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Elections, Elected Officials and Political Parties
Republican Senate Recruiting Struggles Continue PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Saturday, 08 July 2017 09:52

tammy_baldwinRepublicans in state running away from challenging Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin.

MADISON - On the heels of yet another top-tier candidate bowing out the race for Wisconsin's U.S. Senate seat, Republicans in the state have become a part of a national trend of top-tier Republicans running away from challenging Democratic Senators like Senator Tammy Baldwin.

"One after another, high-profile Republicans are deciding against a run for U.S. Senate," said Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby. "It's no surprise that Republicans are afraid to face Senator Tammy Baldwin next fall. Her record of fighting for a Wisconsin economy that works for everyone and standing up to special interests in Washington will make her a formidable opponent for any challenger."  

Here's what they're saying nationally about Republicans' recruiting struggles: 

Politico: Senate GOP recruiting slow-going for 2018
"Rep. Sean Duffy bowed out early, and Republicans haven’t had a clear candidate to take on Baldwin since. Nicole Schneider, a former social worker who also happened to be the heiress to a major trucking company, attracted the attention of the NRSC due to her ability to self-fund, but she’s also decided not to run. Businessman and Iraq War veteran Kevin Nicholson has an attractive résumé, though he was a past president of the College Democrats of America. Businessman Eric Hovde, who finished second in the 2012 GOP primary, is still considering a bid, as is state Sen. Leah Vukmir."

Washington Post: Do Senate Republicans have a Trump recruiting problem?
"In Wisconsin, Rep. Sean P. Duffy (R) decided not to run to challenge Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). There are at least six possible GOP candidates who could try to challenge Baldwin."

Wall Street Journal: GOP Scrambles to Recruit Senate Candidates
"Among the challenges facing the GOP recruiters is that the environment in Washington appears toxic, and Congress, which has struggled for years to pass major legislation, is viewed by some as an unproductive and unfulfilling job, said GOP strategist Chuck Warren, who has consulted for Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina."

Celebrating the 4th of July PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Tuesday, 04 July 2017 09:20

statue-of-libertyMADISON - The following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning celebrating the 4th of July:

"On this day, across our state, we recall the bravery of those patriots who declared independence from a powerful empire, and we honor the enduring spirit of America that continues to burn so brightly today.

martha-laning"Even as this day of celebration serves as a reminder of those who made great sacrifices to let America thrive, it also invokes our duty as a people to ensure that our Nation lives up to its promise of a democracy in which all people are created and treated equally under the law. Furthermore, it is a time to envision how our Nation can live up to the purpose and goals of our Constitution when we insist that our leaders protect the most vulnerable Americans and guarantee economic opportunity for all Americans.

"We must not remain complacent with the work already done by our forefathers: we must stride ahead, join together, and carry that same valiant spirit with us as we confront the challenges of tomorrow.

"On our Nation's birthday, we remember and honor the enduring spirit of American democracy, and look forward to the trails we will continue to blaze in unity, equity, inclusiveness, and opportunity for all."

Hovde Paid $0 State Taxes in 2015, Schneider Bows Out of Senate Race PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Saturday, 01 July 2017 09:26

eric-hovdeTea party state Senator Leah Vukmir gives run "prayerful consideration”, while millionaire Nicole Schneider says no. Milwaukee millionaire hedge fund manager Eric Hovde avoids paying taxes himself while poised to strip health care access from others.

MADISON - The site has been updated to reflect a busy week of bidding.

leah-vukmirFirst, former ALEC chairwoman and tea party state Senator Leah Vukmir said she’s giving a run for U.S. Senate “prayerful consideration,” and we know what that means. She’s taking her time, shoring up big donors, like her buddies Charles and David Koch and Diane Hendricks, before she jumps into the yacht sale primary. Check out more at

Then, millionaire Nicole Schneider dropped out of the bidding war and is no longer considering a run for Senate.

And yesterday the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel uncovered millionaire hedge fund manager Eric Hovde's tax history included paying $0 in taxes to the state of Wisconsin in 2015. While Hovde complained about the amount of taxes he paid in previous years, he did not address the goose egg in 2015. And the news that he avoided paying anything to the state in 2015 followed his comment on the Senate plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act saying, "I just got back from a trip from California and I don't know anything about it."

Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby commented, "If Eric Hovde is smart enough to get out of paying any taxes to the state of Wisconsin, it's shocking that he wasn't able to catch up on news of the Senate bill poised to strip health care access from 22 million people while in California."

