ICYMI: Rep. Jill Billings, Small Business Owners and Community Leaders in La Crosse Call on Wisconsinites to Vote NO on Constitutional Amendments

Jul 02, 2024

ICYMI: Rep. Jill Billings, Small Business Owners and Community Leaders in La Crosse Call on Wisconsinites to Vote NO on Constitutional Amendments

MADISON, Wis. — Today, Representative Jill Billings joined La Crosse small business owner Penny Fassler and ARPA funding recipient Andrew Rasmussen at a press conference in La Crosse urging Wisconsinites to vote NO on two misleading constitutional amendment ballot questions placed on the August 2024 primary ballot by right-wing politicians in Wisconsin’s Legislature. 

This was the first event in a statewide push to remind Wisconsinites of the dangerous impacts these constitutional amendments could have for Wisconsin’s small businesses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, quick action from Gov. Evers to deploy federal aid was essential to ensuring Main Streets across Wisconsin were able to recover and community organizations could support their neighbors. Now, Republican politicians are attempting to trick voters into eliminating checks and balances to give themselves sole control over critical federal funds. 

See what speakers had to say, in part, below:

“These amendments are written to trick voters into eliminating checks and balances in our government. These amendments are, in simple terms, a Republican power grab […] I have a front row seat to Republican obstruction, and I’ve seen how Republicans can’t even distribute state monies properly. Right now, members of the legislature are refusing to release already-approved crisis funding for western Wisconsin hospitals in the wake of hospital closures by HSHS and Prevea Health in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls and additional funding to clean toxic chemicals from our water,” said Rep. Jill Billings. “It’s because of quick action by Governor Evers that small business owners in La Crosse and throughout Wisconsin had access to federal relief funding to help them recover from COVID. Since 2021, nearly 100 small businesses in La Crosse County alone received federal funding through the Main Street Bounceback program—funding that might not have been available were it up to the Republicans in charge of our State Legislature.”

“Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge has received ARPA funds to expand our Runaway Homeless Youth Services and our youth programming. These funds were crucial as we worked to revive our organizational mission and work past the effects of COVID […] I am not completely certain that if the funds were not distributed the way they were that our organization or marginalized communities would have been able to access these dollars,” said B.L.A.C.K. Board Member Andrew Rasmussen. “We were also able to purchase much-needed supplies and resources to assist with the continued development of our soon-to-be La Crosse youth shelter. We cannot allow people that do not value this work to dictate how the money is spent.” 

“Small businesses rely on one another to succeed, and when one storefront goes dark, the entire community feels it. Without Governor Evers’ quick action to support Main Streets across Wisconsin, too many businesses like mine would have been forced to shut their doors for good. That’s why I’m here today to urge supporters of small businesses here in La Crosse to VOTE NO on the two constitutional amendment questions on the August 13 primary ballot,” said Vision of Light Stained Glass owner Penny Fassler. “Here in La Crosse, we know the value that our small businesses and nonprofits bring to our community. We have seen first hand […] how critical the release of federal funding is when communities like ours are in need.”