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Commentary: Seniors shouldn’t have to unretire due to cost-of-living in Racine | Editorial

When you grow up having a tough childhood, you dream of the day that things will get easier. I was just 6 years old when I went into the foster care system. From living with alcoholic parents to being mistreated in foster homes, I longed for a future where I could finally chart my own course and feel stable. I’m now 73, yet, once again, feel the overwhelming uncertainty about the future.

I had six children at a very young age, four boys and two girls. I wanted to give them the world, so that they would never have to relive my reality as a child. After many years supporting my family as a retail department manager at Zayre, I retired to focus on my family, as my mother and oldest son needed in-home care. There was no other choice. Home care is expensive, and I wanted to be the support system for my family that I didn’t have growing up.

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Things haven’t been easy — emotionally or financially. And now, with prices going up and up, at the ripe age of 73, I have no choice but to go back to work.

The cost of living in Racine is on the rise and I’m struggling just to keep up. With the price of rent, groceries, gas all growing exponentially, my meager earnings are just not enough. I’m falling behind on my bills. I feel like I’m right back where I started, helpless, just like when I was in the foster home.

My entire life has been about surviving. And I had always imagined retirement to be different. Carefree, happy, without any worry of where my next dollar was going to come from. I even hoped to finally travel – and maybe even get on an airplane for the first time in my life.

Instead, I’m living off $821 every month with my Supplemental Security Income. My rent is $700, but rental assistance will only cover this expense until September, a deadline that I’m dreading. With rent taking almost all of my income, how am I going to afford everything else? I only have $44 in my bank account.

I just accepted a job offer through the Racine School District, but the pay leaves something to be desired. I requested $15, but was offered just $11.25 per hour, which is not a living wage in Racine. At six hours per day, five days a week, this barely puts a dent in my expenses.

The pandemic’s silver linings were the stimulus checks. Before the pandemic, I was paying out of pocket for prescriptions. I have more than four prescriptions, and the idea that I have to pay out of pocket for something that I need to stay alive every month bothers me — it’s just not right.

Now, a silver lining is that the Senate just passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which will lower the cost of prescription drugs. I don’t understand why Senator Ron Johnson voted against it — it’s one lifeline that Wisconsinites need to get by.

But the promise of some help from Washington doesn’t mean we don’t desperately need another stimulus here in Wisconsin. It would help everyone. It would help parents who have kids. It would help the elderly foot medical bills. We’re yearning for help, and politicians need to hear our cry.

I know the governor proposed $150 stimulus checks, but I don’t know why the legislature didn’t follow through. These benefits would go so far to support working families in our communities. It’s time politicians, both in Madison and Washington, come up with a concrete plan to make sure us citizens can afford to live.

Dorothy Bizzle is a 73-year-old mother and grandmother who lives in Racine. This editorial was written by Bizzle with support and promotion from WorkMoney, a union-linked nonprofit that describes itself as “dedicated to lowering costs and raising incomes for all Americans to make American life more affordable and American families more economically secure. We provide products, services, perks, benefits, tips, and tools to help members improve their financial lives.”

Mandela Barnes

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is the Democratic U.S. Senate frontrunner according to the Marquette Law School Poll, called for nationwide abortion protections and the abolition of the filibuster to achieve that goal.

“I firmly believe in every woman’s right to make decisions about her own body,” he said in a statement. “Politicians have no right to put restrictions on that decision.”

Barnes said he would vote in favor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, the leading effort to codify the right to an abortion nationwide.

The measure would permit abortions any time before fetal viability and after viability as long as the pregnancy could pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.

Alex Lasry

Alex Lasry

Milwaukee Bucks executive-on-leave Alex Lasry also said he supports Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s Women’s Health Protection Act.

Speaking from the U.S. Supreme Court the night the majority draft opinion came out, Lasry warned such a decision would lead to an almost complete abortion ban in Wisconsin. 

Polling second in the Democratic Senate primary according to the Marquette poll, Lasry said he supports the proposal that guarantees “a pregnant person’s right to access an abortion — and the right of an abortion provider to deliver these abortion services — free from medically unnecessary restrictions that interfere with a patient’s individual choice or the provider-patient relationship.”

