, a retired doctor, said: “Those in our caucus who refused to take precautions are responsible for Dick Hinch’s death.”

Other conservatives get it. The National Association of Manufacturers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce support President Biden’s mask mandate for interstate travel and on federal property. And, the Wisconsin Hospital Association and Medical Society support Governor Evers’ mask mandate. Vos is at a crossroads – help govern or play to a narrowing base.

The pandemic demands healthcare security. President Biden is moving to extend coverage at a lower cost under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Heeding Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin he reopened the ACA private insurance marketplace to help jobless Americans. Over 100,000 Wisconsinites could gain coverage. That’s the right road – healthcare security, including masking.

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

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, January 29th

January 29th 

CALL TO ACTION: Legislative Republicans trying to end mask mandate

In a surprise move Thursday, State Assembly Republicans pulled their dangerous resolution to end state public health emergency, including the important mask mandate. It is believed they will try again as early as next week! We need to keep the public pressure on them! Call your state representative today and urge them to oppose ending the mask mandate. 

 

CALL your State Representative
1 (800) 362-9472

 

A Recipe for Making Change in Biden’s Washington: To make it happen, progressives must learn to co-govern and build more power.

Originally published: In These Times
By: Robert Kraig

Since President-elect Joseph Biden clinched the Democratic nomination, progressive analysts have generated a rich literature on how he should govern. While this is valuable, the intense focus on Biden as the lead actor in the drama distracts us from the Left’s own agency to shape the outcome of his presidency, making us extras when for the first time in half a century we have the potential to be lead players. In the same way that Biden must radically evolve to govern effectively, so must the rising progressive movement if we are going to play the change-making role that current events demand. Let me explain.

In 1941 pioneering labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph asked FDR what he could do to intervene against soul crushing racial oppression. ​“I agree with everything that you’ve said,” FDR answered. ​“But I would ask one thing of you, Mr. Randolph, and that is go out and make me do it.” To forestall a march on Washington Roosevelt did take an important incremental step, barring discrimination in war industries, but Randolph was not in any position to create enough public pressure to force him to act more broadly. A political realist like Roosevelt was not going to blow off the segregationist leg of the Democratic governing stool. The most generous spin on Roosevelt’s deceptive answer: He was saying that the politics had to be workable because civil rights would otherwise undermine his power to govern. In this sense, the challenge FDR put to Randolph is relevant for progressives in 2020: What would make the politics work for Biden?

Progressives need a realistic view of the power dynamics at play. A toxic and mutually reinforcing mélange of ideology and pay-for-play politics makes placing progressives in key posts a heavier lift than making populist pronouncements and adding antiracist campaign planks.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article at InThese Times.

“Take Action Now” event on climate change

On January 28th climate activists from across the state joined virtually to learn about actions they can take to address the climate crisis RIGHT NOW.  Climate leaders from the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op were on hand to present about program they have been working on and to help folks take the next step.  You can watch the entire event here. 

Some of the topics presented included:

  • Home energy efficient upgrades
  • Sustainability hubs
  • Solar on Schools
  • Free “Focus on Energy” home energy kits
  • Climate Action in the state budget
  • On-Bill financing programs to help homeowners add solar to their homes
  • Mass Transit
  • Taking action to stop the spread of CAFOs

A huge thank you to everyone who attended.  You can still take action.  Use this link to commit to action RIGHT NOW.  Also keep an eye open because on Feb 8th Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be debuting a “Climate Action Hub” website listing all the climate actions folks can take.  

The climate crisis is real and we must all do our part!

