By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
This past Sunday afternoon, Senator Tammy Baldwin met with several reporters for a candid conversation between the press and a politician. Baldwin, who is running for reelection, used this opportunity to express her goals and campaign strategy.
Her journey into politics began in 1986 when she was elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors, according to her website. This moment marked her trajectory into the world of state and federal government.
In 1992, the people elected her for the Wisconsin State Assembly, and several years later in 1998, she became a member of Congress. Later, in 2012, she joined the Senate. Baldwin most recently demonstrated her commitment to the people of Milwaukee by establishing a campaign office on North Avenue. It was there she headed a Reporter Roundtable.
During the conversation, Baldwin called Milwaukee the economic engine of the state. She expressed her desire to increase apprenticeship and training opportunities for high school graduates, retired military personnel and previously incarcerated individuals.
Milwaukee, according to the census, has the highest number of incarcerated male African Americans. An issue which Baldwin discussed.
She explained that almost all criminal law is decided on the state level, and only a crime which takes places over several state lines, for example, can fall under federal law. That being said, as Senator for Wisconsin, Baldwin is working hard to help change state policy.
Currently, Wisconsin has several policies or laws that have made it more difficult for a felon to lead a life as a citizen. One of these is known as the “truth in sentencing” law which Wisconsin established in 1998, according to JSonline.
Under this law, offenders must serve their full sentence, which means no time off for good behavior. Another law is “Three Strikes,” which states that if a previous offender commits another crime they receive a “strike” on their record. More than three strikes result in longer sentences, according to WIcriminaldefense.com.
It should be noted, Wisconsin established a “ban the box” law, which allows former felons to apply for jobs without initially stating their criminal record. Additionally, JSonline stated that felons can once again vote upon completion of their sentence.
In the past, Baldwin has worked with non-profit groups such as Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) which work with felons in aiding them with their reentry back into society.
In addition to her work in changing criminal law, Baldwin also commented on the status of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals better known as DACA and Dreamers, as well as her efforts to engage the next generation of voters.
Currently, DACA has been stalled in Congress, but the uncertainty surrounding its future remains. Baldwin explained that when working to get the Raise the Family Caregivers Act passed, she spoke with people who relayed their stories of being a caregiver.
She used this example as a demonstration of what can happen when stories and experiences are shared. If Dreamers shared their stories, she alluded that it could help pass them in the long term.
Her final topic pertained to the youth of America, whose voices have become stronger over the course of the year. Through their efforts, a nationwide march was held asking for stricter gun regulations and a more common-sense policy.
Baldwin has spoken with Rufus King High School Students, participated in the March for Our Lives in Madison and most recently spoke at the College Democrats Event at Marquette University.
She commended the youth for their effort and cited their passion and determination as an inspiration.
To learn more about Senator Baldwin, including her policies and voting records, go to www.baldwin.senate.gov.