ICYMI: Wisconsin’s State and federal officials to GOP Legislature: Expand Badgercare Now

ICYMI: Wisconsin’s State and federal officials to GOP Legislature: Expand Badgercare Now

GOP’s refusal to expand BadgerCare would cost the state $1.6 billion and leave 90,000 without quality coverage 

 

MILWAUKEE, WI — Yesterday, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, and State Representative Sara Rodriguez joined Milwaukee area nurse Tracy Sperko for a virtual roundtable focused on health care. Their message to Republican members of the Wisconsin legislature was clear: expand Badgercare now.

For years, Republican obstruction has denied the State of Wisconsin the full advantages of accepting the federal expansion of Medicaid available under the Affordable Care Act. Wisconsin is one of just 14 states that has yet to accept the expansion, which has cost the states hundreds of millions of dollars. 

The recently enacted American Rescue Plan provides even more robust financial incentives for the holdout states – like Wisconsin – which have  not implemented the Medicaid expansion made available under the Affordable Care Act. In addition to covering 90 percent of the costs for the expansion population, the federal government will chip in an extra 5 percent for the traditional Medicaid population for two years. This translates to billions in additional dollars for the states. 

Tracy Sperko, a Milwaukee area school nurse who works with adolescents described the experiences of several of her students who struggle with prescription drug and health care affordability. “I’ve been on the phone with parents, with their voice breaking. I know they’re scared,” she said. “I wonder what we are doing? Why don’t we care? We say in Wisconsin, we say in our country that we care about our children. They are our future. […] But when they’re sick, they can’t perform, they can’t learn, they can’t attend school. I want to see them have a full life, but they’re being held back.”

State Representative Sara Rodriguez (D-Brookfield) described the financial, moral, and public health imperative for expanding BadgerCare. “It’s time for the Legislature to recognize the successes that other states have had in expanding their eligibility criteria […] and bring those federal dollars home to Wisconsin,” said Rep. Rodriguez. “It’s not only the right thing to do for our budget, but it’s the right thing to do to ensure that people have access to basic health care services. We should not be spending more in Wisconsin to cover less people.”

Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) underscored the fiscal implications for the state of Wisconsin if Republicans once again refuse to expand Badgercare, citing the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s analysis that continued obstruction would cost the state more than $1.6 billion over just the next two years. “Here’s your opportunity to run government like a business,” she noted, “Instead, you’re leaving billions of dollars on the table.”

Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes reminded attendees of the harsh realities impacting families for years that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, “an untreated medical condition can easily become a life or death situation, or (lead to) a situation between economic security or bankruptcy,” said Barnes.

You can view a recording of the full press conference at this link. Passcode: [email protected]

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Bill Kaplan: Healthcare realities face Speaker Vos

Bill Kaplan: Healthcare realities face Speaker Vos

There is simultaneous hope and danger in ending the pandemic. Although Wisconsin is in the top tier of vaccinations, the crisis is not over. Cases are up significantly nationally and somewhat in Wisconsin. Moreover, more contagious variants are widespread. Masking remains critical. The American Hospital, Medical and Nurses Associations have said “wearing a face mask” is necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. JAMA reported: “An evaluation of state policies showed greater declines in daily COVID-19 cases after issuing mask mandates compared with states that did not have mandates.” Over 30 states, including 9 GOP-led states, have mask mandates.

However, Wisconsin’s mask mandate has ceased. Know-nothing GOP legislators and their callous business supporters persuaded the state Supreme Court to overturn Democratic Governor Tony Evers’ effort to protect all Wisconsinites. Furthermore, the decision could cost Wisconsin $50 million per month in federal food assistance. Sherrie Tussler, Hunger Task Force, said: “That’s $50 million that would be spent on Wisconsin food at our grocery stores. It would help food producers. It would help farmers. It would help our struggling dairy industry.”

Instead of shooting himself and Wisconsin in the foot, GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos should reverse course. Introduce a bare-bones emergency order bill restoring a mask mandate to protect Wisconsinites, save lives and restore federal food aid. Governor Evers would happily sign. Enough political games, lives are at stake. There are also other healthcare realities from the pandemic to face.

Millions of Americans (thousands of Wisconsinites) lost healthcare coverage during the pandemic and subsequent recession. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was able to help. President Joe Biden reopened enrollment for ACA subsidized private insurance. Well-over 200,000 Americans, including thousands of Wisconsinites, have gained coverage. And, the American Rescue Plan is now making ACA no-cost or affordable private insurance more available to millions of low-income and middle class Americans. The Biden administration is also funding an ad campaign and healthcare navigators to help enrollees. The Wisconsin Stop the COVID Spread coalition could reinforce by alerting Wisconsinites about their new options.

ACA Medicaid expansion also helped to enroll millions in 2020. Moreover, the American Rescue Plan provides a generous financial incentive for the 12 states, including Wisconsin, that never expanded Medicaid. These states are now eligible for a 5 percent boost for their regular Medicaid program for 2 years and a permanent 90 percent federal match for Medicaid expansion. States are listening.

GOP-led Wyoming passed Medicaid expansion in the House. GOP Representative Steve Harshman (former Speaker) after previously opposing 7 times, said: “I’ve had kind of a change of heart, frankly.” Current GOP Speaker Eric Barlow said: “I voted no multiple times on this issue. I’m going to vote yes this time, because I haven’t seen any other solution.” The bill’s narrow loss in a Senate committee vote can’t diminish the House vote’s historic importance. A harbinger for Wyoming and Wisconsin.

Wisconsin, under GOP Governor Warren Knowles, implemented regular Medicaid early on (1966). Will Vos make Wisconsin the last state to expand Medicaid?

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

 

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, April 2nd


Friday, April 2nd

Complete your plan to vote by April 6th

 

Health Care Week of Action – We’re Not Done Yet!

On Saturday, Citizen Action launched a Health Care Week of Action with a virtual press conference in Green Bay starring Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, State Representative Kristina Shelton, State Representative Lee Snodgrass, and Northeast Co-Op member Renee Gasch. Since then, we’ve held events in Hudson, Eau Claire, and Wausau. 

