Newsletter for June 2019

AG WITH PIE AND ICE CREAM

Join the Shawano Dems’ for a pie and ice cream social beginning at 6:30 pm at the Sugar Bowl (136 S. Main St.) on June 19th.  For a donation you can choose from several of Denise Riley’s delicious pies.

Shawano County certified organic farmer Rick Adamski will speak about the current status of agriculture at 7:00 pm. He will suggest solutions that can help to improve the status for farmers.  Rick currently represents eastern Wisconsin on the WI Farmers Union Board. The Dems’ meeting will follow. Continue reading

2019 Wisconsin Democrats State Convention

Photos from the 2019 Wisconsin Democrats State Convention held in Milwaukee WI. at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino on June 1 and 2. (Left to right:  Carrie Pitt, Governor Tony Evers, Jan Koch, Patty Luff, Denise Riley, Dan Weidner and Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barns.)
(Left to right:  Patty Luff, Carrie Pitt, Jan Koch, Chuck Koch, Senator Tammy Baldwin, Dan Weidner and Denise Riley)

Shawano Dems Meeting Wednesday May 15th

Have Tacos With the Shawano Dems
Wed., May 15th
6:00 pm
Shawano Civic Center
$10 meal with drinks and dessert

7:00 Dems’ Meeting
Speakers:  Lee Snodgrass, candidate for the 2nd Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of WI
Jake Fenzl, Regional Organizing Director for NE WI

Below are the op-eds that were printed for April and May.

IT’S MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER TO PROTECT THE EARTH

 “Earth Day.  Let’s never call it a day”

This was the slogan on the 25th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22nd in 1995.  International alliances brought 184 countries around the world to observe Earth Day in 2000. 

Gaylord Nelson was a leading figure in the fight against environmental degradation in the twentieth century.  In Wisconsin he became known at the “Conservation Governor.”  He 1962 he took his fight for conservation to the US Senate.  Through his efforts the first Earth Day was held on April, 22, 1970.  It started out as a teach-in for schools across the country and continues to inspire individuals to do something to preserve our environment ever since.

During the “Environmental Decade” some of the most important environmental protection legislation of our time was passed.  The Clean Water Acts, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, The Federal Pesticides Act, The Clean Air Act, the Environmental Education Act, The National Hiking Trails and the National Scenic Trails Acts were all a part of the legislative reforms which were enacted due to Nelson’s initiatives.

Contrast this progressive governor with Wisconsin’s ex-governor who slashed environmental standards during the past 8 years.  Passed was pro-polluter legislation, the weakening of the inspections of Big Ag, the trashing of the DNR staff, and the firing of science experts.

There was no shortage of companies thinking they could make a profit by using Wisconsin’s water and natural resources.  But were the long-term consequences of these efforts worth the short-term economic gains?

Our clean drinking water is the most precious of our natural resources but Wisconsin has developed a drinking water crisis.

High Capacity wells on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) are pumping vast quantities of water into very small areas.  The almost 300 dairy CAFO’s have put massive amounts of animal waste on the surrounding cropland as fertilizer.  This animal waste is seeping into ground water causing contamination.

Sulfide mining companies, such as the Back Forty Mine on the banks of the Menominee River, can also pollute our water.  The bar was lowered in 2017 when the law was repealed which required companies to prove they would not be harming the environment.

In addition, if the Foxconn deal is not scaled back, the company will be able to pump up to 7 million gallons of water per day, returning only 4 million back to Lake Michigan daily.  There is also the possibility water surrounding the facility could be polluted if harsh chemicals are used in the manufacturing process.

The next time a big company or industry asks Wisconsin to roll back water protections for their profits, we need to ask how this decision might harm our environment. In an effort to protect our most precious resource, Governor Evers has committed to making 2019 the “year of clean drinking water” in Wisconsin.  His budget also includes funding for activities such as staffing and cost-sharing for county land conservation and studying state forestry practices.

We need to make the right choices today. Our children and grandchildren’s health and prosperity depend on it.  We should be making every day “Earth Day”.

