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Ten questions from Blogging Blue readers to DPW Chair candidate Martha Laning

Earlier this year I asked the readers of Blogging Blue what questions they’d ask the candidates vying to replace Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair Mike Tate if they had the opportunity, and the questions you all came up with where whittled down from several dozen to ten.

After whittling down the questions, they were sent to each of the announced candidates for DPW Chair – Jeff Smith, Joe Wineke, and Jason Rae. Each candidate sent back their responses to the questions, which can be read HERE (Rae), HERE (Wineke), and HERE (Smith).

Given the entry of Martha Laning into the race, I emailed her the very same questions, and she was quick to respond. The questions sent to Martha Laning are highlighted in bold, with her responses immediately following the questions. Laning’s responses were not edited or altered in any way.

1. What is your plan for rebuilding the Democratic Party of Wisconsin?

I am focusing on messaging, organizational structure, voter turnout, and fundraising to rebuild the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

First, Democrats have to have a stronger message that drives our values, resonates with voters about important issues to them, and is shared year round, not just in the few months before elections. Our party stands for what is right:

  1. Quality Public Education
  2. Economic Prosperity
  3. Valuable, Affordable Health Care
  4. A Clean, Sustainable Environment
  5. Equality and Respect for All

We need our message to reflect those values. Lecturing voters about what the Republicans are doing is wrong, and it simply isn’t working. Our message can stand on its own – it’s just, fair, and personal.

The team that develops our new messaging should come from all levels of our party and represent all areas of our state. George Lakoff’s values messaging is working, and our cross functional team needs to get training and then develop and disseminate a strong, values driven message to all Democrats.

Second, we need to strengthen our county parties so that our Progressive message can be shared year round in our communities, not just before elections. When our county parties are weak, under resourced, and unsupported, we have fewer Democratic local leaders and activists who are willing to be vocal about our Progressive values.

Third, we need to continue our strong fundraising while insuring that our funds are used wisely. With my background in business finance, I can help our party do things more efficiently and bring more transparency to how our valuable resources are allocated. Our fundraising efforts must expand beyond the DPW infrastructure. We also need to increase our focus on helping candidates and our candidate committees raise the funds they need to win.

Finally, I will establish a task force to identify the reasons Democratic voter turnout in midterm elections is significantly lower than during a presidential election. By involving election experts, party leaders and members from around the state, we can develop a long-term plan to boost Democratic voter turnout, combat the impact of redistricting on our legislature, and bring back our strong, Progressive Wisconsin.

2. What would the DPW’s messaging look like if you are elected state party chair?

As discussed in the first question, I believe values-based messaging is key to our ability to rebuild the Democratic Party. In order to develop new, more effective messaging, I will:

– Establish a Messaging Task Force of stakeholders from all levels of the party and areas of our state. With the support of messaging experts, Progressive partner organizations, and Democratic Party stakeholders from all levels of the party, we will identify the challenges and opportunities of messaging our Progressive values.
– Ensure our messaging speaks to our Progressive values of equal opportunity for all Wisconsinites, providing access to a quality public education, unifying the people of Wisconsin, and investing in Wisconsin workers.
– Offer candidates and county parties messaging options that simultaneously highlight our Progressive values, and reflect the unique landscape of their individual district.
– Organize regular and comprehensive message briefings with local party leadership, to ensure we as parties are unified in our message and that our statewide message is informed by real-time issues our members are facing in their communities.

3. What are the three issues that Dems should focus their message on?

– Education – Quality education is what has traditionally set Wisconsin apart from other states. Wisconsinites believe everyone should have the opportunity to work hard and build a better life for himself/herself. Quality public education offers that opportunity and has a tremendous payback, to the individual and our communities. Our universities and technical colleges offer community members the opportunity for living wage jobs and also create business ideas that we can foster right here in Wisconsin to grow our economy.
– Economy: When our economy is strong our state is strong and has the resources it needs to support education, municipalities, transportation and health and human services. We need to raise the minimum wage, strengthen labor unions, and support small businesses. If we don’t, a larger and larger portion of our state budget is going to citizens who are forced to turn to public assistance for survival, resulting in fewer funds for education, local municipalities, and transportation. We need to stop subsidizing corporations like Wal-Mart, who, as studies have shown, have plenty of funds to pay a fair wage and don’t, resulting in employees accessing public assistance to take care of their families.
– Equality and Respect: All people deserve the same opportunity to live their lives, support their families, and engage in their community safely, free from harm, and with dignity and respect. From protecting a woman’s ability to make her own health decisions, to addressing the inequalities that LGBT and people of color experience, Wisconsin must return to our rightful place as a civil rights leader.

