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.
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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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
(Penguin/Avery, 2009), Shahid Reads His Own Palm
Books, 2010), and Bastards of the Reagan Era
2015). The event will be held in 2160 Bluffs Room, UWL Student Union. Book-signing and reception
at 6 p.m. More events around the La Crosse Reads program are shown at the link.