GOVERNMENT SHOULD WORK FOR THE PEOPLE

President Abraham Lincoln believed that democracy is a form of government that is “by the people, of the people and for the people.”  In a democracy the government administers programs that are for the public good.

Presently there are ideas being presented by some Democratic presidential candidates and members of Congress which have the interests of the majority of Americans in mind.  These progressive programs have been identified by the term democratic socialism.

Throughout our history there have been presidents who have truly cared for the people.  These progressives strove for an America where people cared about each other, not just themselves, and acted with strength and effectiveness to help each other. 

Each generation has the opportunity to make its mark on advancing the common good.  From 1901-1921 “The Progressive Era” brought about needed reforms.  Three presidents–Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson–had administrations which saw intense social and political change.

In this age when big business seemed all-powerful, the United States appeared to be abandoning its promise of freedom and opportunity for all.  These presidents felt that problems could best be solved by making the government play a stronger role in promoting democracy and solving national problems.

Teddy Roosevelt believed that workers and consumers were not receiving fair and honest treatment.  His program of reform, which became known as the “Square Deal”, focused on regulating big business and protecting the common man.

Corporations were becoming too large for President Taft.  He fought to limit the power of big corporations with “trustbusting” legislation.

President Wilson pushed through other progressive reforms to give a greater voice to the average citizen.  He also thought there was too much corporate influence.  He wanted to reduce the corruption in the federal government.  Among his most notable achievements were laws on banking and tariff reform and the creation of the Federal Trade Commission.

Children in the early 1900’s were put to work.  Under Taft, the Department of Labor established the Children’s Bureau to “investigate and report upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of children.”  Wilson went further to push for a ban on child labor.  In 1916, he signed the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act, which prohibited companies involved in interstate commerce from hiring workers under 14 years of age.

Workers at that time could be required to work long hours.  Companies had resisted unions’ demands to shorten the work-day hours.  Under Taft, the eight-hour day became to rule for government employees.

During the Great Depression of the 1930’s poverty rates among senior citizens exceeded 50 percent Another progressive, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, signed the Social Security Act in 1935.  The Act was an attempt to limit the dangers of old age, poverty, unemployment, and the burdens of widows and fatherless children. 

Workers continue to make contributions to a “trust fund” from their paychecks to pay for their retirement and other benefits they’ll need in the future.  Since the 1930’s provisions of Social Security have changed based on concerns for those with disabilities and changing gender roles.

In 1965 it was virtually impossible for those over 65 years of age to get health insurance coverage. About one-half of America’s seniors did not have hospital insurance.  One in four elderly were estimated to go without medical care due to cost concerns. .Medicare was created under President Lyndon Johnson.  This popular program has helped improve the health and longevity of older Americans ever since.

All these progressive achievements were brought about because of a need for change.  A liberal attitude toward anything means more openness to change.  Government action can bring about equal opportunity and equality for all.  Its obligation is to solve problems that are affecting it citizens.

Problems cannot be solved if we do nothing.  Conservatives have opposed many of the reforms of the past.  Social Security was controversial when originally proposed because it was thought it would reduce the labor force and bordered on socialism.  When Medicare was first introduced it was framed as “socialized medicine”. 

The struggle to maintain Social Security and Medicare for the American people continues.  President Trump’s budget outlines massive cuts. However, these programs are sustainable for at least 20 years if the present level of funding continues.

To the conservative mind, socialism may be thought of as a society in which no one is held accountable, and no one has to work for what they receive.  But these social programs are only sustainable because of free markets and capitalism.  Businesses are owed by the private sector but they are only profitable if there are workers employed to make the products.

Today there continues to be monumental problems that need solutions. As in the early 1900’s we again have the domination of large corporations.  The wage gap has widened and many working individuals are having a hard time making ends meet.  Many are without health insurance.  In addition, our planet is undergoing undesirable changes because of climate change. 

When the government in a democracy steps in to administer programs that improve the life of its citizens, it could be called democratic socialism. Paying workers $15 an hour, Medicare for All and the Green New Deal have all been proposed as solutions to current problems.

