LA CROSSE, Wis. — Wisconsin Democrats met in La Crosse Sunday, just two days after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, changing the political landscape around abortion.
It was a big issue at their Democratic State Convention, but not the only issue for U.S. Senate candidates running to take on Republican Senator Ron Johnson.
The speeches were short and specific with each candidate getting five minutes to make their case to voters in the room and around the state.
State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski is the only woman in the U.S. Senate Democratic primary and immediately talked about the Senate needing to protect abortion rights. "It's one of the reasons why I'm running for the U.S. Senate, because I am sick of this body (the Senate) treating our reproductive freedom like it's some sort of extra credit project," said Godlewski.
Alex Lasry also called on the Senate to end the filibuster and codify Roe v. Wade. But he also leaned on his time as a Milwaukee Bucks executive to talk about creating jobs. "When we set out to build not just a basketball arena, but a jobs program that gave opportunities for minority-owned and women-owned businesses while paying a $15 minimum wage with a union, we delivered," said Lasry.
Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes talked about growing up in Milwaukee in a union household. Barnes agrees abortion and voting rights are on the ballot this year.
"We have an opportunity right now to rebuild the middle class, to give everyone in this country a fair shot to the American dream, to bring manufacturing back home and support our farmers like never before," Barnes said.
Tom Nelson is the County Executive in Outagamie County. He supports expanding the U.S. Supreme Court from its current nine justices but did not say by how many. On healthcare, "I'm the Democrat who alone among the candidates has consistently campaigned on Medicare for all as the only way to fix our broken system," said Nelson.
Barnes, Godlewski, Lasry and Nelson have all qualified for TMJ4's Democratic U.S. Senate primary debate at Marquette University on July 17.
The four other Senate candidates running are polling at one percent or less in the recent Marquette Poll: Kou Lee, Steven Olikara, Peter Peckarsky and Darrell Williams. You can see their entire speeches and all the speeches from the Senate candidates here: