OWR’s Monthly Newsletter, Dec. ’18
12/01/18 – Find out what our members and chapters throughout Wisconsin have been up to this last month.
IN-PERSON BOARD MEETING
The Board came together and met in person on 11/17. Together the OWR member elected board reviewed the mid-term election and made a plan as our organization moves forward into 2019 and 2020.
Leaving the meeting, the board was charged with a list of action items/goals. Listed below are the goals that were set as Our Wisconsin Revolution moves toward the April 2019 election:
- Action on the Lame Duck Sessions
- Create statewide issue campaigns supported by chapters and membership.
- Outreach to all endorsed candidates, thanking them for running and engaging them in OWR activities.
Goals for January 2019-
- Sit down with legislators to talk about a vision for Wisconsin’s future
Goals for March 2019-
- Each Chapter Endorse at least 1 Candidate in the April 2019 election. Endorsement cut off is Saturday, March 9th.
Goals for April 2019-
- 10% Rise in Voter Turnout from April 2018 Election.
- Chapter growth – Grow each chapter by 10 new members or 10% (whichever is greater).
- Train 182 Members in tools and Ed. Create a training video with a reach of 10,000 views.
- Grow Membership (at least 40% of OWR operating budget to come from membership). Hire Contracted Fundraisers, Link regional staff, organizers & actions to fundraising.
JOIN A COMMITTEE
At the in-person board meeting, the board voted to reassess our committee structure. As with any volunteer organization, active involvement can vary for a variety of reasons. Most members give their time when they can so rather than having many committees doing a few things, the board has created a new committee structure to increase involvement and streamline our work.
Our new structure consists of these committees: Bylaws, Communications, Chapter Development, Elections & Advocacy, Events (Ad Hoc), Executive, Membership & Fundraising, Platform & Policy, Popular Education.
Joining a committee is a great way to stay up to date on issues that you value and meet members from around the state. These committees would flourish with more member involvement.
Mary Kay Baum – OWR Board Member, At-Large
Big Money in 89th Assembly District
“Money flooded the banks of the 89th Assembly District – Wisconsin’s Northeast district of forests, rivers, vacation cabins, fishing tourism, port cities, family farms and the sacred Menominee homeland. This November 6, 2018, the Republican incumbent of six prior races, Rep. John Nygren, won his custom redistricted Assembly seat yet again while spending huge amounts of Out-of-District campaign funds.
In 2018 it appears Nygren spent $160,490 while his opponent, Ken Holdorf, spent $9,544. That means Nygren spent $17 for every one dollar Holdorf spent. Having received 17,091 votes, Nygren spent a whopping $9.39 per vote. Receiving 8,459 votes, Holdorf spent only $1.13 per vote. Over Nygren’s years of running for eight Assembly seats, Nygren raised well over $800,000. Now he routinely raises $200,000 per campaign and carries over $100,000 surpluses. His campaign committee donates to Republican candidates which helps Nygren stay a power in the Assembly. In 2014 he spent over $100,000 in a campaign with no opponent. Very few assembly candidates spend more than $75,000 on a contested campaign.
Since 2011 when Nygren started serving on important committees like Joint finance, almost all individual donations to Nygren have been for $100 or more (called Big Money). Being Co-Chair of Joint Finance for six years has greatly increased Nygren’s power. He is of importance to many outside moneyed interests seeing as no one has more power than Nygren when it comes to how, when and where tax money is spent.
By 2016, 90.3% of Nygren’s Big Money was Out-of-District. They featured insurance, finance, and real estate development sectors with PAC and Political Party donations are on top of that. For 2018 it is estimated at least 90% of Nygren’s 508 $100+ individual total contribution amount was Out-of-District. Meanwhile, 20% of Holdorf’s ten $100+ individual total contribution amount was Out-of-District.
It is most troubling that Nygren’s voting record matches dictates of Out-of-District donors who want reduced regulation and toxic sulfide mining again. Nygren voted for Foxconn and its sidestepping of the Great Lakes Compact. He voted to re-define wetlands to allow more development. Therefore Nygren got a fat “Zero” rating on his voting record from the Sierra Club’s John Muir Chapter.
The 2011 redistricting assured Nygren of easy re-elections. The redistricting plan is so confusing with slicing and dicing of neighborhoods that even in November 2018 some of Nygren’s constituents were given the wrong ballot in a ward divided into three assembly districts. When one drives through the 89th Assembly District or reads letters to the editor, it is apparent the communities real alarm about water. Many residents fear the growing number of polluted wells and streams from runoff and industrial pollution. Lawn signs opposing the Back 40 Mine and sulfide mining show up on lawns across partisan lines. Yet Nygren still follows his Out-of-District donor wishes.
