Let’s Stand Together
State Assembly, District 18
Vote August 14, 2012
I was born and raised in Milwaukee’s 18th Assembly District. As a young child, I
attended both school and church in the district. After graduating high school, I moved
away from Wisconsin but returned and started a family. I have a bachelor’s degree from
UW-Milwaukee and two Master’s degrees from UCLA’s and UW-Madison.
Milwaukee and Wisconsin need a new kind of elected leadership. We need leaders that
are forward looking; leaders that believe in collaboration instead of isolation; leaders that
are aware that the old strategies to creating jobs, educating the children and keeping us
healthy will not work as we move further into the 21st century.
It would be an honor to represent the 18th Assembly District in the State legislature. My
goals as Representative are to initiate and support policies that improve community life
through higher education standards, growth of local businesses, and expanding health and
social services for struggling families.
I know you have to decide which candidate is best suited to represent the 18th Assembly
District, so I wrote this document to introduce myself and explain my position on some of
the major issues affecting the district, Milwaukee and the state. Please take a moment to
read the entire document, and then go to my website, http://www.jarettfields.com and
share your thoughts.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Metro-Milwaukee
is dropping. Manpower reported recently, “Employers expect to hire at a bullish pace in
the July-September quarter in metro Milwaukee.” The Milwaukee 7 economic
development group estimated that 5,600 industrial jobs are going unfilled. These are not
jobs that require Master’s degrees, but “skilled trades,” such as steamfitters, tool-and-die
makers, construction workers, bricklayers, electricians and industrial workers. While the
greater Milwaukee area show positive change in the economy, the residents of 18th
Assembly District, primarily African American, are having a very difficult time
participating in the recovery.
In order to have a full recovery, we need policies and strategies to address this problem.
We need fundamental change to how inner-city workers and its communities prepare for
the upcoming opportunities. The city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin are poised
and ready to become a leader in 21st century jobs that connect natural resources and
economics with sustainable growth. Connections between our fabulous universities,
existing and growing businesses, and responsible legislation can help us reach our full
potential. I am excited about the future of Wisconsin, but the state will not achieve its
fullest potential unless we roll our sleeves and work together to improve the economic
situation of every Wisconsinite.
Here are my recommendations:
Improve the coordination between workers and work. We all need to work
together to find the most efficient way to match those who need a job with those
need an employee. I will bring the private, non-profit, religious and public sectors
together to create a one-stop shop to find a job.
Work with the governor and Mayor Barrett on implementing their strategy to
maximize the number of jobs created by initiatives like "Transform Milwaukee".
Expand and update the trades we currently call "Skilled Trades". Today most
people think skilled trades refer to steam fitting, plumbing, tool-and-die making,
construction and masonry. While these are still very well paying jobs, there are
many new jobs in advanced manufacturing, sustainable-energy, automotive,
healthcare and construction industries that require a new set of skills. No one is
talking about industrial robot programming and maintenance, 3-D printer
maintenance and support or wind-turbine maintenance. I will work hard to get
Milwaukee Public Schools, Charter and Choice schools, MATC, the Job Corp and
the State Workforce Development and the private-sector together to create a
strong integrated training program to maximize the number of individual trained
for today and future skill trades.
There is no shortage of small-businesses in the 18th Assembly District. The
problem is most of these businesses barely support the owners’ families. A few
more hire one or two employees and a very small number hire 10 or more
employees. Small businesses are responsible for the majority of new jobs created.
I will work to introduce legislation and policies to attract more high-growth
entrepreneurs to the inner-city of Milwaukee, especially the ones that are focused
on growth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
I will support legislation that Increase state funds and grants available to small,
women and minority-owned businesses.
I will leverage the federal EB-5 program to attract foreign entrepreneurs, who will
create high-growth businesses, to the inner-city. I will work tirelessly to market
the virtues and strengths of Milwaukee's central city.
I will work with the greater community to identify and develop sustainable
business clusters that can succeed in the central-city.
As an educator, I’m interested in improving the culture of education in Milwaukee to
promote college success and job readiness. I believe we can leverage the talent and
resources of our local universities to build more institutional connections with our K-12
schools. Building a pipeline of success for students from kindergarten through college
will build a more skilled, sustainable, and able work force.
Support need-based partnerships with corporations, organizations, and non-profits to
improve access to resources and exposure.
Increase Math and Science requirements to reflect admissions standards to 4-year
universities in the state.
Streamline school administrative, teaching, and staff responsibilities to improve
efficiency and instruction.
Restructure and re-brand summer school to attract more poor and minority students to
summer school to reduce the number of students needing remedial services.
