Thursday, September 22, 2022

Do the Candidates Running for the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly in Your Area Support Ending Partisan Gerrymandering and Redistricting Reform?

Thursday - September 22, 2022


  Cartoon by Phil Hands for the Wisconsin State Journal  


Candidates Must Be Pro-Active to Inform CCWI and Voters of their Position on This Issue!


Earlier this month, Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) e-mailed every Republican, Democratic and Independent candidate for the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly in this November 8th election, inviting them to pro-actively contact us to inform us of their support nonpartisan redistricting reform and if they wished to have their names listed publicly on our website

 

The day following the e-mail message to candidates, September 8th, CC/WI sent this release to inform the public of this initiative. In it, CC/WI invited citizens to contact state legislative candidates in their area to urge their support for ending partisan gerrymandering and to contact CC/WI to have their names listed publicly in support of nonpartisan redistricting reform and specifically legislation introduced in 2021 - Assembly Bill 395/Senate Bill 389. This is a comprehensive reform measure that is modeled after Iowa's highly successful, 42-year-old redistricting process that takes the partisan politics out of redistricting and delegates the boundary-drawing to a non-partisan state entity that does not utilize partisan political considerations in their task.

 

As of today, CC/WI has been contacted by 5 Wisconsin state legislative candidates for the State Senate and 31 candidates for the Assembly. Here is the complete, up-to-date listing of those supportive candidates that have proactively contacted CC/WI to have their names listed.

 

As we have done during every state legislative election year since 2014, CC/WI wants to make it simple and easy for Wisconsin voters and media to be able to see which state legislative candidates support the non-partisan redistricting reform embodied in the "Iowa Plan" by providing a continually updated list of those candidates on our website.

 

Any statewide or state legislative candidate (or their authorized proxy) who supports the "Iowa Plan" and would like to see their name listed on our site should contact CC/WI by phone at (608) 256-2686 (leave a message if no answer), by email, jheck@commoncause.org,  or, even by letter to: Common Cause in Wisconsin, P.O. Box 2597, Madison, WI 53701-2597. Citizens can and should urge candidates to support non-partisan redistricting reform and request that they get their names on this list.

 

Candidates must be pro-active to have their names appear on this site! Even incumbent legislators running for re-election who co-sponsored AB 395/SB 389 during the last legislative session and previously must contact us to be on the list. Why? Because it demonstrates that they are paying attention and continue to support this reform issue. And, because it’s important for candidates for public office to take the initiative to inform voters about where they stand on important issues like ending partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

 

The list of candidates who inform us of their support for the Iowa Model redistricting plan for Wisconsin will continue to be linked on our dedicated Common Cause Wisconsin webpage and updated regularly until the November 8th election. As a reminder, election clerks will mail out absentee ballots to voters requesting them beginning on September 22, 2022. Candidates should contact CC/WI immediately, before voters begin casting their absentee ballots so that voters know where Wisconsin Assembly and State Senate candidates stand on this important issue.

 

Redistricting reform in Wisconsin is critical and necessary if we are ever to return to having a functional, less politically polarized state legislature that is responsive to the citizens of this state rather than to political bosses interested primarily in holding onto power. There is no question that an overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites want and support non-partisan redistricting reform. Now, let’s find out which candidates of all political parties for the Wisconsin Legislature are willing to stand up and pledge support for it and for the voters of our state.

 

On Wisconsin!
Jay Heck, State Director

--------------------------

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Penny Bernard Schaber and David Deininger Elected as New Co-Chairs of Common Cause Wisconsin

Tuesday - September 20, 2022

   
                                           Penny Bernard Schaber                                    David Deininger


They Succeed Retiring Chair Tim Cullen


Former Wisconsin Democratic State Representative Penny Bernard Schaber and former Republican State Representative David Deininger were elected Co-Chairs of the State Advisory Board of Common Cause Wisconsin (CC/WI) at the organization’s quarterly board meeting last Thursday, September 15th. CC/WI is Wisconsin’s largest non-partisan, non-profit state political advocacy organization with nearly 8,000 members and activists. Former Wisconsin State Senator Tim Cullen of Janesville stepped down as Chair after four years but will remain on the CC/WI Board.


