David Hewitt, Elections, Oshkosh, Uncategorized

Oshkosh Mayoral Race

On April 2nd 2019, Oshkosh voters will get to choose their mayor for the next two years.  Presently, there are three candidates on the ballot headed for a primary run-off on February 19th 2019. With the deadline for nominations having expired on January 2nd 2019, the confirmed candidates on the ballot are as follows:

  • Incumbent Mayor Steve Cummings.
  • Current deputy Mayor Lori Palmeri.
  • Local pub owner Nathan Stiefvater.

On Thursday January 31st 2019, all three candidates presented themselves at a candidates’ forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Winnebago County.



Cummings, seeking his third two-year term in the role opened the forum with a declaration of intent to continue with his work, stressing that:

We must stay on a progressive path while remaining fiscally responsible and not go backward, not one single step.” [1]

Cummings made a point of emphasizing the impact of bringing in private investment over the last 24 months, referencing the Oshkosh Riverwalk as a prime example. [2]

Palmeri has been deputy Mayor of Oshkosh since 2018 and seeks to take over from her boss. Palmeri is stressing the need for the voters of Oshkosh to have a choice and has stressed her pragmatism and community inclusiveness.

Stressing her record in the areas of affordable housing and urban development and regeneration she says:

I have demonstrated the ability to look at issues from both sides” [3]

Stiefvater is the self-confessed dark horse in this three-way race.  As the owner of a downtown Oshkosh pub, he identifies the importance of engaging with the community and also as an advocate for small businesses in the area. [4]

With just the three candidates, the primary of February 19th 2019 will of course narrow the field down to just two and with Stiefvater the outsider, the likelihood is that it will come down to a Cummings v Palmeri showdown on April 2nd 2019.


Written for Intellegere Project by: David Hewitt, MIS, BSc


References

[1] & [2] https://youtu.be/YSxR1TgKRjk

[3] & [4] https://oshkoshherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Oshkosh-Herald-January-9-2019.pdf

 

Uncategorized

Tony Evers’ First State of the State

On January 22nd 2019, Governor Tony Evers delivered his first “State of the State” address as newly elected Governor of Wisconsin.  After years of now ex-Governor Walker’s highly contentious policies, Evers had the opportunity to showcase his new agenda with his State of the State speech.  While Evers has pledged to work on a bipartisan basis, it is likely he will have a struggle on his hands in terms of selling many of his plans to the Republican opposition.

Here is a summary of what Evers held forth in his address. [1] & [2]

  • Evers announced that he would withdraw Wisconsin from ex-Governor Walker’s state-wide challenge to the legality of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – one of 20 states that had previously pledged to do so.
  • Emphasizing the importance of affordable, quality healthcare throughout the state and making the “Healthy Communities Initiative” a priority with the Department of Health Services as well as expanding Medicaid to benefit an additional 76,000 Wisconsinites to have medical coverage.
  • Evers has long maintained his focus on the need for all Wisconsinites to have affordable healthcare, with a particular focus on preventative healthcare. As part of his successful election platform, Evers vowed to use federal dollars available for Medicaid expansion – something that his predecessor, Republican Scott Walker, declined to do. [3]
  • A commitment to return to two thirds funding of public schools in Wisconsin as well as an emphasis on ensuring that special needs education is sufficiently funded with an investment of $600 million.
  • Evers’ urban initiative programs will also focus on helping minority students by expanding early childhood education and summer school grant programs. “What’s best for our kids is best for the state” said Evers during his speech.
  • Such programs were also key features of Evers’ electoral campaign strategy, with a particular focus on public education, stressing the importance of investing in early childhood education, childcare and the refinancing of student loans to more affordable, reasonable rates. [3]
  • Implementing the long-needed lead-free water service pipelines program while declaring 2019 to be the “Year of Clean Drinking Water.”
  • A five-fold increase in mental health funding and support for K-12 students in Wisconsin.
  • Evers vowed to tackle the state’s transportation funding crisis by appointing a bipartisan stake-holder task-force, headed up by Secretary-designee Craig Thompson.
  • Thompson has been described:

    “…a powerful influencer of transportation policy with more than 400 business, labor, local governments and other transportation service providers. Thompson has been an outspoken advocate for raising the gas tax and increasing license fees to fund road projects.” [4]

  • A ten percent tax cut for individuals earning up to $100,000.00 a year and for families bringing in up to $150,000.00 a year. To fund that, Evers proposed to cap the Corporate Tax Credit – a generous tax break for those filing more than $1,000,000 a year.

Evers’ speech laid out clearly his vision for the future of Wisconsin, backing up his earlier campaign promises.  Whether the Republican controlled statehouse shares that vision remains to be seen.


