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Wisconsin Progress Needs Help with Redistricting Recruitment Fund PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Wisconsin Progress   
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:08

wis-progress-logoMADISON - Since the news broke on Friday that new district lines will be drawn by November 1, 2017, our phones here at Wisconsin Progress have been off the hook with supporters asking us to expand our recruiting efforts to new parts of the state. Since we only currently have capacity to recruit in our targeted areas, we decided to create a segregated Redistricting Recruitment Fund to expand our recruiting efforts to new parts of the state.

Wisconsin Progress is going to be busier than ever looking to recruit, train, and elect new state representatives and state senators all across the state. But we can't do it without your help! It's going to take a lot of time and resources to recruit solid candidates in all these newly drawn districts!

Can you chip in to the Wisconsin Progress Redistricting Recruitment Fund?

The new redistricting lines will most likely create more swing districts in Wisconsin and increase the amount of necessary candidates needed to be recruited for 2018. Wisconsin Progress is the only organization in the state dedicated to recruiting, training, and electing candidates to local and legislative office across Wisconsin.

Help expand Wisconsin Progress's recruiting efforts by donating to the Redistricting Recruitment Fund!

Thank you for your help!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:56
 
Tammy Baldwin in Strong Position for 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Baldwin Press   
Monday, 23 January 2017 10:25

tammy_baldwinSenator Tammy Baldwin won a sweeping victory in 2012 over former Governor Tommy Thompson and will continue to hold Republicans accountable for their actions in Washington as the 2018 election approaches. During her term, Tammy has traveled the state and stayed connected to Wisconsin.


MADISON - In 2012, Tammy Baldwin was elected to the Senate in a sweeping victory, winning counties in all four corners of the state with substantial majorities.  Just as she said during the campaign, Tammy has taken on the powerful interests in Washington and fought for Wisconsin’s working families. She continues to aggressively travel across Wisconsin meeting with constituents to hear their concerns and bring their ideas back to Washington. Meanwhile, Tammy has built a robust war chest, preparing for an election where Wisconsin Republicans will be facing a strong headwind led by the Republican establishment in Washington.

Tammy Baldwin is a proven, strong statewide candidate. Not only did Tammy win 13 counties in 2012 that President Trump carried in 2016, she earned more votes than either Trump or Senator Johnson, despite running against popular former Governor Tommy Thompson. Tammy won 31 counties in 2012; and outperformed President Obama in 9 counties.

In 2012, Tammy was elected to take on the powerful special interests in Washington and fight for Wisconsin. She has never been afraid to stand up and fight to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. When she first joined Congress she stood up to Wall Street lobbyists and she will not let Congress hand everything over to Wall Street to write their own rules again. Tammy has taken on the rigged system and introduced legislation to close the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington.

During her term, Tammy has traveled the state and stayed connected to Wisconsin. She’s visited towns large and small.  She’s held roundtables on student debt and college affordability. She’s visited technical schools to discuss support for workforce readiness. She’s brought people together to deliver funding for the opiate crisis. She’s made the Buy American fight her fight. She’s talked to communities about taking on special interests and holding them accountable by introducing legislation to stop the revolving door between the Administration and Wall Street, requiring hedge fund managers to pay their fair share and defending Wisconsin’s Main Streets against Wall Street interests.

Tammy has always been a strong fundraiser and this cycle is no different. In 2012, she built a strong fundraising infrastructure that allowed her to raise over $15 million.  In 2016, the campaign raised more than $1.8 million, one of the highest totals for any Senator who wasn’t on the ballot, from either party. The campaign will report over $1 million in the bank to start 2017. In 2016 alone she had 23,122 donors who contributed $46.54 on average. Her campaign is in a stronger financial position heading into 2018 than Senator Johnson was in January 2015.  With the foundation laid over the past three years, Tammy will have the resources she needs to execute a winning plan in 2018.

With the inauguration of President Trump, Republicans control everything in Washington. Likely to pass the most pro-corporate agenda ever to come from Republicans and their Wall Street backers, all Republicans must explain their party’s actions to the voters. They could be forced to defend decisions like cutting Social Security, deregulating Wall Street and more. Mid-term elections are historically bad for the party in control in Washington. Six out of the past seven general elections for Governor and Senator in Wisconsin have seen the electorate vote against the party that controls the White House (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016). The only outlier was the 2012 election, when Tammy was elected. With President Trump’s approval ratings already at historic lows for a newly elected President, it is unlikely that we will see this trend change in 2018.

