Sunday, October 27, 2013

If you are thinking about running for local office, we want to help!

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin, in partnership with Wisconsin Progress, is hosting a webinar series for people who are considering running for local office this spring. Catch the programs live or listen to recordings whenever it's convenient for you. To sign up, visit: wisdems.org/localcandidatewebinars.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sunday, July 14 - Green County Democrats & Progressives monthly meeting will be held at Vince's Restaurant & Pizzeria, 619 4th Ave, Monroe. A social time and opportunity to have a meal or snack (Dutch treat) will begin at 5 PM with the meeting at 6 PM. Guest speaker will be Jacob Hajdu, Political Director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Newcomers are welcome.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

WEDC: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice…


By: State Representative Janis Ringhand
One of the first bills I voted for last session, as a new legislator, was the creation of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).  Created to replace the Department of Commerce, this new public/private partnership was a big part of Governor Walker’s reforms to turn Wisconsin’s economy around.  Rock County has some of the highest unemployment in the state and I voted for this legislation with the hope it would help our friends, neighbors and family members get back to work.

We’ve been on a downward spiral ever since.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Wisconsin ranks 44th in job creation and 45th in wage growth.  Forbes Magazine predicts we are to be second to last in long-term job creation.  According to the US Chamber of Commerce, Wisconsin is dead last in short-term job growth in the nation.

To add insult to injury, this week the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) released a full program audit of WEDC.  The results were embarrassing.  LAB found that WEDC authorized illegal loans and tax credits, lost track of loans and spent taxpayer money on things like football tickets, iTunes gift cards and alcohol.  We trusted WEDC with millions of dollars, with one of the most important issues facing our state – creating jobs.  They have let us down.

As a former small business owner, when I made an investment, I expected that 1) my money was being used wisely and 2) that I would get positive results.  Taxpayers deserve the same.  When evaluating the State’s investment in WEDC, neither of these expectations have been met.  In FY 2011-12, WEDC’s expenditures totaled an estimated $80.1 million.  In that time, they did not monitor the amount of money spent on each of its economic development programs.  WEDC and its governing board did not file all required reports on time with some reports even missing required information.  Finally, WEDC issued awards to ineligible recipients, for ineligible projects for more money than the law allowed.

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  We cannot sit by idly and allow this organization to continue misusing taxpayer dollars.  Before we give them more money, we need to make sure they are being held accountable and are following the law.  Too many Wisconsinites are out of work for us to not take action now.  I supported a resolution earlier this week that would’ve created a bipartisan legislative committee tasked with holding WEDC accountable, protecting taxpayer money and ensuring WEDC follows the law.  As a member of the Assembly Committee on Workforce Development and the Assembly Committee on Small Business Development, I will continue working hard to bring businesses to our community, bring accountability back to WEDC and get folks back to work.

As always, please feel free to contact my office if you have additional questions on this or any other state legislative matter.  I can be reached toll-free at 1-888-534-0045 or by email at Rep.Ringhand@legis.wi.gov.       

Janis Ringhand
State Representative
45th Assembly District

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Newly Formed Rural Caucus To Hold Listening Sessions On 2013-2015 State Budget


MADISON April 24, 2013 – Today, a group of Assembly Democratic Legislators announced the formation of a Rural Caucus whose focus will be raising awareness and advocating on behalf of the people and communities of rural Wisconsin. The Rural Caucus will kick off with a series of listening sessions on the 2013-2015 Wisconsin State Budget. 

“Too often, the needs of rural communities are ignored or put behind the needs of urban and suburban areas of the state.  Working together, rural legislators will have the political clout and the numbers to balance the influence that legislators representing more populous parts of the state have,” noted State Representative Janet Bewley (Ashland), who will serve as  chair of the group. “The Rural Caucus can be a focal point and direct avenue for rural residents and organizations to get their message across to the entire Wisconsin State Legislature,” added Representative Janis Ringhand (Evansville), who is serving as vice-chair. 

