COVID-19 is here, and it has been a sobering week for Wisconsin. As schools close, sporting events cancel, and grocery aisles go bare, there is a sense of uneasiness.
In this time of need, communities across our state are coming together, whether it is the governor declaring a state of emergency or local school districts continuing to provide free meals for students. They are acting to protect the safety and wellbeing of Wisconsinites.
And, that’s what the people of Wisconsin should expect of their elected officials, during a time in which we need all hands on deck.
In our nation’s capital, there is a welcomed bipartisan effort as Republicans, Democrats and even President Donald Trump have come together in support of the Families First CoronaVirus Response Act., which passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 363-40.
I would like to thank Reps. Mark Pocan, Ron Kind, and Gwen Moore for their leadership in passing this legislation. It is critical that we take the necessary steps to contain the virus by addressing the financial insecurities facing many hardworking Wisconsinites.
People across our state are being forced to make the difficult decision between going to work sick or staying home without pay. They fear getting other people sick but they also fear not being able to pay their utility bill or mortgage.
While the Families First CoronaVirus Act is not perfect, it is the first step to providing the resources to protect the health and well-being of our citizens by providing two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of family medical leave, extending unemployment insurance, expanding food assistance, and increasing Medicaid funding.
This vital legislation is now with the Senate, and I urge Wisconsin Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin to support this bipartisan act. We need our federal representatives to lead in this time of uncertainty and advocate for resources that will help our people, their families, and our businesses.
As Governor Evers has stated, “this bipartisan effort to respond to the public health emergency that our nation faces is critical and must come quickly to ensure an appropriate public health and economic response.”
As elected officials, protecting Wisconsinites should be our number one priority. We simply do not have time for partisan politics. Coronavirus won’t wait, nor should we. Senator Johnson and Senator Baldwin please support the Families First CoronaVirus Act.
Sarah Godlewski is Wisconsin’s state treasurer. This column was produced in cooperation with the Progressive Media Project, which is run by The Progressive magazine.