January and February, 2020 Newsletter


PBS will be presenting a documentary on the rise and fall of Senator Joseph McCarthy on Monday, January 6th at 8:00 pm.  The Wisconsin Republican’s anti-communist campaign made him one of the most powerful men in America in the 1950’s.  And one of the most reviled.  Researchers for the documentary used the archives of the Shawano Historical Museum.  Unfortunately, McCarthy’s picture still sits above the jury box in the courtroom of the Shawano County Courthouse.

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The Shawano Dems will have their August meeting in western Shawano County at the historic Train Depot in Eland.  Beginning with a Pot Luck at 6:15 pm, the speakers and meeting will begin at 7:00 pm.  Tony Gonzalez will tell about what has driven him to become an advocate for diversity, inclusion and assimilation for the Hispanic Community in the Wausau area.  He has been actively involved in re-establishing a dialogue between the community and legislators.  He will be accompanied by Jeffrey Todd, a Certified Medical Practice Executive who now volunteers in social justice mission work.  Text or call Dan Weidner if you wish to carpool from the Shawano Civic Center leaving at 5:45 pm.

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Newsletter for July 2019


Speaking at the next meeting is Muffy Culhane from SAM 25.  She will be discussing their new facility and future fundraising events.  The Shawano Dems are thankful for the efforts of this wonderful organization which helps those who are temporarily homeless. We plan to help however we can.  The meeting will be held on July 17th at the Shawano Civic Center at 7:00 pm.

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Newsletter for May 2019

   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.
  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. 
   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.

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.

Newsletter for March/April 2019


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.


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


   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.


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.


   Joseph McCarthy may have been a lawyer in Shawano but should his picture still hang in the 2nd Circuit Courtroom in the Shawano County Court House?
   McCarthy became a Republican Senator during the 1950’s.  During the McCarthy era hundreds of Americans were accused of being communists or communist sympathizers.  Under his leadership the U.S. Congress conducted aggressive investigations and hearings which led to accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. 
 Steve Menard, a lawyer in Shawano, will be the speaker at the January 16th meeting.  He feels that McCarthy’s picture should be preserved with the Shawano County Historical Society as a part of Shawano’s history.  The meeting will be held at the Shawano Civic Center (225 S. Main St.) at 7:00 pm.

Judge Lisa Neubauer has accepted an invitation to attend our February 20th meeting.   Since launching her campaign to become a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice she has traveled all over the state, hearing voter’s thoughts, ideas and rallying support for a fair, impartial and independent Supreme Court.  During the last ten years she has been an appellate court judge and has been the chief judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals since 2015.  She collected over 8,000 signatures (four times the required amount) to officially qualify to be on the April ballot. 

   The Shawano Democrats are on the WTCH Breakfast Club on the 2nd Thursday of every month from 8:00-9:00 am.  During 2019 they will be focusing on of a different topic each month from the Democratic perspective.  The topic for January will be immigration.  Tune into 960 am.
   Democrats want to work toward a comprehensive immigration reform that concentrates on improving border security at the ports of entry.  Their plan targets enforcement so we are targeting criminals—not families.  They want to keep families together and strengthen our economy.  They are committed to preserve President Obama’s successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which gives temporary status that allows DREAMers to study, work, pay taxes and contribute to the communities they grew up in.  Democrats want to treat all people who come to the United States with dignity and respect.

Jan. 10 and Feb. 14:  Listen to the Shawano Dems on the WTCH Breakfast Club 8:00-9:00 am at 960 am

Jan. 16:  Shawano Dems’ meeting at 7:00 pm at the
Civic Center.  Speaker:  Steve Menard

Feb. 6:  Executive Committee Meeting 6:00 pm

Feb. 20:  Shawano Dems’ meeting at 7:00 pm at the Civic Center.  Speaker:  Judge Lisa Neubauer.

March 6:  Executive Committee Meeting 6:00 pm

Chair’s Comments
   We knew when we met Mandela Barnes, Sarah Godlewski and Josh Kaul at events in Shawano last year that they had the ideas and enthusiasm that would propel them into office.  Thanks to all the volunteers who knocked doors, made phone calls and talked with voters, we now have Democrats in charge of our state leadership.
  Thank you to all who gave their time to help get voters to the polls.  We hope you will continue to be motivated to spread our message.

   The Democratic Party of Shawano County has elected officers for the next two years.  Congratulations to Denise Riley who is now our 2nd Vice Chair.  The rest of the officers remain the same: Jan Koch, Chair; Dan Weidner, 1st Vice Chair; Jan Schreiber, Secretary; and Bob Koch, Treasurer.

    Don’t hesitate to contact us with your ideas and concerns.  We welcome those who have ideas they would like to share on the Breakfast Club.


