Friday, February 14, 2014

Open Letter to Amy Loudenbeck - Repeal Discrimination in our Constitution

Rep. Loudenbeck,

I don't live in your district, but I am an elected official as a Janesville City Councilmember.  Since we both represent some of the same citizens, I was hoping to request a meeting with you in person.

What I'm hoping to discuss is proposed legislation by Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa and the counterpart version in the Senate proposed by Tim Carpenter.  To repeal the Constitutional ban for same-sex, committed couples to marry.  

I know the Republican Party generally has a stance in opposition to same-sex marriages, but I'm hoping you will keep an open mind.  Several people know friends or family whom are gay, in my case, my little sister - Sarah.  Next summer I'll be marrying the love of my life, Elizabeth, yet my sister doesn't have that same right.  She would have to go to Illinois, Iowa or Minnesota to do so - why not her home state which she grew up in and loves?

I believe this issue is past most of Wisconsin's citizens, and if a vote were held today it would be over whelming to overturn the ban.

I like to think I know the kind of person you are.  We may not belong to same political party or agree 90% of the time, but when it comes to matters of the heart I know you to be a good person.  

This is an issue of privacy and personal matters - why should government interfere?  In the video on your web page you say "I believe that state government has a fundamental role of insuring that individuals are protected and treated fairly without the burdens of excessive regulation..."

How are our gay brothers and sisters being "treated fairly"?

"All men are created equal" is enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, I like to think this is still true.

I ask that you please sit down with me, face to face, and have a conversation on this issue.  I don't want a "canned" answer in the form a nice a letter, but a heart felt conversation on the issue in person.  I would even like to bring along my sister so you can get to know her.  To see that she is no threat to "traditional marriage" but an amazing young woman with hopes and dreams and has plans of living out her version of the American Dream.

You can be a trail blazer and leader on your side of the aisle by supporting the repeal of the constitutional ban on same-sex marriages and be on the right side of history.  Let's make history together.

I thank you for your time and public service to the people of Janesville and the 31st Assembly District.

Sincerely,

Sam Liebert





Proud Wisconsin Citizen
608-359-1956
sLiebert@gmail.com

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Public Campaign Finance for Janesville City Council - The Time Is Now

On Monday, September 23rd, the Janesville City Council will be discussing a possible ordinance change.  This new ordinance would allow candidates for city council to "opt" into a new system of financing campaigns.

As we've all seen across the country, more money flows into our system every day.  This has caused members of Congress, state representatives and even municipal government to come to a screeching halt; due to the thought that they may upset their donor base.

As spending in elections increases, candidates and elected officials are forced to spend unnecessarily large amounts of time raising money to compete.  That need to raise thousands of dollars to support a campaign is a large barrier to entry for most potential public servants.  If someone would make a great city council member, but isn't financially connected or "well off", should that stop them from running for office?

It's time to level the playing field and allow ordinary citizens to run for office and serve their city.  It's time to put the power of the vote - ahead of the donation.

Publicly financed campaigns allows candidates and elected officials to focus their efforts and attention on the citizen who needs help the most, not the ones who have the most money.

It's time remove the possibility for big business and individuals to unfairly influence city contracts and bidding.

It's time for publicly financed campaigns in Janesville.

If you agree - the Janesville City Council will be discussing this matter on Monday, the 23rd of September at 7:00pm.  We'll be in the Council Chambers on the 4th Floor of the Municipal Building.  (18 North Jackson Street)

If you can't make the meeting, you can email the entire council at:  citycouncil@ci.janesville.wi.us




THE PROPOSED ORDINANCE IS LISTED BELOW


ORDINANCE NO. 2013 - _________


An ordinance creating JGO Chapter 3.24 to provide a public campaign financing system for the Office of Janesville City Council Member with penalties as set forth in JGO 3.24.040.

THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF JANESVILLE DO ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:


SECTION I. Title 3 of the Code of General Ordinances of the City of Janesville is hereby amended to read as follows:

Title 3



REVENUE AND FINANCE*


Chapters:


3.04 Fiscal Year
3.08 Budget
3.12 Disbursements
3.16 Special Assessments on Sewer and Water Main Connections
3.20 Room Tax
3.24 Public Campaign Finance System for Office of City Council Member


SECTION II. Chapter 3.24 of the Code of General Ordinances of the City of Janesville is hereby created to read as follows:

Chapter 3.24

PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM FOR
OFFICE OF CITY COUNCIL MEMBER

Sections:


3.24.010 Definitions
3.24.020 Optional Public Financing
3.24.030 Qualified Campaign Expenditures
3.24.040 Violation--Penalties.




