Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stand SHOULDER TO SHOULDER - Friday at 4:30

This just in:

Shoulder to Shoulder, an interfaith group supporting Muslim neighbors in the La Crosse area and UWL students are organizing a rally in support of Muslims and immigrants in our area who are under political attack.

The rally will be at Cameron Park (corner of Fifth and King) in La Crosse, at 4:30 pm Friday, February 3.

The message of the rally is that La Crosse stands shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim and immigrant neighbors. Immigrant rights are human rights.

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/383364105353876/?ti=cl

Official Release: 

La Crosse Stands Shoulder to Shoulder with Muslims, Immigrants, and Refugees
Rally on Friday, February 3
4:30 – 5:30 pm
Cameron Park
on King St. between 4th St. and 5th Ave, La Crosse

Residents of the La Crosse area will come together Friday to speak out and affirm our shared values in the wake of President Trump’s executive order on immigration. Groups represented at the event will include the La Crosse Interfaith Shoulder to Shoulder Network and La Crosse Area SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice). This is a peaceful gathering to stand with our Muslim, immigrant, and refugee neighbors in solidarity. In the spirit of inclusion and non-discrimination, the rally will celebrate the contributions of Muslims and immigrants in the community and affirm that immigrant rights are human rights.

Contact: Vince Hatt (vjhatt@charter.net) or Grace Deason (gracedeason3@gmail.com)

Citizens in Action

[From the Grandview-Emerson Neighborhood Association (GENA) and Save Memorial Pool La Crosse, Wisconsin.This is an excerpt from a press release. Read the whole thing at the petition website. Here is an example of citizens organizing and making sure their voices, their plans, their priorities are heard in city planning. An important historic and neighborhood center and small business anchor is on the way to being saved and improved thanks to prompt and determined action led by the people of the neighborhood (but supported by the whole community - see below!). Already the closure of this pool - for more than a year and a half - has had harmful effects on small businesses nearby. The Eagle's Nest is closed and two other adjacent cafes have said the drop in summer business has hurt.]

LA CROSSE, WI – Grandview-Emerson Neighborhood Association (GENA) continues its efforts to revitalize Veterans Memorial Municipal Pool after over a year and a half of closure. Thanks to a successful campaign for a community-funded study by Isaac Sports Group (ISG), the GENA Memorial Pool Committee has shared ISG’s report & recommendations to 6 different groups, including GENA, the public, City Budget Planning Committee, City Finance & Personnel Committee, City Pool Committee, & City Park Board. Future meetings with the City Heritage Preservation Commission, neighborhood associations, La Crosse School District, UWL, & interested donors are also in the works for additional feedback & support.

GENA is pleased with recent progress working with the City Pool Committee as well as City Parks & Recreation staff and extends its appreciation. GENA gives special thanks to the over 200 people who contributed to the study fundraiser, surpassing the original $6,000 goal, which has allowed ISG to conduct additional analysis of a renovated pool & bathhouse at the historic site. Further research is underway on new programming options & unique pool features to meet today’s modern aquatic needs that increase attendance and keep the City’s operation costs lower than the initial Burbach Aquatics proposal to restore Memorial Pool.

Consultants have found, 
* The current Memorial Pool site is top ranked
* The demand for an outdoor recreation pool is higher than that for an indoor pool or for an outdoor aquatic center

The GENA Committee has further noted that City efforts of neighborhood revitalization, preserving vital historic landmarks, supporting local businesses and their transportation vision (valuing greater access by mass transit or without a vehicle) provide additional support for ranking the Memorial site #1. Work by the GENA Committee continues and they are welcoming new members, in or outside of GENA, to join.

All community members are asked to help in the following ways:
1. Share your testimonials, historic research and pictures of Memorial Pool by emailing: genalacrosse@gmail.com or posting on Facebook
2. Stay engaged – attend meetings, read news & join our Facebook Page: Save Memorial Pool
3. Converse with neighbors, City Council Members & Candidates, City Officials, & the City Pool Committee Members
4. Consider pledging to a pool at Memorial and share your ideas for potential donors and foundations who share our vision for Veterans Memorial Municipal Pool
5. Lastly – continue to get involved in aquatics for all the health and wellness benefits for you & the entire community

Monday, January 30, 2017


[Cross posted at CR-Sierra.blogspot.com]

Due to time constraints, the Coulee Region group of the Sierra Club will not show the new Josh Fox film, How to Let Go of the World.

