Citizen Action Weekly: Happy Memorial Day Weekend

Citizen Action Weekly: Happy Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 22nd

TAKE ACTION: Expand BadgerCare & Free COVID-19 Testing & Treatment!


It’s time for us to unite across our differences and work together to deliver free testing and treatment for COVID-19 for everyone in Wisconsin. We need to open BadgerCare to everyone without insurance and require insurance companies to provide free COVID 19 testing and treatment without any copays or deductibles, we can ensure that all Wisconsinites have the health care we need through this crisis.

Contact your legislators today in support.

Recap of “Covid vs Everybody: Communities of Color Townhall” 

On May 15, Citizen Action organizers held a virtual town hall that focused on a covid related conversations for communities of colors.  Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted people of color. Covid can strike any of us but the people that have been denied care and support for generations are being hit the hardest. 

In this town hall, Milwaukee leaders touched on food insecurity, unemployment, and healthcare in communities of color. They explored perspective, solutions, then demands  for following issues in these communities that were affected the worse during the pandemic. Rick Banks, Leader of St Joseph Accountability Coalitions, shared demand and how the community can get involved with holding the only hospital on the northside accountable for closing the health disparity gap.  Alex Hagler, local business owner of a wellness  center and fresh food organizer, shared tips and resources on fighting food insecurity during the pandemic. 

Important questions and a need for action was raised during this hour. Our Community of color townhall reached about 30 viewers on Facebook and Zoom.  This is the first of many conversations around our communities that will continue even once Covid-19 ends!

For more information or a recording from this town hall, please contact Southeastern Co-op Organizer, Trevonna Sims at trevonna.sims@citizenaction.org

Join Citizen Action of Wisconsin for our small group e-meeting to discuss expanding work sharing and creating green jobs across the state

Thanks in part to the efforts of Citizen Action of Wisconsin members like you, over 14,000 Wisconsinites have been helped by the expansion of WIsconsin’s work sharing program.  This program reduces layoffs, helps area businesses and puts more money into the pockets of hard working Wisconsinites.  We are still working hard to expand this program.

You can learn more about this program, help expand it AND help our efforts to create green jobs across our state by joining one of our upcoming small group e-meetings.  Please use one of the following links to RSVP for one of our upcoming small group meetings.  You must RSVP in order to attend.

Tuesday May 26 4:00 PM meeting co hosted by Susan Garcia Franz 
Thursday May 28th 6:00 PM meeting co hosted by Tamara Thomson
Wednesday June 3rd 6:00 PM meeting co hosted by Carol DiBiasio-Snyder

Coffee w/your Co-op: Social Distancing Edition 2.0

Grab your beverage of choice, comfy chair, and join our Citizen Action Northeast Co-op for coffee from the comfort of your own home!

Co-op leaders will be discussing our push our advocacy on a county-to-county basis since the Wisconsin Supreme Court repealed Governor Evers’ Safer-at-Home Order. Connect with other progressives and learn what Citizen Action is up to as we navigate this challenging time until we can meet at our favorite coffee shop again.

See facebook event page.

You must RSVP to noah.reif@citizenactionwi.org to receive log in.

Volunteer Opportunities in Central Wisconsin

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has significantly increased their field team this year. Currently, we have staff all across the state making calls to see how people feel about accepting the Medicaid money to expand Badgercare, while ensuring that all receive free testing and treatment (mentioned above). YOU CAN HELP!! These are real conversations, and they can help to change the political landscape by creating an echo chamber. That echo is this: Here is the problem, here is the solution, and this is who is standing in the way of us getting what we need and deserve. Even if candidate calls are not for you, these may be. People are typically more receptive, and many of them want to share their stories and make a connection. Not only could this turn into more voters voting for the people that we need to win the victories that we seek, but it increases the visibility of Citizen Action, and will result in more people being proactively involved in government at all levels. If you would like a one-on-one or even a virtual phone bank training prior to getting started, we can make that happen too. Please reach out to Central Wisconsin Organizer Joel Lewis at 715-551-2525 or email him at joel.lewis@citizenactionwi.org

Below, you will read about how you can help promote the work-share efforts in the state and how you can help promote green homes and a green new deal. This can be done in a variety of ways, but for starters, we recommend that you join one of the e-meetings listed below. Many workers and employers are still learning about how they can utilize work sharing and you can help! This could be the difference between a person being able to keep their job(s) and continue to pay their bills or being laid off. It could help keep a small business, nonprofit or municipal entity operational and preserve jobs. The more of you that help with this, the more people and businesses we can help!! Reach out to your organizer if you would like to get involved or simply join one of the meetings listed below.

Lastly, we are really lucky to be working on the green homes and green new deal campaigns! Green homes is something that has been years in the making, and it all started in Northern and Northwest WI!! Feel free to reach out to your organizer for a history on this campaign. According to the Nature Research Defense Council (NRDC), “Residential Energy Efficiency Leads the Way on CO2 Reduction. One of the major highlights of the report that the single largest source of CO2 equivalent emissions from a single intervention is residential energy efficiency.” This is about solar panels, but that is not all! Join one of the meetings below to learn more. Also, if you would like to look into upgrading your home, or know someone that would like to, go here to sign up to see if it is worth our time to help you accomplish this!

Co-op Leader Appointed to Governor’s Task Force on Student Loan Debt!

Northeast Wisconsin Steering Committee member Renee Gasch has been appointed to Governor Ever’s Task Force on Student Loan Debt. Renee is a founding member of the co-op and is a strong statewide leader on the fight to end partisan Gerrymandering. She also serves on the De Pere sustainability commission. We are extremely proud of Renee and her tireless leadership on progressive causes across the state! If you have any questions or a story to share with Renee about your experiences with Student Loan Debt, please contact her at renee.gasch@gmail.com

Join U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin on Facebook Live, Thursday, May 28th 6pm.

We are partnering with Wisconsin Organizing Together Coalition for a Facebook Live event next Thursday, May 28th, 6pm – 7pm.  RSVP here.  The virtual event will highlight contributions of frontline workers leading us through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Trump cut millions in funding for the CDC and fired the pandemic response team. He called the virus a hoax. As a result of his inaction, workers are now suffering. Join us for a virtual event to highlight contributions of frontline workers leading us through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Join us Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 6 PM – 7 PM

Citizen Action in the News

The Capital Times gave a huge shout out to Citizen Action on our response to the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision overturning the Governor’s social distancing directive.

Citizen Action’s Kevin Kane was on the Earl Ingram Show to discuss the most neglected tool in pandemic relief, the work sharing program that Citizen Action is promoting. 

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos Show to discuss the House pandemic relief bill, and how it could be improved.

“Expand BadgerCare & free COVID-19 testing and treatment” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the latest pandemic developments, including: a major study finds that 36,000 lives could have been saved if the US implemented mandatory social distancing earlier; Governor Evers’ moves over $1 billion in federal money to ramp up testing and tracing; and the state is now a patchwork of COVID-19 policies with some counties and municipalities lifting Safer at Home restrictions early. Robert briefs us on U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s new bill guaranteeing free COVID 19 testing and treatment to everyone in America by dramatically expanding Medicare. Next, we look at what is being done to expand voting opportunities in Wisconsin this fall. We close with a look at the growing strength of progressive talk radio in Wisconsin.

Listen now – Episode #443
Download MP3
Press Clips

Facebook post of the week

Citizen Action Weekly: There is no pandemic plan for Wisconsin!

Citizen Action Weekly: There is no pandemic plan for Wisconsin!

Friday, May 15th

Supreme Court Shifts Life & Death Responsibility for Pandemic onto Legislature

What the state now must do to save lives and successfully open the economy is clear: will the GOP Legislature start doing its job?

GOP legislative leaders may think they won a victory this Wednesday in their campaign to strip powers from Governor Evers, but they have actually shifted an immense burden of moral responsibility to themselves. The moral of the story for one Aesop’s fables encapsulates the moment: Be careful what you wish for, less it comes true.

The scientific consensus is overwhelming on how to best save lives, and restore the level of public confidence necessary to safely re-open the economy. Now the leaders of the Legislature have a choice: actually cooperate with Governor Evers to do the hard work of quickly implementing an effective response, or continue their campaign of obstruction and face the moral and political consequences for the human and economic toll.

By their very acts of publicly undermining the Governor’s popular emergency measures, and inducing the Wisconsin Supreme Court majority to render one of the most divisive and nakedly partisan decisions in Wisconsin history, they have made the task harder by prematurely ending state-wide social distancing without any back up plan, and undermining the social unity and commitment to norms necessary to contain a pandemic.

Because the Evers Administration took bold necessary action, and the millions of Wisconsinites who followed the directives voluntarily, no matter what the personal and economic sacrifice, Wisconsin made tremendous progress over the last 6 weeks in reducing the rate of infection. According to the CEO of the Medical College, Wisconsin has the reproduction rate  (the number of additional people each Covid positive person infects) down to 1.0, the minimum for moving to more targeted virus containment strategies. But if the reproduction rate increases even slightly, to 1.1 or higher, the virus will within a few weeks begin spreading out of control.

We are in danger of losing all these hard won gains if the Legislature does not immediately fund, to whatever scale is necessary, a robust targeted containment strategy. There is an overwhelming scientific consensus, being pursued by the most effective pandemic responses around the globe, on what must be done to contain the pandemic and safely re-open the economy. There is no choice between public health and the economy. The economy will not bounce back until Wisconsinites feel safe, regardless of what politicians tell them to do.

  • Fill the containment gap created by the sudden and premature ending of mandated social distancing with a well resourced and targeted approach that is capable of identifying and isolating new pockets of infection as soon as they emerge. This includes:
    • Universal and rapid testing that reaches asymptomatic Wisconsinites and is immediately available in all at risk public and business locations.
    • A massive ramp up in contract tracing which means hiring thousands of new public health workers.
    • A medical surveillance system capable of rapidly intervening and isolating all of the new hotspots identified through testing and contact tracing.
  • Free testing and treatment are a necessity because of cost barriers which are unique to the unique profit-centered American health care system. Without an enforced guarantee of no out of pocket costs, hundreds of thousands of Wisconites will avoid testing and treatment, even if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Reinforce the norm of social distancing in all public interactions. In Wisconsin, there is much damage to repair. The mixed messages and the divide and conquer politics must end. GOP leaders must join Governor Evers in reinforcing this social ethic and dispense with their divisive rhetoric of oppression and liberation. The Supreme Court majority did the opposite in their divisive and dog-whistle racism oral arguments.
  • Create enforceable safety requirements for all workplaces. Workers cannot be forced to choose between their health and their livelihoods. (The WMC’s preferred voluntary standards will not work, and were immediately violated by some taverns the evening of the Supreme Court ruling)

These core elements of effective and effective pandemic containment are not just Citizen Action’s position, this is an overwhelming consensus of public health experts and responsible elected leaders across the globe. Some of these items will cost money, and if the majority of the Legislature will not invest the necessary resources, whatever it takes, the costs of inaction will be astronomical. The stakes could not be higher as Dr. Rick Bright, the former Director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority testified in Congress today: “Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history.”

Wisconsin has done it before. In 1918, when there were three major parties and as much partisan contention as today, Wisconsinites pulled together to take unified action on the worst pandemic in our history.  “Wisconsin was the only state in the nation to meet the crisis with uniform, statewide measures that were unusual both for their aggressiveness and the public’s willingness to comply with them.”

“We have entered a season of consequences. In a pandemic success depends on elected leaders putting aside the divisions of normal politics and pulling together to take effective and decisive action,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The GOP leadership of the Legislature got what it wanted, and stripped the Governor of much of his power to lead in this crisis. The onus of responsibility now falls squarely on their shoulders. It is our hope that they will elevate their leadership to the demands of the challenge we face, and work in concert with Governor Evers to do not what is politically convenient but what is required to save lives.”

See Citizen Action response to Wisconsin Supreme Court decision here.

Citizen Action case for free COVID 19 testing and treatment here.

“Supreme Chaos” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We review this week’s lawless and partisan Supreme Court decision overturning Governor Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order and throwing Wisconsin into chaos. We discuss how local governments and their health departments are responding to protect people in their communities and why pressure must now be placed on Republican state legislators to fix their public health disaster. We talk about the new Marquette Law Poll which finds the presidential race in Wisconsin within the margin of error, and partisanship trumping facts in public perception of the pandemic. We also thank Citizen Action co-op member Tricia Zunker for running a strong race in the 7th Congressional District special election and out performing the district in the face of a massive infusion of right-wing cash for her opponent.

Listen Now – Episode #442
Download MP3
Press Clips

Citizen Action Wisconsin is helping protect paychecks & prevent layoffs

Citizen Action has been working hard to offer support to employees and employers through Wisconsin’s unique work sharing program. Work sharing was a program the state of Wisconsin started after the nation’s last recession in 2008. This program allows employers to reduce hours of two or more staff members while letting those employees collect unemployment.

Employees using work sharing are able to work fewer hours, stay on their health insurance and collect unemployment.  Employees are also able to collect the $600 a week federal unemployment passed by Congress as part of the CARES act.  

