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11 Run for OWR Board

Eleven Our Wisconsin Revolution members are candidates for six seats on OWR’s state board of directors. The board election will be conducted immediately following the state convention, which is being held remotely online on Saturday, June 26 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Current OWR members are eligible to vote in the election. Eligible members will be emailed their ballots after the conclusion of the state convention and ranked choice voting using a secure digital voting service will continue through Saturday, July 3 at 11:59 p.m. Results will be announced in early July.

A co-chair of the board will be chosen in the election. Three at-large seats also will be filled. In addition, representatives on the board for two of Wisconsin’s congressional districts — the 3rd and 4th districts — will be chosen.

Candidates for the co-chair position include current co-chair Sarah Lloyd, Lisa Jo Hubacher and Mia Maysack.

Candidates for the three at-large seats on the board that need filling include current board members Nino Amato and Mary Kay Baum as well as Joni Anderson, Greg Geboski, Peter German, Mia Maysack, Kevin Solomon and William Walter.

Candidates seeking election as congressional district representatives on the board include Joni Anderson in the 3rd district and Jeff Perzan in the 4th district.

Below are descriptions of the candidates in their own words.

Nino Amato, Madison — Candidate for at-large seat

Why I’m Running For The State OWR Board!  Jim Crow Laws killed Voting Rights For Over 100 years and now Trump Republicans in Wisconsin and in other states are once again suppressing voter rights — repeating the ugly Jim Crow history, with Jim Crow 2.0.

This is the most important issue of our time and why the State OWR Board of Directors, in collaboration with OWR local chapters — need to focus on grass-roots advocacy; getting out the vote; and hold peaceful demonstrations and discussion groups, in every State Senate District, controlled by the WI Republicans.

As OWR moves forward in preparation for the 2022 mid-term elections and the 2023 local, nonpartisan spring elections, I intend to devote the vast majority of my OWR State Board Time, assisting and working collaboratively with OWR staff and local OWR Chapters, if I’m fortunate to earn your support and am re-elected to the OWR State Board.

Equally important, as a Bernie Sanders True Believer in community organizing, its time to put aside any personality related internal issues — and focus our collective time — taking back the GOP Controlled WI State Legislature; Defeating Ron Johnson; and hanging onto the current State Constitutional Offices in the 2022 Mid-Term Election and electing Progressive OWR Candidates.

Joni Anderson, Adams — Candidate for 3rd congressional district representative; at-large seat

First and foremost, I am committed to working toward necessary and positive change in our state. Something many of our legislators are not. Listening to the people of Wisconsin is one of the main things that is not being done. Because a roadway has not really been mapped out, or supported for the many issues that face Wisconsinites today. 
With more and more people becoming disenfranchised with the two party political system in Wisconsin, and the two moving further and further apart, more time and energy is being spent fighting each other, thus preventing a clear path to success.

As an organization, we need to provide clear and steady communications to all members. No matter where they are located within the state. I believe a regular newsletter would benefit OWR immensely. Other organizations that work on statewide issues provide this to their members/email list. I believe it keeps people informed, as well as gives them opportunities to stay involved. Whether it’s virtual or in-person, or both.

Non-Partisan Redistricting, Medicaid expansion (Badger Care for All, or the ultimate M4A), Our environment to include clean water, the pipelines, air, our state and national park system, clean energy, mining. Voting issues. Workers rights which include, all people being able to belong to a union, raising the minimum wage, PFMLA/ Personal leave/ sick leave/ Workers Comp laws that are a little easier to work thru. Legalization of both medicinal/recreational marijuana, Criminal Justice Reform, Public School funding.

Developing candidates to run for all levels of government is also a priority. Over the years, OWR has been good at supporting it’s endorsed candidates. But I think they could do better. Depending on the lines, and where you live, and sometimes how you are willing to bend, depends on what kind of support you will receive from the party you identify yourself with. This has been a tough year because of the Pandemic. Now we need to move forward. Work together as organizations in this state. The people in Wisconsin are depending on us.

Mary Kay Baum, Ridgeway — Candidate for at-large seat

I grew up on a farm and was radicalized by farm closures.

In Madison I learned to knock on doors and form ward organizations. On the County Board I became the first city supervisor who formed alliances with the rural supervisors.

I am ever mindful of the lessons I learned during delegations El Salvador during the war on the peasants.  For safety of our hosts, it was essential that we practice active listening and conflict resolution. We needed to trust we would follow instructions from our hosts…like scattering on the ground so a US fighter jet above us would not detect us. 

Our biggest job was what we would do back home – our testimony to more people to change US policy.

