Issues

Clean Water

Every Wisconsin resident should have access to clean, safe drinking water. We need to be stewards of Wisconsin’s environment and protect our natural resources—clean water, land, and air are essential to our economy, health, and way of life in Wisconsin.

We cannot allow Big Business to poison our air and water in the name of short-term economic gain while damaging the long-term health and safety of our citizens, our environment, and our economy.

I am frustrated that our current Representative has a history of promising to do one thing and then doing another while the people of Northeast Wisconsin are faced with one of the largest drinking water contamination crises in the Country. He has refused to pass or even vote on legislation to deal with the JCI/Tyco PFAS contamination in Marinette County—even a piece of legislation he co-authored (AB842/843). On top of that, Republicans have stripped local officials and governments of their authority to protect local air, land, and water quality.

Dealing with PFAS contamination needs to be a top priority for our State. We must hold JCI/Tyco, the responsible party, accountable for their actions. We need a concrete, comprehensive solution to this problem. I strongly support the CLEAR Act, which would direct the DNR to set Health Advisory Levels for PFAS in groundwater, surface water, and drinking water. The bill would also expand the number of PFAS chemicals regulated by the State, and give the DNR additional staff and resources to combat PFAS.

The state should also provide free blood testing for residents who may have been exposed to PFAS contamination.

I am completely opposed to the Back 40 Mine.

With 2017’s Act 134, John Nygren and the Republican-led legislature voted to repeal Wisconsin’s “Prove It First” metallic sulfide mining law and further gutted environmental protections for the benefit of mining companies, opening the flood gates for metallic sulfide mining in Wisconsin. I will support legislation to repeal Act 134 and reinstate stronger environmental protections for metallic sulfide mining.

I have heard a few people say the Back Forty Mine “isn’t Wisconsin’s problem.” I think it very much is. This mine threatens residents well beyond the immediate area of Menominee and the UP. Wisconsin’s Assembly District 89 has approximately 50 miles of shoreline on the Bay of Green Bay, from the City of Marinette to the Village of Howard. This shoreline is the third-longest stretch of coastline in a Wisconsin Assembly district, so any spill that finds its way into the Menominee River jeopardizes the environment and residents of all three counties that make up Assembly District 89.

When elected, I will advocate for sound, responsible environmental laws and policies. I will support legislation to repeal Act 134 and reinstate stronger environmental protections for metallic sulfide mining. I will work across the aisle, and across state lines, to stop the mine.

I will support restricting the spreading of manure to ensure safe drinking water from private wells based on environmental factors such as depth to bedrock, soil saturation, depth to water table, etc. I would also support legislation to create and fund a program to remove all lead pipes from residential and K-12 school buildings in Wisconsin.

By working together with residents, businesses and community leaders, we can ensure fair access to Wisconsin’s groundwater, reduce sources of groundwater pollution, and protect the quality of clean drinking water for future generations.

I am proud to be the only candidate in AD89 to earn the endorsement of the Sierra Club, Wisconsin Conservation Voters, and Citizen Action of Wisconsin for my commitment to protecting our environment.

Health Care

Health care should be a right, not a privilege. Every Wisconsin resident should have access to high-quality, affordable health care when they need it. Accepting federal Medicaid expansion will insure 16% (approximately 180,000) more Wisconsinites.

It is projected that accepting the federal Medicaid expansion would save WI approximately $2.5-billion over the next decade (not to mention insuring 16% more Wisconsinites), because the federal government would cover the full cost of the program for the first few years, and then cover 90% (or roughly $185-million a year) of the cost thereafter (currently, they pay about 60%).

Over and over again, our current Representative and his party in the Legislature have denied 180,000 Wisconsin citizens an expansion of Medicaid that would give our hardworking, lower wage workers health insurance and save our taxpayers over $185-million per year. This is not only bad policy to deny health insurance to working people, but it is fiscally irresponsible!

Our seniors who have worked hard their entire lives should have fair access to quality health care, affordable community housing opportunities, and greater financial security in retirement. I will also advocate for the creation of a BadgerCare public option insurance plan, which residents could buy into if they do not have affordable insurance through their employer.

As an aside, if our Republican-led Legislature was serious about helping people afflicted with opioid addiction, they would be fighting to accept the federal Medicaid expansion--it would cover addiction treatment services for our most vulnerable, currently uninsured, citizens.

When I am in office, I will fight to protect and expand health care coverage.