Over the course of the next year, Tammy will continue to be a voice for every Wisconsinite and hold Republicans accountable for their actions in Washington.

Last Updated on Monday, 23 January 2017 16:36
 
Shilling Hopes Trump Listens to Real Americans PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
Friday, 20 January 2017 10:53

donald-trumpOur nation was founded on the principles of equality and fairness. We must work together.


MADISON – Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement regarding the inauguration today of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States:

jen-shilling“The peaceful transition of power and inauguration of our president has been a hallmark of our democracy for over two centuries. My hope for President Trump is that he respects the institution he is stepping into and exercises humility, dignity, empathy and grace as the leader of the free world.

“The strength of our country is the rich diversity of people and ideas from sea to shining sea. As President Trump travels this country, I hope he takes to heart the stories of fellow Americans, understands the struggles we’ve all experienced and works to achieve the hopes and dreams of each and every person he meets. Our nation was founded on the principles of equality and fairness. We must work together to lift up our fellow citizens, respect our neighbors and support our communities so that everyone has a chance to achieve their American Dream.”

****

Tony Palese contributed to this story.

 
Tony Evers Shows Statewide Support Heading Into 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Tony Evers for State Supt   
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 16:43

tony_eversMADISON - State Superintendent Tony Evers will report raising $50,000 for the filing period and cash on hand of over $117,000.

Heading into 2017, Tony Evers will have almost twice the resources he reported this same time in 2013, his last election cycle.

"We are extremely pleased with the level and amount of support we have received in the few short weeks we have stepped up our re-election campaign fundraising," campaign manager, Amanda Brink said, "Tony's donors span from Three Lakes to Janesville and Oconomowoc to Chippewa Falls. This is further proof of Wisconsinites commitment to public education.”

 
January 15 Update From The Democratic Chair PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Martha Laning   
Monday, 16 January 2017 17:14

martha-laningThe "Love-A-Thon" a three-hour facebook live event instead of Trump, tell Congressional Republicans the Affordable Care Act Saves Lives, President Obama's Farewell Address, VAN Grant Program, and Things You May Have Missed But Need To See.


MADISON, WI - It goes without saying that this week will be very tough for all of us as we get close and closer to Inauguration Day. The incoming administration not only threatens to undo the last eight years of progress made by President Barack Obama but also puts the future of our civil liberties in jeopardy as well. 

I've heard many people say they can't bare to watch Donald Trump be sworn in as president-elect this Friday. Instead, they'll be watching and donating to the "Love-A-Thon" a three-hour facebook live event featuring music and entertainment all for a good cause. 

The "Love-A-Thon" aims to raise money for organizations that will stand up to the Trump administration and fight for our most marginalized communities over the next four years. 

Learn more about the "Love-A-Thon" and RSVP on the event's website.

Call to Action: Tell Congressional Republicans the Affordable Care Act Saves Lives

When President Obama came to Wisconsin last year to award the City of Milwaukee for signing up a large percentage of Americans for health care in the Healthy Communities Challenge, he was introduced by a Republican who had never voted for him. Why? Because this young man's life had been saved by the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Mosinee, Wisconsin's Brent Brown thanked the President for the ACA because it saved his life after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and didn't have enough money for treatment.

There are millions of Americans just like Brent who would have lost their lives or seen a drastic reduction in the quality of their life if not for the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Now, it's up to us to make sure we save the program that has kept Americans alive and well for over five years. 

Call Wisconsin's Republican Congressmen today and tell them to not repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Paul Ryan - 202.225.3031
Sen. Ron Johnson - 202.224.5323 
Rep. Sean Duffy - 202.225.3365
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner - 202.225.5101
Rep. Mike Gallagher - 202.225.5665
Save The Date: January 21st Women's March on Madison
One day after Donald Trump's inauguration hundreds of thousands of demonstrators will march in Washington D.C. to protest Trump's presidency. Similar marches are planned in 200 U.S. cities, including a march in Madison, there will also be at least 50 cities in nearly 30 other countries participating.  

The Women's March on Madison is designed to let the next President know that the American people want equality and inclusion. As progressives, we are committed to fighting the good fight to ensure equal opportunity for all. 

Learn more about the march and RSVP for the event on the event's facebook page.
President Barack Obama's Farewell Address

President Obama gave an outstanding farewell speech in Chicago last Tuesday. While the week ahead will be tough, we got one last glimpse of the progressive change agent who won the White House not once, but twice, on an inspiring message of hope and change. 

In the last eight years, President Obama has led the way in reversing the great recession, saving the auto industry, setting a record for the longest stretch of job creation in American history, insuring over 20 million through the Affordable Care Act, and his unyielding leadership inspired a win for marriage equality in the United States Supreme Court. For all those things, and much more, we say "Thanks, Obama." 

Read the full transcript and watch the speech in full on nytimes.com

Vice President Joe Biden Honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom

I couldn't help but feel an immense sense of pride for Vice President Joe Biden when he was surprised with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, from President Obama this week. This is an honor well-deserved as Vice President Biden has dedicated decades of his life to serving the American people. 

The ceremony also showed just how close the Obama's and Bidens have grown since hitting the campaign trail together in 2008. It goes to show that politics is about more than wins and losses. It's about doing your best to care for and honor others in the best way possible. And if you're lucky like Barack and Joe you might just make a few good friends along the way.

Read more about the Vice President's honor on CNN.com


VAN Grant Program Accepting Applications Until Feb. 1st

Don't forget we're continuing our local candidate VAN Grant Program this year and accepting applications until February 1st.

Through the VAN Grant program, candidates who meet the program’s criteria and are committed to voter contact will have the VAN in-kinded to their campaign. Read more about the VAN Grant Program here.

Take a look at a few of the other items we're doing this year to ensure victories in April:

  • Hosting candidate recruitment conference calls with county parties.
  • Calling around to various county party chairs to talk about recruitment.
  • Creating resources for spring candidates and county parties.
  • Designing training programs for spring candidates and county parties.
  • General consulting with candidates, similar to how we operated this fall.

Our Party is not waving the white flag in 2017. We are committed to working closely with our local parties, activists, and candidates to produce the statewide victory of Tony Evers as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, build a deep bench, and start taking back our state.

Things You May Have Missed But Need To See Now

Public School Advocates Push Back Betsy DeVos
“She may be the first casualty in the high-rise they’re building on the swamp here in Washington,” says Representative Mark Pocan of Madison, Wisconsin. On Tuesday, January 10, Pocan and other supporters of public schools held a press conference to announce a new House Public Education Caucus—and to express their opposition to Devos.
Read the entire article on Progressive.org

Senator Tammy Baldwin: Champion For Health Care Reform
I was proud to champion a reform that allows young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. As someone who didn’t have access to quality health insurance until my twenties, I was proud to champion a reform that allows young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
View Senator Tammy Baldwin's floor speech here.

Emerge Wisconsin Announces Class of 2017
This year’s chosen group of 52 future women political leaders is more than double the size of any of the organization’s previous classes, which is owed to the historic uptick in applications and interest Emerge Wisconsin saw after the 2016 election.
Learn more about the 2017 Emerge class on emergewi.org

Rex Tillerson Sheds Little Light on His Boss
Mr. Tillerson did not explain how he plans to overcome the challenges, ethical and strategic, of dealing with an authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, with whom his company has done many billions of dollars worth of business. And some of his policy assertions put him at odds with positions the president-elect has taken in the past (never a sure guide with Mr. Trump). 
Read the entire editorial on nytimes.com

The questions Jeff Sessions didn't answer
Given his past comments and dubious record, Sessions faces a high bar to earn the public's trust. He didn't hurdle it today, by leaving crucial questions unanswered. Like, why did he indicate that enforcing civil rights is a mission he does not support? Sessions reportedly called the American Civil Liberties Union and the N.A.A.C.P. "un-American" for "trying to force civil rights down the throats of people." It's a remark he never disputed, until after Trump nominated him - perhaps because he recognizes that this alone should disqualify him.
Read the entire editorial on nj.com

Democrats on State of the State: ‘Wisconsin deserves better’
Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) raised doubts about a pledge to increase funding for K through 12 education. “When he talks about education, it’s more money into choice…and that’s at the cost and the expense of our public schools,” Shilling said, referencing previous comments the governor has made about increasing funding for education in the state.
Read more on wrn.com

5 former DNR secretaries slam effort to divide agency
Five former Department of Natural Resources secretaries with tenures stretching back to the 1970s are calling on Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature to reject a proposal that would scatter DNR programs among five agencies. In a four-page letter released Wednesday, the former secretaries, and one deputy secretary said that dividing the DNR would make conservation more costly and less effective while making it harder for citizens to have their problems addressed.
Learn more on madison.com

Sincerely,
Martha Laning
Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin
 
January 9 Update From DPW Chair Martha Laning PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Martha Laning   
Wednesday, 11 January 2017 14:03

wisdemsMADISON - Welcome to the New Year and the latest installment of my chair update! I hope you all were able to get some much-needed rest over the holidays and ready to get work in 2017.