Please use this link to watch a video explaining this program and to sign up to join one of our twice a week webinars outlining this program.

As part of our COVID19 relief efforts Citizen Action of Wisconsin has been helping sign up businesses to take part in this program.  We has signed up around 20 businesses across the state.  Some of the businesses and non profits we have helped include UW-L Athletic system, the City of Milwaukee Park Department, the La Crosse YWCA and many more.

We have been working with a statewide network of Citizen Action members to get the word out and help as many businesses as possible.  Our statewide action team is meeting every Thursday from 4:00 to 5:30.  

If you know any businesses or employees who could be helped by this program please join us for our weekly team meetings hosted over Zoom.  You can RSVP to join us using this link.  RSVP is required to join.

Addressing Climate & Equity through our Food System

Thursday, May 21st, 6 PM – 7 PM

Join us for a panel discussion to inform citizens and the Milwaukee City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity. The Task Force, created by our Milwaukee City and County governments, will address the inequities in our community with changes that need to be made to address climate change.

Panelists:

  • Bruce Wiggins: City Planner (Retired) – Moderator
  • Deneine Powell: Executive Director, Groundwork Milwaukee
  • David Johnson, MUP: Urban Farmer – Cream City Farms
  • Sylvia N. Wilson, PhD: Program Director, Teens Grow Greens

Panel members will help us explore:

– How does our food system promote climate change?
– How do we change our food system to mitigate climate change?
– What are the food inequities in Milwaukee?
– How do racial and economic inequalities affect health and access to healthy food?
– What can be done to address food insecurity and promote access to healthy food in Milwaukee?

RSVP and register for this event.

For more information check out the facebook event page.

Help Brown County Residents Now!

Brown County has quickly become a center for COVID-19 in Wisconsin. As of Thursday, May 15th the county health department has reported almost 2000 confirmed COVID cases, trailing only Milwaukee County. Even in the midst of this outbreak, organizations like We All Rise African American Resource Center and Casa ALBA Melanie have been serving our black and brown community in Green Bay.

Last Saturday, the Northeast Citizen Action of Wisconsin co-op hosted a COVID-19 relief discussion with several progressive organizations in the Greater Brown County Area.

If you are looking to help support directly impacted communities and have the means to do so, we encourage you to start here:

We All Rise African American Resource Center- Green Bay

The center desires to meet the basic needs of clients while providing a comprehensive set of healing services for our African American community members at no cost to them. Their doors have stayed open during the duration of shelter-in-place and they can use your support. If you can, please support them by donating essential items! You can also donate by visiting their wishlist!  You can also support their work financially by visiting https://bit.ly/3fA8s54.

If you have questions about the center or how you can help, contact Rachel Westenberg at rachel@weallriseaarc.org.

Casa ALBA Melanie- Green Bay

Casa ALBA Melanie is the Hispanic Resource Center of the greater Green Bay area.  Our mission is to nurture the well-being and wholesome development of all members of the Hispanic community living in the region. You can learn how you can support their work directly by visiting https://www.casaalba.org/how-to-help.html and by following their COVID updates here.

Northwestern WI Co-op Host’s First “Kitchen Table Conversation on May 14th

Dr. Rita Simon, Steering Committee Chair and member-leader of the Healthcare Issue team, hosted the co-op’s first “Kitchen Table Conversation.” This event’s topic was about the immediate action we can take around healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Simon shared a powerpoint, video, and information regarding the benefits of Medicare for All during this time of crisis. These events are made for members to invite friends and family interested in the topic to learn more about what they can do to organize and how to get involved with Citizen Action.

Contact breana.stanley@citizenactionwi.org if you’re interested in hosting your own!

Healthcare Co-Op Joins Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to Defend the ACA

Healthcare Co-Op leader, Zena Blom has personal reasons to defend the ACA but she didn’t just decide to speak out publicly for herself, she was thinking of others who might come after her. People forget what was life before the ACA but if you were personally helped by its passage, you never forget.

Zena testified about one of the most popular features of the ACA which is pre-existing condition protection. Insurance companies used to be able to pick winners and losers in their insurance pool and if you were a person living with any kind of condition or precarious health issue, you were a loser and couldn’t obtain coverage. That changed with the ACA and not only did it change lives, it saved lives and we are not going back.

Recently, President Trump doubled down on his support for the Texas lawsuit which would rip coverage away from 20 million and eliminate Medicaid expansion in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. This just can’t happen and everyday Americans are speaking out about it.  If you want to be more involved please join the Co-Op, your voice is exactly what is needed.

Facebook post of the week

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, May 8th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, May 8th

Friday, May 8th

Citizen Action launches #WhoCaresForUs?

Watch new video ad.

Americans are stepping up to care for one another during this pandemic. Isn’t it time we had a government #WhoCaresForUs? We need our state leaders to pass new legislation that ensures working people who care for us have the equipment they need to stay safe and that all of us can access the COVID tests and treatment we need to get and stay well. Contact your state legislative representatives 

Vote for Tricia Zunker for 7th Congressional District

Return your absentee Ballot today!

Your absentee ballot needs to be back to your municipal clerk by 8pm on election day. Either mail it back or drop it off with your municipal clerk so it gets there in time.

If you’re voting in person, make sure to take social distancing precautions. Polling places will be open in Congressional District 7 on May 12 from 7am to 8pm. To find your polling place, click here.

If you need additional help locating your absentee ballot or any other information about this election, call the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s voter assistance hotline at 608-336-3232

To volunteer from home making calls to voters for Tricia contact zoe@citizenactonwi.org

“Politicians, not regular justices” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the damage the coronavirus is reaping, largely unmitigated by the federal government’s response, and the mounting reactionary/corporate pressure on state and local government to court disaster by prematurely scuttling social distancing. We review the shameful Wisconsin Supreme Court public hearing this week in the Vos-Fitzgerald lawsuit against Gov. Evers’ Stay at Home order. The tone and irrationality of the right-wing majority again embarrassed Wisconsin nationally, and revealed to the world a cabal of unethical politicians in robes masquerading as judges. We welcome Citizen Action co-op member Tricia Zunker to talk about her May 12th special election for the 7th Congressional District in Northern Wisconsin. We close with Citizen Action Northcentral WI Co-op steering committee chair Don Dunphy, to discuss the Citizen Action grassroots campaign for Zunker, and the importance of joining a regional co-op to build progressive power.

Learn more and join a Citizen Action’s Organizing Cooperative.

Listen Now – Episode #441
Download MP3

Citizen Action in the News

Executive Director Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos Show and discussed how to get a real progressive response to the pandemic. Listen here

Citizen Action has been in the news this week for our work to elect Jill Karofsky to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and to support Citizen Action co-op member Tricia Zunker in her run for Congress in the 7th District Special Election coming up Tuesday.  While we are listed along with all the big spending by corporate interests and right-wing billionaires, it is not really an apples to apples comparison. Whereas big corporations and rich reactionaries like the Koch brothers are corrupting our democracy, Citizen Action is restoring democracy by empowering average people to have a voice and seek a better state and country. By this standard, it is really an apples to poison fruit comparison.

Movement Politics Conversation with Candidates: Health Care

Last Saturday, Citizen Action hosted a Zoom candidate conversation about healthcare. The conversations was led by Health Care for All Director, Claire Zautke and Executive Director Robert Kraig and organized by Movement Politics Director, JoAnna Bautch.

State Legislators and 2020 candidates participated in a conversation on integrating advocacy and policies that support healthcare as a fundamental human right within their campaigns.

This is the first of more conversations with candidates and legislators about healthcare and other important issues. The next candidate Zoom conversation will be about the NEW Race, Class, Narrative Project. It will be on Saturday, May 23rd at 10am. Contact: Joannab@citizenactionwi.org for more information.

Citizen Action’s Movement Politics program develops, prepares, and supports new political leaders that will support people-centered leadership. To learn more, please contact JoAnna Bautch, Movement Politics Director joannab@citizenactionwi.org.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is helping to prevent layoffs by expanding Wisconsin’s “work sharing” program 

The COVID19 crisis is crippling Wisconsin’s small businesses.  Citizen Action of Wisconsin members has been leading an effort to protect jobs, guarantee paychecks, prevent layoffs, keep people on their health insurance and get people the money they need to make it through this crisis.  We would like YOU to join our efforts.

Wisconsin’s unique “work sharing” program can help people RIGHT NOW!  Work sharing allows businesses and nonprofits to reduce employee hours while keeping those employees on the company health insurance and allowing employees whose hours have been cut to collect prorated unemployment.  This program also allows employees to receive the $600/week in additional unemployment funded by the federal government. For more information on work sharing as well as a video and an FAQ please visit this link.

In order to help families across Wisconsin we need to speak with employers and workers across the state.  You can join our statewide outreach team by joining us for a weekly Zoom call every Thursday at 4:00 PM.  For more information and to RSVP please visit the following link.  You MUST RSVP in order to attend.

If you know of 5-10 people who might be interested in learning more about this program I would be happy to set up a small town hall over Zoom.  Please reply to this email and pick a date/time for the town hall and we can get it set up.

Coffee with your Northeast WI Co-op: Covid-19 Relief, Saturday, May 9th, 10am

Grab your beverage of choice, comfy chair, and join our Citizen Action Co-op for coffee from the comfort of your own home!

Connect with other progressives and learn what Citizen Action is up to as we navigate this challenging time until we can meet at our favorite coffee shop again.

Co-op Organizer Noah Reif will share Citizen Action’s response to COVID-19 and how we can make organize on a local level to this extremely challenging time. If you are involved with another org and COVID-19 relief, feel empowered to share the work you are engaged in so we can support one another. The zoom link will be sent once you RSVP.

RSVP Here

Join us for Northwestern Co-op Virtual Coffee with Your Co-op! May 11, 2020 @ 10:00am 

Brew your favorite caffeinated (or not!) beverage and join your Northwestern Wisconsin Organizer, Breana, as she talks about Citizen Action’s work during the COVID-19 Pandemic and it’s rapid response for affordable and attainable healthcare as well as hearing about what members would like to work on during this time. This would be a great time for brainstorming and strategy building. The Zoom link will be provided via email after you register here for the event! See you then!

Health Care for All Co-Op Covid 19 Town Hall

This past Wednesday, the Co-Op sponsored a Town Hall to talk about how this is the time to push for change and how the pandemic has laid bare the inadequacies of our current healthcare system.

They talked about Citizen Action’s Theory of Change, addressing the 3 Faces of power. And framed the Covid 19 issue within that theory.

We have FIVE ways to be involved right now.

  1. Lobby around Who Cares for us (see above)
  2. Lobby the your Federal Representatives

Reach out to your House Representatives and call on them to co-sponsor the Medicare Crisis Program.

If you need a reminder, here an updated summary of the bill .

Take Action Here

  1. Phone Bank for Tricia Zunker, CD 7 Congressional candidate

Email Karen.Kirsch@citizenactionwi.org

  1. Join the healthcare co-op and officially support us
  2. Listen to our weekly podcast to stay up to date on what is next (see above).

Join Us for a Zoom Call Addressing Climate & Equity through our Food System

Join our Citizen Action Climate Justice team for a panel discussion on May 21th, at 6:00 PM. The Zoom call will inform citizens and the City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity, which has been charged with addressing long standing economic inequities in Milwaukee and what changes we need to be made to address climate change and inequality.

Panel members will help us explore:

  • How does our food system promote climate change?
  • How do we change our food system to mitigate climate change?
  • What are the food inequities in Milwaukee?
  • How do racial and economic inequalities affect health and access to healthy food?
  • What can be done to address food insecurity and promote access to healthy food in Milwaukee?

Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Take Our Survey: Citizen Action of Wisconsin is leading a people powered COVID19 relief effort

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is crafting a response to the COVID19 crisis that will help put money in people’s pockets, reduce unemployment, reduce utility costs, help small businesses, expand healthcare, fight climate change and protect Wisconsin’s green business sectors.

Some of our programs might be able to help you right now!  Please fill out this survey to find out if our programs can help you.  Please feel free to share this survey with anyone struggling during this time.  We would like to get as many people as possible to fill out this survey.

Facebook post of the week

Citizen Action Weekly: Get Out The Vote for Tricia Zunker

Citizen Action Weekly: Get Out The Vote for Tricia Zunker

Friday, May 1st

Vote from Home for the May 12th Special Election! 

Request your absentee ballot today! You have until Thursday, May 7th to request your absentee ballot online.

Plan ahead for August 11th Primary Election and request your absentee ballot today.

Contact your local leaders and encourage them to plan for safe voting options for voters this August and November, including mailing absentee ballot applications to all voters in your community, similar to what passed in the City of Milwaukee last week. See article about Milwaukee’s plan.

Make Phone Calls from home for Tricia Zunker for Congress
Volunteer virtual phone bank May 4th, 4pm 

Tricia Zunker, Citizen Action NCWI Member is currently running for House of Representatives in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District! Her special election is on May 12th so we are making a push for our volunteers to make calls to her district encouraging them to vote for Tricia as well as safe practices of how to vote during a pandemic.