Written for Intellegere Project by: David Hewitt, MIS, BSc


References

[1] https://fox11online.com/news/videos/live-gov-evers-2019-state-of-the-state-address

[2] http://www.wtmj.com/news/read-governor-tony-evers-state-of-the-state-address/986357930

[3] https://tonyevers.com/plan

[4] https://madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/what-can-tony-evers-really-do/article_710213e5-3250-5b60-8aa8-42839b1ee006.html

 

 

David Hewitt, Elections, Madison, Mayoral, Uncategorized

Madison Mayoral Race

On April 2nd 2019, the voters of Madison, WI will get to choose their mayor for another four years.  The deadline for candidates to submit their nomination papers and details has now closed.

There are six candidates, from a variety of backgrounds, which have thrown their hats into the ring.  The primary election runs a few weeks prior to the election proper, on February 19th 2019, with voters having a good-sized field to deliberate over.  Here’s who Mad City voters will have to choose from.

  • Maurice Cheeks. Running on a platform of addressing social and economic inequality, Alderman Cheeks has served in public office since 2013.  “What we need is a mayor that is committed to maximizing opportunities for everyone in every neighborhood and fighting for a better future for all our residents.”  [1]
  • Nick Hart. A local comedian who has previously run for the office of mayor, Hart brings his own unique take on running again, with a particular emphasis on engaging with those who tend to stay out of the political process.  He states on his website that “I’m not getting involved in municipal politics for money, obviously.  I’m getting involved because I’m interested in new ideas, and I’m running for mayor to exercise my civic duty.” [2]
  • Tariana Pettaway. Pettaway is running as a non-partisan candidate, and is now on the ballot as a write-in candidate only.  Pettaway, Madison’s first racial equity coordinator, fell afoul of the signature endorsement requirements needed for running for office but still wishes to remain on the ballot.  [3]
  • Satya Rhodes-Conway. The first candidate to announce themselves running for mayor, former alderman Rhodes-Conway is the current managing director for the Mayors Innovation Project.  Rhodes-Conway states on her site that she is “…ready to lead on climate, racial equity, housing, transportation, and other issues that matter to working families.” [4]
  • Raj Shukla. A candidate with a particular emphasis on the environment and economic sustainability, Shukla is executive director of River Alliance of Wisconsin.  He is running on a platform of a social and environmental responsibility, including affordable housing and transportation. [5]
  • Paul Soglin (incumbent). Returning to the mayoral office for the third time in 2011, racking up 22 years in the office, Soglin is arguably the most recognizable of all the candidates.  Unsurprisingly then, some refer to him as “Mayor for Life.” [6] Soglin’s website notes a “…lifelong dedication to social justice, equal rights and, and making government responsive to the people it serves…”  [7]

With the candidates now confirmed, the voters of Madison have just over a month to make up their mind when it comes to the primary vote on February 19th.  Madison has a long history of mayoral elections with variety – 2019 is proving to be no different.


Written for Intellegere Project by: David Hewitt, MIS, BSc


References

[1] https://madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/madison-ald-maurice-cheeks-announces-run-for-mayor/article_81763210-e8a1-58b1-879b-0aac87c719e9.html

[2] https://www.nickhartformadison.com/

[3] https://ballotpedia.org/Toriana_Pettaway

[4] https://www.satyaformadison.com/

[5] https://madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/raj-shukla-environmental-advocate-enters-madison-mayor-s-race/article_81938c55-d7ba-559d-bb08-b29882c156e8.html

[6] https://madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/timeline-the-life-and-career-of-madison-s-mayor-for/collection_0757194c-de0e-11e4-b651-53a24819cc8e.html#1

[7] https://www.soglinformayor.com/about

 

David Hewitt, Elections, green bay, Mayoral, Uncategorized

Crowded Field Competes for Voters in Green Bay Mayoral Race

The mayoral race for Green Bay, Wisconsin is on and the ticket for voters to choose from to replace Mayor Jim Schmitt is more crowded than ever. [1] A total of eight candidates pledged their candidacy by the January 2nd, 2019 deadline.  Green Bay voters will get to narrow the all-male field down to two with a primary run off on February 19th, 2019. The mayoral election itself takes place on April 2nd, 2019.  The field consists of the following candidates:

