OWR Statement on Tomahawk School Board Decision on Mask Mandate

Sept 14th, 2021

The state board of Our Wisconsin Revolution(OWR) would like to share our disapproval of the recent controversy that led to the Tomahawk School District’s reversal of a planned masked mandate for its students and the resignation of a pro mask administrator that followed this decision. The wearing of masks remains a critical public health measure to help prevent the spread of the SARS-Cov-2 virus that causes COVID-19 infection. The enforcement of masks is sound policy, supported by numerous clinical studies, public health agencies in the United States such as the CDC and NIH and international organizations such as the WHO. The decision to rescind the mask mandate puts students, teachers, and other school staff who may have a variety of medical issues as well as individuals without known medical problems at risk. Wearing masks provides both source control of infected individuals and confers reduced risk to those not infected through protection. In the absence of regular COVID-19 testing, and in the incompletely vaccinated communities the Tomahawk School District is in, requiring masking should not be controversial, but common sense.

 Children who attend Tomahawk schools should not become casualties of the far-reaching politicization of masks, vaccines and social distancing we continue to see in this country. Already we have seen 13 school staff die in Florida and multiple students in other states during the short period school has been in session from COVID-19.  OWR calls on the Tomahawk School Board to resist calls by some in the community to recall board members who support masks and resume the initial plan for a mask mandate. The freedom of children and educators to not become infected from COVID-19 is more important than yielding to the reckless demands of community members who put their “freedom” above the health of kids. Students and staff need to live to have freedom.

Richard McGowan MD

OWR State Board 

News Press Releases

Our Wisconsin Revolution Appoints New Executive Director

Today Our Wisconsin Revolution, an independent social justice organization, announced that it has appointed Andre Walton as their new Executive Director. Andre graduated from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, where he majored in General Management. Andre is a committed activist that has worked to get money out of politics, worked on Mike McCabe’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign, as an organizer, and has fought for social reform in this state. We are proud to have Andre as our new Executive Director, and look forward to seeing him bring a fresh new perspective to this organization. 

On his hiring, OWR’s new Executive Director Andre Walton had this to say. “All my life I’ve struggled socially and economically to get by in life. As I grew older I learned a lot of what I went through was directly tied to politics and the unjust nature of the system that we live in. I will use this opportunity to fight against the system that holds people down, and will continue to hold politicians accountable who do not adequately represent their constituents. It’s time we put the power back where it needs to be, and that’s in the hands of the people.” 


Join or support the Wisconsin solidarity caravans to stop Line 3

People from across Wisconsin are answering the call to come to the Treaty People Gathering from June 5-8 in northern Minnesota to support the First Nations-led resistance to the Line 3 pipeline. This gathering is about supporting direct action to stop the Line 3 pipeline.

Solidarity caravans will depart early on Friday, June 4, from stops in the southeast and northeast parts of the state, meeting in Chippewa Falls and then heading north for an evening rally in Duluth. The next day they will head to the Treaty People Gathering to Stop Line 3.

To learn more about the caravans from Wisconsin or to be a part of one of them, sign up here:

Camping and food will be available at the gathering. For those who can’t or don’t wish to camp, there are lodging options in the area. Find out more and sign up at

About the Wisconsin Solidarity Tour

We now have three legs of the Wisconsin Solidarity tour tentatively set to start in Kenosha, Fond du Lac, and Green Bay. Current plans are for these caravans to converge in Chippewa Falls around 1 p.m. on Friday, June 4, and travel to Duluth together. Exact locations will be given as that information becomes available at

We plan to travel to Duluth as one caravan, arriving for a rally around 5 p.m. Friday. Most people will spend the night in the Duluth area, but some may drive on to other accommodations. We will leave Duluth around 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 5, for the Treaty People Gathering. The exact location of the gathering is not public information yet.

All caravan participants will have access to the tour stop schedule and locations, so if a party becomes separated from the caravan, they will be able to find the caravan. You can stay at the gathering for the duration (June 5-8) or leave at any time. Many people will be driving back to Wisconsin on Monday evening, June 7.

Tentative Tour Leg Schedules

All information below is subject to change, Please consult with schedules that will be posted at before coming to a tour stop.

Southeastern Leg

City/StopArrive TimeDepart Time
Kenosha5:15 a.m.5:40 a.m.
Racine6 a.m.6:20 a.m.
Milwaukee7 a.m.7:20 a.m.
Madison8:40 a.m.9 a.m.
Black River Falls11:10 a.m.11:30 a.m.
Chippewa Falls1 p.m.1:40 p.m.

