KIM ON THE ISSUES
Technology is changing at a rapid pace. You deserve a leader who keeps us ahead of the curve, not behind, and fights for funding that is appropriate for what is needed in District 1. Broadband has become the foundation for everything we do! It is essential for education, tele-health, job creation and retention, and your ability to work from home.
We need high-speed broadband to increase our tax base, to bring young families to our district, to support educators and our healthcare system, and to get our students a world-class education. I will be your voice in Madison to bring broadband and common sense solutions on issues that affect District 1.
In the First District, our diverse economy includes construction, fabrication, manufacturing, tourism and farming (in no particular order). To support this wide variety of industries we need both a strong economic base and a healthy environment.
Demographics in District 1 show that there is a rapid increase in the average age, one of the highest in Wisconsin. We desperately need good-paying jobs so that we attract a younger workforce and keep our students here. We all pay to educate them here and we need to keep more of them through good jobs and opportunities to advance. We need a workforce that can afford to put down roots and build a future in our great district. Our communities lose young talent who seek living wages that help pay for the cost of education, healthcare benefits, and need access to broadband.
We are losing small farms and the small farm way of life to factory farming. This further discourages young people from becoming innovative, environmentally conscious stewards of our lands. Greater concentration among the factory farms reduces the potential for entrepreneurial operators who would gladly support town restaurants, shops and services. I will fight for common sense policies to level the playing fields in our ag sectors.
I am a small business owner. I will fight for living wages, healthcare, education and a healthy environment for ALL voters of District 1. I am well aware of the needs of our community because I work shoulder to shoulder with our working class. I know how to put a budget together, how to stick to it, how to deal with supplier problems, and know what it means to be on 24/7 when you are needed for a no-show, equipment failure, or a pandemic! I know how to delegate, promote, and build a team with those that I work with. These are skills that will allow me to bring common sense, responsibility and action for Assembly District 1 to Madison.
We live in a state where a worker must earn over $17.00 an hour to afford a two bedroom apartment and the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Retail clerks (now considered “essential” to our economy) make just over $11.00 per hour. We need to pay our workforce a wage that ensures them the ability to buy a house and obtain the healthcare they need to grow our communities in District 1!
What I Will Do
All that must be fixed – using my experience building businesses – I know how to do it!
- I will use my experience to not only replace what was lost, but build more, good paying, 21st century jobs in the 1st Assembly District.
- I’ll bring Door and Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporations and municipal leaders together to look at opportunities from a broader, district-wide perspective.
- I firmly believe that at the foundation of a new-age economy is access to high-speed, affordable Broadband internet in every corner of the District. I will work with utility and internet providers to do so, and soon.
- I will also push for broadband internet as a basic utility just like electricity and telephone lines.
- I will support Governor Ever’s effort to increase the State’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.
- I will also work to legislate the availability of affordable housing in the First District. Even IF our young people could afford that two-bedroom apartment, it is nearly impossible to find two bedroom apartments.
The farming sector provides thousands of jobs in our district. For many of us, it’s in our blood and it has a place in our hearts. I’ve talked to the farmers across the district and they are hurting. They are hurting financially as farm bankruptcies are at an all-time high. They are hurting emotionally as they see the life they love slipping away. The farmers I spoke with, don’t want handouts, they want a fair playing field. Our communities need farm families. Those families support our stores and restaurants and churches.
What I Will Do
The way I see it, supporting family farms is common sense.
- I will be authoring legislation that increases markets for family farms and removes obstacles for selling direct to the consumer.
- I will work with the Department of Trade, Ag and Consumer Protection to fund financial programs and tax incentives that help young people acquire land on which they can build their farming dreams.
- I will work to shift funding away from propping-up factory farms and to sustainable, community-friendly farms that promote soil and water quality.
- I will work to bring back a version of the “cow-tax” from decades ago, with a critical exemption for herds with less than 500 animal units, so that the factory farms pay their fair share of the expense their simple existence costs municipalities.
I will work on those changes because water quality knows no boundaries. The potential for well contamination drives families from our communities. Tourism suffers if our water is fouled by poor agricultural practices or mismanagement.
District 1 tourism, mostly in the northern part of the district, ranks in the top 10% in the state for sales tax revenue. In 2018 more than $40 million in state and local tax revenue was generated by district tourism. Over 3,000 jobs are created through tourism. These include charter fishing companies, campgrounds, wineries and agri-tourism opportunities like pick-your-own cherries and strawberries, and eco-tourism like kayaking. There is no doubt that the First District is one of THE top tourism destinations in the state and a major economic driver.
What I Will Do
The great news is that there is more room to expand our tourism offerings and the jobs and tax revenue they will bring.
- I will support the expansion of the National Marine Sanctuary, improvements of Algoma’s Crescent Beach, and the City of Kewaunee waterfront improvements
- I will organize a district-wide comprehensive analysis of First District strengths and weaknesses which will help identify greater tourism sector opportunities.