We also learned bring the aide of a Congressional Representative with us when visiting our sister city, sometimes from a Republican Congressional office! No ambushes or strafing happened while we were there.

I joined the Wisconsin Alliance of workers, farmers and students.  After a great start, it fell apart by internal conflict and rigid efforts to “be more radical than thou” with some believing that the only strategy worth doing was ALL becoming factory union organizers. 

As a young lawyer I set up a Menominee Legal Committee during and after the Abbey Takeover,  I would often stay in a group home for native youth to avoid its being shot at by Posse Comitatis on snowmobiles. 

My Menominee brother-in-law was shot in the back by the Sheriff. I am considered Grandma of several Menominee children today.

I want to be in a Wisconsin organization dedicated to political revolution…where we listen to each other, and express our differences, and follow through with what we plan together.  I want to work with people I can trust under fire.

Greg Geboski, Madison — Candidate for at-large seat

In addition to my work with other organizations, including the Madison Democratic Socialists of America and Reshaping Madison Together, I am a member of the executive board of the Dane County chapter of OWR. I was one of the handful of members who worked with then-organizer Ashley Hudson to get the Dane chapter going again in 2020 after it had been reduced to two active members. Since then, we have been an unapologetic activist chapter, organizing rallies for immigrant and worker rights, confronting the rightist turn during and after the November 2020 elections, and fighting the fight for Medicare for All. Chapter members, including myself, are working with the leadership of physician and current state board member Dr. Richard McGowan to pass resolutions in support of Medicare for All in jurisdictions across the state. And the Dane OWR team and the regional organizer were singled out by endorsed candidates who appreciated the all-important support given them after endorsements came through.

But in the actions I take and will take, I keep the larger goal in mind. This organization has revolution in its name and it should not be afraid to live up to it. It was born of a campaign for a socialist president and I will not be afraid to fight for a Wisconsin that reflects it. We must be an activist organization that is not afraid to be confrontational, and that is not afraid to take it to the streets.

As there will be a lot of work to do, I favor expanding the state board schedule from the current quarterly to (at least) monthly meetings until OWR is stabilized and growing again.

Peter German, Madison — Candidate for at-large seat

I am running for an At-Large Delegate position because I genuinely believe that there is a lot that Our Wisconsin Revolution has to offer voters and I would like to help us live up to our fullest potential. When I look around our state, I see a lot of young people who have given up, people who look at the impending climate crisis and see the way our government is unwilling to act and can no longer see a way forward. Groups like OWR are uniquely suited to offer them something else. As a former Political Lead of a campus chapter of Sunrise, I’ve seen firsthand the power of offering a message that shows that not only is there a path forward, but that we can work towards a better future, that together, we can build our own little Wisconsin Revolution. If elected, I would like to to use my existing experience as a campus organizer for Sunrise Movement and Badgers for Bernie and as a member of the Dane County chapter of OWR to build strength for OWR on campuses across Wisconsin.

Lisa Jo Hubacher, Madison — Candidate for co-chair

I am relatively new to OWR, having thus far only served on the Healthcare Committee which successfully lobbied for passage of a nonbinding resolution in support of Medicare For All before the Dane County Board of Supervisors.

Having played a role in that endeavor made me realize that perhaps I can make an impact for the better in other ways in our little corner of the world; so my relative newness might actually be beneficial –new blood/fresh perspectives.

As a member of the board, I advocate we target, strategize, and present Medicare For All resolutions to county boards in all 72 counties of our state. We already have successes in La Crosse and Dane Counties, with Milwaukee County pending, that we can learn from and build upon to be successful in other areas.

I would also focus on direct community actions for OWR causes to elevate even more OWR’s presence across the state. Being present in as many areas as possible in Wisconsin, raising awareness of our causes, as well as focusing on recruiting members and/or volunteers would make us more of a force with which to be reckoned in the state legislature as well as with our federal representatives and senators.

As Senator Sanders said, “When we stand together, there is nothing, nothing, nothing we cannot accomplish.” I stand with OWR to make Wisconsin a place where we can all live and thrive.

