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Ringhand Says Governor’s Re-election Budget has Democratic Ideas PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Janis Ringhand, State Senator Dist 15   
Wednesday, 08 February 2017 15:34

assemblyLikes I-39/90 project plan, changed tune on education funding, but says devil is in the details. Looking forward to working with colleagues throughout the budget process.


MADISON - Clearly, this is budget contains many Democratic ideas as the Governor prepares for his re-election campaign.

I am pleased that there will be no further delays in the I-39/90 project from the Beloit to Madison. This project that is vital for safety and economic development in Rock County.

Governor Walker has changed his tune when it comes to funding education and is no longer proposing to further cut public education funding. He finally grasps that a great public education system is good politics.

No Governor has ever had his budget adopted intact. It is a long process and there will be many changes made to his re-election proposal. Changes that, I hope are for the better.

When it comes to the state budget, the devil is in the details. Nothing good happens when hyper-partisan Republicans lock themselves in a room to make late-night changes to the budget.

I look forward to working my colleagues throughout the budget process to ensure that we have good schools, good roads and a state budget that works for everyone.

 
DeVos Has Spent Millions On Politicians PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Buzz Davis, Army Veteran & Activist   
Friday, 03 February 2017 12:27

money-behind-politicsBetsy DeVos and her family invested $3.2 million to help elect 21 US senators who will now vote. Will Monday’s Vote on Senate Floor Be Payback time? Will Sen. Johnson Pay Her Back or Recuse Himself?

Last Updated on Friday, 03 February 2017 15:59
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U.S. Senator Ron Johnson Should Oppose DeVos Nomination PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7   
Thursday, 02 February 2017 17:14

kidsMADISON, WI – I urge U.S. Senator Ron Johnson to oppose the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education.

ron_johnson_sen_commEach of our children deserves a quality education. Unfortunately, here in Wisconsin we know the devastating consequences of DeVos-style slash and burn policies that leave schools and children behind.

Our traditional neighborhood schools have been severely and intentionally underfunded for the last six years. At the same time, unaccountable voucher profiteers have been handed more and more of our scarce public resources with little oversight and no accountability. In this hasty stampede to the bank, they have trampled our children’s future.

chris-larson-speaksAs the state with the longest-running voucher program in the country, Wisconsin has seen its blatant failure. The facts don’t lie; despite the extra costs, students in voucher schools perform no better, and in many cases worse, than their traditional public school counterparts. In Michigan, where DeVos doled out millions in campaign contributions to pro-voucher politicians, a similar negative effect has been seen.

Betsy DeVos has proven that she supports the same kind of irresponsible policies that have and will continue to hurt the children of our great state. We cannot subject more of our nation’s schoolchildren to the same destructive patterns. Senator Johnson has a sworn duty and obligation to our community and to each of our children to oppose the nomination of Betsy DeVos.

If Senator Johnson chooses to cynically reject the will of the people by voting to confirm Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, he will be to blame for hurting our children’s futures.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 February 2017 17:24
 
LWV "Three Questions for the Supreme Court Nominee" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by League Women Voters WI, Andrea Kaminski   
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 15:57

scotus-questions2The League of Women Voters believes that any Supreme Court nominee should share his or her views on these three fundamental issues.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The next Supreme Court nominee, whom President Trump will nominate this week, will play a major role in the course for American democracy over the coming decades. That may seem like an exaggeration, but the Supreme Court is currently divided four to four on most major issues. The incoming justice will ultimately be the deciding vote on crucial issues that shape the direction of our country.

The League of Women Voters believes that any Supreme Court nominee should share his or her views on fundamental issues. We have three questions for the nominee:

1. Must the Executive Branch obey court orders from the federal judicial system?

Our system of checks and balances is the basic tenet of a free democracy. To prevent authoritarianism, the Founders made sure that that no one branch of the government could dominate the others. But in recent days, it appears that the Executive Branch is challenging that system by refusing to obey the federal court orders. The Supreme Court nominee must take a stand, one way or the other, on the role of federal courts in our system of government.

2. What is the appropriate role for voting rights in our democracy?

Our nation was founded on a belief that voters should be in charge of our government rather than government being in charge of the voters. However imperfect at the beginning, citizen voting rights have grown through constitutional amendments to include women, racial and ethnic minorities and young people. But we are seeing efforts to roll back voting rights, with laws designed to make it more difficult for people to exercise their right to vote. The Supreme Court nominee should let the American people know his or her position, whether voting rights enforcement is a vital component of our representative democracy or if the nominee thinks limitations can be justified under our Constitution.

