Iron County Progressive


COVID-19 Update

I wanted to discuss the big news that has rocked our state—on Wednesday, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court tossed out the Safer at Home order. I'm disappointed in my Republican colleagues in the legislature. It's bad enough that they would bring this lawsuit forward at taxpayers' expense during a pandemic, but it's unconscionable that they would do so with absolutely no plan to safely reopen the state.

Right now, the science warns that prematurely opening up could lead to a second wave of infections, undoing the hard work and sacrifice we've all endured over the past two months. This is especially dangerous in our rural areas where we have limited hospital capacity and an older population. Safer at Home has prevented so many unnecessary deaths, and we must continue to be diligent and careful going forward.

So what does that mean for reopening? Right now, there is a lot of confusion, but I hope that we can come together and enact a smart, safe and proactive strategy. In the meantime, please check in with your local county or tribal health departments on updates in your community: 
For those living in counties with no Safer at Home order, continue to do the following:
  • Frequently wash your hands. 
  • Clean commonly touched surfaces.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other people outside your home. 
  • Wear a facemask if you're out in public. 
  • Continue staying home whenever possible.
  • Don't travel for nonessential purposes. 
For businesses who require guidance for safe reopening, please see the WEDC page for relief and recovery resources.

I can't stress enough how grateful I am for the continued generosity and cooperation across Northern Wisconsin as we weather this crisis. Now that there isn't a statewide plan, we need to depend on each other, common sense and a spirit of community more now than ever. Please take care of each other. 

Unemployment Updates and Assistance

Here's what the Supreme Court decision means for unemployment:
  • It does not impact applications submitted or claims pending. Benefits will be paid to eligible claimants, even if the person returns to work before their claim is deemed eligible.
  • It does not impact federal programs like Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
  • It does not change work search. Governor Tony Evers waived work search March 12, 2020. Work search is still considered satisfied through the end of September 2020.
  • It does impact unemployment eligibility in this way: If an employer now has work for an employee who was laid off or furloughed and that employee refuses to return to work, that will cause an eligibility issue that must be adjudicated.
Unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are totally or partially unemployed due to no fault of their own. If the employee—not the employer—is choosing not to work, the employee is likely not eligible for UI benefits.

However, the facts of each circumstance are important. If you have any question about whether you are eligible for benefits, please apply. Individuals considered ineligible for unemployment may be eligible for PUA. For further questions on Unemployment Insurance, please visit the DWD Frequently Asked Questions page.

Are you having trouble getting your unemployment benefits? If it has been at least three weeks since you submitted your application and you have not received your benefits, my office may be able to help you. Email with the following information: 
  • Full name 
  • Phone number
  • Issue you want to be resolved (i.e. When will I receive my benefits?)
  • Status of your application
    • Did you apply online?
    • What date did you submit it? 
    • Are you awaiting a decision on something that had to be investigated? 
My staff will send this information to the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and request that they promptly look into your case. I understand that this is a difficult financial time for many, and I am committed to helping you receive your benefits in a timely manner.

Testing Sites in Northern Wisconsin

Below is a list of publicly available community testing sites throughout Northern Wisconsin. There are ongoing efforts to expand and open new testing sites throughout the state, so please check out the DHS testing locations website for updates and new sites.

Price County
Prentice DNR Ranger Station, W5327 Granberg Rd, Prentice, WI 54556. Drive-thru testing available May 17th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sawyer County
Sawyer Hayward Hospital, 10655 Nyman Ave, Hayward, WI 54843. Drive-thru testing available on May 15th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Oneida County
Rhinelander High School, 665 Coolidge Ave, Rhinelander, WI 54501. Drive-thru testing available May 20th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Lakeland Union High School, 9573 WI-70, Minocqua, WI 54548. Drive-thru testing available May 21st from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Road Tests Waived

Starting Monday, parents now have the option to waive road tests for their 16- and 17-year-olds who have successfully completed all of the driver training requirements.

Eligible teens must complete a driver education class, behind-the-wheel training with a licensed instructor, and at least 30 hours of driving with their parent or sponsor. The waiver was put in place to cut down on the road test backlog and is expected to remain in effect until the end of 2020. In-person road tests will be available beginning May 26.

You can read more about this change, as well as other efforts the DMV is taking to address the backlog demand, here. 

COVID-19 Democratic Response Plan

This week, Legislative Democrats rolled out our plan to continue the necessary work of helping families and businesses in every corner of Wisconsin. While we passed legislation that took the necessary first steps to helping those affected by COVID-19, it simply wasn't enough.

We need to do more to address the health and economic devastation that has happened and will continue to happen. There are things only the legislature can do, and I for one am itching to get back to work in Madison and advocate for the people of Northern Wisconsin. I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle join us in crafting a plan to help us recover and thrive. 

As always, the best information on COVID-19 can be found at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. There is also great information to be found for all of the state of Wisconsin agencies at the governors website,

Important note: The information in this update is relevant as of May 15th at 10:30 am. Things are moving quickly and bound to change. 