4. What would you do to ensure that a quality candidate run in every race regardless if the race is considered winnable or not?

Recruiting candidates in every race – regardless of numerical winnability – allows us to get our message out and make sure that Republican candidates and elected officials are held accountable for their stance on issues. As a former candidate in a majority Republican district, I can say with confidence that ensuring that we have quality Progressive candidates in every race requires year-round candidate recruitment and deep candidate support programs.

We need to work with our local parties to identify community members that would make great representatives at the state and local levels. We need to do this on an on-going basis and in all areas of the state. Candidate recruitment should also be coordinated with membership recruitment efforts to ensure we are building a strong, inclusive network of Democrats that becomes our bench of future candidates.

Next we need to train and mentor these individuals to help them become successful candidates. Candidate support programs should include providing candidate trainings, crafting a comprehensive campaign manual of best practices, sample messaging, fundraising, etc., developing an apprenticeship program for potential candidates to work on a similar campaign, and leveraging the networks of our county parties to build solid campaign teams and organizing programs.

5. What is a Progressive? Are you one? Tell us exactly how you have walked the talk. Be honest if you’re not.

I am absolutely a Progressive. In fact, I believe that being a Democrat and a Progressive should be one in the same.

A Progressive is an individual that looks at social and economic injustices in our society and believes that the role of our government is not only to treat the symptoms of that injustice, but also to create fundamental, lasting reform to prevent further exploitation of at risk populations.

Today, in Wisconsin, many individuals and communities continue to face inequalities that we are a long way off from correcting.

As a Senate candidate, I vigorously campaigned for an increase in the minimum wage. We cannot be a state that allows greedy companies, like Wal-Mart, to take advantage of employees and taxpayers by not providing a livable wage. In addition to this, I stood with labor unions in their right to collectively bargain for a safe and fair workplace; in fact, I was endorsed by many labor unions because of our shared values.

I earned the endorsements of Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood because I believe the simple idea that women should have equal pay for equal work. I believe that women should be able to make their own healthcare decisions without the government restricting their rights and without the stigma coalitions against Roe vs. Wade put on them.

I stood up to people that attempted to rationalize voter ID and school vouchers because the intent of these laws was so clearly to suppress elderly, minority, and low income voters and dismantle our public education system – two things that disproportionately affect our most marginalized citizens

I celebrate the arrival of marriage equality in Wisconsin, and was proud to have the endorsement of Fair Wisconsin in my senate campaign. I also believe that we need more protections for our transgender brothers and sisters in Wisconsin. Currently, our state does not have any statewide law that would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity in housing, employment, or public accommodations.

6. How will you manage your role between the Assembly & Senate caucuses and the County Chairs Association?

All the Democratic entities want the same thing – for Democrats to win. But to achieve that goal, we need to work together, trust each other, and communicate regularly and with transparency.

I had the pleasure of working with several county parties and the SSDC during my State Senate campaign and found both to be valuable resources.

Though we all need to work together to achieve our shared goal of electing Democrats, campaigns are a messy business. That’s why my background makes me a strong candidate for DPW Chair. I have pulled disparate teams together to align around a shared vision and mission and successfully meet goals and objectives. I would engage with the leadership of the SSDC, ADCC, and County Chairs Association regularly to open the lines of communication, understand the needs of each group, and ensure we are working together to win in 2016 and beyond.

7. What will you do to change/modernize our image to something appealing to people that are not active members?

Expanding the membership of DPW is critical to our future success — but achieving that goal is about more than internal systems and structures. We need to make the Democratic Party THE place to be if you care about the future of Wisconsin. I believe we can do this through messaging and investing in our county party structure.

As I outlined in previous questions, developing new messaging that better reflects our Progressive values is one of my top priorities as DPW Chair. We need to ensure that our messages are tailored to resonate in local communities across Wisconsin. When we can better appeal to voters and inspire them to action, we can also better recruit them to become DPW members.

Ensure that being a Democrat stands for something positive: Our party has too often been defined by what the Republicans are doing in Madison. In order to expand our membership, we need to be clear about what it means to be a Progressive and a Democrat in Wisconsin. We must show people our vision for the future of Wisconsin and that it’s a vision they should invest in.

