To date, more than 180,000 lives have been lost due to COVID-19. This pandemic was avoidable and now over 180,000 families are grieving their lost loved one. It is inexcusable that this pandemic hasn’t been treated seriously. To date, there still isn’t enough PPE for essential workers. Workers on the front lines also need access to paid sick leave. We also need to increase testing – we know one of the necessary ways to control this pandemic is to have enough testing. Further, we must ensure that people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic have extended unemployment benefits to help them get through this difficult time. No one should go bankrupt or lose their home due to this pandemic.
Healthcare is a right. No one should die because they can’t afford to go to the doctor; people should not go bankrupt because they can’t afford their medication. We need to ensure everyone has access to quality, affordable health insurance and we must empower people to make their own health decisions. I am in favor of Medicare for All for those who want it in the form of a robust public option, and I support measures to increase healthcare coverage. On the campaign trail, I have met many people here in Northern Wisconsin who want to keep their private insurance, including hard-working members of our unions who have fought hard for their health insurance. I will also fight to protect coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. We need to ensure any healthcare reform does not reduce their coverage and control costs. And we need to legalize medical marijuana because no one should be forced to suffer from a health condition or side effect that can be relieved through its use.
Corporate special interests and Washington politicians allowed the costs of prescription drugs to skyrocket out of control. We need to take on Big Pharma and lower the costs of prescription drugs. If a medication only costs $3 to make, they should not be able to sell it for $1000. That is just plain wrong.
I am also a fierce defender of a woman’s right to choose and to make her own health decisions. And when we talk about health care, we must also include accessible mental health care. We need to remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues and make sure people can seek the treatment they need.
Here in the 7th District, we need to make sure that we fund our hospitals and medical services, especially to serve rural communities and to ensure access to critical medical needs, including maternal healthcare and emergency healthcare.
Finally, we need to make sure that we continue to be taking care of our veterans. The United States has an obligation to support our veterans and that includes having efficient, accessible medical services. We need to reform the VA and ensure that our service members have the support they have earned and deserve.
Here in Wisconsin and in the 7th District, our farmers are at the core of our communities and have worked tirelessly to move the economy forward. Right now, they are facing a farm crisis. As the granddaughter of a dairy farmer, I saw firsthand the hard work our family farmers do. I am a vocal supporter of our small family farms here in Northern Wisconsin. Our rural communities are enduring hardship and stress at alarming rates. We must fight for them to have the support they need. We must also fight for fair, competitive markets and to enforce our trade agreements. The current trade war is hitting our farmers in Wisconsin hard and harming their livelihood. We need to support our family farms, including providing access to timely loans and ending predatory lending practices. It is also important to me that we combat the mental health crisis facing many of our farmers and must also ensure accessible mental health assistance for them. We must invest in our family farms and encourage innovation to preserve the Wisconsin family farms for generations to come.
Education & Children
I am a first generation college graduate. My Ho-Chunk grandma once told me “Education is the one thing they can never take away from you” and she spoke from personal experience. We must adequately fund our public schools and make early childhood education a reality for all students. We must ensure that students do not go hungry – hungry students cannot learn. Students must be given a fair shot at success through equitable practices and ensuring opportunity. Children are our future and we must give them opportunities for a healthy, successful future.
Higher education must be made accessible and affordable. We need to begin to tackle the growing student debt crisis. We need to continue to encourage affordable community colleges and trade schools. We should also be promoting jobs in the skilled trades and technical field.
Our children are entitled to safety, whether that is in school or in society generally. As a mother and school board president, I see our students participate in active shooter drills. This is not the environment we want our students to be learning in. The epidemic of school shootings must end. We need common sense gun legislation to protect our children. I fully support our Second Amendment. People should certainly be permitted to defend themselves in their homes and, of course, they should be permitted to hunt with appropriate firearms. We need to keep guns out of the hands of people who will use them to hurt others. We have a duty to provide safe schools and safe communities for our children and we are failing right now without common sense gun reform.
We also must make sure that our educators are treated with the respect they deserve and valued for the important work they do. This must be reflected in the pay they receive and the conditions in which they work.
Children who were brought here by their parents deserve these same rights. This is their home and our DREAMers should be able to receive an education and be provided a pathway to citizenship.
Standing up for Working People & Protecting Equality
The people of Northern Wisconsin wake up every day and go to work, but because of politicians who cater to corporate interests and rig the system against them, working-class Americans have been left behind. In Congress, I will fight to create good-paying union jobs here in Wisconsin and oppose proposed laws that hurt workers.