As we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our communities, our week of action was completely virtual. We kicked off the week on Saturday in Green Bay. Monday, we fueled up for the week in Wausau. Tuesday we hosted our first ever joint Lobby Day with Main Street Alliance and Progress North! We heard from Gov. Tony Evers, JFC Member Sen. Latonya Johnson, and Small Business Committee ranking member Rep. Robyn Vining. We concluded this week’s virtual events on Thursday in Eau Claire  with a roundtable discussion.

But we’re not done yet! We still need you to take action by visiting our action pages to email your legislators in support of BadgerCare Expansion, prescription drug affordability, investing in caregivers, and a state public option. And next week we’re holding two more press conferences – one in Milwaukee and the other in LaCrosse – so keep your eyes peeled for more news stories about this important issue!


Tell Your Legislators To Support BadgerCare Expansion!

Even before the pandemic, tens of thousands of Wisconsinites struggled to afford health insurance, were forced to buy very low quality coverage, or went uninsured because they were forced to choose between health care and other essentials like housing and food. The pandemic has only made it worse. Many people in our community who lost their jobs or had their income affected by the pandemic also lost their health insurance. That’s why BadgerCare Expansion is now more important than ever. We have an opportunity to help our neighbors live healthy lives, no matter where they live, what they look like, or what’s in their wallets. 

It is critically important that we make our voices heard in support of this life saving policy. The Legislature will get pressure from corporations and the wealthy few who benefit from keeping health care costs high, but we can beat them! Tell your legislators that you demand they prioritize our health over special interest groups by supporting BadgerCare Expansion!
 You can use the link below to send an email to your State Senator and State Representative in support of the BadgerCare Expansion. You may use our template email, or customize it with your own story.
Thank you for taking the time to contact your legislators about this critical issue.
Contact your state representative now!

 

Attention Caregiving Advocates in the Healthcare Co-op

On Wednesday, March 31st, President Biden unveiled his jobs and infrastructure plan, which includes 400 billion for home and community based services. 

This is a big moment to rebuild a caregiving system that works for everyone, please let Congress know you support this initiative. 

 

Sign up for a lobby visit with Sen. Brad Pfaff to promote Badgercare Expansion 

Citizen Action of Wisconsin members will be meeting, virtually, with State Senator Brad Pfaff on April 15th at 3:00 PM to discuss the need to expand BadgerCare, control prescription drug costs and fund caregivers across the state.  

We are looking for passionate activists from State Senate District 32 to come and tell their personal story or just join the call to show support.  You can sign up to join this visit here. Your local organizer will follow up with you with more details and get you ready for the meeting.

Sign up to attend here and your organizer will follow up with you

Northwestern Wisconsin Leaders call for Badgercare Expansion, Prescription Drug Affordability, and Expanding Resources for Long-term Care.

This week the Northwestern WI Organizing Cooperative kicked off their healthcare week of action by hosting a press conference in Hudson, Wisconsin which is Represented by Rob Summerfield, a member of the Joint Finance Committee. Local leaders such as Summerfield’s 2020 opponent, Sarah Yacoub, former State Senator Patty Schachtner, and retired doctor Rita Simon all spoke about why the budget proposals in Gov. Tony Evers’ 21-23 budget is necessary to keep all Wisconsin communities healthy and thriving. 

The co-op ended the week with a healthcare round table with Senator Jeff Smith, Representative Jodi Emerson, and opening remarks by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. We heard from local therapist and mental health advocate, Kevin Fooley, in regards to the increase of mental health resources in the budget as well. 

TAKE ACTION NOW to expand Wisconsin’s commuter rails

Citizen Action of Wisconsin believes that Wisconsin needs modern rail service that connects rural and urban areas while providing transportation options that reduces the cars on our roads. 

Right now the Wisconsin DOT is considering expanding daily rail service between Chicago and Minneapolis. That route currently operates once a day, the proposal would increase service to twice a day. This would increase rail travel to communities like La Crosse, Portage and Wisconsin Dells and add additional service to Milwaukee.

This would be an important first step in creating a modern, statewide rail service. The DOT is collecting comments NOW through Friday April 9th about the proposed expansion. Click here to leave a comment for the DOT 

Celebrate Earth Month by competing in an Eco Challenge

April is Earth Month and it is time for each of us to take action to protect our planet! You can start by joining the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op Eco Challenge team!

An Eco Challenge is a fun way to earn points while you take action to fight climate change.  Some actions are personal like recycling, offsetting your carbon footprint or installing LED light bulbs.  Some actions improve your community such as promoting mass transit or supporting community gardens.  Some involve taking action directed at our elected leaders.  You earn points with every action you take.  You also learn about the impact small actions can have!

 By joining our co-op Eco Challenge team you can compete with other teams or other team members.  You can see what actions everyone on the team is taking..  Signing up is quick and easy.  After the month is over you will have made a difference and hopefully added new habits to our daily routine that will help fight climate change

Click here to learn more our join our team!

 

Have you returned your absentee ballots? Complete your plan to Vote by April 6th.

Take Action to get the Medicines We Need!

The Healthcare Co-Op has been working on prescription drug prices.

For the past year, we have seen up close how our collective health relies on our health as individuals. We have experienced devastating gaps in access to treatment, and we know that the only path forward is affordable medication for everyone. But even now, as our country is just beginning to recover from a global pandemic, a Trump-era roadblock stands in our way.

Under Donald Trump, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) proposed a new rule that would make it harder for people in the U.S. to get the medicine we need. The proposed rule would end the government’s power to break pharmaceutical monopolies to stop abusive pricing for drugs invented through our tax dollars. 

We have an opportunity to stand up against this oppressive NIST rule. Please join us in opposing the rule, and demanding that the new administration act in the interest of everyday people.