Sarah Lloyd, Wisconsin Dells — Candidate for co-chair

I am running for reelection to Co-Chair of OWR. I have been involved with the organization since its inception and would like to continue to work with the Board, staff and members, towards our goals of a Wisconsin that truly supports people, our communities, and the land. We still have work to do to reach our full potential as a group. This year we saw increased activity in OWR Chapters, thanks to the hard work of our staff and members. As Co-Chair I want to build on that and continue OWR’s work building local power with a focus on supporting candidates in local elections. I feel that this is a real niche area of activity for our organization. As Co-Chair, I feel my most important task is to make sure that we can bring stability and collegiality to our efforts. We are all in this together! There is lots of drama in the world, we don’t need it in our organization. My background is in facilitation and organizing and that is what I bring to the task of Co-Chair. As a small organization I also think it is important that we work with other groups that share our values. I want to work with the Board, staff, and members to think strategically about our network of collaborators, so we can build power for the changes we want to see. Another core function of the Co-Chair is to ensure financial stability and oversight. I look forward to working with the Board, staff, and members to draft and enact a long-term plan for continued financial sustainability. We are in good shape now, so let’s look to the future and make sure we have the resources to do all the great things we want to do. I would appreciate your continued support.

Mia Maysack, Madison — Candidate for co-chair; at-large seat

When I reflect upon the journey that led me to now,  I’m faced with the realization that I never intended or even necessarily wanted to be a Leader… 

After a near death experience at age 10,  I led by harnessing the power of a second chance–  demonstrating maturity/wisdom beyond my years and managing to steer clear of peer pressure and the falsity that is being invincible..

As a result of this same grave encounter,  I’ve lived with intractable (incurable) pain ever since-  this has demanded rising from ashes many times:  navigating the treachery of chronic illness presented the challenge of seeking purpose through struggle,  thus I grew to carry the hurt proudly as an honorable badge and have/continue to inspire others to do the same.

Throughout my Family and social circles,  I’m one of the first to acknowledge the need for intergenerational healing and model follow through on accepting responsibility and taking ownership of it,  while witnessing the uplifting domino effect take shape within my loved ones as well… 

After successfully operating classrooms, along with nursing units and multiple entrepreneurial businesses,  I find myself in the most important position yet:  as a Freedom Fighter out on the streets..  To me,  not much of anything is more important because I understand the relevance as it pertains to every single aspect throughout society..  I’m equipped with the knowledge as to how imperative it is for me [specifically as a radical caucasian person] to assist in education as well as proceed in the way I always have which is leading by example; demonstrating what unconditional acceptance, forgiveness, inclusivity, kindness and tolerance look like, perhaps more important now than ever before and is symbolic of an equitable future I’ll spend the duration of my life battling for.

Jeff Perzan, Milwaukee — Candidate for 4th congressional district representative

I joined OWR in December 2016 shortly after its founding and am actively involved in a number of different OWR efforts.

I live in the fantastic city of Milwaukee (4th CD). I’ve had the good fortune to work closely with the Milwaukee Chapter, helping to plan and participate in events such as our bi-monthly Food Drives, collecting food for Food is Free MKE and providing bags of food for those in need. During the pandemic, we also passed out free OWR masks at these events. I also participate in the Endorsement Committee and helped to develop the process and procedures we utilized to endorse local candidates. Going forward, I would like to intensify our efforts to build stronger coalitions on an issue-by-issue basis, gaining trust and respect from these groups to enable OWR principles to become the bedrock of a progressive future in Wisconsin.

On the state level, I am currently Treasurer and also co-chaired the Bylaws Committee. Fiscally, we’re in great shape, supporting the hiring of an Executive Director and four Regional Organizers, who in addition to their organizing efforts, have put together a number of great programs to educate and engage not only OWR Members but the public in general. I’ve also helped plan our June 26th State Convention. As your Board Member, I will work closely with Chapters and others on the Board to advance OWR principles throughout the state. Personally, I’m a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion, having a disability since I was four and work extensively as an advocate for disability rights within Wisconsin, both legislatively and in legal matters. Healthcare should be a right, freely available to everyone.

Kevin Solomon, Milwaukee — Candidate for at-large seat

Hi there! My name’s Kevin Solomon [he/they] and I live in Milwaukee. I’m a Coordinating Committee Member of the Wisconsin Poor People’s Campaign, an apolitical fusion of poor folks challenging systemic poverty and racism, and the Deputy Director of Organizing for Rise, a student-run non-profit leading organizing and lobbying campaigns for free college. 

I grew up in Florida, surrounded by palm trees, mosquitos, and humidity. My mom and dad were deeply loving, yet flawed, abusing alcohol, drugs, and me. Early in life, I internalized the violence of poverty: the pernicious binge-shame-binge of alcohol, the indescribable loss of my mom at 12, the embarrassment of my dad being arrested in front of neighbors, and the daunting piles of debt that slowly stole my home.