  A pig roast meal will be held at the Pella Town Hall (W11021 County Road D) on October 14 from 2-4 pm.  Attendees will have an opportunity to talk with Beau Liegeois, candidate for Congress, and Richard Sarnwick, candidate for the 6th Assembly District.  The 8th Congressional District along with Jeff and Beth Gillis are sponsoring this complimentary event giving rural voters an opportunity to meet candidates and have a fun time.  Everyone is welcome.
   Signs for Tammy Baldwin, Beau Liegeois, and Richard Sarnwick will be available as well as for Mark Martello, candidate for the 35th Assembly District.

  On October 17th Shawano County Sheriff Candidate Keith Sorlie will be the guest speaker.  Keith is an Independent candidate who currently works for the Shawano City Police Department.  This meeting will be held at 7:00 pm at the Office (105 Airport Rd.)
   On November 14th Bridget Kielas-Fezyk will speak as a Member of Parliament for the Asgardia Space Nation.  She will be doing a presentation on basic emergency preparedness for emergencies that may occur in the future.  This 7:00 pm meeting will be held at the Shawano Civic Center.
   A Holiday Party will be held on December 5th at 7:00 pm at the Civic Center.  A short meeting to elect officers will be followed by snacks and fun. 
   Early voting starts on October 22.  The two weeks before that date are crucial to getting out the vote. 

The weekends of Oct. 13-14 and 20-21 are Days of Action.  Volunteer shifts will run at 9am; 12pm and 3pm.

Tuesdays and Thursdays there will be phone banking from 5-8 pm.

Nov. 3-6 will be Get-Out-the-Vote door knocking and phone calls.

Help is also needed to drive volunteers and voters to the polls, assemble walk packets and provide snacks to volunteers.  If you can help in any way, call the office at 715-201-0809, Max, the regional organizer, at 920-659-0793, or stop in the office. 

Oct. 11, Nov. 8 and Dec. 13:  Listen to the Shawano Dems on the WTCH Breakfast Club 8:00-9:00 am at 960 am.
Oct. 14:  Shawano Dems’ meeting at 7:00 pm at the office at 105 Airport Road.  Speaker:  Keith Sorlie
Nov. 7:  Executive Committee Meeting at 6:00 pm.
Nov. 14:  Shawano Dems’ meeting at 7:00 pm at the Civic Center.  Speaker:  Bridget Kielas-Fezyk.
Dec. 5:  Executive Committee Meeting at 6:00 pm.   Short Dems’ Meeting at 7:00 pm at the Shawano Civic Center followed by the Holiday Party

Chair’s Comments
   A huge thank you to all who were a part of the Fall Fundraising and Dinner.  We had a good turnout on Oct. 6th to hear the inspirational messages of Josh Kaul, Beau Liegeois and Richard Sarnwick.  They spoke about the issues they were most concerned about and encouraged those in attendance to volunteer.
   The money raised from this effort will help pay for office expenses.  We were fortunate to have a spacious office this campaign season even though the cost was more than prior years.  We also contributed to the campaigns of Richard Sarnwick and Beau Liegeois. 
   We are all out of Tony Evers signs.  If you have a good location and would like a sign, we have a stencil to make larger signs.  Those who are interested in one of these signs and/or would like to help paint, please let us know. 
   Let’s get out the vote and encourage Democrats and Democratic leaning Independents to get to the polls!

2018 September Newsletter


Can you feel a change is in the air?  Our office at 105 Airport Road is open and has plenty of room to accommodate those wishing to reach out to voters by making phone calls and picking up packets to knock on doors.  If you would like to volunteer or just have a question, the phone number is 715-201-0809.  If no one answers, you can leave a message and someone will get back to you.

We will be having signs for all of the candidates.  Presently you can pick up signs for Tammy Baldwin, Beau Liegeois, Richard Sarnwick now.  Signs for Tony Evers, Josh Kaul and Sarah Godlewski will be coming within the week.  A $2 donation per sign would be greatly appreciated.

The office hours are still rather limited, but if none of these times are convenient for you, call and other arrangements can be made.  On Saturday the office is open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Canvassers can pick up packets at this time but have the freedom to knock doors on Saturday, Sunday or during the week.  Face to face conversations are the best way to communicate with voters about our candidates.  On Tuesday and Thursday the office will be open from 5:00-8:00 pm.  Phone calls can be made from the office during this time or you can take a packet with you and make calls from your home. 

The September meeting will be held at the office at 7:00 pm.  Our speaker will be local news writer and past Shawano County Board Administrator, Tom Madsen.  As a lifelong Democrat, Tom will give us his perspective on blue waves past and present.

Our fundraising dinner will be held at the Shawano Lake Golf Course on Saturday, October 6th.  The evening will include speeches from candidates, basket raffles and a 50/50 drawing.  The cost is $25.  Reservations should be made by Sept. 28.