Join us on Monday, May 4th, 4pm, as we train you on phone banking, how to talk to voters, and answer any questions regarding Tricia’s platform!

We have staff and volunteers all over the State that are helping to make these calls, and they could be the difference that it takes for us to win!! There are still many people that need help understanding the process to vote absentee.

Sign up here.

Co-op member Marcelia Nicholson became the first Latina and African-American woman elected Chair of the Milwaukee County Board. 

Citizen Action co-op member and Milwaukee County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson will lead the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors as the new Chair. She was elected last Friday and is the first Latina and African American woman to lead the Board. She is also the third woman to hold the position.

“I thank my colleagues for their support, and I pledge to make the 2020-22 term one that is marked by a renewed spirit of collaboration… I pledge to do my best to empower this body to develop solutions to our most challenging problems and to serve the people of Milwaukee County with honor and integrity.” – Marcelia Nicholson

Supervisor Nicholson is a huge supporter of Citizen Action’s current City/County climate and equity campaign and has led efforts to successfully pass a $15 County living wage ordinance and adopting a County racial equity ordinance.

Nicholson is a former MPS educator and also a current leader in the Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Union in Milwaukee.

Congratulations Marcelia! We look forward to working closely with you.

Co-op Member, Kristina Shelton, elected VP of Green Bay School Board

Citizen Action Northeast Co-op member Kristina Shelton was elected vice president of the Green Bay School Board by a vote of 6-1! Shelton is serving out her first full term as a school board member and has demonstrated strong progressive leadership throughout her tenure.

From her work to ban Native Mascots from the Green Bay School District to her collaboration with the district wellness committee to update policy to ensure equity of access to physical activity from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Even during the time of shelter-in-place, she has continued her work advocating for progressive policies and dedicating her time to the families she represents. Kristina was a leading voice in the recent efforts to pass the most comprehensive clean energy at a district level in the state. She has also volunteered her time passing out free meals to district children who would otherwise miss meals due to schools being closed for the remainder of the academic year.

“I’m committed to moving forward with each of you. If we can treat each other well, listen, experiment, hold each other accountable, and fight together, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.” – Kristina Shelton, Vice President of the Green Bay School Board

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is proud of Kristina and all of our progressive elected officials who serve their communities.

Join us for Northwestern Co-op Virtual Coffee with Your Co-op! May 11, 2020 @ 10:00am 

Brew your favorite caffeinated (or not!) beverage and join your Northwestern Wisconsin Organizer, Breana, as she talks about Citizen Action’s work during the COVID-19 Pandemic and it’s rapid response for affordable and attainable healthcare as well as hearing about what members would like to work on during this time. This would be a great time for brainstorming and strategy building. The Zoom link will be provided via email after you register here for the event! See you then!

Coffee with the Northeastern Co-op: Social Distancing Edition, Saturday, May 2nd, 9:30 AM – 11 AM

Grab your beverage of choice, comfy chair, and join our Citizen Action Northeastern Co-op for coffee from the comfort of your own home! Connect with other progressives from northeastern Wisconsin  and learn what Citizen Action is up to as we navigate this challenging time until we can meet at our favorite coffee shop again.

Co-op organizer Noah Reif will share Citizen Action’s response to COVID-19 and how we can all practice community care. RSVP to noah.reif@citizenactionwi.org to have the Zoom link sent to you.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is leading a people powered COVID19 relief effort

Citizen Action of Wisconsin  has  been crafting a response to the COVID19 crisis that will help put money in people’s pockets, reduce unemployment, reduce utility costs, help small businesses, expand healthcare, fight climate change and protect Wisconsin’s green business sectors. You can learn more about the relief package we are working on by viewing this PowerPoint.

Some of our programs might be able to help you right now!  Please fill out this survey to find out if our programs can help you.  Please feel free to share this survey with anyone struggling during this time.  We would like to get as many people as possible to fill out this survey.  If someone can be helped by any of these programs Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be reaching out to them directly and getting them the help they need so share this survey far and wide!

Citizen Action in the News

Citizen Action Executive Director Robert Kraig discussed how to move the national Democratic Party left during the pandemic through organizing. Listen here.

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig joined a panel of scholars from UW-Madison, Michigan State, and Marquette, for a 90 minute discussion of communication in the battleground states. Listen here.

“COVID-19 Hot Zone in Brown County” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We review the latest Wisconsin coronavirus news, including the GOP lawsuit seeking to overturn the Governor’s Stay at Home order. Do the Republicans really have a case? The panel welcomes Up North News reporter Jonathon Sadowski to dig into the significant outbreak of COVID-19 in Brown County meat plants, the lax response from the corporate owners and county health officials, and Trump’s order to reopen infected packing plants nationwide. Supreme Court justice Dan Kelly announces he will unrecuse himself on the voter file purge case, and rule despite being fired by the voters. We also encourage everyone to request their absentee ballots for the primary and general elections, and if you live in the district the May 12th special election in the 7th Congressional District.

“Update: JBS in Green Bay announced it is resuming testing of its workers after we recorded this episode.”

Listen Now – Episode#440
Download MP3
Press Clips

Facebook post of the week

Citizen Action Weekly: Citizen Action Organizes Health Professionals To Speak Out Against Social Distancing Protests

Citizen Action Weekly: Citizen Action Organizes Health Professionals To Speak Out Against Social Distancing Protests

Friday, April 24th

Citizen Action Organizes Health Professionals To Speak Out Against Social Distancing Protests

In video statements recorded this morning, health professionals explain why the the Governor’s Safer at Home order is an essential measure for containing COVID-19, creating conditions to gradually and safely reopen the economy 

This morning, Friday, April 24th, before scheduled State Capitol protests against Wisconsin’s most effective COVID-19 containment measure, public health professionals taped brief video interviews to discuss the situation. These dedicated caregivers hope by offering this testimony to counteract the disinformation being spread through social media and irresponsible national media outlets to mobilize opposition to social distancing. The health professionals explained why maintaining social distancing is essential for saving lives, protecting front line caregivers and other essential workers, and slowing the virus enough to safely reopen the economy.

Elizabeth Riley: Elizabeth is a nurse who recently returned to Wisconsin after spending several weeks working in a Brooklyn, NYC Intensive Care Unit. She describes the horror of the ICU, the horrible and lonely deaths of her patients, and her dread that Wisconsin could become like New York City if the Safer At Home order were lifted.

Watch Video

Jeff Weber: Jeff is the President of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. He worries about Wisconsin hospitals’ capacity being overrun with a surge of COVID-19 cases resulting from these protests and premature lifting of the Safer At Home order. He states we need two weeks of sustained decline in new cases before lifting the order.

Watch Video

Lynn Carey: Lynn is a nurse practitioner, educator, and PhD as well as a double lung transplant recipient. Her advice for beating this virus: “stay home!”

Watch Video

Victoria Gutierrez: Victoria is a frontline nurse in Madison. She is concerned that the capitol protest will cause an increase in COVID-19 cases and put strain on the already short supply of personal protective gear used by nurses.

Watch Video

Mary Milton: Mary is a frontline nurse in Milwaukee. She monitors the protective gear used by her hospital’s workers. She says she has “never seen such suffering” as that of her COVID-19 patients.

Watch Video

Emily Siegrist: Emily is a nurse and nurse educator from the Milwaukee area. She is worried about the lack of support for frontline health care professionals and that protesters today will not take protective measures.

Watch Video

“Front line health professionals, many of whom are risking their own health treating the victims of COVID-19, are urging the people of Wisconsin to maintain social distancing as the best way to contain this deadly pandemic,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “If we are going to pull together and meet this challenge, we need to start listening to the scientists and the front-line caregivers, not the cynical politicians and billionaires seeking to exploit the crisis for their own purposes.”

For more detail on Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s COVID-19 policy proposals, see our March news release and memo to the Governor, and a recent column.

The State of Wisconsin’s unique “Work Sharing” program can help people keep their jobs and healthcare, reduce unemployment and offer relief to small businesses during the COVID19 outbreak.

One of the major parts of Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s people power COVID19 relief program takes advantage of Wisconsin’s unique “work sharing” program. This program allows employers to opt into a program so they can offer unemployment benefits to employees who have their hours cut without paying more in unemployment insurance. This program will compensate employees, allow them to keep their jobs, keep their health insurance AND be eligible for the federal unemployment benefit of $600 in addition to unemployment and pay for hours worked.

More information about the program, an FAQ, and a video explaining the program can be found here.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is working to get as many employers as possible signed up for this program as possible to prevent layoffs and guarantee people have a job to return to while still being able to pay their bills through this crisis. If you know any business owners or employees who could benefit for this program please direct them to this link 

TAKE ACTION: Contact Governor Evers and the State Legislature in Support of Citizen Action’s COVID-19 Response Platform

Citizen Action members are writing, calling, emailing, tweeting, and messaging our elected officials asking for free Covid-19 testing and treatment for all Wisconsinites. Get started HERE

Governor Evers and state officials moved decisively to mandate social distancing and Stay at Home, so we have a much better chance of slowing the pandemic and preventing our hospitals from being overwhelmed.

The next critical thing Wisconsin can do is universal COVID-19 testing and treatment. This is the only way to identify everyone who has been infected, and interrupt the deadly chains of disease transmission. We need to start by testing and treating everyone with symptoms, and then test community-wide to identify seemingly healthy people spreading the infection.

First, we must make cost-free all medical follow up and treatment that results from seeking a test, both for COVID-19 and any other urgent medical issues that are discovered. Second, we must make it crystal clear to the public that they will receive no medical bills. This is the only way to assure that hard pressed working and middle class Wisconsinites are not deterred from testing and treatment by ruinous costs.

Citizen Action has a commonsense COVID-19 health care plan.

1) Use emergency powers granted by the federal government to deploy BadgerCare to guarantee that everyone has health coverage during the pandemic. These powers include removing all barriers to quick enrollment, cost sharing, and work requirements, suspension of cancellation, eliminating cost sharing and work requirements, and allowing medical providers to presume that uninsured people are eligible.

2) Immediately expand BadgerCare by accepting the Medicaid Expansion authorized by the Affordable Care Act. This would both cover at least 75,000 more people, and free up $340 million that can be immediately deployed in the fight to contain COVID-19, including Wisconsin getting its fair share of testing kits and critical medical supplies.

3) Mandate that health insurance plans pay fully for all treatment resulting from seeking medical attention for COVID-19. So far, Wisconsin has only recommended that insurers suspend copays and deductibles. If this creates too much of a burden on health insurers, Wisconsin can suspend hospital price gouging by requiring them to accept Medicare rates for all treatment that results from a COVID-19 test.

Send an email today to Governor Evers and state legislators. 

Driftless co-op COVID19 relief planning town halls

The Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op is hosting a series of planning town halls to craft a relief effort during Wisconsin’s COVID19 outbreak. We are building a plan to address concerns around healthcare, utilities, mortgage/rent payments, and small business relief. We would like to hear from you as we build these plans. Please RSVP to join one of these upcoming town halls co hosted by Driftless co-op members.3

Lewis Kuhlman COVID19 relief planning town hall 4-28, 6:00 to 7:00 (shared with La Crosse DSA members) More Information.
Joni Anderson COVID19 relief planning town hall 4-29, 3:00 to 4:00 More information.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is leading a people powered COVID19 relief effort

Citizen Action of Wisconsin  has  been crafting a response to the COVID19 crisis that will help put money in people’s pockets, reduce unemployment, reduce utility costs, help small businesses, expand healthcare, fight climate change and protect Wisconsin’s green business sectors. You can learn more about the relief package we are working on by viewing this PowerPoint.

Some of our programs might be able to help you right now!  Please use fill out this survey to find out if our programs can help you.  Please feel free to share this survey with anyone struggling during this time.

Help Elect Tricia Zunker for Congress, Tuesday, May 12th

If you live in CD 7 you should apply today for your absentee ballot!

The 2020 election fight continues in the 7th Congressional District where Citizen Action co-op member Tricia Zunker, is running to replace Sean Duffy. The election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12th.

We need your help making calls! Please contact your regional co-op organizer to get involved from home.

Candidate town hall with Co-op member and Congressional candidate Dr. Mark Neumann

This past week the Driftless co-op hosted a candidate town hall with Dr. Mark Neumann who is running for Congress in Wisconsin’s 3rd congressional district.  Topics included the need for single payer healthcare, Israel and Palestine, environmental concerns, how to work with those with a different political viewpoint and the need for radical empathy in American Politics.  You can view a recording of the town hall at this link.  Citizen Action will be reaching out to Congressman Ron Kind, Mark’s primary opponent to offer the opportunity for a town hall as well.

Citizen Action in the News

Citizen Action Director Robert Kraig discussed the social distancing protests, and the COVID-19 situation in Wisconsin for an hour on the Earl Ingram Radio Show. Listen here.

Two Citizen Action members were highlighted for their role in the Milwaukee City-County Climate & Economic Equity Taskforce in the Shepherd Express. The task force is the centerpiece of Citizen Action’s strategy to initiate a just and racially equitable climate transition in Southeast Wisconsin.

