Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, January 24th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, January 24th

Friday, January 24th

Trump promises kept on Rx reform? More like promises broken

The president has ignored the soaring cost of prescription drugs, while Gov. Evers is pushing the Wisconsin legislature to tackle Big Pharma’s price gouging.

By: Robert Kraig

This piece first ran in the Wisconsin Examiner

Photo by: Circe Denyer

As the Democratic candidates for president sparred in Iowa this week, it was inspiring to hear some bold ideas on a topic where solutions are long overdue: the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. While progressives may differ in the specifics, they all clearly recognize that  that voters want real answers and real action on a matter that can, for some, be one of life or death.

National data show one in four people with diabetes skip or ration insulin because of cost. This practice comes as little surprise when the price of some varieties insulin has increased by more than 17.5% per year from 2012 to 2017. Less than one month into 2020, drug corporations have already hiked the price of prescription medicines by an average of 5% — over twice the current rate of inflation. When high prices force patients to ration their medicine, the consequences are clear: Their conditions worsen, and some even pay with their lives.

Meanwhile pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly — the nation’s largest insulin producer — continue to reap billions of dollars in revenue. In 2018 alone, Eli Lilly brought in $9 billion in revenue from their diabetes medications.

Rather than taking action to stop this assault on patients, Pres.Donald Trump has rewarded bad behavior by giving Big Pharma billions in tax breaks.  Eli Lilly paid $0 in federal taxes in 2018 thanks to Trump and the Republicans’ 2017 tax law.

Ever since he began on the campaign trail, Trump has vowed to go after pharmaceutical companies and lower drug costs. But at every turn, he’s given in to Big Pharma, allowing them to continue hiking prices unchecked. The result is a mish-mash of tweaks and half-measures that protect the drug corporations’ power to set and keep prices high.

Consider Trump’s latest proposal to import cheaper medicines from Canada, which has been roundly criticized on both sides of the border — including by former administration officials themselves. Chris Meekins, who worked in the Department of Health and Human Services under Trump and now monitors drug prices in the private sector, pulled no punches in his assessment of whether the plan will provide meaningful relief from high costs: “If you put Canadian drugs on a dogsled and pointed it in the direction of Florida, the dogs would arrive long before any drugs through this regulatory proposal.”

This proposal, like his others, will do nothing to fix the fundamentally flawed system that enables drug corporations to maximize profits at will by granting them monopoly power to raise prices.

Badger state residents fighting cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and other serious conditions can expect spikes up to 7% on the drugs they need to survive.

As anyone on a budget knows, when out-of-pocket and co-pays go up, something has to give. Paying for life-saving treatments or incurring medical debt and forgoing such basics as food and rent is not much of a choice.

Rx Wisconsin

Here in Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers has made lowering drug prices a state priority, and he appointed a commission to study the topic earlier this fall. Citizen Action worked with Evers during his campaign on a plan that would go a long way toward addressing the major problems in our prescription drug system.

During Wednesday evening’s State of the State address, Evers took an important first step in prescription drug reform, asking the Legislature to enact a cap on insulin prices before the end of the current session.

But even the best action at the state level cannot do the work of comprehensive, national reform — not when Big Pharma can keep on racking up the profits without any check on their power. Not when patients still find hundreds of widely-used medicines further and further out of their reach. And not when taxpayers continue to fund research and development, while pharmaceutical corporations keep using those investments to pad their bottom line at our expense.

If President Trump were serious about keeping his promises on lowering drug costs, he would take action on HR 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Prices Now Act, which passed the House of Representatives in December. Instead, after initially supporting negotiations, Trump has now refused to support the policy, joining Republican leaders in the Senate to stall any progress.

As progressives, we must do better. We must demand candidates answer the question of how they will lower the cost of prescription medications so many people depend on. And we must hold our elected leaders accountable to the promise of meaningful, comprehensive reform. Because everyone in America deserves access to affordable prescription drugs, no matter where they live, what they look like or what’s in their wallets.

Governor Evers Mentions North Central WI Co-op Member Hans Breitenmoser in His State of the State Address

Photo: Katie Rosenberg

Lincoln County Board Supervisor, Dairy Farmer, and Co-op member Hans Breitenmoser got a huge shout out from Gov. Tony Evers during his State of the State Address on Wednesday night. Hans was recognized by the governor for his grassroots efforts to end partisan gerrymandering and get non partisan redistricting legislation passed in Wisconsin.

Hans became a Co-op member of the NC Organizing Co-op in 2017.

Han’s helped develop and introduce a resolution at the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors to support nonpartisan redistricting. Hans worked tirelessly, not only to get a resolution passed at the Board, but he eventually organized to get a referendum on the ballot enabling Lincoln County voters to  weigh in on the Fair Maps issue. Nearly 70% voted yes for the referendum

Hans also worked with the Fair Maps Coalition, as well as members of the NC, NE and Western WI Organizing Co-ops, to develop a streamlined process for other counties to pass resolutions all over the State! You can see the toolkit that he helped to create here.

We are so grateful to call Hans a Co-op member, and stand in awe of all of the great work that he and his family do. Thank you for your leadership Hans, and thank you for your support of the NC Organizing Co-op!

Driftless Region co-op members celebrate the anniversary of Roe v Wade by volunteering for Planned Parenthood

The Supreme Court gave women control over their own bodies and guaranteed the right to choose with its ruling on Roe v Wade on January 22 1973.  Several Citizen Action of Wisconsin celebrated the anniversary by volunteering with Planned Parenthood in La Crosse.  Members Lewis Kuhlman, Amy Dummer, Chris Haskell, and Wyatt Molling were on hand with Citizen Action of Wisconsin organizer Ben Wilson and Planned Parenthood Organizer Marie Lindberg for a day of action at Pearl Street Book to mark the anniversary.  Members helped gather signatures and pledge cards, recruit future volunteers and promote safer sex. Over 100 signatures were collected and 7 new volunteers signed up to help with future events.

