As a progressive Democrat, Nanette believes that anyone who is willing to work hard and play by the rules should have a fair shot at the American Dream.
Public education has a strong and proud history in Wisconsin going back to statehood. In the years since, we’ve acquired a reputation for excellence when it comes to our public schools. For decades, we have all benefitted from highly-trained educators, motivated parents, and communities working together to prepare our children for success in life.
Unfortunately, under Scott Walker and the GOP, Wisconsin has walked away from its commitment to strong public schools. No other governor has cut more from public education than Scott Walker. His cuts have resulted in fewer teachers, larger class sizes, big cuts to programs and services, and a looming teacher shortage. If we don’t stop this downward spiral, the results will be disastrous for our children and our communities.
My priorities are clear. I will work to restore local school funding and reestablish Wisconsin’s reputation as a leader in K12 education. We need to stop pretending that schools can be run exactly like a business.
We need to strengthen – not lower – teaching standards, make sure our special needs children can access the services they need, expand and enhance early childhood education, explore incentive programs to encourage more of our brightest youth to enter the profession, and stop the flow of public money to unaccountable private schools that fail 40% of the time.
It’s time our economic policies prioritized people and families, instead of the interests of a few wealthy and well-connected corporate CEOs. Work has value, and working men and women should have basic rights. As a progressive Democrat, I will stand up for fair wages, the right to bargain collectively, and the ability to earn paid time off when loved ones need us. It’s no coincidence that the decline of the middle class began with the decline in union membership. When unions are strong, so is the middle class, and so is the economy overall.
I also support equal pay for women who do the same work as a man, which is another reason I support collective bargaining. Women who belong to unions earn over $200 per week more than their non-union sisters. We need to restore the Equal Pay Enforcement Act and, yes, raise the minimum wage.
(back to top)
Growing Wisconsin’s Economy
Wisconsin is under-performing our neighbors in virtually all economic measures. We rank 32nd in the nation in job growth, 50th in new business start-ups, and last year layoff notices topped 10,000. Here are some Democratic solutions that make sense to me:
- Invest in small businesses with Entrepreneurial Assistance grants
- Use Early Stage Seed Investment credits for small businesses
- Invest in safe/reliable transportation, including public transportation
- Fund Farm-to-School grants
- Expand rural broadband access
- Fully restore the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income working families
- Help keep jobs in Wisconsin instead of being shipped overseas.
- Make child care more affordable
- Enable college grads to refinance their student loans
- Raise the minimum wage – when workers have more money in their pockets, the economy grows
Clean Water, Green Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s natural resources and great outdoor heritage are legacies that have been passed from one generation to the next. People my age have enjoyed the fruits of the labor and thoughtful planning of previous stewards. Now it’s time for us to make sure these incredible resources are there for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.
Unfortunately, that’s not what the majority party has done. The latest budget eliminated 80 DNR positions, including scientists and educators, cut public funding from the state park system, reduced grants to prevent runoff pollution, and weakened important protections to our water, forests, and other shared resources.
We must retain local control of our natural resources. Republican actions threaten to undermine local officials’ ability to protect the shores of our lakes, enforce zoning laws that limit harmful sand mining, and protect their local water sources. We need to stop those who want to sell off our state parks and other public lands to the highest bidder. We need to fully explore how frac sand mining is impacting our environment and, more than anything else, we need to thoughtfully manage our water usage. It is the government’s job to ensure that all citizens have equal access to clean water, and that the benefits to a few don’t outweigh the needs of the many.
Everyone will pay the price if we don’t protect Wisconsin’s environment and incredible resources.
(back to top)
For generations, Wisconsin’s colleges, universities and technical schools have been regarded as some of the finest in the nation. Now, thanks to unprecedented cuts by shortsighted Republicans, these institutions are threatened like never before.
Since they came into power, Republicans have cut nearly $1 billion in state funding from our universities ($795 million) and technical schools ($203 million). These cuts have made it more difficult for students to graduate on time, and more difficult for campuses to keep talented staff and millions in research grants.
We are also third worst in the nation in student loan debt, with an estimated $19 billion in total student loan debt. Every Republican had a chance to address the debt crisis in the last session, and they all voted no.
I would work to restore funding for our public institutions of higher learning, end the freeze on need-based higher education grants, and enable Wisconsinites to refinance student loans, just like we do with cars and homes.
(back to top)
I believe everyone should have access to quality, affordable health care. I also believe our own coverage and medical choices should be made by us, and not big insurance companies. Access to affordable health insurance that had been denied for too long finally came through in 2014, when the Affordable Care Act took effect. More than 230,000 Wisconsinites are now covered by health plans made available to them under the ACA.
However, the state missed out on an opportunity when Gov. Walker and the Republicans turned down the ACA’s offer of federal Medicaid funds. This decision will cost Wisconsin taxpayers over $678 million by 2017. Accepting the Medicaid money would enable 80,000 more Wisconsinites to be covered and, according to one estimate, create more than 10,000 health care jobs.
Attempts by the majority party to eliminate the popular prescription drug program, SeniorCare, and make dramatic changes to long-term care programs, were stopped, thankfully, for now. Let’s not experiment with the care of our most vulnerable citizens.
(back to top)
I support a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions in consultation with her family and her doctor. Lawmakers are not medical experts, and can never know a woman’s individual medical needs. My views on these issues have been consistent for 40 years. I respect and trust women to know what is best for their families.
In recent years, we have seen access to critical health care services, cancer screenings, STD treatment, and contraception come under attack. No matter how an individual feels about abortion, we can all agree that women should never be denied access to the health care they and their doctors decide they need.
(back to top)
A Government for All of Us
Wisconsin used to be the gold standard for honest, clean and transparent government. We were the state others wanted to emulate. This all changed in 2011, when our new governor and the majority party began trashing key parts of our state’s democracy. We should all be concerned, regardless of political affiliation.
Our once-effective campaign finance law was dismantled in 2015, and we now have one of the worst systems in the country. It gives more power to special interests, and allows secret money to flow without limit. I support the Assembly Democrats’ campaign finance reform plan promoting disclosure, limiting contributions, and outlawing coordination between candidates and special interest groups.
Republicans took gerrymandering to a whole new level when they redrew the legislative district lines in 2011. We now have fewer competitive districts, and fewer places where an individual vote truly counts. We need fair voting maps and a fair process for redrawing the districts. I support the Iowa model, which would put this process in the hands of a non-partisan state agency.
We need to restore the non-partisan, independent Government Accountability Board that was overseen by retired judges. The self-serving law that replaced what we had with partisan appointments is a step in the wrong direction.
Finally, we need to make it easier, not more difficult, for people to exercise their right to vote. When you restrict the days and hours that municipalities can set for early voting, require new forms of identification obtainable only with hard-to-get birth certificates, and restrict civic groups from helping others to register, you are not making things easier. Other states are working hard to bring voting into the 21st Century, and we should join them. Oregon now automatically registers every citizen to vote when they turn 18. Let’s start there.
(back to top)