Last week we noted that 13 Assembly democrats gave cover to Robin Vos and the rest of the republicans by voting yes on AB110. AB 110 is a big government bill where the republicans in this state, have decided to tell the 858,000 Wisconsinites on FoodShare what they can and can not purchase at the grocery store. While the republicans talking point is that they want all people on FoodShare to "eat healthier", the list of OUTLAWED foods include, ketchup, mustard, honey, wild rice, rye bread, salt and pepper, and the list goes on!
In reality, it is just the republicans wanting to institute a complete takeover of our state and micromanage our lives. Their idea of small government means when your an elected republican you do not have to answer to anyone. However those of us that are not elected officials will have every aspect of our lives controlled from the grocery store, to the library to the doctor's office.
While the republicans pretended they cared about the poor(at least in their talking points if not their actions), the reality was they set the hook for democrats to bite. After talking to some who voted for this ridiculous bill, their "reasoning" was they wanted to continue the debate(which is BS we can continue the debate and NOT vote for it) and that they wanted to bring attention to the fact that Foodstamps is a pittance and doesnt come close to feeding hungry families(which IS true).
However the real reason, which no one will admit too publicly, is they did not want to have to deal with this republican talking point when they run for re-election:
The Democrats want to spend your tax money on the poor eating potato chips and Dorito's!See with the current batch of republicans, it is ONLY about the next election! However the correct response here, is that Democrats do not believe in controlling your life to the miniscule point of deciding what you buy at the grocery store. Democrats also like having Frito Lay jobs in Beloit and Poore Brothers jobs in Menomonie.
After minority leader Peter Barca and 12 other democrats took the cowardly way out, it is easy to see why we are in the minority. Every Democrat knew what the republicans were doing. It is not hard to realize that Dean Kaufert does not have the people on FoodShare's best interests at heart. However they jumped on the bandwagon and joined in on the piling on the poor bill. However, many did not(a few posts from facebook):
Chris Taylor It was my pleasure to vote against that horrible bill Karen!
Have you ever had a gift card for an out of town restaurant? There's been one on my dresser for three months now. This is what the "healthy eating" food stamp bill does to so many people. The idea isn't so bad, but we need to first increase access to healthy food in many areas where people use food stamps. There has to be access in terms distance, as well as affordability, or else you're simply targeting the poor.
I didn't run for the state Assembly to scapegoat people who are struggling to put food on the table, so I'm not supporting AB 110, which is a bill that forces unreasonable and counterproductive dietary restrictions on the purchases of FoodShare beneficiaries.Additionally, and in the words of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, "We will be more successful in addressing obesity if we develop and implement policies that improve the nutritional quality of food, improve access to healthy foods in low-income communities, encourage physical activity, and educate our society at large about the high costs of obesity and the importance of a systemic approach to obesity reduction."Maybe it's asking too much, but I'd like to see the obesity epidemic addressed in a reasonable way, in a way that recognizes the societal nature of the problem, and in a way to applies policies equally to all Wisconsinites.
The point is, we have maxed out our effectivness with the old guard at the helm. Barca, Mason, Jorgenson, etc... have all served the people very well and will continue to serve the people of WI. However, internally its time for a change. The Senate made another up and comer, Chris Larson, their leader and its time for the same to happen in the Assembly.
While the Democrats lost seats in the last election, strictly due to Gerrymandering, the people of Wisconsin overwhelmingly supported progressives. They sent many young, progressive, intelligent, talented people to the Assembly and its time to draw upon their expertise and enthusiasm!
Mr. Barca, it is time to step aside and let the young stars of the party take a more active leadership role.
Let's give Mandela Barnes, Chris Taylor, Melissa Sargent, Eric Genrich, Dianne Hesselbein and Katrina Shankland(among others), a chance to guide our party into the 21st Century and back to the majority!