Citizen Action Director Robert Kraig discussed why conservatives are ideologically blind on COVID-19, and how the Biden campaign can be made more progressive, for an hour on the Jeff Santos Radio show. Listen here.

“Capitol COVID crisis” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

The GOP war on public health continues in Wisconsin with Republican legislative leaders appealing to the right-wing Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn the Governor’s stay at home order and inciting dangerous protests at the state capitol scheduled for Friday. We welcome attorney Mark Thomsen, who specializes in medical malpractice and nursing home neglect, to discuss Speaker Vos’s repugnant amendment to COVID-19 relief legislation which could make it impossible to sue for any kind of nursing home abuse. The amendment was shamefully introduced on behalf of the WI Hospital Association, WI Medical Society, and WI Assisted Living Association. We close with a look at this fall’s state legislative elections and why they are so important to the healthy and prosperity of Wisconsin.

Listen Now – Episode #439
Download MP3
Press Clips

Facebook post of the week

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, April 17th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, April 17th

Friday, April 17th

Join Citizen Action for our event “Collective Care in the Time of COVID”

Citizen Action has partnered with People’s Action to host an online live event this Saturday, April 18th, at 2:30pm called Collective Care in the Time of COVID.

Individual action and social distancing–while critical–aren’t enough to solve this crisis. During this event, we’ll discuss and celebrate the ways we’re all taking care of each other through the pandemic. Hear from experts about how we got here and discuss what we can do to not only get through, but build a better future. At the end, we’ll collectively take action to demand a Health Care Emergency Guarantee from Congress that includes free testing, treatment, and vaccines for all!

Northwest Wisconsin co-op member Dr. Rita Simon will be a featured speaker, as will Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. Dr. El-Sayed is a physician, epidemiologist, public health expert, and Political Contributor at CNN. He is also the author of the book Healing Politics, calling for a politics of empathy to cure our epidemic of insecurity, and host of the podcast “America Dissected.”

Register for the event here!

State Legislative Action on COVID-19 Grossly Inadequate

Without free testing and treatment, Wisconsin will not slow down the transmission of the virus, or allow safe reopening of economy 

With the slow and uncoordinated federal response to the coronavirus pandemic paralyzing the country, the burden of leadership has fallen on state governments. Many states are stepping up to the task, and filling in as many gaps which should have been covered by the federal government as possible.

But legislative Republicans are blocking the emergency actions Wisconsin must take to slow the pandemic. This leadership malpractice will cost lives, and likely increase already appalling racial disparities in who dies during the pandemic. It will also move back the timeline for when Wisconites can safely go back to work, setting up a terrible choice between lives and economic livelihoods.

Of the many critical actions needed from the state government, Citizen Action of Wisconsin has focused on the need for free COVID-19 testing and treatment. Unless we remove the cost barriers to identify and treat the virus, we will never do the level of contact tracing and virus isolation that is needed to save lives and safely reopen the economy.

The Republicans in the Legislature this week blocked the advances towards free testing and treatment proposed by Governor Evers. The plan that passed the Assembly on Tuesday and the Senate on Wednesday does not include a mandate of free COVID-19 treatment for private health plans, which can average $10,000 to $20,000 dollars, more if the patient needs intensive care. It also fails to give the Governor the flexibility to fully leverage BadgerCare to expand health coverage during the emergency to uninsured Wisconsinites. In addition, the plan does not limit the cancellation of health coverage during the pandemic, which will increase the ranks of the uninsured. It also leaves in place insurance deductibles for testing, creating a dangerous barrier to finding out who in Wisconsin is infected.

In a pandemic, the fear of financially crippling medical bills is a grave risk to the entire community because it discourages people from seeking care. A survey by Citizen Action and the Healthcare Value Hub found that nearly half of Wisconsinites have gone without needed medical care because of fear of the cost in the last year. A national study by the Commonwealth Fund found that 68% of Americans consider copays and deductibles important in determining whether or not they will seek COVID 19 treatment.

The overwhelming cost of health care, which is dangerous in normal times, is absolutely deadly during a pandemic because it is a barrier to universal testing and treatment needed to contain and isolate the virus. This is the only way to identify everyone who has been infected, and interrupt the deadly chains of disease transmission. The disparity in access to health care is one of the drivers of the appalling racial disparities in who is contracting the virus and who is dying.

There is an overwhelming consensus among public health experts that we must have a massive testing and treatment program to contain this virus and to begin to reopen the economy. We need to start by testing and treating everyone with symptoms, and do contact tracing to isolate those who are infected. This must include testing community-wide to identify seemingly healthy people spreading the virus.

“In a major crisis when lives and livelihoods are at stake, it is critical that elected leaders step up to the scale of the challenge, said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “It is deeply disturbing that Wisconsin Republicans have decided to hamstring Governor Evers, and depend on a federal administration which has already shown itself unable to rise to the task.”  We need immediate emergency health care and economic policies which address the gravity of the situation, Kraig continued. “The COVID-19 pandemic focuses us on the reality that we are all interconnected, and that leaving people out of our healthcare system risks the lives of everyone in the community,”

For more detail on Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s COVID-19 policy proposals, see our March news release and memo to the Governor, and a column in early April.

Coffee with your co-op Virtual, Saturday, April 18th, 9:30 AM 

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and join us to stay connected to your fellow Northeast WI Co-op members and supporters during social distancing. We want to hear how everyone is holding up as well as get your reflections on the April 7th election and other co-op news.

Optional: At the end of the call, steering committee member Renee will lead a mindfulness exercise for anyone interested in incorporating some healing practices into their activism.

Join tomorrow, Saturday, April 18th, 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Zoom link to join: https://zoom.us/meeting/98077998912

Citizen Action in the News

The Green Bay Press Gazette has a story about the victories of progressive women challengers in local races against entrenched incumbents, including several Citizen Action members. The story mentions the decisive role Citizen Action played in one of the key races. If you live in Greater Green Bay or the Fox Valley, you can get involved in Citizen Actions Northeast Wisconsin Organizing Co-op by contacting organizer Noah Reif noah.reif@citizenactionwi.org

Citizen Action’s Director Robert Kraig did sat down for a long video interview with Up North News on why Bernie Sanders came up short in the Democratic Presidential Primary, what it means for winning Wisconsin in November, and how progressives can continue to advance the bold agenda Sanders and Warren ran on.

Wisconsin Health News reported on Citizen Action’s critique of the state coronavirus relief package that passed this week without guaranteeing free testing and treatment for COVID-19

Driftless co-op COVID19 relief planning town halls

The Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op is hosting a series of planning town halls to craft a relief effort during Wisconsin’s COVID19 outbreak. We are building a plan to address concerns around healthcare, utilities, mortgage/rent payments, and small business relief. We would like to hear from you as we build these plans. Please RSVP to join one of these upcoming town halls co hosted by Driftless co-op members.3

Amy Dummer COVID19 relief planning town hall, 4-21, 7:00 to 8:00 More info.

Lewis Kuhlman COVID19 relief planning town hall 4-28, 6:00 to 7:00 (shared with La Crosse DSA members) More info.

Joni Anderson COVID19 relief planning town hall 4-29, 3:00 to 4:00 More info.

Town Hall with congressional candidate Mark Neumann

Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be hosting a virtual town hall with congressional candidate, and Citizen Action member, Mark Neumann on Monday April 20th from 6:00 to 8:00. Mark is running a primary challenge against Ron Kind in Wisconsin’s 3rd congressional seat. This event will be hosted on Zoom. Please RSVP to receive the Zoom link. If you would like to submit a question for Mark please email Ben Wilson at ben.wilson@citizenactionwi.org with your questions.

RSVP link: https://secure.everyaction.com/qHgH3IIr3USCFDy0GWialA2

Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Members Win Big All Across Wisconsin!!

The results of Tuesday, April 7th election were announced this Monday evening and 29 Citizen Action members won elections to office this week Congratulations!

  • Katie Rosenberg, Mayor of Wausau
  • Dennis McBride, Mayor of Wauwatosa
  • JoCasta Zamarripa, Milwaukee City Council, District 8
  • Liz Sumner, Milwaukee County Board, District 1
  • Marcelia Nicholson, Milwaukee County Board, District 5
  • Steve Shea, Milwaukee County Board, District 8
  • Supreme Moore, Milwaukee County Board, District 10
  • Joseph J. Czarnezki, Milwaukee County Board, District 11
  • Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, Milwaukee County Board, District 12
  • Tom Kilian, Wausau City Council, District 3
  • Sarah Watson, Wausau City Council, District 8
  • Robert Hanson, Greenfield School Board
  • Ka Lo, Marathon County Board, District 5 & Wausau School Board
  • Yee Leng Xiong, Marathon County Board, District 19, Village of Weston Board of Trustees, and DC Everest School Board
  • Jonathan Fisher, Marathon County Board, District 38
  • Steven Schreier, Oneida County Board, District 4
  • Sandy Fischer, Langlade County Board, District 2
  • Lindsay Dorff, Brown County Board, District 4
  • Megan Borchardt, Brown County Board, District 8
  • Cassandra Erickson Brown County Board, District 19
  • Barbara Dorff, Green Bay City Council, District 1
  • Randy Scannel Green Bay City Council, District 7
  • Emily Voight, Calumet County Board,  District 3
  • Cathy Thompson, Outagamie County Board, District 1
  • Zoe Roberts,Eau Claire County Board, District 27
  • Donald Mowry, Eau Claire County Board, District 9
  • James Dunning, Eau Claire County Board, District 20
  • Connie Russell, Eau Claire County Board, District 4
  • Monica Kruse, LaCrosse County Board, District 15

Help Elect Tricia Zunker for Congress, Tuesday, May 12th

The 2020 election fight continues in the 7th Congressional District where Citizen Action co-op member Tricia Zunker, is running to replace Sean Duffy, who quit prematurely, citing family needs, but then took a job on K Street immediately after leaving Northern WI without representation. The election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12th.

We need your help making calls! Please contact your regional co-op organizer to get involved from home.

If you live in CD 7 you should apply today for your absentee ballot!

For anyone in need of a Tricia Zunker yard sign, you can one pick up from my Tricia’s home in Wausau. Please send Tricia a message on facebook and she will provide her address and make sure signs are left out for you. You can also contact your local Democratic Party office to see if they can deliver signs.

Can you help us work to protect the vital renewable energy sector in our area? How solar can protect jobs and support local businesses!

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has been working to urge financial institutions to make it easier for working Wisconsinites to upgrade their homes, and how we have the chance to support a critical source of jobs during this crisis: solar installers. Once the fastest growing job in the nation, we want to support them to protect our economy while fighting for the planet, which is why we are looking into a “Group Buy” to help people navigate the math of energy efficiency and if this moment can help their pocketbook, workers, small businesses and the plant.

Learn more!

“What leadership looks like in a pandemic” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast    

We welcome State Representatives Marisabel Cabrera and Jonathan Brostoff to discuss their courageous votes against the very weak COVID-19 relief that clear the Legislature this week. Republicans in the Legislature blocked efforts to include free testing and treatment, a vital step we must take to contain the pandemic, address racial inequality, and open up the economy. The inadequate legislation was signed by Gov. Evers, who had tried to secure a mandate that health insurance companies not charge co-pays or co-insurance fees for COVID 19 treatment. The plan also fails to limit cancellation of health coverage during the pandemic, which will increase the ranks of the uninsured. It also leaves in place insurance deductibles for testing, creating a dangerous barrier to finding out who in Wisconsin is infected.

Listen Now – Episode #438
Download MP3
Press Clips

Citizen Action COVID-19 Action Center.

Facebook post of the week

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, April 10th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, April 10th

Friday, April 10th

Thanks to All the Volunteers in Citizen Action’s Spring Election Program

The April 7th election was historically messed up and undemocratic!

However, the effort of all the volunteers who made thousands of phone calls in the middle of the pandemic is the best of American democracy.

Thanks to the volunteers and Citizen Action staff we were able make over 22,000 phone calls in support of Jill Karofsky and knock nearly 4,000 doors this spring.

We will need this effort and so much more this year to defeat President Trump and elect more progressive leaders to the State Legislature.

Thank you to the Citizen Action members who ran for office this spring election. We wish you the best on Monday, April 13th when the results are announced.

