Monday December 11, 2017

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Elections, Elected Officials and Political Parties
Operating Engineers Local 139 Endorses Mahlon Mitchell for Governor PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Mahlon Mitchell Press   
Monday, 04 December 2017 15:21

operating-engineersLargest Construction Union Says: “It’s Time for Change in Wisconsin.”

Today, Operating Engineers Local 139, the largest construction union in Wisconsin, announced their support for Mahlon Mitchell’s campaign for governor. Local 139 is the first labor union to announce their support in the race for governor.

“It's time for change in Wisconsin. That's why we are supporting Mahlon Mitchell for governor,” Local 139 President Terry McGowan said. “Mahlon has stood up for the working men and women across Wisconsin when we needed it most. He knows that we can't move forward as a state if our workers and families fall behind other states. And he understands that we need to put Wisconsin back to work- whether it's on our schools or our roads.

“We can create an economy right here with good jobs--jobs can sustain our families and rebuild our state. But it requires all hands working. That's why we are proud to stand with Mahlon Mitchell in this campaign. We need his perspective and his leadership more than ever."

Mitchell, a 20-year fire fighter who heads the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin thanked Local 139 for their support, saying:

“When I decided to run for governor, I knew we'd need all hands working. And that's what this endorsement from the Operating Engineers represents. They share my vision for building the most skilled workforce in the country, and creating good-paying jobs by getting to work on our 49th-in-the-nation roads. It’s time for change in Wisconsin and I’m proud to be standing with the Operating Engineers in this fight.”

Most IUOE Local 139 members are heavy equipment operators working in the construction industry who run everything from tower cranes to forklifts. The local also represents a number of public sector employees in various towns, villages, cities, and counties.

About Mahlon Mitchell:

mahlon_mitchellMahlon Mitchell was born in Milwaukee and grew up in Delavan, Wisconsin. He now lives with his wife, April and two children, Sie’anna and Karson, in Fitchburg.

Mahlon followed in his older brother’s footsteps when he became a fire fighter in Madison twenty years ago. His two brothers are fire fighters in Atlanta and St. Paul. These careers came out of a family that instilled values of service and working for others.

This sense of service is also exemplified in Mahlon’s other activities. He was a counselor at the Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety’s Burn Camp, which he also directed for five years. This summer camp worked with burn-injured youth to help them cope with their unique situation and build a network of support.

Mahlon also worked as a street outreach coordinator with Briarpatch and Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin, where he linked at-risk youth with services from their community.

Recently, Mahlon was instrumental to passing two pieces of legislation that were a huge victory for fire fighters across the state. The Infectious Disease Presumption fought to make sure fire fighters are covered if they contract a disease or disability on the job. Additionally, the legislature passed a bill that ensures families and spouses of fire fighters who die in the line of duty will have their health insurance premiums covered.

When the fight over collective bargaining began in 2011, Mahlon led the fire fighters in a monumental stand of solidarity with other public servants. Despite being exempted from the bill, Mahlon and his fellow fire fighters marched on the Capitol with fellow working families that were threatened by the Budget Repair Bill.

Mahlon took the opportunity to travel the state as a fire fighter spreading the words about Scott Walker’s divisive policies.

In addition to his service in the community, Mahlon was a real estate agent for six years at First Weber in Madison. He currently serves as President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, being the youngest and first African American to serve in the post.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 December 2017 15:40
Meet the League's new staff at our State Office PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by League Women Voters WI, Andrea Kaminski   
Sunday, 03 December 2017 15:08

lwv-wi-staffEileen Newcomer and Ellen Penwell join the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

MADISON - We are thrilled to welcome two new staff members to the LWV State Office this fall.

Eileen Newcomer joined our staff in November as Voter Education Coordinator. Eileen comes with a strong background in nonprofit work and a keen commitment to free, fair and accessible elections in Wisconsin. She will be leading our voter guide and election observation programs.

Eileen says, “I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to join the amazing team at the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and be a part of moving the League’s work forward as Voter Education Coordinator. Voting is such a powerful form of civic engagement. It’s how “we the people” share our voice and make real, lasting change happen. I’m excited to be able to contribute to the League and our state and do my part to encourage informed participation in our electoral system.”

In October Ellen Penwell joined the staff as our Membership and Event Coordinator. Ellen's experience and leadership with the League of Women Voters Whitewater Area give her a knowledgeable perspective for this new position at the state office.

Ellen says of her new position, "I’m very excited to begin working on productive and creative ways to enhance the League’s membership throughout the state. Working together with local Leagues, I believe we can explore innovative ways to increase and diversify League membership and nurture new leaders along the way."

Together with Erin Grunze as our incoming Executive Director, we look forward to empowering more voters and providing more support to our local Leagues in the 2018 election year!

Thank you to our League members and friends for giving of your time, talent and treasure to safeguarding democracy. If you contributed to the League on Giving Tuesday, a special thanks!

Matt Flynn Releases Proposal to Fix Student Loan Crisis PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Forward with Flynn, Bryan Kennedy   
Friday, 01 December 2017 19:59

student-debt-collegeFlynn slams Republican inaction on lowering the cost of student loans

GREEN BAY – Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn today unveiled his proposal to fix the student loan crisis at an event at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay.

Flynn said, "Banks, abetted by their Republican cohorts in the Legislature, are profiting at the expense of our students."

matt-flynn"When student loan programs began, the federal government loaned money directly to students, or bank loans were part of a federally-regulated and subsidized system," Flynn continued. "The program was designed to allow students to focus on their education and to graduate with a degree in a timely manner. They were not meant to enrich banks. As the program became more privatized, this changed."

"Today, most student loans have interest rates well above the current cost of money. Refinancing is limited; usually only once, and only within a certain interest rate range based on the rate at the time of first loan origination. Large monthly payments force many to forego buying homes, purchasing new automobiles, or starting a family. Student loan debt in Wisconsin is estimated to be $24 billion. The state ranks 10th in the nation for the number of college students with debt (800,000)."

Flynn's Solutions to the Student Debt Crisis:

  1. Pass legislation that allows borrowers to refinance their student loan debt when rates drop.
  2. Establish the Wisconsin Student Loan Authority.

"I propose the formation of a Wisconsin Student Loan Authority to regulate and guarantee student loans at Wisconsin colleges and universities and to promote the re-financing of student loan debt when interest rates go down," said Flynn. "It will include loan repayment options that are a percentage of a student’s post-education income instead of a fixed amount that exhausts take home pay at entry-level jobs. This authority will be based on the best practices of existing student loan authorities around the country."

"Student loans don’t need to be as complicated as they are now, and banks don’t need to be in control of the lending process. We need to return to what worked best for students, not for the banks. Loans should be extended by banks but guaranteed and regulated by the government. We will expect banks to charge an interest rate that reflects the safety of a loan that is guaranteed by the government."

Student loans should help students graduate faster and start earning earlier. Currently, students are discouraged from this course by the unnecessarily high cost of borrowing. Flynn’s proposal enables the former and fixes the latter.


Matt Flynn is a Navy veteran, attorney, and former Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. He attended law school at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

For additional information, visit

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