Republican party Legislative attacks on the traditions of Wisconsin continue, but I intend to continue to focus on jobs and the economy, access to health care and education. Wisconsin needs to invest in its workers, its schools and its local infrastructures to produce economic growth.
Damage to public education continues.
The 2015-17 Republican budget continued to punish schools while expanding a voucher program that largely benefits students already enrolled in private schools. Wisconsin taxpayers are paying $60 million to subsidize schools that do not answer to us for their performance.
I believe that Wisconsin needs a great public school system if we want our state to continue to be a wonderful place to live, work and do business.
Wisconsin’s dismal job growth record under the Republicans can be tied in part to cuts in public education. Businesses that supply good jobs want to be in places where education is a priority. Two publicly funded but separate school systems is a recipe for failure.
The Walker administration rejected tens of millions in federal funding that would have provided better access to health care. Wisconsin taxpayers are paying $119 million more every two years to provide coverage to fewer people. The decision to leave the money was foolish and the result predictable.
I believe that Wisconsin needs to help provide health care to its poorest families and children. Efforts by the Republicans to degrade health care options punish the poor and don’t make economic sense.
Women and women’s medical care
Women’s medical decision should be between women and their physicians. The Republican Legislature passed laws putting government between women and their doctors. The Republicans repealed a law guaranteeing women equal pay for equal work and have refused to reconsider.
I believe that government has no business interfering with highly personal medical decisions that women confront. Women deserve equal treatment in the workplace.
Governor Walker attacked the rights of public workers to bargain collectively and that wound remains open. The Republican Legislature refused to consider an increase in the minimum wage. They proposed getting rid of worker safety provisions requiring a day off every week. The assault on working people continues.
I believe in the right to bargain collectively. Union advances created standards such as the 40-hour work week and paid time off for all workers. The minimum wage is lower in buying power than it has been for decades. Putting more money in the hands of working folks will spur the economy and create more jobs.
One of the first things I did in Madison was to come out in favor of abolishing closed legislative caucuses. These secret meetings are where most important legislative decisions are made.
I believe that open meetings featuring real debate are vital to ensuring that the people’s business is done honestly and that decisions are made in the public, not private, interest.
Republican attempts to block voting continue. The Republicans cut the hours for early voting and passed a law allowing intimidating observers within a few feet of people trying to vote. They have changed the dates of primaries in an effort to disenfranchise college students.
I believe that trying to block voting is undemocratic and un-American. Voter fraud has been all but nonexistent. Voting is a sacred right. The idea that we should disenfranchise thousands to block non-existent fraud is undemocratic and un-American. Voting is a right and making it harder for older people, poor people and students to vote is an attack on democracy.
Republicans rejected compromise on the mining bill and the result has been that no metallic mine seems likely to open for years, if ever. My first speech on the floor of the Assembly was in opposition to the mining bill. The Republicans continue to block wind energy operations and seem intent on making Wisconsin completely dependent on oil.
I believe we need mining and wind energy and that Republicans threw away opportunities to add jobs and protect the environment.
Taxes and Job Creation
The tax increases on seniors and the working poor due to cuts to the Homestead and Earned Income Tax Credits continue. The Walker administration tax cuts were too small to provide an economic boost or help individuals or families. The bulk of the cuts went to the wealthy. Wisconsin continues to trail the nation in economic growth, wage growth and nearly every other economic indicator. Republicans have a dismal economic record in this state. It simply is not working.
I believe that cutting education and raising taxes on the poor and seniors while giving breaks to the rich has backfired in terms of job creation. Businesses thrive on demand for goods and services. Reducing the incomes of thousands of public workers has taken many millions out of the state and local economies
Please give me your vote in November for the 44th Assembly District.