Citizen Action Praises Chauvin Guilty Verdict

For Immediate Release–April 20, 2021
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 [email protected]

Citizen Action Praises Chauvin Guilty Verdict: Calls for Transformational Reform of the Entire System

Milwaukee: Citizen Action of Wisconsin praises the murder conviction of George Floyd’s killer, former Minneapolis Police officer Derrick Chauvin, and calls for the structural reforms needed to end the police assault on Black lives.

“This murder conviction is a step forward and a great relief to everyone who cares about true human equality, but it must only be a start, not an exoneration of the system that made it possible,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The downside is that the verdict required singling out one police officer while giving cover to the police department in Minneapolis (and others around the country) for the responsibility of a structurally racist system that does not truly respect Black life. The only real solution is an unwinding of the current systems of policing and mass incarceration and its replacement with a new balanced system that truly promotes community safety for everyone in America.”

“The truth is, without the over policing of Black and Brown communities, the over funding of police departments compared to nonviolent interventions, and the social and economic investments needed in low-income and marginalized communities, George Floyd would not have had to fight for his life after being accused of a petty crime. This verdict does not change what we know to be true: the deadly official violence aimed at Black people in America will not end until we uproot the whole system, root and branch, and replace it with a system that equally values all human lives, especially Black lives and the many others that are devalued by our out of control system of policing and mass incarceration.”

The whole Citizen Action of Wisconsin team supports and fights alongside George Floyd’s family and the people demanding justice and accountability. But we also know that Justice is not just Chauvin’s conviction. Justice would be George Floyd being alive.

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Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, April 16th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, April 16th


Friday, April 16th

 Climate Week of Action Begins on Monday!

From our Drifless Co-Op to our North Side Rising Co-Op we’re taking action for climate justice statewide! No matter the color of our skin or the amount of money we make, we all deserve a Wisconsin that’s cleaner and more fair. We want a future where our communities are thriving, where our families are whole and earn a good living, and where the land, air, and water we depend on are healthy and beautiful. Unfortunately, some politicians are standing in the way, backed by fossil fuel industries that put us in this mess. They try to divide us by our skin color, our zip code, or how we worship. Together, we can create a Wisconsin where we protect our air and water, share in our economic prosperity, and build bridges across our differences. Good jobs in clean industries, protecting our families’ and children’s health — that’s something we all can agree on.

Join us for our first ever statewide week of action for climate justice! Take action from home or find the nearest outdoor and socially distanced event listed down below:

Digital Day of Action: Visit our Climate Action Hub!
4/20:Attend or Stream La Crosse Outdoor Cannabis Reform Press Event
April 21st: Virtual Press Event, Climate and Equity in the State Budget
April 22nd: Virtual Town hall, Climate Equity for All in WI
April 24th: Virtual Panel, Climate Leaders
April 24th: Outdoor, Fox Valley Climate Justice Rally

TAKE ACTION in support of legalized cannabis in Wisconsin.

Whether we are white or Black, Hmong or Latino, rural or urban we all want the same things for our families. We want to thrive economically. We want to support small, family owned farms. We want a more fair criminal justice system. We want safer options for pain management without the need for opioids. All of these things could be realized when our state legalizes cannabis. Unfortunately certain politicians in Madison are blocking positive change.  They are preventing Wisconsin from keeping up with our neighboring states. Wisconsin has shown, through both polling and local resolutions, that it supports a cannabis reform. Legalization is an issue that has broad support across party lines in both rural and urban communities.

You can make a difference RIGHT NOW!

Build back better with unions. Pass the PRO Act.

The House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) on March 9
President Biden is ready to sign the PRO Act into law if it gets through the Senate to his desk. Call your senators and tell them to vote YES on the PRO Act.

Our labor laws are outdated and no longer protect our right to form and join unions. The PRO Act is the most significant worker empowerment legislation since the Great Depression

The PRO Act will:

  • Hold corporations accountable for union-busting.

  • Protect workers’ rights to form and join unions, including in new industries like Big Tech.

  • Repeal “right to work” laws.

Stronger unions mean higher wages, safer working conditions and dignity for all people who work. Passing the PRO Act will be our first step in getting there. Act NOW

Support BadgerCare ExpansionAlternate text

Please use the link below to tell elected leaders in Madison that you support expansion of BadgerCare so that over 90,000 Wisconsinites receive the healthcare they need!

