Tell Gov. Tony Evers we need a BadgerCare Public Option in his next State Budget

Tell Gov. Tony Evers we need a BadgerCare Public Option in his next State Budget

TAKE ACTION! Contact Gov. Tony Evers and tell him to make sure a BadgerCare Public Option is included in his next State Budget.

No matter what we look like, where we live, or what’s in our wallets, we all need good affordable health care. But for too long, we’ve let a powerful divide us to pad their own profits.

The COVID-19 pandemic reveals what has always been true, excluding people from health care is a threat to the entire community. Crippling costs deter the uninsured and everyone who can’t afford massive co-pays, deductibles, and surprise medical bills from seeking testing and treatment, helping the virus spread.

Healthcare is a human right and no one should go bankrupt because they get sick or delay medical treatment because they can’t afford it.

We need to make sure BadgerCare is opened to everyone in Wisconsin as a public option, lowering premiums and eliminating large co-pays and deductibles, so that all of us can get the care we need without going bankrupt or having to wrangle with an insurance company.

CONTACT Gov. Tony Evers and tell him to make sure a BadgerCare Public Option is included in his 2021-2022 State Budget that he will introduce in late January 2021.

Team Biden vs the Radical Right

On a special Thanksgiving edition of Battleground Wisconsin we dig into the question of how Joe Biden can govern effectively in the face of a Republican Party whose base is supercharged and will do everything to undermine his administration. First we talk with Rick Perlstein, the author of 4 major books on the rise of the radical right, including the recently released Reaganland, about the prospects for passing progressive reform when 73 million American believe a dangerous and counterfactual ideology. Next, John Nichols joins the conversation to discuss what we can learn about Biden’s strategy from his early cabinet picks. Is this a group that can move progressive policy on the pandemic, economic reconstruction, structural racism, and the climate threat, or is it more of the same from establishment Democrats?
Listen Episode #469
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Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, November 20th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, November 20th

Friday, November 20th

Is the GOP Trying to Steal Wisconsin for Trump?

At a tumultuous Wisconsin Election Commission meeting Wednesday evening, GOP commissioners called into question all of the mail ballots in Milwaukee and Dane Counties applied for through the state’s own website! This paired with Trump’s overt attempt to strong arm the Michigan State Legislature intoto flaunting the will of voters, and one of Trump’s lawyers calling for battleground state legislators to do so, raises serious questions about the Wisconsin recount. Two Wisconsin Election Commissioners, Mark Thomsen and Chair Anne Jacobs, have said their strategy may be to use the recount to get before the conservative Wisconsin State Supreme Court to give the Legislature permission to name Wisconsin’s electoral college slate. The ploy seems to be a long shot, but we need to take it seriously.

Citizen Action is on top of the emerging story.

On our Battleground Wisconsin Podcast/Radio Show, we have an exclusive interview with Wisconsin Election Commissioner (and Citizen Action Board President) Mark Thomsen to discuss the GOP threat to the integrity of the Wisconsin election. In addition, Citizen Action Executive Director Robert Kraig discusses the GOP strategy to steal Wisconsin, and how it just might work, on a national radio program on the Pacifica Radio Network.

Citizen Action participated in a #BackOffMyBallot media event on Friday morning in Milwaukee with Souls to the Polls. 

Citizen Action Thanks Our Election Heroes!

This November, Wisconsinites turned out in record numbers and made their voices heard. Poll workers risked their lives to make sure that the election process went smoothly and that each and every vote was counted.

Here are some ideas for organizations and individuals looking to thank an Election Hero:

Video Thank You Messages! 

  • Record a message thanking election heroes in your town! Share your own election story and the story of the election heroes whose courage and diligence helped you cast your vote in 2020.
    • Be sure to use the hashtags #AllinWisconsin and #ElectionHeroes 
    • Be sure to tag your local leaders, such as your mayor, elections clerks or others. 

Tokens of Appreciation! 

    • Bring flowers, handmade signs or thank you notes to your local election clerks, post office, or postal workers union! 
    • Be sure to take a photo and share on social media with the hashtags #AllinWisconsin and #ElectionHeroes and letting us know where in Wisconsin you voted! You can also send photos to [email protected]
  • Send a Note! 
    • Send a note of thanks and encouragement to your local election workers as they continue to serve us in this historic election. 
    • Find the address for your clerk here! //myvote.wi.gov/en-US/MyMunicipalClerk
    • If you can, take a photo to share on social media, say what part of the state you’re in, use the hashtags #AllinWisconsin & #ElectionHeroes, or email to [email protected]!  
  • Social Media! 
    • Head on over to your mayor or election clerk’s facebook page and tell them they did a great job! 
    • Join the conversation on twitter to thank your local election heroes! Be sure to use the hashtags #AllinWisconsin and #ElectionHeroes and say where you’re from in Wisconsin! 

