The Democratic Party of Sauk County
Weekly News From Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair
Follow this newsletter to keep current on the events shaping our state and the work our party is doing to win in 2022 and beyond.
Dear fellow Wisconsin Democrats,
Did you watch Joe Biden’s speech to the joint session of Congress on Wednesday night?
If not, drop everything and watch it right now:
It was an extraordinary address. Bold, visionary, inclusive, compassionate, real—and so energizing in its own right that it took conscious effort to remember the profundity of contrast to the previous occupant of the oval office, who was incapable of dreaming of anything remotely comparable.
The speech laid out a vision for the future that we can all believe in. And we can believe in it because this president—joined by Democrats in Congress and key state leaders like Governor Evers—are already creating it.
If, when, Congress enacts the agenda that President Biden laid out, this country will be a better, fairer, more opportunity-rich place for all. We’ll all do better. Rural, suburban, and urban; white, black, and brown; folks of all genders and generations—and especially kids. As President Biden said, “America is an idea — the most unique idea in history: We are created, all of us, equal. It’s who we are.”
The speech wasn’t the product of one human being. It was the product of millions of us, and of social movements that span decades. We’ve all been working, in our own many ways, to envision the next American chapter, and to elect people who could make it real. When you see your president propose to write our shared American values into law, know that you helped make that moment possible. We all built this.
There are so many wonderful things to lift up from that speech. (Again, watch it! Or alternately, read it here.) But I’ll close this week’s note with an extended excerpt that moved me, and might move you, about something that is touching each of our lives, and which showcased President Biden’s ability to describe not just policy, but policy’s human impact. It’s about a triumph that Governor Evers’s leadership has made even more successful in Wisconsin than in most states around the country. It’s something that has probably already affected you, reading this right now. Here’s what President Biden said:
When I was sworn in on January 20th, less than 1 percent of the seniors in America were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. One hundred days later, 70 percent of seniors in America over 65 are protected — fully protected.
Senior deaths from COVID-19 are down 80 percent since January — down 80 percent because of all of you. And more than half of all the adults in America have gotten at least one shot.
At a mass vaccination center in Glendale, Arizona, I asked a nurse — I said, “What’s it like?” She looked at me and she said, “It’s like every shot is giving a dose of hope” — was the phrase. “A dose of hope.”
A dose of hope for an educator in Florida who has a child suffering from an autoimmune disease — wrote to me, said she’s worried — that she was worrying about bringing the virus home. She said she then got vaccinated at a — at a large site, in her car. She said she sat in her car, when she got vaccinated, and just cried — cried out of joy and cried out of relief.
Parents see the smiles on their kids’ faces, for those who are able to go back to school because the teachers and school bus drivers and cafeteria workers have been vaccinated.
Grandparents hugging their children and grandchildren instead of pressing hands against a window to say goodbye.
It means everything. Those things mean everything.
As I write this, I’m preparing to get my second COVID shot. I brought my kids to visit my mom this very morning, before taking my third grader to his reopened school. Life is coming back. And we’re not just going back to an old, unacceptable “normal”—we’re building back better.
This is why we do what we do. This is what progress looks like. And you, all of us, are part of this story. A million times over, thank you.
FIGHT on the Issues & FIGHT to Win
WisDems Celebrates First 100 Days of The Biden Presidency
Thursday marked the end of the first 100 days of the Biden presidency. WisDems celebrated this milestone with a press call ahead of President Biden’s Wednesday night speech to a joint session of Congress. Featuring Congresswoman Gwen Moore, State Senator Brad Pfaff, Mount Horeb business owner Marie Raboin, and Chair Wikler, the call highlighted President Biden’s successful leadership in ensuring more than a hundred million Americans have gotten vaccinated, seen money flow directly into their pockets, and enjoyed a revival of competence in government.
As Congresswoman Moore said on the call:
“Democrats got to work to get our state and our country back on track, while every single Republican voted to leave families high and dry. And now, we got to keep having the President’s back. We got to have our own backs, and we got to keep going, despite the obstacles the Republicans keep putting in our place. We got to build back, and we got to build back boldly!"
President Biden greets Vice President Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi before addressing a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.
Top Wisconsin Democrats Speak Out Against Ron Johnson’s Vaccine Conspiracy Theories
Ron Johnson’s love of conspiracy theories and nonsense took a dangerous turn last week: questioning the drive to get folks vaccinated Johnson told a right-wing talk radio host that he saw “no reason to be pushing vaccines on people.” This week, he doubled down on his quackery by openlyquestioning the effectiveness of masks at reducing the spread of COVID-19 while speaking to constituents on a telephone town hall.
As always, WisDems stepped up to speak out, hosting a press call last week with Democratic leaders from across Wisconsin reinforce how critical vaccinations are to our efforts to put this pandemic behind us. As Chair Wikler said on the call:
“What Ron Johnson said on the radio is another reminder of how eager Ron Johnson is to spread dangerous conspiracy theories. [...] Ironically, though not surprisingly, Ron Johnson’s comments fall on the one year anniversary of Donald Trump suggesting that people inject disinfectant under their skin as a potential treatment for coronavirus. This is a reminder of how focused Ron Johnson is on appealing to the most extreme parts of the right-wing base instead of serving the Wisconsin voters that he was elected to represent.”
The WisDems call on Ron Johnson’s dangerous vaccine conspiracy theories also included State Rep. Sara Rodriguez, a former CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Brown Deer Trustee and nurse Emily Siegrist, and State Rep. David Bowen, who has spoken publicly about his ordeal with COVID a year ago.
