A Personal Note from Martha Laning, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin

This arrived in my inbox last Friday:

Dear fellow Wisconsin Democrats,

Two days ago, the opioid crisis touched the Wisconsin political world in a very personal way. People from both political parties were reeling from tragedies that left lives and families shattered. My heart breaks for the three children of the young woman whose life was cut short by an overdose. It was also agonizing to hear about a Republican colleague whose family is dealing with a similar tragedy due to the scourge of drugs. While attempting to process those feelings, I also feel ripped apart knowing a talented former employee and friend is connected to one of these tragedies.

The opioid crisis is growing in our state and country and it is heartbreaking to see the lives of so many being ruined. These tragedies brought home the fact that this epidemic truly knows no bounds.

I am writing to you because I have a responsibility to the DPW, our members, our candidates, and our legislators to be as open and transparent as possible. I also have a legally binding obligation to employees to keep certain information confidential. However, I can clear up some concerns that have been raised. This news came as a surprise to all of us here at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. We immediately launched an internal investigation to do everything necessary to protect our party and members. This is an ongoing process I will keep you updated as it progresses.

As the family of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin processes our shock and grief, and handles our obligations as an employer, it is important that we stand together. That we learn and grow and become better able to lead as a result of the pain we are experiencing. If we can stop addiction, opioids and overdoses from claiming even one more victim and devastating one more family, we must do so.

Our Party believes in helping people who are struggling, places hope and belief in second chances and will always work to protect the citizens of our state — particularly those who are hurting or feeling left behind. We will work with one another, and with our Republican colleagues, to take actions to stop parents from losing their children and families from being torn apart by this epidemic.

As we move forward through this challenging time together, I welcome your thoughts, advice and feedback and remain deeply grateful for your support.


Martha Laning


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1 thought on “A Personal Note from Martha Laning, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin

  1. The opioid epidemic suddenly became an issue leading up to Nov. 2016, led by the GOP connected to Big Pharma, which has fostered this whole crisis. Meanwhile, plenty of others are dosing out, using alcohol, etc., because of the pain caused by our dysfunctional economics and little chance to make a living wage and get ahead.

    Opioids became a pop subject when Rush Limbaugh went doctor shopping to get his fix of Oxycontin–I know people in the HMO healthcare industry who can’t afford the stain opioids would cast upon drug sales. Think alcohol will become a pop politics subject here in Wisconsin???

    I think this post directly relates to the Job Fair post above that promotes “average” wages of $55k–if you work in management you get big pay, while the vast majority work for much, much less. We do not live in an “opportunity society,” as Newt Gingrich proclaimed way back in the 1990s. People are hurting, and some resort to chemical escape, all because our economy doesn’t work for most people.

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