“If you build it, they will come,” isn’t just a line from the movie, “Field of Dreams”. I believe it is true about our party as well. By investing in our local county parties, launching innovative membership recruitment and incentive programs, and expanding the visibility of our local activists, we can demonstrate to non-members that joining the DPW is worthwhile use of their skills, time, and financial resources.

8. How do plan to bridge the gap between local candidate recruitment efforts and the legislative caucuses?

Again, we need to lay out expectations and work together. We all have the same goals, so let’s work together, eliminate duplication, frustration, and get the win. County Chairs should be involved in the candidate recruitment process and be a member of the candidate support team just like the SSDC or ADCC. We have to ensure that all voices are heard because each organization has a different perspective and valuable input. We are one team, and we need to the strength of every Democrat to win.

9. Demographics alone won’t win elections, so which populations do you think the Dems can improve with for future years, and how can you win those voters over?

The DPW has an opportunity to deepen our relationships with many diverse communities across Wisconsin, such as people of color, women, the LGBT community, and middle-class voters that used to be the heart of the Democratic Party. In general, I think we need to strengthen the ability of our constituency caucuses to participate in building the DPW, develop our messaging, and recruit new members.

Specifically, I believe we need to focus on the next generation of Democrats.

Every county party I talk to is concerned about the decline of young people in our party and the past election turnout on our campuses. We need to work more with younger generations and we have a perfect opportunity with our College Dems. I would like to see us invest greater resources in the College Dems to help them provide programming that attracts young people to the DPW and conveys the importance of getting involved in politics. We also have to be sure that the county parties help our candidates reach out to College Dems and any other young Democratic groups in their area. Finally we need to ensure that young Democrats are included and able to participate in local and statewide programming.

The next generation of Democrats is the future of our party and they understand our Progressive values in different ways, as my kids remind me constantly. If we don’t find a way to engage younger Democrats, we are missing out on an opportunity to build a robust DPW that will galvanize the voters of our state for generations to come.

10. What are your life experiences including formal education, past and current employment, service or religious affiliations, persons, and events which you believe have contributed to make you the person you are today and in what way?

I have spent my life bringing people together to solve problems and build strong neighborhoods. I have organized parents and community leaders to make vital improvements to schools, raised millions to build an intergenerational community center in Plymouth, and have proven that people from different backgrounds can work together to overcome any challenge.
I was born and raised in a middle class family in rural Central Wisconsin. My parents instilled in me early on, the values of education, hard work, and the importance of giving back through volunteering. After high school, I got my degree in Business and Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison while working at the local unionized paper mill in summers to pay for my education. It was at the UW that I met my husband Wayne, and we were married in 1990.

Throughout the next decade, work opportunities would take my family around the state and around the nation. I gained valuable project management skills at Target Stores Corporate offices, and, when coupled with my Masters in Business Administration obtained in 2002, my skills allowed me to make a real difference in the business world and my community – especially in the local schools our three beautiful children, Katie, Maddie, and Alec attended.

When faced with underfunded schools that lacked a library or playground, I organized parents and community members – raising over $160,000 to build a playground and purchase thousands of books for a new library. Several years later, when I discovered that many students did not have access to a good breakfast, I worked with a group of parents and the district administration to create a breakfast program at our school.

I also focused my efforts on enhancing curriculum and giving students the tools they needed to succeed in the 21st century. I spearheaded efforts to build a new computer lab to ensure that students would have access to the technology they needed to succeed, and I brought parents and faculty members together to create new programs that gave children who excelled in Math a way to challenge themselves further.

After moving to the Sheboygan area, I took a job with the Plymouth Intergenerational Coalition to help get their new project off the ground. When the economy collapsed, many believed the project would fall apart – but I persevered. I brought together business and community leaders to raise $4.6 million for the project, which was completed in May 2011. The building now serves as a community center bringing seniors and children together, and this collaborative effort has been labeled a model for the State of Wisconsin.

In the fall of 2014, I ran for the Wisconsin State Senate because of my deep concern about the direction our state was headed. I am running for the Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party because I know that I have the skills to build a stronger party, and together, we will bring back our strong, fair Wisconsin.

Guest Blog: Stephanie Findley responds to critics

What follows is a guest blog from Stephanie Findley, candidate for First Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, in response to criticisms that have been leveled against her.