All in all, I will…
- work for the residents of the First District from Washington Island to Two Creeks to bring them new jobs, green jobs, 21st century jobs
- attract new businesses that pay wages that afford families a chance at the American Dream.
- identify and support more affordable housing for young people and families
- develop and redirect funding to protect family farms and encourage sustainable farming
I will bring common sense, responsibility and action to Madison
Today, more than ever, we see how our public-school systems have been affected by years of neglect under a Republican Governor and legislature. School administrators are left to creatively deal with State Department of Public Instruction unfunded mandates. School administrations have to resort to referendums to pay for critical school repairs and expansions. This is essentially the same as a tax increase. We all know of school teachers who spend their own money for supplies, equipment, and even food, for their students.
The explosion of charter and voucher schools across the state also takes funding from public education. The state needs to live up to its commitment to fund two-thirds of the public education system. Special education must be funded in the same proportion at public schools as in voucher schools. In addition, voucher schools cost taxpayers $8,300 for students in K-8 and $8,946 for students in grades 9-12. Rural schools need additional support to make up these disparities.
What this pandemic has shown me is that our educators are committed to their students, and our legislator is not. Our educators worked hard all summer to develop plans, and backup plans, alternatives so EVERY student, regardless of their zip code, economic status, or family structure would have access to education when the school year started. Conversely, the Legislators spent less time working on any kind of assistance or relief for our schools!
It also became apparent that the lack of high-speed broadband internet across the district is a major obstacle for our K-12 students, college students, teachers, and parents.
What I Will Do
We can no longer accept this neglect and downward spiral of our Public Education system. There is much damage to be undone and I will:
- work with utility and internet providers to get high speed internet to every corner of this District – I firmly believe that this is the foundation upon which the future of public education will rely
- support Governor Evers’ initial broadband budget request which was slashed by the Republicans
- use majority of public tax monies to fund public schools and limit the portion going to private schools
- encourage the repeal of Act 10 and allow teachers and all public employees the right to participate in collective bargaining.
The future of our state, nation and planet, depends of having well-educated citizens. That requires motivated, respected, and properly compensated educators. I am appalled to find out I will make more than an entry level teacher. They deserve more compensation for the valuable work they do.
The First District enjoys the largest coastline in the State and our sales tax revenue, much of it based on eco-tourism, rates in the top 10 percent. Abundant, clean, water and clear blue skies are not only a right but a necessity. As we know all too well, water and air have no boundaries. District One is also home to a number of advocacy groups and land conservancies focused on the protection of our natural resources and I applaud their tenacity and commitment. Our lakes, rivers, and streams also help support our economy by allowing us to maintain and grow our important tourism sector. We can no longer take our very special and enviable natural resources for granted. Our right to clean, safe drinking water and improved leisure and fishing destinations is a priority that I will champion for all residents. The result will be a far better quality of life and an on-going attraction to help recruit and retain the younger workers we will need going forward.
We are in a pandemic that requires us to clean our hands to stay healthy, and to use our home as a school for our children and our work. It is a travesty to think 30% of homeowner wells are contaminated in our district. The one necessity we need to stay safe is undrinkable and unusable. We know bad water affects our less fortunate citizens first. However water has no boundaries, so we owe it to all citizens to prevent bad legislation that passes the buck on our water issues to future generations. Our economy in District 1 depends on it. This will affect our very way of life if we don’t put a representative in office that will fight to get results as soon as possible, not waiting months for legislators to get back to work to take up bills delayed or sitting on desks gathering dust.
What I Will Do
- Support all of these groups and their science-based approach to protect our resources
- Increase funding of local Land and Water Conservation Departments
- Establish a First District Environmental Stewardship Council made up of all of the County Conservationists and stake holders in the District so decisions on shared water and air resources are made in consultation with the others
- Move to remove all income thresholds so that 100% of the cost to replace a drinking well made unsafe through no fault of the homeowner is paid by the State’s Well Compensation Program
- Increase funding to protect our lakes, wetlands, rivers, forests, meadows and wildlife from invasive species and disease.
I have earned the endorsements of both Wisconsin Conservation Voters and Sierra Club. I will work tirelessly to repay that trust and return the state to the environmental model it once was.
FARMING and AGRICULTURE
The farming sector provides thousands of jobs in our district. For many of us, it’s in our blood and it has a place in our hearts. I’ve heard from the farmers across the district is that they are hurting. They are hurting financially as farm bankruptcies are at an all-time high. They are hurting emotionally as they see the life they love slipping away. The farmers I spoke with don’t want handouts, they want a fair playing field. Our communities need farm families. Those families support our stores and restaurants and churches. The way I see it, supporting family farms is common sense.
While much of the monetary aspects of farming are regulated at the federal level within the Farm Bill that I would have little authority to impact, there are things I can do that will help farmers weather this financial storm. I will:
- author legislation that increases markets for family farms and removes obstacles for selling direct to the consumer.
- work with the Department of Trade, Ag and Consumer Protection to fund financial programs and tax incentives that help young people acquire land on which they can build their farming dreams.