NC Co-op Members Join 7th CD Fair Maps Panel Discussion

The WI Fair Maps Coalition organized a panel discussion held on Monday, January 25th to address the impact of partisan gerrymandering in the 7th Congressional District. NC Organizing Co-op members Chrysa Ostenso and Hans Breitenmoser joined two others for the panel discussion emceed by Fair Maps WI Organizer Carlen Bechen. This was a buildup event to the People’s Maps Commission public testimony hearing that was held on Thursday January 28th. You can see a recording of the panel discussion here

North Central Organizing Co-op Members Turn Out to People’s Maps Commission’s Public Hearing for the 7th CD

Nine members of the NC Organizing Co-op turned out for the public hearings held by the People’s Maps Commission. Each person that provided testimony was given 3 minutes to speak. Many examples were given on the negative impacts of partisan gerrymandering. One thing that was discussed that we need to hear more about, is how gerrymandering affects minority communities. Because some minority populations are more concentrated in certain areas, gerrymandering can disproportionately affect these communities, leaving them with inadequate and unresponsive representation. Some spoke of the obvious and measurable changes in the elections in certain districts within the 7th CD. You can see the entire hearing here.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW: Community Libraries Need Your Help!

The Marathon County Public Library (MCPL) is attempting to leave the Wisconsin Valley Library Service (WVLS, based in Wausau) to join the South Central Library System (based in Madison). The library is acting to withdraw from its current system without citizen input, and without any history of service complaints about the system from patrons or the library itself.

The library’s withdrawal from its system will not only cost Marathon County tax revenue, jobs, and support for local businesses; it will also destabilize libraries and patron services in Clark, Taylor, Oneida, Lincoln, Langlade, and Forest Counties. The decision on whether MCPL joins a Madison-based library system is now before the Marathon County Education & Economic Development Committee. Citizen Action of Wisconsin members and supporters are contacting our county supervisors to tell them not to support MCPL’s withdrawal from its current system.  

You can help NOW by contacting your county supervisor or local elected officials and telling them not to support MCPL’s withdrawal because the potential consequences to our communities, our rural libraries and all regional library patrons are too great. Here are the impacts if MCPL leaves the system:  

  • $375,000 in annual state aid will be diverted from Marathon County to Dane County
  • $3 million annual deposits to local financial institutions
  • Loss of tax revenue, potential job loss, and support for local businesses – not only does this threaten jobs for MCPL employees, but also to Marathon County vendors who will lose WVLS and its remaining member libraries as customers. 
  • Longer wait times for patrons requests for digital and print materials 
  • Loss of WVLS free-to-user databases (e.g., Gale Courses, Ancestory.com)
  • Will have to learn to use a different online circulation and interlibrary loan system

For more information on MCPL’s decision to leave its current system, please check out the MCPL updates page here.  For more detail from the library system on this process, and to view “letters of concern” sent to MCPL about its decision to leave the system, please click here

If you do not know who your Marathon County Supervisor is, or who your local elected official is, you can find out here. And you can get their contact information here. By joining together to call on our elected leaders to protect the system in place, we can make sure that all of our community libraries thrive, instead of just the larger few.

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos show for the full hour to discuss the threat of the radical right, impeachment, and legislative strategy in the 50/50 U.S. Senate. Listen here

A major article on progressive strategy in the Biden years by Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was published in a major national progressive magazine. Read it here

“Wisconsin Republicans fight for anti-maskers” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the horrific vote by Senate Republicans to cancel the state health emergency and the mask mandate while also nixing COVID-19 relief. The panel welcomes State Senator Chris Larson to talk about Tuesday’s Senate vote and the policy atrocities taking place at the State Capital. Is there any rationale for the actions of the majority at all, or are we witnessing reckless disregard for human life? We close with a scouting report on President Biden’s new executive orders this week on climate and healthcare. Do they signal a bold new progressive direction for our national government?

LISTEN NOW – EPISODE #477
Download Mp3

Spring 2021, Endorsements!

We are proud to announce our 2021 Spring Candidates endorsements! We look forward to supporting you along the way.

 

Make sure you are a registered and informed voter! Complete your plan to vote by February 16, 2021.

Facebook post of the week

Stay connected with us on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram.

“Wisconsin Republicans fight for anti-maskers” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Wisconsin Republicans fight for anti-maskers” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the horrific vote by Senate Republicans to cancel the state health emergency and the mask mandate while also nixing COVID-19 relief. The panel welcomes State Senator Chris Larson to talk about Tuesday’s Senate vote and the policy atrocities taking place at the State Capital. Is there any rationale for the actions of the majority at all, or our we witnessing reckless disregard for human life? We close with a scouting report on President Biden’s new executive orders this week on climate and healthcare. Do they signal a bold new progressive direction for our national government?