Upon finishing high school with friends, I moved to North Carolina to attend Duke University. I graduated summa cum laude, organizing with students to Ban the Box on employment applications, disability advocates to win a Disability Cultural Center, and BIPOC tenants to win $750,000 in community-owned housing. In short, I sharpened my analysis of poverty in NC, having already learned its trauma in FL.

I’m running for the OWR Board at-large because I believe in OWR’s unique potential to take on systemic injustices. Collaborating with Larissa, Nancy, Andre and Mike, OWR’s multi-issue scope and emphasis on centering those most impacted distinguish it in Wisconsin. Nevertheless, I feel confident there is room to grow, and ways in which I could be a productive Board member: bolstering deep canvassing to better represent folks, convening diverse coalitions, removing barriers to participation that restrict accessibility, and honing our political analysis to not just educate but systematically build power.

William Walter, Milwaukee — Candidate for at-large seat

Hello! My name is William Walter, and I am running for an at-large position on the Our Wisconsin Revolution Board of Directors. As a 2020 Bernie Sanders National Delegate, I understand the struggles the progressive movement is facing. Not only must we contend with authoritarian fascists from the right, but we must also fight our supposed “allies” in the Democratic Party who answer only to the establishment and their big-money donors. I am running for this position because I firmly believe we must attack the status quo on multiple fronts. We must fight for progressive values from both within and outside the parameters of the party if we wish to elevate the working class. The powers that be have controlled the narrative for far too long, organizations like ours must be at the forefront of change as the system will not change itself. I am a proud member of OWR Milwaukee as well as the co-host of the Our Wisconsin Revolution Podcast with my friend Andre Walton. I hope I am able to utilize my talents and experience to benefit our already accomplished board members. Together, we can create a powerful movement capable of usurping the powerful corporate overlords that have victimized society for so many years. Thank you.

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How can I help?

You can start by joining and investing in our work. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see the latest on what we are up to. You should definitely find your local chapter and get involved with it. If there is not one in your area, you can start one. If you can’t find someone else local, or a fit for your skills, or have any questions, just contact us at info@ourwisconsinrev.com.

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How is OWR funded? What does the money go for?

The goal is to be funded largely funded by regular contributions from our members. But we also welcome support from organizations such as grants from charitable foundations. The money we raise is used to meet basic operational costs like phones, printing, computers and Internet access, office supplies, travel and staff expenses, which are substantial even in an overwhelmingly volunteer operation. Information on the organization’s finances is reported regularly to a board of directors elected by members.

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What’s your platform?

Our full platform is here for all to see. It is very detailed, but is basically organized around four big wants and needs for Wisconsin:

A Real Democracy: Democracy’s been trashed in Wisconsin, and we’ve got to get it back. That means again drawing fair election districts, making voting secure and convenient for all, getting big money out of politics, improving government transparency, restoring home rule, free association and the right to organize, standards on public performance and honesty, ending corrupt privatization, and extinguishing racism and sexism and respecting human rights.

An Economy that Works For All: This means raising income and living standards and reducing inequality. Instead of treating people like road kill and the earth like a sewer, and democratic government as something to mock and starve and corrupt, we’d like to invest in people. Our platform has lots of details on how we’d do that, but it all comes down to pursuing the goal of economic democracy—an economy that is of, by and for the people.

Quality Public Goods and Services: Wisconsin is not the richest state, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have the best quality life. We just need to work together and pool our individual resources to serve the common good, inspired by a shared commitment to great public schools, a clean environment, safe and healthy communities, and world-class health care, transportation, energy and communication systems.

Fair Taxes: We can afford these needed public investments if everybody pays their fair share in taxes. This means restoring the principle of taxation based on the ability to pay. Taxes are the price we pay for civilization. We all pay them, based on our ability, or say goodbye to civilization. It’s really as simple as that.

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Where did your name come from?

Our Wisconsin Revolution is a homegrown movement started here in our state by people living here. OWR’s formation was inspired by Bernie Sanders’ run for president in 2016 and his call for a political revolution, and is part of a national movement. Our name connects us to that national movement of people all over the country supporting a new generation of progressive leaders and empowering millions to fight for progressive change and transforming our political and economic systems to once again be responsive to the needs of working families.

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What’s OWR about? What’s the goal?

Our Wisconsin Revolution is about countering money power with people power. It’s about revolutionizing our politics by mobilizing the power of organized people against the reckless abuse of power by rich elites. We’re sick of what’s happening in this country and this state, where public life has been coarsened and corrupted by a swarm of greedy, rules-rigging, billionaire takers. We believe our state and nation can be set right by organized citizen action.

Our goal is to do everything we can to make Wisconsin a democracy—with a government and an economy that are of, by and for the people.