Sarah Godlewski

Sarah Godlewski

State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, the only female top-tier Senate candidate, campaigned on codifying Roe before the leaked draft opinion made national headlines.

She “opposes abortion restrictions that endanger or punish women,” Godlewski spokesperson Sarah Abel said in a statement. She has also expressed support for the Women’s Health Protection Act.

After the leak, Godlewski expressed frustration at Democrats’ fruitless attempts to codify Roe and ran an ad blasting Johnson for supporting reversing a case that guaranteed abortion protections nationwide for nearly 50 years.

“Sarah believes these personal and complicated decisions should be left to women and their doctors,” Abel said.

Tom Nelson

Tom Nelson

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson said he would vote to eliminate the filibuster and codify Roe if he were a U.S. senator after Politico broke the news about the leaked draft.

“A woman’s right to choose is absolute. I trust women to make their own medical decisions,” the Democratic Senate candidate said in a statement. “I have a 100% NARAL and Planned Parenthood voting record over three terms (2005-11) in the state Assembly — no one else in the field can match that.”

Saying reproductive rights were on the ballot in November, Nelson also said he favors expanding the U.S. Supreme Court. Conservative justices currently hold a 6-3 majority on the court.

After the leak, Nelson said, “The Supreme Court has shown their hand. Senator Chuck Schumer must call a special session to blow up the filibuster and codify Roe now.”

Gov. Tony Evers

Gov. Tony Evers

Soon after the Roe leak made national headlines, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers led a coalition of 17 governors across the country calling on Congress to pass Baldwin’s Women’s Health Protection Act.

Still on the books but unenforceable since Roe, a resumption of the state ban would swamp Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ efforts to stand as a bulwark between the Republican-controlled Legislature and a full-fledged abortion ban.

Still, he said he “will fight every day” for access to abortion and reproductive rights as long as he is governor.

Rebecca Kleefisch

Rebecca Kleefisch

Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, whom the Marquette poll shows is the clear Republican frontrunner in the gubernatorial race, said she supports Wisconsin’s law that bans abortion in almost every instance except for when the mother’s life is at risk.

Asked during a Fox6 interview whether she would support additional exceptions for rape and incest, Kleefisch said she wouldn’t because she doesn’t “think it’s the baby’s fault how the baby is conceived.”

She also said she hoped and prayed for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe. In the past, Kleefisch said she would support a bill banning abortions after doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat.

Kevin Nicholson debate

Kevin Nicholson debate

Management consultant and Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Nicholson has called himself “100% pro-life” and said he prays Roe gets overturned.

While he once supported abortion rights, Nicholson said in a survey that he would ban abortions in all cases.

“I’m honored to be the only candidate for governor endorsed by both Pro-Life Wisconsin and Wisconsin Family Action PAC,” he said in a statement.

As governor, Nicholson said he would “(end) state funding of Planned Parenthood and (support) existing pregnancy resource centers around our state.”

Timothy Ramthun

Timothy Ramthun

State Rep. Tim Ramthun, R-Campbellsport, who is running for governor, also has called himself “100% pro-life.”

Ramthun and Nicholson are the only two gubernatorial candidates endorsed by Pro-Life Wisconsin, a group that opposes abortion ban exceptions for rape, incest or the life and health of the mother.

He also voted against a package of anti-abortion legislation because they contained exceptions for when abortion would be permitted.

“A child should never suffer for the sins of their mothers or fathers, and all life is sacred,” he said in a statement.

Tim Michels



Mandela Barnes

Mandela Barnes

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is the Democratic U.S. Senate frontrunner according to the Marquette Law School Poll, called for nationwide abortion protections and the abolition of the filibuster to achieve that goal.

“I firmly believe in every woman’s right to make decisions about her own body,” he said in a statement. “Politicians have no right to put restrictions on that decision.”

Barnes said he would vote in favor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, the leading effort to codify the right to an abortion nationwide.

The measure would permit abortions any time before fetal viability and after viability as long as the pregnancy could pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.



