Public schools are the heart of a community, and Wisconsin schools have represented excellence in education for generations. However in 2011, when our schools needed our support, Republican leaders responded with relentless attacks on educators and historic cuts to funding, forcing our local communities to pick up the bill. While my opponent has stood by this massive divestment from public education, I support investing in our public schools to give future generations the same opportunities for excellence that I had.
We can once again make Wisconsin's schools among the best in the nation. In order for that to happen, we need to attract and retain great teachers and make sure our schools are being well maintained. We also must work to ensure that there are different academic paths available for students to explore after high school. Southeastern Wisconsin has much to offer academically. We possess a quality public university, a private university, and an incredible technical college system. It is vital that we expand accessibility to all post-secondary education options to ensure an excellent education is available to everyone. We owe it to our neighbors, ourselves, and our children to invest in the future of Wisconsin's education to keep the heart of our communities alive and well.
Access to quality and affordable healthcare makes good sense for all of us. From a financial standpoint, affordable access to preventative healthcare and health screenings decreases the need for costly emergency room visits, with those costs often being shifted to the taxpayer. Healthy citizens make for more economic security. Governor Walker’s refusal to expand BadgerCare has cost Wisconsin taxpayers over $1 billion in state tax dollars. Additionally, the healthcare repeal plan, pushed by Gov. Walker, would have caused an estimated 311,000 Wisconsinites to lose their healthcare coverage including children, families, seniors, and our veterans.
Instead of limiting access to affordable quality healthcare, we must expand it. Community health clinics must remain open, especially in our rural areas where the availability of healthcare options tend to be limited. Lowering prescription drug costs for seniors and adopting more natural medicinal practices are other ways to support healthier communities. Healthcare access is a right, not a privilege. Healthy communities can only exist if we treat access to healthcare as such.
If public schools are the heart of the community, then the middle class is the backbone. As the daughter of a firefighter and a Catholic school teacher, I saw my parents work hard to find a place in the middle class. I believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to get ahead. Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily the case in our state anymore. As a former union representative for the teachers in my public school and as a current small business owner, I understand the challenges that workers face to earn a wage, to get by, and to raise a family.
Wisconsin has one of the fastest shrinking middle classes in the nation. Our state has lost hundreds of quality, family-supporting jobs while Governor Walker’s administration gives billions of dollars in handouts to out-of-state companies and outsourcers. That’s not right. As State Senator, I pledge to give support to local entrepreneurs and workers looking to make a life right here in Wisconsin.