Let's Start With The Wisconsin Senate Race
Some candidates run for office primarily because they believe in using government to accomplish things for their constituents. Others are more interested in using government office to advance their own careers; sad but true. These days the former spend a lot of time and energy explaining what they plan to do in office, putting together detailed, informative issues pages on their campaign websites. And the latter either don't offer any issues pages at all or hire public relations specialists to write pretty-sounding statements that don't really tell readers much of anything.
Let's focus on Wisconsin, where there are 4 serious candidates competing for the Democratic nomination to take on Ron Johnson. Mandela Barnes, the lieutenant governor is the putative frontrunner, has no issues or policy section on his website, probably because his campaign is being managed by a DC insider who has absorbed the DSCC narrative to never put in writing anything more controversial than a love for your local sports team, the American flag, motherhood and apple pie. Sarah Godlewski, a wealthy, crooked EMILY's List character who is also running-- and has also very carefully neglected to include an issues page on her exceptionally shallow and extraordinarily deceptive website.
Should that be enough of a reason to take these two candidates out of consideration? Pretty much so. They are each hiding something and why would you want to get behind someone who isn't even transparent as a candidate when you know that if they're elected it's bound to get even worse-- and fast?
So that leaves Alex Lasry, the son of a billionaire who has never accomplished anything in his entire life except being a fortunate son, and Tom Nelson-- the Blue America endorsee, the progressive in the race and widely known in Wisconsin as the hardest working man in politics.
Lasry's father has unlimited money to burn and Lasry has hired expensive consultants to manipulate-- rather than inform-- voters. The most obvious place you see it immediately is in his "stand" on healthcare, where he talks about the dead-give-away for conservatives pretending to be progressives: access, the Republican word for doing nothing. That sure isn't Medicare-for-All. "Access" means if you have the money, you can pay for expensive, unaffordable healthcare. Sons of billionaires have probably never had to think about anything like that.
This is what Tom Nelson says about healthcare:
Tom wants to go to Washington not to merely “expand” coverage or hope a few million more Wisconsinites get access to health care. He’s running for Senate so NO AMERICAN ever has to worry again about dying if they can’t afford healthcare and that means implementing Medicare for All.
Our current healthcare system is an embarrassment, with millions denied coverage, millions more going bankrupt due to unaffordable costs and outcomes that show Americans are paying more while seeing poor results compared to other industrialized nations with universal health care systems.
No one should have to forgo seeing a doctor or taking their medication because they need to pay for groceries instead. We also know communities of color have higher rates of uninsured and in Wisconsin, we shamefully lead the country in infant mortality for black infants.
We must enact universal health care that stops this wasteful system that benefits insurance and big Pharma profits at the expense of patients. We need a single-payer system like Medicare for All.
Health care is especially personal to Tom. His wife and mom had cancer. They were lucky to have had good insurance. Too many others cannot say that and that is wrong. Health care is a human right.
Universal health care will carry enormous benefits and savings for county health and human services departments. In this respect, Medicare for All can be viewed as tax savings-- or a tax cut--for property taxes, one of the more regressive taxes that are levied locally or at any level of government. If Outagamie County had Medicare for All, we could raise workers wages with the money saved and conserve precious tax payer dollars by diverting foregone health care demands and expenditures into other areas of need. Getting rid of copayments, deductibles, nonsensical in-network requirements, and surprise hospital billings means workers would see more money in their pockets at the end of the day.
The pandemic has shown that we need universal health care not tied to employment. Our health care system has been pummeled by the COVID crisis. A for-profit system that prioritizes certain levels of care-- namely “profit centers” like cardiovascular, cancer and orthopedics and at the expense of other health areas-- and does not incentivize the kind of leadership and cooperation you need in a crisis. In some instances, hospital systems did not share information on bed capacity and ventilators. Medicare for All would address, if not solve these problems.
Medicare for All, to ensure no one is without health insurance and no one is goes bankrupt because of an illness.
Medicare for All would allow for the government to negotiate with drug companies to finally stop the gouging of patients. Insulin patients would not die because they can’t afford medication.
Addressing racial disparities and Wisconsin’s shameful health outcomes for communities of color through Medicare for All.
Crack down on health care mergers. Antitrust abuses means corporate mergers in health care sectors-- from hospitals to insurance companies to medical devices to medical purchasing-- have been allowed, further driving up costs.
A women’s right to choose must be protected. Roe v. Wade must be codified.
Fully fund state and local efforts to combat and mitigate opioid abuse, including diversion courts such as drug treatment and mental health court.
Only Senate candidate to campaign on Medicare for All
Helped save the critical SeniorCare program for prescription drugs
Tom has 100% lifetime NARAL and Planned Parenthood voting records
Worked with county executives and administrators to help adopt enabling legislation that made Wisconsin eligible for over $400 million in opioid lawsuit settlement funds, about $300 million of which will go directly to counties like Outagamie to fund existing and new programing for opioid mitigation and education initiatives.
Helped start specialty courts in his county to address root causes in the criminal justice system. Outagamie County is one of the only counties in the state to have three diversion courts-- drug treatment, mental health and veterans
Oversees a nationally recognized nursing home that provides crucial short- and long-term health care services to the elderly and disabled.
Watch Tom’s speech at the Medicare for All March in Milwaukee here.
Watch the “Tom and Maria” video on why “Harry and Louise” were wrong here.