“Unfortunately, the debate in the Legislature frequently centers on just Madison and Milwaukee.  This is unfair to all the residents who live in other parts of the state,” said Representative Amy Sue Vruwink (Milladore).  “The challenges rural communities face are different than the ones urban and suburban communities face. I felt it was important that rural Wisconsin be adequately represented, especially during budget negotiations, which is why I’ve joined the Rural Caucus,” added Representative Fred Clark (Sauk City).

In an effort to ensure that this state budget represents all Wisconsinites, members of the Rural Caucus will be holding budget listening sessions in rural communities across the state. The first four are listed below. The listening sessions are open to the public and legislators who represent these areas have been invited to attend. “This is just the first step in the process,” explained Representative Chris Danou (Trempealeau), “the Rural Caucus intends to continue meeting on important rural issues, including broadband, schools, local road aids and healthcare access.”

Monroe
Saturday, May 11th
1:30- 3:30 pm
Community Center
Monroe City Hall, Lower Level
1110 18th Ave, Monroe, WI 53566

Monday, April 29, 2013

Private School Voucher Expansion: What is it and what does it mean for us?



By: State Representative Janis Ringhand

Two months.  That’s about how long it’s been since Governor Walker first introduced his 2013-15 state budget.  The budget always provides a clear snapshot of a Governor’s priorities and this session is no different.  From removing the cap on the amount of land that can be sold to foreign entities (individuals or corporations) to the nearly $500 million increase in transportation aid – many of the Governor’s priorities have generated some controversy.  

One area of Governor Walker’s budget that has received a great deal of attention over the last two months is education.  Last session, the Governor cut funding for our schools by $1.6 billion.  Anticipation was high regarding how our public schools would fare this time around.  While education aid receives an increase of just over 1 percent over the biennium – there remains a freeze on spending limits.  So while districts are getting more money, they cannot spend any more than they did last year. 

On the flip side, the private school voucher program received a funding increase of over 29 percent.  Currently this program is operated in just Milwaukee and Racine, however, the budget includes provisions that would expand the program to nine additional districts.  The Beloit School District is one of those nine districts.  It is important to note that this is not something the Beloit School District asked for and they have been clear that they oppose the expansion.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about the expansion of the private school voucher program and so I wanted to use this week’s column to clear up some of the confusion.

Myth: Without expansion of the private school voucher program – families do not have a choice when selecting the right educational path for their child. 

Many Wisconsin school districts already use charter schools and alternative schools to help address the needs of some of their most vulnerable students.  Furthermore through open enrollment, families have the option of enrolling their children in another district if they feel it’s a better fit for their child.  Therefore Wisconsin parents already have other choices available to them if they feel their child’s current education is unsatisfactory.  

Myth: Funding for the private school voucher program does not impact the pocketbooks of our public schools.

Instead of putting more aid into our public schools, the Governor’s budget essentially subsidizes private school education.  As I mentioned earlier, voucher schools are receiving a 29 percent increase in aid.  A great deal of that money will go towards paying tuition for students who already attend private school.  For example in the Racine School District, which the voucher program recently expanded to, nearly half of the students involved in the program already attended private school. Both our rural and urban schools face unique challenges and after talking with our local superintendents it is clear they need every single dollar to help combat those challenges.  For districts where the expansion is proposed, like Beloit, they will be required to help cover costs for the program which results in a direct loss of state aid for them.  According to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Beloit could lose up to $1.3 million in funding.

Myth: Private voucher schools are subject to the same standards as our public schools.

Voucher schools do not require their teachers to be licensed nor are they required to conduct background checks of all school staff.  The federal law that requires public school districts to provide equitable services for students with disabilities does not apply to voucher schools.  They are not even required by state law to hire special education teachers or therapists. Too often our local school districts end up providing services to these children resulting in even higher costs for them.  Finally, voucher schools are not required to establish uniform graduation standards so what constitutes graduation from one voucher school might not permit graduation from the public school system or even a different voucher school. 

