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The Cap Times - I'll Stand Up for the Wisconsin I Know

Op-Ed

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By Tammy Baldwin

Simply put, this election is about whether Wisconsin will have a senator who will be a voice for the people, or a senator who will be a voice for the very powerful.

I'm running to be a voice for the people.

Let me share with you just a little bit of what I've heard from Wisconsinites as I've traveled around the state over the last year-plus. There are two themes I hear over and over again no matter where I go: People are frustrated that Washington just doesn't seem to get it. The people I talk to learned the same thing growing up as I did when my grandparents were raising me: If you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead.

Wisconsinites are working as hard as ever. And the things that are supposed to come with being part of the middle class -- working a good job, owning a home, saving a little bit for your kids' college or your own retirement -- these things feel like they're slipping further out of reach.

This recession has really hurt. But it's more than that. This is about a decade of policies that have weakened the economic security of the middle class. Our work ethic hasn't changed. The rules have.

In Washington today, powerful special interests -- the ones who can spend the most money, and hire the best lobbyists -- get to write their own rules. And many politicians are eager to help them get away with it. That's how we ended up with financial rules that helped Wall Street banks instead of consumers and small businesses. That's how we ended up with a health care system that helped the big drug and insurance companies instead of patients and doctors. And that's how we ended up with a political system where people in the middle class feel like nobody's even listening -- like the debate in Washington is completely disconnected from their lives.

If I have the honor to serve as Wisconsin's next U.S. senator, their voices will be heard. But I won't just speak up for our middle class. I'll fight for our middle class -- I'm not afraid to take on the most powerful special interests in Washington.

While I've been taking on the special interests on behalf of ordinary people, Tommy's been taking on the special interests -- as his clients in Washington, D.C.: helping them write their own rules. And that's what he'd do as your senator, too.

I never stopped fighting and never stopped standing up to the big banks. And I was proud to fight alongside President Obama to pass real reform that finally -- finally -- makes Wall Street play by the same rules as Main Street. Today, I'm leading the charge to pass the Buffett rule, so that millionaires and billionaires don't get to pay a lower tax rate than middle class families. And I'm taking on China's cheating, because Wisconsin's manufacturing workers can compete against anyone as long as they have a level playing field.

Our state has elected some incredible progressive leaders who have lived up to our motto: "Forward." And I will work hard every day to do the same, so I ask for your support.

With your help, come November, the Wisconsin I know -- the America I love -- can keep us moving forward.


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