I am running for Wisconsin State Assembly to build a
safer, smarter, healthier Wisconsin.
There is a reason that “safer” is the first word in our campaign -- as the mother of two teenage daughters, my top priority is ensuring safe communities for all Wisconsin families. Parents know that keeping families safe today means something very different than it did just a short time ago. As your representative, I will fight for evidence-based, data-driven solutions to reduce crime and gun violence.
Common Sense Gun Laws:
When I met with Jim Ott just a few days before the special session on gun safety, I asked him to support background checks on all gun sales and extreme risk protection orders. Jim Ott said no. I am a gun owner, and I will say YES to measures that reduce gun violence while protecting our second amendment rights.
The first step in reducing gun violence should be to ensure there is a background check on every gun sale. Today many abusers and criminals can buy guns online, at a garage sale, or from another “private seller” without a background check. This is legal in Wisconsin, and this must change. Background checks alone won’t solve all our gun violence issues, but it is an important first step.
We all need to feel safe in our homes, on our roadways, in our schools, and in our places of worship. To help prevent mass shootings, and to help reduce the epidemic of suicide in our state, I support measures such as red flag laws that allow a judge, using evidence and due-process protections, to remove guns from individuals who are a threat to themselves or others. These laws provide robust due process, strong penalties for anyone making false accusations, and are supported by the Chiefs of Police Association of Wisconsin.
Criminal Justice and Police Reform:
Wisconsin must pass meaningful police and criminal justice reform, set standards for police training and recruitment, and set guidelines for use of force. We don’t need a task force, we need to address the root cause of the issues that led to the shooting of Jacob Blake and too many other people of color. It starts with investing in our under-served communities and providing better schools, more mental health and addiction treatment, and strengthening neighborhood-based services to assist people suffering from poverty and homelessness.
In Wisconsin we spend more on incarceration than we do on education. This is wrong. Other states like Texas and Michigan spend less money on prisons while making their communities safer, and even the Trump administration is promoting criminal justice reforms -- yet Wisconsin Republicans including Jim Ott want to move our state backwards by spending nearly $1 billion to build new prisons. It’s time for a better approach.
I support strengthening our drunk/ distracted/ impaired driving laws to keep repeat offenders off the roads. I am the mother of a teenage driver and I worry every time she is out on the road, especially at night. I want Wisconsin’s roads to be safe for everyone at every hour.
Safe and Fair Elections:
We want to spread democracy, not disease, on election day. Jim Ott voted against voting by mail -- from the safety of his home. Let’s make sure every eligible person can vote, and vote safely, with maps that are fair. And let the best candidate win.
Back to Work:
We all want to get Wisconsin back to work safely. This means making sure we open Wisconsin businesses in a way that does not overrun our health care capacity, is based on sound scientific evidence, and adapts business practices to slow the spread of infection.
Reliable Education Funding:
Right now the state’s share of funding remains below 2011’s level, despite recent claims of “historic investments in public schools.” The state should invest more in public education, and ensure our local schools are equipped to prepare students for a global economy.
Support for Public Schools and Teachers:
There are great teachers in our schools who are being hired and fired because our elected leaders are playing politics with school budgets. At the same time, I know students who desperately need special education intervention, but there isn’t enough funding or trained staff to meet their needs. Education should not be a partisan issue. All students deserve high quality schools, and our district’s excellent schools require better, more consistent support.
Preparation for 21st Century Jobs in a Global Economy:
COVID-19 highlighted how connected we are globally. Students need skills such as flexibility, collaboration, adaptability and critical thinking skills. We need to equip students and teachers with the technology to prepare students for careers that have not been invented yet. Investing in our students today will help them create jobs for tomorrow.
Prioritizing Public Health and Disease Prevention:
Our political leaders have failed us. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed massive shortcomings in our healthcare infrastructure. When we should be coming together for the public good, elected representatives are trying to score political points at the expense of public health. Much of the failure rests at the federal level, but there is much that the state can do better. For years public health departments have been understaffed and underfunded. This needs to change.
Create a healthcare system that emphasizes preventative care, regular primary care visits, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Ensure free access to COVID-19 testing whether a person is symptomatic or not
Redirect more healthcare funding to public health departments and their staff to ensure our communities get and stay healthy
High Quality Affordable Health Care:
My family is incredibly fortunate to have, and to be able to afford, health insurance through my husband’s job. For too many Wisconsin families this isn’t the case. Millions are losing their jobs -- and also their health insurance -- because of the pandemic. Now more than ever before, we must ensure every Wisconsin resident has access to affordable health insurance so that a visit to the doctor does not cause additional financial hardship. Wisconsin needs real reform from legislators who put people ahead of the drug or insurance companies’ profits.
Expand BadgerCare and accept federal Medicaid funding to stretch Wisconsin’s healthcare dollars and help more families access health insurance. Doing so will save our state $1.5 billion every two years and is supported by 70% of Wisconsin residents
Allow Wisconsinites to buy into BadgerCare so there is a “public option” to increase competition among all available plans
Strengthen the provisions that are part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) such as protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, free coverage of preventative care, mental health parity, and substance abuse coverage
Create more transparency in the costs of prescription drugs by banning gag orders on pharmacists and requiring drug companies to report price increases, profits and rebates
Increase protections for our most vulnerable citizens in nursing homes, especially during COVID-19. Jim Ott co-sponsored legislation (2011 Act 2) and Scott Walker signed into law measures that prevent families from using state incident reports and witness statements when documenting allegations of abuse at nursing homes, and cap the amount of damages that must be paid -- even if the nursing home operator is found responsible for serious injury or loss of life.
Restoring Wisconsin’s Environmental Legacy:
My first “real” job out of college was in Washington DC at the Solar Energy Industries Association, and later I became communications director at the Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest. I learned how green technology can create great 21st century jobs while driving economic development, and I worked to preserve natural areas such as the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and valuable prairie land along the Mississippi.
Jim Ott is a former TV weatherman who denies that climate change is real. In fact he used to publish a newsletter “debunking” climate scientists. He says he loves to go fishing, but he votes against measures that would protect our waterways and our air from pollution. Our district has more than 20 miles of Lake Michigan coastline that need our protection. I will vote to protect our natural areas while driving economic development with sustainable jobs for our future.
For all of these reasons and more, I am running for state assembly to make Wisconsin safer, smarter and healthier. My daughter Mia will turn 18 just a few weeks before election day, and I want her very first vote to be cast for her Mom. She likes to remind me that I have to earn her vote, just like I plan to earn yours. I hope you will vote for me, Deb Andraca, for State Assembly on November 3rd.