Thursday September 19, 2019

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John N. Powers, Wittenberg

John N. Powers, Wittenberg

John N. Powers, Wittenberg, a Vietnam Veteran, has his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from UW-Stevens Point and 31 years teaching experience in Shawano county schools. He is a Candidate for Wisconsin's 2nd Senate seat. You can find out more about John Powers for State Senate on FaceBook or at www.voterpowers.com

What Do Rigged Elections Really Look Like?

Posted by John N. Powers, Wittenberg
John N. Powers, Wittenberg
John N. Powers, Wittenberg, a Vietnam Veteran, has his Bachelor's and Master's d
User is currently offline
on Monday, 24 October 2016
in Wisconsin

capitol-nightPower to draw new legislative district boundaries after 2010 election gave GOP 60% of State Assembly seats with only 46% of the votes and resulted in restrictive voter ID laws, environmental laws written by corporate lobbyists, John Doe changes to protect politicians and attacks on labor.


WITTENBERG, WI - You want to talk about rigged elections? Look no further than Wisconsin. Five years ago, Republicans in Madison spent two million taxpayer dollars in secret meetings to approve new legislative district boundaries. These elected officials were not involved in deciding on the new boundaries, they were simply given the new maps-after they signed an oath not to discuss the maps with the pubic that had elected them. The new district boundaries had immediate results in the 2012 election. There were 1.4 million Democratic votes cast that year and 1.2 million Republican votes. Yet Republicans won 60 of the 99 Assembly seats while the Democrats won only 39. That means Democrats cast 54% of the votes but won only 40% of the elections. Gerrymandering at its best-and worst.

The federal judges in the lawsuit that resulted from this process said “the people of Wisconsin deserve better.” What the people of Wisconsin got was hundreds of millions of dollars cut from public education, hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for corporations, a state jobs agency that catered to political donors, some of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation, environmental laws written by corporate lobbyists, John Doe changes that protect politicians in Madison (and only them) from being investigated for bribery or corruption, a mandate that sex education in our schools teach abstinence only, and attacks on labor. That is just the short list. Republicans even eliminated language in state law that said workers should receive wages that provide for an adequate standard of living.

These changes were not made at the request of Wisconsin voters. They were taken by Republicans from the playbook of the American Legislative Exchange Council. A former Republican state senator, who was there, said our legislators were “pawns awaiting bills written by special interests.”

This is what rigged elections look like. And this is the direction Wisconsin will continue to take unless we vote out of office the very people who rigged the elections in the first place. We don’t even have to meet in secret to do so. Let’s just pick a day to meet in public to cast our votes. How about November 8th?

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Has State Senator Rob Cowles Gone Missing?

Posted by John N. Powers, Wittenberg
John N. Powers, Wittenberg
John N. Powers, Wittenberg, a Vietnam Veteran, has his Bachelor's and Master's d
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 12 October 2016
in Wisconsin

rob-cowlesWells in Kewaunee County are unsafe for drinking, the cost of electricity is up, citizens across the state are increasingly concerned about the lack of funding for our public schools, and after 34 years in Madison not a peep from our senator.


WITTENBERG, WI - Robert Cowles is chair of the Natural Resources and Energy committee in the state senate.  He is the senior Republican in the senate.  You would think his 34 years in Madison would make him easily recognizable in the rest of the state.  But he seems to have gone missing.

A recent audit by the state Legislative Audit Bureau found our DNR failed to follow their policies on enforcement of water regulations more than 94% of the time in the last ten years.  Among other problems this has led to 1/3 of the wells in Kewaunee County found to be unsafe for drinking.  The state ignored the problem for so long that residents of the county pushed for EPA involvement.  This summer the EPA and our DNR issued suggestions for new regulations on manure spreading in the county.  Those suggestions were sent by the governor to a major dairy lobby which sent back their own regulations.  Those were then accepted by the DNR.  No action from our missing senator. Poisoned wells are apparently not a priority.   Maybe it is not his fault, he has only been chair of the Natural Resources committee for a few years.

