Tuesday October 15, 2019

Forward with Education & Reason

Democratic Radio: A Budget for the People PDF Print E-mail
Written by Assembly Democrats   
Thursday, 07 March 2019 11:10

door-county-peopleMADISON - This week, Rep. Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire) talks about a budget that focuses on the things that matter to everyday people.

Audio File of Radio Address

jodi-emersonThis is State Representative Jodi Emerson with this week’s Democratic Address.

Every two years, the state budget lays out the priorities for Wisconsin.

It details all of the spending decisions by our state government during that period.

Last week, Governor Evers gave his first state budget address outlining his vision for Wisconsin’s future.

I was thrilled to hear about a budget that focuses on the things that matter to everyday people.

After his election, the Governor toured the state conducting listening sessions where Wisconsinites could weigh in – to be a part of the process.

These authentic conversations lead to the budget the Governor introduced. And that is why it is being touted as “The People’s Budget”.

People told the Governor they’re concerned about the quality of their drinking water - so the budget allocates $70 million dollars in bonding to remediate contaminated wells and replace lead service lines.

People told the Governor they want strong public schools – so the budget includes historic investments in K-12 public education and our UW System.

The Governor’s education plan ensures that every child, regardless of their zip code, will receive a high quality public education.

People also told the Governor they want us to fix our crumbling roads – so the budget addresses this head on with real solutions. After eight years of inaction, the people want results – not politicians offering empty promises.

And finally, the people told the Governor they need more affordable, accessible options for health care – so the budget accepts the federal Medicaid expansion dollars that Republicans have refused for nearly a decade.

This decision will allow us to cover more people AND save money. That’s a good deal for our state.

This is a budget that works for all of us.

I am hopeful that Republicans will join legislative Democrats at the table to work on this budget.

After all, it was the citizens of Wisconsin, who we represent, that helped create this vision.

Thank you.

Budget Has a Bold Vision on Clean Water, Clean Energy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wisconsin Conservation Voters, Ryan Billingham   
Saturday, 02 March 2019 15:56

clean-drinking-waterEnvironmental advocate group says Evers’ budget tackles two of the most significant problems we face as a state, unsafe drinking water and climate change.

MADISON – With his proposed budget tonight, Gov. Tony Evers made a bold, visionary commitment to clean energy, clean water, and science-based policy.

Governor Evers’ proposed budget includes a call for Wisconsin to set a statutory goal to have all electricity produced in the state be carbon-free by 2050. It also commits resources to fight the state’s drinking water crisis on multiple fronts, and it creates an Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy at the Department of Administration.

Executive Director Kerry Schumann had this to say about Gov. Evers’ budget:

solar-panel“Gov. Evers’ budget tackles two of the most significant problems we face as a state: unsafe drinking water and climate change. His budget embraces science, sets Wisconsin on a path to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, and combats the drinking water crisis in the state, from manure to lead to emerging contaminants like toxic firefighting foam.

kewaunee-countyOver and over, voters across the state made it clear that these are the issues that top their concerns. Tonight, Governor Evers showed that he is listening to Wisconsinites. If approved, this budget has the potential to protect Wisconsin families, create jobs, and mitigate our role in climate change. We applaud the Governor for this bold budget.

We are disappointed that Governor Evers failed to reauthorize the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program. We appreciate his plan to bring diverse stakeholders together to determine the next phase of the program but are disappointed that his budget only allocates funding for two years at current levels. We’ll work with his Administration and the entire legislature to support and enhance this important program in this budget and into the future.

We thank Gov. Evers for this bold vision for Wisconsin’s future. We look forward to working with his Administration and legislators to make this budget a reality.”


Engaging voters to protect Wisconsin's environment.

