I am Melissa Winker, a public school teacher, firefighter’s wife, mother of four, third-generation Oconomowoc resident, and a first-time candidate for elected office. Like many of our neighbors, I am dismayed and concerned about the negative leadership. I am running to do everything I can to change the course of civic engagement. I want to protect all that we treasure about Wisconsin. I have entered the race as the Democrat for Assembly District 38, the region that covers Oconomowoc, Johnson Creek, Marshall, Lake Mills and surrounding communities.
There is so much at stake. Wisconsin schools are suffering due to massive funding cuts by this administration. Working people fear losing health insurance coverage. Wages have stagnated. Environmental regulations that protect human health have been stripped.
The present administration is responsible for this situation. They have refused federal funds for Medicaid, shifting costs to Wisconsin taxpayers and leaving more without health care. Instead we should follow the example of states like Minnesota, where it is understood that maximum coverage helps to lower costs. The Walker administration has cut billions of dollars from K-12 and higher education, so that instead of being a leader, our state struggles to attract teachers. This could not come at a worse time. Our state and local economies need a population and workforce with 21st century skills. Let’s compete, not retreat.
Vital funding to the DNR for scientists and staff has also been decimated by the present administration. Wisconsin is losing the ability to enforce regulations. The quality of our water and air has been degraded in certain areas to the point of being poisoned. This is your health, your tourism industry, and your strong traditions of outdoor sporting, hunting, and fishing — all in peril by a failing set of public priorities coming from our state government.
While unemployment in Wisconsin looks to be at a historic low, wages have not grown. Families are working two or more jobs to piece together a living wage. Childhood poverty is on the rise in our beloved state. It’s not good for anyone when your neighbors are forced to rely on a public and charitable safety net to get through the month with enough food for their children and keep up with household bills.
If caring for the health of our neighbors is not enough to motivate, take a drive on our state highway system. Wisconsin roads and transportation infrastructures are in great need of investment. We pay for this in terms of rising auto insurance premiums and loss of business, not to mention public safety.
The governor claims that Wisconsin does not have money to maintain roads and bridges, or fund our schools. The argument that large companies need tax relief to locate here and that their spending will “trickle down” to your household wealth is simply foolish. And it does not serve you.
As a member of the state Assembly, I will fight against misleading arguments for corporate giveaways and be a passionate voice for policies that help Wisconsin workers and families. I will work to restore school funding, expand health coverage, protect our natural resources, and invest in transportation. The administration has put our families at risk. It’s time we work for a positive future with opportunity for all who live in and love Wisconsin.
Melissa Winker is the Democratic candidate in Assembly District 38.