Alex Lasry

Alex Lasry

Milwaukee Bucks executive-on-leave Alex Lasry also said he supports Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s Women’s Health Protection Act.

Speaking from the U.S. Supreme Court the night the majority draft opinion came out, Lasry warned such a decision would lead to an almost complete abortion ban in Wisconsin. 

Polling second in the Democratic Senate primary according to the Marquette poll, Lasry said he supports the proposal that guarantees “a pregnant person’s right to access an abortion — and the right of an abortion provider to deliver these abortion services — free from medically unnecessary restrictions that interfere with a patient’s individual choice or the provider-patient relationship.”



Sarah Godlewski

Sarah Godlewski

State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, the only female top-tier Senate candidate, campaigned on codifying Roe before the leaked draft opinion made national headlines.

She “opposes abortion restrictions that endanger or punish women,” Godlewski spokesperson Sarah Abel said in a statement. She has also expressed support for the Women’s Health Protection Act.

After the leak, Godlewski expressed frustration at Democrats’ fruitless attempts to codify Roe and ran an ad blasting Johnson for supporting reversing a case that guaranteed abortion protections nationwide for nearly 50 years.

“Sarah believes these personal and complicated decisions should be left to women and their doctors,” Abel said.



Tom Nelson

Tom Nelson

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson said he would vote to eliminate the filibuster and codify Roe if he were a U.S. senator after Politico broke the news about the leaked draft.

“A woman’s right to choose is absolute. I trust women to make their own medical decisions,” the Democratic Senate candidate said in a statement. “I have a 100% NARAL and Planned Parenthood voting record over three terms (2005-11) in the state Assembly — no one else in the field can match that.”

Saying reproductive rights were on the ballot in November, Nelson also said he favors expanding the U.S. Supreme Court. Conservative justices currently hold a 6-3 majority on the court.

After the leak, Nelson said, “The Supreme Court has shown their hand. Senator Chuck Schumer must call a special session to blow up the filibuster and codify Roe now.”



Gov. Tony Evers

Gov. Tony Evers

Soon after the Roe leak made national headlines, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers led a coalition of 17 governors across the country calling on Congress to pass Baldwin’s Women’s Health Protection Act.

Still on the books but unenforceable since Roe, a resumption of the state ban would swamp Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ efforts to stand as a bulwark between the Republican-controlled Legislature and a full-fledged abortion ban.

Still, he said he “will fight every day” for access to abortion and reproductive rights as long as he is governor.



Rebecca Kleefisch

Rebecca Kleefisch

Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, whom the Marquette poll shows is the clear Republican frontrunner in the gubernatorial race, said she supports Wisconsin’s law that bans abortion in almost every instance except for when the mother’s life is at risk.

Asked during a Fox6 interview whether she would support additional exceptions for rape and incest, Kleefisch said she wouldn’t because she doesn’t “think it’s the baby’s fault how the baby is conceived.”

She also said she hoped and prayed for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe. In the past, Kleefisch said she would support a bill banning abortions after doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat.



Kevin Nicholson debate

Kevin Nicholson debate

Management consultant and Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Nicholson has called himself “100% pro-life” and said he prays Roe gets overturned.

While he once supported abortion rights, Nicholson said in a survey that he would ban abortions in all cases.

“I’m honored to be the only candidate for governor endorsed by both Pro-Life Wisconsin and Wisconsin Family Action PAC,” he said in a statement.

As governor, Nicholson said he would “(end) state funding of Planned Parenthood and (support) existing pregnancy resource centers around our state.”



Timothy Ramthun

Timothy Ramthun

State Rep. Tim Ramthun, R-Campbellsport, who is running for governor, also has called himself “100% pro-life.”

Ramthun and Nicholson are the only two gubernatorial candidates endorsed by Pro-Life Wisconsin, a group that opposes abortion ban exceptions for rape, incest or the life and health of the mother.

He also voted against a package of anti-abortion legislation because they contained exceptions for when abortion would be permitted.

“A child should never suffer for the sins of their mothers or fathers, and all life is sacred,” he said in a statement.



Tim Michels

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