Author: Sam Buisman
Members of the Wisconsin statewide Democratic ticket held an Aug. 26 rally in the North Woods Room of Union South, led by Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez.
The Democratic nominees for state treasurer, Sarah Godlewski; state attorney general, Josh Kaul; lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes; and governor, Tony Evers, all laid out their policy platforms, decrying the current state government, and encouraging attendees to vote.
State treasurer nominee Sarah Godlewski framed her goals to act as a necessary check on state government. These goals included acting as a financial watchdog over state expenditures, operating the office to provide opportunities for Wisconsinites, and holding predatory lenders accountable a la the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“I’m running for that position that Scott Walker tried to remove,” Godlewski said. “I’m proud to say that on April 3, 63 percent of us said ‘no way, we want a state treasurer,’ and we stopped Scott Walker’s power grab.”
State attorney general nominee Josh Kaul described his vision for the attorney general as the slogan of “safer and stronger.” On the opioid crisis, Kaul discussed targeting cross-state traffickers, investing in treatment opportunities, and holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in the crisis. Kaul also discussed his plans to process a backlog of rape kits, pursue common sense gun laws, and to protect the environment through enforcing regulations.
“Now I’m running for Attorney General for a lot of reasons, but the fundamental one is that there is so much that an effective attorney general can do to help make Wisconsin safer and stronger,” Kaul said. “I want my family and I want all families of Wisconsin to live in a state that is safer and stronger than we’re on track for right now.”
Lieutenant governor nominee Mandela Barnes discussed the importance of leading with a vision rather than campaigning as an alternative to the existing government. Barnes spoke about his hope to reverse what he sees as the declining opportunities for the middle class as a result of Gov. Scott Walker’s policies.
“We win when we talk about opportunity, we win when we talk about a real plan and we lay out a vision,” Barnes said. “We have to lead with a vision if you want to be successful, [at] all levels, from Governor down to state Assembly, state Senate, and even local races that may appear on the ballot this November.”
Gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers spoke about his plans to restore collective bargaining rights, protect Wisconsin’s natural resources, side with science on environmental issues, invest in infrastructure, and appoint a UW Board of Regents that would act independently of either party for the best interest of students. Evers also expressed optimism in regards to reaching compromises with Republicans in the state legislature.
“Now the cool thing about all these issues, yes, they’re Democratic issues. But by God they’re Republican issues too,” Evers said. “We have to return this state to really recognizing and thinking about the values made us a great state … we’ve been … that’s been stripped away over the last eight years.”
DNC Chair Tom Perez closed the rally with remarks that stressed the importance of the upcoming midterm election and the necessity of a strong Democratic turnout, and enumerated the stakes of the 2018 midterm election in both Wisconsin and across the country. Perez ended his speech challenging listeners to register as many voters as possible in the vein of recent DNC efforts to democratize party and national elections.
“[There are] 72 days until the most important election of our lifetime. Your health care is on the ballot, your educational future is on the ballot. Women’s reproductive health is on the ballot, our democracy quite frankly is on the ballot,” Perez said.