Sunday April 18, 2021

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Thank Gov. for breaking down barriers to the polls

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 30 March 2021
in Wisconsin

coronavirus-voting-us-abcnewsMADISON - Automatic voter registration is in this year’s Executive Budget! THANK Governor Tony Evers for prioritizing democracy!

Gov. Tony Evers’s budget proposal, released in February, includes funding for automatic voter registration (AVR). By prioritizing AVR, he acknowledges that Wisconsin has the chance to be a national leader in election security, accuracy, and accessibility. Take action along with member organizations of the Wisconsin Voting Rights Coalition by thanking Gov. Evers for supporting democracy >>>

Here is a sample message you can send to Gov. Evers to thank him:

Dear Governor Evers,

Thank you so much for including automatic voter registration and other important pro-voter policies in your budget. We know how important voter access is to Wisconsinites across the state. We appreciate your commitment to voter access and making sure every Wisconsinite has the freedom to vote.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

AVR is the best option for secure and fair election registration that will benefit voters statewide. From rural areas to urban city centers, voter information will be automatically updated and new voters will be automatically registered when people interact with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This funding will help implement new systems that allow the DMV to transmit secure voter information to the Wisconsin Elections Commission daily. As election officials work to improve the security and integrity of our voting systems, it’s time for them to adopt proven policies like automatic voter registration. These updates will make registering to vote easier and more accessible for all voters, particularly those who are frequent movers, live in rural areas, or have disabilities.

tony-eversEveryone who is eligible should have the freedom to vote.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign commends Gov. Evers for making democracy a priority in 2021. By including automatic voter registration in his budget, Wisconsin is one step closer to building a stronger, safer, and more inclusive democracy.

matt-rothschild-2018Contact Governor Evers, and thank him for breaking down barriers to the polls. Let’s make AVR happen!

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Wis Democracy Campaign - $$$ in Spring Elections

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Friday, 26 March 2021
in Wisconsin

voting-2020MADISON - With the April 6 elections fast approaching, we’ve tallied some of the money flowing into two big races.

In the race for state superintendent, we found a huge money advantage for Jill Underly from outside groups:

Liberal Groups Outspending DeVos group 13 to 1 in Superintendent Race

In the appellate court race in southeastern Wisconsin, we noticed that a Republican outside group is pouring money in. This shows that big money groups are trying to buy even lower levels of the judiciary:

GOP Electioneering Group Drops $56K+ in Appeals Court Contest

And if you want to look back at any of the legislative races from the fall, our Data Analyst David Julseth has provided campaign finance updates through December 2020. Just click on this link, and whichever race interests you:

Online individual contributor database updated -- Fall 2020 legislative elections

For commentary, we published two pieces this week.

Our Racial Equity and Economic Justice Advocate, Cely Flores, wrote this eye-opening piece on a new bill in Wisconsin that would lift up the wage of restaurant servers. The minimum is a shocking $2.23 an hour here:

Servers Should Not Have to Depend on the Goodwill of Strangers

And I gave talk on Monday night to the Wisconsin Interfaith Voter Engagement Campaign on the nasty voter suppression bills that are circulating in Wisconsin, and the national anti-democracy movement that they are part and parcel of. Here’s the text of my talk:

The Battle for Democracy

matt-rothschildI hope you like this week’s offerings.

Have a nice weekend.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

***

P.S. Please send us a tax-deductible donation so we can keep doing this urgent work. Just click here. Or you can mail your check in the old-fashioned way to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, 203 S. Paterson St, Suite 100, Madison WI 53703. Thanks!

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Wisconsin Women to Remember

Posted by Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, Senator District 31 (D - Eau Claire)
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 24 March 2021
in Wisconsin

women-preparing-leadIn honor of Women’s History Month, Sen. Smith writes about five inspiring women from west-central Wisconsin.


MADISON - March is Women’s History Month, an opportunity to remind ourselves of the contributions of women that history books may often overlook. From my own experiences, the women in my life, including my wife, daughters, friends and relatives are almost always the most reliable, determined, innovative and trustworthy.