Fox Valley Leg

City/StopArrive TimeDepart Time
Fond du Lac7 a.m.7:10 a.m.
Oshkosh7:40 a.m.8 a.m.
Appleton8:30 a.m.8:50 a.m.
Stevens Point10 a.m.10:20 a.m.
Wausau11 a.m.11:20 a.m.
Chippewa Falls1 p.m.1:40 p.m.

Green Bay Leg

City/StopArrive TimeDepart Time
Green Bay8 a.m.8:20 a.m.
Keshena9:30 a.m.9:50 a.m.
Wausau11 a.m.11:20 a.m.
Chippewa Falls1 p.m.1:40 p.m.

Most stops will be under 20 minutes long. (Exception: lunch in Chippewa Falls we will take a 40 minute lunch break at 1 p.m.)

Each stop will provide:

  • A welcome and send-off by local supporters
  • An opportunity for more people to join the caravan
  • A live stream video to Facebook and photo taking opportunities
  • Sharing of letter/postcard writing opportunity with local supporters
  • An opportunity for people on caravan to use restrooms and stretch
  • A collection will be taken at each stop to support Line 3 resistance work

People joining the caravan will be encouraged to decorate their vehicles and windows with messages such as “Stop Line 3,” “Water is Life,” “Honor the Treaties,” etc.

If you are interested in helping with organizing or promoting a leg, a stop, or any aspect of this tour, please call Tim Cordon at 608-630-3633.

News Press Releases

Citizens applaud Milwaukee County Board approval of resolution supporting Medicare for All

Milwaukee County, WI –  The Milwaukee County Board passed a resolution today in support of the Medicare for All Act of 2019. 

The County Board consideration of the resolution sends a strong message to Wisconsin’s federal legislators that the residents of Milwaukee County are demanding an end to for-profit health care in favor of a universal system without copays or out-of-pocket costs.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, 30 million Americans lacked health insurance, and an additional 57 million had health insurance but were still unable to afford needed health care. The record levels of unemployment in the past year increased those numbers, as millions lost their employer-sponsored health insurance along with their jobs.

Today’s resolution by the county board acknowledged that the pandemic further exposed the dangers of our fragmented, profit-driven health care system, which left far too many people in Wisconsin more vulnerable to diseases like Covid-19.

Ryan Clancy, supervisor for District 4, said, “As both someone who has gone most of the pandemic without health insurance, and as an elected who has seen the disaster that befalls households who are hit with unexpected health emergencies, I was proud to champion this resolution. Medicare for All should be a human right and it is long overdue.” 

Andre Walton, southeast regional organizer for Our Wisconsin Revolution, said, “The passage of this resolution shows the power of organizing and activism. Change doesn’t come from the top down, but from the bottom up. And we will continue to fight for change until Medicare for All is guaranteed to all Americans.” 

Rachael Steidl, DSA regional organizer, said, “I am happy to see our Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors stand together to support the health of all Milwaukee residents.” 

Milwaukee County is part of a growing movement of city and county boards across the United States that are calling for Congress to pass Medicare for All. More than 300 local efforts are under way with more than 55 local resolutions passed in cities and counties as diverse as Los Angeles, Knoxville, Philadelphia, South Bend, New Orleans, and Kalamazoo.

Information about the growing grassroots movement demanding that Congress pass the Medicare for All Act of 2021 can be found at resolution was passed thanks to the hard work of everyday working class people, who care about the health of the people. Supporting organizations include Our Wisconsin Revolution- Milwaukee, Milwaukee DSA, and Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Featured image at top: Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., introduced the Medicare for All Act on March 6, 2019, co-sponsored by more than 100 members of Congress. This year Jayapal introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2021 with 115 co-sponsors that do not currently include Rep. Gwen Moore or Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin.


Democracy in the Crosshairs

An article of faith among those who control today’s Republican Party is that the U.S. is a republic, not a democracy.

I was raised on my family’s dairy farm. More often than not farmers are Republicans, and I grew up among them. In all the years as I grew to adulthood on the farm, I never once heard any of my Republican neighbors say America is not a democracy.

In the early 1980s, I got a job at the Capitol working as a legislative aide in the state assembly. In those days, Democrats and Republicans not only negotiated and compromised on the issues of the day, they socialized once the day’s work was done. We frequented the same taverns. We were in bowling leagues and softball leagues together. Never once in those days did I hear a single Republican say the U.S. is not a democracy.

On June 6, 1984 Ronald Reagan gave a speech in Normandy honoring those who gave their lives there in the fight against the Nazis. Reagan said that day that “some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.”