League Speaks On Voter Records And Transportation Budget PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by League Women Voters WI, Andrea Kaminski   
Saturday, 01 July 2017 08:54

voter-usLeague pleased WEC has stood up to Trump administration request for Wisconsin voter data, says transportation infrastructure should not be financed with debt.

MADISON - State election officials Thursday received letters from Vice Chair Kris Kobach of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity requesting a list of their voter rolls, including sensitive information, such as date of birth and partial Social Security number. The letter noted that any information provided to the Commission will be available to the public. While most of the Wisconsin voter file is public information, Wisconsin law prohibits Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) from sharing sensitive information.

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin sent a letter this morning to the WEC urging it to withhold sensitive information and also to charge the usual fee of $12,500 for the data sharing request. We were pleased when the WEC issued a statement at noon saying that is exactly what it will do.

As the legislature’s budget committee grappled last week with the Transportation budget, the League sent this statement urging the committee to delay major new road construction and focus on maintaining and repairing current roads and bridges instead. We said the transportation infrastructure should not be financed with debt, nor should it be pitted against other critical services such as public education. The League urged the Committee instead to add a per-mile fee on heavy trucks, which do the most infrastructure damage, and to consider raising the gas tax and indexing it to inflation. 

Here is a great article about how Iowa has avoided problems with gerrymandered voting districts. There are currently proposals before the Wisconsin Legislature which would adopt the Iowa plan for redistricting. Contact your State Senator and Assembly Representative and tell them AB 44 and SB 13 should have a hearing.

To find your own legislators, click here and enter your address under Find My Legislators, next to the little green map of Wisconsin.

LWV Wisconsin Selected to Pilot Election Resources from The Carter Center PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by League of Women Voters Wisconsin   
Monday, 26 June 2017 08:37

VoterWisconsin group to make sure federal justices know about the negative impacts partisan gerrymandering has had on voters and the legislative process in Wisconsin and how their decision could defend democracy nationally.

MADISON - The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin has been selected by LWV-US to pilot new online resources and electronic reporting technology developed by The Carter Center, which is known for its election observations internationally. This is a wonderful recognition of the Wisconsin League’s leadership in just one important aspect of safeguarding democracy.

Every week we reach out to inform you about important policy issues in our state Capitol, because we know you are the kind of person who wants to know when your call or email to your representatives will make a difference. Today we are reaching out to ask you to support the League, so it can continue to excel as a visible, viable advocate for active and informed participation in government in our state.   

As the League’s fiscal year comes to an end, we are grateful for the generous support of hundreds of members and friends for the League’s special projects in the past year. Examples are the 2016 Gear Up to Vote minivan tour, which visited 31 community events around the state to register and educate voters, and the legal briefs the League filed in three federal court cases challenging voter suppression and gerrymandering.

We have been fortunate to have the trust of philanthropic foundations for these special projects, but the League would not even be considered for grants or opportunities, like working with The Carter Center, if we did not have the generous support of individual League members and followers like you.

In addition to grants, the League needs operating support to keep our organization strong, maintain a competent staff, and be ready to step up to the plate with bold action and impact. That’s what we plan to do in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Gill v. Whitford, the “Wisconsin gerrymandering case.” We want to be sure the federal justices know about the negative impacts that partisan gerrymandering has had on voters and the legislative process in Wisconsin and how their decision could defend democracy nationally. 

The need is now. Please support the League as generously as you can with a tax-deductible contribution. You can designate your gift to “where it’s needed most” or contribute to the Voter Protection Fund, if you prefer to support the League’s legal work. Your support will help the League make democracy work in Wisconsin.

Marilyn Boeldt
Fund Development Chair


P.S.  Use our secure online contribution form with your credit card or download a printable form to mail in with your check. Either way, we appreciate your support and will put it to work to promote good government in Wisconsin.

Last Updated on Monday, 26 June 2017 09:26
Wisconsin "doing fine" with Over 500,000 Uninsured? PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 07:29

leah-vukmirDid State Senator Leah Vukmir like the days when insurance companies could ride roughshod over Wisconsinites without protections for pre-existing conditions or out-of-pocket caps for coverage?

MADISON - While responding to inquiries from WisPolitics on the President's visit to Wisconsin and his remarks on health care, Sen. Vukmir said, "We were doing fine before Obamacare came, and I would argue we were ahead of the curve." We couldn't make this up even if we tried. 

Before the Affordable Care Act, Wisconsin had 518,000 uninsured individuals2.4 million who could be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition and had an uninsured rate of 9.4 percent
That's not "doing fine" by any stretch of the imagination and it certainly isn't being "ahead of the curve." 