LISTEN NOW – EPISODE #477
Download Mp3
News Clips

Show Links:

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, January 22nd

January 22nd 

Time for Action: What we can do RIGHT NOW to combat the climate crisis

Even with everything else going on our planet is still in crisis. Fighting the looming climate crisis requires action at the corporate, government, and personal levels. We need to act NOW to save our futures.

To that end Citizen Action of Wisconsin is hosting a very special, virtual event on Thursday Jan 28th at 7:00 PM to highlight actions that we all can take NOW to reduce carbon emissions and save money. 

We will be hearing from Citizen Action of Wisconsin members and allies about climate campaigns they are working on and learn about how to get involved. We will be sharing information about how homeowners can add solar panels to their homes at no up front cost. We will also be showcasing actions you can take to pressure those in power to take bold action on fighting climate change. Those who attend will even learn how to win a $25 gift card to the Driftless Cafe, Southwest Wisconsin’s finest farm to table restaurant. 

Please RSVP at this link for this very special event.  Stopping the climate crisis is going to take all of us working together. Join us and learn what you can do RIGHT NOW. Please share this far and wide to activate as many climate activists and concerned citizens as possible!

Welcome new Southeastern Wisconsin Cooperative Organizer, Barbara Cerda

Barbara Cerda is passionate about uplifting the Milwaukee community by participating in social justice movements, advocating for positive changes in her neighborhood, and most importantly, by serving others. She was born and raised on the south side and attended Milwaukee Public Schools. Barbara is a proud Alverno College Alumna and obtained her B.A. in Community Leadership and Development in December 2017. Most recently, she obtained a Non-Profit Board Leadership Certificate through the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County’s Project LEAD (Leadership, Effectiveness, and Diversity) Program.

Before being hired as the Southeastern Wisconsin Cooperative Organizer. Barbara was a Lead Field Organizer for CAW. For as long as she can remember, she has attended protests advocating for immigrant and worker rights. In 2016, Barbara interned at The Reproductive Justice Collective and it was there that she discovered her passion for organizing. 

Barbara serves on the Board of Directors for Civitas Law Group, Inc. and is an Exhibit Curator/Lead Coordinator for the Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship Foundation, Inc./Mexican Fiesta. She is the founder of Barby The Book Fairy, which
is a program that focuses on providing empowering and culturally relevant literature to families in the Milwaukee community, particularly in area codes 53215 and 53204.

Barbara is a full-time mother to three brilliant and adventurous girls. In her spare time, she enjoys thrifting, reading, and spending quality time with her friends and family. 

Rural Wisconsin needs your help to fight the climate crisis and grow in these uncertain times

Rural Wisconsinites have been suffering for too long.  Our small towns are shrinking.  Our small and medium sized farms are disappearing.  Our people are going without the broadband they need to compete and thrive.  Not enough young Wisconsin families are choosing to raise their families in Wisconsin’s rural areas.  Rural areas are suffering the real world effects of climate change in real time.  Scott Walker era politics and politicians have been tearing local control away from rural towns and counties.  Wisconsin’s elected leaders need to pass a 2021-2022 state budget that helps rural areas.  You can help RIGHT NOW by contacting elected leaders and demanding they fund programs that will help our struggling communities.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is asking our elected leaders to include funding for local climate action plans, broadband expansion, support for our struggling farms, and so much more.  Wisconsin can’t allow our rural areas to be left behind! 