3.24.010 Definitions When used in this chapter the following words shall mean:

A. “Covered Election” means any primary, special, recall, or general election for the Office of City Council Member.


B. Matchable Contribution” shall mean a contribution or contributions for all covered elections, not greater than the applicable contribution limitations set forth in 3.24.020(C), to a participating candidate which has been reported in full to the City Clerk in accordance with this chapter by the candidate’s personal campaign committee and may be matched by public funds in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Any contribution, or contributions determined to be invalid for matching funds by the City Clerk may not be treated as a matchable contribution for any purpose. A loan may not be treated as a matchable contribution. An in-kind contribution of property, goods, or services is not matchable.

C. “Participating Candidate” means any candidate for the Office of City Council Member who has met all of the requirements to be placed on the ballot for the Office.


3.24.020 Optional public financing

A. Each participating candidate for election in a covered election may participate in this optional program to obtain payment to his or her personal campaign committee from public funds for qualified campaign expenditures, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, and subject to appropriation. Any candidate who participates in this optional public financing program may not obtain any private donations other than the minimum of One Hundred individual donations of Five Dollars ($5.00) up to a maximum of Two Hundred individual donations of Five Dollars ($5.00) required to obtain matchable contributions. Candidates may not accept donations other than in the amount of Five Dollars ($5.00). A contribution from the candidate shall count as one of the contributions. A candidate may not contribute more than a single contribution of Five Dollars ($5.00). Candidates may not accept donations from non-Wisconsin residents. Any candidate who chooses not to participate in this optional public financing program shall abide by all requirements of state law.

B. No such public funds shall be paid to a personal campaign committee unless the City Clerk determines that the participating candidate has met the eligibility requirements of this chapter. Payment shall not exceed the amounts specified in this chapter, and shall be made only in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Such payment may be made only to the participating candidate’s personal campaign committee. No public funds shall be used except as reimbursement or payment for qualified campaign expenditures actually and lawfully incurred or to repay loans used to pay qualified campaign expenditures.

C.      Proof of matchable contributions shall be provided to the City Clerk. The name, address, and place of employment of each contributor shall be provided to the City Clerk. Any matchable contributions not used for qualified campaign expenditures by election day shall be returned to the City Clerk-Treasurer’s Office within sixty (60) days after the election. No public funds may be obtained by a participating candidate unless the participating candidate has obtained a minimum of One Hundred individual donations of Five Dollars ($5.00) up to a maximum of Two Hundred individual donations of Five Dollars ($5.00). If the threshold for eligibility is met, the participating candidate’s personal campaign committee shall receive payment for qualified campaign expenditures of ___One (1)__ dollar for each _One (1)___ dollar(s) of matchable contributions, up to _One-Thousand (1,000)_ dollars in payment for each covered election.

3.24.030 Qualified Campaign Expenditures
A. Public funds provided under the provisions of this chapter may be used only for expenditures by a personal campaign committee to further the participating candidate’s election for a covered election.

B. Public funds may not be used for:
  1. An expenditure in violation of any law.
  2. Payments made to the candidate or a spouse, domestic partner, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, brother or sister of the candidate or spouse or domestic partner of such child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, brother or sister, or to a business entity in which the candidate or any such person has a ten percent or greater ownership interest.
  3. Payments in excess of the fair market value of services, materials, facilities or other things of value received in exchange.
  4. Payments in cash.
  5. Any contribution, transfer, or loan made to another candidate or political committee.
  6. Gifts, except brochures, buttons, signs and other printed campaign material.
  7. Any expenditures to challenge or defend the validity of petitions of nominations or canvassing of election results.
  8. An expenditure made primarily for the purpose of expressly advocating a vote for or against a ballot proposal, other than expenditures made also to further the participating candidate’s nomination for election or election.
  9. Payment of any penalty or fine imposed pursuant to federal, state or local law.


