Today I wanted to touch on COVID-19 response because it's incredibly important and district 97's schools are facing an spike in cases and quarantine. First, to be completely clear, I want our kids learning in school but it must be safe. The school year started irresponsibly and I know I'm not the only one who saw this coming. People like President Trump, VP Pence, Betsy DeVos, Robin Vos and Scott Allen wanted a sense of normalcy for personal political reasons. Our student's and educator's safety along with public health were sacrificed and we should be upset about it.
I've taken COVID-19 seriously since the beginning back in March. I took it seriously not for political reasons but because spreading a virus that can kill people is a big deal. We've been told very bluntly, by experts, that if we have a mask mandate, social distance, wash our hands and institute a stay at home order for 30-45 days we can put an end to spikes in the virus and we get back to normal life much sooner. We are not at this point right now because the republicans in Wisconsin didn't want Gov. Evers to accomplish anything. One would have thought then that the republicans would attempt to accomplish something, but they failed. In fact, they didn't even try. There is not a doubt in my mind that electing democrats to the assembly will provide swift action that pulls our state, health, economy and education out of this republican created nightmare. Please vote.
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Health care: There is likely few other state issues more complicated than health care. There are a few points I want to make but I believe all too often lawmakers get caught up in either partisan pressure or bogged down in details on the way to a solution. I find it helpful to start at the solution and work backwards. This starts the discussion on common ground rather than disagreement.
Rising health care costs are putting a financial squeeze on middle class families like we've never seen. I strongly believe health care is a right, not just a privilege. I say specifically health care and not health coverage because they are two different things. Just because someone has health coverage doesn't mean they can afford to use it.
Wisconsin should have taken the federal Medicare dollars. That doesn't label me a liberal or radical anything. It means I want everyone in Wisconsin to have health care. When offered your own tax dollars to help do that, then we should act. Health care reform should always be high on any legislature's priority list because a healthy state opens doors to so many other benefits such as: lower costs due to covered preventative care, mental health services, high workforce production, and increased population and tourism because we'd be a sought after state to live in or visit.
Disease knows no political party. Where we meet a fork in the road on many issues, including health care, is who believes it's a worthy investment of tax dollars or not. I do believe we need continued reform and would come to the table with an open mind. I want to bring to district 97 reform we can support and say yes to. I won't be a member of the assembly that is known to obstruct, say no, or say nothing.
Lastly, unless we elect a list of doctors this year, we need frontline health care workers to be a part of the conversation so that laws that are written can be applied and understood. What are your thoughts?
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Economic Growth/Recovery: Having lived in 5 states myself, I know how unique Wisconsin is when it comes to business. The vast majority of Wisconsin's economy and jobs are provided by small or medium sized businesses. The key to sustainable growth and success should be focused on two things. First, we need to keep Wisconsin dollars in Wisconsin. Shopping local is not just a saying, it has to always be a focus. The big box Walmart model may create jobs, but the profit margin dollars made end up heading out of town. Shopping small keeps the virtuous cycle of revenue and consumer spending within our own state's economy. Local jobs-local dollars-local businesses.
Our state should be investing more into also keeping talent in Wisconsin by establishing an additional grant program for new start-ups. Those who have gotten their college education in Wisconsin need an additional incentive to invest here and stay here. I'd pay for this program based on recreational cannabis revenue. I would allocate 12.5% of gross cannabis tax revenue to this program. We grow business, we create jobs in Wisconsin and have more tax revenue from the business that is opening.
It's vital then to have representatives in Madison who work together. We need our rural areas to flourish while understanding the needs of urban areas are different. Regardless of party, that is the approach I'll take when elected. This is something that has been missing over the last decade. We can do better in 2020 and beyond.
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Quality public schools is one of the 3 main reasons I chose Waukesha to buy a house and start a family. Having 3 children all at the same school has certainly given some variety of perspective. Also, all 3 of my children spent time in a Lutheran school as well. Personally, my schooling was also a mix of public school and Lutheran school. From a budget standpoint, it's hard to make the argument that our legislature has figured it out yet. Education should be non-partisan, but because of disingenuous rhetoric and assumptions, combined with ACT 10, there simply is a political element to it.
I've been involved in the PTA and I was appointed 2 years in a row to represent Prairie Elementary on the Superintendent's advisory committee with Todd Gray. My son Jackson, as many know, is on the autism spectrum and has excelled greatly because of the inclusive culture at White Rock, Lowell, & Prairie.
Education should be viewed as a state taxpayer investment. A healthy and educated generation of young people is good for every community. This does require funding for modern programming and investment in great educators. Something that COVID-19 has certainly shown us is that our great educators are underpaid. Bottom line is, when I'm in Madison I will never use education funding as a bargaining chip to make a "deal."
Just as I'll be a representative for everyone, it's just as vital to have that approach with education. There are no republican classrooms or democratic classrooms. There is just learning. My main goal is the money budgeted for education, actually goes towards learning for our kids. The administrative side, in my view, takes a backseat to actual learning.
Last, but not least, school safety has become more difficult. Bullying and mental health is more prominent than it used to be. Waukesha utilizes community service officers (CSO) which serve our schools well, it is cost effective and it prepares the officers for the next step in their law enforcement career. This initiative with a larger focus and investment in mental health counseling gives parents peace of mind and provides fair opportunity for students to maximize their education.
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As we come upon these final days of the campaign, there is a ton of content and news thrown at us in several different mediums. So I wanted to center some of the thoughts, opinions and policy ideas in one place for the voters to know accurately how I stand on some positions.
If there is a topic that you'd like me to address and post here. Please let me know at 414-795-0990 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Today I want to address the minimum wage in Wisconsin. It may seem like a topic that shouldn't affect an affluent district like the 97th, but no district is without poverty, poor or homeless. The current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. That is $290 a week and $15,080 per year, before taxes. That is if you're never sick or on vacation and work 52 weeks a year. At approximately just 15% in taxes, your weekly take home pay is $246.50. This is below the poverty rate of $16,020 per year. This a route to the American dream that provides no work/life balance and puts workers in line at the food pantry. I don't accept that.
Having volunteered several times at the food pantry, I can tell you the working poor are not given a fair chance with the minimum wage of $7.25. Our state's legislators have let them down. Often times the first excuse not to raise the minimum wage is that it "will kill small business." I don't agree. Businesses have adapted to unique changes both big and small. I for one have deep confidence in Wisconsin's small business community. We have not changed the minimum wage in almost 13 years so we cannot expect workers to have 2 or 3 or sometimes 4 jobs to just get by.
I've said several times during my campaign that when you elect me, everyone gets a representative. I mean that. What is good for the state is good for the 97th. I'm a proven collaborator and I'll work and listen to all views from across the state to address this. I'm ready to declare war on poverty, which in turn opens the door to assisting the homeless here in Waukesha.
The longer and longer this issue is ignored, the larger issue it will be for that small business. We do no one any favors by sticking our head in the sand. My opponent has had his safe seat free ride long enough. You cannot gavel in and gavel out poverty. It requires action and a vision forward, not partisan talking points or in many cases for my opponent, silence.
I know you, the voter, want to hear about the issues. I know that because I'm here with you as part of this community. On this page I'm glad to get into details, in depth, the next 11 days. I want you to know exactly who and what you're voting for.
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