Citizen Action Action Executive Director Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos show for the full hour to discuss progressive strategy on removing the filibuster to pass the bold reforms we need. Listen here

Citizen Action of Wisconsin leaders and members were the driving force in the very successful state budget Health Care Week of Action. In events across the state, Citizen Action leaders and progressive elected leaders made the case for BadgerCare Expansion, a BadgerCare Public Option, a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, and investments in caregiving. All of these provisions are in Governor Evers’ state budget now before the State Legislature. See news coverage from Up North News, Fox 11. The Health Care Week of Action press activities will continue next week! Keep an eye out for more stories next week as we continue to talk about the state budget’s the important investments in health care.

“Building 21st Century Infrastructure” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We dive into the exciting details of President Biden’s historic Build Back Better plan released Wednesday. Will it pass? Does it go far enough? Back in Wisconsin politics, we discuss next Tuesday’s Spring General Election and encourage listeners to volunteer this weekend for Jill Underly and local endorsed candidates. The panel evaluates the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision to overturn Gov. Evers’ mask mandate. Is there a valid legal argument or are right-wing justices acting like politicians in robes? Claire updates us on this week’s Citizen Action Healthcare Week of Action focused on important state budget priorities. We also shine a light on Legislative Republican’s sham hearings peddling conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

Listen Now – Episode #486
Download Mp3

Facebook post of the week

“Building 21st Century Infrastructure” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Building 21st Century Infrastructure” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We dive into the exciting details of President Biden’s historic Build Back Better plan released Wednesday. Will it pass? Does it go far enough? Back in Wisconsin politics, we discuss next Tuesday’s Spring General Election and encourage listeners to volunteer this weekend for Jill Underly and local endorsed candidates. The panel evaluates the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision to overturn Gov. Evers’ mask mandate. Is there a valid legal argument or are right-wing justices acting like politicians in robes? Claire updates us on this week’s Citizen Action Healthcare Week of Action focused on important state budget priorities. We also shine a light on Legislative Republican’s sham hearings peddling conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

Listen Now – Episode #486
Download Mp3
Press Clips

CONTACT your state legislators in support of our healthcare agenda.

Links:

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 26th


Friday, March 26th

Attend Healthcare Week of Action Virtual Lobby Day, Tuesday, March 26th

This year, Wisconsin has a chance to pass BadgerCare expansion, make prescription drugs more affordable, support caregivers, invest in small businesses, and guarantee that every family can get access to quality, affordable child care. But we need you to help make that happen!

Register to attend our lobby day launch with Progress North and Main Street Alliance Action Fund on Tuesday, March 30th!!

Who supports public schools? The choice is clear. Vote Jill Underly for Superintendent of Public Instruction by Tuesday, April 6th.

Voter early or request your absentee ballot today.

Take Action with North Side Rising! Keep the lights on for All in Wisconsin

Earlier this week, the Public Service Commission announced the moratorium on utility shut offs will end on April 15th. We Energies plans to start shutting people off on April 15th of 2021. Hundreds of Wisconsinites are behind on their rent, can’t afford groceries, and are struggling to pay their utility bill.

We need to come together as we have in the past to extend the utility moratorium and provide much needed support to All in Wisconsin. 

Take action with North Side Rising today and tell the Public Service Commission to serve the public instead of wealthy corporations & their CEOs.

Meet Ben Wilson, Southwestern Wisconsin Co-op Organizer
Ben Wilson is the Citizen Action Southwestern Wisconsin Organizing Cooperative Organizer. Ben joined the Citizen Action of WI family in 2019 to lead the launch of our newest Co-Op at the time, the Southwestern (Driftless) Cooperative. 

From hosting events at Copeland Park to transitioning his members to digital spaces, he has diligently prioritized the voices and needs of his community especially in this year’s State Budget. Ben was heavily involved in passing the La Crosse County Medicare for all resolution, the first county wide resolution in support of Medicare for all in the state of Wisconsin. He also supported the passing of a La Crosse County resolution committing to 100% clean, renewable energy production by 2050.

The Southwestern Co-Op has focused on supporting one another through the COVID-19 pandemic and has not lost sight of what is at stake for Rural Wisconsin. From ensuring neighbors knew the latest CDC recommendations for protecting themselves, to hosting a sustainable toy drive during the holidays for struggling families and now leading the fight for climate equity for #AllinWisconsin.

Join Ben and the Southwestern Co-Op in securing rural climate priorities in this year’s state budget by contacting your legislators and visiting the Climate Action Hub today!

Help Defend Democracy with The Southeast Wisconsin Co-Op!

Our voting rights are facing an unprecedented assault from the Republican legislature. Help us fight back! Join the Southeast Co-op’s new Election Defense Team. We plan to organize a variety of actions that will protect and empower voters in Southeast Wisconsin. We’ll start by getting out the vote for our endorsed candidates and recruiting poll workers for the City of Milwaukee, and we’ll expand our scope as we grow. Future actions could include gerrymandering, ranked choice voting, automatic voter registration and more. So join the new Election Defense Team and help us defend democracy!

Fill out this form to be placed on our communications list.
Contact Barbara, SEWI Co-Op Organizer, [email protected], if you have questions.

Support a Southeast Wisconsin Co-Op Endorsed Candidate!

Volunteer to canvass for Dana Kelleyfor MPS School Board, Saturday, March 27th, 10am. Meet at North Division High School, 1011 W. Center St.

Sign up for a phone or text bank, canvass or a no-contact LIT drop, for our endorsed candidates by following this link: //linktr.ee/bcerda01
If you have any questions, please contact Barbara Cerda, SEWI Co-Op Organizer, [email protected]

 

Join together with Marathon County Democratic Party and support Citizen Action of WI North Central Organizing Co-op endorsed candidates with some contactless LIT drops or phone banking.  Click here for details

Women for Women – Wausau Chapter also has postcards available to be filled out, but those need to be done by this weekend. Please contact Citizen Action and Women for Women member Nancy Stencil at 715-581-7983 if you would like to do postcards. 

If you live in other counties within the North Central region and are looking for volunteer opportunities, please contact NC WI Organizer Joel Lewis at [email protected] or 715-551-2525.

