Guest Editorial: State Senate candidate Susan Sommer

We have a critical primary election facing our 12th State Senate District on August 14th. The most important question we have to ask ourselves now is which candidate is most qualified to represent the people of the 12th State Senate District in the Wisconsin legislature. As your State Senator, I pledge to make the following policy initiatives a priority.

First, we must look at ways to increase our revenues so that our schools and public services do not endure the massive, devastating cuts we saw this last legislative session under the Walker administration. We must press ahead with the “Fair Funding For Our Future” school finance reform supported by State Superintendent Tony Evers. We must consider implementing the “A Penny For Kids” campaign, which seeks to raise the sales tax by one cent, bringing in more than $850 million in aid for schools. Although by nature sales taxes are regressive, this campaign sets aside 20% of the funds for credits to support low income residents, such as increased credits for the Homestead Credit Tax Relief program. Our children, all of our children, deserve an excellent public education. Wisconsin has been recognized for how well its students do academically. Education is our proud tradition. Teachers are our magnificent hope for the future. Without an educated public, we all lose. Our economy depends on an educated public; and our democracy will fail without an educated citizenry.

Second, the United States Supreme Court recently upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. This means a health insurance exchange will be created in Wisconsin. One major flaw of the Affordable Care Act is that it did not include a public health insurance option in the final bill. This public option, perhaps through Badgercare, must be included within Wisconsin’s health insurance exchange. Every family in Wisconsin must have the opportunity to compare the cost and coverage of a public not-for-profit health insurance plan against a private for-profit health insurance plan. Health insurance is an inalienable right. Without our health, not one of us is free to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Every person has the right to choose which health insurance plan best suits her health care needs.

Third, the Clean Energy Jobs bill that died in the state legislature in Spring 2010 must be revisited. This bill was the product of recommendations made by a Wisconsin Task Force on Global Warming. In the last five months we have seen two massive, unprecedented and historic heat waves. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has confirmed that 2012 is on track to be the warmest year on record. We must resurrect the Clean Energy Jobs bill and improve it where necessary. We must do this for the sake of creating thousands of renewable energy jobs in Wisconsin. We must do this for the sake of our children and grandchildren and future generations. Working together, Wisconsin will be a leader in facing what is likely the most challenging problem of our time.

I know what it means to be from Northern Wisconsin. I grew up here in Rhinelander and graduated from high school here. I moved back with my husband in 2008 because this is home. The people, our lifestyle, the beauty of this place – this is why we live here. Tuck and I work here, own a little log cabin here, and are committed to our community. Tuck is a board member for Great Headwaters Trails. I am on the Board of Directors for Northwoods Restorative Justice and for Northwoods Alliance. I did not move back to our District to run for political office. I moved back because this is where I am from. This is where I live and work and have my being. This District is home.

After watching this last legislative session and the invalidation of our Northern Wisconsin ethics, I decided to run for State Senate. These times call for someone who is untainted by the bitter partisan politics that have afflicted our state government. I am the best candidate to represent our District. All my career, I have been a strong voice and a powerful advocate for what is right and for those who need someone to speak on their behalf. I carry this ability with me as Senator because I care passionately, love unconditionally, and respect deeply our District – our home.

I call on each one of us to become informed about the primary candidates for the August 14th Primary election, Lisa Theo and myself. Learn about us. Compare the two of us. The resources available online are just waiting for you to take the time to get to know us. Then we all can make an informed decision at the ballot box on August 14th.

In Service,
Susan Sommer
Candidate for the 12th State Senate District


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