Posts Tagged ‘Andy Heidt’

District 48 Assembly Candidate Andy Heidt

Press release from the Andy Heidt Campaign:

Candidate Heidt Says Bill Is Racist and Must Be Stopped

 

Forty-eighth District Assembly candidate Andy Heidt reacted today to the progress of Representative Donald Pridemore’s bill AB 173, the so-called the “anti-immigrant” bill, which mirrors Arizona’s SB1070. 

“This is wrong in every way, “Heidt said.  “We must protect the rights of each person who lives here, and must value each person’s contribution.  This bill fosters divisiveness, suspicion and fear. The safety of our communities will be undermined because people will be afraid to contact law enforcement, and as police time will be diverted to the non-issue of monitoring immigration status.”

 Like the Arizona bill, AB 173 makes racial profiling the law, requiring that police ask for proof of citizenship or legal immigration status from anyone questioned regarding civil or criminal violations if they have “reasonable suspicion” that person may be undocumented.  Anyone unable to provide documentation could be detained for up to 48 hours and must prove they are in the country legally. 

“Immigrants are already subject unfairly to detention and deportation, processes that tear families apart and traumatize communities,” Heidt said. “We should not criminalize being an immigrant. No human being is illegal.” He noted that immigrants contribute substantially to the state’s economy through spending and in taxes paid, and Wisconsin dairy farmers rely heavily on immigrant labor.

 In contrast to the anti-immigrant sentiment expressed in AB 173, Heidt called for specific measures to protect and expand immigrant rights related to education, social services and work.  

  • Providing for in-state tuition for resident immigrants regardless of documentation status; access to public scholarships and loan programs; and at the secondary school level, resources to address the drop-out rate among students whose families struggle with poverty;
  • Extending all services and programs, such as state identification, driver’s licensing, Badger Care, unemployment compensation and assistance with housing or food to all state residents regardless of national origin or immigration status;
  • Enforcing state-wide worker protection rules including worker’s compensation to address the abuses immigrant workers face in many situations due to their vulnerability.

 

“Improving conditions for the state’s 250,000 immigrant families will also raise the standard of living in communities across the state,” Heidt said. “We will all benefit from treating every Wisconsin resident fairly.” As volunteer co-chair of Covering Kids and Families Wisconsin, Heidt worked to extend Badger Care to pregnant, non-qualified immigrant women, a measure that was enacted by the legislature with unanimous support.

 “We can do much better than AB 173,” Heidt said. “The only possible benefit from the enactment of this bill would be to a private prison industry that might house those detained.’  At the same time, the economic cost of the bill would be borne by the public. Based on the experiences of other states, Wisconsin would likely have to defend the bill against legal challenges to its constitutionality.  The state could also lose revenue due to a national boycott and face the loss of economic contributions made by immigrants through consumer spending, work and taxes

District 48 Assembly Candidate Andy Heidt

Full Press Release from the Andy Heidt Campaign:

Andy Heidt, candidate for State Assembly in the 48th District, today called on members of the Joint Committee on Finance to reject Gov. Walker’s proposal to use the biennial budget to decimate Wisconsin’s medical assistance programs, including the immensely popular and successful BadgerCare Plus program.

“Real progressives understand that the only permanent fix for our country’s broken health care system is universal, single-payer insurance,” Heidt said. “While we work to overcome the political obstacles, many Wisconsin residents can rely on a pretty good stopgap system that includes BadgerCare and other Medicaid-funded programs.  It’s crucial that we protect those programs during this fragile economic recovery.”

Heidt noted that Walker’s proposed budget would slash state Medicaid spending by half a billion dollars over the next biennium, at a time when families are just beginning to get back on their feet in the aftermath of the “great” recession. “There’s probably no clearer testament to the warped priorities of the Walker administration than a budget containing massive handouts to tax-dodging corporations while telling sick parents and people with disabilities that they’re out of luck. Their health, in Walker’s twisted view, is less important than a bunch of new highways,” Heidt said.

Heidt also pointed out that because Medicaid spending draws millions of federal dollars into the state, these massive cuts in health care spending will also hurt Wisconsin’s economy. “Federal Medicaid dollars that come into Wisconsin spread around the state economy, stimulating spending in a bunch of related industries and creating and preserving thousands of jobs,” said Heidt. “If jobs were really the top priority rather than just a buzzword, we would be shoring up our health care system, not taking a sledgehammer to it.  Health care coverage, BadgerCare Medicaid Coverage is economic development.”

Heidt also objected to provisions in the budget repair bill currently hung up in the courts that would shift control over Medicaid policy from the legislature to the administrative branch, giving Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith, a key Walker ally, the power to rewrite state Medicaid laws with little legislative oversight and minimal opportunity for public input. Changes they are likely to seek include increased premiums and copays, more restrictions on services covered, tougher eligibility requirements, and more red tape for joining and staying in programs like BadgerCare. This sweeping power grab—unprecedented in Wisconsin history and, according to the very lawyer who wrote the actual language in the bill, probably a violation of the State Constitution—could affect as many as 1.2 million state residents currently enrolled in the state’s Medicaid programs, including over three-quarters of a million in BadgerCare. “And they won’t even be able to hold their legislators accountable for these changes because all the decisions will be made behind closed doors by unelected bureaucrats. Why do legislators want to abrogate their constitutional duty in regards to the separation of powers?  What are they afraid of?” Heidt said. 