I have been a loyal Democrat since I came out of the womb in 1973. The first campaign I’ve ever worked on was for President Jimmy Carter’s re­election in 1980. I developed my first campaign literature on my own and went door to door in my neighborhood to get out the vote for President Carter. This election was very important to me because I couldn’t believe that people would vote for Ronald Reagan. When President Carter lost his re­election bid, I was devastated. I couldn’t understand for the life of me why Americans didn’t see through Ronald Reagan’s facade. The reason why it hurt so much is because I am the granddaughter of a sharecropper who had 9 children and 6 of his children left the south and migrated to the Midwest to work for GM, Chrysler and Ford. My father, aunts and uncles were members of the United Auto Workers Union which boosted my family into the middle class.

I knew Reagan was going to be America’s demise because he supported the super rich and he didn’t make any bones about it. Here I am 35 years later, I still drive an American car because my parents, aunts and uncles have now retired and I have
second generation family members who are currently employed in the three auto industry plants. I still have pensions and salaries to pay which is why I choose to drive an American car. Does this not make me a loyal Democrat?

Since 1980, I have worked tirelessly to help Democrats win up and down the ticket in Wisconsin. I have spent countless hours campaigning for my party that I have been a loyal member of. It is disheartening to see some people downplay my loyalty to
a party that I have worked hard to deliver votes to win local and statewide elections because I choose to support families. People say that I’m pro voucher, pro charter, but they often forget that I AM PRO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. I am a graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools. I graduated from James Madison High School to be exact. I ran for Milwaukee Public School Board in 2007 and had the backing of MTEA. I support teachers. I heart teachers. It is one of the toughest jobs on the planet and I feel they are underpaid, underappreciated, and under attack not just in Wisconsin, but in America as a whole. It is sad for a segment of the population, to continue degrade our teachers, to make others feel better about themselves.

I also live in Urban Milwaukee. The voucher program has existed in Milwaukee since 1990. Way before I arrived on the political scene, there were voucher schools. Urban Milwaukee delivers votes to the Democratic Party every election cycle. Are you telling me that the Latino and Black residents do not matter when it comes to delivering votes to help Democrats win elections up and down the ticket? If you come to Milwaukee, there are huge voting blocs that support voucher schools and, who am I to tell families where to send their children to school? I ran for State Assembly in 2010 but made it clear that I wouldn’t be supportive of any expansion of the voucher program. It has become clear to me that the Republicans have hijacked our tax dollars by expanding vouchers outside of Milwaukee. Republicans are pushing vouchers down the throats of families who can afford their children’s tuition. To expand the voucher program into areas where residents haven’t been given a chance to vote or voice their opinion on the voucher expansion is shameful. Furthermore, to lift the income limits to allow families who are above the poverty guidelines proves that vouchers were never meant for poor people. It has been in the plans for a long time to allow elite residents of our state to send their children to private institutions off the backs of Wisconsin tax payers.

I stand up every day for those who cannot stand up and fight for themselves. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined our state would be in the position we are in today. The discussion people should be having is “how loyal of a party member
have I been?” I have been asked to serve on numerous committees representing the party. I have spent over ten years in a leadership position as the former 4th CD Chair and Black Caucus Chair. I am currently the City of Milwaukee Board of Elections Chair appointed by Mayor Tom Barrett. I am a pro­choice female who continues to give money to Planned Parenthood because I support women’s rights to reproductive justice. I am pro LGBT who have stood in Black churches when it wasn’t popular to advocate for LGBT issues. I support fairness and equality for all. I support economic and social justice for all. I am AFSCME. I am a card carrying member of AFSCME and I remain loyal to my union. I am the most LOYAL CARD CARRYING DEMOCRAT that you will ever meet and for all of the reasons listed above, I ask for your support to become the next 1st Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

New report: Scott Walker’s Wisconsin worst in nation on shrinking middle class (UPDATED)

As noted by CapTimes reporter Mike Ivey, a new report by the Pew Charitable Trust showed Wisconsin with the largest decline in the nation in the percentage of families considered to be middle class.

If you feel like you’re working harder for less money, it’s not your imagination.

Wisconsin ranks worst among the 50 states in terms of a shrinking middle class, with real median household incomes here falling 14.7 percent since 2000, according to a new report.

The Pew Charitable Trust report showed Wisconsin with the largest decline in the percentage of families considered “middle class,” or those earning between 67 and 200 percent of their state’s median income.

In 2000, 54.6 percent of Wisconsin families fell into the middle class category but that has fallen to 48.9 percent in 2013, according to U.S. Census figures compiled by Pew.

All other states showed some decline but none as great as Wisconsin’s 5.7 percent figure.

