The current process for obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is a nightmare. It desperately needs to be overhauled, and not through the established bureaucracy of the SSA, but at the Congressional level. Many people who have disabling conditions are stymied by the complicated process, and some have to wait years, wading through the appeals process, to get the benefits they need and deserve.

Even when someone's application is approved within six months of submission, they have to wait the full six months before their benefits start - why? Delay makes no sense. Once approved, there should be no waiting.

The ACA was a good first step, but it didn’t go far enough. Too many people still lack coverage, and thus lack care. They make do. They don’t go to the doctor about minor concerns, like fatigue. And when those minor concerns turn out to be major problems, like cancer or diabetes, they end up in the ER, and they get financially wiped out. Or, they declare bankruptcy, and ruin their credit, and the taxpayers end up footing the bill after the hospital writes off the loss. I’m glad that the government at least gives us the option of discharging medical bills in bankruptcy (unlike student loans), but frankly, sick people shouldn’t need that option - or that worry.

At the very least, basic preventive care should be covered for everyone. We are the only first-world country that doesn’t have that provided. Too many people with serious diseases, like cancer, fall through the cracks, because the insurance companies don’t want to have to pay to test and treat them.

The cracks in the system are expanding, and we cannot let that continue. It's actually cheaper for taxpayers to fund preventive care at a basic level, than for people to only get care when they reach the crisis stage. They go to the ER, they can't pay, the hospital writes it off, and taxpayers fund that. Fund basic preventive care and we can pay less in the way of tax dollars, as well as having a healthier populace. That's just common sense.

For those who ask where the Constitution provides for access to health care, I would point to the Preamble, where it says government should, among other things, "provide for the common defense, [and] promote the general Welfare" Having a healthy population is a smart defensive move, and providing health care is the basis of promoting the general welfare.

The idea behind the Exchange was that if people could directly compare plans, picking and choosing among a variety of options to obtain the best option for them, it would lower costs. That didn't happen, because insurers weren't required to participate, and could choose for themselves which plans to make available as Exchange options. Some insurers, like WPS in Wisconsin, created an Exchange subsidiary, to put only certain limited plans into the marketplace. If insurers were required to participate, and required to put every single plan they offer on the Exchange, the Exchange would be a more robust marketplace and the ACA's original goal in its creation would be better accomplished.

Amy used to be in favor of adopting Medicare For All - until she qualified for Medicare herself. Now, she no longer believes that it’s the best this country can do. The plans are too complicated, and with “Medicare Advantage” plans, the government has let private insurers take over the handling of claims for a very large segment of the Medicare population to an alarming degree.

Amy is tired of half measures; aren’t you? Healthcare needs to be fixed NOW. We need to figure out how best to deliver universal healthcare without complications to the largest segment of the American population as possible, and do that without the innumerable tests and short-steps that don’t go far enough that have cluttered the progress in healthcare legislation to date.

January 21, 2020

Citizen Action of Wisconsin - Affordable Healthcare for All Event

Click here for a full transcript of the speech!


Agriculture is our country’s largest industry, bar none, and Wisconsin takes pride in being a predominantly agricultural state. Yet, somehow, none of the current Wisconsin Congressional delegation serves on the House Ag Committee. If you look at the Ag Committee’s website, the first piece of legislation currently listed is H.R. 3062, The Dairy Security Act of 2011. Dairy security is extremely important to Wisconsin farmers. The website states that the Bill would “establish a program for dairy producers under which producers can offset reductions in producer income when the margin between milk prices and feed costs is less than a specified amount, [and] to establish a dairy market stabilization program….” Well, that sounds like it might be important for Wisconsin, but none of Wisconsin’s House members are pushing for it, and that bill has been stalled for nearly a decade. It can’t help Wisconsin farmers if it never gets out of Committee. I want to serve on the House Ag Committee, to help to push through bills, like this one, that will help Wisconsin farmers.