Healthcare Stories Wanted

We are once again, looking for healthcare stories.  Do you have a prescription drug that you really need but can barely afford?  Did you receive treatment recently and receive an unexpected healthcare bill?  Have you been treated for Covid but are now sitting on a giant medical bill?

You can make change by simply sharing your story with us.  Contact our healthcare organizer [email protected]

Citizen Action in the News

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the national Pacifica Radio Network to discuss the possible conspiracy by the Trump campaign to invalidate absentee ballots in Milwaukee and Dane County, and throw the election to Donald
Trump. 

Listen here. The Pacifica Radio Network includes over 200 progressive radio stations.

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig discussed the Biden transition and the fight for progressive cabinet appointments on the Jeff Santos Radio Show. Listen here.

“Trump & Republicans Attack Wisconsin Election Workers” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We have a special interview with Wisconsin Election Commissioner (WEC) Mark Thomsen about Trump and the GOP’s baseless accusations that every Wisconsin election clerk conducted illegal election activities. Wednesday evening, Republican WEC commissioners asserted, with no evidence, that Milwaukee and Dane County would illegally restrict access to GOP recount observers. Commissioner Dean Knudson said he was willing to throw out all absentee ballots requested online through WEC, which if it happened would likely swing the election to Trump. Our panel also discusses the escalating COVID-19 crisis in Wisconsin, including Governor Evers’ extension of the mask mandate and his new COVID-19 legislation. We welcome Racine Education Association president Angelina Cruz to discuss the very strong letter WEAC leaders sent to Gov. Evers and DHS Secretary designee Andrea Palm asking for clear state standards on in-person schooling. We also talk about other local elected officials who are receiving threats for proposing local health measures that would slow the spread of the pandemic.

Listen now!

Facebook post of the week

 

Trump & Republicans Attack Wisconsin Election Workers

Trump & Republicans Attack Wisconsin Election Workers

We have a special interview with Wisconsin Election Commissioner (WEC) Mark Thomsen about Trump and the GOP’s baseless accusations that every Wisconsin election clerk conducted illegal election activities. Wednesday evening, Republican WEC commissioners asserted, with no evidence, that Milwaukee and Dane County would illegally restrict access to GOP recount observers. Commissioner Dean Knudson said he was willing to throw out all absentee ballots requested online through WEC, which if it happened would likely swing the election to Trump. Our panel also discusses the escalating COVID-19 crisis in Wisconsin, including Governor Evers’ extension of the mask mandate and his new COVID-19 legislation. We welcome Racine Education Association president Angelina Cruz to discuss the very strong letter WEAC leaders sent to Gov. Evers and DHS Secretary designee Andrea Palm asking for clear state standards on in-person schooling. We also talk about other local elected officials who are receiving threats for proposing local health measures that would slow the spread of the pandemic.

Listen – Episode #468
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Press Clips

The first step to becoming a Milwaukee election recount volunteer is to sign up for an initial training HERE.

Links:

Bill Kaplan: COVID-19 apocalypse is here

Bill Kaplan: COVID-19 apocalypse is here

Creative Commons 3.0

“The pandemic has worsened across the country over the last two months, but perhaps nowhere as precipitously as in Wisconsin. Testing centers are overwhelmed, raising the risk of further spread as people who might otherwise learn they are infected delay isolating themselves” (NYT). Hospitals are near capacity, our medical heroes are at a breaking point and PPE is running out. The COVID-19 apocalypse is here.

There are 300,000+ cases, with 2,600+ deaths in Wisconsin. And, many of the sick will suffer lasting “damage (to) the lungs, heart and brain” (NYT). There have been 11 million cases and 250,000 dead nationally. Moreover, there is a leadership vacuum in Washington, despite the mounting horror.

“It seems clear Trump has checked out … . It’s pretty clear he feels wounded. Under those circumstances, the idea he’s going to pay more attention to the details of governance is ridiculous” (Norman Ornstein, conservative scholar). Wisconsin cannot wait for president-elect Joe Biden to take office.

Last week, a downcast, exhausted Governor Tony Evers delivered a statewide plea: “Wisconsin, this is serious. This crisis is urgent.” He implored Wisconsinites to take precautions – wear a mask, avoid crowds and limit social gatherings. Evers also relitigated the past, pointing out how GOP legislative leaders have repeatedly sued to have COVID-19 safety rules overturned. GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, reacting to Evers, said it might be time to “hit the reset button”. However, he then listed all his grievances to the press, calling Evers a “dictator” for imposing a mask mandate. Enough!