Volunteer to help elect Mitch ReynoldsFor Mayor of La Cross

The La Crosse mayoral race has heated up and we need to do EVERYTHING we can to help elect Mitch Reynolds!  La Crosse demands strong, empathetic, progressive leadership and that is what Mitch will deliver!
The greater Driftless Region relies on La Crosse for so much and we need to know we can count on La Crosse’s mayor to be there FOR ALL OF US.  We need to do everything we can NOW to guarantee that Mitch Reynolds gets elected!
The campaign NEEDS volunteers to join in literature drops and phone banking. They are actively seeking folks in La Crosse to drop lit on doors. They are flexible in scheduling shifts.
Please contact David Krump at [email protected]. David will get you everything you need to help make a difference!
Please follow Mitch on Facebook no matter where you are in the Driftless Region!

Complete your plan to Vote by April 6th!


Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig discussed strategy for filibuster reform. Listen here.
Media Clips

Battleground Wisconsin Podcast : “Ron Johnson running with Q’Anon”

We look at Sen. Ron Johnson’s lockstep alignment with Trump’s Q’Anon base, and his new found national infamy among moderates and progressives. Has he gone off the deep end or is this smart politics in Trump’s GOP? We discuss next week’s important Healthcare Week of Action focusing on critical healthcare priorities in the state budget. Claire details the events and your opportunity to get involved, including talking to your state legislators. We expose the Legislative Republican effort to downplay the importance of COVID-19 vaccination at a time when health officials are trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated. We close by welcoming Mike Browne, Deputy Director of A Better Wisconsin Together (ABWT) to discuss how two of their identical open records requests to GOP state legislators produce vastly different results, and what is says about transparency in Wisconsin government.

Listen Now – Episode #485
Download Mp3

Sign up for Healthcare Week of Action Lobby Day.

Links:

Facebook post of the week







 

 

 

 

“Ron Johnson running with Q’Anon” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We look at Sen. Ron Johnson’s lockstep alignment with Trump’s Q’Anon base, and his new found national infamy among moderates and progressives. Has he gone off the deep end or is this smart politics in Trump’s GOP? We discuss next week’s important Healthcare Week of Action focusing on critical healthcare priorities in the state budget. Claire details the events and your opportunity to get involved, including talking to your state legislators. We expose the Legislative Republican effort to downplay the importance of COVID-19 vaccination at a time when health officials are trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated. We close by welcoming Mike Browne, Deputy Director of A Better Wisconsin Together (ABWT) to discuss how two of their identical open records requests to GOP state legislators produce vastly different results, and what is says about transparency in Wisconsin government.

Listen Now – Episode #485
Download Mp3
Press Clips

Sign up for Healthcare Week of Action Lobby Day.

Link:

Bill Kaplan: Circumstances have changed, expand BadgerCare

Amidst the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, retiring Wisconsin GOP state Senator Luther Olsen was prophetic in calling for consideration of expanding BadgerCare (Medicaid) last June: “When you’ve got that kind of money on the table and a lot of other Republican states have taken it, I think you have to look at that. When you change your mind in politics, you have to have a reason to do this. And this is a reason.”

Shortly thereafter voters in GOP-led Missouri and Oklahoma passed binding Medicaid expansion referendums, joining four other GOP-led states which passed similar referendums during the previous administration. Currently, eighteen GOP-led states have Medicaid expansion, and nine of twelve Midwest states.

In February, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Hospital and Medical Associations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other national groups issued an extraordinary call for expanding Affordable Care Act private insurance coverage and federal fiscal “incentives for (the twelve) states that have not yet expanded Medicaid … .”: “Achieving universal (healthcare) coverage is particularly critical as we strive to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and work to address longstanding inequities in healthcare access and disparities in health outcomes.” It’s time for their Wisconsin counterparts to listen and act.

Moreover, GOP-led Wyoming is moving forward. State House and Senate legislative committees have approved expanding Medicaid. The effort was led by GOP Representative Steve Harshman, former Speaker of the House, other GOP legislators and the miniscule Democratic caucus.

The Wyoming Star-Tribune editorialized: “So what’s different this time? For one, it seems like Medicaid expansion is here to stay. Thirty-eight states — both red and blue – have taken the plunge. And expansion has now been in place for a decade, surviving three presidential administrations and multiple Supreme Court challenges. … Plus, it could actually make Wyoming money at a time when the state is desperate for a new source of revenue. Due to a change in federal law (American Rescue Plan) the 12 states (including Wisconsin) that haven’t expanded Medicaid would receive a 5 percent boost (for two years) for their traditional Medicaid program (and ninety percent permanent federal match for the Medicaid expansion enrollees).”

Wisconsin implemented traditional Medicaid in 1966 under GOP Governor Warren Knowles. So it has been disheartening that state Republicans left federal money on the table for other states with their refusal to expand BadgerCare. False and scurrilous attacks on Medicaid expansion as “socialism” and “welfare” are widely off the mark. Medicaid is a healthcare program with private providers, covering over 70 million (985,000 in BadgerCare) Americans. The nonpartisan state Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently said that Wisconsin expansion would save the state over $1.6 billion (and cover 90,000 more Wisconsinites).

JAMA has reported that Medicaid expansion “is like a silver bullet for improving U.S. healthcare”: reducing mortality from heart disease, cancer and childbirth; improving racial disparities; reducing uncompensated care; preventing rural hospital closures; helping economic-job growth and lowering the cost of private insurance. Wisconsin will have a healthier and stronger recovery by expanding BadgerCare now. Circumstances have changed.

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

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 19th


Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 19th


Lit drop Sunday March 21st in La Crosse

Come together with volunteers from OWR to help support La Crosse’s progressive candidates!  We will be meeting at the South Community Library parking lot to grab some walking lists and literature to help inform voters about their council candidates!
We will be delivering lit — no door knocking required. Learn More


Write “Friends cards” for Annie Baumann
La Crosse School Board candidate Annie Baumann is looking for volunteers to write postcards to their friends in La Crosse.  If you know voters in La Crosse you can make a huge difference!
Visit Annie’s Campaign Facebook page to learn more

Listening Sessions

Listening Session with La Crosse mayoral candidate Mitch Reynolds 

La Crosse residents are invited to a very special event! On Sunday March 21st at 6:00 PM Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be hosting a listening session with Citizen Action endorsed candidate Mitch Reynolds for Mayor. This will be your chance to let Mitch know what you think the biggest issues facing La Crosse are. What can Mitch do once elected to make La Crosse a more progressive and inclusive city?