Wisconsin farmers need help. Wisconsin is losing two dairy farms/day – 10% of its dairy farms in just the past year. Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture thinks dairy farmers should go big, or get out of farming based on “economies of scale.”(1) The Sixth District’s current Representative, Glenn Grothman, thinks “there’s room for the 100, 200, 300 cow dairy farmer” if they’re efficient,(2) but apparently no room for farms with smaller herds, like that of Darin Von Ruden, a third-generation dairy farmer with a 50-cow farm.(3) Farming is a hard life, but a necessary business. Government should be helping farmers, not making it worse.

(1) Barrett, R. and Bergquist, L., “Industrial dairy farming is taking over in Wisconsin, crowding out family operations and raising environmental concerns,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/15/20, available online here.

(2) Fannon, E., “Republicans ‘disappointed’ by AG Secretary Purdue’s comments about small dairy farms,” WKOW ABC 27, 10/3/10, available online here.

(3) Richmond, T., “Trump farm secretary: No guarantee small dairy farms will survive,” Wisconsin State Journal, 10/2/19, available online here.

Not one medical school in this country requires students to take and pass a course on even basic nutrition. Pardon the inevitable pun here, but nutrition feeds into the health of every other system in the human body. Doctors should have an excellent grasp on the complexities of nutrition, but most actually rely on nutritionists, who, in many areas, are only required to have a certification (as opposed to registered dieticians (“RDs”), who have degrees and are tested by the states). In fact, “people use the term ‘nutritionist’ so loosely that it can indicate anything...[including] the completion of short-term continuing education courses….” That’s a quote from a website on how to become a nutritionist!

As a diabetic, a person who took a seminar at the Holiday Inn last week is not who I want making recommendations about my health. Now, I have no intention of impugning the education or skill of any RD, but most patients don’t know whether they’re seeing a nutritionist or an RD, and many clinics don’t go the extra mile to hire an actual RD.

We need to set educational requirements about nutrition for medical professionals – doctors, nurses, and nutritionists - that actually make some sense.

Wisconsin’s dairy farms are in crisis.

Wisconsin lost 10% of its dairy farms in 2019 alone.

The Republicans claim to be the party of small business; but are they, really? Seems more like they’re the party of large corporate farming. (3)

Trump’s Secretary of Agricultural thought dairy farmers should go big, or get out of farming. Glenn Grothman agreed, saying that a dairy farm should have a minimum of 100 cows to have a shot. Apparently, Grothman doesn’t realize - most of the farms in the Sixth District have fewer than 50 cows. What about them?

Wisconsin takes pride in being primarily an agricultural state. Wisconsin's farms and agricultural businesses generate $104.8 billion in economic activity and 437,700 jobs per year. Yet, not one of Wisconsin’s House delegation sits on the House Agriculture Committee. Farming is a hard life, but a necessary business. Government should be helping farmers, not making it worse.


Student loans are a problem. The current crop of high school graduates are about to take on a crushing load of debt that they may never be able to pay back, through no fault of their own. Recent graduates aren’t the only ones concerned with student loan debt. I’m 51. I borrowed around $75K for undergrad and law school combined. I graduated from law school in 1994. My current balance is just over $157K. I’m not alone. Ms. Johnson’s tweet and the comments below it are eye-opening:

School tuition has increased substantially since 1958, when student loans became a standard part of college financial aid, 1965, when the government got in the business of subsidizing student loans, and 1976, when they made them non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. In January of 1976, the average mortgage interest rate in the US was 9.02% and student loan interest, at 3.27%, was a deal. I bought a house in 2018, and my interest rate is 4.75% - but my student loan interest rate is 8.5%.

Rep. Grothman recently introduced a bill, H.R. 5899, to make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy. But that means that our kids – and our current population of adults already working on paying back student loans – would have to voluntarily destroy their credit rating for a minimum of seven years in order to get out from under a problem that the government caused. Bankruptcy isn’t a fair solution (although I grant you, it’s better than none at all).

Elizabeth Warren has introduced legislation regarding debt forgiveness, and promises to forgive student debt without Congress on day one of her presidency, if elected. Bernie Sanders has also introduced legislation regarding student loan forgiveness. Joe Biden has a plan to reduce student debt and forgive it after 20 years of payments.

If solving the student loan debt crisis without forcing people to destroy their credit rating is an issue of importance to Wisconsin voters, it should be of importance to Wisconsin’s representatives. If you send me to Congress, it will be.

