Iron County Progressive


From State Senator Janet Bewley

Even Ebenezer Scrooge Found a Heart



Most of us remember the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol”, in which Ebenezer Scrooge, initially refuting the spirit of the Christmas season, is visited by the ghosts of Christmas’s past, present and future. His eyes finally opened to how his miserly ways have put those around him in distress and his lonely and untimely end, Scrooge reforms his ways, becoming a man of generosity with goodwill towards all.



Goodwill towards all. It seems to penetrate so much of our thinking during the holiday seasons. While the stresses of this time of year can be great, the end results; of time spent with friends and loved ones, the giving of that one special gift, or making a donation to a local charity, are immeasurable.



But for far too many, especially the homeless, this time of year is a struggle. Whether in Madison or Milwaukee, or closer to home in Ashland, Superior, or Rice Lake, shelters are doing their best to help the most vulnerable among us. Superior’s Solid Rock Haven provides warm beds, three meals a day, and assistance in finding both stable work and permanent housing. Benjamin’s House in Rice Lake does much of the same, helping residents obtain their GED or aid in finding medical care, all with a warm place to call home at the end of the day.



These homes and the organizations that run them are so important to the health of our communities and in helping to lift individuals out of homelessness. But they can’t do this important work alone. They need our help. That ranges from gifts of everyday goods like toothbrushes, paper towels, and canned goods, to monetary donations.



Both Governor Evers and many legislators have seen this need and have worked hard to address it. Earlier this year a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a package of eight bills that would provide short-term grants or loans to help defray housing costs, create more beds at emergency shelters, and pay for skills training for those interested, among other actions. All eight of these bills passed the State Assembly unanimously earlier this year but my Republican colleagues in the State Senate have failed to act on this legislation. Governor Evers has asked the Joint Finance Committee to separately release the funds by the end of year, but this too has been rejected. At a time when the temperature is only getting colder, and the needs ever greater, Republican Senators have chosen to do nothing.



Ebenezer Scrooge eventually found the spirit of the season. Giving back and helping others when they are down is the true joy that can be found during Christmas, not sticking up one’s nose to those in need with a short “Bah humbug”. It is my hope that my Republican colleagues can come to that same realization sooner rather than later and release the requested funds that are so desperately needed.



From State Senator Janet Bewley
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hunting 

Every fall, my husband, David, and our beloved black lab, Pearl, head out to eastern North Dakota for their annual duck hunting trip. Although I miss them terribly, I know that they both love this trip. Pearl is one heck of a retriever and my husband’s a pretty good shot. We love to share the fruits of this hunt with friends and neighbors. 

 

While that specific hunting excursion may be over for the two of them, another one is just getting started here in Wisconsin. Rifle season is upon us and if you’re a hunter, perhaps you’ve already restocked your freezer with fresh venison for the year by the time you’re reading this. Or you’ve already sat down for a thanksgiving meal with your friends and family members. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time this winter, I hope it’s safe for those that you love and care about.

 

Safety is definitely on my mind when it comes to hunting. In addition to worrying about loved ones out hunting, I also worry about the safety and wellbeing of our deer herd. So far Northern Wisconsin has been lucky in that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a degenerative and fatal brain ailment that spreads among deer and similar species, has not decimated our herd in the way that it has done in other parts of the state.

 

This year, further precautions are in place so that hunters can have peace of mind that any deer they harvest is not afflicted with CWD. If it is discovered to be infected, the deer carcass can be disposed of in a way so that it cannot infect any further deer in the local area. There are numerous stations throughout Northern Wisconsin where harvested deer can be tested and if necessary, properly disposed of. For a list of these locations, I encourage you to either call your local DNR station or go to https://dnr.wi.gov/wmcwd/RegStation.

 

In the spirit of the season, I’m thankful that the DNR is being proactive when it comes to managing this disease. Down in Madison, I have been working with my colleagues in the democratic caucus to pass legislation that would authorize even more testing kiosks throughout the state, but unfortunately our efforts have been unsuccessful. I hope that with the New Year, we as legislators can find a way to cut through the partisan gridlock and do more to understand and combat this disease.

 

I’m looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with my husband, my daughters and their husbands, and my grandchildren. And Pearl is looking forward to grabbing whatever food she can from under the table.  I hope everyone has a safe and festive Thanksgiving holiday!

This week in review with Rep. Beth Meyers 
      
As the holiday season approaches, I want to encourage everyone to take a moment to be thankful for all that we have. While we begin the festivities with turkey, hunting, football, and pumpkin pie, we also reunite with family and loved ones to reminisce about this year’s blessings.