Although I do not support the expansion of the voucher program (for the reasons stated above) I realize our existing education system is not perfect.  We have great schools and great teachers in Wisconsin, however, we can always make our classrooms better.  Improving our educational system is an on-going process that requires honesty, open dialogue and a willingness to work together.  I’ve seen it in the school districts throughout the 45th Assembly District and I hope it continues.  Our kids and our future depend on it.

As always, please feel free to contact my office if you have additional questions on this or any other state legislative matter.  I can be reached toll-free at 1-888-534-0045 or by email at Rep.Ringhand@legis.wi.gov.        

###



Janis Ringhand
State Representative
45th Assembly District

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

***Attention Those In The 80th Assembly District***


From the desk of Sondy Pope-Roberts - 
Because the Republicans are not holding enough budget listening sessions to allow the public voice to be heard before we vote on the final passage of our budget, many Democrats are holding listening sessions in their districts.  I have scheduled many of those throughout the 80th but want to reach out to offer to meet with smaller groups in more private settings which we are calling Kitchen Table Talks in order to reach as many folks as we can at whatever locations are convenient for them. If you are aware of any potential opportunities or can think of any folks who might want to meet with me please let me know and I will reach out to meet with them where and when we can.  Scheduling can be done through my office or with me directly.

I have also authored a statewide petition to remove the voucher school expansion in the budget and need your help in circulating that petition.  It can be signed online or paper can be circulated and returned to my office.

Call me if you have questions or suggestions.  266-3520 or 358-8994

Link to my webpage and petition sign up:  https://www.facebook.com/stopwivoucherexpansion  

Constituents from the 80th Assembly District are invited to attend a Kitchen Table Talk budget listening session with Sondy Pope at 3:30, Monday, April 29, 2013, at the Fat Cat Coffee Works (upstairs) in New Glarus.  Contact Keith Steffen (608-558-1767 - c) for more information.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

State Budget Hearings

From Representative Sondy Pope:


Because the Republicans are not holding enough budget listening sessions to allow the public voice to be heard before we vote on the final passage of our budget, many Democrats are holding listening sessions in their districts.  I have scheduled many of those throughout the 80th but want to reach out to offer to meet with smaller groups in more private settings which we are calling Kitchen Table Talks in order to reach as many folks as we can at whatever locations are convenient for them. If you are aware of any potential opportunities or can think of any folks who might want to meet with me please let me know and I will reach out to meet with them where and when we can.  Scheduling can be done through my office or with me directly.

I have also authored a statewide petition to remove the voucher school expansion in the budget and need your help in circulating that petition.  It can be signed online or paper can be circulated and returned to my office.

Call me if you have questions or suggestions.  266-3520 or 358-8994

Link to my webpage and petition sign up:  https://www.facebook.com/stopwivoucherexpansion

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Just a little info as to why voucher schools are bad for Green County and Wisconsin as a whole:


Monday, April 15, 2013

PARTY!!!

Folks,
I am giving you the heads up that the Rock County Democratic Party is having their Spring Fling in a couple of weeks and they have invited us to attend!  The information is below, as is the link to the Facebook page.  Please RSVP and attend this great event and have the opportunity to hear our newly elected Congressman Mark Pocan speak.


UAW Hall, 1795 Lafayette St, Janesville, WI 53546
Democratic Party of Rock County, Spring Fling Fundraiser, UAW Hall, 1795 Lafayette St, Janesville, WI 53546. Cocktails 5pm, Dinner 6pm, Keynote Speaker: U.S. Representative Mark Pocan, 7PM. Tickets: $20 each.

To purchase ticket(s): Contact Mike Southers, Chair, mikesouthers@gmail.com or 608-728-2539 


On a side note.....

We are looking for delegates for the 2nd Congressional District Convention happening this Saturday, April 20th AND for the State Democratic Convention happening June 7-8.  If you are interested in learning more about this event, please contact me at: sandystauffacher@gmail.com


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Guest Poster

Folks,
I have been a wee bit busy as of late and so I have not been able to update for a while.  I am using the words of our county Communication Director now to update you all on happenings.  Please feel free to send me ideas for columns or any other tidbits that should be shared with our Democratic and Progressive populace.