Throughout America women’s body anonymity and access to family planning is under attack.  States from coast to coast have tried to pass laws limiting a woman’s right to choose. Planned Parenthood is committed to standing up for women everywhere to be able to have control over their own futures.  Planned Parenthood needs your help. To get plugged into local Planned Parenthood events in the area please contact Marie Lindberg at marie.lindberg@ppwi.org or check out Planned Parenthood’s local event calendar right here.

Healthcare Co-op travels to Madison to demand progress in 2020

Representatives Chris Taylor and Christine Sinicki took part in a press conference with Citizen Action members Dr. Laurel Mark and Amy Washburn to call out all the progress in healthcare that passed us by in 2019.  BadgerCare Expansion, RX Drug Reform, state level ACA protections are all within reach at the state level. These reforms would have the ability to transform people’s lives almost immediately, yet the Wisconsin State Republican’s continue to ignore the needs of the people. The co-op also brought a “storybook” of healthcare stories which feature individuals and their struggles with the current healthcare system. These are real people behind the statistics.  We need to keep demanding that 2020 be a year of progress and to put partisan bickering aside for the health of Wisconsin.

Canvass for Milwaukee Public Schools Referendum, Saturday, January 25th

NEW Bay View Community Center location

Vote Yes for MPS coalition, which includes Citizen Action of Wisconsin, is canvassing in support of the April 7th referendum this Saturday, Jan 25th, 10am – 1pm & Noon – 3pm. Canvassers can meet at the MTEA office, 5130 W. Vliet. or the Bay View Community Center, 1320 East Oklahoma Ave

Attend 7th District Congressional Candidate Forum Wednesday, January 29th in Wasuau 

Participate in our endorsement process

This Wednesday, January 29th, at 6 pm sharp, Citizen Action is hosting a forum featuring the Democratic candidates for the 7th Congressional District. Tricia Zunker will appear at 6pm and Lawrence Dale will be at 7pm. The event will be at the Wausau Labor Temple.

Co-op members and/or allies will be asking a series of 3-5 questions of each candidate, and then each candidate will have time to give their closing statement. Questions will be based off of the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Progressive Platform, created by Co-op members and Board Members all across the State.

You can begin arriving at 5:30. If you require handicapped parking, it is behind the Labor Temple, on 4th Avenue. We will be asking all attendees to complete a survey as to whether or not we should endorse in this race, and if so, who they would like to see us endorse. Come help us make a decision!

We will be located at the Wausau Labor Temple, at 318 S. 3rd Avenue, in the Upper Level. We will start at 6 pm sharp, and try our best to end at 8 pm sharp. Hope to see you there! You can either RSVP here on Facebook, email Organizer Joel Lewis at joel.lewis@citizenactionwi.org, or call him at 715-551-2525

Citizen Grassroots Lobbying training in La Crosse Feb 8th

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is committed to making sure that your voice is heard in local, state and national politics. Please join Citizen Action of Wisconsin for an important training session on how to meet with elected leaders and make your voice heard on issues that matter to you! You can make a huge difference in what bills get passed just by meeting with local lawmakers. Join us for a day of training so that you can help pressure elected leaders to vote in support of expanding healthcare and fighting climate change.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin deputy director Matt Brusky and Movement Politics director JoAnna Bautch will be leading the training workshop. Co-op members will be on hand to present about important bills working their way through the state senate and county boards. These bills will have a huge impact on healthcare and climate change in Wisconsin and we want to make sure you have the tools and training to make a difference!

This training will take place on February 8th at 11:00 AM at the Southside Public Library in La Crosse (1307 16th st s La Crosse WI).   Please RSVP for this event here.

“Coffee with your co-op” in  La Crosse with State Senate candidate Joni Anderson

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op will be hosting monthly, informal coffee get-togethers throughout the year, called “Coffee with your Co-op.” These events will be a great chance to get to know fellow activists, talk about issues that matter, talk strategy for the year and grab coffee with amazing, passionate activists!

We will be hosting events in both La Crosse and Viroqua.  Members are invited to both meetings. Please feel free to invite any family or friends that are interested in creating a better Wisconsin!

Special guest State Senate candidate Joni Anderson will be joining us in La Crosse on Feb 22nd. Joni is running for Senate District 14 and she is excited to get to know Citizen Action members from the La Crosse area.  She will be visiting us for a Viroqua meeting in the near future as well

RSVP and join us (and State Senate Candidate Joni Anderson) February 22nd, 12:00 PM JavaVino 2311 State Rd La Crosse WI

Volunteer to help Sanders and Warren campaigns

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is a member of two national networks that have endorsed candidates for President. People’s Action, announced it’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders in December and the Working Families Party endorsed Elizabeth Warner in the Fall of 2019.

As part of the People’s Action process, Citizen Action surveyed its members and nearly 80% of members supported Warren or Sanders. Citizen Action’s Board has decided to not endorse at this time. However, we are supporting our members’ high levels of support for both candidates by encouraging members to get involved in either campaign.

Volunteer with the Sanders’ Campaign. The campaign has numerous events throughout Wisconsin!

Barnstorming for Elizabeth Warren in Milwaukee, Monday, January 27th, 6pm 

This barnstorm meeting will be a large-scale voter engagement training, as well as an opportunity for Warren supporters across the state of Wisconsin to connect and begin to organize in unison across the state.

