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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.


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)
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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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Expanding BadgerCare is the Best Bang for our Buck

Posted by Jon Erpenbach Press. State Senator 27th District
Jon Erpenbach Press. State Senator 27th District
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Madison) - A former radio personality and legisla
User is currently offline
on Monday, 15 March 2021
in Wisconsin

badgercare-saveExpanding BadgerCare, as proposed in the budget, would net a $1 billion dollar incentive payment, and a recent Marquette Law Poll shows that 70% of Wisconsin residents approve.

MADISON - Who doesn’t love a good deal? It’s common for folks in Wisconsin to want to make sure they are getting the best bang for their buck.

So why shouldn’t the Wisconsin legislature do the same? For years, Democrats have been pushing to expand BadgerCare because it ensures greater access to affordable, quality coverage, lower premiums and generates millions to be re-invested in programs that benefit all Wisconsinites. More coverage for less, that’s a great deal.

It’s a deal that just got better under the federal American Rescue Plan Act. Under this plan, if Wisconsin were to expand BadgerCare – as proposed in the Governor’s budget – Wisconsin would receive an additional billion dollar incentive payment.

Yes, you read that correctly. ONE BILLION DOLLARS. That’s in addition to the $634 million dollars of general purpose revenue Wisconsin would save and the 1.3 billion federal dollars we would leverage.

For those of you concerned about those big numbers and what that means for Wisconsin’s bottom line, it’s important to remember that Wisconsin would not save any money by choosing not to participate. Instead our tax dollars would go to other states that DO choose to participate. We are only one of twelve states that don’t.

If we have learned anything from the last year it’s the importance of access to affordable and quality healthcare. And once again, Gov. Evers is prioritizing healthcare for Wisconsinites by introducing a budget that makes critical investments in health services while also expanding BadgerCare.

jon-erpenbachWe’re now a full year into the COVID-19 pandemic and the stakes couldn’t be higher for our state’s ability to bounce back. The only thing standing between our state and over a billion dollars are legislative Republicans dead set on sticking it to the Governor.

During the last budget Republicans foolishly rejected BadgerCare expansion and there is absolutely no reason to make the same mistake again. Especially when there is even more money on the line.

There is no way to refute the fact that BadgerCare expansion is good for our state. States that have expanded their own programs saw positive impacts on their economies including: lower premiums, an increase in providers in rural areas, reductions in medical debt, reductions in infant mortality rates, and better reimbursements rates that helps attract and retain medical professionals.

More importantly it’s what you, the people of Wisconsin, want! The most recent Marquette Law Poll shows that 70% of Wisconsin residents approve of expanding BadgerCare.

It is the fiscally smart thing to do and the best deal for Wisconsin. To reject it would be a costly missed opportunity. Republicans have their second chance, and we should all be putting pressure on them to do what is right.

Jon Erpenbach represents the 27th Senate District which covers Sauk, Dane, Iowa, Columbia and Green County.

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The Climate Change Problem

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, 10 March 2021
in Wisconsin

flood-wi-fieldSen. Smith writes about the impact climate change is having on Wisconsin and, more specifically, our rural communities. This is the first in a two-part series about climate change.

MADISON - Cynicism runs rampant in our society and has very dangerous consequences. There are some indisputable facts that we all live with; for instance, we age every day, the earth revolves around the sun and we have 365 days in a year. We all experience this, so there shouldn’t be a debate.

So, why are there doubts about climate change? We experience more extreme weather events more often than ever before. We see it and we feel it. These changes affect our lives in many ways and raise questions about our future.

Governor Tony Evers recently appointed me to the Climate Change Task Force to replace recently-retired Sen. Mark Miller (D – Monona). The Task Force is made up of farmers, business leaders, conservationists, tribal leaders and a bipartisan group of state legislators. Since 2019, the Task Force learned how climate change is impacting Wisconsin. From personal experience and what I’ve learned so far from the Task Force, it’s clear we’re heading further down a dangerous road if we don’t act quickly and boldly enough on the impending climate crisis.

Many can point to the news of the California wildfires or the freezing temperatures in Texas as examples of climate change. But, there is an accelerating pattern of extreme weather events happening here in Wisconsin that calls on us to realize how serious we should be taking climate change.

Flooding, for example, has become much more frequent and destructive in western Wisconsin in recent years. Higher groundwater levels are a result of our climate’s rising temperatures. Rising temperatures in addition to increased rainfall contribute to these flooding disasters. Scientists expect temperatures to get warmer and rainfall events to increase, which will only make flooding more common and more severe in our rural communities.

Extreme weather events caused by climate change have significant economic and public health implications. In the last twenty years, weather disasters cost Wisconsin $100 billion in damages. According to the Wisconsin Hazard Mitigation, there is an estimated $40 billion worth of Wisconsin homes and businesses within a 100-year floodplain. Floods are known to ruin farmers’ livelihoods, displace families and create significant public safety hazards.

flooding-east-river-gb-wbayFloods are the deadliest natural disaster in the United States. Floods also pose dangerous long-term health repercussions. Floods carry contaminated groundwater from nearby CAFOs and expose households to mold contamination, which can lead to upper respiratory infections.

