Hudson Dems Rally for the 2018 Candidates

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The Wisconsin Democratic candidate slate for the 2018 mid-term elections were greeted by an enthusiastic crowd when they arrived at the Hudson Bagel Company on Thursday, September 06.

Tony Evers, candidate for governor, led the group which included Margaret Engebretson, seventh district congressional candidate; Mandela Barnes, lieutenant governor candidate and Sarah Godlewski, candidate for Wisconsin state treasurer.

Margaret said she could feel the crowd’s energy, enthusiasm and sense of purpose in the room. She then introduced Godlewski who began by reminding the crowd that Scott Walker had tried to eliminate the office, and her opponent, Travis Hartwig, is the incumbent and opponent. But who needs checks and balances, she quipped. She spoke with great passion about the need for maintaining checks and balances on the state’s spending. While the primary mission is that of a fiscal watchdog, the state treasurer also controls four trust funds with has combined assets exceeding $1.2 billion. As trustee, the treasurer has the authority to determine the types of investments made by the funds. In 2017, the return on these funds provided $35 million to public schools.

While current interest rates for home mortgages, car loans, and credit cards are relatively low, interest rates on some student loans are approaching 15 percent. Unlike a mortgage or car loans which can be refinanced at lower rates, there are no federal or state policies to help students refinance their loans. Sarah believes a state trust fund prudently managed to yield a healthy return on investment, should also be used to help address the student loan crisis, by refinancing those loans at a lower rate. Finally, Sarah believes the state treasurer must act against large banks and institutions that abuse their power to take advantage of customers and taxpayers and serve as the people’s advocate by partnering with organizations working with seniors to implement fraud prevention and response programs.

Top agenda items for Mandela Brown are fully funding education and expanding Medicaid and protecting the environment. He has publicly criticized Scott Walker for refusing to accept the federal Medicaid expansion.

Evers launched into his remarks noting how many candidates were in the field running for the Democratic governor slot and saying that he’s working with his fellow Democratic competitors to win the governor’s race. “This is a race about Wisconsin values and working together,” he said. “Scott Walker is a career politician whose stated goal is to divide and conquer. He’s about himself, and we want to make sure that President Trump no longer uses Wisconsin as a doormat.”

Evers platform is about rebuilding the state’s transportation and education systems, environmental resource management and making sure Wisconsin workers are earning a living wage. One of the first things he would do as governor is to accept federal Medicaid funds. Evers said, “The reason people in Minnesota pay half the price Wisconsinites do when purchasing health insurance through the state exchanges is that Minnesota accepted the Medicaid expansion dollars and Wisconsin did not.” About education, he noted that many municipalities, Hudson included, are levying new taxes to pay for schools and other local needs because the state has failed to act.

Scott Walker likes to boast about the state’s 2.9 percent unemployment rate, Evers said, but at the same time, the United Ways says there are more than 800,000 families in the state that cannot afford their rent, childcare or their food costs. It’s about creating good jobs and better-paying jobs, Evers said. Despite more than a billion dollars spent on tax breaks for big corporations through the Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit (MAC), manufacturing jobs in the state have decreased, wages have gone down and western Wisconsin led the nation in farm bankruptcies in 2017. Seven years ago, Walker promised to create 250,000 new jobs, a still unfulfilled promise. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has been a constant source of controversy, inefficiency, and ineffectiveness. Millions of dollars have been lost or unaccounted for, taxpayer-funded loans have been used inappropriately.

Evers recognizes that residents of western Wisconsin often feel left out from the rest of the state and promises better communications for the area. Finally, all the candidates expressed appreciation for the crowd turnout and asked for our support to help them turn the state blue.

Judy Vollmar