We’ll dig into our biggest volunteer opportunity right now — sending carpools to IOWA to knock doors before the caucus on February 3rd!

We will explain our organizing structure, train attendees on how to knock doors, and we will start planning upcoming events and actions in our own communities.

RSVP and invite your friends!   

“State of ‘Sconne” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss Governor Evers’ State of the State speech. Claire and Robert tell us about the Families USA healthcare conference they are attending this week and we dive into a deeper discussion of Trump’s failure to deliver on lowering prescription drug prices. We talk about the 2 new open state Senate seats following the announced retirements of Democratic Senators, Dave Hansen and Mark Miller. We close with a discussion of the disappointing Wisconsin Association of School Boards’ rejection of the proposal to retire Native mascots in Wisconsin schools.

Listen Now – Episode #426
Download MP3
Press Clips

Facebook post of the week

“State of ‘Sconnie” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“State of ‘Sconnie” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“State of ‘Sconne” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast
We discuss Governor Evers’ State of the State speech. Claire and Robert tell us about the Families USA healthcare conference they are attending this week and we dive into a deeper discussion of Trump’s failure to deliver on lowering prescription drug prices. We talk about the 2 new open state Senate seats following the announced retirements of Democratic Senators, Dave Hansen and Mark Miller. We close with a discussion of the disappointing Wisconsin Association of School Boards’ rejection of the proposal to retire Native mascots in Wisconsin schools.
Listen Now – Episode #426
Download MP3
Press Clips

Links:
Bipartisan bickering and blame begins before the State of the State.
In State of the State speech, Gov. Tony Evers looks to aid farmers, push for nonpartisan redistricting.
Trump promises kept on Rx reform? More like promises broken.
Wisconsin School Board Members Reject Proposal To Ban Native American Mascots.
Wisconsin voter purge ruling appealed to state Supreme Court.
State Rep. Melissa Sargent announces candidacy for Wisconsin State Senate.
Madison-area Democratic Sen. Mark Miller announces he won’t seek re-election.

Citizen Action Weekly: Vote in Supreme Court Survey

Citizen Action Weekly: Vote in Supreme Court Survey

Friday, January 17th

Citizen Action Member Survey on State Supreme Court Election

Citizen Action is surveying our membership on their preferences in the State Supreme Court Election. This information will be used by Citizen Action’s Board to gauge member attitudes in the election and help determine if the organization should endorse in the election.

Please take the survey today!

Northwestern Wisconsin Co-op holds CD 7 forum in Rice Lake

Wednesday, January 15th, the Northwestern Wisconsin Co-op held their 7th Congressional District forum in Rice Lake. Both Democratic candidates in the special election were present. Lawrence Dale and Tricia Zunker were each allotted 45 minutes to talk about what they would do if they were elected to Congress as well as answered questions submitted by Citizen Action members.

There were approximately 50 people in attendance and a lot of enthusiasm for both candidates.

Not able to make it? Citizen Action co-op member, Steve Hanson, streamed the event and can be watched here. Also, thank you to the Barron County Democrats and Gerry Lisi for helping set up and prepare the event with us!

Citizen Action will also host a second 7th CD candidate forum in Wausau on Monday, January 27th, 6-8pm. All members are welcome to attend.

The healthcare co-op team shows up to confront Trump on Prescription Drug Reform

Tuesday, January 14th President Trump visited Milwaukee and complained about energy efficient dishwashers and toilets. Meanwhile, four years into his Presidency we still do not have any meaningful reform around prescription drug prices.

Members of the Citizen Action co-op provided support and a backdrop to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the Democratic Party at a media event to highlight Trump’s sabotage of healthcare. Citizen Action signs in the background helped to reinforce the idea that there are real policy and performance reasons why another four years of President Trump would be bad and it’s not about us just arbitrarily disliking the President.  Lower drug prices now!

“Dark Money” movie showing in Viroqua.

The Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless region co-op was proud to co-sponsor a showing of the documentary  “Dark Money” in Viroqua on January 15th. This eye opening documentary explored how the 2011 Supreme Court ruling “Citizen United” is eroding Democracy in Montana, Wisconsin and across the country.

An amazing crowd of 44 Citizen Action members and community activists joined us for this viewing. The group “Wisconsin United to Amend” was also on hand to give viewers hope and a game plan on how we can save our country. Citizen Action of Wisconsin members Pam Knudtson, Kent Galloway and Karen Dalh were on hand (along with former Republican State Senator Dale Schultz) to speak about the importance of returning political power in America to the people and away from corporations. Ending the influence of dark money is a major bipartisan concern that all Americans should care about.

Hopefully in the future we can bring this documentary to more communities through the Driftless region!

Climate Change and Economic Equity in Milwaukee

Economic Equity work group for the Milwaukee City-County climate planning process met at the Citizen Action office this Thursday evening. It is chaired by Citizen Action staff member Rafael Smith and is part of a planning process to meet the UN climate targets in a way that dramatically improves racial equity in the region.

Citizen Action is organizing to elevate this issue in the upcoming Spring elections in the Milwaukee area. We need all local elected officials to support this critical planning process and its eventual recommendations.