3. Is big money in politics a fundamental part of our electoral system, or can limits sometimes be justified?

Some believe that corporations, organizations and individuals should be able to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, and to do so secretly. Others see this as an existential threat to our democracy. The Supreme Court nominee should state his or her beliefs related to the influence of money in our elections.

Judicial nominees should not be required to tell us how they will decide future cases, but they should share with the public the basic principles they support or oppose. For the Senate to carry out its constitutional duty to advise and consent on judicial nominees, truthful answers about basic principles are required. A presidential nomination is not a blank check. The Constitution requires the Senate to do its duty.

The League of Women Voters urges the Senate to explore these three fundamental questions with any nominee before voting to confirm or reject the next Supreme Court justice.

By Lloyd Leonard
Senior Director for Advocacy
January 31, 2017

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Learn more about the League of Women Voters at http://lwv.org/

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 February 2017 16:16
 
Blue Jean Nation "Right turn at the fork" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Sunday, 29 January 2017 11:29

occupy-democrats-posterThe Occupy movement on the left and the Tea Party movement on the right took different paths to effect political change. The new strategic blueprint called “Indivisible” is currently all the rage on the left, but may not be new at all.


ALTOONA, WI - During the Great Recession — the worst economic downturn in America since the Great Depression — more than 8 million jobs were lostfamily incomes dropped and poverty spiked. Nearly 4 million homes were foreclosed each year.

These traumas brought millions of Americans to a fork in the road politically. Some went right at the fork, others went left, giving rise to two landscape-altering social movements.

The Occupy movement on the left, with its “We are the 99%” catchphrase, changed the national conversation by bringing income and wealth inequality to the forefront of public consciousness. Democrats weren’t focusing on it to speak of, nor were most liberal advocacy groups. Before Occupy, the term “one-percenter” wasn’t part of our political vocabulary and little attention was being paid to how the nation’s rich were getting vastly wealthier while the poor were growing poorer and the middle class was disappearing. Occupy changed that. Occupy made talk of economic inequality commonplace. That’s no small achievement.

The Tea Party movement on the right, with its “Don’t Tread on Me” mindset, changed the Republican Party. In so doing, Tea Partiers changed Congress and state legislatures across the country. They put the fear of God into mainstream GOP politicians. Those politicians were given a choice. Either grant Tea Partiers their wishes, or face their wrath on the campaign trail. A few, like House Republican leader Eric Cantor, took their chances at the ballot box. Most others fell in line, spooked by how the Tea Party made examples of the likes of Cantor.

Other than obvious ideological differences, the big distinction between the Occupy and Tea Party movements is that one deliberately steered clear of involvement with elections while the other jumped into elections with both feet. That says a lot about the right and left today. One side is dogged in its pursuit of political power and will go to any lengths to get it. The other prefers to protest and march and picket.

Any honest assessment of the overall impact of these two movements has to conclude that the Tea Party has had the bigger influence on our country’s direction. Which suggests the ballot is mightier than the placard. Which calls into question the strategic impulses of the forces gathering in America to resist the turn the nation has taken.

A new strategic blueprint called “Indivisible” is currently all the rage on the left. The brainchild of some former Democratic congressional staffers, it suggests people on the left can block the Trump agenda by copying tactics the Tea Party used to stymie President Obama’s. They claim to offer “best practices for making Congress listen” to the people. Question: If former Capitol Hill staffers know the best practices for making Congress listen to us and now have a fail-safe blueprint for resisting Trump, how did they manage to become so utterly powerless in Washington and why couldn’t they prevent the Tea Party takeover of Congress?

A part of the Tea Party’s approach — the most important and effective part — is conspicuously missing from the strategy cooked up by these Capitol Hill operatives. Tea Partiers not only condemned Obama’s every move, they contested Republican elections. They ended up being unable to deny Obama a second term. But they did end Eric Cantor’s career and the careers of a slew of his establishment Republican colleagues. They seized power in Congress to the point where they could dictate terms to House Speaker John Boehner as well as his successor Paul Ryan.

Considering who concocted the left’s new recipe and what key ingredient they chose to omit, it looks less like an effort to cook up a Tea Party-style insurrection on the Democratic side and more like an attempt to head one off at the pass.

— Mike McCabe

 
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