Because the Democratic Party of Barron County is the political home for people with diverse ideas, these position statements were developed by small teams of people, often including people with opposing views. It is our feeling that good government is never the product of strident ideologues or powerful individuals. It must belong to reasonable people willing to learn, promote and compromise for the greater good.

You may also be interested to read the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Platform.

Reproductive Rights

For women of adult age in the 1970’s and 80’s, today’s evangelical religious challenge to reproductive rights rings a bell for a painful past when a woman couldn’t try her hand at sports other than cheerleading, buy a car without her husband’s signature or lead a team at work. It has taken decades of incremental progress to get to this point where 15 million people watch a women’s college basketball game and women hold the majority of slots in medical and law schools. The wage gap might still be 16%, but back then it was 40%.

It has been a long and wearisome road; not one that any woman wishes to repeat. “We’re not going back” to a quieter voice, to less opportunity and even less reward. “We’re not going back” to an age without birth control, to an age when it was “my body”, “my problem”, but never “my choice”. This is a free country, or supposed to be, but a hollow claim when half the voters don’t have the freedom, the “agency”, reserved for the other half.

It is also a problem that crosses political lines, with 70% of voters favoring a solution that is neither far left or right. It will only resolve when both Parties cooperate. LETS FIX IT TOGETHER.

Immigration & the Southern Border

Immigration is a large, complex and multifaceted issue, with no easy solution to balance the needs of the many parties to the problem while respecting the humanity of those who seek to immigrate. One problem stands out: the massive pressure at the southern border, where there are simply not enough resources, on all levels, to deal with immense numbers of immigrants.

Like for many multifaceted problems of this sort, It would be nice to begin with the statement: “putting politics aside”. That approach proved to be impossible, when in February 2024, Donald Trump forced Senate and House Republicans to abandon the bipartisan border solution they had negotiated with Democrats. The bill would have vastly increased the federal immigrant processing apparatus, greatly reduced the wait time for adjudication of refugee claims, and sped the process for returning ineligible claimants to their home country.

Yet, there is no other way. We need to FIX IT TOGETHER to achieve a safe, secure, humane border. Democrats cannot legislate it. Republicans cannot force it. Biden cannot order it and Trump cannot bully it. We need to FIX IT TOGETHER--a SAFE, SECURE, HUMANE BORDER.

Rural Healthcare

Rural Wisconsin now pays the price for continued state Republican obstruction of ACA (Obamacare) benefits. Two Chippewa Valley hospitals operated by the Catholic Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and a large network of associated Previa Clinics closed in early Spring 2024. The ACA provided Medicaid benefits extended to uninsured folks with marginal jobs in food service, health care, and retail; with incomes too “high” to qualify for standard Medicaid. But not in Wisconsin, not where a Republican legislature believes more in “trickle down” than support for the demand side, the patient side, of the health care economy. Maybe an expanded Medicaid would have made the difference for those now closed hospitals and clinics, if their unreimbursed charity care had been underwritten by the ACA. And it would have been Federal dollars, not State taxes, providing the support.

The ACA itself continues to be under attack from Republicans in Congress, despite an ever growing number of patients now enrolled. Yet, ACA insurance is popular, affordable, and important for the safety and security of families. Attacks on the ACA parallel Republican attacks on Medicare (and Social Security). Preserving these entitlements depends on vigorous public support, Democrats in office, and, as demonstrated by Trump’s failure to shutdown the ACA (“...on my first day in office...blah, blah, blah!”) positive cooperation from moderate Republicans. As in all things political, we need to FIX IT TOGETHER.

Climate Change

The Earth is warming, and warming at a rate nearly 70 times faster than it did during natural warming periods of the past; this is a serious problem. More serious than the warming is that most Americans are unaware or misinformed about climate change; less than half of Americans see global warming as a threat to them.

