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Beau Liegeois and Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District

Beau Liegeois is the Democratic contender for Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District in the forthcoming November 2018 mid-term elections. He is challenging Republican incumbent Mike Gallagher.

A lifelong native of Green Bay, Liegeois is an Assistant District Attorney in Brown County and also has the distinction of having served eight years in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

As a member of Congress, Liegeois will advocate and work for a range of policies that will benefit the many, not the few, in both Wisconsin and the US as a whole.

Some of Liegeois’ key policy positions include:

  • Healthcare

Liegeois is committed to ensuring that everyone in Wisconsin has affordable medical coverage so as to remove the burden of worry that the current inequitable health-care system creates. [1]

  • Fighting for the working people of Wisconsin

For years now, Congress, in Republican hands, has repeatedly fallen short on behalf of working families in Wisconsin.  This inaction by Congress prompted Liegeois to make the decision to run for office and pledge his commitment to actually helping, and not hindering, working families across Wisconsin. [2]

  • Opposing the Trump administration’s border control policies

President Trump is overseeing the immoral, illegal and abhorrent practice of separating children from parents as they cross the southern border into the US.  Liegeois is opposed to this reprehensible policy and encourages a change in leadership in Washington to bring this to an end. [3]

Beau Liegeois represents a new wave of forward thinking, responsive and genuine Democratic candidates standing for office this fall.  After recent years of Republican mismanagement at all levels of government, Liegeois will bring the much needed change that the people of the 8th District, Wisconsin and the US badly need.

[1]:  https://www.ballotready.org/wi/wisconsin-u-s-house-of- representatives-wisconsin-8th-congressional-district/beau-liegeois

[2]:  https://beauforcongress.com

[3]  https://twitter.com/beauforcongress/status/1009283318616133632

Last Week, ICE Targeted Wisconsin. What Do We Do Now?

Photo courtesy of Angela Colmenares, Organizer of Peaceful Protest Against ICE – 9/26/18

A week ago, between Friday and Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 9 individuals in Brown County and 83 statewide [1]. The details and motivations for these arrests are not yet transparent, though previous ICE efforts in Wisconsin have targeted mostly immigrants not lawfully admitted to the U.S. [1]. The Green Bay Police Department (GBPD) was not made aware of ICE’s arrival prior to the four-day operation [2]. Though the surge of arrests reportedly ended Monday, individual reports concerning ICE activity flood social media while Green Bay’s Latinx and other vulnerable communities continue to fear for their safety [1]. In the wake of the fear and unrest the operation unleashed in Wisconsin communities, here’s what you need to know:

• Undocumented immigrants are the primary targets of ICE operations, but lawful permanent residents, refugees, and visa holders are subject to arrest if they have certain criminal convictions ranging from felonies to select misdemeanors [3]. Misdemeanors classified as those involving “moral turpitude,” a nebulous catch-all definition of immoral criminal behavior, committed within 5 years after the date of U.S. admission are considered grounds for arresting and deporting lawful residents [4].
• ICE agents CANNOT legally (except in limited, preapproved circumstances such as imminent danger to the public) make arrests at defined sensitive locations, which include schools, medical treatment and health care facilities, places of worship, religious or civil ceremonies or observances, and public demonstrations [5].
• ICE agents CAN make arrests at workplaces, courthouses, as well as at traffic stops or on the street so long as they have probable cause to do so [6].
• ICE agents routinely identify themselves as ‘police’ and not immigration officials when conducting raids. Agents used this tactic in the most recent operation [7].
• Immigrants have the right to remain silent, do not have to give out their name or immigration status information, and can refuse a search of their residence, vehicle, or possessions without a signed warrant [3,8].

With a lack of information about ICE’s policies and the rights of immigrants, some Wisconsinites fear going to work, school, or leaving their homes when there is news of ICE arrests [1]. Operations like the ones which took place in Wisconsin last week can cripple Latinx and other vulnerable communities unless residents are aware of their rights and know where they are safe. Casa ALBA, Voces de la Frontera, the Green Bay School District, and the GBPD have been instrumental in educating and reassuring Brown County citizens while a peaceful protest last week allowed individuals to raise a voice for change.

