Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Alternative" Public Hearing on Redistricting Reform in Appleton This Monday

Press Release
December 12, 2013

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686

"Alternative" Public Hearing on Redistricting Reform

Monday, December 16th in Appleton

Legislators of Both Political Parties Invited to Attend and Participate

Today, the Assembly Committee on State Affairs and Government Operations is holding a public hearing on some insignificant issues that no one, aside from the few people affected by the legislation, cares about or that matters one iota. Maybe cosmetologists, dry cleaners, land surveyors and dentists. But no one else. Seriously.

Meanwhile, that committee continues to ignore -- at the direction of Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) -- scheduling a simple public hearing on redistricting reform legislation -- an issue that thousands of Wisconsinites, almost every daily newspaper in Wisconsin, and numerous legislators of both political parties support or, at least, support holding a public hearing on the matter. Earlier this week, the Wisconsin State Journal captured this irony, perfectly.

No one is begging -- and certainly not expecting Vos or State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) to support redistricting reform. They should, but neither is clearly yet of that caliber of Wisconsin elected leader that will be remembered for doing something great and significant for all of the citizens of Wisconsin and make history. Their agendas have been too narrowly partisan thus far. But that could change. We hope it will.

But in the meantime, if no public hearings on redistricting reform legislation -- Senate Bill 163 and Assembly Bill 185 -- is forthcoming from the majority party, Common Cause in Wisconsin thought that "alternative" public hearings on this issue would be a good idea. Because every day, more and more Wisconsinites are supporting this common sense, basic reform that is the key to ending much of the polarized, poisonous political cesspool that has become the norm in Wisconsin. And those citizens are not about to "settle" for accepting the fact that the current legislative leadership apparently fears even "allowing" a public hearing on the issue. At the end of October, we had almost 300 citizens attend a public forum in Stevens Point that concentrated primarily (but not exclusively) on redistricting reform.

Therefore we are delighted that State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), State Representative Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton), and other legislators have organized this "alternative" public hearing on non-partisan redistricting reform this Monday in Appleton -- in the middle of the Fox Valley -- and therefore close enough for citizens from Green Bay, Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha, Fond du Lac and other communities to easily get to -- provided the weather cooperates.

Fox Valley legislators of both political parties have been invited to participate and we hope all -- or at least many -- will be there. This is a hearing about non-partisan legislation that is critical to repairing the current, nasty polarization that plagues Wisconsin's state government and politics. It ought to be supported by everyone who wants state government to work for all of the citizens of Wisconsin -- not just for the hyper-partisan few on the fringes.

We urge you to get to Appleton on Monday and make your voice heard! Here are the details:

WHEN: Monday Evening, December 16, 2013, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

WHERE: Appleton Public Library (Meeting Room C) - 225 N Oneida St, Appleton, WI

We hope to see you there. Your voice and support are critical.


Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703


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