Show your support by using this link to email elected leaders in Madison

Ally to North Central Organizing Co-op, Citizens for a Clean Wausau, Wants you to Sign Up for Their Newsletter

Citizens for a Clean Wausau (CCW) is partnering with the North Central Organizing Co-op. The CCW receive funding from the Center for Health and Environmental Justice, which is connected to one of Citizen Action’s national partners, People’s Action. Most of the founding members of CCW, are also founding members of the North Central Organizing Co-op.  They played a significant role in our North Central Co-op’s involvement in issues related to pollution, climate and equity. CCW now has a newsletter, and would love for you to subscribe to their email list to receive their newsletters. If you know of issues related to pollution, climate and equity in Wausau that should be highlighted, they are willing to consider publishing that information as well. You can sign up for the newsletter here.

Fox Valley Climate Justice Rally, Saturday, April 24th, 12PM

Citizen Action is proud to sponsor this event alongside ESTHER-Fox Valley, League of Women Voters of Appleton, Our Wisconsin Revolution, PopEarth, Sunrise Appleton, and Youth Climate Action Team.
Join us for a Climate Justice Rally in Appleton on Saturday, April 24th! From 12 PM to 2 p.m., we’ll be gathering on Houdini Plaza to demand climate justice and a sustainable future. We are calling on elected officials at all levels of government to address the climate crisis with the urgency demanded by science while creating good jobs and ensuring everyone has clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment.
Fill out this form to be sent information on how to take action and the list of demands for all levels of government.

La Crosse Community Clean Up Day

A spring cleanup event is being organized in the “Townsend”/ District 10 neighborhood of La Crosse.  While not an officially recognized neighborhood, the residents of Townsend hope to help bring neighbors together and foster a sense of community after what has been a trying year in many households.  The event will be held on May 1st, and services offered will be raking, mulching, gardening, gutter cleaning, window cleaning, and other misc. Yard Work tasks.  Due to continuing COVID-19 social distancing requirements, we encourage everyone to mask up, and also not to request services be done inside your home.

Contact Kristin Ringgenberg for more details  


Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig discussed the George Floyd murder trial, the latest police murders and abuse, and the state of play on Biden’s jobs bill on the Jeff Santos show. Listen here.

Battleground Wisconsin · Structural racism demands structural solutions now

We discuss the Daunte Wright murder by Brooklyn Center police, the announcement that Jacob Blake’s shooter will face no consequences, and a state Department of Public Instruction finding that the Burlington school district is a hostile environment for Black students. We analyze the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause in the face of a new COVID variant wave. The destructive course of the right-wing Legislature continued this week, as they plowed forward with regressive COVID relief and election bills certain to be vetoed. The U.S. Senate race heated up this week with the entrance of Citizen Action Organizing Co-op member and State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski as QAnon Ron Johnson prepares to share the stage with a right winger who believes the Jan. 6 riot was ‘staged’. We close with exciting news that the Milwaukee City/County Climate Task Force made bold proposals for use of American Rescue Act money to begin climate conversion, create good jobs and dramatically reduce racial inequality.

Listen Now – Episode #488
Download Mp3

Facebook post of the week

 

“Structural racism demands structural solutions now” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Structural racism demands structural solutions now” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the Daunte Wright murder by Brooklyn Center police, the announcement that Jacob Blake’s shooter will face no consequences, and a state Department of Public Instruction finding that the Burlington school district is a hostile environment for Black students. We analyze the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause in the face of a new COVID variant wave. The destructive course of the right-wing Legislature continued this week, as they plowed forward with regressive COVID relief and election bills certain to be vetoed. The U.S. Senate race heated up this week with the entrance of Citizen Action Organizing Co-op member and State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski as QAnon Ron Johnson prepares to share the stage with a right winger who believes the Jan. 6 riot was ‘staged’. We close with exciting news that the Milwaukee City/County Climate Task Force made bold proposals for use of American Rescue Act money to begin climate conversion, create good jobs and dramatically reduce racial inequality.

Listen Now – Episode #488
Download Mp3
Press Clips

TAKE ACTION in support of legalized cannabis in Wisconsin.

Links:

Bill Kaplan: Wisconsin’s infrastructure is falling apart

Bill Kaplan: Wisconsin’s infrastructure is falling apart

Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers inherited a polarized political environment. And, he shares power with a dysfunctional GOP-led legislature, disinterested in addressing long-term costly challenges. The Wisconsin Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers issued a 2020 Report Card for Wisconsin’s infrastructure. The overall GPA is only a C (“mediocre requires attention”). The specifics are damning.

Roads earned a D+: “More than one-third of these roads are in fair or below condition and deterioration is likely to continue over the next 10 years. …Deficient roads cost drivers $6 billion annually due to wear and tear on vehicles, wasted fuel due to congestion and the overall cost of crashes on roadways.”

Bridges earn a C+: Wisconsin has “more than 1,000 bridges … that are considered structurally deficient. … 1,955 bridges in Wisconsin that require repair, with an estimated price tag of $14 billion.”

