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Hero of the Week: Rep. Sandra Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay)

Plus Jerks and Letters of the Week

Feb. 18, 2009
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North Shore residents elected Democrat Sandra Pasch in November because they felt her long career in health care and sensitivity to providers and patients would result in sensible legislation. Pasch has just delivered on that promise by introducing a bill in the state Assembly that protects women who breast-feed. If approved, no one could interfere with a breast-feeding mom, even if she’s in public. More than 40 states have passed similar legislation. Pasch and the bill’s supporters argue that breast-feeding is healthier for babies, and the percentage of Wisconsin moms who breast-feed— fewer than 68%—is below the national average of 74%.

Jerk of the Week: F. Jim Sensenbrenner

The House of Representatives, usually caught up in partisan games, actually came together today to vote on something so noncontroversial and common-sense that only 25 members voted against it.

That noncontroversial, bipartisan legislation? HR 448: the Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2009, which establishes specialized elder abuse prosecution and research programs, provides training to prosecutors and other law enforcement, and establishes programs that provide for emergency crisis response teams.

Who was among the 25 who voted against protecting the elderly from abuse? F. Jim Sensenbrenner. Why is he giving a free pass to those who commit such a sickening crime?

Letter of the Week

To the editors:

Rep. Paul Ryan opposes President Obama’s stimulus bill, which would help cities like Milwaukee to maintain their essential services. You have to give him credit for being consistent.

I was in the room back in March 2003 when the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin urged Rep. Ryan to support increased federal aid to states and cities, to help them maintain adequate fire department staffing in the face of looming deficits. Rep. Ryan told us there was simply no money for that.

Instead, he told us his priority was to pass President Bush’s $500 billion tax cut as quickly as possible. We warned him that such a reduction in tax revenues would make it even more difficult to maintain essential government services, but he was not persuaded.

His party’s other priority became clear a few days later, when our bombs began to fall on Baghdad. That invasion and occupation has cost us another $500 billion so far.

In the six years since that conversation, we have helped train over a thousand firefighters in Iraq, while we have cut over 100 firefighter positions in Milwaukee alone.

After eagerly spending hundreds of billions of dollars to make life better for Iraqi citizens, it is difficult to fathom why Rep. Ryan opposes doing the same to make life better for Wisconsin citizens.

Sean Duffey, Milwaukee Firefighter

Quote of the Week

“I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.” —Actor Morgan Freeman


Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has the power to appoint a commissioner to privatize primarily black and Latino Milwaukee Public Schools in a turnaround district. Will this privatization plan improve student performance?

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