We Must Restore the Public Trust

I remember when Wisconsin enjoyed a reputation for clean government. We had faith that the public trust was inviolable. We did not question the integrity of our elections and we did away with impediments to participating in our democracy. Transparency in government was a given and citizens had a voice in how they chose their elected representatives. We respected the collective bargaining rights of workers to set higher standards for worker protections and provide better wages and benefits for all. Trust, transparency, and respect must be restored.

This is a very consequential election in that the next legislature will determine how our electoral districts are drawn. Wisconsin must adopt a non-partisan model for redistricting to ensure that elections are competitive and elected representatives can be held accountable to their constituents. Most importantly, voters must not encounter any barriers between them and the ballot box. Voting is a civic duty and as such, we have a duty to expand voter opportunities.

Public institutions exist for the public good and the move toward privatization cannot continue unabated. Privatizing government entities erodes the trust we place in public servants who make policy judgements based upon science, evidence, and historical perspectives. Reasoned regulations are not inherently “anti-business”; they level the playing field and promote orderly competition. Public and private institutions can coexist if we trust that the common good is always the bottom line.

Quality of Life is Our Common Goal

Wisconsin is a beautiful state and we’re fortunate that previous generations made it a priority to preserve it for future generations. We cherish our public lands and waterways and we protect our freshwater resources to ensure they are among the cleanest in the world. Tourists travel over our roads to visit our natural areas and we’re proud to share the natural beauty of our state with those who wish to get away for a day.

Our commitment to being good stewards of our environmental resources is more important now than ever before. Environmental regulations based upon the preponderance of scientific evidence should not be compromised. The roads that tourists travel upon to enjoy local festivals and attractions are in a state of disrepair. Kicking the can down a crumbling road detracts from the enjoyment of the journey and we all pay the price of higher vehicle maintenance expenses.

Local communities rely on public services and public employees to maintain the basic infrastructure that is needed to provide quality of life for those who live, work, and play in Wisconsin. In the modern world we live in, we need to provide an expanded broadband infrastructure that is protected by the principles of net neutrality. We need to ensure that we are providing social and economic opportunities to every community in Wisconsin.

Small and Independent Can Be Our Future

In my work on behalf of Wisconsin’s independent craft breweries during the past four years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel all across our beautiful state of Wisconsin to visit communities both large and small, and both rural and urban. It’s been a revealing experience to hear of the challenges faced by so many to simply get ahead. Even so, I’ve heard inspiring stories of perseverance and of overcoming long odds to lay the groundwork toward building a successful future.

I’ve had the pleasure of working on behalf of entrepreneurs who started small businesses with big dreams. They are turning long abandoned buildings in neglected areas of their communities into engines of economic development. The businesses they started in their kitchens and garages now fuel a tourism economy, a small manufacturing economy, and they are now poised to fuel a new agricultural economy. They work hard, they strive to provide good paying local jobs, and they give back to their communities. What began over 30 years ago as a craft brewing sector cobbled together with used dairy equipment in abandoned buildings is now contributing over $2 billion to Wisconsin’s economy.

There is no justification for our state government to hand out $4.5 billion to the absentee owners of a multinational corporation with no ties to our state. We should be devoting those taxpayer dollars to providing the infrastructure that Wisconsin’s small and homegrown businesses need in order to thrive.

Public Health Is Our Community’s Strength

The 77th District is home to one of the world’s great research institutions and I’m proud of my 17 years of work as a biomedical research specialist at the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. The University of Wisconsin-Madison attracts over $1 billion in research funding and ranks 6th in research expenditures among the nation’s research universities. Additionally, the research at UW-Madison has spun off over 360 startup companies that employ nearly 25,000 people and contribute $2.3 billion to Wisconsin’s economy.

There are 99 Assembly Representatives in the State Legislature but we currently do not have a single legislator with any background in biomedical science. Additionally, the Assembly Committee on Science and Technology does not have a single Representative with a background in scientific research.
I’d like to change that.

The investments we make in public health research to improve human health are only of value if we commit to providing our citizens with truly affordable and comprehensive health insurance. No one should fear losing everything because of medical expenses nor should the lack of insurance prevent anyone from pursuing a career of their own choosing.

Public Education Reflects Our Values

As a young kid growing up in rural Wisconsin, I was fortunate to have access to a great public education that gave a farm kid a chance at a Big Ten education. I believe everyone should have that same opportunity. This is only made possible by making a strong commitment to fully funding our public schools and expanding access to all levels of public education to include lifelong learning opportunities.

Fully funding public schools means giving teachers and support staff the resources they need. Fully funding public schools means ending the diversion of resources toward privatized education that is not held to the same standards. It also means ensuring that a college education is affordable to all and not a source of crippling student loan debt.