An effort is being made to bring state and local candidates to rural areas of Outagamie, Brown and Waupaca Counties on Sunday, October 14th.  The centrally located Pella Town Hall will be the site for Shawano County.  A time frame is being worked out.  Food will be a part of the event.  Look for more information in the October newsletter.


Sept. 13:  Listen to the Shawano Dems on the WTCH Breakfast Club 8:00-9:00 am at 960 am.

Sept. 15:   Look for our booth at the Bonduel Founder’s Day.  Signs will be available for pick up.

Sept. 19:  Shawano Dems meeting at 7:00 pm at the office at 105 Airport Road.

Oct. 3:  Executive Committee Meeting at 6:00 pm
Dems’ Office.

Oct. 6:  Fall Dinner at Shawano Lake Golf Course

Chair’s Comments

I’m feeling good about the next few months and the Nov. 6th election.  We have excellent candidates who have messages that should resound with voters.  I’m excited every time I hear that someone is stepping up and asking how they can help reach out to voters.  Max Morales, our regional organizer, is working hard to accommodate volunteers and make sure they have the training they desire before they knock doors or make phone calls.  His phone number is 920-659-0793.  If he calls you and you make a commitment to help out, please follow through.

A huge thank you to all the volunteers who worked in our Shawano County Fair booth.  A lot of fairgoers shared their feelings on the sheets which said, “I’m voting for Wisconsin Democrats because…”  We will display the comments in our Founder’s Day booth and ask for more.  The patriotic wall quilt raffle was also of interest to many.  The winner was Ericka Kowalkowski.

August, 2018 Newsletter


   The Democrats have many decisions to make as they go to the polls on Tuesday.  There are still eight candidates actively running for governor.  The group Wisconsin Choice has been polling Democrats in order to narrow the field.  Kelda Roys, Kathleen Vinehout, Mike McCabe and Mahlon Mitchell have risen to the top among those who have given their opinion.  Of those Roys (keldaforgovernor.com), Vinehout (kathleenvinehout.org) and McCabe (governorbluejeans.com) have all visited Shawano County in person or through an internet conversation.  Kelda Roys has won most of the straw polls that have been conducted around the state. 
   The Lieutenant Governor candidates Mandela Barnes (mandelabarnes.com) and Kurt Kober (kurtkober.com) have both come to Shawano. The only State Treasurer candidate visiting here was Sarah Godlewski (sarahforwisconsin.com). 
   Information on the 6th Assembly candidates Richard Sarnwick (Sarnwick for Assembly) and William Switalla (Friends of Switalla) can both be found on Facebook.


The next Shawano Dems’ meeting is August 15th beginning at 7:00 pm at the Shawano Civic Center.  Max Morales, the field organizer for Shawano County, and Fellow Liza Long will be explaining their strategies for winning in the November 6th midterms.  Anyone wishing to be a part of an Action Team should come at 6;00 pm to learn more about how they can help.


The Shawano Dems will have an office at 105 Airport Road (across from Perkins and next to Joker Fireworks).  An office opening celebration will be held on August 22nd from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.  There will be music, a light meal, and speeches by candidates.  Beau Liegeois, who is running for the 8th Congressional District and the 6th and 35th Assembly candidates will be present.
   This will be an opportunity to pick up Tammy Baldwin signs and learn more about the candidates.  The office hours have not yet been determined and will depend on the office staffing.  If you can take shifts at the office contact Jan Koch at shawanodems2@gmail.com, text to 715-296-6726 or sign up in the office.


Aug. 9:  Listen to the Shawano Dems on the WTCH Breakfast Club 8:00-9:00 am at 960 am.
Aug. 14:  Vote in the primary between 7am-8pm.
Aug. 15:  Shawano Dems meeting at 7:00 pm at the Civic Center.  Meet Max Morales, field organizer.
Aug. 29-Sept. 3:  Shawano County Fair
Sept 5:  Executive Committee Meeting at 6:00 pm
Civic Center.
Oct. 6:  Fall Dinner at Shawano Lake Golf Course

Chair’s Comments

Now is the time to step up and make a difference.  The future of our democracy is on the line.  You can help in a variety of ways.  Contact us to help turn Wisconsin blue.
   Join the Action Team and reach out to voters through phone banking or knocking on doors. You can come by during office hours and pick up a phone or walk packet to do on your own time. 
   Volunteer to supervise the office by greeting people and directing them as necessary, answering the phone and taking messages and providing other support such as putting canvassing packets together,
   Volunteering in our booth at the Shawano County Fair is another way of talking with voters.  By taking a 2-3 hour shift, you will get a free pass to the fair with parking.  Our booth will have voter information and a wall quilt raffle.  Signs, candidate literature, bumper stickers and buttons will also be available.
Jan Koch, Chair   715-526-2955; 715-296-6726 (cell)
Dan Weidner, 1st Vice Chair  715-250-1212
William Switalla, 2nd Vice Chair  715-253-2052