But since it's passage, 211,000 people gained coverage and our state's uninsured rate dropped by over a third - falling to 3.7 percent. Thanks to the declining rate of uninsured Wisconsinites, statewide hospital charity care - free or discounted care for patients with low incomes - decreased my nearly half from 2013 to 2015. Bad debt, which occurs when patients can't afford to don't pay their medical bills, took a 34 percent dip. And last year in Wisconsin, over 190,000 people in the individual marketplace received tax credits to help cover their premium costs.

"In what world does D.C. Leah think returning to the days when insurance companies could ride roughshod over Wisconsinites without protections for pre-existing conditions or out-of-pocket caps for coverage, and hundreds of thousands were uninsured is a good thing for our state? It's just the latest example that Vukmir has the wrong priorities and will do anything to curry favor with Washington's elite political class," reacted Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby. "Wisconsin deserves better than someone who will sell out Wisconsin families for a photo op with the President."​

Proponents of Constitutional Convention Should Try Governing Instead PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by League Women Voters WI, Andrea Kaminski   
Wednesday, 07 June 2017 11:45

lady-liberty-holding-noseWisconsin Assembly scheduled to call next week for a federal constitutional convention to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It's a bad idea, says League of Women Voters.

MADISON – The Wisconsin Assembly is tentatively scheduled to vote next week on proposals calling for a federal constitutional convention for the purpose of adding a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We respect people’s concerns about the federal debt, but this is the wrong way to tackle that problem. It is also a particularly dangerous path to take.

First, a balanced budget requirement would weaken our ability as a nation to respond to unforeseen emergencies, such as a natural disaster, attack from the outside or economic recession. The federal government would not be able to respond without increasing taxes – just at a time when fewer people might be working.

Second, a constitutional amendments convention could go in many different directions. It would put at risk every citizen right currently protected in the Constitution, including such things as voting rights and freedom of speech.

Proponents note that one of the proposals before the Assembly would restrict the role of our own state’s delegates to voting only on a budget amendment at the convention, but that ignores the fact that our state would be only one of fifty at the convention. Besides, some constitutional experts say that such rules could easily be considered irrelevant once the gathering convenes.

Proponents of these disastrous proposals say that a constitutional convention is needed because we can’t count on Congress to pass a balanced budget. They point out that the elected representatives of the people, including many who are all for a balanced budget when they are running for office, shy away from enacting it once elected. Come to think of it, that seems to happen at both the federal and state level.

It is ironic that these proposals are being promoted in Wisconsin by the party that is in the majority in both Congress and the state legislature. Why should the U.S. Constitution be at risk for complete revision just so these politicians can accomplish what they already have the power to do legislatively?

voter-usI would like to believe there are enough members among their ranks who know that a balanced budget requirement is not a responsible measure for protecting the safety and economic security of our nation or state. But if they are that wise, why would they risk what could be a catastrophic assault on our Constitution?

Maybe they think it would never really happen. However, if the Wisconsin legislature passes these proposals, our state would be number 30 out of the 34 states needed to force a constitutional convention.

Our nation is changing, and that change is taking place in every state and every district. With a provision to add amendments individually as needed, the U.S. Constitution has afforded us the flexibility for more than 200 years to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the American people.

Assembly lawmakers who take their responsibility of governing seriously should reject these foolhardy proposals, which would endanger our citizen rights and our nation’s ability to respond to emergencies.


Andrea Kaminski is executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for informed and active participation in government. The League welcomes women and men across the state as members. There are 18 local Leagues in Wisconsin. Follow @LWV_WI on Twitter.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 June 2017 15:40
Democratic Convention Ends, Laning Team Reelected PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Saturday, 03 June 2017 20:05

Democratic Party of Wisconsin annual convention draws over 1,500 delegates and guests to set future course. Incumbent Chair Martha Laning wins another two year term, along with other current party officers.

MADISON - The 2017 Wisconsin Democratic Party State Convention concluded this afternoon in Middleton with announcement of the results of the election for our officers for the next two years. Continuity seems to be the theme as incumbent officers Martha Laning (Chair), David Bowen (1st Vice Chair), Meg Andrietsch (Secretary), and Randy Udell, Treasurer, were re-elected. While no stranger to Wisconsin politics, Khary Penebaker was newly elected to complete the vacated Wisconsin Democratic National Committee seat through 2020. Caucuses convened Friday afternoon. Speeches by Wisconsin elected officials and the mayor of Los Angeles highlighted Friday evenings plenary session.

Over 1,500 people were in attendance at the convention. Over 1,120 delegates and 76 alternate delegates were identified in the initial report of the credentials committee. Delegates were joined by non-voting guests from throughout the state.

