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Ron Johnson and Tom Tiffany among the few to Vote Against Stimulus Package

Kirk Bangstad

I posted this Article on the Minocqua Brewing Company's FB page.  Copying it here in my blog:

Hi Everyone,

This is Kirk Bangstad, owner of the Minocqua Brewing Company.

I wanted to speak with my own voice instead of with the marketing tone we usually take because today’s post is more serious.

We officially closed our doors in September after the summer season because we knew that with the coming cold weather and increased cases of Covid, we couldn’t be both safe and profitable at the same time for a number of reasons:

  • It was too cold for outdoor dining.
  • Our building is wonderfully old but didn’t have the proper ventilation for safe indoor dining during Covid.
  • The offseason in Minocqua is already a struggle because our winter tourism season gets shorter and/or more undependable every year due to global warming, and reduced occupancy due to Covid was just going to compound that pain.
I had been telling my employees all summer that unless there was another government stimulus package that came at the end of the summer to help me keep them employed, we would have to shut down and I would have to lay them off.

Sure enough, the HEROES Act passed by the Democratic Majority Congress in June was turned into a political football by the Republican senate, and no stimulus package arrived.  I decided, in order to stay alive for the following tourism season, to use the small profits we made in the summer to pay rents and utilities over the winter, and to lay off most of my staff (subsequent to that decision I also leased the restaurant side of our operations to a great outfit out of Lake Geneva called Oakfire Pizza).

To this day, I maintain that I've never expected the government to fund any small business.  I believe in capitalism. But this was different.  This was the entire bar/restaurant industry in Wisconsin, the U.S., and the world that needed help. Millions of jobs were at stake. 

Providing a lifeline to small restaurants and bars throughout this pandemic wasn’t just a government handout, it was a way to save an entire industry and keep many Americans employed.

Our Federal Government, with the executive, judicial, and half of the legislative branch run by the Republican Party, let my industry twist in the wind.  
It was not Governor Evers.  His measures to protect Wisconsinites from the virus were warranted. Restaurants and bars needed to have capacity limits to save lives, and the state of Wisconsin doesn’t have the money to prop up an entire industry of small businesses.  The Federal Government does.

Fast forward to the relief bill that just was passed overwhelmingly by 92-6 votes in the U.S. Senate, and 359-53 votes in the House.  Too late for so many Wisconsin restaurants, but still the right thing to do for our economy until the vaccine can inoculate our state.  

I just have one problem.  Among the 6 out of 100 Senators who voted against this relief package was our own Senator Ron Johnson, and among the 53 out of 412 Congressmen who voted against the relief package was our own Tom Tiffany.
Both of our Federal Representatives voted to let my brewpub and the rest of Wisconsin’s bars and restaurants twist in the wind, yet again.

I have a big problem with that, and that’s why the Minocqua Brewing Company is setting up a Super PAC to get these guys out of office in 2022.  

You can donate directly to the Super PAC when it launches in January, or you can buy our Inauguration Day Beer and associated merchandise right now. 10% of all profits from those sales will be used to seed the Super PAC.

I’ve had enough of Wisconsin Republican’s screwing over their constituents in service to special interests and their own greed, and I think it’s time for the businesses in this state who have been hurt by them to step up and do their part to restore democracy in our state.

To order Inauguration Day Beer for pickup in January (pickup dates provided), go here:
To order Inauguration Day Beer merchandise, go here:


Written by Kirk Bangstad on 12/23/20

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