Iron County Progressive

Weekly News from Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair


2018: A Year to Remember


What a year it’s been! I can't stress this enough -- we Wisconsin Democrats have come a long way.

We started out 2018 with a bang by electing
Patty Schachtner to the state Senate (a 17 point flip for that district). A few months later, we sent Judge Rebecca Dallet to the Supreme Court -- the first time a non-incumbent liberal justice had been elected in decades. And of course, in November, we won every statewide race on the ballot, re-elected our Senator Tammy Baldwin and even flipped an Assembly seat once held by Scott Walker!

As 2018 comes to a close, I can’t help but be humbled by the work and dedication of our Wisconsin Democratic family. After shocking losses in 2016, many thought Wisconsin would be a red state for the foreseeable future. Pundits said our Senator Tammy Baldwin could lose and that Scott Walker’s re-election was a given.

But you didn’t give up hope.
You believed a better future for our state was possible. In the months leading up to November, you put in the hard work to make it happen, whether you knocked doors, made phone calls, chipped in a few dollars, called your legislators, or even ran for office. Our Party owes its strength to the energy of our grassroots organizers and activists. You helped make it happen, and I couldn't be more appreciative.

In 2019, Wisconsin will begin a new chapter as we inaugurate a new slate of Democratic leadership. With Tony Evers as Governor, Mandela Barnes as Lt. Governor, Josh Kaul as Attorney General, Sarah Godlewski as Treasurer and Doug La Follette as Secretary of State, we will finally have the ability to lead with our Wisconsin values. After 8 years of Scott Walker’s “divide and conquer” politics, we will treat each other with respect and reach our hands across the aisle to get work done. We will focus on issues we know are affecting everyday Wisconsinites -- health care costs, education funding and deteriorating road quality. We’ll make sure everyone has a seat at the table as we build a better future for Wisconsin together. 

This holiday season, I feel hopeful and grateful. Hopeful because our Democratic leadership has an exciting opportunity before them to make real change for the people of Wisconsin. And grateful for your hard work that got us to where we are today.

We won’t be slowing down in 2019. Wisconsinites will have the opportunity to elect an independent justice to the Supreme Court in April, and if we’re successful, we'll be one step closer to finally eliminating conservatives’ majority on the court. There will be many important local races, from Madison and Milwaukee mayor to school board races across the state. And of course, Republicans in power will need to be held accountable.

In these final days of 2018, I hope you’ll step back and appreciate all the good we've done this year, and what a difference the Wisconsin Democratic family has made. Whether you’re with family or friends, I hope you are able to find some peace and warmth this holiday season.
We have much to be grateful for, and much to look forward to.

-Chair Martha Laning



From State Senator Janet Bewley
Don’t Buy the Snake Oil 

                   Without the other provisions of the ACA, a law requiring insurance plans to cover pre-existing conditions, by itself, is almost meaningless.   

I thought the days when shameless con men could get away with peddling snake oil as a health care tonic were long over.  Unfortunately, some of my Republican colleagues are trying to revive that tradition.  Earlier this week the Senate voted in the middle of the night (well, early morning) on a bill that pretended to protect people with pre-existing health conditions.  

Neither Assembly Bill 365, as amended by the State Assembly nor the Senate Republicans substitute amendment would have protected people with pre-existing conditions if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is overturned.  Without the other provisions of the ACA, a law requiring insurance plans to cover pre-existing conditions, by itself, is almost meaningless. 

Nothing in the republican’s proposals would prevent insurance companies from imposing annual or lifetime limits on the dollar value of benefits provided under the plans they sell.  Nothing in these proposals would require insurance companies to cover the medications that people with pre-existing conditions depend on, or limit the amount they could set for co-pays and deductibles.  The only thing these proposals offer is false hope.  I voted no. 

Minutes before that vote, Democrats presented an amendment that would have provided genuine protections.  Republicans refused to even take it up.  And now they are running around pretending that somehow democrats are responsible for their failure to pass their hollowed out version of a pre-existing conditions exclusion.  They are as shameless as those old time snake oil peddlers. 

The protections that people with pre-existing conditions need were in the Democratic amendment, and every Democrat voted for it.  Every Republican voted it down.   They voted against genuine state level protections for those with pre-exiting conditions.  Then they defeated their own half-hearted measure.  But they found the votes to keep the greatest threat to those with pre-existing conditions, their own ACA lawsuit, alive.  

The only reason a bill banning pre-existing condition exclusions would be needed at the state level is if the ACA were overturned by the pending lawsuit that Wisconsin’s outgoing Attorney General joined.  The man who defeated him ran on a promise to pull the state out of that lawsuit.