Upcoming Events:

Saturday, April 13 - "All About Citizens United" Conference,  8:45 AM - 3:45 PM, at Promega BTCI, 5445 E. Cheryl Parkway in Fitchburg (registration from 8-8:45AM). Speakers include David Cobb (Co-Founder of Move to Amend), Bob Edgar and Jay Heck (Common Cause), Lisa Graves, Mike McCabe, John Nichols, Rep. Peter Barca, and more. Cost is $20 which includes lunch. Seating is limited so it is best to register ahead of time online. For more information and to register, go to: http://www.allaboutcitizensunited.org

Sunday, April 14 - Green County Democrats & Progressives monthly meeting - 6:00 PM at Luna Maya (formerly Fiesta Cancun) Mexican Restaurant, 128 W. 8th Street, Monroe. Greg Neil from the AFL/CIO and Jeff Leverich from WEAC will discuss unions, issues related to recent changes, and their importance in our society. A short business meeting will follow the program. You're invited to come early (5:00-6:00 PM) for an informal social time and dinner hour (Dutch treat). For the latest information and points of view, remember to check the GC Dem's blog at http://greendems.blogspot.com and its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/140623545987402/.

Sat.-Sun, April 20 - 21 - The 15th annual Democratic Leadership Institute (DLI) will be held at Hotel Mead in Wisconsin Rapids. DLI is an intensive workshop for young, emerging leaders ages 18-35 who are committed to progressive values and interested in a career in politics. Lodging, meals and materials are covered by sponsorships for those 18-25 years of age. The cost for participants 26-35 yrs. is $100. People wishing to attend should apply online by this Friday (29th) at wisdems.org/DLI

Saturday, April 20 - 2nd Congressional District Convention will be held at the Reedsburg Public Library starting at 12:00 PM to vote on resolutions to send to the June State DPW Convention. If you are a paid Democratic Party member and would like to attend, please contact one of Green Co. Dems' Co-Chairs, Sandy Stauffacher (swissms68@hotmail.comor Phil Fransen (pcfransen@gmail.com).

Interesting Reading:

Appleton's Post Crescent newspaper, not known for having a liberal bent, recently printed an editorial well worth reading that is strongly critical of Walker's plans to expand the voucher school program. You'll find some good points that could be used in letters to the editor of our local papers -- fire up those pens, letter writers! Citizens need to push back against all the voucher school lobbyists who have rented office space around the state Capitol building to be near our legislators.  
"School's in Session on Voucher Expansion"
http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20130324/APC0602/303240122/Editorial-School-s-session-voucher-expansion

The Medicaid funding debate: "Scott Walker should listen to Chris Christie"
http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/editorial/scott-walker-should-listen-to-chris-christie/article_f8c56334-8e5f-11e2-919b-0019bb2963f4.html

And for the statistically-challenged among us (of which I count myself as one), here is a short video with effective "infographics" that clarify the current wealth distribution in the U.S. 
"Wealth Inequality in America"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM

Sunday, March 17, 2013

April 2nd Election

Folks,
This is a submission from a fellow Democratic County Chairperson who I had the opportunity to meet and learn from.  I wanted to share his eloquent words about the upcoming election.  Please take note of his suggestions and help to bring Wisconsin back to a more Progressive path.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Let's take a serious look at this April 2 election.  Here are some thoughts:

THEIR SIDE:
****************

Roggensack has more money, although not astronomical. ($200,000 plus)  How much money would it take to equal paying for all our grassroots volunteers on the ground?  Our experience is becoming quite substantial.

They have the corporate machine. (Remember, that machine lost on Nov. 6)

OUR SIDE:
*************

1. Obama for America (2008 & 2012) built an unparalleled grassroots organization for winning campaigns.  He had huge numbers of Democrats and Progressives. phoning, doing doors, & working an extensive network of offices across Wisconsin and the U.S.  Huge numbers of Democrats & Progressives built amazing campaign skills.