Rather, we will show a new 40 minute film from 350.org, DISOBEDIENCE: The Rise of the Global Fossil Fuel Resistance" TOMORROW EVENING, January 31 at 6 p.m. at a member's home. More details and RSVP (required) at https://goo.gl/forms/aeimZOIjkAYbpQ9g2

Refreshments available. Discussion following film.

Womens March Reflections

Just got a notice about this:

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Around the country people are saying NO to the Trump immigration ban. Apparently, the executive order was never shown to the Defense Department, State Department, Justice Department and other offices and offices that should have been consulted.

Who was consulted? The new .alt president, Steve Bannon and his executive order drafting buddy, unelected " fellow right-wing nationalist Stephen Miller," per a report in NY Magazine.

There have been many outrages including

The positives:
  • Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings apologized to those detained
  • The ACLU has received more than $19 million dollars in one weekend (normal annual fundraising brings in $3 to $4 million) and more is coming in as celebrities donate matching funds for new donations (oh, yes, and they are suing the Trump administration over this ban)
  • More than 3 million people have signed the global letter to Donald Trump  "The world rejects your fear, hate-mongering, and bigotry."
  • Thousands have turned out around the country to protest these illegal actions
We hear a rally is being planned for some time this week to show solidarity with target communities and reject the unconstitutional ban on travel Trump's executive order mandates. Details as soon as they are available.Start making your signs NOW! so you'll be ready to go when the plans are finalized.

In the mean time, please spend part of your day Monday calling the following officials (calls have much more impact than emails).

Sen. Ron Johnson (R) - (202) 224-5323 (if the DC line is busy, try Milwaukee: (414) 276-7282
Rep. Paul Ryan (R), Speaker of the House - (202) 225-0600 (or try his Janesville # (608) 752-4050)
White House phone comment lines have reportedly been shut down by the Trump administration, but some people have gotten creative as noted in this Mashable article. calling his hotels ("satellite White Houses") instead.

Actually, 5 Calls is the easiest way to make those calls every day. Click "Change Location" and enter your zip. A list of topics (including this one) will come up with the ability to make calls right away and sample talking points.

ps After calling about this illegal action, call Johnson again and Senator Baldwin ((608) 796-0045) and tell them Senator Sessions is unfit to serve as our Attorney General. UPDATE: AND BETSY DE VOS (Edecation) AND REX TILLERSON (State) should also be rejected. All are unqualified and have extreme conflicts of interest.

What's on media?

Just a quick post about some interesting and important programs on television and radio (remember those?)

George recommends this Viceland series: RISE on Fridays at 9 pm "We travel to indigenous communities across the Americas to meet people protecting their homelands and rising up against colonization." The latest episodes have dealt with the #NoDAPL water protectors at Standing Rock. You can watch online at the link. (Viceland is a very interesting channel available on satellite or cable or with SlingTV).

Tonight at 6 pm, Wisconsin Public Television will broadcast episode two of the 2015 BBC series, Climate Change By the Numbers, an explanation of the mathematics behind the certainty that humans are causing catastrophic climate change.

Mark recommends (in general) the great WNYC (public radio) program, On the Media, and specifically the episode broadcast a few weeks ago, Normalize This! This award-winning program airs on Wisconsin Public Radio weekly (Sundays at 6 am on 90.3 FM). Today's episode is about "fake news." OTM regularly goes behind the curtain to discuss with media experts how the media reports, ignores, distorts, and uncovers. You can also subscribe to the OTM podcast.

If you don't listen to DemocracyNow! every day (available if you have cable or satellite TV and over the internet - alas, no local radio stations will air this award-winning program!) please go online and make it part of your daily routine.

BTW, did you hear that Citizen Action in Milwaukee is getting a new radio station?! (You can listen to Citizen Action podcasts at the link above)  
"In a major victory for Citizen Action's Radio-Active project, Mike Crute (co-host of the Devil’s Advocates radio show) makes an exclusive announcement on the podcast that he is buying a major radio station in the Milwaukee market, broadcasting at 1510 AM. The new commercial talk radio station will feature independent and progressive voices engaging in fact-based discussions, including local hosts and national luminaries such as Thom Hartmann."

As someone without cable and satellite (and who just recently joined the high(er) speed broadband crowd), I know it's not easy to get good and real news over free broadcast media, so I appreciate knowing about good sources.