Announcing New Executive Director Jason Sidener

As many of you know, DPW Executive Director Kory Kozloski has decided to pursue new opportunities. While we are saddened to see Kory leave the DPW team, we are excited about his future ventures and are looking toward the future of DPW.

With Kory's departure, it was a priority of mine to ensure that the transition between Executive Directors is a smooth one. In order to implement a strong strategic plan right away in 2017, that meant having a new Executive Director who could hit the ground running on January 1st and allow some overlap time with Kory before he leaves.

Last months, our Party's administrative committee voted to approve Jason Sidener as our next Executive Director. Jason Sidener is an incredible addition to our team. He brings nearly two decades of political organizing, grassroots engagement, and progressive movement leadership to our organization.

Read our official announcement here.

The Big Idea

We're coming right out of the gate this year with a number of items to bolster our Spring Program and work towards electing progressive candidates up and down the ballot in April. 

One of those items is continuing our local candidate VAN Grant Program! Through the VAN Grant program, candidates who meet the program’s criteria and are committed to voter contact will have the VAN in-kinded to their campaign. Read more about the VAN Grant Program here.

Take a look at a few of the other items we're doing this year to ensure victories in April:

  • Hosting candidate recruitment conference calls with county parties.
  • Calling around to various county party chairs to talk about recruitment.
  • Creating resources for spring candidates and county parties.
  • Partnering with Wisconsin Progress on some of their training sessions.
  • Designing training programs for spring candidates and county parties.
  • General consulting with candidates, similar to how we operated this fall.

Our Party is not waving the white flag in 2017. We are committed to working closely with our local parties, activists, and candidates to produce the statewide victory of Tony Evers as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, build a deep bench, and start taking back our state.

Post-Election Listening Session Update

I'm looking forward to continuing my travels around the state to hear from our volunteers, party members, candidates, and staff members. This month we'll visit Wausau, Milwaukee, and Green Bay. 

If you are able, please join us at our listening sessions this month. It has been extremely helpful gathering this information, which we will use when we meet in February we will use this information to strategically plan how we move our party forward.

Save The Date: January 15th Day of Action to Protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Health Reform

Senator Baldwin is teaming up with Rep. Gwen Moore and Citizen Action of Wisconsin to sponsor a rally in Milwaukee as part of a national day of action to tell Republicans not to take away people's health care. 

Over the past six years, Congressional Republicans have voted over 60 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act - without presenting any viable alternative. Now with a Republican president poised to enter the White House, one of the first goals for Congressional Republicans is repealing health care insurance for over 20 million Americans, making massive cuts to Medicaid, and restricting access to preventative care for women nationwide. 

Progressives believe in the right to affordable and accessible health care for all Americans. We will fight as hard as we can to protect our values and let Republicans know they will not get away with repealing health care for tens of millions of Americans. Join us in Milwaukee on Sunday. Event details are located below.

Event Details
What: January 15th Day of Action to Protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Health Reform
When: Sunday, January 15th 
Doors Open: 11:00 AM 
Program Begins: 11:30 AM 
Where: Candela's Banquet, 2537 W National Ave, Milwaukee
Click here to RSVP for the event online.

Save The Date: President Barack Obama's Farwell Address

Today, President Barack Obama will give his final address to the American people in Chicago. The President is expected to look back on his time in office and share his outlook on the future of our country. 

For Democrats, there is a lot to be proud of when it comes to President Obama's legacy. Eight years ago, America hovered on the brink of a second Great Depression. We were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs each month — nearly 800,000 in the month President Obama took office alone.Millions of Americans had lost their homes. Millions more saw hard-earned savings vanish. The auto industry was on the verge of collapse.

But today, the American economy has recovered from the recession, American leadership in the world is stronger than ever, and we’ve made lasting strides toward a more perfect union. 

If you don't have tickets to the event in Chicago, you can still stream tomorrow's address online here. Details of the event are below. 

