Thursday, March 11, 2021
Governor Evers released his 2021 budget proposal, which he dubbed the “Badger Bounceback.” In my opinion, it is one of the most forward-thinking, progressive budget proposals in decades. Much of it is based on feedback the Governor and his team received during a series of issue-focused listening sessions in late 2020.
There’s a lot to digest in such a sweeping document, but thankfully the administration is taking the show on the road - virtually- to share all the relevant details directly with the public. I encourage you to RSVP to attend as many of these six sessions as you can. I think everyone will find something to like, no matter their ideology or party affiliation. But don’t take my word for it - sign up and see for yourself! All sessions take place at 6:00pm on the dates listed below:
Thursday, March 18
Economic Recovery and Opportunity
Thursday, March 25
Accessible and Affordable Healthcare
Tuesday, March 30th
Transportation and Infrastructure
Thursday, April 8
What’s Best for Our Kids
Wednesday, April 14
Justice Reform and Marijuana Legalization
Wednesday, April 21
Climate Change and Environment
If you attend these sessions, I would love it if you reached out to my office to share the parts you are most excited, concerned, or skeptical about, and I will do my best to answer in kind. If I am not your state senator, I would encourage you to reach out to your state legislators, particularly if they are in the Republican Party, to let them know which provisions you are in support or opposition of, so they can make an informed decision on amendments and final passage.
This year’s budget debate will not be easy, and there will be lots of bumps in the road along the way. The more Wisconsin neighbors get involved in the process, the better the final product will be. I hope to see many of you very soon when this pandemic is finally behind us. In the meantime, mask up, stay safe, and I’ll see you on the other side!
Tuesday, March 09, 2021
A dear friend of the progressive, activist, social and economic justice, anti-racism, "think different," compassionate warrior-for-peace community has passed. Rest in Power, Irv.
On Monday, three determined activists were honored at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration.A full house watched these local leaders receive well-deserved recognition and heard the remarkable civil rights activist Lynda Blackmon Lowery describe her experiences as a teenager with civil rights leaders as they attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery over the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Tracy Littlejohn received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership award. High school student Johah Harlan received the Lynda Lowery Student Leadership award.
And a new award, the Drum Major Legacy Award, was given to Irving Balto.
Irv's story of activism demonstrates that all things are related in the work to bring a more just, peaceful, cooperative society into existence and that there is a long and continuing braid of people who make change happen.
Here's his acceptance speech:
Thank you to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King La Crosse celebration committee for this award and those who submitted my nomination.
The picture of me, cropped from others who were present, was taken 50 years ago on May 4th 1970 at the University of Minnesota,two weeks after the first Earth Day. At the time, the U.S.was engaged in the Viet Nam war. There was an encroachment into Cambodia. The student left organized a nationwide non-violent campus strike and four students were murdered at the Kent State campus in this action by the Ohio National guard.
The 60s are noted as a time of incredible social change facilitated by the cultural zeitgeist. The Civil Rights Movement provided a template for change. Young people understood that the way things were was not the way things had to be. Individuals provided vision and inspiration. But, change came from many, including faith communities.There was an understanding that all work for justice was connected and at times needed to be disruptive.
The change of that time was informed and came from the work of 50 years and more of previous struggle, the work, especially, of the NAACP, founded in 1909, first wave Feminism achieving voting enfranchisement in 1919, the old left, and environmental advocates such Wisconsin's own John Muir and Aldo Leopold.
Why this history? We again are at a cultural tipping point 50 years from the iconic changes wrought in the past. The world is on fire in so many ways. Many who have worked to this moment are now in their 70s, perhaps in poor health. We are passing the torch of change to those who understand history and will continue the struggle for a more just society. The time is now and La Crosse is the place to be. A good web site to be informed of local actions is Coulee Progressives. Pick up the torch and become involved. We are the leaders we have been waiting for.
Monday, March 08, 2021
There are several candidate forums coming up and available online. Plan to attend or watch/listen to them. (Please comment if a forum/debate/town hall is missing!)
- March 11 Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Schools candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters and Public Education Information Network at 6:30 p.m. online
- March 15 La Crosse Mayoral Candidate program at noon hosted by the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce
- March 16 Mayoral Candidate Debate at 7:00 p.m., hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of La Crosse
- March 17 Virtual Forum with Mayoral Candidates at 6:30 p.m., hosted by the La Crosse County Criminal Justice Management Council
- March 18 Virtual La Crosse School Board Candidate Forum from 6 to 8 p.m., hosted by the League of Women Voters
- March 22 Mayoral Candidate Forum from 6:35 to 7:30 p.m., hosted by the League of Women Voters
Recordings of previous forums:
- February 25 Leaders Igniting Transformation hosted La Crosse School Board Candidate Forum
- March 3 League of Women Voters' Mayoral Candidate forum
- March 8 The Center LGBTQ Connection Mayoral Candidate Town Hall
This is an election that holds big promise for a progressive future for La Crosse. Candidates need help getting their names and messages to voters. Can you donate? Phone bank? Place yard signs? Encourage friends and neighbors to vote? Don't wait. Do it now.