The results of the Pew report should come as no shock to those of us here in Wisconsin who’ve felt the full weight of Gov. Scott Walker’s attack on the middle class thanks to Act 10. After all, a vast majority of public employees are middle class wage earners, and the provisions of Act 10 empowered Gov. Walker and his Republican allies in the Legislature to further cut the take-home pay of public employees beyond the cuts those public employees had endured thanks to furloughs under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle. In fact, I know a number of public employees whose take home pay is less now than it was nearly ten years ago (in some cases by nearly ten percent), and many of those solidly middle class public employees could ill afford a cut in their take home pay.

While Gov. Walker’s main purpose in “dropping the bomb” that was Act 10 on public employees may have been to weaken public employee unions politically, one of the most destructive side effects of Act 10 was the weakening of Wisconsin’s middle class. It’s widely accepted that a strong middle class with plenty of disposable income grows the economy far better than the trickle down theory of giving tax cuts to the richest individuals and corporations, and here in Wisconsin we’re seeing that fact borne out in the struggles our state’s middle class are facing.

It’s my hope that at some point during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries Gov. Scott Walker is going to have to answer for his absolutely miserable record on job creation and growing Wisconsin’s economy. As proof of Gov. Walker’s absolutely miserable record, one needs not look very far, whether it’s his record of creating more low-wage jobs than middle-wage jobs, or the fact that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the quasi-public job creation agency created by Gov. Walker, sent millions of tax dollars to companies that outsourced jobs to foreign countries. And don’t overlook the fact that Gov. Walker’s job creation corporation also failed to track whether 99 businesses were repaying a total of $8 million in past-due loans over the course of a year. The $8 million in overdue loans the WEDC lost track of constituted 16% of that agency’s $51 million loan portfolio.

That’s not the kind of job creation record I’d want to have if I were running for president, and given the fact that Republicans control all three branches of government in Wisconsin, Gov. Walker has no one to blame but himself for his absolutely miserable record on job creation and the economy. However, Gov. Walker has been quite successful in shrinking Wisconsin’s middle class, which no doubt will play well with with folks like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, who are the very people who may decide which Republican will be that party’s nominee in 2016.

Wisconsin Soapbox: The Revival of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin

If you have a chance, you all should click over to Wisconsin Soapbox and read his excellent piece about how to bring about the revival of the Democratic Party in Wisconsin. Here’s a snippet.

Wisconsin Democrats for so long were not a viable party. Sans wave years in 1932 and again back in the early 1890’s (thanks Bennett Law), they had not held the Governorship and were woefully underrepresented in the legislature. In fact, they clung to traditional political conservativeness and general aloofness into the 1930’s, where many state Democrats weren’t even operating on the same general platform or set of ideas as President Roosevelt. (That was when the Progressive Party of Wisconsin was strongest.) By the 1940’s, and with the Progressives really being a party of the La Follette’s, Socialists and Progressives began realizing that the national infrastructure of the Democrats and lack of strong leadership in Wisconsin was ripe to be utilized.

Beginning in 1948 the party began revitalizing their ground-game and had a group of organizers who helped realize success with William Proxmire a decade later. (Names like Doyle Sr, Lucey, Hoan, to name a few…) The turn-around of the DPW was a decade long process, but it was one with long-range vision. Democrats still lost in 1950, 52, 54, and 56, but they kept building, and building, and building. They even had an ill-fated recall election of Sen. McCarthy.

I’m just saying, HISTORY MATTERS!!!

When the Democrats finally did put up equal challenges to the Republicans in the late 1950’s and 60’s, it was mostly in state and national races. Historically, Wisconsin may be a purple-state for President, but we have been a Republican state in the legislature. It’s just that simple. This brings us to the next point…

In order to revitalize the DPW, we need to develop a long-range plan like those visionaries in the late 1940’s, but we also need to use the data, computer analytics, and statistics of the 21st Century to develop those long-range plans. In an age of Citizens United money, we can’t just throw money at our problems, which means we have to be strategic with how we budget for candidates. It also sadly means we may have to admit as a party that it takes money to win elections. That is a bitter pill to swallow.

Hey look! It’s a Sunday open thread!

I’ve got a lot on my plate for the day, so here’s your chance to share what’s on your mind.

Have at it!

