WISCONSIN— Today, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Racine Mayor Cory Mason, UW-Green Bay Professor Jon Shelton, and Sunny Kurhajetz, a municipal employee from Madison joined Protect Our Care Wisconsin and For Our Future Wisconsin for a virtual press conference to urge the US Senate to pass President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, and provide desperately needed relief to Wisconsinites.

The American Rescue Plan, which includes historic and overwhelmingly popular provisions to lower health care costs and expand access to care, will provide state and local authorities with the resources they need to protect their communities during the pandemic. The plan includes funding to scale up vaccine distribution, protect families and frontline workers, and boost struggling local businesses. It will also lower premiums for Wisconsinites purchasing coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace and expand access to financial assistance for more middle-class families.  It also includes crucial measures to address racial disparities in COVID-19 treatment and outcomes.

Earlier this month, more than 400 members of the United States Conference of Mayors, including a bipartisan group of mayors from cities across Wisconsin, sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to pass the American Rescue Plan and deliver aid to their cities and residents immediately. These demands were echoed in a letter signed by a dozen advocacy organizations from across the state, pleading with Congress to “stand with Wisconsin’s families, frontline health care workers, and communities and pass the American Rescue Plan without delay.”

“There are some ideologues who claim that this package is too big — these folks are clearly trapped in the Washington bubble and disconnected from the economic pain that household budgets are facing,” said Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. “The risk is not doing too much, it’s doing too little.”

“This is a generational opportunity to respond to the moment of the time, and I hope that people can call on their better angels, and answer the call to stand together, and cross party lines to rescue the American public in their time of need,” said Racine Mayor Cory Mason, who described the toll of the pandemic on his community. “Every generation is called upon to take a defining vote — and that is what the American Rescue Plan is.” Mayor Mason urged the U.S. Senate to set aside partisan politics and take action, closing with “I just really hope people can see past the politics of the moment, and look at the history of the moment we are in, and take this opportunity to bring America back.”

“As Americans, we learn about who we are from crises, and we have a chance now to say that when things get tough, we put the health and livelihoods of every working person — black, brown, or white first, above everything else,” said UW-Green Bay Professor Jon Shelton, who praised frontline workers in Wisconsin and across the country as “heroes” for their work to keep our country running over the past year. “Passing the American Rescue Plan is a part of this tradition, and to do any less would be to depart from the core of what we have always done during crises: Make our nation freer and more democratic.”

“I really wish our elected officials sat in my seat, and heard people’s desperation in real time, so they would know that these people do not have time for partisan politics, and can’t wait on  election timelines for relief to come,” said Sunny Sunny Kurhajetz, a municipal employee from Madison, Wisconsin. “On behalf of my fellow Wsiconsinites, who I have the pleasure and honor of serving every day, I truly hope that our elected officials in the state legislature and in Washington look deep into their consciences and prove to us that party lines are not more important than the promises that they made to their constituents.”

You can watch the press conference here, and learn more about how President Biden’s American Rescue Plan would lower costs and expand access to health care here.
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