Public school teachers are underpaid and undervalued. My mom was a public school teacher for 37 years. Despite having the Michigan state “model classroom” for, I believe, at least 20 of those 37 years, she never made more than $37,000 per year from teaching. She always had a second part-time job in the evening, and a third job over the summer. But that’s Michigan. That’s where I grew up, but it’s not where I am now. So, let’s talk about Wisconsin.

When Governor Walker was first elected here in 2010, there was a lot of talk about teacher salaries in Wisconsin being “too high.” At that time, the average Wisconsin teacher made around $80,000 per year, including benefits. You may think that's a lot - even, too much. Okay. You're entitled to your opinion.

Follow along here. So, let's not pay teachers a high annual salary. Let's make them hourly employees! And, they don't really do all that much, right? They're really just overpriced babysitters, or so I've heard some grumble. Okay, so, let's pay them an hourly rate for babysitting of $3.00 per hour per child. And we're only going to pay them for the time they actually teach, not planning, lunch, breaks, etc. They have to be actively babysitting to get paid! And, we're not going to pay them for any vacations - they only babysit 180 days per year, we're only going to pay them for those days! Okay, let's do the math. Got your calculators ready? Here goes:

$3 x 30 kids x 6.5 hours/day x 180 days = $105,300

Great - we just gave teachers a raise of $25,300 per year! And that's WITHOUT benefits!

Point being: teachers don't even get paid the going rate for babysitting, despite having high levels of education, training, and experience, and despite the fact that they actually do a lot more than just babysit our children.

By the way, you should realize that that $80K figure is NOT their gross pay; it includes benefits, some of which they won't see for decades after they start teaching, because it includes their pension.

Most Wisconsin teachers have a gross annual pay of about $45K per year, and after taxes, their actual take home pay is even less. And that’s the 2010 number, before Governor Walker lowered property taxes and education funding, and, by extension, teacher pay. Membership in the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state’s main teachers union, fell under Walker, from 98,000 to 40,000. We lost good teachers, teachers our students needed.

So, Michigan, Wisconsin, nationwide, really - we don’t pay teachers enough. Why not? Well, teacher pay traditionally has been a local issue, usually paid for by local property tax millages, and people don’t like paying taxes, and in many areas, private school vouchers pull money out of the public school system. So, teachers get shortchanged.

The federal government should set minimum standard requirements for teacher compensation, and provide subsidies in areas where the property taxes cannot reach the federal standard, so that teachers get a guaranteed minimum salary that allows them to live without second and third jobs. That will increase the number of people who are interested in actually becoming teachers, instead of going into other professions where they know they can make more money.

Now, it just happens that the relevant committee in the House covers both Education and Labor. Wisconsin does have a House member on that Committee – the Sixth District’s own Glenn Grothman, who has sponsored no legislation that is pending in, or that was passed through, that committee – according to his own website.

If education, teacher quality and teacher compensation are issues of importance to Wisconsin voters, they should be issues of importance to Wisconsin’s representatives. If you send me to Congress, they will be.


Wisconsin faces significant infrastructure challenges:

  • Driving on roads in need of repair costs each Wisconsin driver $637 per year.

  • 157 Wisconsin dams have high-hazard potential.

  • To meet the state’s currently unmet drinking water needs would cost approximately $1B.

  • Meeting currently unmet wastewater disposal needs would cost upward of $6B.

  • Our schools have a current estimated gap between available funds and needed expenditures of $836M.

  • 8.7% of Wisconsin’s 14,275 bridges are rated structurally deficient, up from 7.3% in 2014. In fact, since Glenn Grothman first went to DC, the number of structurally deficient bridges in Wisconsin has risen dramatically, from 1,043 in 2014, to 1,241 in 2019.

(Facts from the American Society of Civil Engineers)

Rep. Grothman has sponsored a total of 16 bills in the House; none of them have sought to repair Wisconsin’s crumbling infrastructure. "Infrastructure Week” has become a running joke in the Trump Administration. Deteriorating infrastructure harms Wisconsin’s ability to compete in an increasingly global marketplace. Wisconsin’s farmers are already in financial trouble; if they are also unable to get their goods to markets due to crumbling, aging, inadequate infrastructure, that could spell disaster. Delaying needed infrastructure investments only increases the cost and risks of our aging system. That’s not an option; deteriorating infrastructure harms Wisconsin’s ability to compete in an increasingly global marketplace.