Event Details
What: January 15th Day of Action to Protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Health Reform
When: Tuesday, January 10 @ 8 PM 
Where: McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois
Livestream the event online here.

Not going to Chicago? Get ready for his speech tonight with a few articles reflecting on President Obama's legacy. 

Obama's Economic Record: An Assesment
Obama’s policies helped lift the economy out of a frightening slump and set it on a path to steady, if unspectacular, growth. In fact, I’d call this his biggest achievement. The scale of the financial panic of 2008 and the extent of the job losses that occurred in the first months of 2009 should never be forgotten. By “a number of macroeconomic measures—including household wealth, employment and trade flows—the first year of the Great Recession in the United States saw declines that were as large or larger than at the outset of the Great Depression in 1929-30,” Jason Furman, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, recounted in an exit memo that he posted online this week.
Read the full article on newyorker.com

My President Was Black
A history of the first African-American White House—and of what came next
Read the entire article on theatlantic.com

The Day After: Obama on His Legacy, Trump's Win and the Path Forward
Obama greeted me outside his office and walked me in. He was tired. He skipped the usual small talk, took off his jacket, sat in his customary chair and said, "Let's do this." He spoke slowly and with precision, staying true to his essential nature: controlled, analytical and cool. There are many things a sitting president cannot say, but this was his carefully reasoned message on a difficult and historic day.
Read the entire interview on rollingstone.com

Things You May Have Missed But Need To See Now

First lady Michelle Obama's final White House speech
"Her voice breaking and eyes filling with tears, an unusually emotional Michelle Obama said Friday that being first lady 'has been the greatest honor of my life' as she bid an early farewell to the White House."
Read about and watch the first lady's final White House speech here.

Sen. Tamy Baldwin again asks federal veterans agency to investigate King home
"Sen. Tammy Baldwin is again asking the federal Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King following a hazardous liquid oxygen incident there and additional federal health violations."
Read the full story on Madison.com

Baldwin poised to hold Trump accountable
"From calling on Trump to release his tax returns to unsuccessfully pushing for legislation to require American-made iron and steel to be used in drinking water projects, Baldwin has already sought to set markers. Last month, Baldwin was disappointed when congressional Republicans stripped a permanent 'Buy America' provision she introduced and which the Senate passed in a water infrastructure bill in September. Afterward, Baldwin said she didn't see a 'tweet or a peep' from Trump."
Read the full story on JSOnline.com

Why Rural America Voted for Trump
"Who are these rural, red-county people who brought Mr. Trump into power? I'm a native Iowan and reporter in rural Marion County, Iowa. I consider myself fairly liberal. My family has mostly voted Democratic since long before I was born. To be honest, for years, even I have struggled to understand how these conservative friends and neighbors I respect - and at times admire - can think so differently from me, not to mention how over 60 percent of voters in my county could have chosen Mr. Trump."
Read this column on nytimes.com

Resistance to Donald Trump begins to grow with local roots
"Rachel Maddow looks at examples of a burgeoning anti-Trump movement taking shape with local, grassroots organizing, in some ways mirroring the tea party's anti-Obama movement."
Watch Maddow's segment here.
Read and download the resistance guide mentioned in Maddow's segment here.

Sincerely,
Martha Laning
Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin
 
Wachs Looks Ahead to 2017-2018 Assembly Session PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Wisconsin Assembly Democrats   
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 11:38

dana_wachsWachs discusses key priorities including education and transportation.


MADISON - On Tuesday, January 3rd, The Wisconsin State Assembly officially began the 2017-2018 legislative session. Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) took the oath of office for the third time, and offered his outlook on the upcoming session:

“Inauguration Day is always an exciting time here in the Capitol. I look forward to meeting the new members of the Assembly and Senate and reconnecting with my colleagues who continue to serve the state of Wisconsin.

“In Wisconsin, we have an awful lot of work to do. I know that despite some of the strong differences between our parties and between members, we can find common ground.

“One issue that we can all agree upon is that safe and strong transportation systems are vital for our economy. With our roads continuing to deteriorate and important projects being delayed, we simply cannot wait to make difficult but necessary decisions regarding transportation. As the ranking Democratic member on the Assembly Committee on Transportation, I am ready to work on solutions that benefit all Wisconsin citizens and repair the damage to our roads and grow our economy.

