Democrat to run against Petersen
By Robert Cloud
At Saturday’s rally for Bernie Sanders, Dmitri Martin announced his bid to represent the 40th Assembly District.
Martin told a cheering crowd of nearly 300 people that he was taking Sanders’ political fight against establishment politics to the local level.
“And so today, we begin our own political revolution,” Martin said. “A revolution to take back our communities, our district and our state.”
The 46-year-old Martin is a 1995 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
He lives in Waupaca with his wife and daughter and owns a small business, GreenStar Home Performance, which helps homeowners make their dwellings more energy efficient.
Prior to starting GreenStar in 2004, Martin was the district executive for the Bay-Lakes Council of Boy Scouts of America.
In his speech Saturday, Martin said he is running for state office because he is concerned about the kind of world his daughter Dhara may inherit.
“I came to realize that we cannot turn the tide on greenhouse emissions when our governor forbids state agencies from complying with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan,” he said. “We cannot decrease the use of fossil fuels at the rate we need and create the clean energy jobs of the future while Republicans cut $7 million a year from Focus on Energy’s budget. I’m taking this fight to our capital and am not going to stand by and let some corrupt politicians destroy our children’s future.”
Martin said he opposes taxing the middle class in order to give subsidies and tax breaks to large corporations.
“Now is the time … to increase middle class income by investing in infrastructure and clean energy jobs. The time to reduce middle class expenses by investing in universal health care, preschool and higher education,” Martin said.
“Now is the time to fight for the Wisconsin Idea. The idea that experts from university faculty, not corporate interests or special interests, should advise legislators on writing laws and serve on government commissions,” he said.
Martin noted that progressive Republicans, the party of his grandfather, were responsible for the Wisconsin Idea.
“He would be ashamed of what his party has become,” Martin said.
“Why just last year, Republicans doubled the limits on campaign contributions in our state and gave the wealthy an even greater influence over policy making,” Martin said. “It passed with the enthusiastic support of Kevin Peterson, our current Assembly representative.”
Martin also criticized Rep. Petersen for authoring and supporting Assembly Bill 384, which ends the state’s moratorium on new nuclear reactors.
Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill into law Friday, April 1.
In 1983, Wisconsin effectively banned permits for new nuclear plants because it required that there be a federal repository for nuclear waste and that power companies prove that the new plant would not have a negative impact ratepayers.
There is still no disposal site for spent nuclear fuel.
Martin said the ban was “enacted because no one wants nuclear waste in their back yard.”
“Mr. Petersen knows that the Department of Energy has identified the granite formation under Waupaca County as a top potential storage location for nuclear waste. He has put our district in danger of becoming a toxic dumping ground by opening the door to nuclear energy in Wisconsin. We need to shut that door,” Martin said.
Martin denounced Republicans for enacting laws that make it more difficult to vote.
“Voting is a right and registration should not be an obstacle,” Martin said. “That’s why. as your representative, I will introduce legislation so when eligible voters apply for or renew their driver’s license, they are automatically registered to vote.”
Noting that many senior citizens no longer have a driver’s license or their birth certificate, Martin said he will introduce legislation to automatically issue state IDs to seniors when they do not renew their driver’s licenses.
“What is it our assemblyman and his Republican friends are so afraid of? They have suppressed voting with photo ID laws, they have rigged elections by adjusting district boundaries and they have rewritten campaign finance laws to take advantage of their cozy relationship with big money,” Martin said.
“Well, they are afraid of us. They are afraid of Democrats waking up to the fact that they are the silent majority, afraid of independents fed up with policies that serve the wealthy while the middle class suffers more and more every day, afraid of Republicans who no longer recognize the party they grew up with,” Martin said.
Martin said Republican policies hit young people the hardest.
“Our children are the ones who are bound to work for minimum wage, the ones who won’t be able to afford college without going massively into debt, the ones who will suffer the worst effects of climate change,” Martin said.