We are asking our leaders to fight for the following budgetary demands:

  • Investments to make rural small businesses, local rural factories, and small/medium sized farms competitive  through targeted grants and loans to underwrite family supporting jobs and reverse the “brain drain” by incentivizing people to stay in or move to rural communities across Wisconsin
  • Large scale investment into farmer led watershed groups with a focus on flood resilience 
  • Funding for rural communities to create and maintain local climate action plans that dramatically reduce carbon emissions, prepare for impact of extreme weather events (such as major flooding and drought)  and improve economic development without harming Wisconsin’s small and medium sized farms
  • Restore DNR funding and authority to hold CAFOs to higher environmental standards and give counties the local authority to prevent new CAFOs or expansion of existing CAFOs
  • Invest to scale in local (and regional) food distribution models to dramatically and measurably lower rural carbon footprints and to support Wisconsin’s small and medium sized farms
  • Funding a study to establish how 100% broadband coverage across Wisconsin can be achieved by 2025 through nonprofit, local communication co-ops or  public broadband utilities 
  • Fund a study to establish how state government can dramatically increase the supply of affordable housing and family supporting jobs in rural Wisconsin

You can help RIGHT NOW by using this link to send an email to the Governor, Lt Governor and your state representatives and ask them to include our demands in the state budget.  No matter where we are, the color of our skin or how we pray all Wisconsinites rely on rural areas to put food on your table.  No matter where we are in the state we need to stand up and fight for rural areas in every way that we can.  Please contact your elected leaders right now and help protect our rural communities.

 

North Central Organizing Co-op Holds 4th Annual Regional Member Meeting!

Members and friends of the NC Organizing Co-op came together to celebrate their 4th year as a member based organization in Northern and Central Wisconsin! A lot was accomplished and the pandemic couldn’t slow us down! 

In 2020, members and staff from NCWI and the Driftless Co-op worked with the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Co-op Development Director to implement the Green Homes, Union Jobs (Green Homeowners United) campaign. This is the result of years of work that eventually led to green energy refinance loans becoming available to homeowners, with 15 or 30-year mortgages who are interested in refinancing their mortgage while also bundling in solar panels and other home energy upgrades. All homeowners can take advantage of this, but those with 15 and 30- year mortgages are the ones who are most likely to see monthly savings on their energy bills, that outweigh the costs of the home energy upgrades. 

Members of the NC Organizing Co-op were involved in every level of the 7th CD special election that happened as a result of former US Representative Sean Duffy stepping down from his post prematurely. NCWI Co-op member, and community leader, Tricia Zunker stepped up to run for this seat, both in the special election and in the general election. Co-op members were involved in helping her to announce her campaign, in campaign promotion, and in volunteering. 

The NCWI Organizing Co-op and the Western WI Co-op worked in coalition to develop and implement a people’s forum in Wausau and Rice Lake as Tricia faced a primary opponent, named Lawrence Dale These were member-led forums with questions based on the CAW Movement Politics Platform. NC Organizing Co-op members worked in coalition with Fair Maps WI and the Fair Maps coalition to continue the pursuit of getting counties and municipalities to pass Fair Maps resolutions and or referendums. The greatest achievement of this coalition was getting the Marathon County Board of Supervisors to pass a Fair Maps resolution by a 19-17 vote! This had been attempted in 2018 but was tabled indefinitely during that administration. 

By 2020, several County Board seats had been flipped, thanks in part, to NC Co-op members working in coalition with a candidate committee in Marathon County, to get new people elected. This is why the resolution was able to pass and illustrates the importance of our Movement Politics work and Co-Governance. The NC Organizing Co-op, via the Citizen Action of WI Education Fund, worked in coalition with the AAUW (American Association of University Women) to hold a people’s forum with former Wausau Mayor Robert Mielke and newly elected Mayor Katie Rosenberg at UW Stevens Point – Wausau. Members helped to develop the program and the questions. The event was so well attended that an overflow room had to be created for people to view it live on Wausau area Public Access. Mayor Rosenberg, whom we are lucky to call a Co-op member, ultimately won that election. 

NCWI Co-op members and friends worked in coalition with UU the Vote and the LWV to do voter registration events in Wausau and Rhinelander prior to the stay-at-home orders. The NC Steering Committee approved endorsing 17 candidates for the local Spring elections…15 of these candidates won their races, and another was eventually appointed to the Marathon County Board of Supervisors after the elections.