“In addition to growing our economy through a strong infrastructure, we must refocus our efforts on investing in education at all levels in Wisconsin. Too many school districts are being forced to go to referendum just to survive, and our UW System has had to make serious decisions due to an unprecedented cut in funding. Wisconsin’s once proud tradition of education has been decimated. We must recognize the relationship between strong education and economic development. I remain committed to investing in education and ensuring that Wisconsin is once again a leader in research, workforce development, and economic prosperity.

“This session will bring many unique challenges and difficult decisions. I hope that the optimism, enthusiasm, and collegiality from today’s ceremony will continue as we move through the session.”

 
WI Senate Democratic Leader Lays Out Priorities for 2017-18 Session PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by State Senate Democrats   
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 10:59

capital-madisonwiShilling wants to strengthen the middle class, boost family wages and invest in the future of Wisconsin.


MADISON, WI – Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) welcomed new and returning members to the legislature today at the inauguration ceremony for the 103rd Session of the State Legislature. In her inauguration day remarks, Sen. Shilling laid out her vision for the future and policy goals to strengthen the middle class, boost family wages and invest in the future of Wisconsin.

jennifer-shilling-speaks“As we seek to balance Wisconsin’s budget deficit and build a brighter future, my Senate Democratic colleagues and I are committed to focusing on the important issues at hand,” said Sen. Shilling. “We will put forward thoughtful proposals to improve workplace flexibility, increase economic freedom and invest in pro-growth policies to strengthen the middle class. We recognize that these aren’t Democratic or Republican issues. They’re Wisconsin issues and we must find ways to work together on these key priorities.”

Sen. Shilling’s full remarks to the Senate are below:

Mr. President, friends and colleagues. I am honored to join you here today as we begin a new legislative session and address the challenges facing our state.

I would like to welcome our new and returning members as well as their families. I especially want to recognize my husband Chris and two boys, Nate and Zach, who are here with me today. Thank you for your unconditional love, support and encouragement. I also want to welcome everyone watching from home on WisconsinEye as well as our guests here in the Senate chamber.

While today marks the start of a new session, it also provides our legislature with a clean slate and the opportunity to chart a new course for our state. We all know that Wisconsin is a unique, vibrant and hardworking state full of amazing people and unparalleled potential, but we need a clearer plan to invest in our future and ensure long-term economic success.

While the rest of the nation has seen strong job gains, our state has consistently ranked below the national average for job creation, we’ve struggled with declining wages and our aging infrastructure is preventing many businesses from expanding. Wisconsin communities, businesses and residents are already bracing for another round of difficult budget cuts and sacrifices because of fiscal policies that favor the wealthy over working families.

It doesn’t have to be this way though. Just across the border in Minnesota, their progressive policies are attracting businesses, growing their middle class, and resulting in major budget surpluses. Just last month, their budget office forecasted a $1.4 billion surplus and they have a $1.9 billion reserve fund. Rather than looking to cut and borrow, they are investing and growing.

As we seek to balance Wisconsin’s budget deficit and build a brighter future, my Senate Democratic colleagues and I are committed to focusing on the important issues at hand. We will put forward thoughtful proposals to improve workplace flexibility, increase economic freedom and invest in pro-growth policies to strengthen the middle class. We recognize that these aren’t Democratic or Republican issues. They’re Wisconsin issues and we must find ways to work together on these key priorities.

In this new session, it is important to recognize the shortcomings of past policies and look for new ways to deliver on legislative promises. Without adequately investing in our future, Wisconsin will continue to lag our neighboring states in job growth and prosperity. We know that a quality education is the foundation for lifelong success, yet state cuts, local funding challenges and the massive increase of student loan debt have become significant burdens for families. By making targeted investments in our schools, we can improve education outcomes at all levels from pre-K programs to our technical colleges and universities.

Senate Democrats will also look for ways to help businesses improve workplace productivity, reduce employee turnover and provide greater workplace flexibility. We want to focus on increasing access to affordable childcare, reducing health care costs and improving retirement security to eliminate the barriers that prevent employers and employees from succeeding in a competitive global marketplace.

We also recognize that our government has a responsibility to strengthen communities and private enterprise by maintaining a strong public infrastructure. From repairing aging roads and bridges to encouraging broadband access in urban and rural areas, we need to ensure that our infrastructure is an asset, not a liability, to businesses growth and expansion.