Please join us March 21st at 6:00 PM to make your voice heard! Use this link to RSVP and a Zoom link and invitation will be sent to your email. We are looking forward to hearing from you Sunday March 21st

Listening session with Senator Pfaff, Rep Billings and Rep Doyle
Driftless Voters, March 22nd you are invited to join your statewide, elected leaders for a virtual listening session.  This will be  your chance to ask questions about issues that matter to you such as healthcare, climate change, rural broadband, COVID, cannabis legalization, and so much more!

Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-Onalaska), Rep. Jill Billings (D-La Crosse) and Rep. Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska) will share updates from the state capitol and welcome input from their constituents during the listening session, which be held via Zoom from 4:30 to 6 p.m. March 22.

 Registration is required to attend this event. Individuals may RSVP by visiting //bit.ly/3rmFnPZ. Pfaff’s office will distribute the link to the listening session via email on March 22. Participants are asked to submit their questions in the space provided on the Google form.

If you would like to speak with your representatives but are not able to attend this session, or you wish to have a more personal meeting, that is OK. Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be scheduling virtual lobby visits in the coming days and weeks to help promote Governor Evers 2021-2022 state budget.  Keep an eye open for calls to action in the near future!

Endorsed Candidates and Volunteer Opportunities

Southeast Wisconsin Co-Op:


Join Southeast Wisconsin Co-Op members in volunteering for our endorsed school board candidates! Sign up for a phone or text bank, canvass or a no-contact LIT drop, by following this link:  //linktr.ee/bcerda01 If you have any questions, please contact Barbara Cerda, SEWI Co-Op Organizer,[email protected]

North Central Organizing Co-op:

Rick Cveykus for Wisconsin Court of Appeals – District III

Rick has spent his professional life helping others, and he truly cares about all of us. District III covers the northern 36 counties of Wisconsin. Here’s a summary from Rick:

“I am running because I think it is central that we have judges that are steady, studied, and take politics out of the courtroom.  By steady I mean they must treat every single litigant with respect and common decency. These arguments are about people’s liberty and livelihood. We need a Judge that understands the law and knows how to apply it to the facts in front of them. Most importantly, we need Judges that take politics out of the Courtroom. I shouldn’t be able to guess which way a judge will come down based upon who gave them their last campaign contribution. A decision should only be made based on who presents the best legal argument every single time.  My philosophy is simple – follow the law and the constitution, respect precedent, and when necessary, use smart, common-sense go judgment to ensure a legal and fair result under the law. Don’t try to achieve an agenda, like all the big-money contributors want them to do, but instead, just be a good Wisconsin judge.”

You can learn more about Rick Cveykus here. Learn about some volunteer opportunities here.

Nic Bisgrove for Wausau School Board


Nic is a proud father, whose life revolves around his children and doing what’s best for them. He has worked in financial services, management, and for/with community organizations, and these experiences help to make him a good fit for the Wausau School Board. Here is a brief statement from Nic about his desire to serve:

“I know that I’m not going to agree with everyone 100% of the time, and that’s OK. I will be the voice that brings people together. To get things done in the best interest of the students, teachers and community. I can’t change what has already happened. However, like my motto “Learn from the past. Act for the future” I hope to be the positive change that we need going forward.” You can learn more about Nic here. If you would like to volunteer doing lit drops or other possible ways, check out this event.

Kay Gruling for Wausau School Board


Education is essential to a child’s well-being and development. Therefore, it is important that school board members have the skills and qualities to support the school administration, educators, support staff, and students to ensure success for all. Kay Gruling has a strong background in education in a variety of settings, has had significant involvement in the Wausau School District for over two decades (including two children who graduated from Wausau West), and has participated in substantial engagement in our community for 33 years.

Kay has experience working with a team and in a business setting. She has medical expertise and problem-solving abilities as a family physician provided her with the skills, qualifications, and background necessary to be an effective board member. She is passionate about education, our community, and our Kids! She has the skills and qualifications to make a difference.

Kay for Kids! If you would like to do lit drops for the campaign, or seek other opportunities to help the campaign, join the Spring canvass that has been organized by the Marathon County Democratic Party. Learn more about these Spring canvasses here.

Tricia Zunker for School Board


Tricia Zunker was born and raised in the Wausau area. Her legal background, and over a decade of experience being a law professor, have taught her what it’s like to be in a classroom as an educator. Her childhood, and the fact that she currently has a child in the Wausau School District, gives her first-hand experience as to what issues the district is facing, and how to work with the school board and community stakeholders to resolve those issues. Tricia’s accomplishments are many, and we are very grateful that she has stepped up to seek re-election to the Wausau Board of Education. To learn more about Tricia or to see about how you can help, go here. Here is a link to the Spring Canvass where you can volunteer for this, and other campaigns in Marathon County/Wausau.

Joel Knutson for Town of Crescent Chairperson


Joel is new to the political scene as a candidate, but he has been very active in his community for a long time. He volunteers his time for a variety of positive organizations in the area. He has always been dedicated to the work of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, so we were excited to learn that he had stepped up to run to serve on his Town Board. You can learn more about Joel here, and reach out to him personally to see if there is a way for you to help his campaign.

Nate Fiene for  Weston Village Board


Nate Fiene is running for re-election to the Weston Village Board. Here is a statement from Nate on his desire to continue serving: “Weston is my home and I love it dearly. I come from a law enforcement and educator family. The values of honor, integrity, honesty, hard work, and fairness have been instilled in me from an early age and I live them every day. Now, more than ever, we need these values at the table of local government. I am a man of faith, and in my faith, the scripture tells us that God is a god of mercy and justice; it further quotes Christ that whatever we do to the least of us we do to Him. Building a Weston that expands justice, tolerance, and practices servant-based leadership is what I believe is needed to be even greater than it is today. Our infrastructure is crumbling and will be rebuilt. We are in the process of doing that now. Our police force is among the best in the State, yet I still voted to purchase and equip body cameras. Local government belongs to the People and so I held Open Door Meetings until covid hit and will do so again. The good of the people is the highest law. I seek that in my hometown, day in and day out. I am exceedingly humbled by Citizen Action’s endorsement.”