Instead of listening to the voters, the republicans who control the legislature used their lame duck extraordinary session to overturn the will of the voters and passed a bill that prevents our new Attorney General from pulling Wisconsin out of the lawsuit.  Taxpayers will be forced to pay for the lawsuit they voted to end.  

So don’t fall for the hype you might be hearing.  Don’t be fooled into buying what my republican colleagues are trying to sell.  They are the ones who voted to put insurance company profits ahead of health of the people of the great state of Wisconsin.  There’s nothing but false hope in their half-empty bottle of snake oil called AB 365.

From State Senator Janet Bewley
If They Had Done Their Jobs, They Would Have Kept Their Jobs

 Instead, one month after the people of Wisconsin rejected the divisive agendas of outgoing Governor Walker and Attorney General Schimel, legislative Republicans spent the final throes of this session doubling down on their record of failure.
They held an unprecedented lame duck session, extraordinary only for its failure to do anything for the people and taxpayers who paid for it.  

Did they come in to deal with Wisconsin jobs at Kimberly Clark, the whole point of this session in the first place? No. 

Did they come in to make good on Governor Walker’s promises to people with preexisting conditions and their families? No. They proved those promises empty, and worse.

After seven years of railing the nation in private sector job creation, legislative Republicans decided to make WEDC - an agency that has proven itself unable or unwilling to count jobs, a permanent source of hefty handouts at your expense.

After working tirelessly to take protections away from people with preexisting conditions, Republicans offered ineffective protections with one hand while the hand behind their back guaranteed their ability to continue the greatest threat to people with pre-existing conditions: Republicans' costly and anti-Wisconsin lawsuit to repeal the ACA. 
Then they created a blank check so they can hire a legion of high-priced attorneys at your expense to file endless lawsuits. Then they created a whole new bureaucracy in a legislative committee to create more red tape, delays and cost. 

This was another act of a seven year pattern of GOP politicians putting their own jobs ahead of the people who vote, and pay, for them. They’ve granted themselves powers the constitution gives to the executive branch, and thanks to the heavily-gerrymandered districts they drew for themselves in 2011, they won’t be giving back that power anytime soon.  

Unfortunately, it's the taxpayers of Wisconsin who have to live with, and pay for, the consequences of this contemptible pettiness.

From the Wisconsin AFL-CIO

The people went to the polls in November and voted for a new direction in Madison, not a repeat of the Scott Walker dirty tricks playbook. Yet, immediately after Tony Evers was elected Governor, Republicans in the State Legislature revealed their plans to hold a special legislative session to take away critical pieces of the new Democratic governor's authority before he takes office.

A special session is a period when the legislature meets and passes bills outside of a normally scheduled legislative session.

Republican legislators even want to change long established election dates and add an additional statewide election that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars just to give their hand-picked conservative justice a better chance at winning a Supreme Court election.

TAKE ACTION NOW to stop the GOP lame duck power grab:

1. CALL 866-832-1560 and tell your legislators you oppose the lame-duck special session power grab.

3. Share the call-in number to your social media pages.

Republicans aren’t looking to help Wisconsinites in this special session, but to rig our democracy to their own unfair advantage. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) plainly stated the motive for changing the election date is to give a hand-picked conservative judge a 'better chance' at election.

Republicans in the Legislature need to stop playing politics. Voters went to the polls and spoke loud and clear that we want a new direction in Madison, not the same old political games from Scott Walker. Instead of being sore losers, the legislature needs to start solving Wisconsin’s problems. Wisconsinites want our elected officials to work together on the issues that matter to working families: creating good jobs, fixing a rigged economy that favors the wealthy, protecting affordable health care, and strengthening our middle class by strengthening union rights.

Take action now to stop the special session power grab today. CALL 866-832-1560 and tell your legislators you oppose the lame-duck special session and want our elected officials to work together with our newly elected Governor on solving real issues facing working families.

In Solidarity,

Stephanie Bloomingdale, President

Dennis Delie, Secretary-Treasurer

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Joel McNally: Walker’s horrendous Foxconn deal looks even worse

By Joel McNally SMS

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It probably didn’t seem that way at the time, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker may have been fortunate the election ending his political career took place when it did. Just a week later, a major national announcement revealed the horrendous $4 billion deal Walker negotiated with the Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn was by far the most astronomical taxpayer giveaway in U.S. history producing the fewest jobs.

If voters had received such glaring proof of political incompetence before the election, Walker’s narrow defeat could have been a massive landslide even if he escaped getting tarred, feathered and chased out of the state with pitchforks.

The Tuesday after Election Day was when Amazon announced the grand-prize winners of the largest economic development jackpot in American history: New York, Virginia and Tennessee would gain 55,000 high-paying Amazon jobs in exchange for more than $2.4 billion in state subsidies.

