By Samantha Hilker
On Tuesday November 12, PAAW lobbyist Mike Brozek provided a recap of the recent elections, and shared his thoughts on how it will affect EMS in Wisconsin and across the US. Here are the high-points.
The recount in Arizona likely to go to Kyrsten Sinema, while the Florida recount is still in progress. Overall, the GOP maintained a majority in the senate, however it is a smaller majority than before.
The Democrats now hold a small majority in the House.
Wisconsin Gubernatorial Race
We knew the race for Governor was going to be close in Wisconsin. Below are a few factors why Governor Walker lost and what we can expect to see from Governor-Elect Evers as we move forward.
Governor Walker Loss Factors
- Voter weariness
- Some feel that the campaign didn’t have the organization or enthusiasm, but
- His numbers never amounted to a mandate
- Polls can’t be trusted, necessarily, as it all depends how questions are phrased; Marquette poll showed him neck and neck throughout the race.
- Staffing up
- He will be governing with both chambers firmly Republican, which may result in a slower state agenda and perhaps increased conflict.
- Governors have extra power in years before reapportionment. Redistricting will likely end up in court.
- Focused on education, transportation, healthcare but there was little information about logistics.
- Maggie Gau was Gov-Elect Evers campaign manager and has been appointed Chief of Staff. Her role in playing “traffic cop” for access to Evers will be challenging. When we know the members of the transition team, we can start reaching out.
- Governor Evers has been a constitutional officer for the state for many years already, which is unusual. He is familiar with bureaucracy.
- He will likely be a big advocate for education and teachers
Overall, there was very little change in the Wisconsin Assembly – the Republicans did gain 1 seat.
WI Attorney General
The loss of Brad Schimel was a bit surprising! Josh Kaul is the new Attorney General for the State of Wisconsin.
Mike believes we will likely see radical changes in personnel. Although we are not sure yet who will be selected, we do know each Governor brings in his own people. It is possible we may see some Democratic members of the legislature be selected.
Reflections on this Election
Wisconsin is changing its party composition and the suburbs around Milwaukee broke more Democratic than expected. Wisconsin seems to be a microcosm – reflective of the trends we’re seeing nationally.
We will learn more at the State of the State address, however, some things may remain unresolved even by then. We know the new governor will bring in his own budget, but we also know this will be challenging as it will be presented to a GOP-majority legislature. I anticipate some contracts will extend by 6 months to avoid any issues of continuity.
In Wisconsin, a Republican is still at the helm of Medicaid. Evers could have radical changes, or very few – he has not shared many concrete plans about healthcare. Wisconsin took federal Medicaid money, and is at (about) a 70/30 split in favor of federal funding; the $9 billion-dollar budget includes quite a bit of Federal money. Even as the department’s budget increased from $7b to $9b, EMS did not receive any additional funds.
PAAW continues to be in support of removing ‘ambulance’ language from NEMT (non-emergency medical transport) contracts. PAAW’s immediate past president Patrick Ryan is meeting with Mahlon Mitchell, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, to discuss how they can continue to make progress via coalition.
Although the Governor ran on healthcare as one of his three principals, it is not yet clear where he stands on balanced billing.
- PAAW is advised to do a complete inventory of history and future goals to develop a strategy and priorities. Change may bring opportunity.
- PAAW will work to host another update call with Mike Brozek or distribute additional content once the transition team is in place and additional details become clear.