The Planks in the Buress for Assembly Platform
Halt the Opioid Epidemic
Last year, more than 74,000 people died in the United States because of opioid abuse. In Wisconsin, just under three people a day died from this growing public health problem. That’s more deaths than occurred at the height of the AIDS/HIV epidemic. One tactic I would employ in this battle would prohibit pharmaceutical companies from paying “bonuses” to over-prescribing physicians. We must take action to greatly reduce this practice and the resulting flow of addictive opioids now.
Stop Water Table Pollution
In Wisconsin we allow the dumping of human waste on water-permeable land, thus impairing our dwindling clean water supply. In some counties, as many as 30% of the wells are too contaminated to drink the water. We also allow for the drilling of deep water wells by commercial interests, further reducing the supply of drinkable water. These practices must stop. This, too, is a public health issue.
Protect Worker’s Rights
Act 10, passed in the middle of the night, decimated unions. As part of a plan developed and promulgated by the ultra conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, funded by outside the state interests, Act 10 was an attack on all workers. It was also one of the most divisive acts ever taken by a Wisconsin governor. All workers, union and non-union, deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and their voices need to be heard, not marginalized or dismissed. When elected to the assembly, I will support all efforts to restore their place at the table.
Preserve Critical State Wetlands
Assaults on our wetlands in favor of development must stop. I am not opposed to development and growth, but our wetlands are an ecological treasure and they must be preserved and protected. We’ve already lost 10 million wetland acres to development. Wetlands are essential to floodwater control, clean drinking water, and our state’s natural beauty–so important for both our quality of life and tourism. Our wetlands must be protected to avoid costly and perhaps irreversible consequences.
Stop Campaign Financing Abuses
Corporations are not people, but a 2010 U.S Supreme Court decision (United vs. FEC) says corporations have the same freedom of speech rights as we do. This opened the door to corporations, via Political Action Committees (PACs), spending huge sums of money in support of favored candidates and positions. This imbalance negates the votes of individual voters. More than 130 municipalities in Wisconsin have already passed resolutions in favor of a constitutional amendment that would right this wrong. Those who have benefited from the corporate spending on their behalf, have refused to right this wrong–turning it into a partisan issue. I have been and will continue to be a fighter in the battle to take dark money off the table.
Legalize the Use of Medical Cannabis
Extensive and growing research
Strengthen Services and Benefits for Veterans
As a veteran, I have first-hand knowledge of the challenges faced by many of our vets. I support continued funding for programs that address the challenges inherent in meeting the needs of these special people for healthcare services and employment opportunities. It is not enough to say thank you for your service. As a state, we must show that we mean it by providing what we have promised..
Stop Diverting Funds from Public Education
Public education is the bedrock of our Democracy. We must rededicate ourselves to the principles embodied in the Wisconsin Idea and regain our position as a national laboratory for innovation and leadership. I oppose reducing the funding of public schools (public school funding from the state has declined $1.6 billion since 2010) and the use of those funds to support for-profit schools. Those with the goal of dismantling our public education system must stop now.
Just Say No to Gerrymandering
Yes, both parties, when in power, have done redistricting that favors their party. I support either a true bipartisan commission created for this purpose, or the Iowa model which uses nonpartisan staff to manage the redistricting process. Tony Evers is right: “Politicians should not be picking their constituents, the people should be picking their politicians.” Partisan redistricting serves only one purpose: keep the party in power in power, This disenfranchises voters and is an affront to our Democracy.
Fix Crumbling and Dangerous Infrastructure
The Republican neglect of our failing infrastructure is unconscionable. By most reports, the quality of our roads ranks 49th in the continental United States. In addition, bridges, airports, railways, and dams have been neglected, creating significant safety concerns. Addressing these concerns must be a priority. The nrglect has forced local municipalities to raise taxes to fund infrastructure repair and improvements. This can’t continue.
Lower Health Insurance Costs
Most of us agree that we’ve lost control of our health care costs. In Wisconsin, even having access to quality health care is an issue, especially in rural and out-state areas. We need both short and long term solutions. One obvious solution would be the acceptance of Medicaid expansion dollars, something the current administration in Madison has refused to do on ideological grounds. This is wrong. We must accept the expansion dollars to ensure affordable health care is available for all.
Ensure Affordable Coverage for Preexisting Conditions
State assembly leadership would allow health insurers to exclude coverage for preexisting conditions, or price it so high it would not be affordable. This too is wrong. With more than half of the residents of Wisconsin having some sort of pre-existing condition, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, mental illness, or eating disorders, allowing insurance companies to deny coverage would be a health care disaster. When elected, I will work hard to make sure this doesn’t happen.