Dams earn a C+: “Nearly 200 dams are considered ‘high hazard’ meaning loss of life would be probable should the dam fail. The annual (state) budget for dam safety is approximately $750,000 per year … . However, increased resources are needed to ensure public safety and minimize economic impact from future dam failures.”

Drinking water earns a C-: Wisconsin “must contend with aging water treatment and distribution systems … . Lead, bacteria, nitrates, (PFAS – toxic chemicals), arsenic and radium are some of the water quality concerns … . It is estimated that $8.6 billion will be needed to address infrastructure deficiencies over the next two decades… . Increased investment in drinking water infrastructure is needed (for) safe and reliable water supply for future generations.”

The Report Card also grades airports C+, energy B, hazardous waste B-, inland waterways C-, ports C+, solid waste B-, stormwater C, transit D+ and wastewater C-. Other infrastructure problems such as access to high-speed internet (broadband expansion), housing, public schools and universities need a spotlight too. Deficiencies are common in both rural and urban areas. Presidential leadership is needed to highlight and resolve these long-standing infrastructure needs.

Help may be on the way. Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin tweeted: “We need a bold economic plan and POTUS has put one forward that will create jobs, put people back to work and rebuild economic security for working families.” President Joe Biden is sending Congress the American Jobs Plan to address the problems outlined by the American Society of Civil Engineers and much more. He said: “It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America (including Wisconsin), unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the Interstate Highway System and the Space Race decades ago.”

Millions of well-paying jobs will be created to rebuild our infrastructure, mitigate climate change impact and bring all Americans into the twenty-first century. Biden pays for his plan by increasing the corporate tax rate, closing tax loopholes and making certain all profitable corporations pay for their use of infrastructure. Biden said: “We can do this. We have to do this. We will do this. … This is the United States of America.”

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

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, April 9th

Friday, April 9th

Jill Underly and 21 of 32 Citizen Action endorsed local candidates win this week!

Thank you to all the Citizen Action Organizing Co-op members who ran for office or helped endorsed local candidates running for office this Spring. Jill Underly’s victory was a huge win for public education in Wisconsin. We also excited about new progressive mayors in La Crosse (Mitch Reynolds) and Sheboygan (Ryan Sorenson).

Big congratulations goes out to newly elected Citizen Action Organizing Co-op members, Emily Siegrist (Brown Deer Trustee) and Rebecca Schwartz (LaCrosse City Council).

We are already planing for 2022! There will be critical elections next year at the federal, state and local level. If you are considering running for office please contact [email protected]

Join Us in Amplifying our Demands to Expand BadgerCare!

While we might have concluded our Health Care Week of Action, BadgerCare expansion is still on the line! Thousands of people across Wisconsin are left to purchase low quality plans that come with high deductibles and high co-pays so that many can’t afford to go to the doctor. For years, there have been resources to connect people with coverage through the marketplace — knowing about them or how to enroll isn’t the barrier, being able to afford a plan and use it, to see a doctor, get treatment, and heal from injury, is the problem.

We were joined this week by Senator Tammy Baldwin, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Representative Jodi Emerson and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes to discuss the large impact a BadgerCare expansion would have on nearly 90,000 Wisconsinites!

Together, we can expand BadgerCare and bring American Rescue Act funds into Wisconsin.
Both press conferences are available for streaming on Facebook.

Contact your Legislators now! 

Are You Ready? Climate Week of Action is launching on Monday, April 19th!

Living through the overlapping crises of climate, social injustice, economic unfairness, and the COVID-19 pandemic shows us that we need each other. When we act together, we make a difference. When we go it alone, we fail. That’s why we need YOU to help us bridge across our differences rather than making them deeper.

We have your Earth Day plans covered, register now to attend our virtual town hall on Climate Equity streaming on April 22nd!

Sign up to be a part of our Climate Week of Action, we are working on lobby days, virtual, and outdoor events – keep your eyes peeled for more details next week!

Tell Wisconsin’s elected leaders that you support legalized cannabis in Wisconsin

Whether we are white or Black, Hmong or Latino, rural or urban we all want the same things for our families.  We want to thrive economically. We want to support small, family owned farms. We want a more fair criminal justice system. We want safer options for pain management without the need for opioids. All of these things could be realized when our state legalizes cannabis.

Unfortunately certain politicians in Madison are blocking positive change. They are preventing Wisconsin from keeping up with our neighboring states. Wisconsin has shown, through both polling and local resolutions, that it supports cannabis reform. Legalization is an issue that has broad support across party lines in both rural and urban communities.

You can make a difference RIGHT NOW by using this form and contacting the Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee and your state Representatives in the Assembly and Senate to let them know you support legalization.