Kathleen Vinehout endorses Martha Laning for DPW Chair (VIDEO)

During an interview with WisconsinEye on March 19, Democratic State Senator Kathleen Vinehout shared her thoughts on the state of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. During that interview, Sen. Vinehout endorsed former Democratic State Senate candidate Martha Laning to replace Mike Tate as Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Here’s Sen. Vinehout’s interview. Her endorsement of Martha Laning starts around 5:00 into the interview.

EDIT: Credit for tipping me off to this goes to commenter Nonquixote.

Rep Taylor and Rep Hintz On The Budget Hearing In Brillion

from my email:

For immediate release: For more information, contact:
March 19, 2015 Rep. Chris Taylor, 608.266.5342
Rep. Gordon Hintz, 608-266-2254

Northeast Wisconsin Strongly Opposes Walker Budget

Hundreds turn out to express concerns

MADISON – Yesterday, the Joint Committee on Finance held its first public hearing on Governor Walker’s state budget in Brillion, Wisconsin. The hearing included roughly 250 speakers from around northeastern Wisconsin, almost all of whom spoke against various aspects of Walker’s budget, including the cuts to our public education system, the gutting of long-term care programs including Family Care and IRIS, and
threats to Wisconsin’s conservation heritage.

Today, Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh), the two Assembly Democrats on the committee, released the following statement:

“I am grateful to the many amazing Wisconsinites who shared their heartfelt testimony about how the Walker budget would negatively impact their families and communities, including individuals who identified themselves as Walker supporters or Republicans,” said Rep. Chris Taylor, ranking Assembly Democrat on the committee. “Whether it was how Walker’s budget damages family care, public education,
the UW System, the environment or SeniorCare, I’m hopeful their voices were heard loud and clear by my colleagues. If the Wisconsin citizens who were present yesterday had had a vote on the budget, it would have overwhelmingly failed.”

“I would like to thank everyone that came out to Brillion for yesterday’s public hearing,” said Rep. Hintz. “More than 250 people testified and plenty more were in attendance. Wisconsinites came from all over the state, taking off from work or taking time away from their families to share the many ways Governor Walker’s budget negatively impacts their lives. I was moved by their testimony and recognize the potential consequences of this budget on our state are very real. I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve the budget as much as possible.”

Governor Walker Continues To Run Against The Predecessor

Just as he did in the 2010 election, the 2012 recall election, and the 2014 election when he ran against FORMER Governor Jim Doyle, in his stump speech in South Carolina, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is waging his presidential campaign against the incumbent, President Barack Obama!

In his Columbia appearance, he talked up his union fight, fired verbal blasts at President Barack Obama…

Hey governor…where are your bold initiatives? Stop running against someone who will not be in the campaign.

That’s Exactly The Opposite To Creating Jobs

The LA Times is running an opinion piece suggesting that Governor Walker is about to do away with the weekend!

And essentially he is:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a leading aspirant for the Republican nomination for president, made his state the 25th “right-to-work” state in the nation on March 9 when he signed a measure passed by the Republican-controlled legislature.

He may soon get another crack at a worker-unfriendly law: Legislators have introduced a bill to abolish employees’ legal right to at least one day off per week.

One day off per week. I don’t imagine that there is a single reader of this blog who would find fault with requiring a minimum of one day off per week…and I imagine most of you would be appalled if you were expected to give up your weekends on a regular basis without some sort of comp time.

But really, this is exactly the opposite tack to creating jobs. If you want to create jobs you don’t encourage force employees to work more hours. Instead you take advantage of increased productivity and reduce hours and employ additional people to cover the needed hours. That increase employment…puts more money into the economy…and contributes to continued increases in productivity!

Some of our readers may remember a socialist slogan from the past: 30 for 40! Thirty hours work for forty hours pay…and increase employment to cover the remaining hours.

Where Is The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce On The New Bucks Arena?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has been updating their article on the budget hearing at Alverno University today…so the snippet I saw this morning about Tim Sheehy’s, President of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, testimony in favor of the state’s $220 million bond issue to pay for part of a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks was removed.

Since I can’t cut and paste it in nor link to the actual article with the information, I’ll paraphrase it briefly.

Mr. Sheehy was in total support of building the new arena and making sure that we retain the Milwaukee Bucks…saying it was an important asset for the City of Milwaukee.

Well, that being said, where is the MMAC with their checkbooks? If it’s such a important source of revenue and economic growth in the region…aren’t the businesses and business leaders the guys that should be picking up the balance of the tab? Instead of the general tax payers?

Mr. Sheehy, I suggest that you and your organization actually put your money where your mouth is!