Personal responsibility hasn’t worked. “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” (JAMA). 34 states have mask mandates. Many GOP governors get it. Ohio GOP Governor Mike DeWine said: “Wear a mask, so that your friends, neighbors and family might live.” And, Utah GOP Governor Gary Herbert declared a mask mandate last week: “Under this requirement, all Utahns must wear masks in public … (and) in business settings … . We cannot afford to debate this issue.” Does Vos think those mask mandate conservatives are “dictators”?

Time for a reset. Governor Evers would be wise to ask a prominent Republican to serve in his administration to show goodwill and reinforce that safety rules are nonpartisan. GOP legislative leaders need to meet Evers at least halfway. The “Stop the COVID Spread” coalition (health care and business groups) could be helpful in that, and more.

For example, make the case that wearing a mask is not optional. Point out how Republicans across the nation support a mask mandate. Second, join the AMA in condemning “highly offensive claims that physicians are inflating the number of COVID-19 cases to increase (their) incomes.” Third, lend your skills to help Wisconsin manufacture N95 masks and freezers for vaccine storage. Important for rural hospitals.

Wisconsin is on its own until January. Wearing masks and social distancing (no holiday gatherings, political demonstrations) could help check the COVID-19 surge while vaccine developments advance.

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

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Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, November 13th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, November 13th

Friday, November 13th

Attend Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Virtual Fundraiser Wednesday, November 18th, 6pm

We won Wisconsin for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and now it’s time to celebrate and to plan for big progressive advances in 2021!

Join us for our first virtual fundraiser!

We will be joined by Tammy Baldwin, and Mandela Barnes to give perspective on the big victory and lay out a vision for transforming Wisconsin and America. Citizen Action co-op member Emily Siegrist will also join us to discuss her very close election defeat in a gerrymandered Assembly District. She will tell us why we must continue to pursue taking back the Legislature.

We’re excited to provide an evening of celebration and discussion with our members and speakers. We look forward to hearing our guest’s thoughts on how we can win guaranteed health care for all, a Green New Deal, dismantling structural racism, and other big issues on the table.

Secure your ticket today by visiting

Governor Evers and Lieutenant Governor Barnes virtual healthcare state budget listening session. 

The Governor and Lieutenant Governor will be holding a series of virtual state budget public listening sessions providing you with a unique opportunity to make your voice heard.

The first virtual budget listening session will take place next week Tuesday, November 17 at 6:00PM and will focus on Healthcare and Public Health. 

This is a great opportunity to support making sure the Governor’s State Budget includes his 2018 campaign promise to expand access to healthcare to everyone by opening up BadgerCare as a Public Option to corporate healthcare.

Register to attend here.

If you would like to submit a written public comment, please do so here.

Each virtual budget listening session requires registration, which will close promptly on the day of the listening session at 6:00pm.

For more information click the link, to access the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s 2020 Budget Listening Session website.

We encourage you to discuss our state budget healthcare agenda:

  1. Accept BadgerCare expansion (available federal Medicaid money)
    • Apply the saving to health equity funding, not more giveaways to the health care industry.
  2. BadgerCare Public Option (buy-in program on the ACA Marketplace)and expansion to 200% FPL The Basic Health Plan (under the ACA) ($52,000 Family of 4). The latter restores the income threshold to the pre-Scott Walker era. Feds pay 95% of the cost!
  3. Create a Wisconsin Prescription Drug Affordability Board, as was recommended by the Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drugs.
  4. Caregiver wages and healthcare.
    • Higher wages for home care and personal care workers to address the shortage of caregivers and pay a living wage to one of the fastest growing professions in Wisconsin.
    • Increased healthcare and food assistance for caregivers.
      Earning disregard for caregivers wages when calculating eligibility for BadgerCare and SNAP, giving the eligibility at a higher income level and taking way the incentive to turn down hours desperately needed by Wisconsin seniors and people with disabilities.

TAKE ACTION: Contact your state legislators and tell them to publicly speak out against Trump’s scheme to overturn the will of Wisconsin’s voters

Vijay Kumar Koulampet; CC 3.0

Our democracy is based on the idea that we pick our leaders. In the epicenter of America’s coronavirus epidemic, amidst barriers that make registering and accessing the ballot box a challenge for many, Wisconsinites did just that. This election season, we turned out in record numbers, from Milwaukee to Douglas County, and everywhere in between, to vote for the future that we have been working towards throughout this long year—a future where all of us count.