When a planet or a satellite (such as our Moon) does not have an atmosphere, the heat energy it receives from the Sun is lost almost immediately. Our atmosphere on the other hand absorbs and holds heat near the Earth’s surface; the Earth is therefore a warm and hospitable place where life can exist. The gases in the atmosphere that absorb and hold heat are large gas molecules known as greenhouse gases, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane. The warming that is occurring is caused by an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide.

When fossil fuels are burned, the carbon that is released as carbon dioxide has been underground in oil or coal for millions of years. Now it is entering the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas that absorbs heat and warms the Earth. In the year 1790, when the use of fossil fuels expanded with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 ppm; in May of 2015 it was 404 ppm.

If all citizens do not make the issue of climate change a priority, and soon, future generations of humans will face problems that are inconceivable in seriousness.

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Frac Sand Mining

Frac sand, characteristically hard and round, was deposited by a shallow sea nearly 500 million years ago. The word frac comes from hydro-fracking (hydraulic fracturing), a process petroleum companies use to free trapped natural gas along with oil from depleted wells; frac sand is mined in Wisconsin and Minnesota and used in oil fields around the country. While hydrofracking has increased production of domestic energy, it also perpetuates the illusion that energy from fossil fuels will last forever. Humanity must soon abandon the use of fossil fuels if we hope to avert the devastating effects of climate change; hydrofracking enables the continued use of fossil fuels, and releases methane, the most potent of greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere.

The frac sand industry should be closely regulated to protect groundwater and air quality locally, as well as where hydrofracking occurs. We also need to ensure that economic benefits are shared fairly with local stakeholders as well as multi-national corporations. Today we see permanent alterations to our landscape, collusion between mining companies and the state government, with attempts to erode local control over protection of natural resources, transportation, zoning, and more.

We, the Democratic Party of Barron County believe that Americans should not be working to further develop fossil fuels but should be developing carbon-free alternative energy sources. All citizens, regardless of political affiliation, must consider not just the short term economic gains, but also long term impacts of continued use of fossil fuels. It is future generations that will reap the benefits, or the consequences of our decisions.

Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual & Transgender (LGBT) Rights

The Democratic Party of Barron County holds the view that lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender citizens should be afforded equal rights regarding personal safety, employment opportunities, employee benefits, right to marry and all other civil liberties enjoyed by the citizens of Wisconsin and the U.S.

Post-Secondary Education

Barron County is fortunate to have efficiently managed, low cost, high quality technical and liberal arts education, conveniently located in our county. UWEC-Barron County and Northwood Tech are excellent institutions that bring to life one of our most important American values: everyone of us, regardless of wealth, should have the chance to learn the skills needed for a bright future, without being ransomed for decades to bank loans. Education must provide for the entire spectrum of life and career goals whether that be immediate job training, a 2 year diploma, a bachelor¹s degree, or a portal to post-graduate education and professional certification. As the Barron County Board has endorsed through strong financial support for both institutions, local administration that cooperates with local education, business and industry to meet local needs is very important to us.

Public Education

Public education is an investment in the foundation of a democratic society. Our public schools are the heart and soul of our communities and serve all students and their families. Wisconsin’s legacy of supporting social-economic opportunity for its citizens is best realized when we adequately fund high quality K-12 education and staff our public schools with fully-certified, highly-qualified professionals. We submit that our schools are not currently being adequately funded by our state legislature and that adequate funding must be restored and current certification requirements must be maintained.

Somali Community in Barron County

Barron County is fortunate to provide a home for diverse cultures, in particular for refugees from Somalia who came to this country to escape political violence. Good jobs in local industries have supported Somali families. They have successfully formed a community that supports their culture and Muslim faith while enjoying security, education for their children, integration, and freedom from hostility and discrimination. We believe every American family and every immigrant family should enjoy the same.

Work & Wages

We applaud small and large businesses that seek to assure that employees have adequate work hours, fair wages, decent work conditions, and the respect of good managers. Employees need benefits including paid time off and paid family leave. We support the right of workers to organize and use the tools of effective unions including dues check-off and closed shop.