I know that I’m thankful to call Northern Wisconsin home. Not only is Northern Wisconsin naturally beautiful—from Lake Superior’s shoreline, to the Penokee Hills, to the Chequamegon National Forest, to Timm’s Hill—but our warm and welcoming communities are what makes the Northwoods truly special. Our district, which runs from the tip of Bayfield County to the southern border of Price County, is full of hard-working and caring people. I am very proud to represent the people of the 74th Assembly District.

Being a voice for Northern Wisconsin is what I aim to do as your State Representative, and I want to give thanks to everyone who has reached out in support of important issues around the district this past year. One instance of many was when Deputy Sheriff Mika supported a bill that protects spousal and family benefits of law enforcement officers who die in the line of duty. I truly appreciated him reaching out to me. I know this is an important issue for Northern Wisconsin, and so I co-sponsored the bill, which has since been signed into law.

Additionally, some realtors in our district reached out about a bill that addresses safety issues for homeowners during open houses and private showings. After listening to their concerns, I decided to become a co-author. The students from the Class Act Charter School in Park Falls advocated for a bill to make the ruffed grouse the state small game bird, which I was happy to author.

This year I have been focused on many important tasks; these include being on the Suicide Task Force, seeking justice for missing and murdered tribal women, expanding broadband in the district, and working with the new governor and his administration. This upcoming year, I will continue my commitment towards the common goals of our community, as there is always more to be done.

I am incredibly honored to serve so many wonderful people in the 74th Assembly District
. The kindhearted, giving people of Northern Wisconsin have created a welcoming community that is easy to be thankful for. During this Thanksgiving holiday, I cannot say thank you enough to everyone, and with that I wish you all a very happy and festive Thanksgiving!

I encourage everyone who is planning on holiday shopping to go out on Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Last year, I traveled around the district to visit many wonderful locally owned shops in the 74th Assembly District. I drove 286 miles, spent 12 hours, went to 4 counties, and shopped at 22 stores and restaurants to support small businesses and got some wonderful gifts for family and friends.

This year, I plan to do it all over again. I hope to see you out there!

Weekly News from Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair

 


 


Trump has returned to his ugliest playbook: wielding racism as a political weapon.

It’s now up to Democrats to fight back. But don’t listen to the pundits who claim we have to choose between confronting racism 
or focusing on the kitchen-table issues that affect working people of all races. The best research shows that we win most powerfully when we tackle both.

Here’s the truth: the Trump and GOP cynically use racism and xenophobia to divide and distract the public—so that they pick all of our pockets to benefit the ultra-wealthy. 

And here’s the good news: a deep-dive research project found that the most powerful message is the one that points all of that out. 

 


 


Prepare yourself for the battles ahead. You can read a summary of the research in this article: "A unifying "race-class narrative": Blueprint for progressive victory?" — and read the actual study here: "Race-Class: Our Progressive Narrative."

The Associated Press wrote about this last week. In a story that ran nationwide, I was quoted arguing: 
"Trump's use of racism as a political weapon is his only strategy to distract the public from the No. 1 issue in 2018, which was health care," Wikler said. "He can't claim that he stands for working people in 2020."
We can’t shy away from confronting Trump’s despicable appeals to hatred. And we also can’t let him pull us away from fighting on issues that affect people of every race. Fortunately, our most powerful path is the one where we speak to both at once—and the connection between them. We can lead with our values, and win. 

 


 

Fight on Issues:
Medicaid Expansion Saves Lives

 

When we increase access to health care, more people seek care, and that in turn reduces mortality rates. A new study published this week estimates that had nationwide Medicaid expansion occurred, 15,000 deaths would have been prevented.

Studies are literally telling us that Medicaid expansion would save people’s lives, yet Republicans still refuse to put petty politics aside and do the right thing for their constituents.

 

 

 

Expanding Medicaid isn’t just the moral thing to do, it's also the smart choice for all Wisconsinites. In addition to freeing up millions of dollars in our biennial budget, expanding Medicaid would reduce costs for all of us and give 82,000 low-income Wisconsinites access to affordable care.

We’re going to continue to fight for Medicaid expansion even as the 2020 race heats up. The health and lives of Wisconsinites are on the line, and we’re not going to let Republicans get away with this come election day.

 

Weekly News from Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair

 


 

Republicans Cut $900 Million from Gov. Evers' Education Budget

 

We call Gov. Evers’ budget the People’s budget for a reason -- this administration had hours upon hours of conversations with Wisconsinites in every part of the state to hear what everyday working people needed from their government. We’ve learned that 73% of Wisconsinites support an increase in special education funding while 55% support increasing funding for K-12 education. Like Medicaid Expansion, supporting our kids is very popular in our state.

