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Commentary by state Rep. Greta Neubauer: We must Build Back Better

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This summer was a challenging one, as Wisconsin contended with one of the hottest seasons on record, severe weather, and the rise of the Delta variant in the ongoing pandemic. For many across our country, it was also a wakeup call.

We are facing two global crises — COVID-19 and climate change — which threaten to upend our way of life in Wisconsin. Wisconsinites are already feeling the disastrous effects of climate change, even as many are struggling to make it through the pandemic. Extreme weather events and temperatures are hurting our health, our wellbeing, and our businesses. Changes to our seasons threaten our agricultural and tourism sectors. But even in the face of these challenges, we still have a chance to turn the tide and build a better future.

President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better infrastructure package is our opportunity to rebuild our state and rewrite our future. By investing in our human and physical infrastructure and in green technology, we can confront both climate change and the pandemic’s lasting impacts together. When we Build Back Better, we set Wisconsinites up for success with good paying, family supporting jobs. By investing in next-generation, climate-friendly infrastructure, we are not only improving our roads and bridges and modernizing our electric grid, we are creating an estimated 266,000 jobs. We can make our homes and communities more efficient, use less energy and help families and businesses across the state reduce energy costs. Good jobs, strong infrastructure, and efficient use of our resources means reducing inequality in our state, while fighting back against climate change.

Every family in Wisconsin deserves to be able to trust the water coming from their pipes and have access to the digital economy. That is why Building Back Better replaces 100% of lead pipes in our community and expands high-speed internet to 100% of the state. President Biden is fighting so that everyone has the opportunity for academic and economic success, no matter where they live.

We can invest in resilient infrastructure in our communities so our roads, bridges, and homes are less likely to flood or face erosion damage. We can overhaul and expand public transit, so people can get where they need to go without a car. We can build charging stations, so Wisconsin isn’t playing catch-up as electric vehicles come to our roads.

Building Back Better and investing in these areas now means we will be a safer, healthier, and more enjoyable place to live, a place where our kids and grandkids want to stay. It means investing in our state and in our future through the best opportunity in a generation to turn the tide against climate change and help working Wisconsinites build better lives after the pandemic.

But Build Back Better isn’t a done deal. This policy has strong support across the country, but it can’t happen without Congress.

We need our federal legislators to stand up for Wisconsin’s future. Our leaders can and must ensure that everyone can recover from the pandemic and be resilient in the face of climate change.

Greta Neubauer, D-Racine, represents the 66th District in the Wisconsin Assembly.

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