Campaign Training for Potential Progressive Candidates

In a number of fairly recent posts I have been urging new faces to get involved in party politics. Well the other shoe in that equation is to run for elected office at the local and state level to help make the changes that you want to see. But that is a daunting task for those who aren’t quite sure how it all works. So if you have any interest, here is how you find out how to do it:

Wisconsin Progress is the premier campaign training organization in Wisconsin. Over the past five years, we’ve trained hundreds of candidates, volunteers, and local elected officials on how to run for office and on how to be more effective in their roles. From Superior to Racine, the support and feedback for our trainings has been great!

Now, more than ever, local elections are the best way to affect change in your community, and we want to give you the tools to run an effective campaign that will allow you to be the change you want to see in the world!

Upcoming Training Opportunities:

Saturday, December 10, 2016 – Webinar – 1 PM

Saturday, December 10, 2016 – Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Saturday, December 17, 2016 – Madison, WI

Saturday, December 17, 2016 – Fond du Lac, WI

Saturday, January 7, 2017 – Appleton, WI

Saturday, January 7, 2017 – Reedsburg, WI

Sunday, January 8, 2017 – Menomonie, WI

Sunday, January 8, 2017 – Marshfield, WI

Saturday, January 21, 2017 – River Falls, WI

Saturday, January 21, 2017 – Platteville, WI

Sunday, January 22, 2017 – Wausau, WI

Sunday, January 22, 2017 – Racine, WI

If you, or someone you know is running for office this April, this is the training to attend!

This training covers everything from how to organize your campaign to how to raise money to fund it.


And for those of you not inclined to run for office but want to support new candidates consider this request from Wisconsin Progress:

P.S. We in-kind our trainings to candidates, which means candidates pay nothing to attend our trainings. But to keep these trainings free of cost, we need support from people like you. CLICK HERE to donate to our campaign training program!

From Rep Ron Kind via my email inbox: Not Alone


The results of last Tuesday’s election left many Wisconsinites feeling scared and uneasy about what the future holds for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. I want everyone to know that they are not alone.

I plan to operate under the assumption that, until proven otherwise, the statements Donald Trump made during the campaign are exactly what he plans to do as President, and I am more dedicated than ever to standing up and fighting to protect Wisconsin and America’s most vulnerable. I will lead my Democratic colleagues in acting as a check against Mr. Trump enacting any of his darker impulses.

While things seem scary and uncertain on a national level I encourage all Wisconsinites, now more than ever, to show their neighbors the kindness and support that are the trademarks of our way of life. Change starts in our local communities.

Anyone looking for ways to help can volunteer their time for causes that help create positive change. I for one plan to continue to look for opportunities to expand my “Kind Communities” volunteer efforts to reach more projects that need help in Wisconsin. Together we can also provide safe spaces for women, communities of color, Muslims, and LGBT individuals to feel accepted.

At a time when so much feels uncertain, you are not alone. Together we will keep up the good fight and ensure that our Wisconsin way of life endures.

Rep. Ron Kind

Wisconsin 3rd District

Protect yourself from identity theft

Got this email today…sounds like something we should all be concerned about and maybe I should consider taking advantage of their offer.

When it comes to keeping your personal and financial information safe, it’s important to be proactive. Attend this 30-minute webinar, where our presenter will discuss:

Fraud prevention tips
How to reduce your risk of identity theft
Steps to take if identity theft happens to you

But here’s the amazing thing…this email was sent by the biggest identity theft artists of the past 10 years!

Who would that be? WELLS FARGO BANK!

Canada Knows That The US Is Still Great

From one of our regular readers, this article and the attendant videos on the US elections:

Our ever-friendly neighbors to the north have watched from afar a U.S. election cycle that has broken all norms for civility. It’s created tremendous stress and surfaced deep tensions within our society. For many, it’s been disheartening and demoralizing to watch. But Canadians are here to offer a sympathetic message to lift Americans’ spirits.

And on an even lighter note:

Democratic Assembly candidate Jack Redmond: Why is Jessie Rodriguez silent about her support for Donald Trump?

From my email inbox comes this press release from Democratic State Assembly candidate Jack Redmond, the challenger to incumbent Republican State Rep. Jessie Rodriguez. In the release Redmond questions why Rep. Rodriguez has remained silent about her support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Here’s the full release.

OAK CREEK, WI – During Sunday’s Presidential debate, Republican candidate Donald Trump stated – “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.”

Candidate for Wisconsin Assembly District 21, Jack Redmond, has this official response:
“Donald Trump is a liar. His monstrous statements revealed last week are shocking and promote violence against women. I married my high school sweetheart Margie, and raised two daughters with Wisconsin values – honoring hard-work, sacrifice and cultivating a sense of duty to one’s neighbor. For 7 years I chaperoned Oak Creek High School marching band events for my kids. I encouraged them to excel at track and cross-country, promising them their focus and dedication were the only limits to their success. My wife worked her tail off: she was a bus driver, a paralegal and a armored car driver throughout the years. Anyway that you look at it, my wife Margie respects women more than Donald Trump.