What are you watching and listening too? What would you recommend?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Reminders! What's coming up

STILL #NoDAPL sign wavers on Cass Street, La Crosse on Jan. 27.    Photo by George

First - thank you to everyone who showed up for yesterday's STILL #NoDAPL rally in La Crosse! It was a good and enthusiastic crowd and a great location to keep this issue in the public's mind. (Many supporters going by the honks, too!)

Second - thank you La Crosse Tribune for putting an article about the Progresstival (Saturday, February 4 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Concordia Ballroom in La Crosse) in Saturday's paper!

Here's what else is coming up this week:

Tuesday, January 31 - The Coulee Region Sierra Club will host a free screening of Josh Fox's (Gasland) latest film, How to Let Go of the World (and love all the things climate can't change). The event will be in a private home at 6:30 p.m. so RSVPs are encouraged (or email CRSierraClub@gmail.com).

Wednesday, February 1 - Western Technical College's Sustainability Institute
will host a Sustainability Showcase featuring 2016 MPower Business Champions. That event will be at the Lunda Center of Western TC from 7:30 to 10:00 am. and will feature Tom Thibodeau of Viterbo University discussing servant leadership and sustainability. A light breakfast will be served. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED!

Thursday, February 2 - The La Crosse Public Library (8th and Main) will host a FREE screening of the film Dead Man Walking as part of the La Crosse Reads - Big Read Event Kickoff week.This year's BIG READ is A Lesson Before Dying. Ream more about the program, the book, and the events at their website.

Saturday, February 4 - Before the Progresstival! get motivated to take action at the OUR WISCONSIN REVOLUTION organizing meeting in La Crosse at 3 p.m. at the Southside Neighborhood Center, 1300 Sixth Street South. "It’s up to us to take Wisconsin back from the Koch brothers and right-wing special interest groups, which have already spent billions here. Wisconsin is one of the biggest battlegrounds for 2018. Let’s show them that we’re organized and ready to fight back." Please RSVP!

Then plan to attend the PROGRESSTIVAL! from 6 to 10 at the Concordia (as noted above)
Looking forward:

If you are going to the February 8 Citizen Water Lobby Day in Madison and want to catch the La Crosse bus to this important event, PLEASE SIGN UP ASAP!!!

What's missing? Do you know of an event we should highlight and add to the calendar? Please email us!

Friday, January 27, 2017

When leaders don't

Over the past few weeks, we have seen that even in the face of such a catastrophic disaster as Donald Trump, some Democrats think they are still playing badminton with the Queen. Good grief!

Mike McCabe, who will be the guest speaker at February 4's Progressitval summed things up nicely a couple of years ago as he was launching his new Blue Jean Nation organization. Speaking after a local screening of Citizen Koch, McCabe said, "One party is scary and the other party is scared." 

Apparently, even though the one party's scary has turned into something exponentially more terrifying than "scary" could ever describe, some "leaders" in the "scared" party still don't get it.

Just days before the nationwide Save Our Healthcare rallies around the nation, 13 Democrats voted with Republicans to restrict fellow citizens' ability to buy affordable prescription drugs. (In fact, some Republicans actually voted in favor of Senators Klobuchar's and Sander's amendment to allow people to purchase lower priced drugs from Canada, so these Dems absolutely tanked this).

But that was the just the beginning of the unraveling.

For example. Ben Carson? For HUD? Are you kidding? And yet, so-called "leaders" Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown, our defense against the crazy, both voted for him. What?!

And what about "leader" Chuck Schumer? I don't think he's gotten the #ResistTrump memo yet according to this report by Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing.

This Yes! Magazine article explains why, "Opportunities for bridging partisan divides will be rare. Success for Democrats should be defined by laws and appointments denied or delayed."
From the impeachment of Bill Clinton to Bush v. Gore, to racially-targeted voter suppression, birtherism, and a legislative coup in North Carolina, the Republican Party has embraced any method, however illegitimate, to erode democracy and strengthen their own power. When norms, democracy, or legitimacy have collided with the Republican Party’s raw pursuit of power and oppression, they have been thrown aside. When Republicans deny the civil rights of LGBTQ people, when juries declare that Black lives don’t matter, the response must be more than simple dialogue. The Republicans will betray any norm to hold desperately to power. The plans they have floated range from an evisceration of the safety net to a mass, racially motivated deportation. This is not the time for mediation. This is the time for resistance.
"Resistance in the name of a better world has to happen," says  article, from The Guardian.

This is why we all must get and stay active and pull others along with us.