People's Budget Lays the Foundation for Our Future PDF Print E-mail
Written by Assembly Democrats, Aaron Collins   
Saturday, 02 March 2019 15:38

tony-eversEducation, Health Care, and Transportation Prioritized

MADISON – Thursday night, Governor Tony Evers gave his first budget address to the Wisconsin State Legislature. In the speech, the Governor laid out his vision for the future of Wisconsin. After holding listening sessions across the state, the Administration built the biennial budget from the thoughts, values, and priorities of the people of Wisconsin. Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) released the following statement on the Governor’s address and the biennial budget proposal:

gordon_hintz“I thought Governor Evers knocked it out of the park tonight. This budget, the people’s budget, takes our state in a new direction. A direction that invests in the issues that matter to families across Wisconsin. It takes the first steps towards fixing our transportation infrastructure crisis. It gives Wisconsinites access to affordable, accessible health care by accepting the federal Medicaid expansion. And it works to fix the disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.”

“The Governor’s priorities are Wisconsin priorities. We know that the people overwhelmingly support our Democratic agenda. Things like redistricting reform, medical marijuana, and a tax cut for the middle class have broad, bi-partisan support. It’s time to stop the political games and work toward these policies the public wants.

“And finally, the cornerstone of this budget is a historic investment in education. From our public K-12 schools to our tech schools and UW System, the Governor knows that nothing lays the foundation for future success like world class public schools. Our students and parents deserve nothing less.

“I look forward to debating this budget, and I am hopeful that my colleagues across the aisle will listen to their constituents – the people of Wisconsin – who played such a large role in crafting this budget.”

Bowen Commends Governors’ Historic & Visionary Budget PDF Print E-mail
Written by Assembly Democrats, Bryce Dille   
Saturday, 02 March 2019 15:27

capital-madisonwiRefreshing to See a Budget that Puts People First

MADISON - Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement in response to Gov. Evers’ first budget address Thursday evening:

david-bowen“Tonight, Governor Evers laid out a budget blueprint that finally puts the people of Wisconsin first. Under the failed leadership of the former administration, we could only watch while Scott Walker and Republicans cut necessary funding for our state and citizens while prioritizing the whims of wealthy corporations, growing poverty & the prison population exploding. For too many years, Republicans failed to adequately fund critical investments in education, health care and infrastructure all while ignoring the needs of everyday Wisconsinites.”

In his first budget address, Gov. Evers outlined a welcome and ambitious plan to not only pursue the measures outlined above, but to also legalize medicinal marijuana, provide tax relief to middle-class families, allow undocumented people access to formal identification, ensure clean drinking water for the people of Wisconsin, and take partisanship out of the redistricting process.

“I was especially pleased to see Gov. Evers’ commitment to properly fund education at two-thirds in his budget. We can lead the Federal Government to match us and recommit two-thirds funding for the whole country. While this budget is likely going to be the subject of much debate, ensuring our children’s education futures should be a point of bipartisan agreement from a Governor that was the former State Superintendent of Public Schools. I sincerely hope that my Republican colleagues can agree that the Education section of the budget should be agreed to in full.

“I look forward to working with Governor Evers, his Administration and all members of the legislature to make this budget a reality. Together, we can embody ‘What's best for our kids is what's best for our State.’”

The People’s Budget is a Win for Wisconsin PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats, Kate Constalie   
Saturday, 02 March 2019 15:17

crowdFor the first time in eight years, we have a Governor that is listening to Wisconsinites says Shilling.

MADISON – After months of open discussions with community leaders, students, families and seniors, Governor Tony Evers has unveiled his 2019-2021 State Budget. Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:

jennifer-shilling“It’s a new day in Wisconsin. For the first time in eight years, we have a Governor that is listening to Wisconsinites and connecting the dots to create a budget that reflects our values. It’s clear that this proposal isn’t a Republican budget or a Democratic budget, but the People’s Budget – a budget that restores tax fairness for working families, puts more money into local classrooms, and ensures more Wisconsinites have access to affordable health care.

“Democrats are eager to work with Gov. Evers and deliver on his promise to protect access to clean drinking water, close corporate tax loopholes, increase child care affordability and invest in 21st century infrastructure. By fixing our crumbling roads, repairing outdated bridges and expanding high-speed broadband access, we can open the door to a world of opportunities for communities across Wisconsin. This is a budget that works for everyone and tackles the tough issues that have been ignored for far too long.”