You can learn more about Nate, or contact the campaign here. This is the best way to find volunteer opportunities as well.

Chrysa Ostenso for Ladysmith School Board


Chrysa is seeking re-election to the Ladysmith School Board. She is a founding member of the Citizen Action of WI North Central Organizing Co-op and has served on their Steering Committee for 4 years! She lives in one of the more rural communities and counties within our Co-op region. She and her husband run a business in Ladysmith, and do great work in their community. Chrysa cares deeply about our public schools and working to make them a great place for kids to learn and for professionals to work. You can learn more about Chrysa here, and reach out to her personally to see about how you could help with the campaign.

Northeastern Organizing Co-op: 


Michael Beradsley for Oshkosh City Council:
LIT drop! April 3rd, Oshkosh

Ryan Sorenson for Sheboygan Mayor:
Open VPB Call anytime
Link to OpenVP
Script for Ryan Sorenson Calls



This year, Wisconsin has a chance to pass BadgerCare expansion with a public option, make prescription drugs more affordable, support caregivers, invest in small businesses, and guarantee that every family can get access to quality, affordable child care. But we need you to help make that happen!

Join Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Main Street Alliance-WI for our first ever joint virtual lobby day! On March 30th from 9-11am via Zoom, you can come and hear from great speakers, including our allies in the state legislature, learn about the key issues that will define the state budget fight, and find out how you can use your voice to impact critical state policy. Then you can head out to hold your own virtual constituent lobby meetings with your state legislators! The Joint Finance Committee, which oversees the budget process in Wisconsin, will likely kick off their hearings in April so it is critical that we reach policy makers NOW on these important issues.After you sign up to participate in our lobby day, please be on the lookout for a phone call or email from a Citizen Action Organizer who can help you set up your lobby meetings. You will also receive a packet of information to help you prepare for your meetings and the Zoom link to the March 30th 9am training. Register here!


Citizen Action’s Executive Director Robert Kraig was on the Earl Ingram Radio Show for the full hour to discuss the historic bill to protect the right to organize (the PRO Act) which passed the House last week and is now in the U.S. Senate. Listen here.
 
Battleground Wisconsin Podcast:  “Avoiding target fixation on the filibuster…so we don’t crash” 


We weigh in on two national issues, first the horrific shootings in Georgia that appear to be yet another hate crime against the AAPI community, and the looming battle over the Senate filibuster and the future of the Democratic agenda. We discuss Speaker Vos’s declaration this week that the Legislation will reject the very popular plan to accept available federal money to expand BadgerCare, turning down $1.6 billion dollars supercharged by the rescue package, denying health care to the working poor during and pandemic. Is Vos serious with dozens of potentially vulnerable Republican state legislators weigh their fate heading into redistricting or it a bluff? Vos also plays scrooge yet again, declaring the Assembly is not willing to suspend a one week waiting period for unemployment benefits despite 100% federal funding in the rescue package. In yet another embarrassment, Legislative Republicans shamefully “honor” racist demagogue Rush Limbaugh while refusing to honor Black History Month. In other news, Foxconn, the white elephant of Racine County, says they might make electric cars… or maybe a monorail. Will they ever make anything that Donald Trump and Scott Walker promised in return for billions of state money?

Listen Now – Episode #484
Download Mp3
Press Clips

Facebook post of the week





 

 

 

 

“Avoiding target fixation on the filibuster…” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Avoiding target fixation on the filibuster…” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We weigh in on two national issues, first the horrific shootings in Georgia that appear to be yet another hate crime against the AAPI community, and the looming battle over the Senate filibuster and the future of the Democratic agenda. We discuss Speaker Vos’s declaration this week that the Legislation will reject the very popular plan to accept available federal money to expand BadgerCare, turning down $1.6 billion dollars supercharged by the rescue package, denying health care to the working poor during and pandemic. Is Vos serious with dozens of potentially vulnerable Republican state legislators weigh their fate heading into redistricting or it a bluff? Vos also plays scrooge yet again, declaring the Assembly is not willing to suspend a one week waiting period for unemployment benefits despite 100% federal funding in the rescue package. In yet another embarrassment, Legislative Republicans shamefully “honor” racist demagogue Rush Limbaugh while refusing to honor Black History Month. In other news, Foxconn, the white elephant of Racine County, says they might make electric cars… or maybe a monorail. Will they ever make anything that Donald Trump and Scott Walker promised in return for billions of state money?

Listen Now – Episode #484
Download Mp3
Press Clips

Links:
Senate Democrats plot new effort to gut filibuster but lack votes for major overhaul.
Democrats seize on Biden’s embrace of changing the filibuster.
Joe Manchin just took an important filibuster reform off the table.
Senate Republicans honor Rush Limbaugh and refuse to recognize Black History Month.
Vos says no to plan that would provide Wisconsin with $1.6 billion for health care.
Foxconn said it will announce what will be made at the Wisconsin facility by July.
Vos expresses reservations about again suspending waiting period for unemployment benefits.

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 12th


Friday, March 12th

There is still time to register for “How to have conversations with people who disagree with you” virtual training on Saturday, March 13th from 10AM-12PM.


Join Citizen Action of Wisconsin to learn “How to Have Conversations with People Who Don’t Agree With you” led by the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Field Team and Organizing Staff.  After this training you will be ready to lobby Joint Finance Committee Members around our 2021-2022 State Budget Demands, talk with persuadable voters headed into the Spring Gen Election, and have those challenging conversations with friends and family at the dinner table.
Register Now!

ACT NOW: Support Gov. Evers Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board

In his state budget, Governor Evers has proposed creating a Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board. This board would evaluate drug prices for price gouging and excess price increases, increase transparency prescription drug pricing, and could even set some limits on how much people should have to pay for expensive drugs. You can help to make sure this board is created with just a few clicks!