  • Chris Larson, Milwaukee County Executive
  • Katie Rosenberg, Mayor of Wausau
  • Dennis McBride, Mayor of Wauwatosa
  • JoCasta Zamarripa, Milwaukee City Council, District 8
  • Liz Sumner, Milwaukee County Board, District 1
  • Joseph J. Czarnezki, Milwaukee County Board, District 11
  • Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, Milwaukee County Board, District 12
  • Tom Kilian, Wausau City Council, District 3
  • Sarah Watson, Wausau City Council, District 8
  • Ka Lo, Marathon County Board, District 5 & Wausau School Board
  • Yee Leng Xiong, Marathon County Board, District 19, Village of Weston Board of Trustees, and DC Everest School Board
  • Jonathan Fisher, Marathon County Board, District 38
  • Mark Martello, Tomahawk School Board
  • Steven Schreier, Oneida County Board, District 4
  • Sandy Fischer, Langlade County Board, District 2
  • Lindsay Dorff, Brown County Board, District 4
  • Megan Borchardt, Brown County Board, District 8
  • Cassandra Erickson Brown County Board, District 19
  • Barbara Dorff, Green Bay City Council, District 1
  • Randy Scannel Green Bay City Council, District 7
  • Emily Voight, Calumet County Board,  District 3
  • Zoe Roberts,Eau Claire County Board, District 27
  • Donald Mowry, Eau Claire County Board, District 9
  • James Dunning, Eau Claire County Board, District 20
  • Connie Russell, Eau Claire County Board, District 4

Help Elect Tricia Zunker for Congress, Tuesday, May 12th

The 2020 election fight continues immediately in the 7th Congressional District where Citizen Action co-op member Tricia Zunker is running to replace Sean Duffy. The election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12th.

We need your help making calls! Please contact your regional co-op organizer to get involved from home.

If you live in CD 7 you should apply today for your absentee ballot!

For anyone in need of a Tricia Zunker yard sign, you can one pick up from my Tricia’s home in Wausau. Please send Tricia a message on facebook and she will provide her address and make sure signs are left out for you.

TAKE ACTION: COVID-19 Reponse

The need to organize has never been more urgent than in this great national emergency.

The government only acts in the common interest when average people organize to make our collective voices impossible to ignore. Great leadership is not a matter of chance, it is called forth by active and engaged citizens working together.

This Action Center will be a clearinghouse for Citizen Action members and friends to focus our voices on enacting necessary policies to the scale of the crisis.

Citizen Action’s COVID-19 demands of elected leaders are guided by these principles.

  1. With lives hanging in the balance, we don’t have the luxury of dwelling on past mistakes. There will be a future time for honest accounting.
  2. We must suspend normal politics, and do absolutely everything possible to save the maximum number of human lives.
  3. We must fight for true equity. We cannot allow a replay of Hurricane Katrina on a bigger scale, where race and class often decided who lived and who died.
  4. We must put aside outdated limits on what is possible, and act with the radical boldness of Americans in past national emergencies such as the Great Depression and both World Wars.
  5. Crisis mitigation is our first priority, but we must not waste the opportunity to sow the seeds of a more just and equitable America that is resilient to future disasters.

Health Care Policies to Contain the Pandemic

The Challenge

COVID-19 has spread invisibly across the entire population. To stop the contagion we must test and treat everyone with symptoms, and then once there is sufficient testing capacity, community-wide, identifying seemingly healthy people spreading the infection.

The Barrier

The high cost of care in our profit-crazed medical system is a major barrier to containing the pandemic. A Citizen Action/Health Value Hub survey of 1,000 Wisconsinites found that in the past year nearly half had avoided necessary medical care due to cost.

The Citizen Action Plan

Citizen Action has developed a plan for Wisconsin to guarantee universal free testing and treatment.

1) Use emergency powers granted by the federal government to deploy BadgerCare to guarantee that everyone has health coverage during the pandemic.

2) Immediately expand BadgerCare by accepting the Medicaid Expansion authorized by the Affordable Care Act. (This covers at least 75,000 more people, and frees up $340 million that can be immediately put into the COVID-19 fight).

3) Mandate that health insurance plans pay for all treatment resulting from seeking medical attention for COVID-19, including pre-existing which make the virus more dangerous.

Action Needed

We need you to contact Governor Evers, your State Senator, and your State Representative, and urge them to make free testing and treatment for COVID-19 part of the relief bill now being drafted. This Free treatment must include care for any pre-existing conditions that are contributing to the intensity of the COVID-19 symptoms.

  1. Email Governor and Legislators
  2. Call the Governor and Your State Legislator

Governors #1-608-266-1212
Leg Hotline # 1-800-362-9472

Citizen Action’s Memo to Governor Evers on Free Testing and Treatment
Listen to Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig discuss our agenda on the Earl Ingram Show.

Actions to Address the Economic Fallout of COVID-19

The Challenge

Now that the coronavirus is spreading invisibly through the population, the best available containment strategy is drastically curtailing social interactions, putting the economy into what some economists term a “medically induced coma.” This has led to the largest surge in unemployment ever measured, faster than even during the Great Depression!

The only way to prevent economic ruin for millions of average people and small businesses is bold unprecedented government action.

The Barrier

Just as happened during the Wall Street financial meltdown of 2008-2009, business as usual politics is directing a lion’s share of the resources to rescuing big corporations, rather than working and middle class Americans, or small businesses.

The federal government is already injecting more money into the American economy than ever in American history, and there will be many more federal and state relief bills. This is a once in a lifetime moment, and perhaps our only opportunity, to make the structural reforms needed to prevent a climate genocide and to radically reduce economic and racial inequality.

Citizen Action’s Proposals

We are rapidly developing a series of policies which will help average people weather this storm while also building towards an equitable and sustainable economy.

Our first proposal is to waive all utility bills for those out-of-work during Wisconsin’s stay-at-home rule. State regulators have already directed most Wisconsin utilities to “stop utility disconnection for nonpayment for all customers” during the COVID-19 emergency. This is a good start, but deferring payments simply pushes the problem down the road by building up debt hard-pressed homeowners and renters may never be able to repay.

If we have to tighten our belt, we believe giant corporations should have to do so too. Citizen Action would support using state money to pay the utilities back, if they agree to stop dragging their feet on the needed climate transition by making major and accountable investments in conservation and renewable energy that dramatically increases the number of family supporting jobs.

Action Needed

Sign Citizen Actions Petition demanding the state stop utilities from charging Wisconsin’s jobless workers during the crisis!  Once you sign, you will be offered additional action opportunities.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Holds Virtual Town Hall With Members From All Across the State

Members of the various Citizen Action of Wisconsin Organizing Co-ops from around the State, joined together in a Virtual Town Hall, organized by Co-op Development Director, Kevin Kane. With very little notice, 70 people convened virtually via Zoom conferencing. Citizen Action’s Organizers and members of the management team also joined in the call. The meeting started with an address from Executive Director Robert Kraig, about the political and personal consequences of the Coronavirus, and what our next steps could be as an organization and as individuals.

Kevin Kane then addressed which issues we could still organize around, outside of our ongoing electoral work. The work that we could continue to explore includes the continued work of achieving Healthcare For All, Helping members and allies find ways to make their homes more green, and thereby creating more green (and preferably Union)  jobs, continuing to utilize a race class narrative in our communications and work, and we explored issues that have arisen as a result of the pandemic, such as mortgage relief.

Then, we were able to breakout into smaller groups, and really dig into what matters most to our members. Not surprisingly, Healthcare was at the top of the list of issues, as the pandemic truly illustrates the dire need for Healthcare reform. A close second was continuing to work across the State to help homeowners increase their use of renewable energy, like solar. There is a lot of research that can be done on the front end for folks to upgrade their homes, and this can be done during the pandemic, and acted upon once the stay in place orders are lifted.

One thing is for sure…These times require us to reinvent the way to organize, and this first meeting proves that we are ready and able to continue organizing during these unprecedented times. Stay tuned for future Virtual Town Halls!

“Shamocracy” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

In this week’s episode we dig into the scandalous pandemic primary forced on Wisconsin voters by a conservative establishment that will stop at nothing to win. The panel also talks about the double gut punch Wisconsin progressives felt with the exodus of Bernie Sanders from the presidential contest. We close with a discussion of the next big big battle in Madison, the fight for a meaningful state response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Citizen Action COVID-19 Action Center

Listen Now – Episode #437
Download MP3
Press Clips

Facebook post of the week

Citizen Action Weekly: Mail in your absentee ballot!

Friday, April 3rd

Mail In Your Absentee Ballot
or Vote Tuesday, April 7th!

If you have an absentee ballot, mail it in today!

All absentee ballots must be received by April 13th.

Watch Don’t lick your ballot envelope video!

Unfortunately, it appears we are headed for an election on April 7th in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you don’t have an absentee ballot and are planning on voting on Tuesday we urge you to be safe and follow the latest CDC guidelines for being in public places.

Vote Jill Karofsky for Wisconsin Supreme Court.

In the critical Wisconsin Supreme Court race, Citizen Action of Wisconsin is strongly endorsing Jill Karofsky.

Jill Karofsky will be an independent judge who will fairly interpret and apply the law for everyone, regardless of their race, their income, or where they live. Karofsky’s judicial integrity is in sharp contrast to the current Supreme Court that regularly twists the law to rubber stamp the priorities of a single political party, and caters its decisions to the interests of the rich, the powerful, and the well connected.

Jill Karofsky will make excellent and impartial Wisconsin Supreme Court justices who give every case a fair hearing and render decisions based on rigorous legal interpretation not ideology. She will be a breath of fresh air on a Supreme Court where the majority regularly puts politics and ideology ahead of the fair interpretation of the law.

Volunteer with Citizen Action to make calls for Jill Karofsky

Citizen Action of Wisconsin field staff and co-op organizers have been leading a phone banking effort in support of our endorsed Supreme Court candidate, Jill Karofsky.  Last weekend the co-op organizers rolled this program out to co-op member volunteers. The 90 minute training was designed to explain the Race, Class Narrative messaging we are using in the campaign and give Citizen Action of Wisconsin members a chance to get involved this election.

Please use this link to watch the Zoom training.

If you want to get involved with phone banking from home please reach out to your local co-op organizer.

Other Citizen Action April 7th Endorsements

Milwaukee Area Organizing Co-op

Chris Larson, Milwaukee County Executive

Senator Larson, who is a Citizen Action co-op member, is prepared to implement bold reform of county government. Chris Larson would be the first progressive Milwaukee County Executive in modern history. Senator Larson is committed to using the power of county government to address the climate crisis in a way that provides living wage jobs for people currently locked out of economic opportunity.

Vote Yes for Milwaukee Public Schools Referendum

Vote Yes for MPS and the future of Milwaukee students! Passing this referendum will raise $87 million for Milwaukee Public Schools. This increase in funding will help to ensure that students are not only supported in their classrooms, but also outside, as well, through the staffing of nurses, psychologists, and social workers. Investing in the well being of our children means investing in the well being of our community. Remember to flip your ballot to find the referendum!

City of Milwaukee Drive-Up Early Voting location:

Zeidler Municipal Building
841 N Broadway

Wednesday, April 1 – Sunday, April 5
Monday – Friday 8am to 5pm
Saturday – Sunday 10am to 3pm

City of Milwaukee Common Council

Nikiya Dodd (District 5) – Nikiya Dodd is a proven progressive leader.  She led the fight for voters’ rights by opposing Governor Scott Walker’s Voter ID law. Dodd was also a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Senate, where she pushed for an increase in the minimum wage and for expanding affordable healthcare. She also put forth initiatives to repair Milwaukee’s foreclosure crisis and reform Wisconsin’s broken criminal justice system and mental health system.

Fred Royal  (District 7) – Fred Royal is a former Vice President of the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) Local 438 which got him started in a career path towards public service, community activism, and politics. Fred will be a leader on the council who will work with Citizen Action to address the climate crisis in a way that provides living wage jobs for people currently locked out of economic opportunity.

JoCasta Zamarripa (District 8) – State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, who is a member of our board of directors, will be a strong progressive leader on the council who will fight for Citizen Action’s climate and racial equity agenda. In this majority people of color southside district we believe JoCasta will do a tremendous job of bringing the diverse voices of the area to City Hall.

Peter Burgelis (District 11) – Peter Burgelis has been civically engaged for years and active in the nonprofit community. He is challenging one of the most extreme conservatives on the Common Council. Burgelis has many issues he plans to work on, including infrastructure improvements, city services and creating jobs.

Marina Dimitrijevic (District 14) – As our County Supervisor, Marina Dimitrijevic has led the way to reduce the county’s environmental footprint. At City Hall, Marina will be a partner in Citizen Action’s efforts to win a Milwaukee Green New Deal which dramatically reduces community-wide greenhouse emissions and creates family supporting jobs for those who need them most.

Milwaukee County Board

Liz Sumner (District 1) – Citizen Action co-op member Liz Sumner is fully prepared to become a leader on the county board. Liz will work to ensure that Milwaukee County serves the people who fund it and will fight to make sure our most valuable community assets, our parks, are protected and receive the investment they deserve so everyone in our district can enjoy the public spaces.

Sequanna Taylor (District 2) – Sequanna Taylor has been a rock solid progressive voice on the board who brings her background as an educator to legislating. Sequanna also serves on the Milwaukee School Board.

Joseph J. Czarnezki (District 11) – Citizen Action co-op member Joe Czarnezki has a long history of public service representing Milwaukee County as both a Wisconsin state representative, from 1981 to 1983, and a Wisconsin state senator, from 1983 to 1993.

Sylvia Ortiz-Velez (District 12) – Citizen Action co-op member Sylvia Ortiz-Velez has in one 2-year term already distinguished herself as an active progressive leader on the board who is willing to support new ideas. Sylvia is a supporter of Citizen Action’s efforts to win a Milwaukee Green New Deal which dramatically reduces community-wide greenhouse emissions and creates family supporting jobs for those who need them most.