For more information about the campaign contact: rafael.smith@citizenactionwi.org

Citizen Grassroots Lobbying training in La Crosse Feb 8th

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is committed to making sure that your voice is heard in local, state and national politics. Please join Citizen Action of Wisconsin for an important training session on how to meet with elected leaders and make your voice heard on issues that matter to you! You can make a huge difference in what bills get passed just by meeting with local lawmakers. Join us for a day of training so that you can help pressure elected leaders to vote in support of expanding healthcare and fighting climate change.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin deputy director Matt Brusky and Movement Politics director JoAnna Bautch will be leading the training workshop. Co-op members will be on hand to present about important bills working their way through the state senate and county boards. These bills will have a huge impact on healthcare and climate change in Wisconsin and we want to make sure you have the tools and training to make a difference!

This training will take place on February 8th at 11:00 AM at the Southside Public Library in La Crosse (1307 16th st s La Crosse WI).   Please RSVP for this event here.

SIGN Pledge to Vote YES for Milwaukee Public Schools on Tuesday April 7th!

Pledge to vote YES for MPS on Tuesday, April 7th because a referendum will provide the resources and support our students need to set them up for future success.

Our students deserve the same opportunities as kids in neighboring communities. An investment of $4 per week from the average homeowner will raise $87 million for our kids. By voting yes, we’ll be helping move us closer to providing all Milwaukee children with a quality, equitable education regardless of where they live.

Sign pledge NOW!

Canvass for Milwaukee Public Schools Referendum, Jan 18th, 10am – 1pm & Noon – 3pm from the MTEA office, 5130 W. Vliet.

Join educators, students, parents, and community supporters as we talk to Milwaukee voters about Voting Yes for MPS on April 7th.

Vote Yes for MPS will continue to canvass from the MTEA office every Saturday until we win on April 7th!

Coffee with your co-op meetings in the Driftless region, Saturday January 18th, Noon in Viroqua 

Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be hosting monthly, informal coffee get-togethers throughout the year. These “Coffee with your Co-op” events will be a great chance to get to know fellow activists, talk about issues that matter, talk strategy for the year and grab coffee with amazing, passionate activists!

We will be hosting events in both La Crosse and Viroqua.  Members are invited to both meetings. Please feel free to invite any family or friends that are interested in creating a better Wisconsin!

Special guest State Senate candidate Joni Anderson will be joining us in La Crosse on Feb 22nd. Joni is running for Senate District 14 and she is excited to get to know Citizen Action members from the La Crosse area.  She will be visiting us for a Viroqua meeting in the near future as well

RSVP and join us Saturday January 18th 12:00 PM, Viroqua Food Co-op 609 N Main St., Viroqua WI
RSVP and join us (and State Senate Candidate Joni Anderson) February 22nd 12:00 PM JavaVino 2311 State Rd La Crosse WI

Medicare for All Event in Madison

Several of our healthcare co-op members are leading and participating in a Medicare for All forum in Madison. This will be a very enlightening event as Physicians for a National Healthcare Program will be participating and speaking from a physicians point of view.

Tuesday, January 21st
Madison Public Library
201 W Mifflin St.
6-7 PM

“2020 Election Heats Up the Winter” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Following a discussion of the latest impeachment news, we discuss Trump’s visit to Milwaukee and his continued strength with white evangelicals, the Warren/Sanders dispute, and the latest developments in the vote purging scandal in Wisconsin. The panel closes with a discussion of the Assembly’s failure to override a Governor Evers veto of legislation to de-skill nursing home care. What does it mean and where do we go from here?

LISTEN NOW – EPISODE #425
Download MP3
Media Clips

Facebook post of the week

Bill Kaplan: Bipartisan Medicaid expansion in Kansas

Bill Kaplan: Bipartisan Medicaid expansion in Kansas

Kansas Democratic Governor Laura Kelly has reached agreement with state Senate GOP leader Jim Denning to expand Medicaid. Kelly said: “Compromise is hard. It’s messy and it’s slow, but it is so worth it.” Similarly, Denning said: “In the spirit of compromise, we have a really good, complete plan.” Importantly, they have the votes to pass it in the GOP-led legislature. Denning emphasized: “It’s a lot easier to get to no than it is to get to yes, but this is what governing looks like.” A roadmap for Wisconsin.

The Walker steamroller era is over in Wisconsin. Now Wisconsin has shared government, Democratic Governor Tony Evers and a GOP-led legislature. For too long Wisconsin has been divided and polarized. The legacy has been fear and mistrust. It’s long past time for Democratic and Republican leaders alike to turn the page. The campaigns are over. Governing must be the priority. Kansas has shown the way forward.

Kansas will be the 37th state to expand Medicaid, with 90 percent federal funding. And, momentum for Medicaid expansion is building across the nation. GOP-led Missouri and Oklahoma will likely hold referendums in 2020. Missouri hospitals, doctors and business leaders are pushing for passage. And, former Oklahoma GOP House Speaker Kris Steele now supports Medicaid expansion. Why? Former Arizona GOP Governor Jan Brewer has the best answer: “You have to do the math. …It’s not only a mathematical issue (90 percent federal funding), but it’s a moral issue.”

The Kansas Medicaid compromise includes: full Medicaid expansion to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL); reinsurance (lowers the cost of private insurance by using a mix of state and federal funds to help health insurers pay big claims, thereby lowering insurance rates); hospitals will pay for the 10 percent state cost of expansion; work referral program to help Medicaid enrollees get job skills and employment; out-of-pocket costs for Medicaid enrollees and “rural health care innovations: (the) proposal creates an advisory committee … to support rural hospitals in assessing viability and identifying new delivery models, strategic partnerships and implementing financial and delivery reform to improve the health of rural communities.”