The people have spoken, and now our government must deliver on their demands. The campaigning and voting is over, and it’s time for the governing to begin.

Unfortunately, President Trump and too many Republicans are attempting to overturn the election and subvert the will of the 3 million-plus people who voted in Wisconsin.

We need to speak up and tell our elected officials in the state legislature that they need to publicly oppose Trump’s effort to overturn the Wisconsin election.

CONTACT your state legislators and tell them to publicly speak out against Trump and the GOP’s scheme to overturn the will of Wisconsin’s voters.

Trump’s Stacked Supreme Court Could Overturn ACA Coverage and Pre-Existing Condition Protections for Millions of Wisconsinites

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Urges Justices to Put Partisan Politics Aside and Uphold the Law

Joe Ravi, CC-BY-SA 3.0

Statement in response to the Supreme Court’s hearing of the California v. Texas lawsuit to determine the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act Citizen Action of Wisconsin released the following statement:

“COVID cases are surging in Wisconsin to new levels, setting new records for infection and putting Wisconsinites’ lives at risk. During the biggest public health crisis of our lifetimes, we need more and better health care for all people, not less. And yet, during this global pandemic, the United States is taking up the Trump and Republican backed California v. Texas lawsuit that threatens to take health care away from millions of Americans.

Rather than protect and expand health care or lower drug prices, President Trump spent four years trying to repeal the ACA, weaken Medicaid and Medicare, and breaking his promises about lowering drug prices. In the last month before the election, his top priority was not COVID relief and recovery, but instead he focused on packing the Supreme Court with another right wing judge that opposes the ACA.

In defiance of past precedence, the legal opinions of experts across the political spectrum who argue that this case has no merit, and the harmful impact of overturning coverage for over 20 million people as well as pre-existing condition protections for 135 million more, this court could refuse to uphold the ACA. That decision would have dire consequences for Wisconsinites. Experts estimate that 153,000 Wisconsinites could lose coverage, including 41,000 young adults on their parents’ coverage and 28,000 children. Furthermore, without the Affordable Care Act, between 883,000 and 2.4 million Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage or be discriminated against and face much higher costs.

While millions of Americans would lose coverage and protections, the wealthy few and large corporations would receive massive tax breaks. Prescription drug corporations would receive a massive tax break from the repeal amounting to $2.8 billion annually and the richest households in Wisconsin would collectively receive $420 million in tax breaks.

For the sake of our democracy and our health, the Supreme Court must uphold the ACA as the law of the land and put aside partisan politics to act as a neutral arbiter in this case. The justices must prioritize sound legal judgement and the well-being of the nation over President Trump’s anti-health care legacy.”

Thank you to all the Driftless Co-op members who came out to volunteer, speak at, or attend all our local post election events!

November 7th “Voters Decided: Fighting for a Better Tomorrow” rally

Just hours after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 Presidential Election activists gathered at Copeland Park in La Crosse for a rally calling on all of us to stay committed to creating the change that we want to see in the world.  This was a different event than your normal political rally.  Newly elected leaders, stand up comics, activist leaders, musicians and community leaders all presented to remind everyone that the work is never over!

Over 50 people gathered for this fun day of activism, comedy and music in the park.  Special guest speakers included Francesca Hong (who had just been elected to the state assembly) and super star, Wisconsin, progressive activist, Nada Elmikashfi made the trip from Madison to remind Driftless region progressives know that they are not in this alone!  The day ended with everyone gather lining up with signs along Copeland Ave to let the public know that we are not done fighting!  A very special thanks to every speaker, entertainer and volunteer who made the day possible:

Wyatt Molling – UWL College Dems
Lincoln Freimund – local stand up comic
Lizz Brannonn – local stand up comic
Monica Kruse – La Crosse County Board Chair
Kathy Allen – local Sierra Club President
Nada Elmikashfi – super star activist
Francesca Hong – Assembly person elect from Wisconsin’s 76th district
Josefine Jaynes – candidate for Wisconsin’s 96th Assembly district
High Pri$e – La Crosse area rapper
Nick Dutton – local activist and now musician
K.C. Cayo – local activist and super star volunteer

The rest of 2020 for the Driftless Co-op

This election was a huge step forward, but it is not the end of our work to transform Wisconsin. We need everyone to come together to build energy for the big battles ahead in 2021 to win structural reform in Wisconsin and in Washington.

Moving forward Citizen Action of Wisconsin remains committed to creating change on the local, state and federal level.  As we enter the last few weeks of 2020 we will be working with our member leaders to lay the groundwork for the future.

