Black Lives, Black Votes Wisconsin: Interview #2 Stephanie Deena Findley

Stephanie Deena Findley of Milwaukee is an active, outspoken voice for social and economic justice. We connected via Facebook following some of the more dramatic changes that have taken place in Wisconsin following the rise of Governor Scott Walker.  I admire her commitment to raising her voice and to promoting other people who work for justice. 11893888_10206305679613664_1162416033648305672_o

In your view, how have Wisconsin politics changed since the inauguration of Governor Scott Walker in 2011?

Wisconsin politics have changed so much since Scott Walker’s inauguration that I barely recognize the state at all. The war against unions, voter suppression laws which limits the number of days and hours of early voting is ridiculous. The fact we need to show an ID to vote is even more cumbersome since voter fraud is a myth trumped up by the Republican Party to suppress votes coming out of Democratic stronghold cities and counties. The laws appearing on the agenda in the assembly and the senate do absolutely nothing to help lift families out of poverty in the state, but instead add on to the existing poverty that has been mounting for decades since manufacturers robbed the taxpayers and fled overseas to avoid American tax laws. The state continues to rob the citizens by adding more taxes and fees to the services provided. And, to top it all off, WEDC is the biggest disappointment of all time.  The agency developed to increase business in the state has actually had individuals stealing from it without any accountability measures in place by the administration. “Where is the oversight?” is the question we the taxpayers should continue to ask.

It’s been about two years since the state legislative action to shut down components of early voting in Madison in Milwaukee. What is your view on the legislation- its motivations, its effects, how people have responded to it, etc.?

This is tragic for our state and our politics. People have to work in order to survive, and early voting hours have been decreased to no weekends and the latest we can stay open is 7pm.  I understand limiting early voting in some areas of the state, but to limit early voting in larger municipalities is shameful and plays right into what the Republicans have been attempting to do for years by suppressing Democratic votes, especially in presidential elections.  I don’t believe people have responded to this legislation appropriately.  We should be outraged and still marching in the streets calling out the Republicans and accusing them of being poor losers.

What we are attempting to do is push for employees to use their 3 hour time off of work to go down and early vote, because it is a requirement by law for employers to allow their employees this time off to vote.  The more people we educate on this law, the better we will turn out our base.

What are your thoughts on this year’s presidential election?

This presidential election is like a sleeper. I blame the DNC because they are attempting to hand it over to Hillary Clinton without any regard for how the people feel. They limited the debates times and schedule so most Americans would be tuned out to what’s going on. I have decided to support Bernie Sanders because over the last 30 years he has been beating the drum against trade agreements, for civil rights and against Wall Street.  I feel he speaks to me, and I wish more Democrats were turning out to witness and understand what is going on.  I am very disappointed in the DNC and am fearful we will not see a large Democratic turnout in November. If we lose this election we all will know who to blame.  The rise of Trump, I didn’t see coming at all.  I just assumed the American people who elected President Barack Obama would buck Donald Trump and right now I am not seeing them do that, so it would be quite telling as to what happens in the general elections.

What are your hopes for our state and country over the next decade?

I hope and pray we find a real Democrat with real democratic values who can beat Scott Walker in 2018. If we elect a Democrat back into the governor’s office, I want them to turn around a lot of the policies enacted by Walker and his cronies. I would like to see Wisconsin thriving again and become the innovative state it has always been.   I would like to see it work to build new industries and opportunities to put our residents to work in living wage jobs.


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