Wisconsin has already adopted some of the Kansas compromise components. However, the most glaring omission is federal funding for full Medicaid expansion. Wisconsin partially expanded to 100 percent of FPL, thereby remaining ineligible for federal funding. Instead, scarce state dollars are used and Wisconsin’s federal taxes pay for other states’ expansion. Wisconsin should do full Medicaid expansion and take the federal funding (saves the state $324.5 million and covers 82,000 more Wisconsinites).

I asked Dr. Susan Turney, CEO, Marshfield Clinic Health System, if Medicaid expansion would be a plus for Wisconsin. Turney noted that “Medicaid reimbursement is significantly lower than (Affordable Care Act – ACA private insurance) reimbursement … .” Possible solutions: use Medicaid expansion federal funding to cover Wisconsinites with ACA private insurance (e.g., Arkansas) and make the state reinsurance program more generous.

The bipartisan Kansas Medicaid expansion compromise offers Wisconsin a way forward. It’s past time.

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

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, January 10th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, January 10th

Friday, January 10th

Supreme Court Candidates Interview with Citizen Action members and Board leader across the state this week.

This Thursday, Citizen Action members and leaders gathered in Milwaukee to interview the two challengers for state supreme court, the state’s high court. The event was also LIVE streamed via Zoom video web conference to nearly 20 separate house parties and individuals across the state, including Viroqua, Eau Claire, Wausau, and Green Bay.

Jill Karofsky and Ed Fallone both spoke and answered questions from the audience for 50 minutes. The candidate interviews and opinions of co-op members will be considered by Citizen Action’s Board to decide if the organization should endorse a candidate.

Please complete a member survey on which Supreme Court candidate you prefer and if Citizen Action should endorse. Please complete survey by Friday, January 18th.  Member survey results will be reviewed by the Board before any endorsement is made.

The primary election will be Tuesday, February 18th, 2020. The General Election will be Tuesday, April 7th, 2020.

 

City of Milwaukee Mayor and Milwaukee County Executive Interviews, Saturday, January 11th, 8:45 – 1pm

All Citizen Action co-op members are welcome to attend our candidate interview at Citizen Action’s Office, 221 S. 2nd St. #300, Milwaukee. Interviews will start promptly at 9am. Each interview will be about 25 minutes. Candidates include: Tom Barett, Lena Taylor, Tony Zeilinski, David Crowley, Bryan Kennedy, Chris Larson, Theo Lipscomb, and Jim Sullivan.

RSVP and more information

Rice Lake Coffee With Your Co-Op, January 15th, 10am 

Coffee and Conversation with Breana Stanley, the Northwestern WI Co-op Organizer for Citizen Action WI. Come talk about what’s concerning you in our region, statewide, and nationally. What you want to work on, and anything else that you believe if necessary for Breana to know!

Wednesday, January 15th, 10am
Badger Brew Coffee Loft
3 W Eau Claire St, Rice Lake

RSVP via facebook

Coffee with your co-op meetings in the Driftless region, Saturday January 18th, Noon in Viroqua 

Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be hosting monthly, informal coffee get-togethers throughout the year. These “Coffee with your Co-op” events will be a great chance to get to know fellow activists, talk about issues that matter, talk strategy for the year and grab coffee with amazing, passionate activists!

We will be hosting events in both La Crosse and Viroqua.  Members are invited to both meetings. Please feel free to invite any family or friends that are interested in creating a better Wisconsin!

RSVP and join us next Saturday January 18th 12:00 PM, Viroqua Food Co-op 609 N Main St., Viroqua

“Dark Money” movie showing and discussion in Viroqua

Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be sponsoring a viewing and group discussion about the movie “Dark Money” at the Commons (401 E Jefferson st) in Viroqua on January 15th at 6:30 PM.  Dark Money is a political thriller that examines the greatest threat to American democracy; the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections. “Dark Money” uncovers the shocking truth of how American elections are bought and sold.  This Sundance award-winning documentary is directed and produced by Kimerly Redd.  

Please click here to RSVP.

Citizen Action Presents: A forum on Milwaukee’s Green New Deal

Climate is not just “another” issue. It’s life or death for our children and grandchildren. Milwaukee City and County are getting serious about reducing our emissions. Join us on January 16 for the next forum in Citizen Action’s Green New Deal series.

Thursday, 1/16/20, 6-8 pm
Wauwatosa Public Library
7635 W North Ave, Firefly Room

Bus Routes: 21 67 76

Panelists: Erick Shambarger, Environmental Sustainability Director, Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO) City of Milwaukee & Kathleen Ellis, Energy Manager, Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Canvass for Milwaukee Public Schools Referendum, Saturday, January 11th

Vote Yes for MPS coalition, which includes Citizen Action of Wisconsin, is kicking off our canvassing in support of the April referendum this Saturday, Jan 11th, 10am – 1pm & Noon – 3pm from the MTEA office, 5130 W. Vliet. Please join educators, students, parents, and community supporters as we talk to Milwaukee voters about Voting Yes for MPS on April 7th.

Vote Yes for MPS will continue to canvass from the MTEA office every Saturday until we win on April 7th!. The Vote Yes for MPS coalition will add additional locations in the coming weeks and we will notify you in future Citizen Action Weeklys of volunteer opportunities with our coalition partners in the future.

Save the Dates in North Central Organizing Co-op

January 11th: A 7th CD Fair Maps planning meeting is scheduled for 11:00 am on Saturday, January 11 at the Rusk County Community Library (418 Corbett Ave W, Ladysmith, WI  54848). Lunch will be provided. RSVP to Carlene Bechen, she.her.hers, Fair Maps Organizer, Cell: 608-513-7655, carlene@wisconsinvoices.org

If you’re from the Wausau or Merrill area and would like to carpool, call Co-op Organizer Joel Lewis at 715-551-2525

January 18th: What are progressive and environmental groups in the Northwoods planning on doing in 2020? What possibilities are there? How can they support each other?