Healthcare on the March - Battleground Wisconsin Podcast PDF Print E-mail
Written by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Matt Brusky   
Friday, 01 March 2019 12:55

healthWe talk about healthcare reform, Medicare For All, BadgerCare, and our efforts to support the Governor as he starts his new administration.

MILWAUKEE - This week progressive Democrats in Congress introduced the gold standard in healthcare reform, Medicare For All, with an impressive 100+ co-sponsors. We talk about why the bill matters despite its dim prospects for immediate passage. Turning to Wisconsin, we look at the official announcement by Governor Tony Evers that he will include BadgerCare Expansion in his first state budget.

Citizen Action members are already fully mobilized to support the Governor, holding news conferences in Appleton and Wausau and hosting 11 watch parties during Thursday night's State Budget Address. Robert educates us on the devastating potential impact of a big push by hospital lobbyists for a "private option" insurance scheme to replace BadgerCare Expansion. We review newly announced state budget provisions, including nonpartisan redistricting, freezing voucher and charter schools, and in-state tuition rates for all — regardless of immigration status. We close the show by exposing a shameful GOP effort to blackball Nicole Safar from Planned Parenthood--a previous guest on Battleground Wisconsin and friend of Citizen Action--from serving in the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Press Clips

Evers and Barnes on Democratic Weekly Radio PDF Print E-mail
Written by GOV Press Wisconsin   
Thursday, 28 February 2019 00:00

tony-evers-mandela-barnesMADISON - New Governor Tony Evers and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes take to the air to talk about their 2019 budget.

Audio File of Radio Address

Governor Tony Evers: Hi everybody! I’m Governor Tony Evers.

Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes: And I’m Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes. We’re just one day away from releasing our 2019 budget, and we think you’re really going to like it.

Gov. Evers: Mandela and I hosted listening sessions around the state to learn about issues you wanted addressed in our budget. We took all that feedback you gave us and made sure it was incorporated as much as possible into the budget. We’ve put the finishing touches on it, and I’m proud to say that this budget was built by Wisconsinites and for Wisconsinites.

Lt. Gov. Barnes: This budget tackles some really big issues. We’re going to be making healthcare more affordable and accessible. We’re bringing science back to the Department of Natural Resources and making serious investments to combat climate change.

Gov. Evers: We’re cleaning up Wisconsin’s drinking water, we’re lowering taxes for hardworking families, and we’re funding education so all of Wisconsin’s kids have the opportunity to succeed. 

Lt. Gov. Barnes: This budget, like everything the governor and I do, is for you. We’re excited to keep listening, learning from, and working with people like all of you, as we work to make Wisconsin a more sustainable and more equitable state.

Gov. Evers: So thanks for all you've done to help us put together this budget. We can’t wait to show it to you.

You Really Believe That?!? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Laura Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive   
Sunday, 24 February 2019 11:09

woman-surpriseOur Laura Kiefert introduces her new blog with a piece about the crazy things you’ll hear if you actually talk to one of the Trump believers who hang out at our senior centers and listen only to Fox "News".

GREEN BAY, WI - There’s a person who has played an important role in my life whose beliefs regarding politics and religion differ from my own. I am a progressive, liberal Democrat. She is not. We had previously agreed “not to go there”. However, last night, we did. What she told me left me wondering, “How in the world could anyone possibly believe such ridiculous shit?”