Infrastructure issues emphatically are issues of importance to Wisconsin voters, and they should be issues of importance to Wisconsin’s representatives. If you send me to Congress, they will be.


I don’t talk about it much, but I am both a rape survivor, and a survivor of entirely separate gender discrimination and wrongful termination in the workplace. The laws surrounding each offense are antiquated, and often unfairly work against the victims.

I did not report my rape. I knew the rapist, had been in a relationship with him previously. I had invited him into my apartment, in which he had formerly been a resident, for the purpose of picking up some things he’d left behind. I won’t get into the details of how it occurred, exactly; suffice it to say, I said no, multiple times, and he didn’t stop. I tried to push him off, and he didn’t stop. I couldn’t budge him, so I endured. That didn’t make it right. He didn’t hurt me, physically. That didn’t make it right, either. He didn’t see it as rape. I did. I do. I explained to him why I did. He apologized “if I hurt you.” Well, yes, being raped hurts. I would not have been explaining it to him, if it hadn’t. I wouldn’t have taken the time – we were done with each other.

Neither of us had been drinking, nor were we otherwise impaired in judgment. I had no bruises, there was no physical altercation, apart from the penetration itself. It was my word against his, and I was leaving for another state the next day, unlikely ever to see him again. Can you see why I didn’t bother to report it? What would have been the point?

This took place long before the #MeToo movement. I’m an attorney, and while I don’t practice criminal law, I did do an externship with the public defender’s office when I was in law school. I know the nationwide statistics: it’s estimated that for every 1,000 rapes, 384 are reported to police, 57 result in an arrest, 11 are referred for prosecution, 7 result in a felony conviction, and just 6 result in incarceration. Of those 6, I guarantee you, all 6 involved violence. I would have gotten about as far as Christine Blasey Ford.

And that’s how a lot of rape victims feel, and that’s why only just slightly more than one third of all rapes get reported. Victims don’t take reporting seriously, because when we report, we aren’t taken seriously, and most times, nothing happens.

Due process for defendants is necessary, and should be inviolate, don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. But when the procedures that have been built up to “protect due process” in fact run roughshod over victims, it’s time for a review.

Only 0.5% of rape cases result in arrest. That’s not due process for defendants. That’s bending over backward for them.


I’m an attorney. I’m not currently practicing because I recently beat stage four cancer, and now I’m running for Congress. But for almost 10 years, I worked on a single mulitidistrict class action lawsuit. I wasn't the only person working on it, but I was the only person at my old firm who didn't work on anything else. The firm represents the Wisconsin (3 other states also involved) plaintiffs, commercial and industrial end users of natural gas (residential users paid regulated rates) in a class action seeking refunds from 10 large energy conglomerates who conspired with each other, and others (including Enron), to illegally increase the price of deregulated natural gas in Jan. 2000 - Oct. 2002. Government agencies investigated, the defendants paid fines and penalties, and people went to jail, but to get the money back to the end users required civil litigation, and that's where we came in.

The 10 years I spent on the case were all pre-trial, and a trial date still has yet to be set - yet there were several appeals, including 2 to SCOTUS*, and 7 to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Plaintiffs won each appeal; in fact, on my last full day at the firm, we got 2 decisions from the 9th Cir. in our clients' favor.

One, Arandell v. CenterPoint Energy Services, case no. 16-17099, set significant antitrust precedent. The other is Arandell v. Cantera Resources, case no. 17-26277.

In 2017, we settled on behalf of the class with 4 of the defendant companies, & brought $23.5M back into the Wisconsin economy. The entities who received a check included the Milwaukee Public Schools, and a convent in Eau Claire.

I am proud of the work that I, and others at my old firm, did (and that is still being done now, without me) to get repayment to the Wisconsin end users of natural gas who overpaid so drastically. It can take a very long time to get anything in the way of a win in a financial sense from such cases. My old firm paid salaries and ate expense costs on the natural gas case for over a decade, before obtaining any sort of financial return. It continues to do so, even now.