* Join the party (bring the completed form and dues to a LOCAL meeting - 3rd Monday of the month) if you haven't and be actively involved.
* Constantly CALL Rep. Ron Kind ((608) 782-2558), Sen. Ron Johnson ((202) 224-5323), and Sen. Tammy Baldwin ((608) 796-0045). Tell them we will not go back. Tell them we will not support leaving tens of millions of our friends and relatives without health coverage. Tell them to vote against Trump's unqualified nominees.
* Contact state Dem party leaders who will vote on the next DNC chair and urge them to back Rep. Keith Ellison (who does seem to get it).
* Call, call, call (don't just email!) national "leaders" when they slip back into that somnambulistic "let's all just get along," silliness.

Maybe you can find a compromise with your companion who wants to eat Chinese while you want Greek, but you can't compromise with the hostage taker who will only feed you nails.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Reject Sessions - the movement continues

from NAACP:

They blinked!
Our campaign to #StopSessions is gaining momentum!

When the NAACP takes action, people listen!

After NAACP branches organized multiple sit-ins, protests and demonstrations around the nation, the movement to #StopSessions took flight. Combined with your support, emails and phone calls to your senators, the Senate Judiciary Committee pushed back the confirmation of Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as US Attorney General another week.

This short break gives us a chance to ramp up our efforts in telling the Senate that he is still the worst among worst nominees for our nation's top civil rights enforcement spot.

His allies were expecting a swift confirmation, but our protests proved them wrong. Expecting him to be confirmed, the new administration removed its civil rights page and the Justice Department began the process of abandoning voter protections and consent decrees that reeled in racist police departments.

Yesterday, we let them know that things won't be as easy as they thought. The momentum is growing and starting to make his friends a little nervous. They're now sweating enough to spend an unheard-of $750,000 on television ads to stop us from mobilizing our members to #StopSessions, but it won't be enough.

Click here to urge your senators to reject Sessions for Attorney General.

Tell your senators they must delay this process as much as possible to thoroughly review the record of the nominee for our nation's most important civil rights job. Slowing down the process would give senators time to learn that Senator Sessions has shown little to no support for protecting the vote, ending voter suppression or stopping police brutality.

Contact your senators RIGHT NOW and urge them to vote to REJECT Sessions on January 31.

We have one week to prove that civil rights still matter. Make sure your senators hear from you today. "Stay Woke and Fight Back!"

Cornell William Brooks
President and CEO

A resolution - please read and act if you are eligible!

 [I realize not all progressives are Dems. In fact, some are absolutely not interested and I get that! But if you are a progressive Dem or are interested in joining the party in order to help amplify the progressive voice there, please consider taking action.]

At Monday's LaXDems meeting, Jess and Monica introduced a resolution urging Wisconsin's Dem leaders to vote for Keith Ellison as chair of the DNC. That vote occurs in late February. The resolution introduced Monday (a similar one was passed by the Vernon Dems earlier this month) goes to the LaXDems executive board and they have four months to return it to the membership for a vote.

But we need them to return it to the members by the February 20 membership meeting or, even if it passes, it will be too late!

[See also this important action item (and a prize!) posted a couple of days ago! Contact those state Dems on your own, too, and enter a raffle for a gift certificate at Pearl Street Books!]

Please contact these local Dem party leaders and politely urge them to expedite their processing of this resolution so the members can vote on it in February!

Exec Board members are:
JD Wine, co-chair; Sue Goeldner, co-chair; Paul Kruse, vice-chair; Dave Wulf (email Diane til we get his email!), secretary; Diane Wulf, treasurer

At-large board members are (I think):
Sara Bentley, Obbie King, Ed Burgess, Jeff Wildt, Chris Troyanek

Resolution in Support of Keith Ellison as Chair of the DNC

Whereas, since 2008, Democrats have lost 1,034 legislative seats and Republicans now control 2/3 of governorships, and

Whereas, we need a Democratic National Committee Chair who will rebuild local parties and grow new leaders, and

Whereas, Keith Ellison, candidate for DNC Chair, stated: “We must energize Democratic activists across the country and give them the tools to build the Party from the bottom up. Beyond a 50-
state strategy, we need a 3,143-county strategy.”

Therefore be it Resolved that the La Crosse County Democratic Party encourages our Wisconsin DNC representatives to vote for Keith Ellison for Chair of the DNC.

Great letters, Nick & Peter!

Read Nick Dutton's letter to the La Crosse Tribune about lack of action on chromium-6 contamination of our water supply! Nick is running for City Council and this is one of his issues.