Government can be helpful in bringing about change for the common good.  Our democracy must continue to be by the people, of the people and for the people.

Newsletter for May 2019

2020 KICK-OFF WITH TACOS
   The Shawano Dems invite you to join them as they enjoy a taco meal prior to their meeting on May 15th. The event will begin at 6:00 pm at the Shawano Civic Center. 
  The May meeting will be held at 7:00.  Speakers include Lee Snodgrass, candidate for the 2nd vice chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party and Jake Fenzl, Regional Organizing Director for northeast WI.  Plan to attend this event which will kick-off the 2020 campaign season.  It’s time to reconnect with fellow Democrats.
 
PLAN TO ATTEND THE STATE CONVENTION
  Now that Milwaukee has been slated to host the 2020 National Democratic Convention, the state convention will be even more exciting.  Since Wisconsin will be targeted as a swing state, it will be interesting to see how many of the 21+ candidates will be there seeking votes.
   Milwaukee’s Potawatomie Hotel & Casino will be the site of the convention which will be held on June 1-2.  You can pre-register at https://www.wisdems.org/events/2019-wisdems-state-convention.  You do not need to be a member of the Democratic Party to attend but membership is encouraged. 
 
THIS MONTH’S TOPIC
   Every month the Shawano County Democrats will be zeroing in on certain topics.  Our views are being put forth on two separate media outlets. The Shawano Leader will be printing our op-ed on their editorial page each month.  Also, tune into the WTCH Breakfast Club on the second Thursday of the month from 8:00-9:00 am on 960 AM.
   May’s topic explains the meaning of the term democratic socialism   It is an attempt to thwart the idea that some of the Democratic candidates and some members of Congress are putting forth ideas that smack of socialism or even communism.
   The conservative right likes to compare progressive programs like the $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All and the Green New Deal as government run programs that would make our country socialist. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
   When there are problems with the status quo, the government in a democracy is supposed to initiate programs that help its citizens. Capitalism can still thrive.  Businesses and the government can work together to make the needed changes that benefit citizens.  Many times, liberal ideas are necessary to make necessary reforms.

UPCOMING EVENTS
May 9:  Listen to the Shawano Dems on the WTCH Breakfast Club 8:00-9:00 am at 960 AM and 96.1 FM
.
May 15:  Taco meal at 6:00 pm prior to the Shawano Dems’ meeting at 7:00 at the Civic Center.  Speakers include Lee Snodgrass and Jake Fenzl.
 
June 5:  Executive Committee Meeting 6:00 pm
 
July 25:  Summer picnic
 
Oct. 5:  Fall dinner

Chair’s Comments
   As we get bombarded with politics in the media, we need to take a step back and try to make sense of it all.  What is the truth and what are lies? If you don’t plan to read the whole Mueller report, you can read the summaries that were written by the Mueller team.  As the March 27th letter to Attorney General William Barr from Special Council Robert Mueller indicates, they should be made public..(https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/read-mueller-s-letter-attorney-general-william-barr-n1000601)      You can read the summaries at https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/18/politics/full-mueller-report-pdf/index.html.  For the summary of Volume 1, go to “Pages” and click on Page 12 (which is p. 4-10 of the whole report).  For the summary of Volume 2, go to “Pages” and click on Page 215 (p. 3-8 of the whole report).
   It is bound to be a momentous presidential campaign season.  We need all hands on deck to make sure our country elects a president who will make the presidency truly great again.  You can help out by coming to our events and joining the WI Democratic party.

The Spring Election is Tomorrow, April 2nd

If you haven’t voted already, make sure you make plans to vote. Visit  myvote.wi.gov to find your polling location and see who will be on your ballot. 

THIS ELECTION IS VERY IMPORTANT, DON’T SIT THIS ONE OUT!!

#GOTV
Get Out The Vote, Tuesday, April 2nd 
Polls are open 7AM – 8PMVote for Supreme Court Justice and local nonpartisan officials.

