State Rep. Josh Zepnick has won support progressive groups such as Planned Parenthood and Fair Wisconsin. But in this election cycle, we prefer his primay challenger, immigration lawyer Marisabel Cabrera, in the 9th Assembly District.
The reasons are multifold. Zepnick recently sponsored legislation that would have made it easier to privatize public water systems by making it harder for citizens to collect signatures for referendums on such proposals. That action cost Zepnick, a 14-year incumbent, the endorsement of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, which has supported him in the past. Both WLCV and Clean Wisconsin Action Fund have endorsed Cabrera in this race.
Zepnick also introduced legislation that would have relied on debt collection from county residents to pay $4 million a year to subsidize the Bucks arena. Both bills were defeated.
Like many Republicans — and an unfortunate number of Democrats, as well — Zepnick has taken contributions from the predatory pay day-loan industry. He’s received a lot of support from electric utilities that have made it difficult to get wind and solar energy on the grid in Wisconsin.
Last year, Zepnick was arrested for drunken driving.
Perhaps most importantly, Zepnick’s enthusiasm for the job of representing the district appears to be waning. Earlier this year, he ran in the 8th Aldermanic District’s primary race as one of two candidates seeking to oust right-wing Ald. Bob Donovan. It's time for enthusiastic new leadership.
Cabrera, an immigration lawyer who’s been in private practice for a decade, said she’s long felt the public interests of the South Side district where she was born have been “under-represented” in the Legislature. She told WiG that, in the process of knocking on 100 doors a day in the district, she’s found that “people are super excited to have someone else running in this race.”
Cabrera, who earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree at Michigan State University, said she believes adequate funding for public schools is a “civil rights issue,” since public education is “the great equalizer” in affording opportunities for all.
Cabrera serves on the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, where she’s gained grassroots experience in police-community relations that is badly needed in Madison. She promised to be a champion in pushing for adequate state funding for public safety, including funds for training police officers. “We need to have collaboration” among police and citizens and to promote a high “level of mutual trust and respect,” she said.
Cabrera says “it’s no secret” that she is bisexual but has not wanted to use that in an “opportunistic” way to try to win votes. In a state where women, ethnic minorities and LGBT people are poorly represented in government, however, she would lend valuable perspective to the Assembly.
AFSCME Council 32 and Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters have endorsed Cabrera. Other supporters include State Rep. Mandela Barnes, former Greendale Village President John Hermes (current chair of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District), MPS board member Dr. Tatiana Joseph, Ald. Nik Kovac, State Sen. Chris Larson, Ald. Chantia Lewis and MPS Board vice president Larry Miller.
For more, go to www.cabreraforassembly.com.