We invite you and the members of your group to pursue these questions at the “Northwoods Alliance Summit: Working Together in 2020.” The summit will take place on Saturday, Jan 18, 11:00-12:30 at the Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (nuuf.com/directions) and will include a potluck lunch. Here is the  Facebook event page.

All members of progressive and environmental groups in Oneida, Vilas, and surrounding counties are invited. We will discuss any plans groups have for this critical year for activism, consider other possibilities, and how we can collaborate with each other in this critical year. We also will propose a few specific actions that groups may want to participate in.

Following the summit is the Women’s March in Minocqua (1:00, Veterans Park) and a round table discussion “How to Fix Our Broken Healthcare Payment System (2:00, 714 Elm St, Hwy 51, Woodruff).

Please RSVP to david.barnhill.925@gmail.com or on the Facebook event page.

January 18th – 20th: People For the Power of Love is inviting members of the community to join them for a celebration inspired by the work of Martin Luther King Jr.

This annual celebration symbolizes the principles of-freedom and unity celebrating the diversity that highlights the life of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Linking many cultures together for one dream beyond the words: A call to action

Saturday– A symposium dedicated to acknowledging and addressing segregation and inequality. Challenge yourself to learn and grow with your community and find out how you can be part of the solution.

Sunday– We are inviting the community to interact with people of faith on Sunday afternoon to reflect on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and will discern possible courses of action in response to racial injustice and inequity prevalent in society today.  Rev. Joe Ellwanger will speak on the topic “Call to Action: Lessons from Birmingham.”

Monday-After a weekend of learning and growing together with the Into The Deep symposium and Sunday’s Clergy meeting you are invited to join us for  a relaxing but also invigorating social happy hour, free of charge to those who received a button at either Saturday or Sunday’s event. Serving complimentary Jamaican themed hors d‘oeuvres a cash bar as well as coffee bar is available. Musical performances by David Deon and The Soul Inspirations, an award ceremony  as well as keynote speaker Brandi Grayson founder and CEO of Madison WI.’s Urban Triage INC

Any questions please feel free to email kayleymccolley3500@gmail.com

January 29th: Join members of the NC Organizing Co-op, partner organizations, allies and the general public for a People’s Forum. Members representing various groups will be asking questions based on the Citizen Action of WI Progressive Platform. There will also be an opportunity for other attendees to ask questions. Tricia Zunker will have from 6 to 7 pm, then she will leave, and Lawrence Dale will have from 7 to 8.

February 5th: The AAUW (American Association of University Women) and the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund are co-hosting a Mayoral Forum with Katie Rosenberg and incumbent Robert Mielke, at the UWSP Extension in Wausau. Stay tuned for more details

Upcoming Citizen Action Northwestern Wisconsin Co-op Meetings

January 13th at 4:00pm, Education Issue Team Meeting
January 15th at 10:00am, Healthcare Issue Team Meeting

“Trump’s Imperial America” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We welcome back panelist Rebecca Lynch to the show and dive into a discussion of Trump’s assassination of a top Iranian general and his failure to establish any imminent threat. We review a new Kaiser Family Foundation report that finds the Affordable Care Act is remaining stable despite Trump’s many efforts to sabotage it. The panel talks about new developments in the Republican voter purge effort and reviews the latest Democratic presidential primary news. We welcome new Citizen Action Movement Politics Director, JoAnna Bauch, to discuss her exciting new plan to recruit, develop, and elect a new generation of leaders throughout Wisconsin who will champion progressive reform.

Listen Now – Episode #424
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Bill Kaplan: Health-care coverage and protections endangered

Bill Kaplan: Health-care coverage and protections endangered

Almost simultaneously the House impeached Trump, while a federal appeals court struck down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate that people have health insurance.  The Senate will not remove Trump, but there is uncertainty as to how impeachment will impact the 2020 elections.  Voters will make the final judgment on Trump.  And, there are other important issues, including the future of health-care coverage and protections guaranteed by the ACA.

A lawsuit orchestrated in 2018 by then Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker and other Republican governors had sought to have the entire ACA declared unconstitutional.  Trump joined their effort to nullify the ACA.  A Texas district federal judge, to the dismay of many legal experts, concurred.  The decision was appealed by ACA supporters. The federal appeals court only struck down the aforementioned individual mandate.  The appeals court then asked the district court to reconsider if other sections of the ACA or the entire law should be declared unconstitutional (earlier, Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul had withdrawn Wisconsin from the lawsuit).

Trump described the court ruling as “a big win for all Americans”.  But Tennessee GOP Senator Lamar Alexander said: “I am not aware of a single senator who said they were voting to repeal Obamacare (ACA) when they voted to eliminate the individual mandate (tax) penalty” in the 2017 tax cuts.  However, the appeals court decision casts a pall over the ACA.  Health-care coverage and protections under the ACA are endangered and left uncertain.

I asked Doctor Susan Turney, CEO, Marshfield Clinic Health System, to respond to the appeals court ruling. Turney said: “The elimination of the individual mandate, the (Trump) slashing of education and outreach efforts for open enrollment periods, as well as allowing short-term and high-deductible plans to proliferate, weaken the law (ACA) in the eyes of consumers and insurance companies. … As important as (the appeals court ruling) is it would be impractical to ignore the near term impacts of the policies in place right now that are harming the ability of people … from accessing affordable care.  That is especially the case in rural areas, where our populations are more likely to rely on ACA marketplace subsidies to gain coverage that otherwise would be out of reach for them and their families.”