We need the Legislature to know how much we care about prescription drug affordability so they keep the proposal in the budget!

Contact your local legislators in support of Gov. Evers’ budget proposal NOW!

Virtual Listening Sessions!

La Crosse residents are invited to a very special event! On Sunday March 21st at 6:00 PM Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be hosting a listening session with Citizen Action endorsed candidate Mitch Reynolds for Mayor. This will be your chance to let Mitch know what you think the biggest issues facing La Crosse are. What can Mitch do once elected to make La Crosse a more progressive and inclusive city?
Please join us March 21st at 6:00 PM to make your voice heard! RSVP NOW. We are looking forward to hearing from you on Sunday March 21st!

 

Driftless Voters, March 22nd you are invited to join your statewide, elected leaders for a virtual listening session.  This will be  your chance to ask questions about issues that matter to you such as healthcare, climate change, rural broadband, COVID, cannabis legalization, and so much more!

Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-Onalaska), Rep. Jill Billings (D-La Crosse) and Rep. Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska) will share updates from the state capitol and welcome input from their constituents during the listening session, which be held via Zoom from 4:30 to 6 p.m. March 22.

Registration is required to attend this event. Individuals may RSVP by visiting //bit.ly/3rmFnPZ. Pfaff’s office will distribute the link to the listening session via email on March 22. Participants are asked to submit their questions in the space provided on the Google form.

If you would like to speak with your representatives but are not able to attend this session, or you wish to have a more personal meeting, that is OK. Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be scheduling virtual lobby visits in the coming days and weeks to help promote Governor Evers 2021-2022 state budget.  Keep an eye open for calls to action in the near future!


Earlier this week, Wisconsin Republicans and Radical Right-Wing groups resurfaced baseless accusations with revisiting a failed court case involving an election they have already lost. Republicans and their allies have been trying to sow doubts about the outcome of the election for months. Our election officials have counted and verified these votes applying the laws, customs, and safeguards used in every election.

Stand with us in support of our Democracy and the people who make it possible. Please sign the following open letter to the state legislators. >> //bit.ly/38r51vw

We are proud of Mayor Eric Genrich, the over 700 poll workers, the National Guard, and the City staff for running a robust and transparent election in November that resulted in a historic 84% turnout. We fully support Mayor Eric Genrich’s leadership and look forward to future elections running as smoothly as the one held in November.


Get to know our endorsed candidates and stay up to date with volunteer opportunities! 

Citizen Action of Wisconsin proudly endorses Annie Baumann for La Crosse School Board!

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I’m Annie Baumann. I’m a mom to three kids, two who attend elementary school in the district and one who just turned three. I worked for several years as an academic librarian teaching students and supporting faculty, most recently at Viterbo University.

I’m running for a spot on the La Crosse School Board because I believe in the transformative power of a high quality public school education, and I am committed to making sure ALL kids get the excellent education they deserve.

We all know that the pandemic has been a stress on our kids, on our community, and on our public school system, but there are amazing opportunities NOW and in the years to come if we have the courage to act on important issues.

Our public schools are an investment our community makes in our children. For my children and for all the children in the community, I am committed to strengthening our community’s most vital resource – our public schools – so that EVERY child can get the education they deserve.

If you believe that EVERY kid deserves a top notch public school education, LIKE and FOLLOW my Facebook page, SHARE with three friends why you are supporting my campaign, and help spread the word by posting a FREE YARD SIGN at your home.

I want to hear from YOU. Let me know what public school issues matter the most to you!

Follow Annie’s Facebook campaign page!

NEWI Co-op Endorsed Candidate Volunteer Opportunities!
Now is the time to support and elect our next class of working-class champions. In order for every single community in Wisconsin to thrive, progressive leaders are needed to drive legislation and conversation at all levels of government.
We need you to volunteer and support our Citizen Action Endorsed Candidates!

Karl Jager, State Assembly District 89 Special Election: No Contact Lit Drops this weekend (March 13th & 14th). Sign-up Here! Make sure to put “Lit Drop” in the other section of the link.
Michael Beardsley, Oshkosh City Council: No Contact Lit Drop this Saturday, March 13th in Oshkosh. Visit his Facebook event for more details!
Ryan Sorenson, Mayor of Sheboygan: Volunteer with Ryan by signing up here! You can also register for his phonebank by completing the form here.

Stay tuned to learn how you can support our other endorsed candidates:

Jonathon Hansen De Pere City Council District 2
Misty Gedlinske Fond du Lac City Council
Susan Jones Fond du Lac School Board

Join the Healthcare Co-op for Spring Election Work


We are helping CAW member and candidate for School Board, Leigh Schreiber Johnson in her run for Oak Creek School board.  She only needs 3 more people this coming weekend to do a NO CONTACT lit drop. I will give you an advance hint that because Oak Creek is so spread out, it is more efficient to recruit a driver/navigator and have one person jump out of the car to drop the lit.  It is really easy and a nice way to get outside but be productive.  You can contact her here. 

Support La Crosse endorsed candidates TOMORROW
Join Our Wisconsin Revolution on Saturday March 13th at 1:00 PM in La Crosse for a campaign event to help support progressive candidates endorsed by Citizen Action of Wisconsin AND Our Wisconsin Revolution.  This will be a COVID safe, NO CONTACT day of dropping lit on voter’s doors.

We will be meeting at 1:00 PM at the South Branch Library.  Contact [email protected] for more information.  RSVP at //fb.me/e/14kMhuzkE.  This event does not conflict with our event: How to Have Conversations with People Who Don’t Agree With You happening from 10 AM- 12 PM, you will be able to attend both events!

