Tammy Baldwin: 2024 is about fighting against a ‘return to chaos’

Sen. Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Dec. 6, 2022 (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

By Pat Kreitlow

April 3, 2024

The Wisconsin Democratic senator is seeking a third term in a state likely to decide whether Donald Trump gets back to the White House.

Ask her about the accomplishments she feels have earned her a third term in office and Sen. Tammy Baldwin will be ready with a wide-ranging list: lower prescription drug prices, investments in clean energy, helping veterans exposed to toxic chemicals on foreign battlefields, and the ability for adult children to remain covered on their parents’ health insurance until age 26, among others. She’s especially proud of the bipartisan nature of her track record.

“Those sorts of things are game changers and make you really think about what you can accomplish when you listen to your voters and then get to work,” Baldwin said during a one-on-one interview with UpNorthNews during a recent visit to the Chippewa Valley. “Just because you are identified as a conservative or liberal doesn’t mean you can’t find common ground.” 

Baldwin is taking nothing for granted in asking voters to keep her in the US Senate because she knows there’s an even larger race on the ballot that will impact hers and others down the ballot..

“It is not an exaggeration to say that Wisconsin could decide who occupies the White House, what party controls the United States Senate and House [of Representatives],” Baldwin said. “We are that battleground state that everyone is looking at. And you don’t have to go back many elections to see just how tight our statewide races usually are, oftentimes decided by less than one percentage point. So there is not a road to the White House or to the majority in the Senate that doesn’t go right through Wisconsin.”

In other words, it wouldn’t take many votes in Wisconsin to return former President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to power.

“It’ll be a return to chaos and a return to active threats against our very democracy,” Baldwin said. “His substantive agenda is very frightening. If you’ve seen him talk about his plans, he talks about being a dictator on day one. He talks about putting people who are totally loyal to him—not to our country, but to him—in places of high power.”

Specifically, Baldwin says putting Republicans back in charge will have negative impacts on some significant issues.

On women’s reproductive rights: “Donald Trump promoted the three [US Supreme Court] justices who made that [Dobbs] decision a reality. And he wants to double down with a national ban on abortion. We know that Joe Biden is going to protect reproductive freedoms, and that’s a huge difference.”

On affordable health care: “Repeal of the Affordable Care Act was an active agenda item for Donald Trump, and Joe Biden wants to build upon it and strengthen our healthcare system.”

On Social Security and Medicare: “My opponent is somebody who signed on to a measure that would raise the retirement age and reduce benefits.” 

Baldwin’s likely opponent, California bank owner Eric Hovde, gets specific criticism from Baldwin for his ongoing pledges to delay, reduce, or cut retirement benefits.

“I think of the people that I’ve met across the state of Wisconsin who couldn’t make ends meet if it weren’t for Social Security and Medicare,” Baldwin said. “There are ways to strengthen the solvency of Social Security that just involve everybody doing their fair share. There’s no need to tell folks who depend completely on Social Security that their benefits are going to be cut.”

Beyond the warnings of what could happen in 2024, Baldwin also highlighted her work for rural Wisconsin as the chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

“One of my greatest achievements in the last Farm Bill was something called the Dairy Business Innovation Act,” Baldwin said. “That act allows folks to get small or medium sized grants to improve their efficiency and do value-added activities on the farm. And for many, it’s really changing their businesses around and allowing them to flourish and prosper rather than come up short.”

Author

  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.

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