Now is the time to take action. A piece of legislation currently stalled in the House of Representatives, the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act, seeks to limit ICE actions at sensitive locations and clarify the powers of immigration officers at those locations, a vital step to minimizing the disruption immigration operations inflict on communities [9]. This bill would expand sensitive locations to include courthouses, DMV offices, emergency relief locations, and Social Security offices among others [10]. ICE activity should not interrupt access to these vital facilities. Representative Gwen Moore is the only Wisconsin legislator to cosponsor the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act. If you want to limit ICE’s ability to spread panic in sensitive communities, call your representative and tell them you approve of protecting and expanding sensitive locations. This bill is a small step, but it is a vital one in the fight to improve the lives of Wisconsin’s immigrants.

The links below contain more policy and constitutional information than that which is summarized above.

 
[1] https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2018/09/25/ice-agents-arrest-9-brown-county-83-wisconsin-4-day-operation/1423165002/
[2] https://www.wbay.com/content/news/Chief-Smith-Discusses-ICE-Arrests-in-Green-Bay-494272611.html
[3] https://www.immigrantdefenseproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/IDP-ICE-Raids-Flyer-ENG-Jan-13-2018.pdf
[4] https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-5684.html
[5] https://www.ice.gov/ero/enforcement/sensitive-loc
[6] https://www.politifact.com/california/article/2018/sep/04/does-ice-have-unlimited-authority-make-courthouse-/
[7] https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/crime/2018/09/26/ice-says-its-accurate-agents-call-themselves-police/1432369002/
[8] https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/what-constitutional-rights-do-undocumented-immigrants-have
[9] https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1815/text
[10] https://bonamici.house.gov/sites/bonamici.house.gov/files/documents/170331SensitiveLocationsSummary.pdf

Randy Bryce for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District

Randy Bryce is an American real deal. As a veteran, union ironworker and cancer survivor, Bryce is running for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District on a platform of fighting for working families in the state.

Noted for his trademark moustache, “Ironstache” Bryce is up against the heir apparent to Paul Ryan, Republican Bryan Steil, in this November’s mid-term elections.

Some of Bryce’ more high-profile policy positions include:

  • A system of single-payer healthcare on the basis of Medicare for all; [1]
  • A living wage for working Americans; [2]
  • Mandatory background checks for all gun sales eliminating the strangle-hold that the NRA has over related policy; [3]
  • Full support for the New Green Deal. [4]

Single-payer health care:

Bryce has intimate knowledge of the importance of accessible-health care for all, having experienced his own battle with cancer.  His mother also suffers from multiple sclerosis.  Bryce recognises the unfairness of many Americans struggle under the weight of medical / insurance bills day in and day out and understands that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

A living wage:

As an American with a real history of heavy-duty work behind him, Bryce understands the need for all working people to have a wage that they can actually live. Scraping by pay-check to pay-check, fearful of a medical bill coming in, is something Bryce wants to change.

Gun safety and the NRA:

The vast majority of Americans support mandatory background checks for all gun sales.  This is a common-sense measure that Bryce fully supports in an effort to reduce the blight of out of control gun violence in both Wisconsin and the US. He is also committed to removing the nefarious grip of self-interest that the NRA presently exerts over policy-makers.

A Green New Deal:

Understanding the importance of green, renewable energy, Bryce is committed to investing in the green infrastructure of Wisconsin. Which, in so doing, would create thousands of new jobs as Wisconsin became a leading state in the green energy sector.

 

[1]  https://www.randybryceforcongress.com/issues/fighting-for-healthcare

[2]  https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/randy-bryce-ironstache-wisconsin-711463

[3]  https://urbanmilwaukee.com/pressrelease/bryce-calls-on-steil-to-to-reject-donations-from-the-nra

[4]  https://www.randybryceforcongress.com/issues/environment

 

 

Workers Struggling Even as Unemployment Falls

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has reached an historic low; 2.9% as last reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. [1] Governor Scott Walker has touted this rate as a victory for his agenda. [2] However, workers in Wisconsin have not seen this tightening of the labor market translate into meaningful wage growth. From the Executive Summary of the State of Work in Wisconsin report, “Taking inflation into account, the state’s 2017 median hourly wage, $18.34, exceeds the 1979 median by just one dollar per hour. That translates to an average annual raise of less than 3 cents per hour, despite the fact that today’s typical worker is more productive…”[3] Furthermore, 675,000 are earning less than $10.95 or in other words 1 in 5 Wisconsinites working full-time cannot afford to raise a family. [3]

  • Analysis conducted in 2017 compares those states which have enacted Right to Work (RTW) legislation, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan with those which retained collective bargaining Minnesota, Illinois and Ohio. The findings indicate “RTW laws have actually lowered worker wages by 2.6 percent on average in the three Midwest states that adopted them since 2012.” [4]
  • The study above supports earlier on work conducted by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) which found, in 2011, that workers in RTW states earned 3.2% less than those in collective bargaining states. Additionally, that rates of employer provided health insurance was 2.6% less in RTW states. [5]
  • The real (adjusted for inflation) minimum wage has fallen since 1968, when it reached $9.90 in inflation adjusted dollars. [6] The United States is an outlier in this regard, based on our GDP per capita the minimum wage would be expected to fall near the $12.00 an hour mark. [7]
  • After facing a lawsuit in 2014 to raise the minimum wage to a “livable wage” in accordance with state law enacted in 1913, Gov. Scott Walker instead acted to repeal the law and the ability of a worker to file a complaint of unfair compensation. [8] [9]

This is not just a Wisconsin issue. Slow wage growth has been a topic of much study and debate among economists for some time. The Harvard business review recommends “raising the minimum wage; increasing worker bargaining power (including by reducing non-compete contracts or collusion among firms); ensuring adequate labor demand through looser fiscal or monetary policy; increasing dynamism through pro-mobility or entrepreneurship policies; and making broad improvements to education or productivity policies.” [11] These recommendations are similarly voiced by many others. [12] [13] [14] [15] We know what we need to do, now we need elected officials that are willing to put workers before their corporate donors.

[1] https://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.wi.htm

[2] https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/wisconsin/articles/2018-03-22/ap-fact-check-walker-touts-unemployment-over-other-measures

[3] https://www.cows.org/_data/files/SOWW-2018_-_Exec_Summary.pdf

[4] https://ler.illinois.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/RTW-in-the-Midwest-2010-2016.pdf

[5] https://www.epi.org/files/page/-/old/briefingpapers/BriefingPaper299.pdf

[6] https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-higher-the-federal-minimum-wage-should-be-2017-12

[7] https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2015/05/20/pay-dirt

[8] http://archive.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/judge-dismisses-lawsuit-against-scott-walker-over-minimum-wage-b99626372z1-359590001.html

[9] https://wcca.wicourts.gov/caseDetail.html?countyNo=13&caseNo=2014CV002998&cacheId=988D68764ABA034167332C25187CC1DD&recordCount=1&offset=0

[10] https://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/31/vinehout/news/columns/2017/wisconsin-s-long-journey-toward-a-living-wage/

[11] https://hbr.org/2017/10/why-wages-arent-growing-in-america

[12] https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2018/07/21/why-wage-growth-is-slow-employers-dont-need-to-or-want-to-pay-more/#561b1434fd15

[13] https://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/

[14] https://money.cnn.com/2018/06/13/news/economy/wage-growth-workers/index.html

[15] https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2018/05/31/if-wages-are-to-rise-workers-need-more-bargaining-power

 

 

Is Bay Beach Safe to Open?