Some women stick out in Wisconsin history such as Ada Deer, Vel Phillips, Shirley Abrahamson or even Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was born in Pepin. But I’d like to focus on women from west-central Wisconsin who may not be as familiar, but who have significantly impacted the lives of others.

Betsy Thunder was born near Black River Falls in the 1850s. She was a member of the Ho-Chunk tribe, also called the Winnebago Sky Clan. Known for her skills in medicinal remedies from roots and plants, Betsy treated both Ho-Chunk and white patients. She was credited with saving the life of a child of businessman and politician, Hugh Mills, who in turn built her a small cabin as a sign of appreciation. In the early 1900s, the US government ordered Thunder’s tribe to be moved from Wisconsin to Nebraska. Betsy, however, refused to leave and hid in the hills of Jackson County until her death in 1912.

Mountain Wolf Woman also resided on the land we recognize as Jackson County. She was born in 1884 into the Thunder Clan of the Ho-Chunk tribe. In 1958, she shared her life story as a Native American woman to a University of Wisconsin anthropologist. This autobiography was seen as an important point in Native American history as it was one of the earliest first-hand accounts of the experiences documented of a Native American woman. Her story detailed seventy-five years of Native American life and the role of women in native cultures.

Sarah Harder was born in 1937 in Chicago. She moved to La Crosse and started teaching later at UW-Eau Claire. She revolutionized the maternity leave program for the UW System and founded the women’s studies program at UW-Eau Claire. She is a strong activist for women’s rights and has been involved with many women’s organizations, serving as a founding member of the Wisconsin Women’s Network and President for the American Association of University Women.

Carol Bartz was born in 1948 in Minnesota and moved to Alma, Wisconsin at a young age. She earned a degree in computer science from UW-Madison in 1971. She worked at multiple companies and faced frequent gender discrimination. She persevered and was named CEO of Autodesk, Inc. Despite being diagnosed with breast cancer while at Autodesk, she increased the company’s revenue by hundreds of millions. She then became the CEO of Yahoo!, a Fortune 500 company, restructuring the organization to address discrimination in the workplace.

Ellen Kort was born in Glenwood City and lived in Menomonie. She wrote poetry throughout her whole life and was appointed as the state’s first poet laureate in 2000 by Governor Tommy Thompson. She shared her poetry widely; her words are inscribed in multiple buildings throughout Wisconsin. She received multiple awards for her poetry as well, including the Pablo Neruda Literary Prize for Poetry. She also helped survivors of AIDS, cancer, and domestic abuse heal through her writing workshops.

jeff-smithThe women I’ve spotlighted should serve as inspiration for all of us. They came from humble beginnings but were determined to achieve great success, despite facing adversity.

We can all learn and be inspired by the women who accomplished so much and are remembered in our history. Even more so, we can be inspired and motivated by the dedicated women we’re with day-to-day. Too often, women have to work twice as hard as men to earn the recognition they deserve. If more people recognize women’s contributions, I think we can reach a day when this is no longer the case; I look forward to this day.

Thank you to all the women I’ve had the pleasure to work with throughout my life for they have always inspired me and made me a better person.

***

Note: Information about the women mentioned in this column is attributed to the Wisconsin Women Making History partnership.

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Wis Democracy Campaign - Say No to Racism!

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Friday, 19 March 2021
in Wisconsin

ron-johnson-speaksMADISON - This week, we were once again confronted with one of the fundamental problems facing our democracy: racism.

We saw it blurt out of the mouth of Senator Ron Johnson, when he said, on rightwing radio, that he wasn’t concerned on Jan. 6 by the Trump supporters but would have been by Black Lives Matter protesters. I wrote an editorial on this, demanding that Ron Johnson resign, which you can read here:

Ron Johnson, Resign!

And we saw it horrifically spill blood in Atlanta and take the lives of eight people, and notably six Asian Americans. Our Racial Equity and Economic Justice Advocate, Cely Flores, wrote about it here:

We Know a Hate Crime When We See One

We need to call racism out wherever we see it. It is a huge moral wrong, and it prevents democracy from functioning properly. No one has an equal voice when they are discriminated against. No one has an equal voice when they are denied life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness just because of who they are.