Chief Justice Lisa Neubauer has dedicated her career to making sure families and victims of crime receive justice. Now she’s running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where she’ll be a fair, impartial, and truly independent jurist who serves the people not the special interests. 

Jan Koch, Chair – Democratic Party of Shawano County

Early Voting Begins Today

Spring Election

The election is just two weeks away.  Early voting begins on March 18th.  Candidates for local government positions, school board, and judges are on the ballot.  Be sure and vote.

Shawano Dem’s March Meeting

On Wed., March 20th the meeting will be held at the Civic Center at 7:00 pm.  Jolie Lizotte, the organizer for  Northeast Wisconsin Citizen’s Action, will be discussing their efforts to improve Badger Care and bring about fair district boundary maps.

Morgan Norton, Grassroots Coordinator for Neubauer for Justice, will be acquainting voters with Justice Lisa Neubauer, who is running to be the next Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.  Yard signs for her campaign will be available.

In order to educate voters about Justice Neubauer, there is an effort to knock doors and make phone calls during the next two weekends.  Please respond to this email and say you will help.  Shifts run from noon to 3:00 and 3:00-6:00 pm. Days of Action headquarters will be at the Shawano Civic Center.

Newsletter for March/April 2019

SPEAKERS AT MEETINGS

On March 20th Jolie Lizotte from Northeast WI Citizen’s Action will speak. She will be discussing their efforts to improve the state’s healthcare program and to promote fair district boundary maps.
   Also, Morgan Norton will be present as a surrogate for Judge Neubauer’s campaign for WI Supreme Court Justice.
   The April 17th meeting will feature Barbara Mendoza who is the Executive Director of the non-profit F.R.E.S.H Project.  This effort tries to ensure that everyone has access to good food.  Through community engagement the project’s mission is educate, increase food security and promote good health.
   Meetings are at 7:00 pm at the Shawano Civic Center.

FESTIVALS AND CONVENTIONS

There are several events that are being organized for those who would like to be more engaged in the democratic process.  You do not need to be a member of the Democratic party to participate.
   March 23rd is the date of the 11th Annual WI Grassroots Festival which will be held in Mazomanie, WI.  This event will feature numerous high-profile speakers and breakout sessions.
   On May 4th the 8th Congressional District will have their convention in Fremont. (Waupaca County).   If you wish to be a delegate, email your intension at info@shawanocountydems.com.   Pre-register at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/2019convention.
  Milwaukee’s Potawatomie Hotel & Casino will be the site of the state convention on June 1-2.  Pre-register at https://www.wisdems.org/events/2019-wisdems-state-convention

MONTHLY TOPICS

   Every month the Shawano County Democrats will be zeroing in on certain topics.  Our views will be put forth on two media outlets. Shawano Leader will be printing our op-ed on their editorial page at the beginning of each month.  Also, tune into the WTCH Breakfast Club on the second Thursday of the month from 8:00-9:00 am on 960 AM and 96.1 FM.
   March’s topic is voting.  With the upcoming election for local offices and WI Supreme Court Justice, it is important for voters to find out about the candidates and be responsible citizens by voting.  (Sroll down and you can read this op-ed.)
   We should remember that Earth Day was a day set aside by progressive Wisconsin legislatures of the past to honor our earth.  April 22 will be a reminder that our environment needs to be preserved so that future generations have drinkable water and breathable air.  April’s topic will be the environment.

UPCOMING EVENTS

March 14 and April 10:  Listen to the Shawano Dems on the WTCH Breakfast Club 8:00-9:00 am at 960 AM and 96.1 FM

March 20:  Shawano Dems’ meeting at 7:00 pm at the
Civic Center.  Speakers:  Jolie Lizotte and Morgan Norton.