Eddie Cullen (District 15) – In only a few short years on the board Eddie Cullen has established himself as a progressive member who works collaboratively with other members.

Tearman Spencer, Milwaukee City Attorney

Tearman Spencer is ready to use the City Attorney office to help advance our agenda. He was particularly impressive in his interview with his promise to work proactively with Citizen Action to ensure our climate and equity proposals at the City of Milwaukee pass legal muster and are implemented effectively. The incumbent has regularly used his office to work against most progressive legislation proposed at the City over the past three decades.

Dennis McBride, Mayor of Wauwatosa

Dennis McBride is a Citizen Action co-op member who has a long track record on public education and other important issues in Wauwatosa. Dennis would be the first progressive mayor in the history of Wauwatosa.

North Central WI Organizing Co-op

Katie Rosenberg, Mayor of Wausau

Katie has served the Marathon County Board of Supervisors for the last two terms. She attempted to pass a resolution for fair maps back in 2018, and has been supportive of our work around healthcare. She is also an advocate for renewable energy and responsible environmental practices. She is a vocal supporter of our Organizing Co-ops. It’s hard to capture all that she has accomplished as an elected leader, but her willingness to work with all parties involved is something that gives her an edge in governing.

Wausau City Council

Tiffany Rodriguez-Lee (District 2) –  Tiffany is a political newcomer, but her family has been very active in the local nonprofit world. She was recently elected as the Vice President of the Governance Council for the Wausau Area Montessori Charter School, and is the Grants & Outcomes Director at the Wausau Boys and Girls Club. Tiffany felt compelled to run because she believes the Wausau City Council does not embrace diversity. Her opponent is opposed to our platform and goals.

Tom Kilian (District 3) – Tom is a founding member of the Citizen Action NC Organizing Co-op, and has been one of our strongest supporters from the beginning. He has led the fight in Wausau to expose decades of environmental contamination in his neighborhood, covered up by industry and minimized by local and state governments. He co-created a group called Concerned Citizens of Wausau. Several Co-op members are also active in this group. Tom brought in the assistance of a Harvard toxicologist who is a member of Citizen Action’s national network People’s Action. He is challenging an incumbent who once recited biblical verses in response to organizers seeking a permit for a pride parade in Wausau.

Tracy Wheatley (District 7) – Tracy is a political newcomer, and is a young woman with a lot of passion who shares our values.

Sarah Watson (District 8) – Sarah is a Citizen Action co-op member,  a member of WEAC, and the co-president of her local. She is running against a woman who once served as Mayor of Wausau and has a history of making racial comments. Sarah was recommended to the Co-op by one of our founding members.

Marathon County Board of Supervisors

Jen Bizzotto (District 2) – Jen is a political newcomer. She currently works for Judicare, and believes that the Marathon County Board of Supervisors needs to be more inclusive of the diverse people that make up the community. She is running against someone that stands for the opposite of what our members stand for.

William Harris (District 3) – William is a political newcomer. He works for Judicare, and believes that we should be working to help families that are struggling and believes that local governments play a vital role in this. William is opposing a man that is opposed to much of what the Co-op wants to accomplish. The NC organizer serves on a candidate recruitment committee, made up of several groups and community leaders, and Will was found as a result of the efforts of this committee.

Ka Lo (District 5 & Wausau School Board) – A Citizen Action Co-op member, Ka has served on the Marathon County Board of Supervisors for the last 2 years, and is supportive of our platform. She is the first Hmong woman elected to the Marathon County Board of Supervisors. If she wins the race for school board, she will be the only voice for the Hmong community on that board. Ka used to run the progressive Democrats group in Marathon County, and is also active with Our Wisconsin Revolution.

Yee Leng Xiong (District 19, Village of Weston Board of Trustees, and DC Everest School Board) – Yee is a Citizen Action Organizing Co-op member, and is a fierce advocate for the Hmong community and for Citizen Action. He is the Youth Program Coordinator for the Hmong American Center in Wausau. Yee has served on the Marathon County Board of Supervisors since 2014, and has been on the DC Everest School Board and the Weston Village Board of Trustees for several years.

Jonathan Fisher (District 38) –  A founding member of the Citizen Action Organizing Co-op. Jonathan’s wife is also on the local Steering Committee of the co-op. Jonathan strongly supports our issue platform, and  is a huge supporter of health care reform and renewable energy. He and his partner are strong supporters of renewable energy and healthcare reform.

Tomahawk School Board

Mark Martello  – Mark is a founding member of the Citizen Action and is on the local steering committee. He ran for the 35th Assembly District in 2018 and played a role in developing Citizen Action’s issue platform. Mark is a veteran, and works for the VA Clinic.

Oneida County Board of Supervisors

Steven Schreier (District 4) – Steven and his partner are both Citizen Action organizing co-op members, and spoke at the JFC hearings in support of expanding BadgerCare and Fair Maps. Steven has helped lead the Fair Maps fights in the Town of Newbold and City of Rhinelander, and is committed to the Citizen Action platform.

Langlade County Board of Supervisors

Sandy Fischer (District 2) – Sandy is a founding Citizen Action co-op organizing member, has served on the Langlade County Board for many years, and has always been a champion for progressive causes. Sandy is committed to Citizen Action’s issue platform.

Northeast WI Organizing Co-op

Brown County Board of Supervisors

Lindsay Dorff (District 4) – Lindsay is a long time co-op member. She is a leader in the Fair Maps coalition and has demonstrated her commitment to progressive ideas many times over.

Megan Borchardt (District 8) – Megan is a co-op member and leader in Brown County on the issue of mental health and criminal justice reform. She works very closely with our WISDOM Affiliate and LGBTQ+ Leadership in her advocacy on the Brown County Board.

Cassandra Erickson (District 19) – Cassandra is a co-op member. She is a strong progressive leader in Brown County and spends her time volunteering in the local schools, and lead a transgender support group in Brown County.

Green Bay City Council

Barbara Dorff (District 1) – Barb is a long time member and supporter of progressive politics in Green Bay. She is a vocal supporter of Co-op member Mayor Eric Genrich’s push for inclusivity and diversity positions in Green Bay.

Randy Scannel (District 7) – Randy is a co-op member and vocal progressive on the Green Bay City Council. He has been working closely with the Green Bay sustainability commission to implement their recommendations on a municipal level.

Calumet County Board of Supervisors

Emily Voight (District 3) – Emily is a co-op member and political leader in Calumet county. Her three main goals as a county board member are fair maps, health, and human services and clean water for her community.

Free COVID-19 treatment is a critical missing link. It’s up to state leaders to make sure everyone gets help

By: Robert Kraig

This article originally appeared in the Wisconsin Examiner

The coronavirus pandemic confronts us with a cascading medical emergency that would challenge the greatest leaders.

Fatefully, at a moment when hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance, the Trump Administration has made the threat exponentially worse. The administration’s catastrophic failures include a delay of at least a month in ramping up testing, no uniform national social distancing rules and a rigid ideological refusal to wield the power of the federal government to ramp up production and assure timely and cost effective distribution of desperately needed medical supplies and protective equipment. Compounding this chain of errors, the president’s daily press conferences are sowing public confusion and likely impeding social distancing.

That’s why the United States — the most powerful and capable nation on earth — has by far the most COVID-19 cases, and is testing at among the lowest rate in the developed world. It’s so bad that a president who spent a month downplaying the threat is redefining success as holding the death toll to 100,000, nearly double the American fatalities in the Vietnam War.

With lives hanging in the balance, we don’t have the luxury of dwelling on the past. There will be a time for honest accounting, but in the present we have a moral obligation to get ahead of the curve of this pandemic. One lesson learned is that we can’t rely on the federal government to lead. This shifts an immense and unexpected burden on governors and state legislators.

There are hopeful signs that Gov. Tony Evers is stepping up to the challenge. He has already made two critically important moves, and I will suggest a third: guaranteeing to everyone in Wisconsin free treatment for COVID-19, and any medical care that follows.

The governor’s first critical action was mandating social distancing, which he did over the objections of Republican legislative leaders and powerful corporate lobbyists. This would not have been necessary if the federal government had tested in a timely fashion, which would have allowed us to trace the chains of transmission. But now that the coronavirus is spreading invisibly through the population, the best available containment strategy is drastically curtailing social interactions, putting the economy into what some economists term a “medically induced coma.”

This first step gives Wisconsin a fighting chance to slow the virus before the case volume overwhelms our hospitals. But because of the president’s refusal to force production of medical supplies and federalize the supply chain, it will not be enough. Understanding that we can’t wait for federal leadership, Evers made a second essential move: appealing for an immediate special session of the Legislature to expand his emergency powers and give Wisconsin the resources to meet the coming tsunami of infections. So far, the GOP leadership is playing politics as usual and dragging its feet, putting thousands of lives at risk.

Now that the governor is pursuing these two critical steps, my colleagues and I at Citizen Action of Wisconsin are recommending a third step that is essential for containing the pandemic: free universal treatment. This is the best way to identify everyone who already has been or will be infected, and interrupt the deadly chains of disease transmission. We need to start by testing and treating everyone with symptoms, and then once there is sufficient capacity test community-wide, identifying seemingly healthy people spreading the infection.

This is achievable through the power of state government, but only if Wisconsin immediately fixes a deadly flaw in the American health care system: unaffordable cost. A survey of over 1,000 Wisconsinites by Citizen Action and the Healthcare Value Hub found shockingly that nearly half have gone without needed medical care because of fear of the cost in the last year. Given unprecedented unemployment generated by the stay-at-home order, this fear is now even more intense.

Congress has taken the first necessary step by making COVID-19 testing free, but despite the efforts of progressive Democrats, any treatment is still subject to the unaffordable deductibles and copays of private insurance. There are also 321,000 Wisconsinites who are uninsured, and mass layoffs are certainly causing this number to skyrocket. The Kaiser Family Health Foundation estimates COVID-19 treatment will typically cost up to $20,000. In addition, the patients most at risk of life-threatening illness have underlying health conditions which also must also be addressed during coronavirus treatment.

Wisconsin can eliminate this barrier to containing the pandemic by making all medical follow up and treatment that results from seeking a COVID-19 test cost free, including any other urgent medical issues that are discovered.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has a common sense plan to make this happen which we have shared with the governor.

First, use emergency powers granted by the federal government to deploy BadgerCare to guarantee that everyone has health coverage during the pandemic.

Second, immediately expand BadgerCare by accepting the Medicaid Expansion authorized by the Affordable Care Act. This would cover at least 75,000 more people, and free up $340 million that can be immediately put into the COVID-19 fight.

Third, mandate that health insurance plans pay for all treatment resulting from seeking medical attention for COVID-19. If this creates too much of a burden on some local health plans, Wisconsin can limit the price gouging built into our profit-centered system by requiring hospitals to accept more reasonable Medicare rates for all treatment that results from a COVID-19 test.

This unprecedented public health emergency focuses us on the truth that we are all interconnected, and that leaving people out of our healthcare system risks the lives of everyone in our community.

I urge you to contact your state legislators today and demand an immediate special session to both act on the Governor’s coronavirus relief bill, and to adopt Citizen Action’s plan to guarantee free coronavirus treatment for everyone in Wisconsin.

“COVID-19 sickens Wisconsin democracy” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast   

Remaining safer at home, the panel discuss COVID-19 and Citizen Action’s call for free treatment and other critical health care emergency actions needed to contain the pandemic. We dig into dysfunctional political situation in Wisconsin that is careening into a dangerous and anti-democratic election on April 7th. We urge listeners to get their absentee ballots in immediately and encourage everyone to remind friends, family and social networks to do the same. Finally, we dive into a conversation about healthcare workers being fired for speaking out about lack of proper gear and unsafe conditions.

Listen Now – Episode #436
Download MP3
Press Clips

Facebook post of the week

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday March 27th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday March 27th

Friday, March 27th

VOTE from HOME.

Request an absentee ballot for the April 7th election.

You can now register to vote online until March 30.

All voters in Wisconsin can request an absentee ballot be mailed to them for any reason.

You have until April 2, 2020, 5pm.

Voters can possibly request and vote an absentee ballot in-person in their municipal clerk’s office through April 5th.

Please contact your municipal clerk for absentee voting hours. 

Watch and Share video on how easy it is to get an absentee ballot online.

Read step-by-step directions to request an absentee ballot.

Spring Endorsements in North Central WI

Katie Rosenberg for Mayor of Wausau.

Katie has served the Marathon County Board of Supervisors for the last two terms. She attempted to pass a resolution for fair maps back in 2018, and has been supportive of our work around healthcare. She is also an advocate for renewable energy and responsible environmental practices. She is a vocal supporter of our Organizing Co-ops. It’s hard to capture all that she has accomplished as an elected leader, but her willingness to work with all parties involved is something that gives her an edge in governing.