The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Hospital Association (AHA) agree.  The AMA said: The appeals court “decision leaves important health insurance protections shrouded in uncertainty despite overwhelming public support for these policies.”  And, the AHA said: “Sending the decision back to the federal district court that invalidated the entire law puts health coverage – and peace of mind – for millions of Americans at risk” (about 200,000 Wisconsinites are covered by ACA private health insurance and 883,000 Wisconsinites with preexisting conditions are protected under the ACA).

Doctor Turney amplified: “Rural America is struggling. … (We) need to create a situation where we can promote health and well-being as part of a broader economic recovery for smaller and rural communities.” Amen!

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

Bill Kaplan: New Year’s resolution, expand Medicaid

Bill Kaplan: New Year’s resolution, expand Medicaid

Politics can lead to unexpected outcomes. As the House impeachment inquiry proceeded, Democrats Andy Beshear and John Edwards won gubernatorial elections in Kentucky and Louisiana respectively, succeeding in states Trump carried in 2016. Moreover, Trump campaigned for their GOP opponents. Beshear and Edwards explained their success: “To win, we had to reach out to people across the political spectrum, including people who voted for President Trump. So we campaigned everywhere, treating every voter with respect, as winnable, because showing up still matters to the people we wanted to lead” (Washington Post).

Beshear and Edwards had a message that resonated: “Families in both Kentucky and Louisiana worried that their health care coverage and our states’ Medicaid expansions were going to be ripped away by a Republican governor” (WP). Medicaid expansion is now a mainstream issue. It has extended health coverage to well over 12 million Americans in 36 states, including 3 in progress. Polls show majority support among Democrats, Republicans and independents. Why?

“Multiple studies over the last five years find that the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion has increased health coverage, affordability and access to care while producing budget savings for states and reductions in uncompensated care costs for hospitals and clinics, according to a KFF review of more than 300 studies and policy reports” (Kaiser Family Foundation). It’s time for Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers and the state GOP-led legislature to make a joint New Year’s resolution to expand Medicaid.

The American Medical Association (AMA) and American Hospital Association (AHA) stand ready to help Wisconsin expand Medicaid. The AMA has offered to work with state doctors. It also supports Wisconsin Democratic Representative Ron Kind’s proposal to increase 90 percent federal funding for Wisconsin Medicaid expansion to 100 percent for the first three years. And, “(t)he AHA supports efforts to encourage every state to expand Medicaid coverage … .” These moderate organizations belie the allegation that Medicaid expansion is radical or welfare.

There is reason to be hopeful. Governor Evers strongly supports expanding Medicaid. And, there are GOP state legislators who privately want to accept the federal spending and savings from Medicaid expansion. Democrats and Republicans need to figure out how to cross the finish line. Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary (nominee) Andrea Palm praised the GOP-led legislature for passing a reinsurance plan (mix of federal and state funding) to lower ACA private insurance premiums. Medicaid expansion would have a similar, additive effect (Health Affairs).

Budget savings from expanding Medicaid ($325 million) could be used to help rural Wisconsin, largely represented by GOP legislators. The windfall could fund broadband infrastructure, improve roads, help struggling schools and support demonstration projects for renewable energy as well as efforts to protect the environment by small farms. The entire state would benefit. The Evers administration needs to think outside the box to get Medicaid expansion.

Consider asking former GOP state Senator Dale Schultz to be the point person with the legislature. He could help make a New Year’s resolution of expanding Medicaid a reality.

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

Bill Kaplan: Advice for Governor Evers

Bill Kaplan: Advice for Governor Evers

In 2018, Democrats won every statewide office on the ballot. It was the “first time since 1982 that one party – the Democrats – won elections to all those offices” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Wisconsin voters made a clear change in direction. However,  most of our Republican friends turned out to be sore losers. The lame-duck legislature threw away civic norms and significantly curbed the powers of then Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. Unprecedented.

Some Republicans opposed the power grabs. GOP state Senator Robert Cowles said: “I feel that our own party crossed the line.” And, former Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott McCallum exclaimed: “It appears completely political … sour grapes.” Outgoing Ohio GOP Governor John Kasich also expressed outrage: “I’m frankly shocked at what is going on here. … You lost, okay? … Accept it, move on, try to win tomorrow.”

Our political system in Wisconsin is broken. Enough! Democrats and Republicans must govern and accept the different roles of the legislature and governor. There has to be debate, compromise, negotiation and working with opponents. No trying to exacerbate rural-urban divisions. But the mess continues.

The GOP-led state Senate wrongly rejected Governor Evers’ agriculture secretary, despite bipartisan approval of well-qualified nominee Brad Pfaff in committee months earlier. Compounding this nonsense, Governor Evers inappropriately went to the state Senate to watch the firing. An understandably angry Evers mistakenly lost his cool, calling the GOP maneuver “political BS”. Former GOP state Senator Dale Schultz commented: “We’re better than this … we’re in a place that’s kind of unacceptable. … It’s this winner-take-all mentality that has led us to this point in history. … That’s not just a message to Senate Republicans. That’s a message to everyone.”

It’s time for Governor Evers to initiate a charm offensive. He has a first-rate personality, aw-shucks smarts and the most power in state government. So he should make the first move – invite Republican legislators often to the governor’s mansion. It could break the ice and help some of Evers’ legislative proposals pass in the GOP-led legislature. It also would be wise for Evers to ask a Republican to serve in his cabinet or as a top adviser, e.g., Schultz or a current GOP legislator. Moreover, solicit input from senior advisers who can be completely honest.