 


 

That’s why Gov. Evers proposed a $1.4 billion investment in education, including a much-needed $600 million investment in special education (which hasn’t seen a funding increase since 2009!). Gov. Evers knows that what’s best for our kids is what’s best for our state. If we don’t give our kids the support and education they need now, we will pay the price in years to come.

But that didn’t stop Republicans from
slashing $900 million from Gov. Evers’ proposed education budget. They decided their tax breaks to the wealthiest people in our state were more important than the future of Wisconsin’s kids.

Additionally, they cut Gov. Evers’ proposed special education investment by 84%. School districts around the state have had to foot the bill for the increasing cost of special education services, in turn forcing local property owners to raise their own taxes.
Republicans are picking winners and losers with this budget, and it just isn’t fair.

 


 

In more appalling news from the Republican caucus, Sen. Chris Kapenga from Delafield has been doubling down on his belief that kids with disabilities don't belong in our public schools. What does it say about GOP priorities that their members don't even believe every Wisconsin kid deserves to be supported by the state?

Republicans have said this is “the best [they] can do,” but we know that’s not the case. This fight isn’t over, and budget negotiations will continue until Wisconsin's kids get the support they deserve.

 


 

Join Project Battleground: WI Facebook Group!

 

Project Battleground: Wisconsin is a statewide Facebook group dedicated to electing Democrats up and down the ballot in 2019, 2020, and beyond! It’s a place for Wisconsinites to connect with each other, get updates on the 2020 election, find volunteer opportunities, and get breaking news alerts. It's one big 2020 organizing party for Wisconsinites!

 


 


 

Democrats Introduce Automatic Voter Registration

 

As part of their commitment to ensure every Wisconsin citizen can participate in our democracy without unnecessary barriers, Gov. Evers and legislative Democrats introduced legislation earlier this week that would automatically register eligible voters at the DMV
when receiving a driver’s license.

We should be making it easier for Wisconsinites to vote, not harder. Automatic voter registration is a no-brainer.
Weekly News from Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair
 
 
Republicans Cut $900 Million from Gov. Evers' Education Budget
 
We call Gov. Evers’ budget the People’s budget for a reason -- this administration had hours upon hours of conversations with Wisconsinites in every part of the state to hear what everyday working people needed from their government. We’ve learned that 73% of Wisconsinites support an increase in special education funding while 55% support increasing funding for K-12 education. Like Medicaid Expansion, supporting our kids is very popular in our state.
 
 
That’s why Gov. Evers proposed a $1.4 billion investment in education, including a much-needed $600 million investment in special education (which hasn’t seen a funding increase since 2009!). Gov. Evers knows that what’s best for our kids is what’s best for our state. If we don’t give our kids the support and education they need now, we will pay the price in years to come.

But that didn’t stop Republicans from
slashing $900 million from Gov. Evers’ proposed education budget. They decided their tax breaks to the wealthiest people in our state were more important than the future of Wisconsin’s kids.

Additionally, they cut Gov. Evers’ proposed special education investment by 84%. School districts around the state have had to foot the bill for the increasing cost of special education services, in turn forcing local property owners to raise their own taxes.
Republicans are picking winners and losers with this budget, and it just isn’t fair.
 
 
In more appalling news from the Republican caucus, Sen. Chris Kapenga from Delafield has been doubling down on his belief that kids with disabilities don't belong in our public schools. What does it say about GOP priorities that their members don't even believe every Wisconsin kid deserves to be supported by the state?

Republicans have said this is “the best [they] can do,” but we know that’s not the case. This fight isn’t over, and budget negotiations will continue until Wisconsin's kids get the support they deserve.
 
 
Join Project Battleground: WI Facebook Group!
 
Project Battleground: Wisconsin is a statewide Facebook group dedicated to electing Democrats up and down the ballot in 2019, 2020, and beyond! It’s a place for Wisconsinites to connect with each other, get updates on the 2020 election, find volunteer opportunities, and get breaking news alerts. It's one big 2020 organizing party for Wisconsinites!
 
 
 
Democrats Introduce Automatic Voter Registration
 
As part of their commitment to ensure every Wisconsin citizen can participate in our democracy without unnecessary barriers, Gov. Evers and legislative Democrats introduced legislation earlier this week that would automatically register eligible voters at the DMV when receiving a driver’s license.

We should be making it easier for Wisconsinites to vote, not harder. Automatic voter registration is a no-brainer.