Wausau City Council

Tiffany Rodriguez-Lee (District 2) –  Tiffany is a political newcomer, but her family has been very active in the local nonprofit world. She was recently elected as the Vice President of the Governance Council for the Wausau Area Montessori Charter School, and is the Grants & Outcomes Director at the Wausau Boys and Girls Club. Tiffany felt compelled to run because she believes the Wausau City Council does not embrace diversity. Her opponent is opposed to our platform and goals.

Tom Kilian (District 3) – Tom is a founding member of the Citizen Action NC Organizing Co-op, and has been one of our strongest supporters from the beginning. He has led the fight in Wausau to expose decades of environmental contamination in his neighborhood, covered up by industry and minimized by local and state governments. He co-created a group called Concerned Citizens of Wausau. Several Co-op members are also active in this group. Tom brought in the assistance of a Harvard toxicologist who is a member of Citizen Action’s national network People’s Action. He is challenging an incumbent who once recited biblical verses in response to organizers seeking a permit for a pride parade in Wausau.

Tracy Wheatley (District 7) – Tracy is a political newcomer, and is a young woman with a lot of passion who shares our values.

Sarah Watson (District 8) – Sarah is a Citizen Action co-op member,  a member of WEAC, and the co-president of her local. She is running against a woman who once served as Mayor of Wausau and has a history of making racial comments. Sarah was recommended to the Co-op by one of our founding members.

Marathon County Board of Supervisors

Jen Bizzotto (District 2) – Jen is a political newcomer. She currently works for Judicare, and believes that the Marathon County Board of Supervisors needs to be more inclusive of the diverse people that make up the community. She is running against someone that stands for the opposite of what our members stand for.

William Harris (District 3) – William is a political newcomer. He works for Judicare, and believes that we should be working to help families that are struggling and believes that local governments play a vital role in this. William is opposing a man that is opposed to much of what the Co-op wants to accomplish. The NC organizer serves on a candidate recruitment committee, made up of several groups and community leaders, and Will was found as a result of the efforts of this committee.

Ka Lo (District 5 & Wausau School Board) – A Citizen Action Co-op member, Ka has served on the Marathon County Board of Supervisors for the last 2 years, and is supportive of our platform. She is the first Hmong woman elected to the Marathon County Board of Supervisors. If she wins the race for school board, she will be the only voice for the Hmong community on that board. Ka used to run the progressive Democrats group in Marathon County, and is also active with Our Wisconsin Revolution.

Yee Leng Xiong (District 19, Village of Weston Board of Trustees, and DC Everest School Board) – Yee is a Citizen Action Organizing Co-op member, and is a fierce advocate for the Hmong community and for Citizen Action. He is the Youth Program Coordinator for the Hmong American Center in Wausau. Yee has served on the Marathon County Board of Supervisors since 2014, and has been on the DC Everest School Board and the Weston Village Board of Trustees for several years.

Jonathan Fisher (District 38) –  A founding member of the Citizen Action Organizing Co-op. Jonathan’s wife is also on the local Steering Committee of the co-op. Jonathan strongly supports our issue platform, and  is a huge supporter of health care reform and renewable energy. He and his partner are strong supporters of renewable energy and healthcare reform.

Tomahawk School Board

Mark Martello  – Mark is a founding member of the Citizen Action and is on the local steering committee. He ran for the 35th Assembly District in 2018 and played a role in developing Citizen Action’s issue platform. Mark is a veteran, and works for the VA Clinic.

Oneida County Board of Supervisors

Steven Schreier (District 4) – Steven and his partner are both Citizen Action organizing co-op members, and spoke at the JFC hearings in support of expanding BadgerCare and Fair Maps. Steven has helped lead the Fair Maps fights in the Town of Newbold and City of Rhinelander, and is committed to the Citizen Action platform.

Langlade County Board of Supervisors

Sandy Fischer (District 2) – Sandy is a founding Citizen Action co-op organizing member, has served on the Langlade County Board for many years, and has always been a champion for progressive causes. Sandy is committed to Citizen Action’s issue platform.

Northeast Organizing Co-op announces spring endorsements!

Brown County Board of Supervisors

Lindsay Dorff (District 4)- Lindsay is a long time co-op member. She is a leader in the Fair Maps coalition and has demonstrated her commitment to progressive ideas many times over.

Megan Borchardt (District 8)– Megan is a co-op member and leader in Brown County on the issue of mental health and criminal justice reform. She works very closely with our WISDOM Affiliate and LGBTQ+ Leadership in her advocacy on the Brown County Board.

Cassandra Erickson (District 19)- Cassandra is a co-op member. She is a strong progressive leader in Brown County and spends her time volunteering in the local schools, and lead a transgender support group in Brown County.

Green Bay City Council

Barbara Dorff (District 1)- Barb is a long time member and supporter of progressive politics in Green Bay. She is a vocal supporter of Co-op member Mayor Eric Genrich’s push for inclusivity and diversity positions in Green Bay.

Randy Scannel (District 7)- Randy is a co-op member and vocal progressive on the Green Bay City Council. He has been working closely with the Green Bay sustainability commission to implement their recommendations on a municipal level.

Calumet County Board of Supervisors

Emily Voight (District 3)- Emily is a co-op member and political leader in Calumet county. Her three main goals as a county board member are fair maps, health, and human services and clean water for her community.

Spring Endorsements in Milwaukee County

Tearman Spencer for Milwaukee City Attorney

Tearman is ready to use the City Attorney office to help advance our agenda. He was particularly impressive in his interview with his promise to work proactively with Citizen Action to ensure our climate and equity proposals at the City of Milwaukee pass legal muster and are implemented effectively. The incumbent has regularly used his office to work against most progressive legislation proposed at the City over the past three decades.

Milwaukee County Board
Joseph J. Czarnezki (District 11) – Citizen Action co-op member Joe Czarnezki has a long history of public service representing Milwaukee County as both a Wisconsin state representative, from 1981 to 1983, and a Wisconsin state senator, from 1983 to 1993.

See previous Milwaukee County endorsements.

North Central and Central WI Volunteer Opportunities from home!

We need your help to win this April 7th election and then the May 12th special election for Tricia Zunker!

Starting next week, we will have an opportunity for you to help us on a virtual phone bank to help us win in April! We will be helping folks learn how register to vote absentee and promoting Jill Karofsky for Supreme Court.The NC Organizer, Joel Lewis and two Field Canvassers, Don Dunphy and Melissa Engels-Lewis have been calling folks for the last few weeks and were on the doors before that. Please call Joel at 715-551-2525  or email him at joel.lewis@citizenactionwi.org

Statewide Virtual Phone Banking Training (March 29th @2pm)

Join our Citizen Action Statewide Phone Banking Training this Sunday at 2pm. Learn how you can help Citizen Action reach out to persuadable voters asking them to be a voter for Jill Karofsky on Tuesday, April 7th!  We will be discussing our implementation of the Race Class Narrative in our voter outreach and how to navigate our virtual phone dialer. Whether you are a virtual phone bank veteran, or this is your first time, our co-op organizers will be on hand to make sure all your questions are answered! Come to our training and get ready to elect Jill Karofsky to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 7th.

Please reserve your space today for our statewide training!

“Not Dying 4 Wall Street” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the latest COVID-19 pandemic news, including this week’s Congressional action. Is the $2 trillion relief package the biggest corporate giveaway in American history, or vital help for working Americans and small businesses in a time of dire need? We welcome Susannah Dyen from Caring Across Generations to talk about the Texas Lt. Governor’s comments that grandparents would be willing to die to preserve America’s economy. We close with the latest on the troubled April 7th spring election, including changes to election procedures imposed by a federal judge and growing opposition to holding this election during a state lockdown.

Listen Now – Episode #535
Download MP3
Press Clips

Citizen Action adapts to the new normal during COVID-19 Safer At Home.

Citizen Action weekly staff meeting

Northwestern WI Co-op Hosts Virtual Town Hall with Sen. Jeff Smith and Rep. Jodi Emerson this week. 

Rep Emerson and Sen. Smith digital town hall

Citizen Action’s Northwestern WI Co-op held a Virtual Town Hall with State Senator Jeff Smith and Representative Jodi Emerson on Tuesday, March 24th. The two legislators talked about the state of healthcare in Wisconsin amid the COVID-19 pandemic as well as responded to Ron Johnson’s statements after voting “no” to the Families First Corona Virus Relief Bill. Other topics around Medicare expansion and Criminal Justice protocols during this time. There were 30 people in attendance via Zoom Meetings. Several engaging questions were asked and participants enjoyed having the opportunity to tele-connect with their representatives.

Thanks to all the members who joined and thanks to Rep. Emerson and Sen. Smith!

Driftless Co-op Virtual house meeting, Wednesday, April 1st, 2pm 

On Wednesday April 1st Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op will be hosting a virtual house meeting via Zoom to discuss ways that our co-op can help people through these hard times.  We need input from member leaders on ways our co-op can help our community deal with healthcare access, financial insecurity, and protect Wisconsin during the COVID19 outbreak.

We are looking for 10 devoted co-op members to join us, from home, on this call.  Your input is valuable as we build strategies to help our communities during these times.

Call to action:  Will you commit to join Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op for a one hour virtual house meeting on Wednesday April 1st from 2:00 to 3:00?  You must RSVP to attend. Instructions on how to join will be sent when you RSVP.  

Please click here to RSVP.

Send an electronic postcard to Congress in support of Universal Family Care

UFC is a new social insurance program that would make early child care, paid leave, support for people with disabilities and elder care accessible and affordable for all. You can read more about it here.

We have an easy digital action for you to take.  Fill out an electronic postcard to show your support for this idea! You can do so here.

If you send one, please let Karen, Co-Op Healthcare Organizer,  know with an email with “healthy solidarity in UFC” in the subject line as she is trying to keep track. Karen.kirsch@citizenactionwi.org

Can you sew?  Will you consider joining an effort to make face masks to slow the spread of COVID19?

Governor Evers is calling on Wisconsinites to make 50,000 protective face masks.  We are calling on anyone who can sew to help out.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin member Betty Ottesen, along with New Horizons Women’s Shelter, is leading a local effort to make masks.  If you can donate time and energy to making masks you can help protect Wisconsin and slow the spread of COVID19.

If you are interested in helping please reach out to Betty at either 608-526-4227 or by email at hipnotions@gmail.com.  Betty can supply you with patterns and even help you with the necessary elastics. She can also help you get those masks where they can do the most good. A video showing how easy masks are to make can be found here.

Captain Census

Call to Action:  Will you commit to filling out your 2020 census and contacting 10 friends and helping walk them through the process. 

The 2020 Census has started and it is still very important that you fill out your census.  You should have received a letter in the mail from the census. Included is a personalized code and instructions how to go online and fill out the 2020 census.  The 2020 census will help determine how federal funds are spent and how district maps are drawn for the next ten years!

Captain Census (see picture) says, “make sure that you and your loved ones are counted in 2020.”

Share Citizen Action of Wisconsin content across social media

Most of you are connected to hundreds of people across social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.  You can use that audience to create positive change. Please take a moment to follow the statewide Facebook and Twitter accounts and share the content to your friends.

Call to action:  Follow Citizen Action of Wisconsin on Facebook and/or Twitter.  Share content to your own personal feeds.  As we rapidly move towards the April 7th election please share our content supporting Jill Karofsky for Supreme Court.

Wisconsin’s Race Class Narrative Project

Although the outcomes of the 2016 elections felt shocking to many people with the overt racism, sexism, and all the other “isms’ many of the candidate campaigns included, this is actually nothing new–dog whistle politics have been driving American political rhetoric for over 50 years.

The intent and effect of the dog whistle strategy is to divide people by race and class– even within race and class stratifications– in order to lower public support for collective public action, also known as government action. The conservative movement has mastered the use of coded language to animate racism and classism as political weapon.  The 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump created a new evolution of the dog whistle strategy with the use of social media in new ways, but he was standing on the foundation built by the conservative party over several decades.

The Race Class Narrative Messaging Project is designed to foster and organize a multi-racial, progressive, populist, political governing coalition in our state that will unite all people across race and class that share our values and vision for a better Wisconsin.  We have a vision of multi-racial democracy that realizes economic and racial justice for everyone.

Watch Video about the project

What the Race Class Narrative Project IS….