Earlier in my career, I worked on two cases against a motor carrier. The first involved its workers' compensation (WC) insurance fraud; the second involved a variety of other frauds that the carrier conducted in order to keep owner-operator truck drivers in a condition of peonage, a form of indentured servitude prohibited by the Thirteenth Amendment. The carrier is no longer in business; it went under shortly after our second case was filed.

The carrier was authorized by the State of Oklahoma to self-insure WC claims for its own employees, but what it did was to charge the drivers (but not its office or warehouse workers) for WC coverage. We were able to document that the carrier had had several thousand drivers over the previous ten years (the statute of limitations period), each of whom it had charged hundreds of dollars per year for WC coverage.

There was a question under Oklahoma law about whether owner-operator truck drivers could be considered “employees”, or were “independent contractors.” In our complaint, we pointed out that if the drivers were employees, it was a Schedule G felony under Oklahoma law to charge them for WC coverage, but if they were independent contractors, then the company had no authority to even cover them, much less charge them. Either way, each driver was owed a full refund.

After the first case was filed, it was brought to our attention by several current & former drivers (and others) that the WC scam was the merest fraction of what the carrier was doing.

The most frequent concerns were raised in the context of the carrier’s “rent-to-own a truck” program. The carrier preyed on drivers with credit problems and/or insufficient funds to make a down payment sufficient to buy their own truck. The program was billed as a way for these drivers to become their own boss. They would rent a truck from the carrier’s fleet, and after the lease period, make a balloon payment. They would drive for the carrier, and the rent payments would be deducted from their earnings.

The carrier promised to pay the drivers’ way down to Oklahoma City and their expenses during the orientation for the program. At the end of the orientation, if it felt like a good fit, they could decide how long of a lease period they wanted (1-3 years; longer lease = smaller monthly payment), sign the papers, and go immediately out on their first “run” for the carrier to start making money. The orientation lasted several weeks, during which the drivers were put up at a motel and their meals were covered, but they received no other pay, so they had no way to send money home to their families. The carrier paid their way to Oklahoma City, but if they wanted to leave, they were on their own to get home. At the end of orientation, late in the day on a Friday, the drivers were given their paperwork, told to look it over, sign it, and be back in the morning, ready to go.

There were two sets of papers. One was the truck rental agreement. The other was a federally-regulated contract in which the driver agreed to lease the truck and his driving services to the carrier in exchange for compensation and the ability to use the carrier’s federally-granted authority to move freight in interstate commerce.

Under the terms of the truck rental agreement, if the driver stopped driving for the carrier for any reason during the lease period, the driver forfeited all rights to the truck, but remained liable for all remaining lease payments, and that debt was accelerated and due immediately. To enforce such debts, the carrier filed liens on drivers’ homes, property, other vehicles, etc. The drivers couldn’t quit. If they did, they lost not just the truck, but everything, through legal process, which made the forced employment peonage.

But the carrier made it impossible for them to want to continue to work for the company. Why? Because the carrier knew something the drivers didn’t: the carrier couldn’t sell them the trucks at the end of the lease period, because it didn’t own them. It was leasing the trucks from a dealership in Tulsa, so the carrier couldn’t sell the trucks. Thus, the carrier couldn’t allow the drivers to get to the point where they could make a balloon payment to buy the vehicles.

So, the carrier engaged in a number of other illegal schemes to deflate driver earnings, including simply skimming from the drivers’ compensation, in an attempt to get the drivers to quit, so it could repossess the trucks from the drivers. The carrier always had several different drivers on the hook for the same truck at the same time. If Driver 1 quit, they’d repossess the truck and assign it to Driver 2, while still collecting from Driver 1, and so on.

