Last week, state Rep. Shannon Zimmerman ran a piece patting himself on the back for his role in responding to the opioid epidemic (SO, March 25, 2021). He and his party control their work schedule. They passed one bill in 2020. Even though they collected a taxpayer-paid salary for full-time work as legislators, Shannon and his party enjoyed a taxpayer-paid vacation for over 80% of the year.

Where was Shannon while the most vulnerable among us died of COVID-19, businesses closed, unemployment painfully delayed, addictions worsened? Not in Madison working on bills on any of this. Instead, he spent his time in his Clifton mansion or down in Florida where he vacations and runs a business.

Worse, Wisconsin has the opportunity to receive $1.6 billion in federal relief that would greatly expand access to health care — which includes mental and addiction health care — to those currently priced out. This money would be especially game-changing for rural Wisconsin. We want our federal tax dollars invested in we the people.

Instead, we have a politician who is telling us to “hope” while he blocks the resources that would actually give families the ability, the tools to gain and sustain health and sobriety. Too many know the pain of addiction personally, the rest of us feel it and pay for it in ways that are less obvious.

Why is our representative asking for suggestions, demanding that we “commit to hope,” when he not only did not do the work for nearly an entire year, he is letting partisan politics stand in the way of $1.6 billion that would provide access to addiction care for countless families in need here in our district?