Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, Feb 19th

 

 

 

Friday, Feb 19th

State Superintendent Candidate Forum, Monday, February 22nd, 6pm

Citizen Action of Wisconsin will host a statewide membership event to meet the 2021 state superintendent candidates on Monday, February 22, at 6:00 pm.

The virtual forum is an opportunity for our members to learn more about the candidates and their positions on subjects important to our communities. Candidates seek to hold Wisconsin’s highest education office, and we need an equity-minded superintendent who will stand up for our public schools. Both candidates have been invited to attend. 

 RSVP today! The nonpartisan state superintendent election takes place on Tuesday, April 6.

Citizen Action commends the Governor’s budget on healthcare costs, climate, and economic equity.

On behalf of its grassroots members across the state, Citizen Action of Wisconsin commends Governor Evers for the important advances in his state budget to address the crippling cost of health care, and the pressing need for an immediate climate transition that expands economic opportunity for everyone in Wisconsin, especially all of the people left out of prosperity and in desperate need of family supporting jobs.

The crushing cost of healthcare has been the top issue in Wisconsin for two consecutive elections. Governor Evers included major health care initiatives that Citizen Action members have been fighting for, including full BadgerCare Expansion under the Affordable Care Act, a new BadgerCare Public Option to give Wisconsinites a more affordable choice than corporate for-profit insurance, and a Prescription Drug Price Review Board to restrict price gouging by the Pharmaceutical industry. The Governor also includes in his budget the creation of a Wisconsin health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, a critical cost, access, and accountability reform for which Citizen Action has long fought for.

Citizen Action members across Wisconsin have also been organizing for a large-scale climate transition that uses the opportunity to radically expand economic opportunity and equity for working Wisconsinites left out of access to good family supporting jobs, especially those from marginalized communities and economically challenged rural areas.

Following up on the recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change, Chaired by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the budget includes several initiatives Citizen Action members have been fighting for. These include on-bill utility bill financing (zero cost financing for home energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades for homeowners and renters), and a requirement that Wisconsin municipalities develop comprehensive climate action and resilience plans.

Citizen Action commends additional major budget items included by Governor Evers. The Governor’s investment in rural broadband, especially the enabling of public broadband in the most underserved areas, is a major issue Citizen Action’s rural members have been pushing for to level the playing field for Wisconsin’s rural communities. In the area of voting rights, the budget mandates automatic voter registration, a common sense reform to remove needless obstacles to voting for which Citizen Action has advocated for over a decade.

Citizen action also commends the Governor’s proposals to end the failed prohibition of marijuana, the expansion of workers rights to form unions and bargain collectively in the public and private sectors, a dramatically enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit for moderate income working families, juvenile justice reform, rural flooding initiatives, overhaul of the state’s antiquated unemployment insurance system, and gun reform.

“Without question, Governor Ever’s budget is the most visionary and progressive we have seen in Wisconsin in over a decade,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action. “The Governor’s budget is a breath of fresh air packed with meaningful advances that will improve the health and economic well being of working Wisconsinites.”

 

“How to Have Conversations with People Who Don’t Agree With You” a Citizen Action of Wisconsin training event.

Join Citizen Action of Wisconsin to learn “How to Have Conversations with People Who Don’t Agree With You” led by the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Field Team and Organizing Staff. 

After this training you will be ready to lobby Joint Finance Committee Members around our 2021-2022 State Budget Demands, talk with persuadable voters headed into the Spring Gen Election, and have those challenging conversations with friends and family at the dinner table.  

When: Saturday March 13th, 10:00am-12:00pm

Where: After you RSVP by signing up below, you will receive an email confirmation that includes the link to join the training on Zoom.

We will also be sending out a full agenda and handouts prior to the training.

 Please RSVP here

Become a Climate Leader.  Take action and share out actions your friends can take by using our Climate Action Hub

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has created a climate action hub.  This is your one page stop to learn about all the actions you can take to fight climate change and create brand new, green jobs across the state.  You can even find information on how to upgrade your home and save money each month on energy efficient upgrades (at no upfront cost to you)!

To celebrate the launch of our climate action hub we are running a contest.  Whoever recruits the most people to take action on our hub wins a $25 gift card to the Driftless Cafe in Viroqua. 

It’s easy to take part in the contest.  Just share this page with your friends and family.  Once they take action (and tell us that you sent them) you receive a point.  Whoever gets the most points by the end of April wins! 

 Be sure to bookmark the hub too.  We will be updating it all the time with new content and new calls to action! 

Help create more solar panels across the state by fighting for third party solar financing

Wisconsin has fallen behind neighboring states and much of the country in renewable energy development. But the state Public Service Commission (PSC) is currently considering a case that will influence third-party solar ownership and financing, which could make solar energy feasible for many more Wisconsin residents and organizations. With third-party solar, an outside investor or company (the “third party”) pays the up-front installation costs for solar energy. Then the customer pays for the system over time with a monthly lease payment or payment based on electricity generated. This allows the third-party financier to access the tax credits while sharing the savings with the customer. These arrangements can be especially useful in helping local governments, schools, farmers, and low-income families reduce their utility bills while helping the environment.