Over the years since, some have asked me how the way the debt was structured differed from a mortgage on a home loan. One typically doesn’t work at the bank where one gets their mortgage. But let’s say someone, Mr. A, did – Mr. A is a teller at Bank B. Bank B has a good deal on mortgage interest rates, so Mr. A buys a house, with a 30-year mortgage from Bank B, and then 3 years later, Mr. A is offered a job as head teller for Bank C, so he quits working for Bank B and goes to work at Bank C. He misses no payments. Does Bank B foreclose on the home, simply because Mr. A no longer works for Bank B? Of course not. And even when a bank does foreclose, does the former homeowner still owe all the remaining mortgage payments, accelerated to be due immediately? No. The home is sold, and there might be some remaining debt, called a deficiency, but those are usually worked out, or discharged in bankruptcy.

After we filed the second case, but before we could certify the class, the carrier declared bankruptcy and ceased operations. The bankruptcy trustee settled with the named plaintiffs. Even they got less than they had lost; the unnamed class members received nothing. But I had hundreds of calls and letters from drivers who had been harmed by the company, thanking me for making sure that the company couldn’t hurt anyone else.This is why I believe so strongly in class action litigation’s power to do good things.

Some Republicans have suggested that class action litigation should be killed, or so severely limited as to effectively end all such work. But it's already difficult to bring and maintain such cases, and I have seen first hand how effective such cases can be to keep large corporations in line. This is why I want intelligent reform of the class action rules, to make the cases easier – not harder – to bring and navigate for plaintiffs; with reasonable due process for defendants, but without the endless costly motions to be briefed and argued at the pre-trial stage.

The defendants in the natural gas case brought well over 50 "dispositive" motions, each of which had to be fully briefed and argued, and each of which our case survived, but which easily could have been combined. The page limits and other rules that necessitated and allowed so many motions could easily be changed. Better court enforcement of calendars and deadlines is needed, and that should be addressed.

* If anyone is interested, the SCOTUS decision can be found here (I'm mentioned in the last group of attorneys.)

There's an old saying that "if you save a life, you are responsible for it." Apparently, the anti-abortion forces don't live by it; that is, if their general take on responsibility for taking care of society's children is any indication.

As you know if you’ve followed me on Twitter, or read my other articles here on my website, I've already written about both the low rate of rape conviction, and my beliefs on abortion, assisted suicide, and the death penalty. Basically, if you don’t want an abortion, don't have one. Simple. But, if you prohibit them, then you shouldn’t complain when you're taxed and your tax dollars go to paying for services so the child you "saved" grows up safe, healthy, and educated.

Oh, that's not what you wanted? Then why did you bother? You wanted a child to suffer? Or did you want a woman who had no other choice, after you took abortion away, to die? Be aware that around 50,000 US women per year die in childbirth - and for each one of those 50,000, 70 more come closeMoreover, black women, specifically, are three times more likely to die from complications after birth than anyone else.

You certainly didn't want the father to have to pay child support and medical bills, right? No, you probably just wanted the woman to have to give birth to a child she didn't want, especially if it's a child of rape, as around 32,000 pregnancies per year are.  The pregnancy rate for rape in the US is around 5%, but the effects can last a lifetime. The conviction rate for rape is around 6%, and generally the sentences aren’t terribly prohibitive, only 1 in 6 convictions actually resulting in jail time. Clearly, we'd much rather there be consequences for the woman than for the rapist male.

Should a rapist be able to share custody of the child he "fathered"? In some states, a woman can’t give the resulting baby up for adoption (32 states allow severing a rapist's parental rights without his permission; in Wisconsin, conviction on at least sexual assault charges is required... because, apparently, we encourage rapists to have control over their victims' lives for at least 18 years, right?

So, what got me started down this particular rabbit hole? Two news stories.

First, only a 10-year sentence for a rapist caught in the act, who claimed in court in Madison that, "I'm not a monster," but says he can’t actually remember the event.

Second, this article (published in May, but which only caught my eye this morning), which noted that, despite Roe v. Wade, Wisconsin still has a 170-yr-old law on the books criminalizing abortion.

There's a federal law - the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act - passed in 2016, that gives up to four separate grants to each state that has or passes a law letting a rapist's parental rights be severed. Only two states have used it to pass new laws.  It's kind of like seatbelts - except that all but 1 state (NH) & 1 territory (American Samoa) took advantage of those federally-provided grants; all the rest now have laws requiring adult seatbelt use in vehicles.