Among the beliefs she revealed were:

  • Planned Parenthood intentionally performs abortions in order to harvest and sell baby body parts for large profits.
  • Baby body parts that aren’t sold are cannibalized by Democrats who support abortion.
  • Hillary Clinton has had 57 people shot in the back of the head to cover up the Clinton’s crimes.
  • George H.W. Bush was executed years earlier and the coffin at his recent funeral was empty.
  • George W. and Jeb Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama were served indictments at the funeral and are already being held at Guantanamo Bay, which was currently rebuilt to accommodate them.
  • All the above were served indictments at George H.W. Bush’s funeral. Sightings of these people, including Obama’s recent attendance at the basketball game in Durham, N.D. were staged using body doubles.
  • Hillary and Bill Clinton are the worst criminals ever in American history.
  • The only mainstream media that can believed is Fox News and any facts provided by anyone aligned with the Democratic Party are fake.
  • Trump is a Christian who attends church regularly.
  • The Democratic Party is evil and full of haters.
  • Trump is a brilliant businessman who has made billions of dollars and has never filed bankruptcy.
  • Republicans won’t cut Social Security or Medicare, they just need to cut Welfare and Food Stamps for the overwhelming number of people who need to get a job, who don’t deserve it, and who either sell or give what they get from government programs away.
  • Although she lives on Social Security, gets Medicare and lives in a rent assisted senior building, she firmly opposes Socialism because she doesn’t want the government involved in her life.
  • Trump is much smarter than Democrats think and he has a plan in place to take down the entire “Deep State” that includes the CIA, the FBI and Nation Security, all who have been complicit in covering up the Clinton crimes.

While looking on the Internet for information to repudiate her, I ran across several YouTube videos published by a Psychic Medium named Utsavo that elaborated the claims we had discussed, as well as claims of aliens, UFO’s and multiple conspiracy theories. I concluded that must be her main source of information. See: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk8GhT9HVdf1_s9cxtvRFXw

laura-kiefertI texted her thirteen links to reputable sources with facts disputing the above outrageous assertions, which I assume she never bothered to open. She responded with a simple text, “I vote for whoever I feel will benefit me personally.”

I’m left wondering why people believe such stupid shit.

I suppose since we both strongly identify with opposite sides of the political spectrum, we each think the other is willfully ignoring the facts and firmly believes our own facts are true and the other’s are false. We both probably think the other is either ignorant, ill-informed disingenuous, or nuts. At first, I thought she was trying to yank my chain. Numerous times I asked things like, “Are you kidding me”, or “You can’t be serious” or “Where did you get that?”

Her responses were were all in the affirmative. “Yes” or “You betcha” or “ I sure do.” To say the least, I was flabbergasted by her admissions and I admit by the end of our conversation I had concluded she had taken a head-first dive off the crazy bridge into the Looney River.

I am a person who relies heavily on science. I read a lot, question everything, and base my beliefs on facts, reason, critical thinking and common sense. It’s impossible for me to comprehend why anyone wants to disagree with science or what is obviously true and instead trust psychic tabloid nonsense.

I know there are people that trick themselves into believing that the facts aren't relevant and the modern media landscape seems to be amplifying the retreat from facts. Therefore, making it harder and harder to determine what the real truth is. I understand we now live in a world where people promote red facts and blue facts, and these biased motivated-reasoning processes fuel political conflict. But, blocking out information we disagree with, through social media echo chambers, reading partisan news, or only surrounding ourselves with friends who agree with us, just leads to promoting conspiracy theories that makes matters worse.

So, I’m done with making arguments to convince others to stop drinking the Kool-aid. It’s a waste of time and I think it’s more probable that talking about these issues cause people to double down and become even more stubborn and radical.

Bottom line, there are people who will believe what they want to believe and disregard the rest. The problem is when people dismiss as unconvincing any information that contradicts their opinion, the result is, well, the Trump Administration.


Read more of Laura's blogs at https://laurakiefert.com/blog/

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 February 2019 12:23
Gruszynski praises Gov. Evers Healthy Women, Healthy Babies Initiative PDF Print E-mail
Written by Assembly Democrats   
Friday, 22 February 2019 17:28

childcare-infantGov. Evers plan to invest almost $28 million to improve birth outcomes are essential steps for all mothers and babies in Wisconsin says Green Bay State Representative.