Rep. Rodriguez spoke on the need to get shots in arms quickly, before COVID variants spread more widely:
“We are in a race between vaccination and the variants. If we cannot get the rest of the population vaccinated and protect those vulnerable communities, the variants will spread and we will have a much more difficult time being able to keep COVID in control.”
The urgency of getting folks vaccinated was emphasized by Trustee Emily Siegrist, who spoke to her experience not just as the director of nursing at an assisted living facility, but as a mom:
“... As a registered nurse who takes care of the elderly, it’s vitally that important we are protecting them — and that means we get that vaccination. ... I’m also a mother of two. … My kids are too young to receive the vaccination — they are 7 and 4 — and so I’m also looking at others to step up to take the vaccination who are able to. … We need a senator that believes in science, that believes that we have to take this seriously.”
Finally, Rep. Bowen -- himself a COVID survivor -- spoke to the impact of Ron Johnson’s failure to lead:
“It’s just very clear that Ron Johnson by his comments is showing that he does not care — and it is affecting some of the populations of color throughout our state — throughout our country — it’s affecting us the most. It’s very clear….that Ron Johnson is out of touch. Not only with our country but with the folks that are everyday citizens throughout our communities.”
Congresswoman Gwen Moore, State Senator Brad Pfaff, Mount Horeb business owner Marie Raboin, and Chair Wikler speak on a press call Wednesday to commemorate President Biden's first 100 days in office.
Gov. Evers Announces $21 Million Program To Help With Overdue Utility Bills
This week, Gov. Evers took an important step to ensure Wisconsinites struggling with overdue utility bills amid the pandemic aren’t left behind, announcing $21 million in funding to help with payments through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program. This critical funding will help cover bills for more than 36,000 qualifying utility customers across the state.
As Gov. Evers said in a statement this week:
“This year has been tough for folks and families, and we know there are so many who’ve struggled to make ends meet,” said Gov. Evers. “That’s why we’re working every day to ensure families, our state, and our economy can bounce back from this pandemic, and part of that is making sure households across the state can keep their lights on and their utilities running.”
This new funding for past-due bills was announced together with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, the state’s top utility regulator. Previously, Evers appointees to the PSC, now making up a majority of the commission, were able to maintain a moratorium on utility shut offs throughout the worst of the pandemic. This week’s action to help cover overdue payments is another important step towards rebuilding and bouncing back better.
INCLUDE & RESPECT
President Biden Introduces The American Families Plan
In his address to Congress this week, President Biden introduced the American Families Plan, a once-in-a-generation investment in our children and our families that will make education more affordable, provide economic security, and rebuild America’s middle class. Here are a few ways the American Families Plan will help build a more inclusive and just future:
Governor Evers Signs Bill To Require Holocaust Education in Wisconsin Schools
The world’s promise to never again allow the atrocities of the Holocaust to repeat depend on our young people learning the stories of this tragedy. That’s why on Wednesday, Gov. Evers signed legislation requiring lessons on the Holocaust and other genocides to be incorporated into social studies cirriculum for Wisconsin students.
As Gov. Evers said in a statement this week:
“This bill will affect generations of kids in our state and bring increased awareness, and recognition in our schools to the tragedies of the Holocaust, the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism to this day, and hopefully cultivate a generation that is more compassionate, more empathetic, and more inclusive,” said Gov. Evers. “States across our country require or encourage education about the Holocaust for students, I am glad that today, Wisconsin will be joining them.”
Gov. Evers signs legislation requiring Holocaust education in Wisconsin Schools on Wednesday in Milwaukee.
EMPOWER the Grassroots
Join Us For A WisDems Grassroots Call!
Our organizing team is planning our next grassroots call for Saturday (5/1) at 11 am (CST), and we'd would love for you to join us! In this call, we will be creating space to share ideas and best practices for community service events.
Here's a full list of all our upcoming grassroots calls:
Want to work in politics? Apply for the Arena Academy!
Arena Academy provides world-class training for aspiring political professionals, particularly including people from underserved communities. WisDems partnered with Arena for our Campaign Academy 2020 during the Democratic National Convention last year, which received rave reviews. They’re now taking applications for the June Arena Academy, so apply today!
Sign Up for News From the Evers Campaign!
You’re already getting Chair Wikler’s weekly update, but what if we told you there was another exciting weekly update you could sign up for? Click here to sign up for a weekly update from the Evers Campaign, and stay up to date with all the news from Governor Evers and get a round up of stories you may have missed.
We’re hiring. Spread the word about jobs at WisDems!
The DPW is nationally recognized as one of the country’s highest-performing and most pivotal political organizations. In the 2021-22 cycle, DPW will drive a massive program to re-elect Governor Tony Evers, defeat Ron Johnson in order to ensure a Democratic US Senate majority, elect candidates up and down the ballot in spring and fall elections alike, and advocate on policy issues. Our work— grounded in inclusion, respect, and empowerment across race, gender, other dimensions of identity, and the rural/suburban/urban divide—continues year-round, working with partners to build a movement that delivers meaningful change for all Wisconsinites. We are seeking outstanding candidates who share our values and vision to join our team, help win elections, and build a future where everyone can thrive. All positions can be found here.
Paid for by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Ben Wikler, Chair
Our mailing address is:
15 N. Pinckney St., Ste 200, Madison, Wisconsin 53703