 In 2019, Eagle Point Solar won a contract with the City of Milwaukee to install 1.1 megawatts of solar panels on municipal buildings and lease them to the city. However, the city’s utility blocked the deal by refusing to connect the proposed system, claiming it would make Eagle Point a public utility and they were not registered as such. Eagle Point Solar sued the utility and the PSC over this refusal. State law is currently unclear on whether third-party financing is legal in Wisconsin. The PSC is now accepting comments from the public on Eagle Point’s case, through February 23. You can submit a comment online to show your support for this solar funding opportunity! 

To comment, visit 

For more information and suggested “talking points” to include in your comments.

Healthcare Co-Op meets with Representative Gwen Moore to talk about Caregiving

The Co-Op participated in a Home Care Week of Action by speaking to the Congresswoman about raising the awareness of the importance of supporting home care services in President Biden’s America Rescue Plan. More specifically, Congress must ensure the current pandemic relief package includes $13 billion for home and community care. That $13 billion will go a long way; adding $13 billion to FMAP — the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages — means that every state will have more money to spend on critical home care and community based services.

Representative Moore had a strong understanding of the issue and why it’s important to support the noble and hard work of direct care workers.  There is dignity in being able to stay in your own home with just a little help.  Members, Amy Thomas, Mary Wacker and Lynn Carey spoke about their own experiences and were there to advocate for this cause.  Do you have a disabled loved one?  What about an elderly parent?  If this is an issue you want to advocate for, please contact [email protected].  

Cancel Student Loan Debt Kick-Off

Led by members of the Northeast Organizing Co-op, Citizen Action launched our Cancel Student Loan Debt Campaign. We were joined by action takers from across Wisconsin, untied in the desire to see $50,000 of student loan debt cancelled by executive action. Co-op member Seth Hoffmeister (pictured to the right) was among those who shared their story of being burdened with out of control student loan debt.  

We are extremely excited about the next steps we have planned. A growing national discussion is taking place around the need to cancel student loan debt in the midst of the financial crisis driven not only by the ongoing pandemic, but systemic racial injustice. Forty-five Million Americans are burdened with a combined total of $1.9 Trillion of student debt; an average of $33,000 per individual student. As is sadly the case with economic inequality experienced in our country, this debt falls disproportionately upon our Black, Brown, and Indigineous peers. The cancelation of $50,000 of federal student loan debt would be the largest step towards closing the racial wealth gap since the Civil Rights Movement.  If this is an issue you want to advocate for, please contact [email protected]

Citizens for a Clean Wausau Call to Action

The following information has been provided by spokespersons for Citizens for a Clean Wausau, who are also founding members of the North Central Organizing Co-op:

Serious contamination above the DNR’s regulatory standards has been identified at the city-owned  property, 1300 Cleveland Ave, which was the former Connor Forest Industries property that had a notorious history of contamination. The site sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and we  want the contamination finally cleaned up to the most protective standards possible. A zoning map error acknowledged by the City of Wausau mistakenly rezoned this property to industrial,  and industrial zoning and land use is typically associated with much looser cleanup standards. We want  the City of Wausau to correct its zoning mistake so that the property is zoned residential again – this will  likely assure that the most protective, strict non-industrial standards are used for the site cleanup and  that the remediation is rigorous. 

3M Company, which is located a short distance away and has an extensive history of soil, water, and air  pollution, wants to purchase the property and expand its operations. We absolutely oppose the 3M  Company expansion at 1300 Cleveland Drive, and we absolutely oppose any additional industrial  expansion whatsoever in this densely populated residential neighborhood.. Say no to 3M expansion or any industrial expansion at this property, and request the City of  Wausau fix its zoning mistake and zone it back to residential. We are asking for people to submit written comments, or to register to provide public comment at the Feb. 23rd Wausau Committee of the Whole (City Council) meeting. You can provide public comment either virtually, or in person. Here are the main talking points.

  1. The contamination on 1300 Cleveland Avenue needs to be cleaned up to the highest and most  protective regulatory standards there are, meaning non-industrial standards. 
  2. The City of Wausau should correct its zoning mistake and rezone the property back to  residential. 
  3. 3M Company or any other industrial expansion on the property should be absolutely and strongly opposed. 3M  Company has an extensive history of documented soil, water, and air pollution in Wausau. 

“Evers’ BOLD Budget” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the bold two year state budget released this week by Governor Evers which includes major healthcare proposals like a BadgerCare Public Option, Climate reforms, and other major progressive policies. Does the Governor’s move towards the progressive wing of the Democratic Party show the power of public mobilization and organizing? We review Sen. QAnon Ron Johnson’s shameful week denying the armed insurrection on January 6. Is our wayward Senator hell bent on making himself a national laughing stock? Switching to the Biden Administration, we discuss a very important opportunity for progressives to pass an increase in the minimum wage to $15 in the next COVID relief bill. Finally, a new study released Thursday found the U.S. lost a whole year of life expectancy in 2020.

Listen Now – Episode #480
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