As the City of Green Bay prepares to open Bay Beach for swimming, the threat of blue-green algae continues to loom. At the end of March of this year, Mayor Schmitt announced the city has received all the necessary permits to construct a sand beach, fishing pier, boardwalk, and bathhouse at Bay Beach Amusement Park. Having an area in Green Bay to publicly access the water would be a huge asset to the community. However, some researchers are not confident that the city should let the public swim in the bay yet due to the presence of blue-green algae. [1][2]

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  • Blue-green algae is not actually algae. It is a cyanobacteria, which, like algae, is photosynthetic and grows with the increase of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The watershed surrounding the bay has been releasing excessive amounts of phosphorus over the years, allowing the cyanobacteria to flourish. In addition, cyanobacteria grow fastest in warmer shallower water, such as the water in Green Bay. [3][4]
  • Cyanobacteria can release cyanotoxins. Exposing humans to these toxins can cause a variety of symptoms:
    • Respiratory Symptoms (brought on by swallowing or breathing in (such as from spray from boating) cyanobacteria):
      • Sore throat
      • Congestion
      • Cough
      • Wheezing
      • Difficulty breathing
      • Eye irritation
    • Dermatological Symptoms (which can be avoided by showering immediately after swimming):
      • Itchy skin
      • Red skin
      • Blisters
      • Hives
    • Other Symptoms:
      • Earache
      • Agitation
      • Headache
      • Abdominal pain
      • Diarrhea
      • Vomiting

Pets and young children are especially susceptible. Symptoms for pets include lethargy, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, seizure, weakness, and vomiting. Exposure to cyanobacteria can ultimately result in death for humans and pets. [5]

  • There has not been enough research in the bay to create a model to properly predict the growth of algal blooms. The WDNR is not required to test for cyanobacteria when monitoring beaches. [6] When the WDNR approved the permits for Bay Beach, they based their decision on a three-year study that was requested by the city. According to other researchers, three years is not enough time to properly evaluate the water quality in terms of cyanobacteria. [7]
  • Although the study performed for the city came up with moderate levels of cyanotoxins along Bay Beach’s shoreline, they admit they may have missed some samples that could show higher levels because the algae is difficult to catch. [2][8] Additionally, there have been studies by NEW Water that have samples with much higher levels. One in September 2017 presented 4,000 micrograms per liter of cyanotoxins, which is 1,000 times greater than the EPA’s recreational guideline set at 4 micrograms per liter. [2][7]
  • Blue-green algae is not a threat the entire summer season. Since cyanobacteria develops when the water becomes warmer, swimmers/people recreating will most likely not be affected near the beginning of summer. [3] However, they should be made aware of cyanobacteria as soon as it appears.
  • The City of Green Bay is currently working on a monitoring and reporting plan which will be vital to ensure they are not risking the health of their citizens. [2]

Given the information above, do you think the City of Green Bay should wait longer to open up Bay Beach for swimming?

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2018/03/30/green-bay-gets-approval-restore-bay-beach-swimming/473608002/
  2. https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2018/07/09/bay-beach-restoration-algae-bacteria-coli-concern-but-wont-slow-return-swimming-green-bay/738672002/
  3. https://intellegereproject.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/hab-booklet.pdf
  4. https://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/bluegreenalgae/
  5. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/water/bg-algae/healthconcerns.htm
  6. https://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/bluegreenalgae/
  7. https://intellegereproject.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/new-water-final-white-paper-bay-beach-2-2018-1.pdf
  8. https://intellegereproject.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/blrpc_bay_beach_restoration_action_plan_08-24-15_jn.pdf

Mike Gallagher’s Environmental Record: Bad for Wisconsin, Bad for America

Mike Gallagher is a Republican and the current U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s 8th District. He is up for re-election in November against Democratic challenger and current Brown County Assistant District Attorney Beau Liegeois in what could be a close and nationally important race.

