Opportunity Wisconsin today launched a $1 million statewide TV ad campaign calling on Senator Ron Johnson to stop blocking relief checks for Wisconsin families as part of COVID relief legislation being considered by the Senate.

The ads will blanket most of the state for the next several weeks leading up to an expected vote in March on the American Rescue Plan. The ad campaign kicks off Opportunity Wisconsin’s 2021 work holding Senator Johnson accountable and urging him to support legislation that will help Wisconsin families.

“Wisconsin residents are struggling and Senator Johnson is only making it worse. Senator Johnson championed a $2 trillion tax giveaway for his wealthy corporate donors, but now he’s blocking badly-needed COVID relief checks for millions of Wisconsin families,” said Meghan Roh, Opportunity Wisconsin Program Director. “These ads send a powerful message we hope Senator Johnson hears loud and clear. Opportunity Wisconsin will continue to push Senator Johnson to support legislation that supports Wisconsin families who need help now.”

The spots feature personal stories from Jessica, a mother from Horicon who’s struggling to make ends meet while working to support her father and grandparents, as well as Tricia, a daycare director in Juneau. Both urge their fellow Wisconsinites to call Senator Johnson and demand that he backs relief checks.

The ads will run on TV in the Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison, and La Crosse markets. Opportunity Wisconsin also took out a full-page ad in the Oshkosh Northwestern, Johnson’s hometown newspaper, while he’s back this week for Congressional recess to make sure he hears the message about relief checks loud and clear.

“Senator Ron Johnson has done everything he can to stop us from getting the relief we need…it makes me feel like we don’t matter to him,” said Jessica K., a mother from Horicon struggling to make ends meet while working to support her father and grandparents.

Tricia P., a Juneau daycare director, shared the struggles the families at the daycare face: “Kids just share their stories, ‘Mom and Dad said that we can’t have dinner tonight because we don’t have any food.’ or ‘We can’t pay our house rent so we might get kicked out.’”

A provision in the American Rescue Plan to send $1,400 checks to each adult and dependent in a household would give $7.8 billion to Wisconsin families, helping 4 million adults and 1.5 million children in the state. In 2017, Senator Johnson eagerly supported a $1.9 trillion tax giveaway to America’s billionaires.

Yet in December, he led the charge to stop a bipartisan effort to provide similar relief checks to Wisconsinites, with “Politico” writing that Johnson was “the guy who twice shut down…stimulus checks that would have gone to hundreds of thousands of his constituents.” And just last week, Senator Johnson argued against additional COVID relief, claiming Wisconsinites have “excess savings.” His constituents highlighted in these ads would strongly disagree.

Food insecurity is a major problem in Wisconsin. Nine percent of Wisconsin households have reported struggling with putting food on the table in any given week. That number is higher among households with children where 12 percent of Wisconsin adults living with children reported that the children were going hungry due to lack of money to buy food.

According to Feeding Wisconsin, there has been a 58 percent increase in the number of people seeking help getting food. Nearly 18 percent of Wisconsinites have reported that eviction or foreclosure were likely in the next two months and close to 1-in-3 residents have expressed difficulty in covering usual household expenses.