It wasn’t until the early 2000s that I started to hear Republicans talk about a republic and a democracy as if they are mutually exclusive. Rush Limbaugh was among the first I heard insist that America is not a democracy. Soon enough, that claim became a Republican mantra.

It’s worth remembering that when Benjamin Franklin emerged from Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he was famously asked: “Well, what have we got – a republic or a monarchy?” He was not asked: “Well, what have we got – a republic or a democracy?” A republic is the opposite of a monarchy, not the opposite of a democracy.

One dictionary defines a republic as “a state in which the sovereign power resides in the whole body of the people, and is exercised by representatives elected by them.” Another defines it as “a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them.”

The term “democracy,” on the other hand, is defined as “government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.”

Under these definitions, a republic and a democracy are one and the same. What our nation’s founders established is both a republic and a representative democracy.

It’s commonplace to hear today’s Republicans reject this understanding and reject Reagan’s belief that democracy is the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised. They are not only saying the U.S. is not a democracy, they are acting accordingly. Without a shred of evidence, they continue to dispute the clear and decisive and verified and judicially reviewed outcome of last year’s presidential election. They continue putting voter suppression laws in place all across the country. They continue to scheme to draw tortured district boundaries enabling them to hold the most seats in state legislatures and congressional delegations even when they do not win the most votes in those states.

American democracy is being brutally assaulted. It can no longer be taken for granted that it will survive. It will only if it is defended as aggressively as its enemies are attacking it. Democracy will survive so long as we realize it is more verb than noun. It’s not so much something we have, it’s something we do. We’ll have democracy as long as we do democracy.

Mike McCabe

May 20, 2021


Ungranted Wishes

The other day the Wisconsin Legislature’s budget-writing committee stripped nearly 400 items proposed by the governor out of the state’s fiscal plan for the next two years. In so doing, the Joint Finance Committee blew a three-and-a-half-billion-dollar hole in the budget.

Republicans who control the committee call the items a “liberal wish list.” The items reflect Wisconsin’s wishes, not those of liberals alone. More than two-thirds of Wisconsin residents want the state to take available federal funds to expand access to health insurance coverage under Medicaid, known here as BadgerCare.

Our state stands to gain $1.6 billion in federal funds to insure close to 100,000 additional people. Accepting this federal money also would reduce Wisconsin taxpayers’ share of the cost of the BadgerCare program. The Republican-led finance committee voted to turn down the federal funds and reject BadgerCare expansion. If this decision stands, state taxpayers will pay more to insure far fewer people.

Majorities nearly as large as those supporting BadgerCare expansion also favor raising the state minimum wage. Those in charge of the finance committee removed the proposed minimum wage increase from the budget. Similar majorities in Wisconsin favor legalizing marijuana. Wisconsin stood to gain $165 million a year by taxing legal sales. The finance committee took that out of the budget, too.

The people of Wisconsin also want fair taxation, they want the richest among us to pay their fair share. When you total up all the state and local taxes we all pay, the wealthiest 1% pay the lowest overall tax rate. The reason for that is earned wages are taxed at a higher rate in Wisconsin than unearned income like capital gains and inheritances.

There were proposals in the budget to do something about this injustice. An obscure tax break known as MAC benefiting a few thousand of the richest people in Wisconsin was to be scaled down so the super-wealthy would pay more than $487 million in taxes they are currently escaping. This giveaway’s acronym fits. It’s a loophole big enough to drive a Mack truck through. The finance committee rescued it. Changing current tax policy shielding capital gains from taxation would have brought in $350 million. Republicans in charge of the finance committee nixed that proposal as well.

Those rewriting the state budget are ignoring the wishes of the majority of people in our state to cater to the wealthiest few. If they succeed in the end, fewer people will have health insurance, people working for wages will pay more of the cost of state government, and people who sit on their back sides watching their money make more money will pay less.

There’s still time to change the final outcome. The decisions made in recent days can be reversed. We all have our work cut out for us. We need to keep raising our voices and insisting on budget policies that are fair and just and reflect the wishes of the majority of Wisconsinites.

Budgets are not just financial blueprints. They are moral documents. Wisconsin’s state budget as it stands at the moment is immoral.