GREEN BAY – State Representative Staush Gruszynski (D-Green Bay) expressed his support for Governor Evers plan to include provisions aimed at improving birth outcomes and increasing access to women’s health care services in his 2019-2021 State Budget.

staush-gruszynski“Expanding access to preventative care and working to reduce racial disparities among Wisconsin infants are essential steps toward improving outcomes for all mothers and babies in Wisconsin,” Gruszynski said. “Every Wisconsinite deserves access to quality care, and it is vital that we ensure that mothers and newborns have a healthy start, regardless of where they live, their skin color, or their socioeconomic status. I was excited to learn the details of Governor Evers plan to invest almost $28 million to improve birth outcomes in our state.”

Initiatives announced Tuesday include an Infant Mortality Prevention Program, an extension of post-partum Medicaid eligibility for women covered under the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the reinstatement of funding for evidence-based reproductive health services, among others.

Wisconsin is Ready for Medical Marijuana PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District   
Friday, 22 February 2019 17:04

chronic-pain-mgmtSen. Jon Erpenbach tells a very personal story on why he supports Governor Evers’ budget proposal to legalize medical marijuana.

MADISON - Over a decade ago, I was introduced to a woman named Jacki Rickert. She wasn’t the first person to come into my office advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana, that was Gary Storck, but she made a lasting impression. By the end of the meeting she was in terrible pain. Unable to walk or sit comfortably in a wheelchair, her friends and fellow advocates actually lifted her out the window of my ground floor office into a vehicle waiting to take her home. She was a pioneer in the movement to advance the cause of medical marijuana.

critical-illnessJacki had been diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlo Syndrome. At one point, in a tremendous amount of pain, and down to a mere 68 pounds, she discovered that marijuana brought her appetite back and alleviated her pain. Seeing these results, in 1990, in Mondovi, WI, a physician wrote a prescription for Jacki to obtain marijuana, and enrolled her in a small federal program allowing its use for medical purposes. The trouble was, she was never able to legally access that medicine, so she and others started an advocacy and awareness campaigned called “Is my Medicine Legal Yet?”

Along the way, politicians from both sides of the aisle have taken up the mantle of medical use. Frank Boyle (D-Phillips) introduced a bill back in 1997, and Republicans like Greg Underheim, (R-Oshkosh) and Rick Skinrud (R-Mt. Horeb) were also among the first to introduce medical marijuana bills. Then- state legislators Tammy Baldwin and Mark Pocan, were also early champions and it was Rep. Pocan who brought me on board in 2007.

jon-erpenbachWhen I introduced the first Senate companion with Rep. Pocan in 2009, as Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, we held a public hearing and people from across Wisconsin came to tell their heartbreaking stories. We heard from people with debilitating conditions who had found that opiates and other narcotics prescribed by physicians did little to alleviate their symptoms, and the side effects of those legal drugs were more than they could bear. Marijuana, however, had given them relief. Unfortunately, that is when they had to reluctantly break the law, becoming criminals for trying to obtain the one thing working to help them.

medical-marijuanaBack then, and even today, there are legislators who are not ready to allow medical marijuana to go forward, giving in to the many myths surrounding marijuana. However, as usual, the public is way ahead of the politicians. Last fall, nearly a million voters in 16 counties and two cities, answered yes on nonbinding referenda asking if marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use; and in my office the folder of contacts from people who support medical marijuana has grown so large it needs its own drawer in the file cabinet. Nationwide polling from Quinnipiac in the spring of 2018 showed 93% of Americans support medical marijuana and no state that has passed a medical marijuana program has ever repealed it.

Jacki Rickert succumbed to her long illness the day after Christmas in 2017. She did not live long enough to see her medicine become legal. People like Jacki and Gary Storck, and veterans like Steve Acheson and the other members of Wisconsin Veterans for Compassionate Care; they are the reason I have continued to introduce bills to legalize medical marijuana every session since 2009. They are the reason I support Governor Evers’ budget proposal and they are the reason I will continue to reach across the aisle and work with my Republican colleagues to get Wisconsin to join the 30 other states who allow their citizens to access marijuana to alleviate conditions like glaucoma, cancer, ALS, chronic pain, PTSD, and, of course, Ehlers-Danlo.

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