2. Citizen United decision forced greater grassroots campaign operations for Democrats since that happened.

3. We got a taste of winning during the Clinton years and have had greater "fire in the belly" grassroots campaign efforts since Clinton. Obama campaigns have put that campaign "fire in the belly" on steroids!

4. Wisconsin Democrat and Progressive campaigns have been some of the most competitive and most developed in the nation. We have been at the heart of the battle. We have many battle hardened Democrats in Wis.

5. Republicans can sit back and let their corporate friends do their campaign work. However, that leaves them with a Republican grassroots team that is of  no comparison to ours.

6. The number of phone banks and campaign distribution locations have been working for weeks and are now noticeably increasing in Milwaukee and S.E. Wisconsin.  Madison is set to enlarge their operation significantly this week.

7. Milwaukee is a gold mine of votes for us.  African Americans are dedicated, serious voters, and they are grateful to be reminded about the importance of the April 2 election. A few words sets them ablaze!  You will enjoy working a GOTV grocery store shift in Milwaukee!  Organizers Jim Brown, Linea Sundstrom and Judith Free are expertly experienced and great to work with.

8. Great numbers of Hispanics in Milwaukee are Progressive supporters. Working the Hispanic grocery stores for GOTV is a special joy. Hispanic music and art create a celebration-type mood in giant supermarkets with heart warming Hispanic people putting you in a pleasant "foreign culture" atmosphere.  Great! Friendly!  However, only about 50% are U.S. citizens that can vote.  Also, however, the crowd in those stores are huge all day long and 50% of big numbers are still big numbers!

9. We might have enough votes in Milwaukee to swing this election if we got everyone out!

10.  Our November 6 majority still has a momentum in the heart!  A slight echo of a fully alive Democrat/Progressive/OFA type spirit could ignite this state. It could bring back to full force of that spirit if every OFA volunteer became active again for 2 weeks until April 2.

****************************************************************************************************

HERE ARE SOME OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU TO HELP:
**********************************************************************

1. Super Market Legends and student GOTV at UWM and MATC. Call Judith Free at 414-581-5201.

2. Phone Bank with Wisconsin State AFĂ’-CIO. Call Steve Kwaterski at 414-975-8650.

3. Phone band for Fallone. Email  A.J. Kahle at: ajkahle@gmail.com.

Note: Electing Ed Fallone to the Wisconsin Supreme Court could be the most important election in Wisconsin history - all things considered.

4. Call or contact any of these sources to do phone bank work at home.

5. Remind your Democrat and Progressive friends to vote for Fallone and Evers on April 2. Early voting starts on March 18.

6. Oconomowoc Phone Banks:  Call Kristen Maguire at 262-490-1270 or Steve Ralph at 262-567-9813.

7. Waukesha Phone Banks: Call Scott Trindl at 414-254-2058 or Email Scott at: strindl@att.net.

8. Hand out Fallone/Evers brochures in Milwaukee - Wisconsin's largest voter market. Call:

    *Jim Brown at 262-834-8033 or email Jim at: jimwauk@gmail.com.

    *Linea Sundstrom at 414-963-088 or email Linea at: linea.sundstrom@gmail.com.

9. Contribute to the Ed Fallone Campaign:   www.falloneforjustice.com.

10. Contribute to the Tony Evers Campaign:  www.tonyevers.com.

Thanks for all you do!
Dwayne Block
Oconomowoc Democratic Group

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ed Fallone for Wisconsin Supreme Court


March events for Ed Fallone, candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court - Please feel free to attend any you may be available for and support Ed Fallone for Supreme Court of WIsconsin



Green Bay
Join Honorary Host Senator Dave Hansen
Monday, March 11
6:00 - 8:00pm
Riverside Ballroom
1560 Main Street
Green Bay, WI