Of course, our democracy does not function properly because of big money in politics, too. If you want to find out which outside groups are spending the most in the spring elections, click on this link and then click on the groups that interest you:

Hijacking Campaign 2021 - Independent Expenditures

matt-rothschild-2018I hope you’re able to get out and enjoy the warm weather this weekend.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

***

P.S. If you appreciate the work we’re doing here, please send us a tax-deductible gift by clicking here. Thanks!

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Climate Change Solutions

Posted by Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, Senator District 31 (D - Eau Claire)
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 17 March 2021
in Wisconsin

frac-sand-spill-apSen. Smith writes about the policies developed by the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change included in the budget, such as innovative flood mitigation strategies and proposals to help our farmers.


MADISON - We’re all familiar with Isaac Newton’s well-known law of physics that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Although specific to the science of physics, we can still apply the law’s same concept to many other aspects of our lives. We know our daily actions impact others. One person’s bad behavior has repercussions that can affect many others.

Climate change is a perfect example of Newton’s law playing out. Extreme weather events – caused by climate change – are a result of irresponsible decisions made by wealthy fossil fuel energy corporations. Today, these weather events are causing farmers to lose their livelihoods, displacing families from their homes and posing greater risks to all Wisconsinites’ health and public safety.

Despite the problems caused by some bad actors, I believe there are more citizens motivated to react to the climate change crisis and be a part of a solution to make our communities cleaner and safer. Following the logic of Newton’s law, we know the environmental sustainability efforts we take today will have far-reaching benefits for generations to come.

As a member of the Governor’s Climate Change Task Force, I’m proud to see the initiatives developed by the Task Force and included in Governor Tony Evers’ budget to respond to the climate crisis. We must act immediately and make the bold investments necessary to build more resilient communities. It’s our responsibility to ensure our state is livable for our children and grandchildren.

Governor Tony Evers established the Climate Change Task Force because he understands the importance of taking action on the climate crisis. Like so many other Wisconsinites, he knows that ignoring the problem will only make matters worse.

The Climate Change Task Force released the Task Force Report in December 2020. Task Force members developed the report after months of public hearings with a diverse group of stakeholders. The report includes fifty-five climate action solutions across nine different sectors, including agriculture, transportation, energy and education.

Governor Evers doubled down on his commitment to address the climate crisis by including thirty-five solutions from the Task Force report in his 2021-23 budget. His budget makes critical investments to mitigate the effects of climate change while also strengthening our rural communities.

flood-wi-roadThe Governor includes numerous policies in his budget aimed at preventing more extreme floods, which have become a growing problem here in western Wisconsin. He proposed creating a flood resilience plan, which would help restore historical wetlands in flood zones and regulate development on existing wetlands. Governor Evers’ budget invests more than $30 million to help build more resilient roads and infrastructure to prevent flooding disasters. The budget also includes an innovative first-of-its-kind program to help Wisconsinites purchase flood insurance.

jeff-smithFloods and other natural disasters caused by climate change have made it a lot harder for farmers to run their businesses. The Governor’s budget will help protect farmers from extreme weather events and give farmers tools to be a part of the solution. The budget establishes several grant programs to make it easier for farmers to transition to more environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. The Value-Added Agricultural Grant Program, specifically, provides education and technical assistance to produce value-added agricultural products, such as organic farming and best grazing practices.

The Task Force Report includes policies grounded in climate justice and equity. Climate change disproportionately impacts low-income families and communities of color. Governor Evers’ budget creates the Office of Environmental Justice to help design climate policies that reduce emissions and pollutants that typically target these marginalized groups. The budget also establishes a technical assistance grant program to assist municipalities and tribal nations in developing a plan to be carbon-free by 2050.

Despite the irresponsible mistakes of some bad actors, we have opportunities right here in Governor Evers’ budget to begin responding to the climate crisis. Our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are depending on us to act ambitiously today. The steps we take now will ensure they have a safer and healthier world to live in.

****

This is the second column in a two-part series about the climate change impact in Wisconsin.

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