In addition, Heidt blasted the proposed privatization of income maintenance program administration, which would affect Medicaid and a host of other supports for low-income households. “Privatizing these kinds of programs has been a catastrophe everywhere it’s been tried. Are we that desperate to follow the ‘small government’ mantra to its extremes that we don’t even care how much it will harm the most vulnerable members of our communities?” said Heidt, who has spent 13 years helping people navigate the often complex web of assistance programs in his capacity as ombudsman in the Dane County Department of Human Services .

“The budget proposals related to Medicaid being discussed today in Joint Finance are a disaster in every respect—economically, legally, and morally. We need more voices in the Legislature prepared to speak out forcefully against these sorts of greed-fuelled, anti-people assaults.”

District 48 Assembly Candidate Andy Heidt

In a press release this morning, 48th Assembly District candidate Andy Heidt called for swift bipartisan opposition to changes in the permitting process for new mining operations in the state. Saturday’s Wisconsin State Journal reported plans by two Republican legislators to introduce and pass legislation eliminating public hearings and shortening the process to be finished by July 1.

“Lawmakers in both parties must come together to protect the integrity of the existing process,” Heidt said. He further emphasizes that “No changes should be made while there is a permit on the table. Out of state interests must not be allowed to engage in economic blackmail.”

Here’s the full press release:

Heidt Condemns Fast Track Mining Approval
Andy Heidt, candidate for Assembly in the 48th District, is calling for swift bipartisan opposition to changes in the permitting process for new mining operations in the state. Saturday’s Wisconsin State Journal reported plans by two Republican legislators to introduce and pass legislation eliminating public hearings and shortening the process to be finished by July 1.
“Lawmakers in both parties must come together to protect the integrity of the existing process,” Heidt said. He further emphasizes that “No changes should be made while there is a permit on the table. Out of state interests must not be allowed to engage in economic blackmail.”
Cline Mining Corporation, a multinational mine development company operating in British Columbia and Colorado, seeks to open the Gogebic Taconite iron ore mine in the Penokee Range and has threatened to “re-evaluate” its plan if the legislation is not enacted. The mine would be situated near the headwaters of the Bad River, which flows to Lake Superior, and would stretch between Ashland and Iron counties. Citizens and tribal leaders alike oppose the site of the mine.
Heidt, a longtime community activist and labor leader, advocates strong environmental protection and local control in decision-making. “The promise of jobs in the short run must not be allowed to run roughshod over the long-term health and well-being of our people, communities, and environment,” he argues. “Tourism, fishing, and hunting all depend on the beauty and viability of our lands.” Finally Heidt adds, “Economic development that destroys the environment is not economic development.”
In addition, Heidt is calling upon the legislators involved to fully disclose their campaign contributions from mining interests.

“It is especially ironic and inappropriate,” he said, “that those who are leading the effort to shut out the public on this issue are from districts far removed from the proposed mine site.” The State Journal reported that Representative Mark Honadel of South Milwaukee, one of the legislation’s proponents, did receive contributions.

District 48 Assembly Candidate Andy Heidt

Madison, WI.  Today, Assembly candidate Andy Heidt sent a letter to the Governor asking him to schedule a special election in order to fill the seat vacated by Rep Joe Parisi after Parisi was elected as Dane County Executive.   Heidt wrote to the Governor, “Representation is a fundamental right. It is wrong to delay giving the people of the 48th District the opportunity to choose their representative. As James Otis stated almost 260 years ago, ‘Taxation without representation is tyranny.”

District resident Melanie Herzog agrees, “Like everyone else in Wisconsin, we deserve to have our
representative working for us in the Assembly. I’m glad Andy’s putting pressure on the Governor to
make that happen.”

It is the responsibility of Governor Walker to call for a special election to fill the empty seat. Joe Parisi was elected as the Dane County Executive on April 2nd, and resigned from the assembly on April 14th.  Governor Walker has yet to address the vacancy.

Heidt noted that this is a crucial time and the people of the 48th District have effectively been silenced by Governor Walker’s apparent lack of interest in filling the seat vacated by the new Dane County Executive. “While Governor Walker can find the time for prank callers posing as billionaires, and to travel around the country raising money for recall campaigns from other states, he is sending a clear message that he’s just not concerned about the people of the 48th,” said Heidt.

This special election will come at a time where Wisconsin is experiencing a spate of historical recall elections in the state senate.  6 republicans and what appears to be 2 democrats will most likely face contests set for July 12.

Heidt is the President of AFSCME 1871, Dane County Professionals Union and the Ombudsman for
the Dane County Department of Human Services. He volunteers as Co-Chair of Covering Kids and
Families-Wisconsin, an organization dedicated to health care coverage of children and families in the
state. Heidt is also a former member of the Madison Common Council.