This is a great time to talk about the difference between the ACA and Medicaid:

The short version is that the difference between Medicaid and ACA is that ACA health plans are offered by private health insurance companies while Medicaid is a government program that is jointly funded by the federal government and each state. It is provided for individuals who qualify based on income, age, or health need. Those who receive Medicaid are usually children, adults with a disability, or low-income older Americans as it is a social welfare program like WIC, SNAP, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

The term “Obamacare” is used to describe private health insurance purchased through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges. Obamacare insurance plans are offered by insurance companies such as Anthem, Cigna, and others—they are not run by the government.

As of right now, 37 states (including DC) have accepted the federal Medicaid expansion and 14 have not. As you can see on this map, all of our neighboring states have done so:

https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/status-of-state-medicaid-expansion-decisions-interactive-map/?fbclid=IwAR14-lQKS6c561DHUysr_SoJui7dURtc1BhdqFbKYxRYJYJNC8VvAtZS-9I

The really short version is: the federal government already pays for a large chunk of Wisconsin’s Medicaid program. By expanding the eligibility for Medicaid to make it more available to working low-wage families, the federal government is simply offering to increase their share of the Medicaid program.

That's how Wisconsin would actually save money by expanding coverage. It's an incentive to do the right thing. Now more than ever, we should accept the Medicaid expansion.

K-12 Education

Our schools should have the resources and support they need to prepare our children to be engaged, active citizens of the 21st century.

Local public schools are the heart of our communities and we need to make sure we are retaining quality teachers, investing in modern facilities, and meeting high education standards to give our students the best possible opportunity to get ahead.

It is imperative that we invest in public education by honoring the State’s commitment to fund at least two-thirds of K-12 costs. Fully funding special education and mental health services will help to meet the basic needs of marginalized students and close the achievement gap.

When our schools reopen this fall, they will be faced with increased costs to keep our kids and their staff safe. The health and safety of our children and teachers should never be a partisan issue. I will always put our kids and our schools first.

I will fight to restore local school funding, increase teacher wages, increase voucher school accountability, and reestablish Wisconsin’s reputation as a leader in K-12 education.

Post-Secondary Education

Every resident who works hard and wants to advance their career should have the opportunity to attend one of our world-class UW schools or technical colleges without taking on a lifetime of student loan debt.

Since 2011, Legislative Republicans have cut $1 billion from higher education including $795 million from UW campuses and $203 million from Technical Colleges. Thousands of eligible UW and Technical College students are being denied financial aid and put on waitlists because Republicans refuse to fully fund need-based financial aid.

I am committed to fully funding our UW system, as well as working to repeal Act 10 to restore collective bargaining.

Economy

We need to focus on creating good paying jobs up here in our part of the state. No one should have to work two full-time jobs just to pay their bills.

With KSU closing in the near future, we can see that not even our good-paying manufacturing jobs are safe. Small, local businesses and new start-ups will be the driving force behind this job creation, and we can start by directing state economic development assistance to them and not to $4-billion boondoggles to foreign companies like Foxconn.

Another driving factor is safe, reliable internet access. Broadband should be a utility, not a luxury. Broadband access is essential to community, public safety, small business, education, and farming. The internet is a necessity in today's world. Rural Wisconsinites are being put at a competitive disadvantage and that needs to change. This is a problem of political will, not capacity or feasibility. I will work to bring safe, affordable internet service to every corner of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin hasn’t raised the minimum wage since 2009. Indexed for inflation, our wages are lower now than they were in 2011.

When elected, I will fight to raise our minimum wage.

Voter Equity

Voting is a fundamental right--our democracy is strongest when everyone is allowed to participate in free, open, and fair elections.

I will work to empower Wisconsin citizens and strengthen communities by expanding voting rights and ensuring all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballot.

Wisconsin voters should choose who represent them, not the other way around, and Republicans need to be held accountable for their unconstitutional partisan redistricting. My incumbent opponent and the other twelve Republican members of the Joint-Finance Committee removed non-partisan redistricting reform from Gov. Tony Evers’ 2019-2021 biennium budget proposal.

I support an independent process to draw legislative district maps. If elected, I will fight to pass SB288/AB303 by June 30, 2021, and will insist upon a new process before we finalize a 2021-23 biennial budget, so we can be sure the next redistricting process results in fair maps for the next decade.

As I watched the voting chaos unfold in Nevada, Georgia, and elsewhere earlier this year, I was reminded of the debacle we all witnessed during our 2020 spring elections in Wisconsin. Voting by mail is safe, secure and should be encouraged.

Showing up to Work

This is a reminder that John Nygren and the Republican-led Legislature have been adjourned since April, but continue to collect their $52,999 salary! When elected, I will show up to work. I will put people first and represent your needs. I will be accountable to the people who elected me.

It's been over 150 days since they’ve shown up to work, and in that time thousands of people in communities across Wisconsin have gotten sick, lost their jobs, lost their health care, and struggled to support their families.