And read Peter Gorski's letter about climate change and the imperative to take citizen action.

We have a Flyer!

Kudos to Alyssa for this fantastic flyer for February 4's Progresstival! Please print and post, forward, invite, and plan to attend! (Link to .pdf versions.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Great turnout. Forward!

These are NOT official minutes. These are notes from someone who attended the meeting about about how the local party is heading into the future and how we Coulee progressives can get more involved. All descriptions, requests for your input, etc. are from the note taker and not from the LaXDems.

There was a great turnout at tonight's La Crosse County Democratic Party meeting. Many new faces, much new energy, lots of new ideas.

Here are some highlights including plenty of action items! 

JD Wine, this year's co-chair of the La Crosse County Democratic Party introduced our local elected Democratic officials, state senator Jennifer Shilling, and state representatives Steve Doyle and Jill Billings. Each spoke about the new legislative session and challenges ahead. See Shilling health care action items in a previous post. Jennifer pointed out that she received just 61 more votes than her opponent in the last election which emphasizes the importance of getting and being involved and in voting. Doyle talked about his leadership role in the Assembly and how he hoped to push rural issues, like broadband access. Billings noted she has six committee assignments this year: tourism, workforce development, transportation, small business development, family and children, and (I think!) health care.

JD introduced committee chairs - board members who have taken on extra duties to develop and grow opportunities to include and reach more people in our community. If you have a talent or interest in any of these areas, please join! These committees can really make a difference. Please email the chairs to find out about the next meetings and ongoing projects. (OK, true to form, some info at the official Dem site is not yet updated so I don't have all the email addresses for committee heads. I will update as possible. In the meantime, I have linked the email of co-chair, JD Wine to people for whom I don't yet have an email address). Please put committee name in subject: line.

Membership - Dave Wulf heads this important committee. Every person who votes and is in favor of supporting public schools, a clean environment, econonomic and racial justice, respect for our diverse community and world should be a member of this party! If you have particular connections with a specific organization or demographic, please join and help grow the party and the influence of the people the party represents!

Fundraising - Diane Wulf will take charge of this vital committee. Not only will our current officials need funds for their next elections, but we will also need to help defend progressive officials like Tammy Baldwin. In addition, we need to start growing our party, our presence, and our bench of candidates who can grow into leadership positions in the future. Please join, especially if you have great fundraising ideas and./or lots of connections with potential donors. As we know, money can't always buy elections, but it does help.

Communications - Obbie King will take the lead here. As a professional web designer, Obbie has plans for the current website and more. He learned that the LaXDems Twitter account has not been used since 2010! There are new ways of communicating and we need to take advantage of all. Please contact Obbie, especially if you have communications and/or social media experience or training.

Outreach - Sara Bentley is going to work to make sure every person in the county who supports Democratic programs and values knows about the party and is welcomed to join the party. Sara and her team are especially interested in making better connections with rural La Crosse county and with young people, women, communities of color, veterans, environmentalists ... in short, anyone  who has a stake in political decisions made today and into the future. Are you connected? If yes, please join Sara and her team.

Volunteers - Jeff Wildt will work to develop a team of member volunteers who can take the lead when events, outreach, programs, activities, etc. need set up, pick up, drop off, flyer posting, equipment-getting, and everything else. Of course as someone noted at last night's meeting, we are all volunteers, but this team will be able to take the lead and make events more efficient and successful.

Union Outreach - Ed Burgess is a member of Carpenters Local 1143 and is heading up the team that will re-connect with union members around our county. Are you a union member or a retired union member? Are you worried that the whole nation is headed in the disastrous direction pioneered by Scott Walker - anti-union and anti-worker? Ed needs you to help him restring the web of strong union support, input, and leadership in the party.

Events - JD Wine is planning to work with our elected Democratic representatives to make sure the party is including rural voters and rural issues in the party's work, planning and legislation. Broadband access and transportation funding (not just roads, as Obbie pointed out, but also public transportation like the very successful (and soon to be expanded ) SMRT (Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit) system). JD also mentioned that there might be interest in a Dem film series that could help with education and motivation to get involved. Events also includes fundraisers, so JD will work closely with other committees and others in the community to make sure the Dems are well represented.

Not a committee, but also important, Roz Schnick will be the La Crosse Dems' liaison with DPW chair, Martha Laning.