Our Revolution, WEAC, AFL-CIO, John Muir chapter Sierra Club, Our Wisconsin Revolution, and many labor groups endorsed Ken Holdorf. But, unlike Our Wisconsin Revolution and Our Revolution, most public-interest donors prioritize candidates with a good chance of success, not candidates in districts customized for the incumbent. Without grassroots and statewide intervention, this becomes a vicious money circle. Voter suppression, unfair redistricting and Big Money out-of-district reinforce each other. Ken Holdorf has not given up and will be back for the 2020 race with a small base of $2,000 toward that race. Ken will continue to work on the issues that impact the people in the 89th Assembly district.
We know that polluted water from in one district flows to other districts. Similarly, the impact of flooding the banks of the 89th district with Big Money will also not stay in the 89th. We work together for a state that acts as a democracy that is of, by and for the people.”
On November 6th Wisconsinites elected progressive candidates to all five statewide, constitutional offices. The election of a new Governor, Lt. Governor, State Treasurer, and Attorney General sent a message to our representatives that we are ready for change.
While most see change as a good thing, the Republicans in the legislature are scared of losing their tight grip of power. Assembly Speaker, Robin Vos, and Senate Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald, are pulling out all the stops. They have called the legislature into an “extraordinary” session starting on Monday 12/3. This session is an attempt to push through Republican-backed bills before our newly elected administration takes office. Several items are listed for consideration including restricting the powers of Governor-Elect, Tony Evers, moving the 2020 Presidential primary election date, forcing work requirements for BadgerCare and limiting absentee voting windows.
We must answer this threat to our democracy loudly and clearly. Join us in taking action this weekend. Here’s what you can do:
- Call your representatives (608) 266-9960 and let them know you need them to uphold democracy. NO LEGISLATION until the newly elected administration takes office.
- Sign and share our petition. We will be hand delivering this petition to the offices or Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald on Monday 12/3.
- Make calls with Citizen Action of WI. Get the word out about the extraordinary session and call voters throughout Wisconsin urging them to contact their representatives using Citizen Actions virtual phone bank. We must stand together against this over-reach of power.
Petition Signature Delivery (12/3) – On Monday, December 3rd Wisconsinites from all over the state will be gathering at the Capitol to dissent the extraordinary session. Over the past two weeks, Our Wisconsin Revolution has been collecting petition signatures, and on Monday at 1 pm we will be delivering them to the offices Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald. RSVP here! If you have any questions, please reach out to Grace at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joint Finance Committee Public Hearing (12/3) – The Joint Finance Committee will be holding a Public Hearing at 12:30 p.m. in 412 East at the Capital. More information HERE.
Lame Duck Town Hall (12/3) -This Town Hall meeting is being hosted by a coalition of progressive organizations and concerned residents in West Allis, WI. State legislators have been invited to speak and explain why this session has been called, how it will affect policy decisions in 2019 and how it changes the democratic process in Wisconsin. RSVP for the event here. For more information contact Dale Dulberger (414)801-5592.
Portage County Election Debrief (12/6) – The Portage County chapter of Our Wisconsin Revolution will host a public discussion to go over the results of the 2018 midterm elections. Community members will have the opportunity to share their thoughts as to how and why the midterm elections reached their respective results, and to discuss what lessons can be learned for future elections. Check out their Facebook event page for more information.
OWR Kenosha Member Appreciation Night (12/12) – OWR Kenosha wants to recognize and celebrate our members, supporters and candidates and all of their hard work this past year while welcoming new friends and supporters. RSVP and learn more about this event HERE!
GET A JOB
As the Evers Administration prepares to take office in January, they have officially launched their transition website. While this new administration transitions to the capital, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes are both committed to recruiting a diverse group of talented individuals ready to work as a team to address problems facing Wisconsin’s citizens.
We highly encourage our members to apply for these open positions in this Administration. It is so important to have progressive, people-powered voices present in Wisconsin, not only in Madison but all over the state. Open positions include Cabinet Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Assistant Deputy Secretary, Division Administrator, Governor & Lieutenant Governor’s Staff, Legal Counsel, Communications Director, Legislative Liaison, Board/Commission positions.
Is YOUR chapter doing anything we should know about? Send along news, events, and photos to Grace at email@example.com so it can be included in the next newsletter.