As parents we sacrificed for decades to save and help pay for college, and because of their commitment and guts, both my daughters marched Big Ten football fields as proud Badgers in the UW-Madison Marching Band. For 17 years, for seventeen Christmas Eves, I was knocking on doors with UPS until 9pm to deliver last-minute packages, suffering through coughs and colds during the Holidays so folks could share Holiday cheer with their kids and loved ones. I told my girls that if they wanted to be Generals, astronauts, lawyers, professors, doctors or entrepreneurs – there was no ceiling to their achievements. I respect women more than Donald Trump. I’m shocked to share a ballot with this buffoon.

I’ve knocked on thousands of doors since last Winter, talking to voters and neighbors about changing the way Madison does business. Folks are constantly asking me: Does Representative Jessie Rodriguez support Donald Trump? Rep. Rodriguez has recently turned down a forum with South Milwaukee parents, and has refused to debate or discuss in public our contrasting views.

Why is Rep Rodriguez silent about her support for Donald Trump? My team has produced and marketed a campaign video to show our total disgust with the Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump – and we’ve received over 10,000 Facebook video views from district voters we’ve targeted.”

Is Rodriguez with Team Trump? – Video link:

Rep. Chris Taylor: Rebecca Bradley’s Contraception Misconception

From my email inbox comes a great op-ed by Democratic State Rep. Chris Taylor addressing Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley’s alarming positions on reproductive health care for women.

Justice Rebecca Bradley’s consistent and alarming positions on reproductive health care should concern anyone who believes that women have constitutional rights to make child bearing decisions, because she has made it remarkably clear that she does not. This is especially relevant because over the last five years, Governor Walker and Republicans in the legislature have launched an unprecedented attack on access to reproductive health care, causing litigation in Wisconsin over hospital admitting privileges and medication abortion that shows no signs of easing. The only relief from the myriad of abortion restrictions and limits on birth control are our courts.

Her early columns reveal her opinions on the topic of reproductive health care, which are consistent with more recent views that she has refused to disavow. In addition to comparing abortion to the holocaust, she has equated birth control with murder. In a 1992 column entitled “Right should extend into the womb,” she ridicules the right of women to control their own bodies and advances a personhood argument – that a fertilized egg should be afforded the rights and privileges of an actual person. Personhood constitutional amendments have been pushed by anti-choice crowds in other states and in Wisconsin. These efforts, including in North Dakota and Mississippi, have gone down in flames once voters realize that the effect of recognizing a fertilized egg as a person effectively outlaws most forms of hormonal birth control, including birth control pills.

In a 2006 column, Justice Bradley argues that “contraceptives may cause the death of a conceived, unborn child” and that pharmacists should be able to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions if they object “to being a party to murder.” As egregious, Justice Bradley erroneously claims that these statements are “scientifically supported.” She makes a similar claim in her 1992 column by saying that personhood is an idea “widely established by the scientific community.” Yet these incorrect medical statements aren’t from the scientific community, but from right-wing extremist groups who oppose birth control and abortion.

Let me be clear: The medical consensus is that birth control does not cause an abortion. In fact, contraception is defined by a number of experts, including Physicians for Reproductive Health, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and The American Medical Women’s Association as a method that “prevents a pregnancy from taking place.”

Justice Bradley has shown she is not fit to sit on the state’s highest court and cannot be trusted with these most private, fundamental rights – rights that are protected by the United States Constitution. Will a justice who truly believes that abortion is tantamount to the holocaust protect a woman’s right to have an abortion? Will a justice who believes that birth control is tantamount to murder protect a woman’s ability to access birth control?

These rights are too important, and too precious, to put in the hands of a justice who seems more wedded to extreme views than to truly protecting our most precious constitutional rights. Justice Rebecca Bradley needs to resign from the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

One of Largest Employment Events of the Year

From our exploding email inbox:

America Works and Representative David Bowen Host One of the Largest Employment Events of the Year

Event to Draw More than 100 Transportation Industry Employers and Thousands of Job Seekers

America Works, a national workforce development company, and Representative David Bowen along with more than one hundred local employers will come together to host one of the largest transportation employment events within the city.

The event is free and open to all job seekers who are interested in employment in the transportation industry. Local employers include Enterprise Holdings, Pepsico, United States Postal Service, Roehl Transport Inc. and UPS among many others, which will offer hundreds of open positions.

Who: State Representative Bowen, who is a member of the Transportation Committee, Earl Bufford of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, Dr. Vicki Martin, the President of Milwaukee Area Technical College, America Works Director Carlyle Outten, local employers and community leaders

What: Employment event and press conference with opportunities for interviews with employers, job seekers, elected officials and community leaders

When: March 30, 2016; Event will begin at 10:00AM with a panel discussion; Press Conference at 12:00PM

Where: North Division High School located at 1011 W. Center Street

A number of service providers will also be present to help individuals during the job-hunting process. For example, insurance companies will be on hand to speak to the requirements to be successfully insured before obtaining a job, along with other vendors which assist with paying fines and cleaning driving records among other services. Professional attire specialists will offer free consultations, licensing specialists, child-care providers and many others will offer information intended to help individuals return to the workforce.