Once a dialogue has begun, Evers needs to reason with Wisconsin Republicans. Does Trump really represent the great party of Lincoln, (Teddy) Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Reagan? Are Trump’s policies helping or hurting state farmers and factory workers? Evers should go around Wisconsin and raise these questions, and ask state Republicans to be independent. Time to stand up for Wisconsin.

Schultz sees economic problems down the road. Wisconsin has lost more than 1,800 dairy farms under Trump. And, state factory jobs are down by about 6,800 over the past year. Schultz said: Democrats and Republicans “can work (together) to alleviate a lot of pain … you have to find a way to listen to each other and compromise and work together… .” Good advice.

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

High School Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

High School Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss a series of violent incidents and threats of violence in Wisconsin high school this week and the reaction of elected leaders. We review a new study finding that a higher percentage of medical care in Wisconsin is wasteful and low quality. The study also concludes that if every primary care physician in Wisconsin provided the same quality of care the cost would be 30% lower. Claire educates us about nearly 700,000 SNAP recipients who will likely lose food stamp benefits under new Trump rule released this week. Finally, we welcome City of Eau Claire council member Kate Beaton to discuss the city’s new climate plan and their exciting goal to get to 100% electric cars.

LISTEN NOW

Attend Citizen Action Annual Meeting Saturday, December 7th, Doors open at Noon, Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W Vliet St, MKE

Links:

Sen. Ron Johnson statement on Wisconsin High School Incidents.
Gov. Tony Evers calls for more funding for mental health, officers in schools after spate of violence.
Governor: Wisconsin Must ‘Step Up’ After School Shootings
Lt. Gov. Barnes calls out GOP leaders after armed student shot in Oshkosh.
Wisconsin doctors could reduce health care costs while improving quality of care, study says.
Nearly 700,000 SNAP Recipients Could Lose Benefits Under New Trump Rule
Eau Claire Leaders Hope Everyone In City Eventually Drives Electric Cars; Goal Is Part Of City’s Carbon Neutrality Pledge By 2050

Citizen Action Weekly: Happy Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

Citizen Action Weekly: Happy Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

Happy Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

Citizen Action Members Stand in Solidarity with Students on UWEC Campus Following Racist Threats.

On Monday, November 25th, several Citizen Action members joined students and faculty on the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Campus to stand in solidarity as they protest the recent threats made against the student organization, Black Male Empowerment. Our members stood in observance and in the capacity of providing protection from negative feedback. The protest garnered approximately 350 students and community members as they stood silently in the middle of campus with signs decrying the lack of action from school administrators as well as a march to Chancellor Jim Schmidt’s office with a list of demands to make UW-EC more inclusive and more safe for students of color. Thank you to all of those who joined from Citizen Action and stood up for those marginalized in the community to let it be known that hate speech, of any kind, will not be tolerated.

Read more from Wisconsin Reporter

Southwest Wisconsin Co-op Recruitment update

Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s newest organizing co-op is almost fully formed!  We currently have 245 activists across southwest Wisconsin who have pledged to join.  If you know anyone who cares about healthcare for all and fighting climate change in the area please put them in contact with Ben at ben.wilson@citizenactionwi.org.  He would love to schedule a time to meet with them to discuss Citizen Action’s work to create a better tomorrow in Wisconsin.  If you have pledged to join us please take a moment to complete your membership by joining us at this website. It is very important as we move forward that members take a moment to complete their membership and fully join.

Also don’t forget to RSVP for the annual membership meeting December 7th from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.  Click here to RSVP in La Crosse (3460 Losey blvd)or click here to RSVP in the Madison area (500 Silent st in Verona).  Please feel free to invite anyone you know who is interested in learning more to the annual meeting.  The annual meeting will be a chance to celebrate Citizen Action’s victories and set an agenda as we move into the most important election of our lifetimes.  We want as many members (and people interested in learning more) on hand as possible. We want everyone to have a voice in planning our actions next year!

Are you interested in upgrading your home with energy efficient upgrades like solar panels, new insulation, new windows and new heating/cooling units?

If you are interested in saving money while reducing your own carbon emissions please take a moment to fill out this quick survey. You might be able to upgrade your home with solar panels and start saving money RIGHT AWAY!  Citizen Action of Wisconsin would love to help you.

Our “Green Homes, Good Jobs” campaign is designed to save people money, reduce our carbon footprint and create good, union jobs right now.  Fill out the survey and find out if we can help you!

Attend Citizen Action’s Annual Meeting, Saturday, December 7th, 1pm

The Citizen Action of Wisconsin Annual meeting will take place on Saturday, December 7th, 1pm.at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet St. Milwaukee.

Each regional organizing co-op will be having a meeting within their region at the same time,

We will connect with the meeting in Milwaukee to hear year in review from all the co-op, 2019 member awards, and then turn our meeting back to the regional co-ops. This meeting is open to non-members as well as members

RSVP for Southeastern (MKE) WI Annual Membership Meeting and Strategy Session

Citizen Action Northeast Organizing Co-op Annual Meeting and Strategy Session, December 7th @12PM

Join our organizing co-op as we gather for a membership social, an update on our statewide work in 2020, and a regional strategy session!

Fight climate change at home” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! After discussing a new study finding Foxconn will likely depress economic activity in the state by tens of billions of dollars, we welcome Kevin Kane and Rafael Smith to discuss their organizing efforts to fight climate change at home in rural and urban Wisconsin.

Contact Rafael.Smith@citizenactionwi.org to get involved in the campaign to support the Milwaukee climate task force.

Contact Kevin.Kane@citizenactionwi.org to find out about how you can green your home anywhere in Wisconsin.

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