Julie for Senate
 

Issues

We are fortunate to live in a country and state where the government is of the people, by the people and for the people. We own this democracy: it is ours.

We all contribute in different ways to maintain the strength of our democracy. I contribute by developing future leaders both in the office and in the wilderness, guiding them around obstacles and through unknown territory as they face challenges. I help them develop new tools and strategies to succeed. I serve in this capacity in my class at UWM, through my business as an executive coach and corporate trainer, and as an outdoor adventure guide.

I teach the tools of compromise, communication, and relationship building for the well being of communities and businesses. Now I’m ready to take that toolbox, and help our state government work for the greater good.

Thank you for everything you do to keep our democracy strong throughout District 5 and the communities of Wauwatosa, Brookfield, Elm Grove, and parts of West Allis, New Berlin, and Milwaukee. Together, all of our efforts keep our communities moving forward.

Here are my views on some key issues of the day. I’ll be updating this page throughout the campaign.

 
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Making the Best Education System in the Country

In Wisconsin we have a proud history of vibrant public schools and a world-class university system. Unfortunately, both are at risk because we aren’t prioritizing them enough.

Quality public education has been the hallmark of our state, providing everyone the same opportunity to rise while uniting a community around common values and practices. In the Scott Walker era, Wisconsin schools have taken a real hit. Walker and his legislative allies like Dale Kooyenga have made significant cuts to education, and made it more difficult for local communities to invest in their schools. They will claim that they are “spending more on K-12 schools than ever before,” but they fail to account for inflation, and schools still face class sizes that are too large, special education programs that are underfunded, and a lack of investment in art, music, libraries, and physical fitness.

Wisconsin’s public and private schools have co-existed amicably over the years, but now it seems that the legislature is pitting public schools against private schools. The trend has been to siphon millions of dollars in public money over to private schools through less accountable, and less successful, voucher schemes. The real danger is that this approach will continue to deplete our public schools and reduce the  quality and sustainability every student should expect. Legislators must change course, work together, and find common ground to ensure our children have the education they need to meet the demands of the future.

Wisconsinites also recognize that our University of Wisconsin System is a huge driver of growth and talent for our state. Unfortunately, we have seen massive cuts that threaten our ability to retain top-notch faculty and researchers and offer a broad array of course options. We’ve also seen attacks on the traditions that make the university a bastion of creative thinking and a force for good throughout the state. The legislature must take action to preserve the excellence of our universities.

Finally, we must take real action to ensure that young people and families aren’t crushed under the weight of student loan debt. We must allow for the refinancing of loans, and we must find ways to reduce the overall level of debt.

 

Quality Healthcare for Everyone

I want every single man, woman and child in Wisconsin to have affordable, comprehensive, quality healthcare. Period. No excuses.

Wisconsin faces a turning point right now.  The Trump administration, having failed to repeal Obamacare, has set out to sabotage it by offering cheap, short-term plans that don’t cover essential benefits and will drain younger and healthier patients out of the regulated ACA market. This will raise premiums significantly for older, sicker people with pre-existing conditions, and will ultimately price people right out of buying health insurance.

Let’s allow a public option for Badgercare on the exchanges, so that anyone can buy into it. If Wisconsin takes full federal funding and expanded Medicaid, we will have more funds and so much more flexibility in how Wisconsin uses healthcare dollars to ensure that every citizen has the healthcare they need while keeping prices down. We cannot go back to the old days when people with pre-existing conditions were blocked from accessing insurance and lifetime limits put the chronically ill in a desperate situation. We need healthcare for all!

We also must find the answers to the opioid crisis in Wisconsin. I believe in education, treatment, prosecution of criminal players, smart legislation, and long-term support for people. The legislature must appropriate the necessary funds to bring the crisis under control. Lawmakers must also hold drug companies accountable. I sympathize with all the Wisconsin families who are going through their own personal hell and promise to work with colleagues to bring a strong, effective response.

I also must add that I believe strongly that the decision of if, when, and with whom to have a child is deeply personal. I believe that every woman has the right to make her own reproductive health decisions. Government must not interfere with a woman’s right to choose. And access to preventive care, including contraception, is a fundamental value for me.

 

Clean Air, Clean Water

As a professional adventure guide and certified Wilderness First Responder, you can be sure that I love being outdoors and cherish clean air and clean water. I also know that you don’t have to pit environmental protection against development. It’s not an either/or choice to protect our natural resources or spur strong economic growth – it’s all about making smart decisions that allow for both priorities.

During the past eight years, the emphasis has been on bending, loosening, and eliminating the important, bipartisan rules that have protected our beautiful state for decades.

In my view, industry can still thrive while we maintain high standards of environmental protection. We need to keep our future in mind. We must restore the DNR’s autonomy and return to making decisions backed by science, not special interests.

The true cost of allowing more polluting may not be seen today, but the implications of decisions made today may be seen twenty years down the road, with the taxpayers bearing the costs. And as for today, it’s important to fight for kids with asthma who must curtail their exercise and stay indoors on ozone days and for each of us that benefits from clean, abundant water in our lakes and rivers.

 

Make Our Roads and Infrastructure the Best

It was recently reported that Wisconsin roads are now the 2nd worst in the country, costing motorists in the Milwaukee area an estimated $700 annually in repairs. One study says 42% of Wisconsin roads are in poor or mediocre condition, compared to just 19% in Illinois. We cannot let this stand.