- work to shift funding away from propping-up factory farms to sustainable, community-friendly farms that promote soil and water quality.
- work to bring back a version of the state “cow-tax” from decades ago, with a critical exemption for herds with less than 500 animal units, so that the factory farms pay their fair share of the large expense their operation costs municipalities.
Agricultural practices in District One have had a large impact on the environment. I am encouraged by the direction the State is taking with more aggressive and targeted nutrient management regulations and the steps farmers are taking to hopefully remedy the situation. To continue this progress I will:
- Increase cost sharing for waste-management solutions that compost manure instead of liquifying it, for more sustainable management with fewer damaging environmental impacts
- Encourage additional funding for increased water-quality science in Karst regions at UW – Extension
- Re-establish pre-2015 staffing at DNR Science divisions
- Increase funding of local Land and Water Conservation Departments
- Establish a First District Environmental Stewardship Council made up of all of the County Conservationists in the District so decisions on shared water and air resources are made in consultation with the others.
As a woman, a small business owner, and daughter of a union-proud Dad, I have experienced the impact of having a Republican-dominated state government for 18 of the last 20 years. I have been increasingly disgusted in the last few years as I watched Wisconsin’s democracy shredded at the hands of our current legislature and affirmed by the voting record of our current representative, Joel Kitchens.
They gerrymandered district maps, stripped the DNR budget and oversight power, reduced funding of many rural schools, and reduced eligibility for BadgerCare. They also used a conservative supreme court to strip traditional powers of the newly elected Governor.
Then they used their legislative majority to REMOVE key requests from the Governor’s budget including:
- an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25/hr to a meager $10.50/hr
- remove the freeze on property tax levies for local townships to increase an additional 2%
- permit undocumented immigrants to obtain state ids or drivers licenses (keeping in mind that over half of state’s farm workers are undocumented)
- slashed proposed education funding by $900 million.
When Covid-19 hit, Republicans once again used the conservative court to narrowly win a repeal of the Governor’s “Safer at Home” and “Badger Bounce Back” public safety initiatives without a plan to replace them. Over 6,000 residents have been hospitalized and over 1,000 are now dead as Republicans irresponsibly rushed to reopen the state.
Rather than bringing together the legislature to develop alternate plans, the Republican leaders of the State Assembly and Senate, refused to come back into emergency session over the summer, thus forcing teachers, administrators and families to fend for themselves as the school year approached.
Where is the common sense? Where is the compassion for your constituents?
What I Will Do
This almost two-decade dominance is the result of a gerrymandered system of voting districts that the Republicans have fine-tuned over those years. And it must be replaced. There are 72 counties in the state. Fifty-one of those counties have submitted resolutions or letters in support of redrawing the voting maps to be non-partisan and equitable regardless of the party in control. This is how it was for more than 100 years and I fully support the Governor’s appointment of a non-partisan committee to redraw these maps. Voting districts should never be carved out in some odd polygon based on voting history or economic status. A new process model, like the method used in Iowa and in many counties across Wisconsin, is based strictly on population per square mile. This will help provide more balanced representation of all constituents, as required in a democratic republic.
Farmers often have a second job just to have health insurance. A young man lost his job, along with his health insurance, due to COVID-19. Successful small businesses often can not afford health insurance for their workers. These are the stories I heard at my town-hall events this summer. Access to affordable healthcare is top of mind to many in District One.
In the case of the young man who lost his job and health insurance, we see the problem in a nutshell. Access to affordable insurance must no longer be tied to employment! This young, father of two, was able to get onto BadgerCare, our state’s version of Medicaid. Not a month later, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Having BadgerCare allowed him access to the best care in the State. BadgerCare saved both his life and his financial future.
Our current representative turned down a $25 million federally-funded Medicaid (BadgerCare) expansion that would have provided care to 82,000 additional Wisconsinites. That’s a little over what Lambeau Field holds in fans. The expansion would have provided the state with an additional $1 billion over the next two years. Who turns down that kind of funding? Who turns away 82,000 souls from having health insurance? Our current representative.
Even ultra-conservative states like Oklahoma and Missouri saw the advantage to its taxpayers when they adopted it! Where is the commonsense?
What I Will Do
Access to affordable healthcare and prescription drugs must be universal and independent of employment. As your representative in the State Assembly I will:
- Vote to accept Medicaid expansion funds
- Expand BadgerCare
- Investigate the idea of healthcare cooperatives where small businesses can join forces to provide affordable, group insurance to their employees
On a more current issue, I will also support the Governor on a mandatory mask order to protect the public and “essential workers” from the spread of COVID-19.
Meet Kim and learn more about the issues in these four videos.
Kim sets the record straight! Hear fact vs fiction straight from Kim instead of misleading statements by Joel Kitchens on NPR (https://www.wpr.org/listen/1710386)
Also, check out Kim’s recent discussion with Indivisible Door County! Access the Zoom link here.
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