  • It is a series of messaging frames that form a “messaging architecture” around progressive centric issues that affect all Wisconsinites and Americans on a broad scale; Education, Immigration, Racist policing and criminal justice reform, the Environment, Minimum Wage, and Healthcare.  It is also a series of messaging tips and “tricks” that we can all use to frame and message our individual issue and policy campaigns, organizations, and work in general, and that candidates can also use to appeal to their base and draw in persuadables.
  • It is both a shared branding campaign, AND a way of messaging our issues and work as individual entities.  The shared brand is an image and/or slogan that any group or individual can use and put their own logo on it, as well as a set of messaging frames based in a common Wisconsin identity that we can all use to create content with.  The shared brand will be based off of recommendations informed by the National RCN Research Team and collectively approved by in-state participating partners. The National RCN Research Team worked with more than 21 Wisconsin specific groups in addition to doing comprehensive research on what traits forms a collective Wisconsin identity, or what are the commonalities that most (not all) Wisconsinites can relate to or understand, like Friday fish frys, supper clubs, weird/extreme/rapidly changing weather, tailgating, casseroles, hard work for a decent days pay, digging your neighbor out of the snow etc. (*These are just examples, we don’t yet have the finalized research and recommendations around the shared brand).
  • It is an open source project at the state and national level intended to unify us on the left, both around a shared analysis and worldview that includes Healthcare for all, family supporting wages and jobs, Immigrant and Racial justice, access to excellent and affordable (if not free) education, and a beautiful and healthy environment, among other things that we all need and deserve, no matter the color of our skin, if we are Indigenous or a new comer, or where we live in Wisconsin or America.
  • It is potentially at least part of a solution to the problem of the leftist movement being divided, and our base being de-centered in dominant political theory and the persistent effectiveness of racialized, weaponized, dog whistle politics of our opposition. Race Class Narrative messaging re-centers those who share our values and vision for a better Wisconsin and America, and who are most drastically impacted by a scarcity of resources mentality and the lack of anti-racist policies and governing.

Whether you are Black, Brown, or white, and no matter where you live in Wisconsin, most of us on the progressive left want the same things– including a healthy and beautiful Wisconsin for future generations, access to quality education, economic security, and racial and Immigrant justice.

But today, certain politicians and greedy corporate lobbyists use race and class to divide us so that they can continue to profit and hold onto power at the same time as turning around and blaming poor people and People of Color for the lack of economic security and racial justice.

By joining together on the left and using Race Class Narrative messaging to shout down and drown out racist, fear mongering, hate speech, and dog whistling, we can mobilize our base and add to it, so that we can elect candidates and pass policies– that no matter what we look like or where in Wisconsin we live–we ALL benefit from– instead of benefiting power hoarding politicians and the wealthy few.

Help us reach out to persuadable voters with a Race Class Narrative Message asking them to be a voter for Jill Karofsky on Tuesday, April 7th!  

We all want pretty similar things when it comes to our families. Whether white or Black, Asian or Latino, Indigenous or newcomer — Wisconsinites are hardworking people.  Most of care deeply about making sure our public schools are well funded, that women have the choice to decide what happens to their bodies, and that we leave a healthy and beautiful Wisconsin behind for future generations.

But today, certain politicians work to divide and conquer us by rigging our voting maps to make sure that they stay in power.  Instead of working to pass policies that benefit all of us, they work to keep the greedy lobbyists and special interests that foot the bill for their campaigns happy.  But we don’t have to accept that. Wisconsin’s strength comes from our ability to come together toward a common purpose.

Jill Karofsky will bring fairness and balance to our State Supreme Court.  Jill will work hard to make sure that our public schools are funded, that women have the choice to decide what happens to our bodies, and that we leave a healthy and beautiful Wisconsin behind for future Generations.  Jill Karofsky will also work to ensure our voting maps are fair maps so that our leaders create and pass policies that benefit all of us, and not just the wealthy few.  

When we come together and vote for leaders who will govern for all of us, not just the well connected wealthy few— we can start making improvements so that Wisconsin is a place where fairness, freedom, and prosperity is for everyone, no exceptions.

To sign up for a training and to help us make calls, contact you local Co-op Organizer:

Southeastern Wisconsin: Trevonna Simms
Northeastern Wisconsin: Noah Reif
Northcentral Wisconsin: Joel Lewis
Driftless: Ben Wilson
Northwestern Wisconsin: Breana Stanley

Healthcare Professional Social Media Action with our ally SEIU

Tell President Trump: More Masks Now! President Trump has the power to direct companies to re-purpose to produce masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE). We need to ensure that healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic have the equipment they need to protect themselves, their families, and their patients. Post a video of yourself on social media telling the President to act NOW!

Here is an Example. (You Can Do This Too!)

Here’s an example of a video short.

  1.   Tag President Trump @realDonaldTrump, @POTUS;
  2.   Use the hashtags #MoreMasksNow #ProtectAllWorkers #SEIUHCWI;
  3.   Nominate five other workers to post their own video.

Video Campaign. Film in a well-lit, quiet space (in scrubs if healthcare worker). Videos should be under a minute and from the heart.

VIDEO SCRIPT:

  1. “I’m (first name) and I’m a (job title) from (hometown or state).
  2. Speak from the heart about whatever you are feeling about the lack of personal protective equipment and the potential effect on you, your family and, if you’re a healthcare worker, your patients.
  3. End with this question: President Trump, Where are our masks?

It’s better if you share your post with it set to the public setting for greater reach and then SEIU can find you.  The above hashtags help them find you,so it’s really important to use them.

The public setting can be found by toggling this menu.
Selfie or Photo with #MoreMasksNow #ProtectAllWorkers

For a selfie photo, write out a sign in large clear handwriting that says: “I’m (first name), a (job title) in (hometown, state). President Trump, where’s my mask? #MoreMasksNow #ProtectAllWorkers!

Please visit our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/SEIUHCWI/ or our website http://www.seiuhcwi.org/more-masks-now/

Facebook post of the week

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 20th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 20th

Friday, March 20th

Emergency Powers Give Wisconsin Authority to use BadgerCare to Fight Coronavirus

Federal Emergency Declaration opens new avenues to guarantee everyone is tested and treated without cost sharing, fully covering all uninsured Wisconsinites

Under pressure from a number of states seeking to stem the alarming speed of novel coronavirus transmission, the federal government late last week issued emergency regulations that would allow Wisconsin to use BadgerCare to guarantee that everyone in Wisconsin has health coverage during the pandemic. This would dramatically improve Wisconsin’s odds for slowing the coming pandemic by removing a major barrier to seeking testing and treatment. The federal government took similar steps during the H1N1 epidemic and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

If Wisconsin acts boldly and swiftly, this federal declaration gives the Wisconsin state government new power to slow the speed of the pandemic, and potentially save tens of thousands of lives. According to public health experts, one of the most critical things we can do to protect both the afflicted and the general public is to maximize the number of people with symptoms who immediately seek testing and treatment. COVID-19 is so contagious that delays in seeking medical care can lead to the infection of thousands of additional people. After we have tested and treated everyone with symptoms, and the federal government has addressed the shortage of testing kits, it is essential to test and treat community wide, because the disease is spread by seemingly healthy people without symptoms.

The fear of financially crippling health care bills in the profit-centered American health care system is a grave risk not only to affected individuals and their families but the entire community because it actually discourages people from seeking medical care.

The Coronavirus Relief Act passed by Congress this week guarantees free testing for COVID 19, which is a critical step forward, but is silent on the cost of any treatment for that disease or any other underlying illnesses discovered by testing. Without free treatment, many will be deterred from seeking medical help – especially people who lack health coverage, a rapidly expanding group in an economy experiencing mass layoffs!

A survey of 1,000 Wisconsinites in every corner of the state released last week by Citizen Action, in partnership with the Health Value Hub and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that nearly half of Wisconsinites have gone without needed medical care because of fear of the cost in the last year! This dangerous situation will be intensified by the large number of people losing their income during the pandemic. The affordability crisis in the American healthcare system is dangerous in normal times; during a pandemic, it is a deadly threat to the health of everyone in Wisconsin!

A preliminary analysis of the new emergency rules by Citizen Action of Wisconsin has identified two major steps Wisconsin can take to use BadgerCare to contain COVID-19. We also propose a third vital step that Wisconsin can take to make sure those who have private health insurance will not be deterred from seeking treatment due to unaffordable copays and deductibles associated with even the best American health insurance plans. Many of these proposals are already being pursued by other states. (The Evers Administration may be developing plans internally that are not yet public which include some of these proposals.)

Step 1: Wisconsin has the authority to propose waivers to the federal government, which can be approved within days of submission. These waivers can make it much easier to enroll in BadgerCare and to retain it, including online and phone enrollment, extension of renewal deadlines, suspension of cancellations, and elimination of barriers such as premiums, copays, work requirements, and many other administrative hurdles.

Critically, Wisconsin could adopt a “presumptive eligibility” policy that allows medical providers, enrollment staff, schools, and community health centers to enroll people in BadgerCare without any income test if they appear eligible. This is especially helpful in an environment where there are mass layoffs and it would be time consuming to confirm that a family was eligible when unemployment insurance claims are likely to overwhelm the state’s processing capacity. The Coronavirus Relief Act which passed Congress this week increases the federal share of Medicaid costs in Wisconsin to 65.5%, offsetting part of the state cost for expanding BadgerCare enrollment.

Step 2: Wisconsin should immediately expand BadgerCare by accepting the Medicaid Expansion authorized and funded by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Without ACA Medicaid Expansion, “presumptive eligibility” will not work for many adults who do not fit into specific Medicaid eligible categories and are (or appear to be) above the federal poverty line. In addition, as Wisconsin is losing $340 million in the current state budget because it turned down the ACA Medicaid expansion funding, this revenue could immediately be deployed in the fight to contain COVID-19. Accepting Medicaid Expansion would allow Wisconsin to use presumptive eligibility to get the state close to universal health coverage and to reassure the public that cost should not deter them from seeking COVID-19 testing and treatment. It would also defray some and perhaps all of the state’s costs for increased enrollment resulting from all of the emergency measures we propose.

Step 3: The massive level of cost sharing in most private health insurance plans also deters people from seeking COVID-19 testing and treatment, endangering public health. Our recent statewide survey showed that almost half of respondents had avoided medical treatment and services in the last year, and most of them had health insurance coverage. A number of states already mandated that health insurance plans cover COVID-19 testing and treatment with no consumer cost sharing. So far, Wisconsin has only recommended that insurers suspend copays and deductibles. It would be prudent for Wisconsin to actually ban cost sharing as a danger to public health. If this creates too much of a burden on health insurance and self-insured plans, Wisconsin could also outlaw hospital price gouging by requiring them to accept Medicare rates for all treatment that results from a COVID-19 test. There is no justification for hospitals and medical providers to charge unreasonable prices for their services during this state and national emergency.

“We need bold leadership now more than ever. This unprecedented public health emergency focuses our attention on the reality that we are all interconnected, and that leaving people out of our healthcare system risks the lives of everyone in the community,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Tens of thousands of Wisconsinites who could otherwise have avoided infection may be needlessly put at risk if we don’t come together to assure that no one in Wisconsin delays or avoids treatment because they can’t afford the high cost of healthcare.”

Vote Absentee for April 7th Election!

Request an absentee ballot for the April 7th election.

All voters in Wisconsin can request an absentee ballot be mailed to them for any reason.

If you are a regular or a Permanent Overseas Voter, your absentee ballot request must be received by your municipal clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on  April 2, 2020.

If a voter is indefinitely confined, your absentee ballot request must be received by your municipal clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 3, 2020.

Voters can possibly request and vote an absentee ballot in-person in their municipal clerk’s office through April 5, 2020. Some municipal offices may not offer additional in-person absentee hours Please contact your municipal clerk for absentee voting hours. 

It’s easy to request an absentee ballot today!

Watch video showing how to request an absentee ballot on line from your phone.

Follow these simple steps to request YOUR absentee ballot and let’s stay safe this election season! Request your absentee ballot now.

North Central and Central WI Volunteer Opportunities from home!

We need your help to win this April 7th election and then the May 12th special election for Tricia Zunker.

Starting next week, we will have an opportunity for you to help us on a virtual phone bank to help us win in April! We will be helping folks learn how register to vote absentee and promoting Jill Karofsky for Supreme Court.

The NC Organizer, Joel Lewis and two Field Canvassers, Don Dunphy and Melissa Engels-Lewis have been calling folks since last week Thursday, and we’re on the doors before that.

Please call Joel at 715-551-2525  or email him at joel.lewis@citizenactionwi.org

Help Citizen Action make April 7th Election calls from home !

We need your help making calls form home.  All door canvassing has stopped but the election is still going forward.

Contact a regional co-op organizer to get involved:

Northeast Co-op: noah.reif@citizenacitonwi.org
Northwestern Co-op: breana.stanley@citizenactionwi.org
Driftless Co-op: ben.wilson@citizenactionwi.org
Southeastern Co-op: trevonna.sims@citizenactionwi.org
Healthcare for all Co-op: karen.kirsch@citizenactionwi.org

Wisconsin Republicans oppose COVID-19 relief” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Practicing social distancing, our panel joins us this week from separate locations. We discuss the rapidly evolving Covid-19 virus pandemic and the political response. We call out Sen. Ron Johnson and 4 Wisconsin Republicans Congressmen for voting against the bipartisan coronavirus recovery bill over their opposition to paid sick days for workers. We also dig into the impact the pandemic is having on the April 7th election. Should the elections be postponed?

We encourage everyone to request an absentee ballot at myvote.wi.gov. The panel closes with a discussion of a Wisconsin Public Radio story on how the major Democratic candidates for president have run to the left of Gov. Tony Evers and State Legislative Democrats.

Listen Now – Episode #434
Download MP3

Press Clips

Facebook post of the week