3.24.040 Violation--Penalties. Every person, firm, organization or corporation, or
any officer of any corporation, who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a forfeiture of not to exceed Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00) plus the costs of prosecution, or in default of payment of the forfeiture imposed by this Subsection shall be incarcerated in the Rock County Jail for a period not to exceed ninety (90) days.
ADOPTED:


APPROVED:



Jacob J. Winzenz, Acting City Manager


ATTEST:



Jean Ann Wulf, City Clerk-Treasurer


APPROVED AS TO FORM:



Assistant City Attorney


Proposed by: Councilmembers Liebert &
Prepared by: Assistant City Attorney


Motion by:
Second by:
Councilmember Aye Nay Pass Absent
Farrell







Fitzgerald







Kealy







Liebert







Marklein







Severson







Voskuil



















Friday, October 19, 2012

Kolste impressive as candidate

I'm writing today in support of the one person who has what it takes to truly represent Janesville in the state Assembly, Deb kolste.

Throughout the Democratic Primary, I had the chance to attend several events and forums with Deb.  At every step, I was impressed with her compassion, intelligence and willingness to stand up for those without a voice.

Deb volunteers and is active with HealthNet of Rock County, the YMCA, PTA and several other amazing charitable organizations.  She has also held elected office on the Janesville School Board for nine year, serving as president for a term.

Deb has also ran a small business with her husband and truly understands the hardships our business community is facing in this economy.  She has the experience and backbone to stand up for Janesville and help create jobs for our community.

I have to say that I'm incredibly lucky to call Deb a friend.  Deb's love for Janesville and our community is genuine and true.  I've seen it when she talks to voters and in her life works.
The choice on Nov. 6 couldn't be any clearer.  It is long overdue that that we send a powerful, strong-willed woman with a strong voice to stand up for us all.

I strongly encourage the people of Janesville to vote Deb Kolste for State Assembly.  She will be a true voice for all of Janesville, not just some of us.

SAM LIEBERT
Janesville

Originally printed in THE GAZETTE
page 8A - Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Liebert Campaign Applauds President Obama’s Support of Same-Sex Marriage



PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

CONTACT
Sam Liebert
SamForAssembly44@gmail.com
608-718-4541

Liebert Campaign Applauds President Obama’s Support of Same-Sex Marriage

JANESVILLE, May 22, 2012 – Today Sam Liebert, a Janesville City Councilmember and candidate for the Wisconsin State Assembly’s 44th District, applauded President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage.  “For too long, too many in this country haven’t had a strong enough advocate for their right to marry the person they love.  As of now, they have the ultimate ally in President Obama.” Liebert said.

Sam Liebert has always been a strong supporter of LGBT Civil Rights and believes that this is the next chapter in American Civil Right’s History.  “It is written in our founding document: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  I believe that marriage is part of that pursuit of happiness.” Liebert added. 

Sam Liebert has also been a champion of equal rights at the local level, where he introduced a resolution allowing City Employees who are in Domestic Partnerships, to share in the same benefits as married city employees.  It will be brought up again during the city’s budget process this fall.

Sam Liebert attended the University of Wisconsin-Rock County for his degree in history.  Sam also currently works for a private security firm based in Madison, WI.  Sam lives on the West side of Janesville a few blocks from his Alma Mater, Parker High School, where he graduated in 2003.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Janesville meets Northern Ireland (Day 1 and 2)

Nick, Stephanie, Chris, Oscar and Sam at the White House, the night before departure


Day 1:

The first day was pretty long for most of our delegation to Northern Ireland.  We had a day of briefings with the US State Department, the Northern Ireland Bureau and ACPYL staff - then add a flight to New Jersey and onto Belfast...a very long day!

When we first arrived, we were greeted by Elizabeth Connolly.  Elizabeth works directly with supporting the work of the Director of Information and Outreach in promoting public engagement.  Elizabeth has been with us every step of the way on our trip and has been a gold mine of information on Northern Ireland.  She is incredibly friendly, warm and welcoming.  

We were also joined by Dr. Gareth McGrath - Director of Information and Outreach for the Northern Ireland Assembly.  Gareth is responsible for raising public awareness and understanding of the work that Assembly does.  Gareth has also been an incredible source of knowledge and wisdom for our delegation.

On our first day, we took a tour of Belfast's City Centre.  We visited the Belfast City Hall, various shopping centres and walked the history of Belfast.  A city of rich history, heritage and culture.

