Senate candidate Lasry releases democracy plan

Alex Lasry

U.S. Senate candidate Alex Lasry released a plan Wednesday that he said would strengthen democracy, his first major policy proposals of the campaign timed to the anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Lasry is one of several Democrats running for the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.

Lasry, who is on leave from his job as an executive with the Milwaukee Bucks, said the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol was "something that has never been seen in the United States" and "the continued assault on the very fundamental tenets of American democracy has not ended."

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His plan includes ending the filibuster in the U.S. Senate; passing voting-rights acts; banning political gerrymandering; making it easier to vote through automatic voter registration; supporting making Washington, D.C., a state; and allowing the citizens of Puerto Rico to have "self-determination" on whether to become a state.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, another Democratic candidate for Senate, released a similar plan in December that called for expanding voter rights, eliminating partisan gerrymandering, making Election Day a national holiday and ending the filibuster.

Capitol building

FILE - The US Capitol seen on Sept. 19, 2021 with fencing and closed areas to the public.

Johnson did not immediately return messages seeking comment on Lasry's plan. Johnson said in December that he would be making an announcement soon on whether he is seeking a third term.

"Ron Johnson isn’t just a bad Senator, he is a threat to our democracy," Lasry said in his policy plan announced Wednesday. "He isn’t only dangerous for Wisconsin, but for the entire country."

Lasry supports eliminating the filibuster rule in the Senate, which has led to the proposed John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act being stalled. The measure, which Barnes also supports, would restore parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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Other Democrats running for Senate include state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski; Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson; Millennial Action Project founder Steven Olikara; and Wausau physician Gillian Battino.

Several of the other Democratic candidates have voiced support for ending the filibuster and making other changes that Lasry and Barnes compiled in their democracy-focused packages.

The winner of the Aug. 9 primary will advance to the general election.