April 2:  Spring election 8:00 am  – 8:00 pm

April 3: Executive Committee Meeting 6:00 pm

Apriil 17: Shawano Dems’ meeting at 7:00 pm at the Civic Center.  Speaker:  Barbara Mendoza

Chair’s Comments

I’m excited that we finally have a governor who can fight for the changes we have been yearning for. His two- year budget includes increases for the funding of public education, the environment and healthcare.
   Governor Evers has appointed qualitied and experienced people to run our state’s various departments.  Unfortunately, he has an uphill battle with a Republican legislature that won’t give up its agenda.
   There are a lot of ways we can fight with him. Beginning March 16th and during the last three weekends before the spring election, there are efforts to knock doors and talk to voters around the county. We will have some Judge Neubauer signs available at our March meeting.  There will be state budget listening sessions in different parts of the state.  By attending one of these you have an opportunity to voice your opinion on priorities you think are important.  Let us know if you would like to participate in any of these efforts.
 
Jan Koch, Chair   715-526-2955 (home); 715-296-6726 (cell)
Dan Weidner, 1st Vice Chair  715-250-1212
Denise Riley, 2nd Vice Chair  715-524-4056
Website:  http://shawano.wiscdems.com
Facebook Page: “Shawano County Democratic Party

Op-ed:  “Voting Chance for People to Make a Difference”
Our right to vote is precious.

It wasn’t until one hundred and fifty years ago that the right to vote got some government protections.  The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution stated that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”  Women fought for the right to vote for decades but it wasn’t until 1920 that the Nineteenth Amendment was passed.  In 1971 the death of thousands of young adults in Vietnam led to the passage of the Twenty-sixth Amendment.  Voting was thus expanded to include those who were at least 18 years of age. 

Even though voting is essential to our democracy, there have been political forces who have tried to limit access to the ballot box.  President Johnson told Congress they needed to enact expansive voter rights.  The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was introduced while civil rights leaders, now under the protection of federal troops, led a march of 25,000 people from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.  (Since then it has been weakened by a US Supreme Court decision.)

Unfortunately, despite all the efforts to protect the vote, there have been on-going efforts for voter suppression by Republican-dominated state legislatures.  The pattern targets black, Latino, young, and low-income voters, who traditionally lean Democratic.

Under the guise of voter fraud, the Wisconsin legislature has imposed the most restrictive voter ID laws in the country.  It is now difficult for individuals that don’t have a driver’s license to vote. These individuals must get a free state ID card from the Department of Motor Vehicles.  In addition, hours of operation have been scaled back at the DMV making it more difficult for voters to get the identification they need.

If that isn’t enough, there are other tactics that have been used by legislatures to win elections.  Every ten years the census is taken and the information is supposed to be used to draw the lines for state assembly and senate districts as well as congressional districts.  In 2011 Wisconsin was one of the states whose Republican legislature redrew the districts to their advantage in a process known as gerrymandering.

In the 2018 mid-term election 53% of statewide Assembly votes went to the Democrats, however, they only secured 36% of the 99 seats.  Thankfully, one of Governor Tony Evers’s initiatives is to put nonpartisan redistricting reform in his proposed state budget.

Because there are forces that try to “buy” our votes, it is the responsibility of voters in a democracy to do their homework.  Voters need to be aware of the falsehoods that dark money groups put in TV ads and home-delivered literature.   These Political Action Committees (PACs) donate huge sums of money to the candidates who they think will do their bidding.  It should be the desire of everyone; Democrat, Republican or Independent; to work toward getting big money out of politics.

Efforts to accommodate voters should be made easier, not harder. Wisconsin is one of the states which has allowed voters to register to vote on-line.  If you have a driver’s license, you can go to  http://myvote.wi.gov by March 13th.  Governor Evers would like to go even further and join the fifteen states who have already implemented automatic voter registration (AVR).

The next chance that Wisconsin voters have to make their opinions known is in the April 2nd spring election.  Early voting begins March 18th.   Non-partisan candidates for local elections and Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice will be on the ballot.  Judges should be fair, impartial and independent.

A democracy cannot exist if citizens don’t exercise their responsibility to choose their representatives.  Voting is our chance to make a difference.

