Democratic events in

Pierce County and beyond

Holiday Party 
Monday, December 18
6 PM Mix and Mingle 

Enjoy the warmth of the season with good friends and Democrats, like 

Senator Jeff Smith and Rebecca Cooke,
as we prepare to launch into the 2024 election year!

Bring a dish or libation and a smile to share. Sandwiches, wine, beer and soft drinks
will be provided.

We’ll look for you there!

Time's up. The Universities of Wisconsin are running out of time. Employees are stretched thin, students are overstressed and underprepared for college after two years of struggling to learn online during high school, and administrators are busy shoring up their own jobs by pointing fingers of blame at anyone, everyone else but themselves.

The state has a $7 billion dollar surplus, over $1,000 per man, woman and child. The pandemic is in the rearview mirror. The Wisconsin legislature responded by cutting the UWS budget, further gutting public higher education for many Wisconsinites on top of pandemic setbacks. 

They have denied raises to all UWRF employees, essentially telling them that their work isn’t worthwhile and inflation is a hoax. They’ve mislabeled college students as snowflake liberals who all support Hamas, which is patently false. Walk down Cascade Avenue or Main Street and count the Hamas banners. 

The UWRF administration’s response is to pivot to online classes. The Chamber and the bars and restaurants up and down Main Street should be very concerned about this strategy. Online students don’t buy groceries and pizzas (and other stuff), they don’t rent apartments, their parents don’t come visit, and they don’t participate in athletics. This budget issue is a Main Street and community issue.

The end is definitely coming, and fast, for reasonable access to public higher education in Wisconsin. What will our small town become when the campus shuts down? Fund UWRF. Contact your legislators today.

November 16, 2023
Pierce County Journal


To read previous Perspectives, click here or go to The Pierce Perspective link in the menu above.

November 29, 2023

Consider the Source Before Giving Your Trust Blindly

by Senator Jeff Smith

I receive hundreds of emails a week about a variety of issues. Some are original and informed, while others are auto-generated form emails. Certain advocacy groups have a history of harnessing misinformation and outrage to drive such emails.

In my time as an elected official, I’ve learned a lot about what advocacy groups to trust. Every background information memo received from advocacy groups must be combed over closely to understand why they want me to support or oppose legislation. Trust goes a long way in politics, but verification is equally important.

Recently, at a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Utilities and Technology, we held a public hearing on Senate Bill 481 (SB 481). Testimony at that hearing clearly demonstrated the importance of trust in politics. SB 481 has to do with allowing Wisconsin’s existing electric utilities to have the first opportunity to expand and enhance our current energy infrastructure and for them to be regulated by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, our state’s utility regulators. The nickname for this bill is the “Right of First Refusal,” or ROFR (pronounced ROW-fer) for short.

This legislation was introduced last session, and advocacy groups like Americans for Prosperity leveled unproven claims unsupported by facts. This group notoriously sounds and looks like a grassroots group, but it’s funded by wealthy corporations. They’ve used baseless attacks on good bills, because there’s money to be made for out-of-state, unknown corporations. These corporations want to take control of our electric distribution infrastructure, replacing trusted providers who have served Wisconsin for decades.

Before the recent public hearing, folks across the state were getting emails and seeing social media ads saying this bill would increase electricity rates. Trusting this information, folks put their names on form emails declaring their opposition to the bill and demanding we vote “no.”

Unfortunately many people gave their trust without verifying the source or the accuracy of this information. Throughout the hearing we heard conjecture and “free-market” political ideology that managed to convince people, without evidence, to believe rate increases are inevitable.

During the hearing, my colleagues and I repeatedly asked opponents of this bill for hard evidence backing up their claims. Oddly, the only documentation used as proof was that rates have increased 10% over the last decade. They offered no evidence that the increases were linked to policies like these.

Legislation like ROFR has been passed in other states, so there should be evidence, but these individuals couldn’t provide documentation because rate increases didn’t happen.

Building transmission lines and associated infrastructure for the 21st century is expensive. It gets more expensive when delays and missteps occur, as we’ve seen in other states where the bidding process was too loose and left to oversimplification. This bill prevents unnecessary costs and preserves what little control our state has in developing reliable and affordable energy infrastructure.

Do we want to be at the mercy of out-of-state “one size fits all” entities? It’s happening in other states, but Wisconsin doesn’t need to be added to that list. When we invest in local companies, we invest in companies that are more responsive to our local needs.

ROFR is a bipartisan effort to preserve Wisconsin control in our energy infrastructure. We don’t encounter this kind of bipartisan agreement every day, and it says a lot about the aim of this bill and how it will help Wisconsin.

It’s wise to investigate all sides of an argument before handing over your trust. There is plenty of information at your fingertips. Every bill proposed has a public analysis done by the Legislative Reference Bureau, a legislative nonpartisan service agency.

Before posting misinformed comments or signing your name to emails someone else has composed for you, take the time to look up the bill and ask questions of the bill’s authors. You can always count on my office to give you details and relevant information whenever you as a constituent contact me about an issue.

Trust must constantly be earned and reaffirmed to be lasting and meaningful, and that’s as it should be. Your trust is important – don’t give it up too easily.


Senator Smith represents District 31 in the Wisconsin State Senate. The 31st Senate District includes all of Buffalo, Pepin and Trempealeau counties and portions of Pierce, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson and St. Croix counties.


For more from Senator Smith, go to his website at:

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