What Happened & What’s Next: An UpNorth Year in Review
From Republicans celebrating the overturning of Roe v. Wade to Democrats securing another four years in the governor’s mansion, 2022 was a busy year in Wisconsin politics.
Here are three of the best moments:
1. Election Deniers Lose Decisively
It turns out Wisconsin voters actually want their votes to count and favor truth over Trump. In the race for governor, Democrat Gov. Tony Evers decisively beat Tim Michels (by a margin three times larger than 2018).
Michels repeatedly pushed the former president’s lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” and even said he was open to decertifying Biden’s win in the state.
Voters also gave Democrat Attorney General Josh Kaul another four-year term. Sometimes referred to as “the people’s lawyer,” the AG is the state’s chief legal officer– responsible for protecting Wisconsin voters from Republicans who try to overturn election results.
2. Universal Health Care Wins in Rural, Red Wisconsin
For the first time ever, an unusually progressive question was not only on the ballot, but passed in the typically-conservative western Wisconsin county of Dunn: Should the United States provide universal health care?
51.5% of voters said yes, however, like referendum questions about abortion rights or marijuana legalization, it won’t change any laws yet. But advocates, like Dunn County Board member John Calabrese, hopes the vote is part of a shift away from seeing expanded health care coverage as a left vs. right issue.
“I think we can speak to this issue in a way that’s not partisan,” Calabrese told us before Election Day.
In 2020, 56% percent of Dunn County voters supported Trump, while 42% voted for Biden.
3. Some Lawmakers Still Work Towards Bipartisanship
At times when it feels like Democrats and Republicans can’t possibly be living in the same state in terms of how different they see certain issues, some lawmakers are still working to find common ground. Take Francesca Hong, Madison’s state assemblywoman, for example. Hong, who also owns a popular ramen restaurant just off the Square, frequently schedules time for coffee and conversation with Republicans, in hopes of compromise.
“I sat down with a Republican representative [recently],” she told us in the fall. “We talked about the importance of having new representation in the Senate. We talked about PFAs regulation and how clean water is something all of our communities deserve access to. There are absolutely conversations happening across the aisle.”
What Does This Mean for 2023 (& beyond)?
Your vote matters, and it will continue to. Had they won, Republicans promised to make voting more difficult, questioning whether they’d even accept future election results. Evers will continue using his veto power against the state legislature to uphold election laws and protect your vote.