Feel free to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns. Email me at or call at (608) 266-7690.

We are all in this together, and I have great confidence that the people of Wisconsin will rise and meet this challenge.

Be well, and thank you, 

Weekly News from Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair

Our state Republican Party have declared war on public health, declared war on science, declared war on the law—all as part of their scorched-earth war against Democrats.
They have no plan to control coronavirus. All they seem to know is that they want Governor Evers's plan to fail.

Wednesday night's Supreme Court decision snatched the wheel from Governor Evers just as he was driving the state to safety, and handed it to Robin Vos—who is attempting to drive the state over a cliff.

Last time the GOP lost a major statewide election, Walker, Vos, and Fitzgerald held a lame-duck session and passed a law requiring the legislature to sign off on executive branch rulemakings. Now, the GOP lost a Supreme Court race, and lame-duck Justice Kelly cast the tiebreaking vote to require emergency public health measures to go through that exact rulemaking process, subject to legislative veto.

They're like the supervillain in a movie who sets off the bomb as he falls from the balcony. Except this is real life, and the deaths from coronavirus are tragically, brutally real.

County and municipal authorities are now trying to put together the pieces that the GOP smashed apart. It's on all of us to keep our communities safe, now that the GOP has removed the protections that Governor Evers and his team put in place so carefully.

Meanwhile, we've got a fight on our hands. The GOP is gunning for legislative supermajorities that would allow them to re-gerrymander the maps and maintain undemocratic control for another decade. We've got to stop them.

The stakes have always been impossibly high. But they keep getting higher. The good news is that, as a party, we're in stronger shape than we've ever been. Thousands upon thousands of us are pouring hours, days, and weeks into organizing—finding and turning out voters in every corner of the state. Let's keep ramping it up. No matter how dark they try to make it, we're going to let our light shine, and dawn will come.


FIGHT on the Issues & FIGHT to Win

Results from the WI-07

Tricia Zunker was a powerhouse candidate who ran a brilliantly-executed campaign in a district gerrymandered to lock in Republican victories. She stepped up and fought for a district that went for Trump by 20 points in 2016 by centering the issues that matter most to Northern and Western Wisconsinites. Tricia has proven to be a relentless advocate for Wisconsin’s working people, and her star is only rising. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is proud and excited to support Tricia when she runs again this fall!

Through her candidacy, Tricia also showed that
Trump’s chances for reelection are looking more and more slim. Despite Trump’s intense personal involvement in support of Tom Tiffany, Tricia was able to shrink the GOP margin of victory in the district by 6 points. For Trump to win in November, red areas have to get redder to balance out blue areas getting bluer—but on Tuesday, Tricia showed that even our reddest Congressional district could swing drastically towards Democrats. Trump’s base is cracking and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin will continue to organize every square inch of Wisconsin over the coming 172 days.

Supreme Court Puts Public Health in Jeopardy

The conservative state Supreme Court struck down Gov. Evers’ latest stay-at-home order this week, putting an unknown number of Wisconsinites in harm’s way. Despite public health experts agreeing that the order is working and that the state isn't ready to return to normal yet, the GOP is once again putting politics over people by trying to remove public health measures designed to keep us safe and healthy.

Republicans have used their conservative justices as political tools to undermine the Governor at every turn. The Supreme Court decision now requires the GOP-run legislature to sign off on any emergency health measures put forth by the Governor’s administration. That means your voice as a constituent is more important than ever! DPW is coordinating a campaign to put pressure on Republicans in the legislature to agree to strong coronavirus protections through the legislative hotline and text with ResistBot.
Help protect Wisconsinites by texting Wisdems to 50409


Tricia Zunker paves the way for more Native Wisconsinites to seek elected office

Through her historic candidacy, Tricia has paved the way for more Native Wisconsinites to seek elected office. Tricia would have been the first Native American to represent Wisconsin in Congress and the first woman to represent the 7th district. She currently serves as president of the Wausau School Board and is a justice on the Ho-Chunk Supreme Court, where she will continue to fight for workers, small businesses, family farms, and the protection of the environment. We look forward to Tricia’s continued leadership in Democratic politics!

Thanks to our aggressive organizing efforts in the WI-07, we also identified thousands of new Democratic voters in Northern Wisconsin.
This race showed the importance of organizing everywhere and fighting for every vote -- some rural Wisconsinites are hearing from the Democratic party for the first time in years. Here at DPW we’re committed to connecting with Wisconsin voters from every part of the state and every walk of life. 

EMPOWER the Grassroots

Thank you to all who supported Tricia Zunker!

A message from Tricia Zunker: “I want to thank you for your support. It has been a deep honor and privilege to run for this seat, and I could not have done it alone. There has been so much support…This has been quite a journey, and we worked really hard. We laid the groundwork for a Democratic win in November.”

DPW is so thankful for our grassroots support and is looking forward to your help in the next fight!