  • Paul Boucher. Having been out of work for 15 years, Boucher has “been studying the city and trying to make the world a better place.” [2]
  • Patrick Buckley. A retired police officer and now businessman, Buckley is running on a non-partisan ticket but nevertheless has an endorsement from the local GOP. [3]
  • Patrick Evans. Evans has served as Brown County supervisor for 16 years and prides himself in having previously beaten outgoing Mayor Schmitt in a previous primary election (although ultimately losing to him in 2011.) [4]
  • Eric Genrich. Having previously served six years as a Democrat district assembly representative, Genrich is now running on a non-partisan ticket for Mayor. [5]
  • Joe Moore. A former alderman and current residential real-estate agent, Moore was elected to Green Bay city council in 2012. Declining to seek re-election, Moore is now running for the office of Mayor. [6]
  • Nick Mortensen. Working for a local sign company, Mortensen focuses on a distinct slant of utilizing technology for the benefit of Green Bay – “utilize…data to make smarter decisions…” [7]
  • Mark Steuer. Placing a campaign emphasis on “transparency and civility [8]”, Steuer is a three-time alderman and also presently serves as council president.
  • Guy Zima. Another former alderman of the city and Brown county supervisor, Zima was the last to announce his candidacy on the final day for submission. Zima is presently suing Mayor Schmitt, alleging defamation and slander. [9}

With a field of eight, the voters of Green Bay will head to the primary polls on February 19th, 2019 with a variety of choices before them.  The League of Women Voters of Greater Green Bay are set to hold a Mayoral forum on January 9th, 2019; giving voters an opportunity to cast an eye over the now confirmed field.


The LWV-Green Bay Candidates Forum will be held at the Brown County Central Library auditorium on 515 Pine Street. The forum is scheduled to begin at 6pm on Wednesday, Jan. 9th.
Find out more by visiting: www.facebook.com/events/374230990051477/


Written for Intellegere Project by: David Hewitt, MIS, BSc


References

[1]  https://greenbaywi.gov/655/Election-Information

[2], [3] & [5]  https://fox11online.com/news/election/former-alderman-zima-turns-in-papers-to-run-for-mayor?fbclid=IwAR18MA3ZXgrI5B3dINljXv6U7ncPr8-EJPCf5TshXnMg_zZCBhhitOY3d_U

[4]  https://www.wbay.com/content/news/Race-for-Green-Bay-mayor-is-growing-484358931.html

[6] https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/01/02/green-bay-mayoral-race-zima-brings-list-candidates-8-spring-election/2369072002

[7]  https://nickmortensen.com

[8] https://www.wearegreenbay.com/news/local-news/steuer-evans-announce-plans-to-run-for-green-bay-mayor/1212943324

[9]  https://www.nbc26.com/news/local-news/list-for-green-bay-mayoral-candidates-released

 

Uncategorized

Tony Ever’s Tax Plan & Lame Duck Bills

Following an all-night session, the Republican controlled Wisconsin state Assembly and Senate passed a number of bills in a “lame-duck” session, restricting the executive power of Governor-elect Tony Evers when he takes up office in early January 2019.

One of the republican bills, AB1069, holds somewhat vague provision for a reduction in income tax in Wisconsin through an off-set against out-of-state online sales taxes.  [1]

In contrast, in the run-up to the November 2018 mid-term elections, incoming Democratic Governor Tony Evers focused on the need to reduce the tax burden on middle-class Wisconsinites.

In October 2018, just weeks prior to his election win, Evers went on to state that:

For eight years Scott Walker has rewarded the wealthy and the special interests…that’s not fair. It’s time the middle class gets a break.”  [2]

Evers plan for reducing the tax burden on low and middle income earners consists of:

  • A ten per cent income tax cut for individuals making no more than $100,000 a year and families making no more than $150,000.
  • Working with “state revenue officials to determine the best way to implement it as part of his first budget proposal in early 2019.” [3]
  • Funding the tax cut by removing Wisconsin’s manufacturing and agriculture credit which “…effectively eliminated income tax liability for manufacturers and agricultural users that claim it.” [4]

During his campaign, Evers was unequivocal when it came to the issue of taxation:

I think we need to prioritize the working men and women of Wisconsin.” [5]

Now that the lame-duck session has passed its legislation, the question is how ham-strung Evers will be upon taking office. The session and subsequent legislation was highly contentious and, when signed into law by current Governor Scott Walker, is very likely to be challenged in court as to its validity.

That alone will no doubt blunt the energy of Evers’ gubernatorial role from day one and thus limit his resources for pursuing his income tax agenda as detailed prior to the election, let alone having to overcome the passage of AB1069.

[1]  https://apnews.com/d0fa382b8ca24d01959a12046059bf30

[2]  https://lacrossetribune.com/news/state-and-regional/tony-evers-proposes-cutting-middle-class-taxes-percent/article_1c8ddc48-e927-5193-a42e-38707db9d5a2.html

[3]& [4]  https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/tony-evers-proposes-cutting-middle-class-taxes-percent/article_173ea94f-3673-585e-b382-429a8839ed7b.html

[5]  https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/09/20/tony-evers-says-under-scott-walker-states-priorities-out-whack/1367187002

Uncategorized

Wisconsin Lame Duck

In an extraordinary “lame-duck” session, majority Republican lawmakers in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate have this week pushed through legislation that weakens the position of incoming Democratic Governor Tony Evers.