North Central Organizing Co-op Endorsed Candidates and Volunteer Opportunities

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has endorsed Rick Cveykus for Wisconsin Court of Appeals – District III. Rick has spent his professional life helping others, and he truly cares about all of us. District III covers the northern 36 counties of Wisconsin. Here’s a summary from Rick:


“I am running because I think it is central that we have judges that are steady, studied, and take politics out of the courtroom.  By steady I mean they must treat every single litigant with respect and common decency. These arguments are about people’s liberty and livelihood. We need a Judge that understands the law and knows how to apply it to the facts in front of them. Most importantly, we need Judges that take politics out of the Courtroom. I shouldn’t be able to guess which way a judge will come down based upon who gave them their last campaign contribution. A decision should only be made based on who presents the best legal argument every single time.  My philosophy is simple – follow the law and the constitution, respect precedent, and when necessary, use smart, common-sense go judgment to ensure a legal and fair result under the law. Don’t try to achieve an agenda, like all the big-money contributors want them to do, but instead, just be a good Wisconsin judge.”

You can learn more about Rick Cveykus here. Learn about some volunteer opportunities here.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has endorsed Nic Bisgrove for Wausau School Board


Nic is a proud father, whose life revolves around his children and doing what’s best for them. He has worked in financial services, management, and for/with community organizations, and these experiences help to make him a good fit for the Wausau School Board. Here is a brief statement from Nic about his desire to serve:

“I know that I’m not going to agree with everyone 100% of the time, and that’s OK. I will be the voice that brings people together. To get things done in the best interest of the students, teachers and community. I can’t change what has already happened. However, like my motto “Learn from the past. Act for the future” I hope to be the positive change that we need going forward.” You can learn more about Nic here. If you would like to volunteer doing lit drops or other possible ways, check out this event.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has endorsed Kay Gruling for Wausau School Board


Education is essential to a child’s well-being and development. Therefore, it is important that school board members have the skills and qualities to support the school administration, educators, support staff, and students to ensure success for all. Kay Gruling has a strong background in education in a variety of settings, has had significant involvement in the Wausau School District for over two decades (including two children who graduated from Wausau West), and has participated in substantial engagement in our community for 33 years.

Kay has experience working with a team and in a business setting. She has medical expertise and problem-solving abilities as a family physician provided her with the skills, qualifications, and background necessary to be an effective board member. She is passionate about education, our community, and our Kids! She has the skills and qualifications to make a difference.

Kay for Kids! If you would like to do lit drops for the campaign, or seek other opportunities to help the campaign, join the Spring canvass that has been organized by the Marathon County Democratic Party. Learn more about these Spring canvasses here.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has endorsed Tricia Zunker for School Board

 
Tricia Zunker was born and raised in the Wausau area. Her legal background, and over a decade of experience being a law professor, have taught her what it’s like to be in a classroom as an educator. Her childhood, and the fact that she currently has a child in the Wausau School District, gives her first-hand experience as to what issues the district is facing, and how to work with the school board and community stakeholders to resolve those issues. Tricia’s accomplishments are many, and we are very grateful that she has stepped up to seek re-election to the Wausau Board of Education. To learn more about Tricia or to see about how you can help, go here. Here is a link to the Spring Canvass where you can volunteer for this, and other campaigns in Marathon County/Wausau.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has endorsed Joel Knutson for Town of Crescent Chairperson


Joel is new to the political scene as a candidate, but he has been very active in his community for a long time. He volunteers his time for a variety of positive organizations in the area. He has always been dedicated to the work of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, so we were excited to learn that he had stepped up to run to serve on his Town Board. You can learn more about Joel here, and reach out to him personally to see if there is a way for you to help his campaign.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has endorsed Nate Fiene for  Weston Village Board

 
Nate Fiene is running for re-election to the Weston Village Board. Here is a statement from Nate on his desire to continue serving: “Weston is my home and I love it dearly. I come from a law enforcement and educator family. The values of honor, integrity, honesty, hard work, and fairness have been instilled in me from an early age and I live them every day. Now, more than ever, we need these values at the table of local government. I am a man of faith, and in my faith, the scripture tells us that God is a god of mercy and justice; it further quotes Christ that whatever we to do the least of us we do to Him. Building a Weston that expands justice, tolerance, and practices servant-based leadership is what I believe is needed to be even greater than it is today. Our infrastructure is crumbling and will be rebuilt. We are in the process of doing that now. Our police force is among the best in the State, yet I still voted to purchase and equip body cameras. Local government belongs to the People and so I held Open Door Meetings until covid hit and will do so again. The good of the people is the highest law. I seek that in my hometown, day in and day out. I am exceedingly humbled by Citizen Action’s endorsement.”

You can learn more about Nate, or contact the campaign here. This is the best way to find volunteer opportunities as well.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has endorsed Chrysa Ostenso for Ladysmith School Board


Chrysa is seeking re-election to the Ladysmith School Board. She is a founding member of the Citizen Action of WI North Central Organizing Co-op and has served on their Steering Committee for 4 years! She lives in one of the more rural communities and counties within our Co-op region. She and her husband run a business in Ladysmith, and do great work in their community. Chrysa cares deeply about our public schools and working to make them a great place for kids to learn and for professionals to work. You can learn more about Chrysa here, and reach out to her personally to see about how you could help with the campaign


Citizen Action’s Executive Director Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos radio show for 60 minutes to discuss the passage of Biden’s bold COVID relief plan, and the prospects for New Deal-level reform in the next stage. Listen here.

Battleground Wisconsin Podcast: Biden Just Made it Harder for GOP to Turn Down BadgerCare Expansion


This week we discuss the historic passage of the American Rescue Plan, universal GOP opposition, and its implications in Wisconsin. In addition to the massive aid it provides to working people, the new law puts an extra $1.6 billion dollars on the table if Wisconsin finally passes BadgerCare Expansion. Will Legislative Republicans still stand in the way? After reviewing major new agenda items that are moving in the next stage of Biden’s reform agenda such as labor law reform, voting rights, and a massive green infrastructure plan, we have an exclusive interview with Wausau Mayor (and Citizen Action member) Katie Rosenberg on the city’s exciting new guaranteed income pilot program.

Listen Now – Episode #483

Download Mp3

Press Clips

Weekly reminder to complete your plan to vote!

Request your absentee ballot today!

Make your plan to vote by Tuesday, April 6th.