About the Author

David Riemer’s career defies stereotypes. A progressive Democrat, he has worked closely with both Democrats and Republicans to create path-breaking public policy at the local and state level, and to influence national policy. 

Primary Concerns: Budgets, Employment and Income, Health, and Education

Riemer’s work during the past four decades has ranged from preparing city and state budgets to advancing major reform in state and national employment, income, health, and education policy.


Formulating sound governmental budgets has been a central theme. From 1988 to 2001, Riemer helped prepare over a dozen City of Milwaukee budgets that improved municipal services and kept property taxes under control. He subsequently worked to craft a Wisconsin state budget that closed a $3.2 billion deficit without raising taxes. 

Employment and Income Policy:

Eliminating poverty through work has also been an enduring focus. Since 1989, Riemer has played a lead role in Wisconsin in drafting state legislation--implemented with both Democratic and Republican support--to create a Transitional Jobs program, launch the nation’s first refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that adjusted for family size, and replace the state's welfare program with a work-focused substitute.

In his current work at the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, much of Riemer's anti-poverty activity has involved designing a work-based policy package to dramatically reduce poverty.  According to an independent analysis by the Urban Institute, the policy package would cut poverty in Wisconsin and the U.S. by 50% or more.

Based on this work, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, with co-sponsor Senator Cory Booker,  introduced in 2016 the "Stronger Way Act. This federal legislation, S. 3231, would create a national Transitional Jobs Program, substantially increase the federal EITC, and expand the scope of the federal Child Tax Credit.

Health Policy:

Much of Riemer's work has also involved health insurance reform. In the late 1990s, he worked closely with Democratic and Republican legislators, former Wisconsin Republican Governor Tommy Thompson, and the Clinton administration to expand insurance coverage for working families as part of the BadgerCare program.

Previously at the federal level, Riemer served as staff to Senator Edward Kennedy, where he helped draft bipartisan legislation to improve the nation’s mental health policy. Following the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, he co-authored--on behalf of the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute--three amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the law's constitutionality.

Education Policy:

Riemer has also played important roles at the state level in education policy, both in promoting school integration and in defending school choice. His work included submission of amicus briefs to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Courts---on behalf of a variety of liberal and conservative policy-makers--in support of properly constructed school choice program.

For further detail about David Riemer's work:

The views expressed here are those of the author, and should not be attributed to any other person or organization.