For the Fall elections, NCWI endorsed 9 candidates in state legislative races, in addition to Tricia Zunker for the 7th CD. 38 members/allies volunteered by writing postcards, doing contactless lit drops, texting and/or phone banking. On election day, 8 members/allies in the Wausau area helped with poll observing, handing out PPE, and roving observing.

The meeting ended with a Q&A section facilitated by Steering Committee member Scott Kirby. The guest was Kirk Bangstad, of the Minocqua Brewing Company and Super PAC! That was an exciting interview, and we look forward to working with Kirk, as we both share the goal of working to help candidates in NC Wisconsin and to increase organizing in these areas.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Field Organizing team was founded in February 2020 and is led by Zoe Roberts. Our approach to building the program combines a bold vision for structural reform with a pragmatic evidence-based approach to shifting voter behavior towards progressive candidates. In early February 2020, Citizen Action kicked off our Deep Canvass door field program. Following COVID-19 precautions to protect our team and community we took action and shifted to phone banking full time. The team covered four rural regions and small and medium metro areas of Wisconsin to talk to swing voters and motivate voters on the issues of health care prices/access and climate change/economic investment. The canvass engaged in long and sometimes difficult conversations on healthcare or candidates using a race/class/narrative (RCN) with these voters to disarm the racist tropes from the other side. At its peak, the phone canvass had in excess of fifty trained full-time callers.

Traditional campaigning allows for personal connections, putting a face to the issues and candidates but they were able to hold powerful conversations on the phones. The work we produce comes with emotional labor, we understand the strength it takes to make a difference. We built a supportive team and have bonds that will nourish us through the toughest days. Forever grateful.

We believe the deep canvass work we started in 2020 holds the key to meaningful and lasting change with moveable voters. We are committed to the model and look forward to returning to doors in 2021 if public health directives allow us. We will continue to have important conversations about race and immigration with the voters we need to build a permanent progressive majority for systemic change on health care, climate change, the economy, and structural racism.  

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Field Organizing team made 513,544 dials and completed 41,826 conversations on the phones. The impact we made is unmeasurable, we were a part of turning Wisconsin blue and electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Thank you for doing your part.

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos show for 60 minutes to discuss progressive strategy for winning bold reform from the Biden Administration and the narrowly Democratic Congress. Listen here.

“46th President looks to future; Wauwatosa Police look to stone age.” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the historic inaugural week of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and Biden’s flurry of executive orders and an exciting new immigration bill. We look behind the organizing that resulted in changes to the Wisconsin COVID vaccination plan to include teachers, grocery workers, meat packers, and prisoners at the top of the list. A new COVID strain is spreading as Wisconsin reopens schools and the state does nothing. We welcome Minocqua Brewing Company SuperPAC owner Kirk Bangstad to discuss their campaign against Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Tom Tiffany for supporting for overturning the 2020 presidential election. Wisconsin Examiner journalist, Isiah Holmes, joins us to discuss his excellent reporting on Wauwatosa Police targeting protestors. We close with Markasa Tucker from the African-American Roundtable to discuss the Milwaukee Common Council reversing course and approving a federal grant for more police officers.

Listen Now – Episode #476
Download Mp3

Facebook post of the week

46th President looks to future; Wauwatosa Police look to stone age.

46th President looks to future; Wauwatosa Police look to stone age.

We discuss the historic inaugural week of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and Biden’s flurry of executive orders and an exciting new immigration bill. We look behind the organizing that resulted in changes to the Wisconsin COVID vaccination plan to include teachers, grocery workers, meat packers, and prisoners at the top of the list. A new COVID strain is spreading as Wisconsin reopens schools and the state does nothing. We welcome Minocqua Brewing Company SuperPAC owner Kirk Bangstad to discuss their campaign against Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Tom Tiffany for supporting for overturning the 2020 presidential election. Wisconsin Examiner journalist, Isiah Holmes, joins us to discuss his excellent reporting on Wauwatosa Police targeting protestors. We close with Markasa Tucker from the African-American Roundtable to discuss the Milwaukee Common Council reversing course and approving a federal grant for more police officers.
Listen Now – Episode #476
Download Mp3
Press Clips