Unfortunately, Scott Walker and Dale Kooyenga have no plan to improve our roads. Governor Walker has been unable to resolve GOP infighting about how to pay for transportation needs, so we are left tolerating project delays, dodging potholes, and borrowing money for roads, all of which is not enough.

Folks in my district are especially frustrated because pieces started falling off the Zoo Interchange, one of the busiest in the state, nine years ago, and the project still isn’t done and there’s no end in sight.

As a leadership coach, I help people find the strength and courage to change their own approach to achieve a goal. I would like to use my skill set to help legislators and the Department of Transportation come to agreement on how to properly fund our infrastructure needs. It’s time to give both parties a voice at the table and to share responsibility for transportation, so we can be focused on solutions instead of politics.

 

Better Decisions for All

I’ll be honest, I am not at all convinced that the Foxconn subsidy was a good deal for the citizens of Wisconsin. I would have preferred not to have put all this money into just one huge deal, when we could have funded many locally-owned businesses instead. The data shows that job creation can cost a lot less if we invest in small business and entrepreneurs.

It’s also wrong to exempt Foxconn from important environmental protections, and it bothers me that some estimates say it will take more than 25 years to potentially recoup our investment in this foreign company. We could be using that money right now on roads, education, and so much else.

So I want to hold Foxconn and the state accountable at every turn. I will work every day to make sure that our air and water is protected, that our DNR enforces environmental laws, that Foxconn fulfills its promise of good jobs with living wages, and that the world’s largest freshwater resource is protected forever. Foxconn will be making enormous profits – subsidized by us taxpayers – and they can afford state-of-the-art pollution controls to ensure the purity of our air and water.

What we need more than anything is a real commitment to create family-supporting jobs. Real leaders aren’t afraid to be held accountable. I will fight for good jobs, for the right to organize effective unions in both the private and public sector, for prevailing wages, for real collective bargaining, and for putting the middle-class back on solid ground.

 

Taking Real Action to End Gun Violence

It is our responsibility to protect children from gun violence and we can do this while honoring the Second Amendment. We don’t ban cars even though they can be dangerous, but we do work to regulate them to limit the damage they might cause. Speed limits, seatbelts and airbags, enforcement of drunken driving laws, as well as licensing drivers have reduced the death rate per 100 million miles driven by 95% since 1921.

Similarly, we can use common-sense gun laws to ensure greater safety in schools, at concerts, and everywhere else. We can save lives if we implement universal background checks, ban bump stocks and high capacity magazines, keep weapons of war off the streets, and allow family members to petition courts to temporarily take weapons away from disturbed individuals who exhibit signs of wanting to commit violence. I will also advocate for better mental health programs. And since use of a smartphone can now be restricted through the owner’s fingerprint, surely our technologically advanced society can explore a similar solution in the design of new guns, if we have the collective will.

These common-sense gun reforms will not inhibit the rights of people to own guns for hunting, protection, and recreational use and will simultaneously promote a culture of responsible gun ownership. Our world would be a better place if we could cut the gun violence death toll in half. That’s an audacious goal, but there was a time when seatbelts were viewed by some as audacious. Let’s put safety first.

 

Fair Maps and Redistricting Reform

Fair elections start with fair maps. If district lines are drawn to favor one party over another, then legislators are choosing their voters, instead of voters choosing their legislators. This cheapens votes, fosters polarization, and makes legislators unresponsive to citizens who are not of their party. The redistricting of 2011 was so egregious that citizens of Wisconsin took their case to federal court and won! However, that ruling was appealed, so it went all the way to the Supreme Court. A decision on the Wisconsin redistricting case, Gill v. Whitford, will likely be announced in June with far reaching implications for all of the country.

No matter what the Supreme Court decides, ordinary people understand how deeply wrong and unAmerican it is to draw maps which favor one party over another. If I am elected to the state senate, I will support legislation to have fair maps drawn by a nonpartisan commission, so that every voter has the opportunity to elect the representatives they want.

 

Get Smart on Marijuana

I believe it is time to decriminalize marijuana. Too many citizens are caught up in the criminal justice system for merely smoking pot. Since other states have already legalized marijuana, I’m sure we can learn from their successes and mistakes to create a system which would raise tax money for the state while maintaining a safe and productive environment.  I also believe that there should be an educational component accompanying legalization to guard against abuses.

 

Local Control of Our Government

Since 2011, Republican lawmakers have passed 128 measures restricting the authority of local governments, according to the state’s nonpartisan budget agency. Some of these measures include revenue limit restrictions, residency requirements, and anti-voting laws. I find it ironic that Republicans, who claim to be the party of small government and local control, have focused so much on policies that subvert these principles.  I would return to favoring government closest to the people wherever possible.

 

Equal and open access to the internet

In the 21st Century individuals and small businesses count on unrestricted access to the Internet.  That access is at risk because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to do away with “net neutrality” rules that protect our open and equal access to the flow of information on the Internet.  Net neutrality rules required internet service providers to assure non-discriminatory access to the Internet, and stopped them from picking and choosing the information that is made available and the speed that that information is delivered. While there are efforts in Congress to reverse the FCC’s decision, it is not clear those efforts will succeed.  Because net neutrality is at risk at the federal level, states are beginning to pass legislation to protect everyone’s right to access a free and open Internet. It’s time for Wisconsin to pass our own net neutrality legislation.