We also visited areas of Belfast where much violence had happened during The Troubles.  It was an eye opening experience to see parts of the city divided by "Peace Walls" and segregated by physical barriers.  Not all of Belfast is like this - but it's still a stark reminder of where Northern Ireland was 40 years ago and how far they've come since 1998.

We finished the evening with some authentic (and amazingly delicious) seafood.

Delegation at the Belfast City Hall

DAY 2:

Our second day was incredibly busy with our tour of the North Coast.  We visited Dunluce Castle, the Giant's Causeway, the Bushmills Inn for lunch and then ended with The Old Bushmills Distillery VIP Tour.

We finished up our day with a dinner hosted by the Acting US Consul General for Northern Ireland - Sandy Kaiser.  Her and her staff were incredibly welcoming, and it was an honor to meet the US Staff that work day to day with The People of Northern Ireland on behalf of the US.  It was a good reminder of how much good the US does on a daily basis around the world.

This weekend has been amazing and I know we're all looking forward to the rest of our agenda.  We have several meetings with Party Officials and Government leaders tomorrow, and moving forward.  Well I'm off to bed now, as it's 11:18 PM here (aka 5:18 PM back home).

Until tomorrow...

Dunluce Castle

Giant's Causeway


We had lunch at the Bushmills Inn. - a very large lunch!

They had the American Flag raised for our arrival

Touring the oldest licensed Whiskey Distillery in the world

Test tasting whiskey...amazing.  I had to buy a bottle!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sam Liebert, Janesville City Councilmember, Selected to Participate in International Exchange to Northern Ireland Political Study Program to Focus on Citizen Diplomacy



PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

CONTACT
For ACYPL: Quentin Lide, COO, 202-857-0999, qlide@acypl.org
For Delegate: Sam Liebert, Janesville City Councilmember, 608-718-4541, SLiebert@gmail.com

Sam Liebert, Janesville City Councilmember, Selected to Participate in International Exchange to Northern Ireland Political Study Program to Focus on Citizen Diplomacy

WASHINGTON, MAY 7, 2012 – Sam Liebert, of Janesville, Wisconsin, has been selected by The American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) as a delegate to Northern Ireland for a 9-day political exchange program beginning on May 11, 2012.  He will join seven other young political and policy leaders from across the United States to study Northern Ireland’s political system, engage in dialogue on international issues, and forge professional relationships and friendships.  The program is arranged by ACYPL and made possible by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State.

“ACYPL has the unique mission of proving select young leaders with an opportunity to travel internationally and engage firsthand in public diplomacy,” said ACYPL Chief Executive Officer Linda Rotunno.  “Our delegates have access to key leaders in the nations and regions they visit.  They engage in dialogue on sensitive issues, gain a unique perspective on the country’s politics and its relations with the US, and, most importantly, forge professional relationships and friendships that can last a lifetime.”

Liebert will join other delegates, each between the age of 25 and 40, in Washington, DC for briefings by the United States Department of State and other regional experts before flying to Belfast. The program will provide the delegates opportunities to travel within the region and to interact with key national and local leaders, business representatives, and civic and community groups. 

“I am honored to have been selected to participate in this ACYPL exchange to Northern Ireland,” said Liebert. “This will be an excellent opportunity for me to learn about the current political and social dynamics there and help the people better understand the United States.”

Recognized by the US Congress as a pre-eminent catalyst for introducing rising political leaders and policy makers to international affairs and to each other, ACYPL is a bi-partisan, not-for-profit international exchange organization based in Washington, DC. Since its founding in 1966, ACYPL has, with generous support from the US Department of State, corporations, foundations and individuals, conducted programs and exchanges with 100 countries, producing a global network of over 7,500 alumni. Former ACYPL participants include over 40 sitting members of the US Congress, 6 sitting US governors and ambassadors, cabinet ministers and parliamentarians around the globe. For more information on ACYPL, please visit http://www.acypl.org.

###

Monday, March 26, 2012

Trayvon Martin

Today, one month ago, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. Apparently for no other reason than being "suspicious looking". I know this case is still be investigated, there are still many unanswered questions and emotions are running high. I plan on wearing my Hoodie today in support of Trayvon Martin and his family as they go through this rough time. 

Being Black in America is still not easy but things are changing for the better. It's a moment like this that continues the conversation of race and allows us to teach our children and remind ourselves that we are all God's Children and deserve to be treated as such. 



Sam