I will also defend not only equal rights, but equal opportunity. That means access to quality schools, equitable education and employment opportunities, quality and affordable healthcare, and end to discrimination. I will fight for women to ensure that they get equal pay for equal work, proper, legal treatment in the workplace and I will fight for paid family leave. I will also stand up for a women’s healthcare. I am a strong advocate for our LGBTQ+ community and will ensure they receive equal rights and opportunities. In Congress, I will also be a voice for our minority and underrepresented communities and give everyone in Wisconsin the opportunity to succeed. I will stand up for our marginalized communities and fight hard against policies of continued oppression. And I will be a strong defender of tribal sovereignty, ensuring that we not only protect sovereignty, but strengthen it.
We are in this together.
The Economy & Infrastructure
In order for Northern Wisconsin to thrive, it is critical that we invest to build a diverse and energetic regional economy that strengthens the middle class by focusing on manufacturing, small business owners, our farmers, education and career training. Government should bring together our businesses, educators and community leaders to develop and find solutions.
All across the district, consumers and our local communities are struggling to pay the bills. We need to increase the money in people’s pockets by increasing the minimum wage and creating good-paying jobs here in Northern Wisconsin. We also need to end unfair tax giveaways to big corporations and push for smart tax policies that will allow us to implement a real infrastructure plan to fix our aging and broken roads, bridges, and water systems. We also need to increase access to affordable childcare. As a single mother, I know the reality of not being able to secure childcare while still needing to support my household. We must make sure that there are childcare opportunities for our working parents.
The 7th District needs an advocate that is committed to fighting for resources for our underserved communities.
I believe we have an obligation and a duty to protect the environment for generations to come. Growing up, my family didn’t have money for vacations and expensive outings – we enjoyed the free, beautiful outdoors at places like the Dells of the Eau Claire Park. That’s why it was important to me to launch my campaign there. We must ensure clean air and clean water and we must ensure that our beautiful lands stay protected. We cannot let corporate mining interests destroy our beautiful lands. We cannot let corporations and CAFOs contaminate our water and lands with unchecked practices. In addition to fighting for our environment, we must also begin to tackle emissions and climate change to protect the environment for our children and grandchildren.
We need to treat broadband as the utility that it is. I believe one of the roles of a representative is to ensure that people have opportunities. And too many people in our district are being deprived of opportunity by not having access to high quality, affordable broadband. We need to make sure that our children and teachers have access to virtual learning, that our farmers can conduct their business online, that small businesses can operate with working internet, and that every household has the ability to have reliable, affordable internet.
We are faced with a caretaker crisis throughout this district. Our caretakers provide care for some of our most vulnerable loved ones, including children, disabled individuals and elderly populations. Many families are forced to make difficult decisions because of caretaker deserts here. We need to value our caretakers with a living wage and benefits.
Protecting Your Social Security
Social Security is an earned benefit that allows people to live with dignity, whether in retirement, on disability, or with survivor benefits. I am vehemently opposed to efforts to dismantle Social Security and will vigorously protect your Social Security and work to expand it in Congress.
Protecting the U.S. Postal Service
The U.S Postal Service serves as a critical lifeline to so many people throughout Wisconsin. Veterans, senior citizens, disabled and rural populations depend on the U.S. Postal Service for delivery of medication, government benefit checks and necessary supplies. We must protect the U.S. Postal Service and its workers.
Campaign Finance Reform
I’m running to be a voice for the people of Wisconsin, not special interests and corporate lobbyists. Because of Citizens United, campaigns are becoming more expensive, and citizens who would make strong representatives are finding it harder and harder to run for office as a result. In order for our government to become more representative, and accountable to their constituents, we need serious campaign finance reform.
Unlike my Republican opponents, I refuse to accept a dime in corporate PAC money. We’re going to deliver a fair deal to the people of Wisconsin and end special deals for corporations and special interests.
Criminal Justice Reform
A few years ago, I published an academic article in a legal journal regarding human rights and prisoners. A society is judged by how it treats its prisoners and we have a serious public health crisis occurring with the spread of communicable diseases first in jails and prisons, then out into our communities. One thing I learned in my research is the large majority of affected individuals are nonviolent drug offenders. Let’s get them out of the prisons and give them a future.
We need to address the disproportionate rate of incarceration of minority communities. We must end the epidemic of crimeless revocations and invest in communities, not in prisons. Jails and prisons house more mentally ill individuals than hospitals. We need to get them the help they need. We need to treat people humanely wherever they are detained. Separating families at the border is inhumane and does not reflect who we are as a society.
Recreational marijuana in appropriate amounts should be legalized. We have too many people who are being treated as if they are threats to society for marijuana. Our jails and prisons are overcrowded as a result and there is a surge in for-profit prisons. Criminal justice should never be about profit, ever. Where we can see the revenue stream that benefits society is through marijuana taxation.
Instead, we must seriously address the opioid crisis, reducing violence (including domestic violence and gun violence) and we need to seriously address the murdered and missing Indigenous women crisis. We can reduce our prison population and focus efforts on serious crimes when we legalize marijuana. And we can allow people to have a future instead of a record.