It seems unusual that we should have to include “clean government” among a list of issues to stake a position on. Especially in Wisconsin. But the unprecedented transfer of power into the Department of Administration over the last eight years makes this the issue that must be resolved soon.
We must have an independent commission to oversee and enforce election laws in Wisconsin.
John Doe inquiries must be available to that commission when there is good reason to believe politicians are violating the law.
We must have a redistricting law that takes political influence out of the process. Iowa has created a model that should be followed in Wisconsin as well.
We must protect public access to records.
ASSAULT WEAPON BAN
We should have a ban on the sale of assault weapons similar to the one in Maryland. The 4th circuit court of appeals examined their law and found that the assault weapons described in the law are “weapons of war” and therefore not protected by the 2nd amendment. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
BUMP STOCKS, FOLDING STOCKS, AND HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINES
We should ban bump stocks, folding stocks, and magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition.
UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS
Universal background checks for all firearm sales, including gun shows.
48 HOUR WAITING PERIOD
Wisconsin should reinstate the 48 hour waiting period for purchasing firearms.
TRAINING FOR CONCEAL CARRY
We need rigorous and regular training requirements for conceal carry permit holders.
No teachers should be allowed to carry guns on school grounds.
In addition to felony and domestic abuse related midemeanor convictions, some violent or weapons releated misdemenaors should also prohibit gun posession.
Wisconsin’s system of public education was a model for the country for almost a century. But our school districts have been led in the wrong direction for years. Now our education funding is suffering and our teachers are fleeing.
We must stop the draining our public education funding with school vouchers and crippling cuts to education funding.
We must restore collective bargaining for our teachers.
We must make public education the best option available. Every child needs access to quality education without regard to their ability to pay, or to their racial, religious, or social backgrounds.
We must ensure the safety of our public schools without turning them into armed fortresses.
We must restore funding to our University system.
College grads must have the right to refinance their student loans if they find a cheaper rate.
Our Department of Natural Resources has been stripped of its independence and gutted of its scientific knowledge. Politicians have bent our environmental protections to their own political will.
The DNR must be independent of any political influence.
We must rely on science and not politics to enlighten environmental policy.
Environmental law must be enforced equally everywhere in the state. We can not make exceptions to any law just because some corporation promised to hire employees.
We must restore the moratorium on sulfide mining.
Every local community must have a voice in mining activities proposed in their jurisdiction.
We have to stop pretending there is nothing we can do to improve healthcare coverage in Wisconsin. There is much that can be done, but there are a couple of easy steps that should have been taken a long time ago.
We must accept Federal Medicaid money.
BadgerCare must be an option for purchase in the exchange.
Repealing Wisconsin’s gas tax indexing in 2005 was a mistake. We have been struggling to finance our infrastructure programs ever since. It would be hard to bring indexing back now, but something must be done. The legislators from both parties have made proposals but like so many things in Madison it never gets done. The Governor's own transportation secretary submitted a comprehensive study with recommended solutions, but it was ignored.
We must have a sustainable funding stream for our infrastructure. We can not continue to borrow our way out of this, and then pull accounting tricks to make it look like our budget is balanced when it is not.
We must return to reporting our budget status based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Our middle class wages have been held down for so long that a middle class family can not gain any ground in our economy. Wages barely keep up with CPI. Many working class families have seen their incomes drop under the weight of rising healthcare costs.
We are squandering billions of dollars on the Foxconn deal with no promise of living wages for our workers. How many good paying jobs would that money have created if we had invested $300,000 each in 10,000 startup businesses instead of giving $3 billion to one corporation with a bad reputation for following through on promises?
We must restore collective bargaining in Wisconsin.
We must restore our prevailing wage rules.
We must put an end to so called “Right to Work” laws that really amount to Government sponsored theft of services.
Criminal Justice Reform
Eau Claire has one of the best trained, most professional, and progressive police departments in the State of Wisconsin. In 2010 while I was Deputy Chief of Police, Eau Claire was one of three counties nation wide chosen to pilot an initiative to build a framework of evidence based decision making into the justice system from arrest through final disposition and discharge. In fact, two of the three counties selected for the initiative are in Wisconsin; Eau Claire and Milwaukee.
I was involved in the early stages of the project, which continues to today. Eau Claire County’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee meets every two weeks to look at the best available evidence to guide their policies with a goal of reducing pre-trial misconduct and post-conviction recidivism.
Wisconsin communities lead the nation in our efforts to reform the justice system from arrest to corrections. But we still see viral internet videos from around the country, even in Wisconsin, of people calling the police based on their own unjustified suspicions about people of color; or officers over reacting to a situation out of fear.
I will take a back seat to no one in defending a police officer’s right to use force for protection, but no one will be ahead of me condemning the kind of behavior I have seen in some of those videos either. We can not stop talking about this until no parent has a reason to worry about someone calling the police on their child because their skin color makes them suspicious, or what the police will do when they get there.
My friend, former Wisconsin Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Wall warned Scott Walker years ago about problems at the Lincoln Hills facility. But Walker’s staff told him “people don’t vote on corrections”. He might have been right then, but not any more.
I believe there is much to do to fix our corrections system.
The goal of the correctional system should be to restore a fallen person to a whole, productive, and law abiding citizen with the ability to earn a living for themselves. “Truth in Sentencing” is all about retribution, not rehabilitation. It must be changed.
Incarcerated persons must be treated humanely and kept in facilities that are not over crowded. The Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility is the top example of the unacceptable conditions in some of our facilities. It must be closed.
No incarcerated person should be denied parole simply because they are valuable to the system as a laborer. While job skills need to be taught in prisons and jails to help rehabilitate the population there, labor in prison must be compensated at the same rate that similar labor could earn outside of prison. Our incarcerated population is not a resource for cheap labor to the state or to private industry.
People on probation or parole should not be revoked and sent to prison without committing a new crime.
As a Christian believer I value human life as a miraculous creation of God. I believe every life should be respected, loved, and protected. For most of my life if people asked me for my position on abortion I answered that I am “pro-life”. But when I now consider what the term “pro-life” means as a matter of public policy it has a much broader meaning. It has meaning for the issues of health care, justice reform, education, gun reform, social security, and even taxes. It also has a broader meaning for the issue of abortion rights. The life of the mother has no less value than the life she carries inside of her, and the legislature should have no place in the decisions she makes about her pregnancy.
As a police officer I witnessed countless tragic events resulting from, and sometimes leading to, a crisis pregnancy. If I had a family member who experienced any of those events I might not encourage abortion as a resolution. But I would not let anyone outside of her close friends and family, especially not the government, offer their opinion about what my wife, my granddaughter, or any other member of my family should or should not do.
As a legislator I will not support any legislation that seeks to get in the way of a woman making the best decision for her and her family, even if that decision is to terminate her pregnancy. No legislation should ever come between a Doctor and any advice or treatment they might give to their patient.
Women's Health Funding
I believe we will someday ensure that everyone has healthcare coverage. Until then, low income women need access to healthcare services, especially as it relates to their pregnancy. We have to continue supporting programs that provide those services.
Contraception is an important part of healthcare and it helps prevent the agonizing decision that some women need to make about their pregnancy. It should be a part of any healthcare plan and no one, including an employer, should be allowed to deny that right to anyone else.
I support equal pay for equal work. But Republican’s made it harder to enforce by repealing the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act after just three years on the books. Victims of unfair labor practices need an easy path for justice. The Equal Pay Enforcement Act must be reinstated.