Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Election Series: Best Sites for Research

While SmokeFree Wisconsin can't endorse candidates this election season, we can endorse a few websites you might want to check out before you head to the polls. As public health advocates, we build our power by being civically engaged.  We might not have money to throw around like Big Tobacco, but we have something all politicians want:  our vote.  Here are our top picks:

  • Wisconsin-specific election information: check out the Elections Division of the Government Accountability Board's website. There you can find out what national, state, and local races will be on your ballot, check out their FAQ's section, or view past election results.
  • Wisconsin's political parties also have sites worth a look: wisdems.org and wisgop.org. There you can donate to your chosen party, check out candidate positions and biographies, and find out what you can do to support your chosen candidate.  These are the people running to represent you in the Stage Legislature, where smoke-free legislation will likely be introduced and voted on again next session.
  • Not interested in wading through "donate now" advertisements? Tired of visiting twenty sites for election information? Here's one: www.votesmart.org. Voter registration, candidate bios, voting records, issue positions, interest group ratings, public statements and public finance information. Find it all here.
  • For nationwide information, be sure to check out JohnMcCain.com and BarackObama.com for voter details, position statements, and campaign donation and volunteering instructions.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hello everyone, I'm Lavilla!

Hello, my name is Lavilla Capener, and I am excited to join the SmokeFree team as a policy intern. I am a junior at UW-Madison, majoring in Journalism and Political Science.

I have been passionate about tobacco control since I was a young kid. I would come home from school, after learning about the dangers of tobacco, and tell my parents that they had to stop smoking right away. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. Both of my parents are smokers who have been trying to quit for years without success. I am involved with SmokeFree WI because I believe in educating children (like myself) about the dangers of tobacco use so they don’t end up like my parents who are addicted to a product that Big Tobacco has intentionally marketed to young people.

I look forward to working toward a smoke-free Wisconsin!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Despite economic downturn, Big Tobacco still makes BIG profits

Big Tobacco namely Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds reportedly better than expected results despite the major economic downturn sweeping our nation according to Reuter's article. For full details of the stock information visit

Congratulations SMOKE-FREE MINNESOTA!!!

October first marked the one year anniversary of Minnesota's smoke-free law! In their one year anniversary announcement they reported that the law is as popular as ever. Their public opinion data indicates that 77% of Minnesotans said they support the statewide law, while 44% strongly support the law. Congratulations to Minnesota for protecting the health of all workers in all workplaces across the state! Soon we can be celebrating together and finally enjoying smoke-free air on both sides of the river.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fond du Lac votes to go smoke-free!

The Fond du Lac City Council voted tonight for a strong smoke-free ordinance that covers all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. The ordinance will take effect in 90 days.

Many citizens showed up to testify and share their stories.

Next step is to get the word out so there is a smooth implementation. Live near Fond du Lac? Plan an outing with friends and family when they go smoke-free. There will be many establishments to get out and try.

Congrats Fond du Lac!

P.S. Don't forget to thank the city council for standing up for public health. For more information, visit www.safefonddulac.com.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Western Wisconsin loves Smoke-Free Air

Last week I paid a visit to a number of counties along the western part of the state. This time of year is absolutely beautiful in Polk, Clark, Trempealeau, and La Crosse Counties.
I was delighted to find many wonderful smoke-free establishments all across this region of the state. All of the places I stopped were mom and pop owned small businesses, all were 100% smoke-free. I was interested in how the workers felt about working in smoke-free establishments. When I asked the workers- they all agreed that they love smoke-free air. While many of them were smokers- they said they loved it.
Smoke-free air is good for workers and good for business, even in small towns like St. Croix Falls, Neilsville, Barron, and Osseo.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Election Series: Voting Early

Today in Our Election Series: Voting Early

Did you know you can vote before Election Day in Wisconsin? Wisconsin allows absentee voting for all registered voters. Here's how:

Voting by absentee requires you to be registered before you can request your ballot. Look back at our registration post to find out how if you haven't registered to vote already.

Once registered, voters can request ballots:

  • By Mail: Download the application for an absentee ballot from the GAB's Election Division website. Complete the form and mail it to your municipal clerk. The clerk must receive your application by 5:00 PM on the Thursday before the election (Oct. 30) in order to mail you a ballot.
  • In Person: Apply up until 5:00 PM on the day before the election. You'll receive your ballot, fill it out, and return it before leaving the clerk's office.
Deadline: If you receive a ballot by mail, the completed ballot must be received by your municipal clerk no later than the day of election (your ballot must be delivered to the polling location by 8:00 PM). If time is getting down to the wire and you're not sure you can mail your ballot back in time, you can still go to your polling location on Election Day and cast your vote at the polls.

There are exceptions for military voters.

Stay tuned: What to Expect On Election Day

Friday, October 3, 2008

Election Series: You can register voters

This guest post is from Julie Swanson at the Tobacco Control Resource Center

Did you know you can get deputized to register voters? I hosted a "Special Deputy Party" at my house last week. Here is what I did:

Hosting a Special Deputy Party in three easy steps.

1. Call your municipal clerk's office and set up a time for one of their staff to come to your party (they provide the education and do the swearing in).

2. Invite friends, family, co-workers, neighbors. Face-to-face or a personal phone call worked best for me.

3. Get everyone together and learn the rules (this took about 30 minutes for our group). Take your oath and you are ready to register others. It is as easy as that.

Three lessons I learned.
1. You have to explain what "special deputy status" is and what they can do. Most people didn't know.
2. Make it fun. I called the event a Dessert and Deputy Party. And afterwards each person got a Special Deputy star and I took their photo.
3. End by talking about ways people can use their special deputy status. Here are some ways we talked about:
-one person volunteers at a homeless shelter and will bring her forms next time she goes
-call your PTO and ask about coming to the next meeting
-call church and talk with the social justice coordintor or youth minister
-set up a table in a high traffic place

In Wisconsin you can register people until October 15 (forms must be in by 5:00 pm). After that they need to register at the polls. I have to go register some voters.

Results: Kathy Wolf, who got deputized at the party, just told me she registered 5 people on Sunday and helped another five who did not live in Madison get the information they needed to register! Ten more people voting on November 4th!!!