In December we will be hosting our annual statewide membership meeting.  That is where we will be electing our board of directors.  It is so important that we elect a Driftless Co-op member on the board.  We need rural representation from this part of the state!

There is also a huge fight for a people’s budget in the state house in 2021.  We need to identify the issues/programs that need to be funded here in Wisconsin.  We also need to include the expansion of Badgercare into that fight.

We also need to identify progressive candidates for local office.  There are tons of local races next spring for mayoral seats and city council seats.  Local elected leaders have a huge impact on their communities.  We want to help our local, progressive leaders run winning campaigns.  We want to help them become true progressive leaders, creating a better tomorrow for their communities.  If you know someone interested in running for local office in 2021 please have them reach out to Ben Wilson ASAP at [email protected].  If you would like to schedule a meeting with the Driftless Co-op organizer, Ben Wilson, please use this link to Book A Meeting Now.  Whether you are a long standing member wanting to touch base about the future, someone looking to get more involved in the co-op, someone new to Citizen Action of Wisconsin looking to learn more or someone thinking of running for local office Ben would like to talk to you!

More big mobilization, calls to action, and announcements are coming soon!  Thank you all so much for everything you did to help defeat Donald Trump.  Now as we look forward to the future.  Take a minute for yourself, rest and get ready because the fight for tomorrow is never done!

The North Central Organizing Co-op Kicks Off First Two Wausau Green Homes Upgrades

Citizen Action’s North Central Wisconsin Organizing Co-op kicked off a new drive to energy retrofit homes for conservation and renewable energy. The program lines up low interest loans for our members, and commits them to work towards a large scale climate transition.

A couple of years ago, a member-led campaign that worked to promote a type of financing called PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy), led members and allies to ask an obvious question…How do we make it easier for homeowners to access energy upgrades, such as solar panels. PACE only has a history of working for businesses, not homeowners. Citizen Action staff were then involved in a process where they were able to work with financial institutions to offer something very similar to homeowners. Basically, if a person has a 15-year or 30-year mortgage, they can refinance their mortgage (this is a great time to do this because interest rates are at an historic all time low), and bundle in solar panels and other home energy upgrades to lower their energy bills and permanently reduce the carbon footprint of their home.

You can sell the home at any time after these upgrades (with a higher value) and there is a law on the books in Wisconsin that exempts property taxes from increasing as a result of the addition of solar panels. Over the past few months, we have been working with homeowners in the region to do these upgrades, and help them navigate the refinancing process.

Yesterday, the first two homes to do the solar upgrades in Wausau, “flipped the switch” to officially connect their solar arrays to their home and the grid. You can see a segment about this on Newschannel 7 WSAW. If you would like to sign up to do this for yourself or share it with others, you can do that here, and someone will follow up with you shortly.

Citizen Action in the News

Citizen Action’s Director Robert Kraig was on the Stan Milam radio show for 45 minutes to discuss the big Affordable Care Act repeal case before the U.S. Supreme Court, the prospects for prescription drug reform, the Biden/Harris health care plan, and other health care issues. Listen to the interview here.

Rob Chandanais, CC-BY-SA 3.0

“Looking Forward” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast.

As COVID-19 surges dangerously out of control, we look forward to national and state course corrections. Next, we discuss the prospects for national healthcare reform in the coming Biden/Harris Administration. We evaluate Gov. Evers’ new COVID-19 Executive Orders, as health care workers and hospitals are on the brink. We preview the 2021-22 state budget process and the importance of pushing to include BadgerCare Public Option and other structural reforms in Governor Evers’ next two year budget.

LISTEN NOW!

Facebook post of the week

 

“Looking Forward” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast.

“Looking Forward” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast.

photo by: Rob Chandanais

As COVID-19 surges dangerously out of control, we look forward to national and state course corrections. Next, we discuss the prospects for national healthcare reform in the coming Biden/Harris Administration. We evaluate Gov. Evers’ new COVID-19 Executive Orders, as health care workers and hospitals are on the brink. We preview the 2021-22 state budget process and the importance of pushing to include BadgerCare Public Option and other structural reforms in Governor Evers’ next two year budget.

LISTEN NOW!

Attend Governor Evers and Lieutenant Governor Barnes virtual state budget listening session on healthcare, Tuesday, November 17th, 6pm.

Attend Citizen Action Virtual Fundraiser with Senator Tammy Baldwin and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes
Wednesday, November 18th, 6pm-8pm
Sponsor and RSVP for the event.