America Works of Wisconsin, Inc.

Since 1984, America Works has moved more than 500,000 hard-to-place individuals into the workforce, including military veterans, long-term welfare and food stamp recipients, former criminal offenders, people who are homeless and living in shelters, youths aging out of foster care, non-custodial parents, people living with HIV/AIDS, and people receiving Social Security Insurance/Social Security Disability Insurance.

Author Thomas Frank coming to Boswell Books on March 22!

From my email inbox comes news that Thomas Frank, the author of Listen, Liberal: Or, Whatever Happened to the Party of the People? will be coming to Boswell Books. The event is starts at 7:00 p.m. and it’s free, and Boswell Books is located at 2559 North Downer Avenue in Milwaukee.

Pope Francis on Donald Trump: “This man is not Christian”

On Thursday Pope Francis said Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is “not Christian” if he intends on building a wall along the U.S. – Mexico border to keep out those wishing to come to the United States.

Trump, a leading U.S. Republican presidential candidate, has promised to build a wall along the Mexican border from Texas to California and expel 11 million people who are in the country illegally if elected president. The Pope’s comments en route home from Mexico came hours after he prayed at the Mexico-U.S. border for people who died trying to reach the United States.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis said. “This is not in the Gospel.”

Not having heard Trump’s border plans independently, Francis said he’d “give him the benefit of the doubt.” But he added: “I’d just say that this man is not Christian if he said it this way.”

H/T to commenter Duane12 for bringing this to my attention.

Sen. Kathleen Vinehout: Speed and secrecy in legislation kill democracy

From my email inbox comes the latest from Democratic State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout calling into question the speed at which Republicans in the Legislature are ramming through their legislative agenda.

“How can we digest all your work in this short amount of time?” Senator Bewley asked the Chair of the housing committee and author of the bill before her. An amendment replacing the bill was released just before the hearing on that bill.

“How can we have a thoughtful and intelligent discussion…we just got this stinking thing a few hours ago.”

The bill, SB 464 (which has an Assembly companion – AB 582) was complex. The bill’s author said he wanted to avoid “moving the goal post” on a development project. Among other things, the bill froze in place laws on an industrial development once a minor approval (like a driveway permit) was granted, even if the project would not be completed for years.

The Towns Association called the legislation, “One of the most damaging bills to local control in recent memory.”

The committee Chair said he negotiated with local groups to remove the most egregious parts of the bill. It was impossible for anyone at the hearing, including the Senators on the committee, to say what was actually in or out of the twenty-page bill they just received.

After 5:00pm, the committee finally took up SB 464. It was the last bill on the agenda and many people had waited since 11:00am to testify.

Citizen after citizen who testified shared their concerns about the bill and offered some version of “I don’t know what’s in the bill and I don’t know if you’ve fixed the problem.”

People who waited all day in the Capitol hearing room to speak said they had no way of knowing a new version had been posted on a website. They gave up a day of work, used a vacation day and left home early to travel to the Capitol. No one told them about the revised bill or offered to give them copy.

During that day, in another hearing room, people testified against removing the effective ban on nuclear power plants. In a third hearing room, people waited to testify against a bill that would make extensive changes to protections for lakes and rivers.

All were controversial making big changes to public policy. There were six hearings happening at the same time. Twenty-two bills were voted out of committee. Many were introduced over the Holidays and rushed to public hearing right after the New Year.

That day the Senate Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry Committee, of which I am a member, heard a bill on fish farming. I asked the Chair why the bill was not assigned to the Ag Committee and he said, “It deals with water.” You’d think it would be sent to the Natural Resources Committee.

Knowing what was in the bill and how it interacted with existing laws related to water and agriculture was important for understanding the consequences of the bill.

Again, I received the bill just before the committee hearing. Supposedly, the bill was introduced the day before the hearing. Details of its exact impact were scarce.

Again, the bill was complex. It changed protections of streams and springs, altered water flow over dams (which affects streams) and interwove state and federal rules.

Again, the Chair was also the author of the bill. He and I were the only legislators at the hearing. All other Senators had two or more hearings at the same time.

I like fish. I keep two large aquariums and fiddle with water chemistry for fun. In full disclosure, the fish farmers named me their Legislator of the Year several years prior. I want fish farmers to succeed, but not at the expense of our Wisconsin waterways.

The homework needed on the bill was not possible with members pulled to other committees and the bill rushed so fast no one had a chance to read it. As I sat in the public hearing, I was pretty sure opponents did not even know the bill existed.

Speed and secrecy have become all too common in the Capitol. Democracy suffers. Public interest suffers.

The process works best when – to use a fish analogy – we treat legislation like fish – open it up, set it on the table, let the sunshine in and see if the fish stinks.