Mike McCabe

May 12, 2021


Tell Tammy Baldwin to protect Wisconsin’s only national forest

Wisconsin’s only national forest, the Chequamegon-Nicolet, is under attack. Aquila Resources, the same company behind the Back Forty mine on the Menominee River, has been granted a Metallic Mineral Exploration License by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The company wants to mine the Medford-Bend Copper/Gold Deposit in the the Chequamegon-NicoletNational Forest in Taylor County. This area is a Wisconsin natural treasure, featuring the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Even worse, the U.S. Forest Service is conducting a hydrogeology survey of the North Fork Yellow River watershed near the Bend ore deposit in Taylor County. The hydrogeology survey will be completed by May 1, 2021, with mine exploration drilling as early as June — laying the foundation for open-pit metallic sulfide mining in Wisconsin’s only national forest.

We can’t let that happen — and there is a path to stopping it on the federal level.

H.R. 803, Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, is currently being considered in Congress, where it has passed the House and is in Senate committee. While in the House, the bill was amended several times to protect national treasures in other states. Members of Congress from Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Virginia, and North Carolina all appended legislation to H.R. 803 that expressly protects their national forests, national heritage sites, scenic rivers, watersheds, and more from mining interests.

Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest should be on that list. Please ask Sen. Tammy Baldwin to introduce an amendment to H.R. 803, Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, that would protect the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest from mining.

The metallic sulfide mining being explored in Taylor County presents a clear and present danger to the ecosystems of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Toxic mine waste would be stored behind a “tailings dam” structure that has failed around the world – with disastrous results. A tailings dam collapse in Brazil was one of the most deadly environmental disasters in that country’s history, killing 270 people and poisoning the Paraopeba River for almost 200 miles.

We can’t let that happen here. Please tell Sen. Tammy Baldwin to protect Wisconsin’s only national forest from metallic sulfide mining. Our national treasures deserve just as much protection as those in other states.


Help us stop the latest attempt to mine near the Menominee River

In 2002, minerals tycoon Tom Quigley drilled test holes just across the Menominee River in Lake Township, Menominee County, Michigan. His discovery of traces of zinc and copper led to the formation of Aquila Resources, which ever since has been trying to construct the open pit Back Forty metallic sulfide mine.

So far, unrelenting public opposition has helped to prevent the Back Forty from getting the permits needed for construction. But that hasn’t stopped Quigley or Aquila.

Now Quigley, doing business as Great Lakes Exploration Inc., has applied for mineral leases on 1,640 acres of public land in Holmes Township, Menominee County, just north of where the Back Forty was slated to operate.

Wisconsinites need to tell the Michigan Department of Natural Resources we oppose these mineral leases. We live just across the Menominee Rover from where this new mining would take place. Our water is at stake.

Metallic sulfide mining poses a clear and present danger to the waters of the Menominee River. Toxic mine waste would be stored next to the river behind a “tailings dam” structure that has failed around the world – with disastrous results.

tailings dam collapse in Brazil was one of the most deadly environmental disasters in that country’s history, killing 270 people and poisoning the Paraopeba River for almost 200 miles. We can’t let that happen here.

Here’s how you can oppose the latest Quigley mining project:

> CALL the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Mineral Leasing Division at 517-284-5850

> WRITE to the Michigan DNR, Minerals Management Section, P.O. Box 30452, Lansing, Michigan 48909

> EMAIL Ken Babcock at

Here are talking points:

1 – You oppose the application by Great Lakes Exploration Inc. to lease 1,640 acres of public land in Holmes Township, Menominee County, Michigan, for mineral rights.

2 – Those 1,640 acres of state land belong to the taxpayers of Michigan for camping, hiking, snowmobiling, and simply enjoying the peace and tranquility of the outdoors.

2 – You request a public hearing on the matter.

If the Michigan DNR doesn’t hear public opposition to this lease, they are likely to grant Quigley’s application. So call, write and/or email them today!

The deadline for receiving comments is Sunday, April 25, 2021.

Featured image: Menominee River Heart Art by Dave Parrett

News Press Releases

Tell Gov. Evers to appoint indigenous leaders to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board

This year saw one of the most horrific environmental disasters in Wisconsin history: a wolf slaughter during the height of breeding season, at the behest of an out-of-state hunting group, with the blessing of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board.

It started on February 2 when an Kansas group called Hunter Nation filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County, demanding that Wisconsin immediately hold a wolf hunt. A judge ordered the hunt to proceed, and the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board complied – even though there were just a few days of hunting season left.

The board set a quota of 200 wolves to be killed, out of a population of just over 1,000 — or about 20% — during a time when many female wolves are pregnant.

They then sold 4,000 permits to kill those wolves — meaning 20 people were gunning for each wolf.

Tell Gov. Evers to appoint tribal members to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board

Unlike most states, Wisconsin allows night hunting and trapping of wolves, and is the only state to allow the cruel practice of using dogs to run down prey.