Despite days of public protest and vehement opposition from Democrats and others, the legislation was passed for approval to soon to be ex-Governor Scott Walker.

Walker has signaled his support for the bill. He has 10 days to sign the package from the time it’s delivered to his office.” [1]

Consequently, the Wisconsin GOP is being accused of imposing its mandate, hampering Evers ability to govern on arrival in office in January, despite the Republicans losing the gubernatorial race in November.

Key points of the lame-duck session include:

  • Legislation that weakens the “Governor’s ability to make rules that enact laws” by shifting power away from the Governor to the GOP controlled Senate and Assembly. [2]
  • The lame-duck package includes “legislation that also shields the state jobs agency from his control until September and cuts into the powers of the incoming Democratic Attorney General.” [3]
  • 82 Scott Walker appointees to various state positions were approved in just one day, Tuesday December 4th 2018, with Walker set to stand down in just a few weeks. [4]
  • The Republican lame-duck legislative package also launched an assault on early voting in Wisconsin, something that has historically been helpful to Democratic candidates at election time, restricting it to no more than two weeks in advance. [5]

Opponents of this legislative maneuvering, including Tony Evers, have vowed to challenge the legitimacy of the GOP lame-duck package.

Evers has indicated that he will appeal directly to Walker to have the legislation vetoed. [6] Additionally, Evers and Democrats are exploring the possibility of legal challenges to the legislation. [7] Evers’ tenure as Governor is likely to be born into the midst of legal wrangling and political acrimony.

[1] https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/midwest/ct-wisconsin-governor-powers-voting-bill-20181205-story.html

[2] & [3] https://www.apnews.com/dbded03c16ce4c3c8609d01b403e57d9

[4] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/scott-walker-82-appointees_us_5c084080e4b0844cda4f9959

[5] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/12/wisconsin-gop-seeks-to-limit-democrat-everss-powers/577411

[6] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tony-evers-walker-republican-power-grab_us_5c087993e4b0844cda4fbb25

[7] https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/05/politics/wisconsin-democratic-lawsuits/index.html

Uncategorized

Changes to Wisconsin Healthcare Law

Healthcare was a major campaign issue during the recent November mid-term elections.  In particular, incoming Democratic Governor Tony Evers ran on a platform of overhauling healthcare delivery in the state and undoing some of outgoing Republican Governor Scott Walker’s signature health-care policy and proposals.

However, despite Evers’ platform, uncertainty continues to hang over healthcare in Wisconsin and how far he can take his proposed reforms.  That uncertainty has been compounded by the State Assembly and Senate “lame duck” sessions.

Some fundamental healthcare issues at stake include:

  • Allowing Republican lawmakers to push through Governor Walker’s proposal to impose work requirements on able-bodied citizens in return for receiving Medicaid, similar to Arizona. [1]
  • Governor-elect Evers ability to use additional tax dollars offered by the federal government to expand Medicaid, while outgoing Governor Walker rejected the opportunity to do so. [2]
  • In February this year, 20 states, including Wisconsin (with the full support of Governor Walker) filed a lawsuit with a federal judge in Texas alleging the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and should be invalidated. [3] In stark contrast, Evers has called on Walker to drop the lawsuit and is committed to expanding ACA coverage in Wisconsin. [4] & [5]

In mid-2017, Democratic State Representative Daniel Reimer and State Senator Jon Erpenbach introduced Assembly Bill 365 in an effort to “…protect the part of the ACA that prevents insurers from putting annual or lifetime caps on insurance coverage.” [6] However, the Republican majority amended AB365 at the procedural stage and morphed the Bill into something very different from what its Democratic authors had intended, to the potential detriment of those Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions. [7]

Healthcare in Wisconsin remains contentious and subject to a partisan fault-line that seems to divide the state.

[1]  https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2018/01/12/able-bodied-adults-have-work-medicaid-under-plan-gov-scott-walker-trump/1026414001

[2]  https://www.wpr.org/can-wisconsins-incoming-governor-deliver-campaign-health-care-promises

[3]  https://www.jsonline.com/story/money/business/health-care/2018/09/10/wisconsin-and-other-states-argue-immediate-end-obamacare-least-protections-people-pre-existing-healt/1259251002

[4]  https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/09/17/tony-evers-calls-scott-walker-drop-obamcare-lawsuit/1333835002

[5]  https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/28/tony-evers-tour-state-he-makes-case-obamacare-expansion/2143408002

[6]  http://www.wisconsinbudgetproject.org/wisconsin-bill-does-little-to-protect-people-with-preexisting-conditions

[7]  http://kidsforward.net/without-the-affordable-care-act-promises-to-cover-pre-existing-conditions-are-not-enough