Well that hybernation stuff didn't last long! The race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court is heating up fast. Two "conservatives" — Dan Kelly (who was appointed to the Court by Scott Walker and then defeated in a 2020 election by Justice Jill Karofsky) and Jennifer Dorow (who was the presiding judge in the trial of Darrell Brooks, the man who killed six people at the Waukesha Christmas parade a year ago). And there are two progressives running: Everett Mitchel (who presides over the Juvenile Division in Branch 4 of the Dane County Circuit Court) and Janet Protasiewicz (who has been on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court bench for 25 years).
Just in case you're wondering why electing a progressive Supreme Court Justice is so important, let me point you to a report the non-profit law firm Law Forward published recently. Called Undermining Democracy, it looks at three trends in the Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions in its 2021 term: direct attacks on democracy, consolidating power at the legislature, and results-oriented judging. The report exemplifies each theme with specific cases and shows how these cases interact with each other to undermine democracy in our state. It's not light or quick reading, but it is well worth your time. And it lays out quite clearly the imperative to vote in the primary on February 21 and the general election on April 4.
The first order of business is to make sure candidates acquire enough signatures to get on the ballot for the February 21 primary. Download the nomination papers for Everett Mitchell OR for Janet Protasiewicz, BUT NOT BOTH. Each comes with a set of instructions: follow them carefully! (You might also consider making a donation through their websites, linked above: remember that "early money is like yeast.")
In preparation for endorsing one candidate, Citizen Action is holding a forum for Janet Prostasiewicz and Everett Mitchell on Wednesday, January 11, at 7pm on Zoom. You can sign up now and a link will be sent to you ahead of the event.
There will also be a special election — on Tuesday, April 4 — for a new Wisconsin Senator in Senate District 8. Alberta Darling, who has represented SD8 since 1992, resigned right after Thanksgiving, providing only a week of notice. Jodi Habush Sinykin, a lawyer living in Whitefish Bay, announced her candidacy a few days ago. If you live in Whitefish Bay, Brown Deer, River Hills, Bayside, parts of Ozaukee County, Washington County, or a sliver of Waukesha County, she will be on your ballot on April 4. (Something like FIVE Republicans have announced a run for this office, so there will be a Republican primary on February 21. But unless another Democrat announces, there will not be a Democratic primary for this office.)
You should download and circulate her nomination papers (if you live in the district). To check which Senate District last year's redistricting placed you in, you can go to MyVote.WI.gov or to the lookup page for the Wisconsin legislature. However, anyone and everyone can donate to the campaign! Here's the ActBlue page.
Nomination papers both for the Wisconsin Supreme Court and for Senate District 8 are due in Madison on January 3, but need to be signed and returned to the candidate much sooner than that. In fact, ASAP. So please don't procrastinate!
It's a bit too early right now, but plan ahead to get absentee ballots when the request becomes available after New Year's Day at MyVote.WI.gov. You never know what the weather is going to be like in February, or in April, for that matter. And if you're planning a trip this winter, you'll need to vote by mail from wherever you are. Be sure to figure out where the ballot should be sent — to your permanent home in Wisconsin or to the warm and sunny place you plan to be! And give yourself plenty of time to return your ballots by mail.
In a repeat from last week's newsletter, you still have opportunities to get trained to assist the UWM's Mapping Racism and Resistance Project to identify and document discriminatory covenants — once-legal clauses embedded in property deeds that barred people who were not white from buying or occupying land — in various communities. The project seeks to answer key questions: "How common were these restrictions? What areas of our community were reserved for white people only? How much land was restricted in this way? When were they put into place? What did they say? What are the legacies of these practices today?" Volunteer training will take place on the following Wednesdays:
- December 14, 12 - 1pm
- December 21, 7 - 8pm
- January 4, 7 - 8pm
- January 18, 7 - 8pm
As will undoubtedly be the case until the new year, the Events list is pretty small. But here's an opportunity to support Governor Evers's inauguration. There will be a Kids Gala on December 31, from 10am - 12pm, and Evers's staff is looking for 10-15 volunteers to take a variety of roles. If you're interested and want more details (including where the event will be held!), email Chastity Duffey.
Tuesday, December 13
Drinking Liberally MKE, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Art Bar, 722 E Burleigh St, Milwaukee
Drinking Liberally is back at the Art Bar during cold weather. Come share a pint and talk progressive politics! More information.
“What’s Next” Dem Town Hall, 6:15pm
Join WisDems Chair Ben Wikler at our end-of-year virtual town hall to hear what happened in Wisconsin on election day, and our chance to flip the court in April 2023. This event is for monthly donors and 2022 donors—start your recurring donation or give any amount now! Spots are limited. More information and sign-up.
Saturday, December 17
Community Brainstorming Forum, 8:00 – 11:00am
St. Mathew's CME Church, 2944 N. 9th Streeet, Milwaukee
This breakfast forum will consider "Working with Milwaukee Youth to Build Our Future." Come for breakfast (8:00 to 9:00am) and /or the presentations of the five panelists. More information.
Stand for Peace, 12:00 – 1:00pm
76th Street & Layton Avenue, Milwaukee
Stand for Peace has resumed in-person events with masks and social distancing. Check for more information. Organized by Peace Action Wisconsin.
John Gurda Book Signing, 2:00 - 4:00pm
Boswell Book Company, 2559 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee
John Gurda, the premier chronicler of Cream City history, will be at Boswell Book Store for an afternoon book signing (for any of his 23 books). More information.
Democratic Party Holiday Party, 6:00 - 9:00pm
Milwaukee Turner Hall, 1034 N Vel R. Phillips Ave., Milwaukee
Please come to the Holiday Party to support The Democratic Party of Wisconsin 4th Congressional District and Milwaukee County Democratic Party. RSVP by ordering tickets.
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