Also unlike other states, Wisconsin allows a hunt to go on for 24 hours after a quota has been reached — practically guaranteeing it will be overshot.

And that’s exactly what happened. In two days, mostly out-of-state hunters slaughtered 218 of Wisconsin’s wolves that we know of — it’s likely more were killed than reported.

Of the 200-wolf quota, 81 were alloted to the Ojibwe tribal groups of Wisconsin. The Ojibwe consider wolves sacred. Only 119 wolves were supposed to actually be killed.

That means hunters slaughtered almost twice their allotment, including all of the wolves belonging to the Ojibwe.

Tell Gov. Evers to appoint indigenous leaders to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board

Tribal groups are supposed to be consulted before any wolf quotas are set. But the lone tribal biologist left the Natural Resources Board meeting to discuss the quota when the board ignored his input.

“It’s so disappointing, the hurried plan to kill ma’iingan,” said John D. Johnson, chairman of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Voigt Intertribal Task Force, which advises the commission on natural resources policy. Ma’iingan is the Ojibwe name for the wolf.

“It’s an extreme disappointment on many levels,” said GLIFWC public information officer Dylan Jennings. “I think it really full-on demonstrated the lack of respect and the lack of commitment to co-management on the state’s part.”

There is a solution to prevent this from happening again: Appoint tribal members to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board. By statute the board has seven members, appointed by the governor for six year terms. No current members of the Natural Resources Board are indigenous — but two have terms that end in May.

Tell Gov. Evers to appoint tribal members to those seats. Wisconsin must never again conduct a wolf hunt without the express input of the tribes.

Image credit: Herb Lange / Wisconsin DNR


Why Do Self-Styled Fiscal Conservatives Sign So Many Blank Checks?

Wisconsin’s legislature is run by drunken sailors.

The Republicans who currently control both the state senate and assembly market themselves as stingy with a buck. They insist they are all about fiscal responsibility and budgetary discipline. Their party’s actions don’t match those claims.

At the federal level, Republicans have been far from the deficit hawks they profess to be. A fondness for cutting taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals coupled with a lack of spending restraint regularly makes deficits balloon during Republican administrations.

The federal deficit doubled on Ronald Reagan’s watch. It was less than $79 billion at the beginning of Reagan’s presidency and more than $152 billion at the end of it. The deficit nearly doubled again with Republican George H.W. Bush in the White House, mushrooming to more than $290 billion the year before he left office. Spending exceeded revenues by $255 billion in the final year of his term. Democrat Bill Clinton managed to eliminate the deficit and by the time his presidency ended there was a $128 billion budget surplus.

Republican George W. Bush started his presidency with that surplus, but there was an ocean of red ink by the time he left office in 2009—a budget deficit of $1.4 trillion. Democrat Barack Obama cut the deficit by more than half during his eight years as president, leaving office with the annual deficit whittled down to $585 billion. His successor, Republican Donald Trump, departed after four years with federal spending outpacing revenues by $3.3 trillion, a deficit more than five times larger than it was when he first took office.

Unlike the U.S. Constitution, which allows federal budget deficits or surpluses, Wisconsin’s constitution requires state budgets to be balanced. Fiscal recklessness takes a different form at the state level. It’s the number of blank checks that get written.

In budget-speak they are called “sum sufficient appropriations.” Unlike “sum certain appropriations,” which are fixed, sum sufficient ones are estimates of what will be spent but are not binding. Whatever the cost ends up being, the bills get paid. The check is effectively signed when the budget is passed, the amount gets filled in later.

There are 200 sum sufficient appropriations in the state budget. A few sprinkled throughout the budget are for repayment of state debt. Other blank checks written in the budget are for the cost of operating the legislature, the governor’s office and the courts. That’s right, the legislature doesn’t make itself stick to a budget like any household has to. Then there are the so-called “entitlement” programs. Their cost varies depending on how many people qualify for public assistance. Republicans disparage entitlements, but then authorize dozens of sum sufficient appropriations for them when they craft the state budget.

Among their favorite entitlements are private school vouchers. It’s a well-kept secret that there is a sum sufficient budget appropriation to use public funds to subsidize private schooling. Wisconsin’s voucher program has been around for 30 years and has never boosted student achievement the way supporters promised it would. Students using vouchers to attend private schools do no better than their peers in public schools, and by some measures actually do worse.

But those in charge of the state senate and assembly quietly keep signing blank checks for more vouchers. No matter how many of these subsidies are handed out, sufficient funding is guaranteed even if what Wisconsin taxpayers get for their money is neither sufficient nor guaranteed.

Mike McCabe

April 8, 2021