Links:

Statement: Trump’s Stacked Supreme Court Could Overturn ACA Coverage and Pre-Existing Condition Protections for Millions of Wisconsinites

For Immediate Release: November 10, 2020
Contacts: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324, [email protected]

 

Statement: Trump’s Stacked Supreme Court Could Overturn ACA Coverage and Pre-Existing Condition Protections for Millions of Wisconsinites

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Urges Justices to Put Partisan Politics Aside and Uphold the Law

Milwaukee, WI – Statement in response to the Supreme Court’s hearing of the California v. Texas lawsuit to determine the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act Citizen Action of Wisconsin released the following statement:  

“COVID cases are surging in Wisconsin to new levels, setting new records for infection and putting Wisconsinites’ lives at risk. During the biggest public health crisis of our lifetimes, we need more and better health care for all people, not less. And yet, during this global pandemic, the United States is taking up the Trump and Republican backed California v. Texas lawsuit that threatens to take health care away from millions of Americans.

Rather than protect and expand health care or lower drug prices, President Trump spent four years trying to repeal the ACA, weaken Medicaid and Medicare, and breaking his promises about lowering drug prices. In the last month before the election, his top priority was not COVID relief and recovery, but instead he focused on packing the Supreme Court with another right wing judge that opposes the ACA. 

In defiance of past precedence, the legal opinions of experts across the political spectrum who argue that this case has no merit, and the harmful impact of overturning coverage for over 20 million people as well as pre-existing condition protections for 135 million more, this court could refuse to uphold the ACA. That decision would have dire consequences for Wisconsinites. Experts estimate that 153,000 Wisconsinites could lose coverage, including 41,000 young adults on their parents’ coverage and 28,000 children. Furthermore, without the Affordable Care Act, between 883,000 and 2.4 million Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage or be discriminated against and face much higher costs.

While millions of Americans would lose coverage and protections, the wealthy few and large corporations would receive massive tax breaks. Prescription drug corporations would receive a massive tax break from the repeal amounting to $2.8 billion annually and the richest households in Wisconsin would collectively receive $420 million in tax breaks.

For the sake of our democracy and our health, the Supreme Court must uphold the ACA as the law of the land and put aside partisan politics to act as a neutral arbiter in this case. The justices must prioritize sound legal judgement and the well-being of the nation over President Trump’s anti-health care legacy.” 

###

Bill Kaplan: Wisconsin is at a COVID-19 tipping point

Joe Biden won a majority of the popular vote, is approaching 300+ electoral college votes and will become president on January 20, 2021. And, there will be no veto-proof majority in the Wisconsin GOP-led legislature. Now it’s time for governing, including compromise, negotiation, respect for opponents (they are not enemies) and acceptance of science.

I spoke with Doctor Bill Melms, Chief Medical Officer, Marshfield Clinic. He said: “We are at a tipping point in Wisconsin. As we continue to see increases in the daily rate of new cases of COVID-19, we must expect that the number of hospitalized patients will continue to increase as well.” There are now about 270,000 cases, over 2,300 deaths.

Doctor Melms explained: “We will not see the light at the end of this tunnel until we start to see the number of new cases decrease, and we will not see this until there is a change in behavior. … (Wisconsinites must) wear a mask, socially distance and avoid situations where others do not mask or distance. If you are told to quarantine, please do so.” This is nonpartisan advocacy based on science.

Ohio GOP Governor Mike DeWine understands. He said: “This virus doesn’t care if we voted for Donald Trump, (or) Joe Biden. It’s coming after all of us. … Most states … (have) put on a mask mandate. … It can work at the state level and it has worked.” Why? “Face coverings decrease the amount of infectious virus exhaled into the environment, reducing the risk an exposed person will become infected” (JAMA).

Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin GOP governor and now president of the UW System, has taken bold action: A mask mandate, social distancing, widespread testing, contact tracing and housing to quarantine the sick. He said: “I’m of the opinion that when you have … an outside enemy like this virus, you have to fight it on a bipartisan basis.” He has appealed to the country “to come together”.

We need to find common ground. The state health system is overwhelmed, especially in rural areas. Doctor Melms said: “While rural and urban health care organizations face some of the same fundamental challenges, some of those challenges are magnified in the rural setting. Staffing is a prominent example.” Moreover, rural hospitals lack intensive care beds, adequate transit and enough PPE.

To move forward I propose the following: Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers would be wise to ask a prominent Republican to serve in his administration to reach out to GOP legislative leaders. I would suggest Governors Evers touch base with Thompson, former GOP state Senator Dale Schultz and retiring GOP state Senator Luther Olsen. And, take a look at how North Carolina (NC) Blue Cross-Blue Shield, doctors, Nonwoven Institute and Freudenberg Performance Materials are collaborating to manufacture N95 masks in NC. We could do the same in Wisconsin.