  • On the environment, Gallagher has been applauded for continuing former 8th District Democratic Congressman Reid Ribble’s Save the Bay Initiative, a regional collaboration created to address dead zones in Green Bay by reducing the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment which end up in the Bay. [1]
  • Unfortunately, Gallagher’s positive record on conservation largely stops there. Gallagher has been quoted as saying that he is conservative and a conservationist, and his 2016 campaign statement on the environment touts his love for Wisconsin’s natural resources and the need for responsible and balanced stewardship. [2]
  • However, any sense of balanced or adequate protection evaporates when you see his 3% score from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) for 2017, voting the anti-environmental position on 34 of 35 bills. [3]
  • The one pro-environment vote from the former-Marine Gallagher was rightfully opposing removing language which warns of the security threat posed by climate change from a defense bill. [3]
  • The remaining votes include support for mining on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota, supporting an EPA budget reduction, trying to exempt cross-border pipelines from review, and supporting a rider on a tax bill intended to open the arctic for drilling. [3]
  • Additionally, 30 other votes variously sought to weaken the EPA and environmental enforcement, slash protections which protect public health, and open many of America’s lands and waters to harmful developments. [3]

Gallagher’s environmental record is heavily skewed towards ill-advised spending cuts, lax enforcement, and auctioning off the nation’s natural resources for short-term corporate gain. He has gone to Washington and fully embraced the aggressive assault being waged on the environment by all three branches of federal government, much to the detriment of the American people and the natural world. This November, we can certainly do better on the environment.

Sources:

[1] https://doorcountypulse.com/saving-shores-gallagher-continues-save-bay-initiative/

[2] http://www.ontheissues.org/House/Mike_Gallagheron fo_Environment.htm

[3] http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/mike-gallagher

This piece has been provided to the Intellegere Project by, guest writer, Brian Wagenaar.

Walker and His Pro-Trump Sympathies

Republican Scott Walker is Wisconsin’s 45th Governor.  That Donald Trump is the 45th President of the USA underscores a similarity between the two that is more than just coincidence.

Walker threw his hat in the Presidential ring in 2016, but quickly withdrew before the Trump steam-roller flattened the rest of the Republican primary opposition.

Walker is running for a third term as Governor in November and awaits his Democratic rival.  The voters of Wisconsin should consider how Walker has aligned his himself with the President’s philosophy and creed since Trump entered the Oval Office.

In 2015, before the reality of Trump’s stranglehold on the GOP properly emerged, Walker compared Trump’s policies to those of Hilary Clinton [1] – something that has since changed radically.

  • By mid 2016, Walker’s pivot regarding Trump we explicit and unequivocal, declaring that any Republican Presidential candidate was preferable to Hilary Clinton. [2]
  • Walker was enthusiastic in his backing for the Trump endorsed, GOP tax overhaul of December 2017, controversially claiming that a family four in Wisconsin would benefit from an extra $2,500.00 a year. Opponents of Walker accused him of being highly selective with the numbers he chose so as to put the tax-plan in an unrealistic light. [3]
  • In April 2018, sensing the firing up of the Democrats for the November 2018 mid-terms, Walker declared that he was happy to campaign with Trump should he visit Wisconsin [4]
  • In June 2018, state Governors across the country, of both political stripes, denounced Trump’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents. Some also refused to dispatch their national guard to the southern border to help implement this.  In contrast, Walker announced that two dozen Wisconsin national guard would be dispatched to assist.  [5]

Walker is no doubt sensing the rise of anti-Republican sentiment this coming November.  Consequently, as with so many other “at-risk” Republican candidates, incumbents or not, a choice is seemingly being made.

A minority of Republicans distance themselves from a President with historically low approval ratings, and a highly questionable reputation, in the hope of picking up moderates of both parties and independents.

Conversely, a majority of Republicans, including Walker, are throwing their electoral lot in with Trump in the hope of the President’s “base” being animated and active enough at the polls to stave off the threat of a Democratic surge in November.

With his pro-Trump record, Walker has every reason to be wary come election day.

 

[1]  https://www.cnn.com/2015/08/11/politics/walker-iowa-trump/index.html

[2]  https://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/rnc-2016-scott-walker-donald-trump-endorsement-225914

[3]  https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/gov-scott-walker-says-tax-change-will-mean-cut-for/article_3b2338bd-d992-5aa0-88a7-82a061400796.html

[4]  https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2018/04/30/gov-scott-walker-says-he-would-campaign-donald-trump-if-he-comes-wisconsin/564457002

[5]  https://www.thenation.com/article/scott-walker-donald-trumps-dangerous-enabler