FEBRUARY 20th MEETING CANCELLED

Due to the approaching snowstorm, Wednesday’s meeting has been cancelled.  

Our next meeting will be held on March 20th.  Speakers will be Julie Lizotte from NE Wisconsin Citizen’s Action and Morgan Norton who will talk about Judge Neubauer’s campaign for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.

If you would like to be a part of a team which will reach out to voters in the upcoming elections, there will be a Volunteer Leadership Conference on Saturday, March 2nd from 9 am – 5 pm at the Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake (W2511 WI-23, Green Lake, WI, 54941).

This will be an opportunity to network with other teams and receive training in volunteer recruitment, the VAN, and more! We will be talking about the Spring Voter Education Program and working to create action plans for Spring and the remainder of 2019. 

Space is limited, so please RSVP until 10 am on Feb. 25th. You can RSVP here.

FEBRUARY EVENTS

February 20th
Shawano Dems’ Meeting
Shawano Civic Center
7:00 PM

We were hoping to have Judge Lisa Neubauer speak about her candidacy for Supreme Court Justice but unfortunately she had to cancel.  However, we will have an informative program.

Our speaker will be Barbara Mendoza, the Executive Director of the non-profit F.R.E.S.H Project, The projects mission is to increase the physical access to Food, create Resources where good food can be found, provide Educational events, increase food Security and bring about good Health. This project has been promoting community engagement to meet its goals.

February 15th
Senator Rob Cowles’ Listening Session
Shawano Civic Center
4:30-6:00 PM

This is a chance for you make your opinions known before the state budget is debated.

February 14th
WTCH-AM 960 & 96.1 FM Breakfast Club
8:00-900 AM

The Shawano Dems will be on the air.  The topic for this month is healthcare.  Below is an op-ed which will be printed in the Shawano Leader.

BETTER HEALTHCARE NEEDED

The private insurance market has had a strong hold on American’s healthcare for decades. 

Americans have had to deal with high deductibles, co-pays and no maximum caps in their insurance plans.   Patients who suffered from pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and other life-threatening conditions have been denied coverage.

Americans have had to deal with high deductibles, co-pays and no maximum caps in their insurance plans.   Patients who suffered from pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and other life-threatening conditions have been denied coverage.

Back in 2008 when the costs for healthcare insurance were skyrocketing, the Democrats in Congress felt the need to help those who couldn’t get the health care they so desperately needed.  Although they thought the best solution was a government single payer tax-funded plan, they compromised and settled for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which kept private insurance companies in the loop.

The developing countries of the world have better healthcare systems than the United States.  The Legtum Institute, a London based research institute, recently identified the top countries with the best healthcare systems.  The United States ranked 30th.

The quality of healthcare in the institute’s study was measured by three key components:  a country’s basic mental and physical health, health infrastructure, and the availability of preventative care.   Many of the countries with the best healthcare rankings had universal healthcare and required mandatory health insurance for all its citizens.

Government’s job is to fill the gaps when the private market isn’t meeting the needs of its people.  The ACA legislation allowed states to accept federal funds to help low-income individuals afford health insurance.  Up until now Wisconsin has not accepted the hundreds of millions in Medicaid funds for BadgerCare.  Accepting the available funds would be an important step to achieving healthcare for all.

Many Americans under 65 would like healthcare which has the benefits of Medicare.  In Wisconsin one plan could be a “Public Option” for both individuals and employers of large or small businesses.   According to Citizen’s Action, a promoter of the program, the cost would be less per person than private insurance.

Today there are many who face a constant threat of having their lives devastated by health disasters which could easily become financial disasters.  Many with pre-existing conditions are worried that they will not be able to get insurance in the future.   Everyone should have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that affordable healthcare will be there when it is needed.

Americans have said overwhelmingly that they don’t like our present healthcare system.  70% have said they would rather have a plan like Medicare for All.

Change can invoke fear.  There was resistance when the government first introduced the idea of Social Security and Medicare.

There might be some apprehension if we go away from private insurance’s domination of our healthcare.  But isn’t coverage for every American worth it?