Bernard Schaber, of Appleton, served as a Democratic State Representative for the 57th Assembly District, representing Appleton and Menasha from 2009 to 2014. She has been active with environmental issues for many years and was Chair of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Sierra Club in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. She was very active in the Fox River Clean Up Project. In addition to serving on the CC/WI Board, she volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and the Partnership Community Health Center and continues to be a strong supporter and local activist for the Fair Maps Coalition.


“I am very excited to become Co-Chair of Common Cause Wisconsin, especially during this time when good government is needed more than ever. I am honored to be Co-Chair with Dave Deininger and hope that we can be a strong example of working together for the good of Wisconsin,” said Bernard Schaber.


Deininger, of Monroe, served as a Republican in the Wisconsin Assembly from 1986 to 1994, including as the G.O.P. Assembly Caucus Chair during his final term. He was then elected as Judge to the Green County Circuit Court and later appointed to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals by Gov. Tommy Thompson, serving from 1996 until his retirement from active judicial service in 2008. Then, in 2008 Deininger was appointed to serve on the newly constituted Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, created in 2007 to oversee Wisconsin elections, ethics and lobbying. He was on the Board for five years, including two years as its Chair. His community service over the years has included serving on the Boards of the Monroe Clinic, Family Promise of Green County, and the Big Arbor Vitae Lake Association. He is currently the vice-chair of Monroe’s Police and Fire Commission.


“I look forward to working with Penny, our board members and staff in the years ahead to help advance good government initiatives and preserve ballot access for the citizens of Wisconsin. The Common Cause agenda and advocacy has always been a positive force for good government in our state and nation, and today, it is absolutely vital,” said Deininger.


In addition to Bernard Schaber, Deininger and Cullen, members of the CC/WI State Advisory Board include: Mary Lynne Donohue of Sheboygan, Kristin Hansen of Waukesha, William Hotz of Brookfield, Kriss Marion of Blanchardville, E. Michael McCann of Mequon, Calvin Potter of Sheboygan Falls, Wanda Sloan of Beloit and Roger Utnehmer of Wausau. CC/WI is staffed by its Executive Director, Jay Heck and Voting Rights and Elections Consultant, Erin Grunze.


--------------------------

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

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Monday, September 12, 2022

Tim Cullen to Step Down as Common Cause Wisconsin Chair

Monday - September 12, 2022



Former State Senate Majority Leader Will Remain on the CCWI Board


Former State Senator Tim Cullen announced today that he is retiring -- as of September 15th -- as the Chair of the Common Cause Wisconsin (CC/WI) State Governing Board. Cullen of Janesville, who is 78, has been chair since 2018 and a CC/WI board member since 2016, as well as earlier, from 2008 to 2010, before stepping down to run for the State Senate in 2010.


"It has been a great honor to be Chair of Common Cause Wisconsin. However, it is time to step aside as we have many other qualified board members who can take my place," Cullen said.


"I am proud that we have added more racial, gender, and political diversity to the board during my tenure," he added.


Cullen, a Democrat, served two non-consecutive stints in the Wisconsin State Senate. He was elected in 1974 and served from 1975 to 1987, including as the Senate Majority Leader from 1982-87. He was appointed by Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson as the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health in Family Services in 1987. After nearly 20 years as the Vice President of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin, he was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate again in 2010 and served a single four-year term before retiring.


"Common Cause Wisconsin, with our more than 7,700 statewide members and activists, has been a leading proponent for the end of partisan gerrymandering, the protection and expansion of voting rights and for a more independent, impartial state judiciary, including stronger judicial recusal rules," Cullen said.


"I regret that gerrymandering lives on in Wisconsin. Democracy is severely damaged when legislators draw maps to guarantee themselves their jobs for 10 years. Their jobs are part time, and yet gerrymandering guarantees them about $700,000 in salary and per diem over those 10 years. How many Wisconsin workers can guarantee themselves their job for the next 10 years?" Cullen emphasized.


Common Cause Wisconsin had co-chairs until about 10 years ago. Cullen said he supports returning to having Co-Chairs so that the organization can be led by two people with different political backgrounds, "to further signal that we are not a partisan organization," he concluded.


The CC/WI Board will meet on September 15th in the Capitol in Madison to elect new Co-Chairs. Cullen said he plans to stay on the board.


In addition to Cullen, the CC/WI State Advisory Board includes: Penny Bernard Schaber of Appleton, David Deininger of Monroe, Mary Lynne Donohue of Sheboygan, Kristin Hansen of Waukesha, William Hotz of Brookfield, Kriss Marion of Blanchardville, E. Michael McCann of Pewaukee, Calvin Potter of Sheboygan Falls, Wanda Sloan of Beloit, and Roger Utnehmer of Wausau.