Each of the members in this chamber represents a unique district and geographic area of our state, but we are united in our desire to do what’s best for everyone. Rather than focusing on policies that will divide communities, I hope that we will seize this opportunity to set a new tone and find commonsense solutions to the challenges we face. As the Senate Democratic Leader, I look forward to working with Gov. Walker, my legislative colleagues, community leaders and local advocates to strengthen relationships and move Wisconsin forward. By working together, I know that we can provide greater economic opportunity, prosperity and freedom for all to enjoy. Thank you.

***

Tony Palese contributed to this story.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 January 2017 11:27
 
Larson Announces Committee Assignments for 2017-2018 Legislative Session PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 09:57

madison_capitolMilwaukee State Senator on Education, Administrative Rules, and Insurance, Housing, and Trade, Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism committees. Looking forward to working with neighbors and colleagues.


MADISON - Senator Chris Larson was named the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Committee on Education, the Senate Committee on Administrative Rules, and the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules. Senator Larson has also been appointed as a member of Senate Committee on Insurance, Housing, and Trade and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism.

Sen. Larson released the following statement on the 2017-2018 committee assignments:

chris_larson_sen07“As the lead Democratic member of the Senate Committee on Education last session, I had the opportunity to collaborate with teachers, experts, legislators, advocates, and students to come up with legislation that puts our kids on the road to opportunity. I look forward to continuing our work to strengthen our schools and provide needed support to all students.

“Last session, I introduced common sense solutions that our state can and should be spearheading to ensure all of our kids are able to thrive and live a prosperous life. Looking ahead, I will introduce legislation to support the successful community schools model as a proven way to remove learning barriers, such as access to mental health care. Supporting this model will ensure schools are again the center of communities across Wisconsin the way they were meant to be.

“Our Milwaukee community has already shown a keen interest in adopting the community schools approach. Milwaukee Public Schools, in partnership with United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, recently announced that two additional schools transitioned into being community schools. I'm proud of our Milwaukee neighbors who have worked hard to ensure all of our students have a bright future, and look forward to working with my legislative colleagues to invest in these initiatives.

“Additionally, more and more communities across Wisconsin are passing referendums as they struggle to make up for the state’s failure to invest in our neighborhood schools. In fact, when voters are asked to pick up the state’s tab to provide basic support for their local schools, 80% of the time they say ‘yes.’ Unfortunately, some of our distressed neighborhoods have been economically squeezed dry and simply cannot fill the funding gap left by Governor Walker’s cuts. They need state legislators to end the historic cuts and instead provide every school with their fair share of funding.

“As a state senator and as a member of these important committees, I look forward to working with my neighbors and colleagues to support policies that will provide each of our neighbors the freedom to pursue the American Dream.”

 
Rep. Wachs Announces His 2017-2018 Committee Assignments PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Wisconsin Assembly Democrats   
Friday, 30 December 2016 15:32

eau-claireEau Claire area Representative named Ranking Democrat on Assembly Judiciary and Transportation Committees.


MADISON- On Friday, December 30th, Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) announced his committee assignments for the 2017-2018 legislative session. Wachs was once again named the ranking Democratic member on the Assembly Committee on Judiciary, as well as a member of two Assembly committees on which he currently serves: Colleges and Universities, and Constitution and Ethics. In addition to continuing his previous committee assignments, Wachs was also named to the Assembly Committee on Transportation, where he will serve as the ranking Democratic member.

dana_wachs“It is an honor to be selected to serve on these committees,” said Wachs. “I respect and appreciate the committee process and the role that each committee plays in the development of policy in Wisconsin.”

As a civil litigation attorney for over 30 years, Rep. Wachs plans to continue to put his legal experience to work on the Assembly Committee on Judiciary. “The issues that we face on the Assembly Committee on Judiciary affect everyone,” said Wachs. “The law has been a longtime passion and career of mine, and I appreciate the opportunity to once again use my legal background to create sound public policy.”

Wachs also stressed the importance of the Assembly Committee on Transportation, and emphasized the need for common sense solutions to Wisconsin’s significant transportation challenges.

“Wisconsin is facing an unprecedented transportation crisis, and the work that we will do on the Transportation committee is more important than ever,” added Wachs. “Under the Walker Administration, we have seen our state’s infrastructure become an embarrassment with crumbling roads and significant project delays. I am ready to work across party lines to ensure that we have safe, strong roads for drivers while still exploring new modes of transportation that reduce stress on our existing infrastructure.”

Rep. Wachs represents the 91st Assembly District, which consists entirely of the City of Eau Claire. He will begin his 3rd term in the Assembly on January 3rd.

 
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