Now, I'm running for Congress, which is federal, so I can't do much about state laws. But what I can do is try to toughen up that federal law, to give, not just a carrot to states that allow severance, but a stick aimed at those that don't.

My Republican opponent, Glenn Grothman, didn’t just vote (while in the Wisconsin state legislature) against emergency contraception for rape victims so that they couldn’t avoid pregnancy, he's publicly gone on record to say that women are “'trained' to say they were raped so they can get the morning after pill." Grothman has also accused Planned Parenthood "of allowing pregnant women to have sex-selective abortions," and argued against funding Planned Parenthood because, "'as a guy' he didn’t think their services would do HIM any good."

If the various miscarriages (pardon the pun) of justice outlined in this article outrage you, as they do me, please, help. If you can afford it, please click on DONATE in the menu above to give money to my campaign - if you can't afford it, retweeting on Twitter or volunteering to help my campaign are both great ways to help. Either way, I appreciate all you do to help me flip WI-06 blue. Thank you for your support.


I don’t talk about it much, but I am both a rape survivor, and a survivor of entirely separate gender discrimination and wrongful termination in the workplace. The laws surrounding each offense are antiquated, and often unfairly work against the victims. I did not report my rape.

I did report the gender discrimination and wrongful termination. I worked for a firm that failed to promote me, despite having earlier promoted two lesser-qualified men; my boss told me that I could not be similarly promoted because of my gender (“It’s too bad you’re female; we can’t promote you because all you women are so damned catty”). Eventually, after I complained, I was terminated.

Now, termination can be for a stated reason, or for no reason, but it cannot be for a wrongful reason, i.e., for having complained about gender discrimination. The reason given by the employer for my termination at the time was that the firm was undergoing a “financial crisis” due to the departure of the one partner, I was the highest paid employee after the two remaining partners, and if they continued to pay me, they would not be able to meet their payroll obligations to their other employees. When, in discovery, that claim turned out to be untrue, they then claimed that I had somehow committed legal malpractice in a case where, in fact, no mistakes were made, I had signed no documents, and I had made no appearances. The firm never gave a valid reason for my termination.

The federal EEOC gave me a ‘right to sue’ letter, but because the company had fewer employees than the number required for it to be a federal case, I had to go through state proceedings, which meant going in front of an untrained Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. He dismissed my case, finding there was no probable cause to believe that my rights had been infringed. I appealed to the state’s Labor and Industry Review Commission, which simply rubber-stamped the ALJ’s decision. That took about a year, and no hearing was ever held.

I appealed again, to the county circuit court. The judge found that there had been “significant discovery abuses” by the firm, but refused to sanction the firm for them; he wrote that while my story was “compelling,” and there were no grounds for finding that I had committed malpractice, there was “evidence” (though he did not point to anything specific) supporting the ALJ’s determination. That took about another year and a half, and again, there was no hearing or oral argument.

I was terminated in 2007; the circuit court’s decision was rendered in 2012. It came down the same week that I was in the hospital. I could have appealed again – I had grounds – but I was tired, worn down, and sick. And all of the first five years that this case had been going forward was at the “probable cause” stage – similar to an indictment in a criminal case. Even if I had won an appeal, I would still have had to go back before the same ALJ and prove my case all over again in a “merits stage” proceeding. I couldn’t do it anymore. I gave up. I let it go. And that’s exactly what the process is designed to do – make people just give up.

Now, those are state proceedings, built up in a state-level executive bureaucracy. As a member of Congress, I wouldn’t be able to do anything about them (though I do believe changes should be made, and I encourage the members of the Wisconsin legislature to look into it). But remember, I had been issued a ‘right to sue’ letter by the EEOC – meaning that if it had been possible for me to go forward at the federal level, I had already passed the “probable cause determination” stage, and could have gone directly to federal court on the merits.

So, what I could, and would like to, address as a member of Congress is a lowering of the number of employees that a firm must have before a federal court has jurisdiction over a case like mine. It’s important for small businesses to have procedures in place to protect their interests, sure. But it’s not necessary to protect them to the point where someone cannot possibly be successful in bringing a case against them, simply because the number of employees is too low for federal agencies and courts to be involved.