FUNDRAISER FOR TAMMY BALDWIN! Tammy Baldwin's election is coming up in 2018 she will be targeted. Roz Schnick is hosting a fundraiser for Baldwin on March 10. More details will be coming. [Editor's note:  you don't have to wait for March 10 to start contributing to make sure Baldwin remains a strong advocate for progressive issues (mostly) in the US Senate.]

New Business (all proposals will go to the executive committee and return to the membership at the February meeting)

Public funds for religious purposes - Hank Zumach would like to see a national bill introduced that would prohibit the use of public money to fund organizations, institutions, and programs that advocate or facilitate illegal acts. For example, public money currently helps to fund private schools, some of which teach children that women are not equal citizens and Muslims should be killed! Steve Doyle pointed out that past Supreme Court rulings, in the case of school vouchers at least, have tilted toward the argument that the public funds are being given to individual citizens who then decide how to use them (rather than directly going to the offensive institutions). However, Zumach would like the focus and framing of the issue to change to reflect what is truly happening.

Polling places in La Crosse - Peter Gorski noted that when La Crosse redistricted, it left fewer and often, less convenient polling places. Some people must travel from the north to the south side to vote and some polling places are in churches where, studies show, Democratic party candidates are at a disadvantage (it's mental!) Peter suggested the party form a group to identify better polling places and work with the city clerk and council to make changes. Another speaker pointed out that the party should really push and help people participate in early absentee voting in person. 

Messaging - A press-connected speaker noted that Dems have a big issue with messaging, even within the state. He mentioned George Lakoff's work and pointed out that it's more important now than ever to ensure that Democrats frame issues in a way that truly conveys their goals and agenda. He offered to help with this and to connect local Democrats to national news outlets.

Local Candidates - As JD noted, all of our state elected officials stared out as local elected officials. We really need to grow and support a new crop of leaders and several were highlighted at last night's meeting.

Nick Dutton is running for La Crosse City Council in the 7th District. Three others (including the incumbent) are also running. Nick highlighted three issues important to him: 
- alternate side parking injures those without access to off street parking. Nick said that in November, where there was no snow at all, more than $35,000 was collected in alternate side parking fines. 
- chromium 6 is an issue in the whole of La Crosse. While there is no national standard, Nick pointed out that the level of this "Erin Brokovitch" cancer-causing chemical in La Crosse's water is much higher than the standard proposed by health watchdogs in California.
- memorial pool is important even though it's not in Nick's district (but adjacent). Nick says that the closure of this pool continues to adversely affect small businesses in the area (the Eagle's Nest is closed and Gracie's is hurting, too).

Laurie Cooper-Stoll is running for school board. A UWL sociology professor, Cooper-Stoll has demonstrated commitment to public education, diversity, and inclusion. She received recommendations from two Dem party members - a former student and a colleague.

David Marshall is running in the 4th district. He's a veteran and a self-professed progressive. Marshall has received recommendations from several local progressives. He is running against incumbent Bob Sequist who has, in the past, worked to limit opportunities for citizens to address city council representatives at council meetings. This election will not have a February primary.

Other candidates were also mentioned including Jacqueline Marcou challenging incumbent James Cherf and Allen Pruitt, also running for the school board. We will update as more information becomes available.

The Third CD Convention will be held on March 25 in at Prairie du Chien Wauzeka. Registration costs $25. This is an important gathering not just for networking, but also because, according to the DPW bylaws, "Those persons selected to serve as delegates and alternates to the congressional district convention shall serve as delegates and alternates to the state convention." In addition, "A standing platform and resolutions committee shall be composed of three members from each congressional district and one alternate elected at the district conventions." In addition, changes may be initiated in the platform and rules form the district conventions, and several important votes occur at the state convention. So, please contact JD if you might want to attend.

Americans for Prosperity is in forty states, including Wisconsin (including La Crosse) and they are already gearing up for the next elections. A party member brought a glossy brochure detailing their further plans for Wisconsin and noting that they are organized and they have lots of Koch cash to push their agenda. (Note their "Wisconsin works" [sic] page lists Act 10 as one of their major victories and uses ALEC benchmarks to assess our state's rank for things like "best economic outlook." (for whom?) The message - BE AWARE!

A resolution urging WI Dems to vote for Keith Ellison as DNC chair was introduced by Jessica Thill and Monica Hofmann. See the new post about this - includes an action item!

Ron Kind update Ron Kind's campaign person gave an update.

College Democrats have elected a new chair for the new semester. Sarah Semrad will hand over the gavel to Anna Kivi.