I will work with Ray Cross, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and
University of Wisconsin Extension, to make sure the new UW Flexible Degree is a
If the UW Flexible Degree initiative does not go far enough, I will introduce legislation
to make UW colleges and universities more affordable for all Wisconsin students.
I will work to make UW colleges and universities more accessible by Wisconsin adults
and military veterans.
Increase funds dedicated to students participating in the Wisconsin Covenant.
Expand partnerships with local corporations to boost internship and job opportunities
for graduating students.
Reward growth in retention and graduation rates for all students attending UW System
institutions, Wisconsin Technical Colleges, and Private Universities.
I will work with DPI, UW Board of regents and the private-sector to streamline
elementary and higher education to meet the future workforce needs of Wisconsin.
Changes in delivery of education
The delivery of education is changing at every level. Teachers are becoming facilitators
instead of lecturers and the pace of learning is becoming more individualized. Companies
like Coursera and Kahn Academy make world-class elementary and higher education
available anywhere, anytime for little or no cost. Unless a standard high-speed broadband
network is available everywhere in Wisconsin, I am afraid our poor urban and rural
students will be left behind. I intend to make sure that does not happen.
Health care costs are projected to reach $20,728 this year for a family of four insured
through the most common health plan offered by employers, according to the annual
Milliman Medical Index, an actuarial and consulting firm with an office in Milwaukee.
The index includes the cost of health insurance and out-of-pocket costs, such as
deductibles and co-pays.
This year, employers will pay an average of $12,144 toward the total cost, while
employees will pay the remaining $8,584 through their share of the cost of health
insurance and out-of-pocket expenses.
Over 80 percent of the two trillion dollars spent on healthcare in the United States each
year goes toward treatment of chronic diseases (McKenna and Collins, 2010). In
Wisconsin, the estimated cost to the Medicaid system of six chronic diseases (heart
disease, heart failure, hypertension, stroke, diabetes and cancer) is $1.15 billion annually.
This expense represents 4 percent of the state’s entire operating budget. We have to do all
we can to curb these costs. I will make reducing healthcare costs to government,
employers and families a top priority.
Here is what I think we need to do:
Work with local community organizations to promote, monitor and educate
families a more healthy diet, significantly increasing physical activity, eliminating
tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke and reducing alcohol consumption.
Encourage people to take responsibility for their own health. I will propose we
offer a state tax reduction to businesses and individuals for meeting certain
Increase funding for community health programs that address chronic diseases
and the factors that cause them.
Increase the cigarette tax even more.
Ban sodas and sugar drinks in schools.
Create legislation to encourage facilities to create collaborative care strategies for
chronic disease patients.
Utilize telemedicine to reduce cost of providing care, while giving the most
vulnerable urban and rural patients access to the best care providers the country
has to offer.
Create or support legislation that give consumers access to the true cost of their
care so they can shop for the best care at the most competitive price.
If there is any place we need to page out of the private sectors playbook is here in the
delivery of social services. Companies are making record profits without replacing the
employees laid off from the recession. How did they do it? They became very efficient
with the use of technology. We need to deliver social services more efficiently and much
more cost effectively with technology.
Here is what I think we need to do:
Create a web portal to as a single location for Milwaukee citizens to get health,
employment, training and community-based services. This will allow:
o Clients to be directed to the right healthcare benefits program.
o Bills are sent to the right program.
o Clients get the information they need almost immediately in their native
Smartphones are not just for talking anymore. I propose we use the smartphone to
deliver services when they are needed and to whom they are needed. We will
therefore eliminate waste and reduce the operating cost of delivering social
Challenge the technology sector to create apps to deliver social services more
efficiently and cost effectively.
Create a Social Services Exchange which will:
o Ease collaboration between and within government agencies.
o Ensure universal citizen data access across agencies and departments
o Share information between the agencies in a timely fashion, decrease
errors and offer consistent services
o Ensure reliable and secure citizen data access and movement
o Real-time, transparent information sharing for improved services
o Easy adaptability to policy changes
o Secure, reliable and auditable data exchange for citizen data protection
o Reduced cost per interaction through reduced duplication
Integrate the Social Services Exchange with the existing Health Information
To some, these changes may be bold, even unachievable, but I believe if we stand
together we can accomplish anything. We cannot continue to put the burden of change
and progress on the shoulders of the state or city or local community organizations or the
business community alone. I will work to bring everyone together and with the use of
21st century tools, we will make Wisconsin the prototype for the rest of America to
follow. So, Let’s Stand Together and change our world.