Watch Tom explain how his mother’s death made him support Medicare for All here.
He's not trying to hide anything or cover anything up behind a barrage of deceptive words. Want to look at another comparison? How about Climate? Lasry tiptoes around the tulips and never manages to utter the phrase "Green New Deal." Here's his statement, basically a shallow play for votes from black and brown communities, with no solutions to anyone's Climate problems:
For too long, we have deprioritized marginalized communities that have taken the brunt of the environmental impact from climate change, while not enforcing existing environmental protection laws or punishing those that break them.
We need to substantially update and modernize our environmental protection laws to meet the challenges of today and enforce stronger consequences that actually dissuade people and corporations from violating these tougher standards. Corporations have shown us time and time again that when the penalties are too light, they will not always act in the public welfare. That is where strong government enforcement must come in, and in the Senate, I will fight for more stringent environmental guardrails.
As we fight climate change, we must remember that communities of color too often bear the brunt of its devastating effects, while sharing in few of the economic opportunities presented by the clean energy economy. We cannot have environmental justice without racial justice, and it is clear that racism has been ingrained in every part of our governmental system. Equity must be at the center of reshaping of this new economy so that America can truly be a land of equal opportunity, not a country where the zip code you’re born into can define your health outcomes.
Compare that to Nelson's considerably more substantive approach-- which is right in the mainstream of the progressive approach to solving the problems, not just using the opportunity to win votes with hot air:
Too often, our national rhetoric about climate change focuses on coastal cities, ignoring states like Wisconsin. But even without an ocean coast line, we’re greatly impacted by the climate crisis, with ever-present threats of wildfires, flooding, and rising temperatures threatening our Great Lakes and forests and rivers. The climate crisis is already adversely affecting our industries in significant ways. From tourism to agriculture, our economy is in trouble if we can’t find a path towards swift and bold action. Wisconsin needs a Blue- Green New Deal and is the ideal state to lead it with our progressive environmental and labor histories.
In order for a Blue-Green New Deal to succeed, there must be a strong partnership with organized labor and family farmers. Tradecraft unions will rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and accomplish the objectives of a Green New Deal including decarbonizing our economy, rebuilding our electric grid, investing in renewables and energy efficiency. We call this the Blue-Green coalition. Blue for labor; green for conservation and environmentalism, which happens to be the signature colors of this website and Tom’s campaign. A compact with our nation’s unions ensuring good paying jobs and benefits, workplace safety, job security and collective bargaining will solidify this partnership.
Over 60 percent of Americans support a Green New Deal to deal with the threat of catastrophic climate change. It’s time we recognize the urgency of climate change and lead the nation with swift action, especially as reliance on fossil fuels is helping to fund Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine.
For Wisconsin, the path forward must prioritize clean energy, green infrastructure, a commitment to worker rights, sustainable agriculture and a partnership with local racial, indigenous and climate justice activists.
An ambitious Blue-Green New Deal to reverse the destructive effects of man-made climate change and create millions of family-supporting union jobs to create a clean energy economy.
Shutting down environmentally dangerous projects such as Line 3 and Line 5 that have violated tribal sovereignty and devastated our communities with oil spills.
Focusing on rebuilding local food economies that prioritize family farms and regenerative practices over industrial corporate agriculture
While in the state Assembly, Tom pushed for the Clean Energy Jobs Act, a precursor to today’s Green New Deal that included emissions standards and job creation goals.
As County Executive, Tom helped Outagamie County construct one of the first net-zero general aviation facilities in the country, led operation of an award-winning recycling facility that processes about 100,000 tons of material each year, led partnerships with area farmers on a cover-cropping program that keeps dangerous methane gas in the ground; and soon will be unveiling a $25 million methane recovery facility at the county landfill.
Read Tom’s Medium post on forming the Blue-Green coalition for a Green New Deal here.
Watch Tom’s video rallying with members of 350 Milwaukee to target Wall Street investments here.
Listen to Tom’s testimony from the Wisconsin DNR Line 5 hearing here. He was the only U.S. Senate candidate to testify in opposition.
Watch Tom’s speech from the Sunrise Green New Deal Festival here.
You can see why Nelson was endorsed by Wisconsin's Sunrise Movement-- and why Lasry and the two others weren't. The organization's statement: "Tom Nelson is the Green New Deal champion that Sunrise Wisconsin has been searching for in this race. Tom is willing to fight tooth and nail for progressive policies in Washington D.C. that will benefit everyday working Wisconsinites and reverse the effects of our changing climate. Young people in Wisconsin aren’t going to support incremental changes, and we certainly don’t want to see another Kyrsten Sinema in the Senate selling our future out. We are supporting Tom because he gives us hope for bold climate action."
Blue America has only endorsed half a dozen Senate candidates so far this cycle. We're not looking for tricksters, swindlers or someone who will get elected, pull off his mask and be Joe Manchin-- or pull off her mask and be Kyrsten Sinema... hallmarks of the way the DSCC picks its candidates. Please consider clicking on the Blue America 2022 Senate thermometer on the left and contributing what you can to Tom Nelson's very grassroots campaign-- a campaign that doesn't take corporate money and doesn't accept money from corporate lobbyists... and isn't dependent on wealth billionaire parents. As you can see, we're getting very close to our goal; please help us get there-- and beyond.