Events coming up

February 4 - Progresstival

February 8 - Citizens Water Lobby Day in Madison (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) Buses going from La Crosse but SIGN UP ASAP!

February 16 - Reginald Betts presentation in support of La Crosse Reads. Betts, an American poet, memoirist and lawyer, is author of A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (Penguin/Avery, 2009), Shahid Reads His Own Palm (Alice James Books, 2010), and Bastards of the Reagan Era (Stahlecker Selections, 2015). The event will be held in 2160 Bluffs Room, UWL Student Union. Book-signing and reception immediately prior at 6 p.m. More events around the La Crosse Reads program are shown at the link.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


On Saturday, February 4, you will have a chance to learn what our fellow citizens are doing to define and sustain a compassionate, just, equitable community. [Grab a .pdf of the flyer here!]

The PROGRESSTIVAL!  will be held at the Concordia Ballroom, 1129 La Crosse Street, from 6 to 10 p.m. There will be food! and music, too.

Guest speaker, Mike McCabe, formerly director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and now head of Blue Jean Nation, will speak at 7:30 pm

The event is open to everyone. Please plan to donate a little ($0 to $10) to help pay for the hall rent and other expenses. No one will be turned away for lack of funds! If you want to bring a non-perishable for local food pantries, please do. If you want to bring your neighbor, relative, co-worker, or friend along, please do!

From 6:00 to 7:30 plan to visit with representatives from local, regional, state and national groups and organizations working to sustain and protect our important social institutions, vulnerable populations, our environment, our human and civil rights, and our democracy, Talk, connect, network, share ideas, and join with others to strengthen that community.

Here's the list of confirmed groups. We will update regularly.
(Many others have been invited. If your group would like to table, please email the organizers!)

Please spread the word. And check back often for an updated list of participating organizations.

La Crosse For Keith Ellison Raffle

Are you ready for change in the Democratic Party? Dissapointed in the national leadership this past election year? And beyond?

The DNC votes February 23rd to elect a new chair. KEITH ELLISON is the best option to continue political revolution needed in this country and transform the Democratic Party.

Keith Ellison is a Congressman from Minnesota endorsed by Bernie Sanders and many other Democrat leaders. He is a progressive champion, grassroots organizer, co-leader the Progressive Caucus, and one of five leaders in Congress who bravely endorsed Bernie in the 2016 primary. He is the visionary leader we need and would be the first Muslim DNC chair.

There are currently 6 Wisconsinites who will be voting for the DNC chair on 2/23. We need to let these party leaders know who the PEOPLE of Wisconsin want to lead the party into the future: Keith Ellison for DNC chair!

Each time you send an email to one of these DNC voters, CC or BCC keithellisonlaxraffle@gmail.com, and you will be entered in a raffle to win a $20 gift card to Pearl Street Bookstore in downtown La Crosse. Invite your friends and neighbors! Raffle will be 2/20, three days before his election. Take a few minutes to write to the DNC voters and encourage them to support the people's choice: Keith Ellison.

DNC voters to contact:
Martha Love: mlove46@aol.com
Jason Rae: raejason@yahoo.com
Janet Bewley: janetbewley@gmail.com

*These DNC voters have expressed intent to support Keith; you can thank them and encourage them to follow through*
David Bowen: Davidbowen05@gmail.com
Martha Laning: martha@wisdems.org
Andrew Werthmann: andwerth@gmail.com

Thank you for being part of the political revolution! #NotMeUs

Friday, January 20, 2017

Healthcare issues in our state

This is from state Senator Jennifer Shilling's latest newsletter.

Protecting senior citizens and access to affordable prescription drugs are top priorities for Democrats as the 2017-18 legislative session gets underway. The SeniorCare Protection Act is being authored by Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) and I am proud to be a co-sponosor. The bill would ensure the continuation of SeniorCare and prevent future raids on prescription drug care funding.

SeniorCare has benefited thousands of Wisconsin seniors who otherwise might not be able to afford their prescrip-tions. By negotiating lower prices with pharmaceutical companies, our state has saved taxpayers millions and provided seniors with affordable access to the prescription drugs they depend on.

The SeniorCare program, created in 2002 with bipartisan support, has provided prescription drug assistance to thousands of Wisconsin seniors who meet certain eligibility criteria. Currently, over 80,000 Wisconsin residents age 65 years or older rely on SeniorCare for prescription drug assistance.

