GRNS Endorses David Bowen

BOWEN.PNGBased on a poll of its membership, Grassroots North Shore endorses David Bowen in the Democratic primary for Wisconsin’s 10th Assembly District. This is one of the rare times the organization has endorsed a candidate in a primary.

According to Keith Schmitz, Steering Committee Member for Grassroots North Shore, “We feel David is the true progressive in this race and has proven himself to be an effective fighter for our values.”

“We have been well represented by Sandy Pasch and David will continue to provide leadership and service to the district.”

Bowen led and won the fight to bring the living wage to Milwaukee County government and successfully helped defeat an effort by the Wisconsin State Legislature to revoke home rule on the issue. He fully supports Wisconsin’s public schools.

Grassroots North Shore is proud to join State Rep. Sandy Pasch and US Representative Gwen Moore in endorsing David Bowen.

Grassroots North Shore will be urging its members to support Bowen's campaign.

Grassroots North Shore is one of the largest all volunteer progressive groups in the state and it exists to educate, advocate and inform for progressive change and solutions. Please visit:


Keith Schmitz / 414-963-0847 /



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Endorsement Poll for 10th Assembly District

Primary elections are often low-key affairs but our choices in primaries can make a huge difference to the direction our governments take in the next several years. You have a chance to vote for a Democratic candidate for the 10th Assembly District on election day, August 12, and you can vote early in person at your municipal office between now and 5pm on Friday, August 8 (no evening or weekend early voting hours, alas). 

In addition to urging you to vote, and vote early if possible, Grassroots North Shore would like your views on endorsing a candidate in this race.  Please consider the 4 candidates facing off in the primary. Let us know -- by midnight on July 31 -- which candidate, if any, you think we should endorse. Simply reply to this email with your preferred candidate's name.

Who is running:

All four candidates were asked to complete an issues questionnaire. Bowen, Grant and Torhorst did so. Here are the questions and their responses.

Bowen's questionnaire and responses (pdf)

Grant's questionnaire and responses (pdf)

Torhorst's questionnaire and responses (pdf)

If you live in the 10th Assembly District, you can register your choice by emailing Keith Schmitz  <keith@grassrootsnorthshore.comPlease respond by midnight, Thursday, July 31.

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Mary Poppins, Populist

Everyone needs watch this side-splitting Kristen Bell parody of Mary Poppins quitting her job and explaining that she can't live on the minimum wage. "Just a $3 dollar raise...."

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More Bad News on Wisconsin Jobs

Current Population Survey Employment Change for Wisconsin, Bureau of Labor Statistics
1 Month, Rolling 3 Month


There are two major surveys that yield a picture of employment, the Current Employment Survey (CES) and the Current Population Survey (CPS). CES surveys employers while CPS surveys households. They count jobs in slightly different ways, but both measures show how poorly Wisconsin is faring after the recession. Yes, the headline number -- average unemployment rate for the state -- stands at 5.7%, which is below the national average. But the number of jobs in Wisconsin and the number of people employed in Wisconsin still have not recovered from the Great Recession. 

Using the CES measure, employment peaked in June 2007, with 2,889,300 jobs. As of June 2014, Wisconsin is down 29,700 jobs compared to that peak. 

Under the CPS measure that calculates how many people are employed at any given time, the number of people employed in Wisconsin reached its peak in February 2008 at 2,959,841. As of June 2014, Wisconsin has 59,690 fewer people employed in the state.

There are a legion of ways to measure the performance of a local economy. But no measure will show success if people are not working because they can't find jobs!

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Jobs Decline Again in June


*Other Midwest states include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio.

SOURCES: Bureau of Labor Statistics: December 2010 through December 2013 data from Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages, change since December 2013 through 2014 data is calculated from Current Employment Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

UPDATED JULY 18, 1:45PM: The Wisconsin State Journal has published a new, interactive graphic demonstrating the failure of Wisconsin to keep pace with the nation or with its neighboring states in private-sector job creation.

Different accounts use different data sources, so it is sometimes difficult to gauge exactly where the jobs numbers stand. But at least according to Politifact, Wisconsin has lost jobs in January, February, and now May.

The preliminary jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly Census of Employment and Wages just came out. And how did Wisconsin do? Not well. Roughly 1200 private-sector jobs disappeared in June 2014. Meanwhile, here's the scorecard for some of our neighboring states:

  • Indiana added 10,000 private sector jobs in June
  • Michigan added 19,800 private sector jobs in June
  • Minnesota added 4,600 private sector jobs in June
  • Ohio added 15,700 private-sector jobs in June

Even more discouraging, manufacturing jobs declined by 1,400 in June after dropping by 2,100 in May 2014. The primary sector adding jobs is "Leisure and Hospitality," that is, mostly low wage jobs.

To be sure, the data are volatile and will be revised and refined over time. The more reliable Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages for May 2014, however, won't be released until well after the election in November. So this is the best information we are going to have about the jobs performance in Wisconsin as we head into the election. 

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Governors and Economic Effects: Rebutting Some Baloney

In a recent editorial the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stated that Wisconsin’s “sluggish growth rate likely has to do with Wisconsin’s economic mix” rather than Governor Walker and his administration's policies. We beg to differ. The Walker administration sponsored 2013 Wisconsin Economic Future Study analyzing Wisconsin’s old growth industries recommends four policies that it claims “will elevate the state’s overall business climate”: nurture driver industries; create a forward thinking structure to foster business improvement; address real and perceived skills gaps; and support global opportunities.

Our comparatively poor economic performance stems directly from Governor Walker’s lack of leadership in implementing these recommendations:

  • The Governor’s indiscriminate tax cuts fail to nurture driver industries while at the same time his cuts to educational resources undermine the development of a skilled workforce.
  • Governor Walker’s decision to reject federal funds to improve rail transportation throughout the Midwest fails to demonstrate forward thinking.
  • By siphoning off needed public resources to private vouchers schools, the Governor fails to reduce the skills gap.
  • And because Governor Walker lacks international business experience, he doesn’t know how to encourage exports.

Wisconsin lags its Midwest peers not because governors and their policies don’t affect a state’s economy but because we lack effective leadership to move Wisconsin into the future.

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A Reader Speaks about Bergdahl

This post is the text of an email sent to Grassroots North Shore by Dr. Robert L Seward, MD.

Bowe Bergdahl was rescued alive without the loss of one of our people. In fact, on President Obama's watch, the following crises were resolved successfully without the loss of a single American serviceman or woman: The Somali hostage crisis, the Bin Laden raid, the toppling of Muammar el Gaddafi in Libya, and the recent crisis/showdown with Russia, in the Ukraine. That is remarkable.That is the Obama doctrine, getting things done successfully without getting our people killed or captured.

At the Memorial day service, May 26 2014, at Arlington Cemetery, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran who has worked intimately with the President for a year, said this, in his introduction of the President: "America is approaching another period of transition. As always, these times of change and uncertainty require exceptional leadership. They demand leaders who are strong in the face of challenges, who are wise in the face of complexity, who are prudent in the face of uncertainty, and who are as humble as the courageous individuals they lead. Our Commander in Chief is one of those exceptional leaders.” Coming from Chuck Hagel, that is the ultimate compliment.

Dr. Robert L Seward, MD, is a retired board certified internist. He grew up in Berlin, Wisconsin and graduated from the U of Wisconsin Medical School. He is a licensed physician in Wisconsin and an Air Force veteran (1968-1970). He had the privilege of caring for veterans in Veterans Hospitals for the last 15 years of my career. I have listened to hundreds and hundreds of veterans’ stories and their experiences in combat. Dr. Seward now lives in Oregon.

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