In 2018, I was let go from my job when I was diagnosed with cancer. Many have said "how could that be legal? why didn't the FMLA protect you?" The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires that a company have a minimum of 50 employees before it applies to that company - the firm where I worked had only 35 or so.

But there's no reason for the FMLA to require that minimum number of employees. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires only 15 employees before it applies to a company. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that a company have just 1 employee before it applies.

The average person doesn't know about these minimums - until their rights are violated by their employer, and they suddenly find out there's nothing they can do about it. Federal law should be consistent. The FLSA's minimum number of employees should be the number for all employment laws - just 1 employee.


In 2019, Alabama enacted one of the strictest abortion laws in the country — banning the procedure at 6 weeks and including no exception for rape or incest. Gov. Kay Ivey characterized the legislation as “a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious.”

Alabama is the only state in the nation where a jury does not have to be unanimous to impose the death penalty. On March 7, the state executed Nathaniel Woods, a black man on death row for being an accomplice to the shooting of three police officers in 2004. Despite a confession from his co-defendant, who testified that Woods did not pull the trigger, and the pleas of one of the officers’ sisters to halt his execution, Ivey refused to step in and allowed the state to execute an innocent man. Apparently, when Ivey said "every life is precious" she was only referring to fetuses.

The hypocrisy of the GOP’s “pro-life” ideology is abhorrent. It always amazes me how the party that claims to be “anti-government overreach” wants government to vastly overreach in the most fundamental of ways when it comes to abortion, assisted suicide, and the death penalty. If you don’t want the government to ask you to stay at home during a pandemic because it’s tyrannical government behavior, then why would you want government telling you or your family members when you can or cannot have a baby?

My position is entirely consistent across all three issues: I simply believe that government should not be involved in life-or-death decisions – at either end of the person’s life. That includes assisted suicide. If a terminal patient wants to end their life with dignity and with minimal or no pain, that should be their choice – not the government’s.

Personally, I am anti-death penalty in every case. There is no moral justification for it that does not result in society being at least as much to blame as the criminal it's prosecuting. If Person A is wrong to have killed Person B, then the government is just as wrong to kill Person A. Society has a right to protect itself, but it can do that (more cheaply, as it turns out, and, studies show, with greater deterrent effect) by locking Person A away.

As for abortion, I feel that it should be up to the woman and her doctor without interference from a society that clearly doesn't care enough about the fetus to be willing to support the child. No one is in favor of “killing babies.” I am, however, in favor of allowing women to have bodily autonomy, again, without influence from the government. The power to say that a woman cannot have an abortion is the same power to say, in other circumstances, that a woman must have an abortion – as they do in China, with their one-child policy for population control.

Don’t come screaming at me about so-called “late-term” abortions, either – they don’t exist. The only time an abortion is performed after viability (the point at which the fetus can survive outside the womb, usually 7-8 months into the pregnancy) is when the fetus is already dead or dying, and the mother’s health is at risk because of it. That’s what happened in Ireland that caused them recently to change their abortion laws to favor abortion to protect the mother – a pregnant woman died when the doctors determined that the fetus was dead and its rotting corpse was poisoning her, but they would not have been safe from prosecution under the law at the time if they had removed it from her body.

Being a uterine cancer survivor, having a child is no longer a possibility for me. I was never so blessed. If I had been, I would have moved Heaven and earth to keep it. But I recognize that that is my choice, and that I have no right to impose my choice on anyone else.

Don't want an abortion? Don't have one. But don't rail against those who make that choice unless you're willing to support the child through your taxes paying for pre-natal check-ups, ultrasounds and vitamins; free delivery for low-income mothers; affordable health care; daycare programs; WIC, free lunch, and Headstart programs; and good, safe public schools. Otherwise, you’re not “pro-life.” You’re just “pro-fetus.” What’s the point of outlawing abortion if you’re going to turn around and damn the child to a lifetime of suffering?

Abortion is legal, and should stay that way. Assisted suicide should be more widely available to those who want it to end their suffering. The death penalty shouldn’t exist.

Those are my positions. Kindly do not misrepresent them. Thank you.