Iron County Progressive

Weekly News from Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair

We are in an unprecedented public health crisis. We are in an unprecedented economic crisis. And we are in a crisis of democracy—with an election in eleven days.

We have to tackle them all.

I'll write about the election fight in a moment. But first, a reminder: 
stay home, and stay safe. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or anxious right now. Support is available -- you can call the Disaster Distress Hotline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. The CDC has also provided guidance on how best to talk to your children about COVID-19.

And while you're home, don't just check the news and watch TV—volunteer to help win this election. You can sign up to join a local virtual phone bank at It's all hands virtually on deck.

Times of crisis are when our actions matter most. Let's pull through this, together.


FIGHT on the Issues & FIGHT to Win

Request an Absentee Ballot Now!

Amid all the chaos, we still have an important election to win on April 7 for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. We’re concentrating all of our efforts on mobilizing voters to request an absentee ballot online. If you haven’t already, you can request yours in less than 60 seconds. The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is Thursday, April 2 at 5:00 PM.

When you get your absentee ballot in the mail, you’ll need an adult witness to sign your ballot before you mail it back. If you live alone and are practicing social distancing (as we all should!), the Madison City Clerk has a few good ideas for getting that signature. Make sure to allow enough time for your ballot to get back to the Clerk’s Office by April 7 at 8:00 PM.

Gov. Evers Calls for Universal Vote By Mail

Today, Governor Evers called on the state legislature to pass a bill requiring that a ballot be mailed to every registered Wisconsin voter, to be returned safely by mail. Watch his video and share it here:

Make sure to call your legislators and tell them to support Gov. Evers’ plan. The continued functioning of our democracy depends on voting being safe and accessible to all. 

The legislative hotline is 1-800-362-9472!
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and the Democratic National Committee have sued the Wisconsin Elections Commission to expand access to absentee voting. Already, we've won an extension on online voter registration to this Monday night, March 30. We filed again yesterday with our additional requests—most critically, to allow absentee ballot requests without requiring an uploaded photo of a voter ID and to extend the deadline for postmarking a ballot. Stay tuned for updates!

If you're having trouble voting, we're here to help. DPW launched a Voter Protection Hotline this week that will be staffed during business hours—and if you leave a message, we'll make sure to get back to it. Americans have fought and died for the right to vote—and we're going to keep fighting to exercise it!


First, I wanted to say thank you. We all owe so much to our health care workers, local and county officials, grocery store workers, pharmacy employees, public utility workers, and so many more you you who still have to work at essential businesses to keep us going. To everyone else, thank you for staying at home as much as you can. When you practice social distancing, you are doing the best thing you can for your community's health.

As your state representative, I also wanted to provide a brief update on the state legislature. Currently, we are waiting on Congress to pass the federal stimulus bill before we plan and move forward with possible complementary legislation (as of Friday morning, March 27th, the federal bill is awaiting passage in the House of Representatives). The Assembly and Senate are currently working on how to hold session safely. As far as I've heard, Governor Tony Evers and legislative leaders in both parties are working hard on bipartisan ideas to help Wisconsinites through this crisis.

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, For local updates, here are the county health departments in the 74th Assembly District:
If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 or think you have been exposed, contact your doctor. In the meantime, stay safe, stay calm and stay informed.

Important note: The information in this update is relevant as of Friday, March 27th at 10 am. Things are moving quickly and bound to change. 

Governor's "Safer at Home" Emergency Order

This week, Governor Tony Evers issued the "Safer at Home" Emergency Order. The order states that all individuals present within the State of Wisconsin are ordered to stay at home or at their place of residence.

