Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2008 8:35 AM
Subject: Village Spillage
I've been reading your blog with interest. Thanks for the opportunity to respond to your postings and comments.
You are 100% correct that health care reform is at the top of my agenda. It is also the number one issue that voters in our area want our legislature to address. That is supported by a survey done by Sheldon Wasserman's office in 2006 (see the section on legislative priorities) and anecdotally in conversations I have with voters every day.
While health care is a critical focus, it is not the only issue I will champion in Madison. Clearly we have to address multiple areas to make our district and Wisconsin the fertile and vibrant location that we all want it to be for business, jobs, education and the environment. I think your readers would agree that a "healthy community" is balanced in all of those areas.
However—since you state that health care isn't one of your top five issues, I would just like to point out the far-reaching consequences that rising health care costs have. I've talked with people in our district who say they'd love to start a new business, but they can't because they can't afford to pay their own health care. I've talked with business owners who would love to hire more employees, but again, health care costs are prohibitive. Health care costs prevent business from starting, growing and competing.
Rising health care costs also reduce the average person's disposable income, which not only affects their own quality of life, but also prevents spending on goods and services that keep our economy healthy. Rising health care costs can mean the difference between self-sustaining families and more people in poverty. So even if you don't feel health care is a top issue for the 22nd Assembly district on its own merits, there are plenty of other reasons it should be a top priority.
Another benefit of my health care background—and a key differentiator between my opponents and me—is that I recognize how integral legislative policy is to the everyday lives of real people. I have worked shoulder to shoulder with law enforcement, health-care agencies and other social service providers in Milwaukee County as they struggle to provide services within our current legislative framework. I can easily see how that parallels our education system, business community and environmental arena. Public policy is not theoretical or academic for me—it is real life. I know I can improve the lives of the people in our district if elected to the legislature.
As people who know me will attest, I'm a fighter, and I make no apologies for it—but I also have a record of building bridges that benefit all sides of an issue. That's why the Journal Sentinel and community leaders like District Attorney John Chisholm endorse me—I've worked hard to bring diverse groups together to solve tough problems. The Milwaukee County Crisis Intervention Team I helped found and the Crisis Intervention Partner program I founded are two examples, but I have been knee deep in numerous other initiatives to improve the quality of life in our community. These experiences taught me it takes more than wishful thinking to "reach across the aisle" to get things done. It takes skill and hard work—skill I've proven I have and hard work I've proven I can do.
As far as the issues…I consider myself a progressive Democrat. As you've pointed out in your past blogs, the differences between my position on health care, education, the economy and the environment and those of the other 22nd Assembly candidates are relatively minor. Like my opponents, I hold advanced degrees that will help inform public policy. Like my opponents, I have and will continue to sit down with experts on key issues to ensure the policies I help craft in the legislature do the most possible good.
So the question becomes—who is the best person to make sure these issues are addressed?
I say without hesitation that I am that person. I am the only candidate with the health care background to tackle the number one issue of voters in our area, and with the exception of Guy Johnson, I am the only one with the proven leadership skills in public service to get things done for the people of our district. I have lived and worked in this community for over 20 years and understand the issues important to the people who live here. I am qualified, I am proven and I am passionate about serving our community.
Changing topics…there is one more opportunity for voters to meet the 22nd Assembly candidates this week:
Friday 9/5/08 7:30am-9:30 am Southeast Wisconsin Schools Alliance at Nicolet High School Cafeteria
I hope many of your readers will come to see and meet me and the other candidates for 22nd Assembly.
Thanks again for the opportunity to weigh in.
I asked Pasch a follow-up question germane to her health-care stance:
Our current rep, Wasserman recently said "I don't support Healthy Wisconsin, I think it's a bad plan for Democrats and I've told them that." .. His primary complaint was that every state that's tried a universal health coverage has "failed". Do you agree or disagree with Wasserman?
I support Healthy Wisconsin. While it may need some tweaking, it does much to correct problems in the provision of health care: removing the link to employment (worked well in the 1940's when costs were minimal - not so today), controlling costs, and numerous other initiatives. We still need to improve access and quality for those in under-funded programs.