Resolutions to guide party activities were taken up at 8:30 Saturday morning. Speeches by candidates for party office followed. We returned to resolutions after the speeches, broke for voting, and finished consideration of resolutions at 2:30.

According to party documents, "resolutions are considered active for four years after adoption and the 2017 resolutions will be used to advise the DPW platform drafts in 2018 and 2020." If this writer understands correctly, this means resolutions passed in 2016 and 2017 will impact on the 2018 and 2020 draft platform. Because of the overlap, resolutions adopted in 2016 obviated the necessity of passing the same or similar resolutions in 2017.

Forty-six resolutions were submitted to the Convention for consideration by the Platform and Resolutions Committee. Generated at the county level and approved at the Congressional District Conventions, the Platform and Resolutions Committee compiled, combined similar resolutions, reviewed them for duplication with 2016 resolutions, and submitted them to the Convention. Each resolution came forward with a recommendation for action, no action (due largely to duplication), or recommendation for separate consideration by the convention as a whole.

Most resolutions were acted upon as a group. The group consisted of resolutions about which there was no objection or request for separate consideration. Resolutions identified by the Platform and Resolutions Committee for separate consideration and resolutions identified in the session by any single delegate were then taken up for separate consideration. The resolutions separately considered included a variety affecting party governance, agriculture and environmental affairs, justice, human concerns, and democracy, and education, labor and economics.

Of particular interest to our county we considered and passed resolutions addressing the revision of the laws and rules regulating confined animal feeding operations, urging public funding for contaminated well testing, and recommending termination of the use of public dollars to support private educational institutions. A complete copy of the adopted resolutions will be available through the official Wisconsin Democratic Party website in the near future.


John Rybski posted this report on the Democratic Party of Kewaunee County FaceBook Group.

Last Updated on Saturday, 03 June 2017 20:49
Nonpartisan Redistricting Makes Fair Maps, Saves Tax Dollars PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by League Women Voters WI, Andrea Kaminski   
Saturday, 27 May 2017 08:24

voter-usWisconsin should adopt a plan similar to Iowa where a legislative agency, like our Legislative Reference Bureau, draws their voting maps with public input based on the usual districting criteria mandated by state and federal law.

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 May 2017 09:40
Senator Johnson Doubles Down On TrumpCare At Town Halls PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Monday, 22 May 2017 13:52

ron-johnsonSen. Ron Johnson's constituents addressed real concerns about the Republican plan for health care. Instead of listening, Johnson backs giving nearly $600 billion in tax giveaways to the rich.

MADISON - Yesterday, Wisconsinites in Franklin heard from Senator Ron Johnson at a local town hall. In a setting where participants could ask about anything, town hall goers made their grievances known about the Republican Trumpcare bill only to rebuffed by the Senator.

donald-trumpRepublicans who supported Trumpcare - including Sen. Ron Johnson who praised its passage - own a bill that cuts coverage, increases costs, eliminates the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, and guts basic heath care protections. Just last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that President Trump in intentionally undermining the Affordable Care Act, resulting in rate hikes. Rightfully, Wisconsinites are upset over the potential loss of coverage and confronted Republicans on the issue this weekend. 

Take a look at the coverage of yesterday's town hall: 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "The hourlong meeting at the Root River Center was dominated by individuals such as Gail Campbell, a 69-year-old cancer patient from St. Francis.

"Campbell told Johnson that her doctor informed her that her cancer treatment would be restricted and that she could lose coverage for her asthma medicine and physical therapy under the American Health Care Act passed by the House.

'I don't know why your doctor would tell you that you're going to lose that,' Johnson responded. 'I don't know what basis he's got. It's way to soon to say that.'

Campbell said her doctor was relying on news coverage from the New York Times.

'Oh, OK, that explains it all then,' Johnson said sarcastically, prompting widespread booing.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel cont'd: "Inside the forum, which was open only to those who pre-registered, Johnson provided few specifics on what he favors when repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel cont'd: "Marcia Hoebreckx, 70, of Glendale quizzed Johnson on why the Senate working group on health care was made up of 13 males and no women.

"Wisconsin's senior senator answered that he was not responsible for the composition of the committee, noting any senator could join. "I got myself on it," he said.

"Sen. Ron Johnson's constituents addressed real concerns about the Republican plan for health care because for some Trumpcare will mean bankruptcy and for others, it will be a death sentence," Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby said on Monday. "Instead of selling out American's health to give nearly $600 billion in tax giveaways over the next decade for those at the very top, Sen. Johnson should be listening to the people of Wisconsin and making sure that Republicans don't gut protections for Americans in the name of tax giveaways for the rich."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 14:13
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