It’s a new year in Wisconsin! I’ve always loved this time of year and the opportunity to reflect and make plans for the year to come.
On Jan. 7, I had the honor of being sworn in for my second term as State Representative for the 66th Assembly District, along with my fellow legislators, our new governor, Tony Evers, and the Constitutional officers. The mood in the capitol is bright and hopeful, and I am excited to get back to work.
As a community and as a state, we have a strong legacy of open government. Wisconsin has long recognized that the Capitol is the people’s house, and you have a right to know what goes on here. In recent years, this culture has begun to slip away, as Republican bills chipped away at your right to fair and transparent elections, open records, and more. This session, we are going to reverse the trend and make our government of, by, and for the people once again.
As your representative, I’m proud to be part of this moment in Wisconsin’s history, pushing for a new era of good government. We are renewing our commitment to clean, open government, because we can’t make good policy without good government. This commitment takes many forms. In the legislature, I am proud to join my fellow Democrats to introduce our first bill package, bringing together five proposals to increase government transparency and give power back to the people.
From protecting our tradition of “one person, one vote” by establishing nonpartisan redistricting and ending unlimited campaign donations, to creating protections for open government meetings and records in our state constitution, to barring lame-duck sessions that would change the powers of other legislative branches, our first five bills are a fresh start for open, accessible government in Wisconsin.
This commitment to good government isn’t only a legislative commitment, it is a personal one. Throughout my time as your representative, I have worked to be accessible and available to our community. From frequent public meetings and hearings to social media updates, internship opportunities, and door-to-door outreach, I want you to know what is going on and the work I’m doing for our district and our state.
Not everything I do makes it into the paper or Facebook, so here’s a glimpse of the past week:
- Attended a City Council Committee Hearing on drivers’ cards for undocumented immigrants in order to hear what Racinians think about this issue;
- Six one-on-one meetings with community members at the Racine Public Library on issues ranging from health care access to fighting food deserts;
- Visited a fifth grade social studies class with Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem) to talk about our work in Madison and how we collaborate across the aisle;
- Met with fellow representatives and the governor in the Capitol as we prepare to cast votes on bills next week;
- Policy research and constituent correspondence at the office;
- Attended a renewable energy conference in Madison, where I met with public officials, other elected representatives, and private businesses to talk about how we build sustainable infrastructure and jobs for Wisconsin;
- Prepared for an upcoming meeting with community interns in Racine, where we’ll be discussing the budget process and how to craft good policy.
This year, I will continue working to make government open and responsive to you, the people of this community. After years of Republican efforts to close government off, I am proud to stand with my fellow assembly Democrats to call for a new era of government transparency and accessibility. We need policies that reflect the will of the people, not backroom deals. It’s time to get the people’s house back in order. It’s time for a fresh start.