It is not often a state has the chance to reform laws that disproportionately affect Black and Brown communities across the state. Its not often a single piece of legislation can create hundreds of small businesses and thousands of family supporting jobs. It is not often that a state can directly lend a hand to struggling small farms and give them a new way to thrive. Every state that borders Wisconsin has legalized cannabis in some form. Wisconsin is being left behind.

In his 2021-2022 state budget Governor Tony Evers proposed legalization of both medical and recreational cannabis.  It is time for ALL OF US TO MAKE OUR VOICE HEARD and let our elected leaders know that we support this plan. Please use this form to send an email to your elected leaders and tell them you support marijuana legalization in Wisconsin.  Please feel free to customize this message and SHARE THIS PAGE far and wide!

Help Defend Democracy!

Our voting rights are facing an unprecedented assault from the Republican legislature. Help us fight back! Join the Citizen Action Southeast Organizing 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 in 2022 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!

Click here to receive updates! or Contact Barbara, SEWI Co-Op Organizer, [email protected], if you have questions.

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 Organizing 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!

If you live in Senate District 32 you can sign up for a lobby visit to promote Badgercare Expansion

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Organizing Co-op 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.

Conservation and agriculture Round Table with State Senator Pfaff and Rep Billings

Sign up today for a virtual round table with State Senator Brad Pfaff and State Representative Jill Billings about conservation and agriculture related to the proposed state budget.  It is so important that we address ALL aspects of the climate crisis, including agriculture issues.

WHO: DATCP Sec. Randy Romanski, Sen. Brad Pfaff, and Rep. Jill Billings
WHAT: Virtual Agriculture and Conservation Round Table
WHERE: Virtual, via Zoom
WHEN: Monday, April 12th, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

RSVP 

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. 

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.

Citizen Action in the News

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig talked on the Jeff Santos show about the George Floyd Murder Trial and the moderate block on bold legislation in the U.S. Senate. Listen here.

Citizen Action’s building African American led organizing co-op, got press this week on the resumption of utility cut-offs. Over 93,000 Wisconsinites who fell behind on the utility bills during the pandemic face cut-offs starting April 15. Read here.

News coverage of Citizen Action’s press conference with Senator Tammy Baldwin, State Representative Jodi Emerson, and members Dr. Mark Neumann and Kim Larson went out across the state this week. You can watch two news clips here and here. You can also read about it from WisPolitics here.

“Public schools win in a landslide” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We review the huge victory for public education in the Department of Public Instruction race, and the immediate threat by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to take it out on our schools. We discuss the shockingly successful GOP effort to take down progressive school board members who follow the science and our educators by only supporting the safe reopening of schools. Is this a new Republican wedge issue for moderate voters they will use in 2022 in state and federal races? Claire educates us on the Biden Administration’s decision to permanently end health-care denying work requirements to receive Medicaid. We talk about the COVID variants taking off with big spikes in 5 states (and counting), and the GOP use of the fraudulent vaccine passports issues to increase vaccine hesitancy, threatening to further delay heard immunity. Robert discusses Trump’s outrageous scamming of his own supporters, and its copycats in the Republican Party. We close by welcoming Hannah Faris from In These Times magazine to talk about the launch of a new rural focused reporting project called, “the Wisconsin Idea.” The project is a collaboration with People’s Action and Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Listen Now

Download Mp3

More information on In These Times “Wisconsin Idea” project with Citizen Action and People’s Action.

Register to attend Gov. Evers Listening Session on the Budget: Justice Reform & Marijuana Legalization​​​, April 14th, 6pm

Facebook post of the week

“Public schools win in a landslide” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Public schools win in a landslide” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We review the huge victory for public education in the Department of Public Instruction race, and the immediate threat by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to take it out on our schools. We discuss the shockingly successful GOP effort to take down progressive school board members who follow the science and our educators by only supporting the safe reopening of schools. Is this a new Republican wedge issue for moderate voters they will use in 2022 in state and federal races? Claire educates us on the Biden Administration’s decision to permanently end health-care denying work requirements to receive Medicaid. We talk about the COVID variants taking off with big spikes in 5 states (and counting), and the GOP use of the fraudulent vaccine passports issues to increase vaccine hesitancy, threatening to further delay heard immunity. Robert discusses Trump’s outrageous scamming of his own supporters, and its copycats in the Republican Party. We close by welcoming Hannah Faris from In These Times magazine to talk about the launch of a new rural focused reporting project called, “the Wisconsin Idea.” The project is a collaboration with People’s Action and Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Listen Now – Episode #487
Download Mp3
Press Clips

More information on In These Times “Wisconsin Idea” project with Citizen Action and People’s Action.

Register to attend Gov. Evers Listening Session on the Budget: Justice Reform & Marijuana Legalization​​​, April 14th, 6pm

Links:

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.

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