After repeated attempts by Republican politicians to eliminate SeniorCare and increase prescription drug costs, we need to stand up for seniors and stop future funding raids. Many have expressed concerns that the changes proposed by President-elect Trump and Republicans in Congress will jeopardize this highly successful and cost-effective program for seniors. Given the uncertainty with the incoming Trump administration, we should start working now to protect SeniorCare and give Wisconsin seniors the security of knowing they can afford their medications moving forward.”

In his 2015-17 state budget, Gov. Walker proposed cutting the SeniorCare budget by 40 percent. Despite requests from seniors and health advocacy organizations to protect access, the Governor has not said whether he plans to propose additional cuts in the 2017-18 budget he will be introducing in February.


Survival Coalition has launched an important survey for adults and children with disabilities, older adults, their families, care providers, and low income adults.

Please take this survey, share the link, and ask everyone you know to take it. Many people are unaware that the health care, supports, services, and programs they are familiar with are funded by Medicaid.

Policymakers in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. are proposing big changes to Medicaid, including Medicaid Block Grants. These changes could happen quickly and could be harmful to people. We want to know about the Medicaid services and supports that you or your loved ones use to help you live your life and stay healthy, and how important these supports are to your life.

Please fill out the survey by January 31st, 2017.  Click here to fill out the Survey.

Community Rights Workshops in Winona

MARCH 3-5, 2017
Weekend Workshop on 
Community Rights Movement (Winona MN)

The dates for our Weekend Workshop are now March 3-5, 2017. We apologize for any inconvenience; this change was unavoidable. Thanks for understanding. 

February 12 (Sunday 3:00 pm): 
We the People 2.0” new documentary 

February 19 (Sunday 3:00 pm):
Introductory workshop 

March 3-5 (Fri pm thru Sun afternoon)
Full Weekend Workshop. Enjoyable and intensive exploration of Community Rights movement's origins, goals, and strategy

March 6 (probably 5 pm to 7 pm)
Informal discussion with Paul on how to move ahead with Community Rights in the Winona area.

Mark your calendar! Space will be limited. We will update as soon as REGISTRATION INFORMATION is available OR CONTACT THE ORGANIZERS! 

We are keeping costs for attendees as low as possible. We hope you'll consider attending these empowering workshops. We need this Movement — now more than ever!

Your Community-Rights Workshop team,
Jim Gurley (507) 523-3113
Sarah Miles (507) 452-1056

For more info, testimonials, and resources, please see below.

We the People Are More Powerful 

than We Dare to Believe: 


Friday 6pm - 9pm 
Saturday 9am - 6pm
Sunday 9am - 5pm

The weekend workshop in Winona is a full weekend about community rights. The mini-workshops are basic overviews. (
No previous experience or knowledge is necessary to attend either workshop.)

 Wanting a better world for my daughters convinced me to attend Paul's training.  I moved from feeling ignorant, to oppressed, to empowered.  We can build a world that holds the interest of ourselves, our children, our whole Earth Community at the forefront.  And there are other communities leading the way!  Join me!

Our workshop leader, Paul Cienfuegos, has been leading workshops, giving public talks, and organizing local communities towards dismantling corporate rule and strengthening local democracy since 1995. An Oregon resident, Paul continues to expand his life passion: to help communities near and far to rediscover their power to govern themselves. He has great faith in the inherent wisdom and capacity of everyone to strive for a better world.
We sense that our democratic system of rule by the people is broken, and that we need to have a way to look at the frac-sand mining problem and solution in a system-wide, overarching way (along with continuing to locally oppose specific mines or facilities). This workshop will provide such an overarching understanding.

Paul Cienfuegos (pronounced “SEE-en-FUAY-gose”) of Portland, Oregon is an expert in the Community Rights Movement, and he leads workshops nationally on the subject. Forest, Sheila, and Jim attended one of his workshops last September, and found it to be extremely informative, inspiring, and empowering.

Paul’s workshops are packed with information and activities, but also include lots of generous breaks. He encourages interactive questions and discussion by participants. Paul’s approach is positive, solution-oriented, and has a good sense of humor. He brings several excellent books and articles to the workshop for sale, and provides a resource-guide and reading list to all attendees, along with a free audio file of the workshop (and DVD at nominal cost if it is video-taped).
Paul clearly explains, in the workshop, how and why corporations received these so-called “rights” that allow them to invade our communities and disregard the will of the people. This knowledge is an important first step in seeing how such a situation can be resisted and overcome.

Workshop attendees will also meet and interact with people from across our region. This networking creates valuable unity within our movement so we can more effectively fight frac sand mining and other environmental threats.