Healthcare

Healthcare is critical to everyone, and a state sponsored healthcare program is the right thing to do. Some families haven’t landed a career or job that offers healthcare yet. Wisconsin families need safety and structure to be successful, Wisconsin has a robust health care option. but have to be careful what we “buy into”, The federal healthcare expansion sounds promising, but what baggage does it come with? Much like our ‘common core’ education. For approximately 7% of our education costs, we signed on to common core, and we now have to administer education per that guidance. Did common core benefit us? Is education easier, or did that small incentive cause us to upend what was working for us? The federal healthcare expansion will come with many similar ‘strings attached’ on how we do business. We need smaller government and less telling the people of Wisconsin how to get the job done.  

While calls for Medicaid expansion are well intentioned, the reality is that the program would likely decrease access to medical care for low-income individuals and families that the program is intended for. In 2017, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) analyzed a proposal by Democrats which would have significantly expanded Wisconsin’s Badger Care program. LFB found that problems with low reimbursement rates and doctors unwilling to take patients on Medicaid would be exacerbated by adding more people into the program. We need to look at more free market ways to reduce healthcare costs, not just dump more people into low-quality government run plans.

In the last budget, Assembly Bill 56, Republicans focused heavily on caregivers for our seniors – increased funding for nursing homes reimbursement rates, increased funding for personal care workers and direct caregivers in family care. The Republican-led bill’s increases in spending significantly exceeded Governor Ever’s budget proposal.

Funding Education

Public and private education are the vehicles we have to provide education to our children, to help prepare them for the future. We have a well-funded education system. We want our children to have excellent social skills and the ability to work with other people. We want them to have important life skills and the ability to enter the workforce or be prepared for continued education. The goal of our public and private education system is to prepare our children for the future. Having both public and private education provides competition in the marketplace, and it gives families options. Competition in the marketplace gives opportunity to advance efficiencies in how we educate. Our educators need to be able to determine what works for them and our students. They need more freedom to explore techniques to reinforce education. Parents and children need options, and our school choice provides options. Additionally, school vouchers provide families with the option to enroll their children in their school of choice despite their financial situation.

K-12 funding has increased in every budget since 2013, with a significant increase in Governor Walker’s last budget, and an increase of close to $330 million in general school aid in the 2019-21 budget passed by the Republican-controlled Assembly. The Republican Assembly and Senate voted to increase special education aid funding by $96 million over the biennium to achieve state support of 30% of total costs by the second year. Republicans also doubled funding for mental health programs in our schools. It’s important to give our teachers and students the tools and funding they need to succeed. If I am elected, I would push to make sure we continue funding all levels of education and look at reforms to improve outcomes for all students.

Infrastructure

Our state shouldn’t fund a municipality’s added amenities. If a city, town or county wants a new library or sports complex, it needs to work within its budget to make that project happen. This way, the municipalities that add these amenities will do so only if it pays off either socially or fiscally by enriching their community or adding value to their revenue base. State funded infrastructure should fund our state agencies, departments and efforts like education, highways, healthcare – all the state funded goods and services we require and have grown accustomed too. Special projects, initiatives, and incentivizing business growth will always be something the state wants to invest in.

In terms of transportation, the Republican-led budget provides a 10% increase for local road aid and construction ($65 million). They added $90 million to the Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP), and increased funding for state highways by 19% – money well spent in my opinion.

Environment

We only have one earth; our land, water and natural resources need to be managed properly. Legislation is required to ensure business and manufacturing protect our environment. Clean safe manufacturing and energy should be a critical part of decision making in the assembly.

Despite rhetoric from Democrats, Republicans increased funding for water quality and environment conservation efforts by nearly $16 million in the budget passed by the Legislature. In fact, Republicans adopted a significant portion of Governor Evers’ proposals. Additionally, Assembly Republicans were particularly proactive through the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality, which held 14 hearings across the state and received testimony from countless stakeholders and hundreds of citizens. Although the issue is varied and complex, the task force introduced 13 proposals, 10 of which received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Assembly. The proposals ranged from the creation of an Office of Water Quality to an increased investment in county conservation staffing and the creation of the freshwater collaborative at the UW System.

Gun Rights and Safety

Our 2nd Amendment was established to give power to the people in case of tyrannical rule. It’s not for hunting. We need to protect that amendment as strongly as we protect our constitution, the first amendment and all the other constitutional amendments. 

The 2nd Amendment protects our ability to own firearms, and I will continue working to protect that fundamental right. Individuals across the nation and Wisconsin choose to own many varieties of firearms and do so responsibly and safely. Semi-automatic firearms are owned and used by millions of Americans for hunting, hobby-shooting, and to defend themselves and their families. I will continue to support their right to do so.

Support for Working Families

As the rising cost of living outpaces increases in wages the divide between success and struggle grows. Wisconsin will continue to support the programs needed for our families such as: housing, financial assistance, subsidence and education. Our families need and deserve the support of their state and community.

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, Wisconsin was experiencing years of record low unemployment rates. Contrary to what Governor Evers says, his administration inherited this environment from Governor Walker and legislative Republicans who had for years been cutting taxes and eliminating red tape for businesses and taxpayers in Wisconsin. Legislative Republicans continued this trend during this session by investing more money in apprenticeships programs, tech ed grants, and the Wisconsin Technical College System. They also invested in programs that support our most vulnerable and connect individuals with disabilities to jobs in their communities.

Additionally, Republicans led to increased funding for the Wisconsin tech college system by 25 million. We have frozen in-state undergraduate tuition at UW schools, and increased education grants by $6 million so that more high school students have access to technical education courses. This is what our working families need more of – opportunity.

Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights

Women and their children deserve the utmost protection and support. I will always support their access to healthcare. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), housing and other programs that support our women will always be cherished and supported by myself and our community.

Republicans seek to protect those who cannot protect themselves, the unborn, while at the same time ensuring the health and safety of women. It is the Democrats who can’t even agree to common-sense legislation that protects our most vulnerable. For example, this session Republicans proposed The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act which would have directed health care providers to exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve a born alive abortion survivor’s life. Governor Evers vetoed this bill, and not one Democrat in the Legislature voted in favor. Not only are the Democrats unwilling to protect the unborn, they couldn’t even bring themselves to protect babies who were BORN ALIVE.

Voter Rights and Elections

Our elections and voters’ rights are critical. I will fight any efforts to undermine these. Our votes deserve the utmost respect and security. The ballots we cast deserve a secure chain of custody so there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that their vote didn’t get counted. 

Marijuana Legalization

I have no hesitation in support of medical marijuana. It is a legitimate alternative to existing medical treatment and prescribed drugs. It should take some consideration with providers and patients, and it should carry the same prescription drug protocols that are already in place. 

Marijuana for recreational use is a subject much more difficult to come to terms with. A bit like opening Pandora’s box. At this time, I lean towards supporting the legalization. Several factors that I have taken into consideration: it would alleviate police and judicial burden as an illegal substance. We have seen it’s use in our state for decades, and the social effects seem less dire than those of alcohol. All of our bordering states have adopted its use, and that only leads to more use in our communities. Cities across the state look to decriminalize by reducing the offense to a minimal fine. Additionally, it’s often used in the plea bargain process where all other charges are dropped for the marijuana charge. Marijuana charges often prevent people from qualifying for housing, workforce and education opportunities. 

We must weigh all the social and economic costs and benefits, and we must consider the fact that the states surrounding us have all moved towards legalization. We may already be to the point where marijuana is in our communities’ whether we like it or not. 

Beach for 57th Assembly