Our “Representatives” continue to collect their salaries, but they are not showing up to represent us. This makes me angry! We deserve representatives who show up to work!

What have our elected leaders been doing since they were last in full session while 92,712 of us became ill and 1,228 of us have died of COVID-19? We elected them to represent us, and instead they spend their days criticizing the Governor on Facebook from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

If I didn’t show up to work, I’d get fired. What about you? Would you still get paid? Would you still have health insurance? Retirement contributions? Would you have corporate special-interests giving you thousands of dollars of campaign donations?

This is why people get frustrated by politics: our elected representatives in Madison have done nothing since April to address COVID-19, statewide protests, the unemployment backlog, or the re-opening of schools. In the meantime, they continue to collect their $52,999 annual salary while they ignore the needs of our citizens and refuse to do the work we elected them to do.

The basic function of our state government is to protect our citizens’ health and safety. The GOP-led Legislature has not met since April, despite calls by Democratic members and the Governor to take up legislation related to COVID-19, police procedures, unemployment benefits, and many other issues. Instead, they’ve threatened once to meet simply to overturn a public health order that slowed the spread of COVID-19. Republicans have filed more lawsuits this year than they have passed bills to help Wisconsin workers, families, farmers, and small businesses during this pandemic. Their leadership has indicated they will refuse to vote on any and all legislation until next year.

Let that sink in for a minute: They’ve refused to do their job for five months and are apparently refusing to meet for at least another four. And they don’t care, because their districts are so gerrymandered, they’re all but ensured a victory in November.

When elected, I will show up to work. I will put people first and represent your needs. I will be accountable to the people who elected me.

Clean Energy

Increasing clean, renewable energy production in Wisconsin will improve our air and water quality, reduce the threat of global climate change and support new job opportunities for Wisconsin’s energy industry.

Wisconsin was once a leader in clean energy and is now falling behind because our renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and other clean energy incentives are much lower than neighboring states.

Wisconsin still relies on coal for 42% of its electricity demands, far above the national average of 24%. Our dependence on coal contributes to climate change, it pollutes our environment, harms our health, and hurts our economy. I would support the creation of a plan that identifies how to retire all coal plants, with a plan for financing and assisting workers and the community through the transition.

Executive Order #52 set a goal for Wisconsin to get to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050. I would support a bill to require Wisconsin utilities get 100% of their energy from clean, renewable sources by 2050 and I would support increasing the amount of utility revenues used to fund Focus on Energy. Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program, funded by the utilities, offers funding to help Wisconsinites make energy efficiency improvements and offset clean energy costs.

Local Control

Wisconsin communities have had their hands tied by unfair Republican policies that limit local control and restrict opportunities for families and businesses.

Since taking power in 2011, Republicans have passed 128 measures that eliminate or infringe on local control. They have unfairly stripped local officials and governments of their authority to protect local air, land and water quality. Rather than expanding local opportunities, Republican politicians in Madison have abused their power to restrict county shoreland zoning, micromanage local ordinances, and prohibit fair workplace and housing policies.

2015 Wisconsin Act 391 significantly undercut local controls for cities, counties, towns and villages to protect the public. It undermines local regulation of polluting industries such as frac sand mining operations, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), high capacity wells, and much more by forcing communities to accept decisions made by the state and other authorities.

I would support legislation to repeal 2015 Act 391.

Marijuana

While not a marijuana user myself, I support legalizing and regulating the responsible use of marijuana by adults. As we have seen, adult use marijuana laws are not associated with an uptick overall criminal activity and marijuana regulation is associated with increased tax revenue and job creation.

I support legalizing the medical use of marijuana in Wisconsin, and I support ending the federal prohibition of marijuana. Medical cannabis regulatory laws are not associated with an uptick overall criminal activity.

I also support the expungement of non-violent marijuana possession convictions. Wisconsin has the highest rate of racial disparity in the Country and expunging of non-violent marijuana possession convictions will contribute to improving that statistic. African Americans are arrested for violating marijuana possession laws at nearly four times the rates of whites, yet both ethnicities consume marijuana at roughly the same rates. Our communities are strongest when all individuals are treated fairly and have equal justice under the law.

According to 2016 State Department of Corrections data, 6% (approx. 1300) of Wisconsin inmates were imprisoned due to marijuana-related offences.

The average cost of a year in prison is $30,000--multiply that by the 1300 people and we get a total cost to the state of $39,000,000 per year to house these inmates. That’s $39-million taxpayer dollars wasted on something that’s illegal here but fully legal in two of our four neighboring states and decriminalized in the other two.

I support legalizing the medical use of marijuana in Wisconsin, and I support ending the federal prohibition of marijuana.