Individuals do not need special permission to leave their homes, but you should comply with the order and only leave your home for:
  • Health and safety.
  • To obtain necessary supplies, such as food, gas and household items.
  • Outdoor activity. Enjoy our parks and get some exercise, so long as you maintain social distance.
  • Performing essential work.
  • Taking care of others.
Non-essential business and operations must cease. Essential business are as follows:
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine.
  • Food and beverage production.
  • Restaurants and bars, but only for take-out and delivery.
  • Childcare facilities.
  • Charitable and social services.
  • Weddings, funerals and religious entities, limited to gatherings of 10 people or fewer.
  • Media.
  • Gas stations and transportation-related business.
  • Hardware and supplies stores.
  • Critical trades for maintaining homes and businesses.
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services.
  • Laundry services.
  • Businesses that sell supplies to work from home.
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, children, and/or people with disabilities, substance abuse disorders, and/or mental illness.
  • Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries.
  • Hotels and Motels, although gathering spaces such as pools should be closed.
If a business is deemed essential, it does not need documentation or certification to continue its work. If you feel your business should be deemed essential but doesn't fall within the order, or you have further questions, visit the WEDC page on essential businesses.

If you have further questions, check out the Frequently Asked Questions here and the full text of the order here.

Yesterday, the governor's office also announced a donation and buy back program for personal protective equipment (PPE). Check out this website if you'd like to donate or sell any PPE you may have. 

Remember, this is a community effort! You may not be vulnerable, but this is about protecting the vulnerable and not overloading our healthcare system. We are all in this together. 

Travel and Snowbirds

Part of the emergency order requires Wisconsin residents to cancel or postpone all nonessential travel, including travel within the state. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services:

"At this time, all international and domestic travel is considered risky, and all individuals who spend time outside of their home or local community have some risk of exposure to COVID-19. If international or domestic travel cannot be avoided, be prepared to remain away for an extended period of time if travel restrictions change or if you become sick. You should also be prepared to self-quarantine at home for 14 days upon your return."

For more information on travel restrictions, see the DHS homepage on COVID-19 and travel. 

This order includes those who are returning to their summer homes in Northern Wisconsin. While I understand the urge to escape more populated areas and return to the beauty and welcoming communities up north, you are endangering people if you do not self-quarantine.
If you are a seasonal resident returning to Northern Wisconsin, bring your own supplies and self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

That being said, I would ask that you reconsider returning at all. Please follow the emergency order and stay in your homes. Essential supplies and health care facilities are limited in Northern Wisconsin counties, and you must think of the health and well-being of those around you. 

Spring Election Updates and Deadlines

I've been hearing from clerks and concerned citizens throughout the district about the election. Unfortunately, unlike other states, we cannot use executive action to move the election, nor do we have time to change the means of the election through legislative action (again, as far as we know at this time, but things are subject to change).

Here is a link to a memo prepared by the Legislative Reference Bureau concerning the governor's emergency powers with respect to postponing an election.

Because of all this, Wisconsin's Spring Election and Presidential Primary is still scheduled to be held on Tuesday, April 7.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself, your community and the hardworking volunteers who staff polling stations is to request a mail ballot. You can still register online until March 30th.

In order to request a ballot by mail, please visit or contact your local municipal clerk. 

Help for Small Businesses

Small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 may qualify for Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans. These disaster loans are another step toward providing much-needed assistance to Wisconsin's small businesses during this challenging and uncertain time.

The application to the small business loan portal can be accessed here. 

The SBA disaster assistance loans are: 
  • For up to $2 million;
  • For businesses under 500 employees;
  • Low-interest (2.75-3.75%), long-term (15-30 year) loans;
  • Available and funded 21 days after a completed application is submitted.
For more information, visit the SBA website here, or contact our local Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Development Director for Ashland, Bayfield, Iron, Price, Douglas and Sawyer Counties, Lance Ausing, at or call 608.210.6824. There will also be web meetings hosted by SBA on how it can help businesses during the coronavirus epidemic and economic slowdown.

For those who are able, I encourage you to support your local businesses and restaurants. Here are some ways you can help out small businesses in our community: 
  • Purchase gift cards to local restaurants to use at a later date. 
  • Order delivery or takeout where possible. 
  • Visit the websites of your favorite local businesses, many are offering discounts or telling their customers how they can assist. Other businesses are offering services remotely or shipping merchandise to their customers. 
  • If you're online shopping, seek out local businesses to make these purchases.
Every dollar for your locally-owned businesses will help at this precarious time.