--------------------------

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

Read More...


Thursday, September 8, 2022

Which Candidates for the Wisconsin Legislature Support Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform?

Wednesday - September 8, 2022



All Candidates Must Be Pro-Active to Inform CCWI and Voters of their Position on This Issue!

With the conclusion of the August partisan primary election in Wisconsin on August 9th, the nominees for the Wisconsin Assembly and State Senate have been determined for the upcoming November 8th general election. Democratic, Republican and Independent candidates for the Wisconsin Legislature will now make their case to the voters of Wisconsin about where they stand on important issues.


During the 2021-2022 Legislative Session, non-partisan redistricting reform was the leading political reform initiative in the media and among citizens throughout Wisconsin. Beginning in 2011, CC/WI has helped unite pro-reform legislators and citizens behind a single measure – Assembly Bill 395/Senate Bill 389 – that is modeled after Iowa's highly successful, 42-year-old redistricting process that takes the partisan politics out of redistricting and delegates the boundary-drawing to a non-partisan state entity that does not utilize partisan political considerations in their task.


Last year, majority Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature once again crafted partisan gerrymandered voting maps, just as they did in 2011 and the Wisconsin Supreme Court narrowly ruled to accept them in a 4 to 3 decision. So while state legislative districts have been decided for the upcoming November election and perhaps for some years to come, the matter of and need for redistricting reform has never been more urgent.


This issue has received the unprecedented endorsement of almost every Wisconsin daily newspaper editorial board over the years and tens of thousands of citizens have expressed their support for ending gerrymandering in letters to editors, communications to legislators and by attending one of numerous "reform forums" CC/WI and other organizations have organized over the last decade in every part of Wisconsin. While the legislative leadership continues to oppose this reform and refused to hold even a public hearing during the past legislative session, redistricting reform will very much be an issue during the current election season and in the upcoming 2023-24 legislative session.

 
As we have done during every state legislative election year since 2014, CC/WI wants to make it simple and easy for Wisconsin voters and media to be able to see which state legislative candidates support the non-partisan redistricting reform embodied in the "Iowa Plan" by providing a continually updated list of those candidates on our website


Any statewide or state legislative candidate (or their authorized proxy) who supports the "Iowa Plan" and would like to see their name listed on our site should contact CC/WI by phone at (608) 256-2686 (leave a message if no answer), by email or, even by letter to: Common Cause in Wisconsin, P.O. Box 2597, Madison, WI 53701-2597. Citizens can urge candidates to support non-partisan redistricting reform and request that they get their names on this list. 


Candidates must be pro-active to have their names appear on this site! Even incumbent legislators running for re-election who co-sponsored AB 395/SB 389 during the last legislative session and previously must contact us to be on the list. Why? Because it demonstrates that they are paying attention and continue to support this reform issue. And, because it’s important for candidates for public office to take the initiative to inform voters about where they stand on important issues like ending partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin. 


The list of candidates who inform us of their support for the Iowa Model redistricting plan for Wisconsin will be linked on a dedicated Common Cause Wisconsin webpage and updated regularly until the November 8th election. As a reminder, election clerks will mail out absentee ballots to voters requesting them beginning on September 22, 2022. Candidates should contact CC/WI before voters begin casting their absentee ballots so that voters know where Wisconsin Assembly and State Senate candidates stand on this important issue.


All Wisconsin Assembly and State Senate candidates that have filed for candidacy with the Wisconsin Elections Commission (and who have advanced beyond the August 9th partisan primary election) were contacted by CC/WI at their official campaign email address to inform them of the opportunity to indicate their support for redistricting reform.


Redistricting reform in Wisconsin is critical and necessary if we are ever to return to having a functional, less politically polarized state legislature that is responsive to the citizens of this state rather than to political bosses interested primarily in holding onto power. There is no question that an overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites want and support non-partisan redistricting reform. Now, let’s see which candidates of all political parties for the Wisconsin Legislature are willing to stand up and pledge support for it and for the voters of our state.


We will never give in on this issue. Help us to keep the pressure on for non-partisan redistricting reform.


On Wisconsin!
 

Thanks, and all best,
Jay Heck

State Director

--------------------------

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

Read More...