These candidates have been endorsed by local progressive groups (c=Citizen Action, o=Our Wisconsin Revolution)
Mitch Reynolds (mayor) c, o
District 7 - Mac Keil o
District 8 - Mackenzie Mindel c, o
District 9 - K.C. Kayo (write in) c, o
District 10 - Rebecca Schwarz c, o
District 11 - Jennifer Trost o
District 12 - Keonte Turner o
District 13 - Dr. Mark Neumann c
School Board candidate Annie Baumann has been endorsed by Citizen Action and Our Wisconsin Revolution.
Request your absentee ballot NOW at myvote.wi.gov
Or, plan to vote absentee in person starting on March 23
Or, plan to vote in person at your polling place on Tuesday, April 6.
Thursday, March 04, 2021
If the Dems in the U.S. Senate end the filibuster and pass voting rights bills the House is passing right now, fair maps will be taken care of. But, we can't rely on that, unfortunately.
Why do fair maps matter to you?
Tell the People's Maps Commission.
Your voice matters! You have a story to tell about why fair maps matter to you. We can help you hone it to have maximum impact. Join others who care about this issue and prepare to testify at the People's Maps Commission hearing.
Register here: https://bit.ly/FM2ndTestify
Thursday, March 11, will be the final People's Maps Commission virtual hearing to hear from experts and gather public testimony.
You can register to testify here: https://bit.ly/PMCtestify and to submit written comments here: http://bit.ly/PMCwrittencomment.
Wednesday, March 03, 2021
The League of Women Voters and Driftless Voters Coalition are looking for volunteers to distribute non-partisan voting info door hangers.
Door Hangers for Democracy
Please Help Us to Get Out the Vote in the City of La Crosse
Would you like to help distribute non-partisan voting information to residents on the south side of La Crosse, encouraging them to vote for the good of their city and schools?
We want to urge eligible voters to cast their ballots in the April 6th election. We are not asking that you solicit anything or engage in any conversation with the residents. Simply place a door hanger (shown below) on the door handle or slip it alongside or under a screen door, then move on to the next address. Covering all residences in La Crosse would be too much, so we chose the south-side districts which have city council races and will cover as many as we can with your help.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, instructions linked below will tell you how to choose one (or several) of the 50 assignments created to split up the enormous work of covering all these residences on the south side of La Crosse.
If you have questions, you can email them to Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Peter at email@example.com.
Thanks for your kind consideration of helping.
Monday, March 01, 2021
Budgets are how organizations demonstrate their real values. Our state budget will determine how vigorous will be our response to the increasing climate crisis, institutional racism, the increasing wealth gap, food insecurity, the increasing clean water issues, transportation equity, criminal justice reform, and more.
Getting involved in budget advocacy is a way to change things at the most fundamental level. If the question is whom do you love, the answer is in the budget.
Forward Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Sierra Club are actively working to make a difference. If you can, sign up to help make a difference.
Forward Wisconsin is a project of the Wisconsin Assembly Democrats aimed at lifting the voices of Wisconsinites who believe our budget should work for working families. Throughout the budget process, we’ll share ways for each and every Wisconsinite to engage, so we can move Governor Tony Evers’ budget forward and build a state that works for workers and families.
Throughout the month of March, we’re hosting virtual “Budget Action Meetings” that will provide opportunities to learn about the proposed budget and take concrete action.
Here’s the meeting schedule:
- March 3 at 7pm: Criminal Justice Reform and Democracy
- March 10 at 7pm: Education, Childcare, and Higher Education
- March 17 at 7pm: Climate, Environment and Equal Rights
- March 24 at 7pm: Healthcare
- March 31 at 7pm: Economy and Infrastructure
You can find more information and sign up to join us at ForwardWisc.com.
Registration for each budget action meeting will open at least one week before the meeting. Follow along and find content to share with your friends at Facebook.com/ForwardWisc and Twitter.com/Forward_Wisc.
The Wisconsin Sierra Club is seeking people to be part of its Budget Action Team. If you are willing to help Sierra Club achieve a state budget that protects the things we care about, please visit tiny.cc/jmcbudgetteam to sign up for regular action items, about one per week, throughout the state budget process (now through summer 2021),