It didn’t take long for Wisconsin taxpayers to realize exactly what Amazon’s announcement meant for them. They’d been taken to the cleaners by Walker, President Donald Trump and Terry Gou, Foxconn’s billionaire chairman. Walker’s deal with Foxconn provided $4 billion in state and local taxpayer subsidies in exchange for an actual guarantee of only 3,000 jobs paying an average of $53,000 a year in a Mount Pleasant electronics plant.

Compare that to the enormous number of higher-paying jobs costing far less for the winners of the great Amazon lottery. Amazon split 50,000 headquarters jobs averaging $150,000 a year with 25,000 going to New York, which bid $1.5 billion in direct state subsidies, and 25,000 to Virginia bidding only $573 million in direct subsidies plus infrastructure, transportation and educational improvements. Nashville, Tenn., was a surprise last-minute addition, winning an Amazon operations center providing 5,000 new jobs in exchange for $102 million in state subsidies.

Economic experts who track politicians frantically throwing enormous bundles of cash at multibillion-dollar corporations in exchange for jobs question whether such one-sided deals ever pay off for taxpayers. Wisconsin’s nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated state taxpayers wouldn’t recoup their obscenely high cash payments to Foxconn for a quarter-century. Economists thought New York’s $1.5 billion for 25,000 Amazon jobs already was a gross overpayment. That puts Wisconsin’s $4 billion to Foxconn for fewer jobs than Nashville got for $102 million on another planet somewhere.

“The Foxconn deal is one of the all-time historically bad tax giveaways by any state,” said Jeffrey Dorfman, an economics professor at the University of Georgia, “whereas the Amazon deals look more like an average bad tax giveaway to a big business.”

Walker outrageously exaggerated the jobs from Foxconn from the day in July 2017 he joined Trump in the White House for the honor of being selected to pay Chairman Gou billions of dollars to manufacture electronic LCD screens in Wisconsin. The three celebrants — Walker, Trump and Gou — all had a history of promising unbelievable jobs numbers that failed to materialize.


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Walker rhetorically added 10,000 to the 3,000 jobs Foxconn actually was required to provide contractually. Trump and Gou backed up that dubious claim with vague references to one day possibly providing “up to 13,000 jobs.” Or possibly not.

Many state taxpayers immediately were concerned they might actually be subsidizing jobs for residents of Illinois with the border only 20 miles away. Despite the billions in state tax dollars going to Foxconn, Walker’s agreement didn’t require preferential hiring for Wisconsin residents.

Weekly News from Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair

Republicans trying to get rid of checks and balances

·         It hasn’t even been a week since the people of Wisconsin chose Tony Evers as their new governor, yet legislative Republicans are already trying to override the will of the people.

Robin Vos, like the typical career politician he is, has threatened to take up legislation to rip certain executive powers away from the governor’s office in order to subvert the will of voters. He and his Republican colleagues are desperate to cling to power, even if it means gutting our constitution and separation of powers.

Wisconsinites left behind the politics of divide and conquer when they elected Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes to be their governor and lt. governor. Wisconsinites want their leaders to address the issues facing their families and communities, like our rising health care costs and crumbling roads. Instead, Vos has chosen to pick petty political fights over addressing real issues.

On Baraboo

I want to address a photo that was circulating around the Internet this week. You probably already know what I’m talking about -- the photo was of a group of high school students at Baraboo High School performing what was clearly a nazi salute. I don’t want to repost this image as it is an ugly, outrageous display of hate.

I appreciated this article written by Monnica Hesse of the Washington Post on the subject, particularly this quote:
  • So, to the Baraboo superintendent: If your defense is, “We’re a hate-free environment,” but there’s a photo of 60 of your students Sieg Heil-ing on the steps of the county courthouse, then maybe you should consider the possibility that you are, in fact, a hate-filled environment. You should also consider the possibility that a useful response wouldn’t be to deny it but rather to interrogate it. Maybe something like: Our students did an awful thing. We’re trying to figure out why, and how we can have the conversations to help make sure they never want to do it again.
There is no room for these displays of anti-Semitism and white supremacy in our communities. We need to be better than this. It is on every single one of us to create a climate of love and acceptance where these acts of hate are not tolerated. Until we as Americans acknowledge the hate that lives in our communities and work to change that climate, we will continue to see hateful acts like this. So let’s lead by example and show our children and young people through our actions that hate has no place here in Wisconsin.



Governor-elect Evers launches transition site!

You can check out the happenings of our new administration at Governor-elect Tony Evers's new website:! Tony and Mandela want to hear from you -- so please, share your comments with our new administration (or even apply for a job!) at today!