Finally, Doctor Melms recommended: “Spend the (Thanksgiving) holiday with your household contacts and not with your extended family and friends. There will be better days ahead.”

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

Citizen Action Weekly; Friday, November 6th

Citizen Action Weekly; Friday, November 6th

Friday, November 6th

Citizen Action members play a significant role in Wisconsin victory for Joe Biden. 

Citizen Action members’ significant volunteer activity helped win Wisconsin for Joe Biden this week. In Wisconsin, Biden edged past Trump with record high turnout in Dane and Milwaukee Counties. In addition, a 2% increase in the rural vote for Biden in Wisconsin, as well as a shift to Biden in small and medium metro areas also helped make the final difference. 

Thank you to all the Citizen Action volunteers who helped us complete 23,630 conversations on the phones this fall with targeted voters in the City of Milwaukee and its suburbs and rural and small towns throughout Wisconsin. You were a part of helping Joe Biden win Wisconsin by 20,535 votes.

The Citizen Action program also helped elect (5) new state legislators and re-elect (4) Democrats to the State Legislature with a significant direct voter contact program that included 889,893 pieces of mail and a well funded digital program. 

Wisconsin upheld its reputation as an active, divided, battleground state with a record voter turnout of about 3.3 million — the most ever in the state —  which is at least 72% of the voting age population.

Thank you to every candidate that ran for office this fall. Now we focus on making sure every vote is counted!

November 7th “Voters Decided: Fighting for a Better Tomorrow” rally and protest Copeland Park La Crosse 1:00 PM 

We must do everything we can to make sure that we all stay involved and committed to creating a better Wisconsin and a better tomorrow!

Regardless of the results of November 3rd’s election activists need to stay focused on creating a better tomorrow.   Just because we won or lost an election that does not mean we can get lazy. Citizen Action of Wisconsin, SEIU Healthcare and Opportunity Wisconsin plan to bring activists together for a day of fun, entertainers and great speakers to remind us all that the fight is never over!  We need to stay active!  We need to keep fighting for action on climate change, racial justice in our state, police reform, a living wage, economic justice, healthcare for all, COVID relief, and everything else that will ensure a better tomorrow! In order to create the world we want, we have to stay active and keep organizing!

The day’s actions will start with a rally filled with entertainers and speakers at 1:00 PM in Copeland Park on La Crosse’s north side.  Climate activists, musicians, union leaders, Black Lives Matter activists, stand up comics and community leaders will energize the crowd and remind everyone that the work to create a better tomorrow is never done! 

After the entertainers and speakers will line up along Copeland Avenue.  We will have signs on hand with messaging about Black Lives Matter, climate change, unions for all, a living wage, and healthcare for all—everyone can grab a sign for the issue that means the most to them! We will also have supplies on hand for folks to make their own signs. Exact time is subject to change so RSVP to stay up to date.  

PLEASE RSVP USING THIS FORM TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH DETAILS ON THIS EVENT 

Masks, hand sanitizer, snacks and water will be available to everyone on site for free.  We want to do everything we can to prevent COVID infection so masks and social distancing are a must!

Special guest speakers include:

  • Local musicians and comedians 
  • Student activists and leaders
  • Newly elected Wisconsin Assemblywoman, Francesca Hong
  • Nada Elmikashfi
  • Coulee Region Sierra Club President, Kathy Allen 

Citizen Action of Wisconsin members in the Driftless region step up to protect the vote and to keep everyone safe and healthy on Election Day

Volunteers from Viola, Viroqua, Cambell and La Crosse came out on Election Day to help with the “Defend Democracy” campaign.  These wonderful volunteers were on site at three locations in the city of La Crosse to hand out PPE, help voters address problems casting their vote and be ready to react to any voter intimidation.

In total 13 volunteers from the Driftless Co-op came out to help.  Co-op members (and allies)  were set up all day at the Coulee Recovery Center, Main St Library and Black River Beach La Crosse polling location.  These election defenders were able to help countless voters, including many first time voters from nearby Viterbo University.  

Voters received help finding the correct polling location, getting the correct ID, and correcting problems after being turned away from voting.  Our team also dealt with polling site logistic problems such as sites lacking a drive-through option.  They also handed out PPE to stop the spread of COVID19.
A huge thank you to everyone who came out to help!  We are so excited that our wonderful volunteers were out helping voters from the minute polls open until the last vote was cast in La Crosse!

La Crosse activists gather to demand that every vote is counted at rally in La Crosse

In these uncertain times we have to make sure that many norms are upheld.  We have to make sure that votes are counted and no one has their voice stolen.  

The Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op, along with SEIU Healthcare and Opportunity Wisconsin hosted a rally, protest, march and media event to demand that NO ONE is able to stop votes from being counted.  We needed to step up and make sure that no election, big or small, is stolen before the votes are counted.

Activists, organizers, speakers and the media started the day at Riverside Park.  Several speakers presented their own stories about why everyone’s voice is so important.  Local Citizen Action of Wisconsin member Tommy Krob spoke about the unique struggles faced by college students when voting.  Local Citizen Action of Wisconsin leadership team member Amy Dummer spoke about the need for fair elections.

The protest then turned into a march to City Hall and several more speakers.  You can read all about the day’s event here and hereA huge thank you goes out to all the activists and community leaders who came out to demand that every vote is counted!

Members and Friends of the North Central Organizing Co-op Turned Out to Observe the Polls

Citizen Action members and friends did more than just help push turnout in our elections, but many of them volunteered their time and energy at the polls. As poll workers and poll observers throughout various parts of the state. 

Poll observers traveled between each polling site in their communities, to ensure that there weren’t any significant problems. Lastly, some set up tables outside of polling locations to distribute free PPE, pens, water and to assist anyone who had issues voting, or who had questions related to voting.

Thank you so much to all of our members who did so much to make this a smooth election process in the Battleground State of Wisconsin!

The Voters Decided Rally in Milwaukee 

We worked hard, turned out big on Nov. 3 and won Wisconsin! Voters have selected Biden to ensure we can care for our families and move us forward to a better future. It’s time we come together, that the will of the people prevails and Biden is sworn in as President.

The CAW Milwaukee co-op will join community leaders, canvassers, voters, faith leaders and everyone who put their hearts and souls into the Wisconsin victory for music, speakers and fun. We need to have each others’ backs and stay united as we move ahead in our continued fight for healthcare, fair wages, and justice.

COVID-19: Because the health and safety of our community is our top priority, please make sure to attend only if you are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms and have not been exposed to someone infected with the virus within the last 14 days. Participants must pledge to adhere to 6ft social distancing rules and wear a mask at all times. These rules will be enforced.

#MyVoteIsEssential #VotersDecide
Saturday, Nov. 7 at 1PM
Zeidler Union Square
301 W Michigan St

For more information visit #VotersDecide or contact Trevonna Sims at [email protected]

Defending Democracy in West Allis

In a municipality adjacent to Milwaukee, West Allis experienced some of the worst lines in Wisconsin.  Ultimately this suburb ended up voting for Joe Biden but in the grand scheme of things, no matter who you vote for, you should not have to wait in line for two hours. This was a serious malfunction of Democracy and we should not accept this as normal.  Every eligible voter deserves an easy and unencumbered access to express their vote.  

Voters were anxious as they spent time in line, unsure if they had the right documents or were at the correct polling location. Our group of volunteers did their part in ensuring voters felt prepared and ready to cast their vote by handing out water, masks, and directing them to the election protection phone number!

Thank you to our Citizen Action Members for volunteering to protect our democracy and ensure every vote was counted!

Citizen Action in the News

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on national Pacifica Radio to discuss Joe Biden’s comeback win in Wisconsin, and radical right attempts to challenge the result. Listen here. Pacifica Radio Network has over 200 radio stations affiliates across the U.S.

Citizen Action’s Driftless Area Organizing Co-op received great press coverage this week for leading public demonstrations to protect the vote and defend democracy. See coverage from WIZM Radio La Crosse; and CBS TV 8 La Crosse 

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos Show election day to project the results and aftermath. Listen here

In case you missed it last week, Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Earl Ingram Show for 60 minutes to discuss the road ahead to real structural reform in Wisconsin and nationally. Listen here..

“All In WINsconsin” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We review this week’s historic election that saw huge turnout nationally, including Wisconsin. We discuss how the blue wave this year was met by an almost equal red wave resulting in some disappointing results down ballot based on expectations buoyed by failed polling and the Trump campaign’s ability to expand its base. We shout out Milwaukee and other cities where Black and Brown communities successfully organized and turned out in large numbers putting Biden over the top. We analyze significant progressive gains in the Milwaukee suburbs that resulted in 2 new state assembly members and some heartbreaking narrow defeats for Emily Siegrist and few other state legislative candidates. The panel previews healthcare reform in a Biden Administration that must contend with a likely GOP U.S. Senate. We close with a call to action to get serious about combating COVID-19 outbreak in Wisconsin and America.

Listen Episode #466
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