MADISON — Dawn Gleason, a single mom and breast cancer survivor, had enough challenges in her life before the pandemic hit. Then Gov. Tony Evers’ dysfunctional Department of Workforce Development would make her life a struggle for survival.
The Franklin, Wis. woman was manager of a limousine dispatch service in March 2020 when the COVID-19 outbreak and Evers’ statewide lockdown cost Gleason her job. Like hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Wisconsinites, she filed for unemployment benefits.
Gleason ran into a bureaucratic brick wall when she reached out to DWD again in late December. She experienced first-hand the kind of abject incompetence tens of thousands of her fellow claimants have endured — month after month after month.
“First the unemployment office said I was eligible. Then I wasn’t. Then they said I owed them money,” she recalled.
It was yet another of untold errors from Evers’ bungling Unemployment Insurance division.
Today, Empower Wisconsin launched a statewide issue advocacy campaign, starting with a five-figure statewide digital ad buy highlighting Dawn’s heartbreaking story. It’s the first in a series of ads that will illustrate how Wisconsin workers have been hurt by the failures of Gov. Evers. The remaining ads will be focused on other Evers’ failures and will be launched in the coming months.
Speaking about how she felt Gov. Evers handled the unemployment claim crisis and backlog, Dawn said, “Our Governor definitely has excuses. And that’s all they are. They are excuses. Get it done. Do something about it.”
This digital ad campaign will include a wide range of video content, including a full 90-second video, 30-second ad spots and shorter variations for digital ad placements. This and other ads are based in part on the in-depth investigations and reporting Empower Wisconsin has done on its news site and on Wisconsin Spotlight.
You can watch the full 90-second ad here