More about the African-American Roundtable

Links:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Biden to sign 10 more orders and directives aimed at COVID-19 on first full day in White.
What the First Actions from President Biden Could Mean for Wisconsin.
Here’s what Biden plans to do on his first day as president.
Wisconsin moves closer to finalizing second phase of vaccine rollout, including teachers and prisoners.
Will New COVID-19 Strains Mean More Cases in Schools? An Explainer.
GOP Bill Would Require Faster Timeline For COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout.
Tiffany, Johnson Slammed in Billboards Up North for Rhetoric Contributing to DC Riot.
Milwaukee Common Council reverses course, approves federal grant for more police officers.
Wauwatosa PD created “protester list” during crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.
Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride named as ‘target’ by police‘ Such actions can only drive a wedge between the WPD and the people it serves,’ says the mayor.

Bill Kaplan: Expand healthcare coverage in 2021

Bill Kaplan: Expand healthcare coverage in 2021

The pandemic has not peaked, with a cumulative 24 million+ cases nationally and 400,000+ deaths. Wisconsin staggers from a cumulative near 525,000 cases with about 5,500 deaths, including a new daily record of 128 deaths. Moreover, the resultant recession resulted in millions losing employer-based healthcare coverage. But the Affordable Care Act (ACA) proved durable. Enrollment for ACA private insurance increased by 6.6 percent on the federal marketplace, including over 192,000 Wisconsinites. Medicaid enrollment increased nationally by over 5.8 million, including about 85,000 in Wisconsin.

However, millions remain uncovered, especially in the 12 states, including Wisconsin, that refuse to expand Medicaid. If ever a time to expand healthcare coverage was imperative the pandemic has made that clear. Bipartisan common sense and cooperation are required. And, last week Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers and the GOP-led state Senate got off to a good start for 2021, agreeing on a modest COVID-19 relief bill: Medicaid and SeniorCare would cover COVID-19 vaccinations, an incentive for college students to volunteer, some liability protection from lawsuits and continued waiving a one-week waiting period to receive jobless benefits. It also excluded some “poison pills” passed by the GOP-led state Assembly. The Senate vote was near-unanimous. Why?

There was bipartisan recognition that many voters want a reset and will blame Democrats and Republicans for doing nothing. And, new Democratic and GOP Senate leadership helped. Moreover, Evers is applying political skills to govern more effectively. Finally, all sides rediscovered essential governing building blocks – compromise, negotiation and respect for the opposition.

Similarly, the Evers administration, Wisconsin National Guard and the UW System are cooperating in sending mobile COVID-19 vaccination personnel around Wisconsin. UW System President Tommy Thompson said: “UW nursing and pharmacy students can provide critical help to get Wisconsinites vaccinated. We are pleased to offer this tuition credit and appreciate the partnership with Governor Tony Evers as we once again demonstrate the Wisconsin Idea at work – where there’s a problem facing Wisconsin, (the) UW System is part of the solution.”

These steps might help policymakers to take bigger ones such as expanding healthcare coverage. Wisconsin is losing available federal money to other states by not expanding Medicaid. That funding would cover more Wisconsinites while substituting federal for state funding. State spending would be saved on uncompensated care, mental health and drug-alcohol treatment. Savings could then be used for broadband expansion, roads and schools.

A new study by the Urban Institute found hospitals in Medicaid expansion states saw uncompensated care decline with millions in savings. Those hospitals were in better shape to fight COVID-19. Similarly, Health Affairs reported that Medicaid expansion made rural hospitals more viable. Medicaid expansion, embraced by 38 states, makes fiscal sense.

Moreover, the Biden administration has a mandate to expand healthcare coverage. It will likely extend ACA subsidies to the middle class and many below the poverty level to buy ACA private insurance, solving a coverage problem in Wisconsin.

However, should the GOP-led legislature want to leave federal money on the table with state budget problems unresolved?

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