We’re seeing climate change in our own backyard, and yet many refuse to believe this reality. I believe those who perpetuate the “climate change is a hoax” myth are motivated by profit, especially the very wealthy fossil fuel energy corporations. They fear losing billions if we move toward making responsible, sustainable energy decisions.

jeff-smithIt reminds me of the way the tobacco industry paid their own researchers to lie about the fact that their products were killing people. It took decades for scientists and doctors to finally convince enough people that tobacco companies were lying about purposely adding addictive, carcinogenic ingredients just so they could get rich.

What could be the possible motive of climate research scientists who warn us about climate change? It isn’t profit. Our public universities, like the University of Wisconsin, house the foremost research facilities and experts in the world. Their motivations are purely professional and driven by science in their discipline. Whether they prove or disprove a theory doesn’t change their wealth or status in society. They’re motivated to make our world a better place.

According to NASA there’s consensus among scientists that climate change is the result of human behavior. Humans are responsible for deforestation and burning fossil fuels at an alarming rate, which have increased CO2 levels and made our planet warmer.

Humans have caused much of the problem, but we’re able to find solutions. It starts with admitting our problem and being accountable. Then it’s up to us to do our part. We must set aside the short-term need for profit and embrace the long-term need for survival.

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Raging Feminists Wrapped in Victim Blankets

Posted by Laura Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Laura Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Laura Kiefert lives in Howard and is a Partner in the Green Bay Progressive. Mem
User is currently offline
on Friday, 05 March 2021
in Wisconsin

laura-raging-femWoman, lifelong proud feminist, comments on where contemporary feminism seems to be going.

GREEN BAY, WI - This post might be particularly interesting to fellow Democrats. It’s part of the reason I’ve chosen to no longer be a member of my local chapter, the Democratic Party of Brown County Wisconsin .

I am proud to have been part of the women’s movement throughout my lifetime. A movement that won women the rights to vote, have credit cards, not be legally raped by their husbands, use birth control and generally be considered people instead of property, among other things.

As a result, issues such as basic inequality, sexual discrimination, the epidemic of domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse are now being addressed much differently and many freedoms have been won that had been denied to generations of women before mine.

However, I’m concerned about where contemporary feminism is going, and whether I can be part of it anymore. I’ve gotten old, but I’m still as passionately angry as ever about women being denied abortions, or treated like a piece of meat by lecherous bosses, or beaten up in their homes by husbands. I know what it feels like to have a loaded gun held to my head by an abusive husband, to be propositioned at work, denied a promotion solely because I was a woman. I have suffered my share of inappropriate comments and innuendoes from the opposite sex.

Regardless, I have always considered myself a survivor rather than a victim. I refuse to just assume I need protection from any person who doesn’t have a vagina. Being on guard and becoming enraged at every slight a man makes isn’t the most conducive way to effect change. And often, it turns the offender into he victim.

Outrage is easy to channel, hard to bottle up and at epidemic levels in so many areas of society that it’s difficult to take a step in today’s world without causing controversy. Moral certainty and intolerance are the vices that drag us into the worst of humanity’s sins. They do not provide the path towards a better future. Generalization is the mistake we make every time we set about changing the world by making enemies of those we feel have offended or insulted us in any way, or simply don’t agree with us.

Over the past few years mainstream feminism, like other forms of identity politics, has become obsessed with victimhood, in what I consider a seriously disempowering way. It has begun to feel like a religion, with its own strict rules about what women are permitted to say, do and think. And just as important, about what men are permitted to say or do, or behave.

In this world, a compliment, or a rude joke is harassment. A pat on the back is sexual assault. Asking someone out for a drink is abuse. Let me be clear: A violation of these rules may be unpleasant, but is NOT traumatic. Suggesting otherwise only diminishes the experience of those women who have indeed, suffered trauma.

laura-kiefert-2018For me, being a feminist has always meant supporting women’s freedom to be whoever they want to be, regardless of whether anyone else approves or not. I have come to believe that identity politics, taken to its extremes, is essentially divisive. The emphasis is on difference – what separates us from one another, not what unites us. Why would any confident, strong, capable woman want her identity wrapped up in being a victim?

In the highly competitive race for ultimate victimhood, contemporary feminism is already fractured along lines of class, race, sexual orientation, disability, and more. Women have become so enraged with the oppression they experience that they can’t hear anything but the muffled sound of their voices trying to escape from the victim blanket they have wrapped themselves so tightly in.

So, my advice is to stop raging. Solutions are not found when we are incensed. Instead of living in expectation of the next slight, try imagining that the vast majority of men want the same thing. The dream of a world more female shaped will only be realized using predominantly feminine qualities, such as reason, patience, endurance and emotional sensitivity. For that we need to be calm, rational and ready to listen, not in a state of rage. And, not by assuming the role of victim.

Laura Kiefert
Green Bay Progressive

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