But he has been on the Energy committee since 2009.  For the past two months state media has been talking about potential problems with the cost of electricity in Wisconsin.  It seems for the past 15 years the growth in the electrical rates in Wisconsin has been the highest in the region.  Some Wisconsin companies are charged 25% more for their power than regional averages.  Wisconsin now has the highest electrical rates in the Midwest.  There is the potential here for major companies to pull all or part of their business out of the state.  This would devastate our economy.  Again, nothing from our missing senator.

Citizens across the state are increasingly concerned about the lack of funding for our public schools.  People are beginning to question the reason for vouchers in the first place when studies show no improvement in test scores in voucher schools compared to public schools.  The loss of public tax dollars to voucher schools in the state is becoming more and more of a problem for local school districts.  District after district is being forced to go to referendum to keep their local schools open.  Not a peep from our senator.  Is that maybe because he has supported spending public tax dollars on private schools every step of the way?

Is he missing or just hiding?  With the election less than a month away maybe he feels he has nothing to lose by hiding.  Strange that someone with 34 years in state government would feel vulnerable, would not feel comfortable standing on their record, would be afraid to stand up for the people of Wisconsin.

I feel very comfortable with my record.  I am a Vietnam veteran, earned a Master’s degree in education, taught in Shawano county schools for 31 years, and have spent the last 10 years working in health care. Maybe we should quit looking for what is missing and simply find a new state senator.

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Drinking Water in Madison Tainted

Posted by John N. Powers, Wittenberg
John N. Powers, Wittenberg
John N. Powers, Wittenberg, a Vietnam Veteran, has his Bachelor's and Master's d
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 01 September 2016
in Wisconsin

clean-drinking-waterWe have problems with our drinking water around the State and muddled thinking with our legislators in Madison. What can be done?


WITTENBERG, WI - You have seen the newspaper articles about Wisconsin’s water problems. How in 2009 high level of viruses were found in city water around the state and our legislators required testing and treatment of those water supplies. In 2011 legislators repealed that requirement.

In 2010 regulations were designed to reduce phosphorus in our waters. In 2011 legislators began fighting those regulations and eventually allowed compliance to be pushed back twenty years.

In 2014 molybdenum was found in twenty percent of private wells tested in the south east part of the state. The closer the wells were to recycled coal ash sites the higher the concentration. The DNR said the evidence was not strong enough to make any link.

Unsafe nitrate levels have been found in the drinking water of 94,000 homes in Wisconsin. Legislators created a compensation fund for those contaminated wells-but only if the well supplied drinking water for cattle, not children. The EPA says two thirds of the municipal and wastewater treatment plants and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Wisconsin operate with expired discharge permits. One third of the wells in Kewaunee County have tested unsafe for drinking water. And while all this has been happening our DNR has issued citations in only four percent of the water pollution cases considered serious enough to warrant such citations. These problems have been making headlines in our newspapers on a regular basis.

What is not being discussed is the problem with contaminated drinking water in Madison, especially in the capitol building. That contamination seems to have started about the time our legislators repealed the requirement for testing and treatment of city water supplies. First it was decided our teachers were responsible for all of the state’s economic woes and had to be punished. Then hundreds of millions were cut from state aid to public schools and the university system. At the same a tax credit was created that reduced business owners state income tax to zero, a credit that required no job creation and will reduce state income by about $2 billion over the next ten years. Another law as passed that prohibited local school districts from making up their losses by raising their property taxes. Finally, the school voucher program was expanded and the decision made to completely remove the cap on the program in ten years. It was also decided to give more tax dollars per pupil to private schools than to public schools and to give parents of those private school students a $10,000 tax credit.

No logical thinking person would deliberately harm one of the nation’s finest public school systems this way on purpose. No one elected to represent the people of this state would deliberately turn against them this way. Wisconsin’s most important resource is her children and the future they represent. No one would deliberately take steps to harm that future. There can only be one explanation for the decisions coming from the capitol building that are destroying our schools. The drinking water is contaminated.

What can be done? Our attorney general and our Department of Natural Resources say they have no authority to protect our state’s water. No help there. After hours of research I have found an old remedy that was first used in 1845. Folk wisdom says not only can this remedy solve water contamination problems but many others as well. The steps involved are almost like an exorcism. On the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November people around the state must gather together in specific locations during specific hours of the day and mark pieces of paper with an X. If enough of those people do this correctly the water in Madison will be clean once again.

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