Suggested Contribution: $25
Sponsorship Levels: $500, $250, $100, $50

Fallone for Justice 
4230 N. Oakland Ave, #164
Shorewood, WI 53211

Wausau
Join our hosts: John and Mary Robinson, Bart and Lila Hobson, Carolyn Bronston, Carol Michalski, Dorothy Miller, Sheryl Hemp, Christine Bremer Muggli, Frances Slezak, and Rep. Mandy Wright
Tuesday, March 12
5:30-7:30pm
Home of John and Mary Robinson
821 Franklin Street
Wausau, WI

Suggested Contribution: $25
Sponsorship Levels: $500, $250, $100, $50

Fallone for Justice 
4230 N. Oakland Ave, #164
Shorewood, WI 53211

La Crosse
Honorary Host Congressman Ron Kind

Wednesday, March 13
5:00-7:00pm
The Bodega Brew Pub
122 S. 4th Street
La Crosse, WI

Suggested Contribution: $25
Sponsorship Levels: $500, $250, $100, $50

Fallone for Justice 
4230 N. Oakland Ave, #164
Shorewood, WI 53211

Eau Claire
Thursday, March 14
5:00-7:00pm
Location: TBD

Suggested Contribution: $25
Sponsorship Levels: $500, $250, $100, $50

Fallone for Justice 
4230 N. Oakland Ave, #164
Shorewood, WI 53211

Milwaukee
Join Honorary Host Mayor Tom Barrett, Senator Tim Carpenter
Monday, March 18
5:30-7:30pm
MOCT
240 E Pittsburgh Ave,
Milwaukee, WI 53204

Suggested Contribution: $50
Sponsorship Levels: $1000, $500, $250, $100

Fallone for Justice 
4230 N. Oakland Ave, #164
Shorewood, WI 53211

Madison
Join Honorary Hosts Senator Mark Miller, Rep. Brett Hulsey, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and others
Tuesday, March 19
4:30-6:30pm
Merchant
121 S. Pinckney Street
Madison, WI

Suggested Contribution: $50
Sponsorship levels: $1000, $500, $250, $100

Fallone for Justice 
4230 N. Oakland Ave, #164
Shorewood, WI 53211


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Note from State Representative Janis Ringhand


Time to Put our Money Where our Mouth is
By: State Representative Janis Ringhand

The first month of the new legislative session has come to an end and things are beginning to pick up around Madison.  Committees are starting to meet, legislation is being introduced and the Governor is scheduled to give his 2013-15 state budget address on February 20. 

The highlight of my week was the first official meeting of the Workforce Development Committee.  Although it was just an informational hearing (no bills have been referred to our committee yet) – we were able to hear from some experts in the field that helped all of us on the committee learn about our workforce development system.  By no means is it an easy system either.  Currently, nine state agencies receive funding or have oversight over nearly 40 workforce development programs.  Furthermore, with 92 percent of our workforce development funding coming from the federal government, our hands are often tied with how or when we use those funds.

The day after this informational meeting, I was able to sit down with several members of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB).  These are the folks that not only operate and oversee the Job Centers in our area, but they help execute several federal workforce development programs. When the economy nosedived in 2008, nearly 25 percent of the overall layoffs in the state came from Southwest Wisconsin.   

After participating in these meetings, I have to tell you, I could not be more excited about the Middle Class Jobs Now package introduced by Democrats here in the State Legislature last week.  It is a good first step towards closing the skills gap, offering better job training, creating incentives to attract businesses to Wisconsin and helping keep our local businesses open and our local workers employed.

One bill that is a part of this Middle Class Jobs Now package is the “Made in America” bill.  There is a growing trend of many states purchasing prefabricated bridges and building materials from China.  This is unacceptable.  We need to invest in our businesses here at home.  This legislation requires state and local units of government to give preference to US-made products when purchasing materials.

Another bill in this package creates the Workforce Growth Skills Training Program.  Essentially, this legislation would create a competitive grant program, run by the Wisconsin Technical College System, that would help local businesses and economic development organizations address their local skilled worker training needs.  The grants could be used for scholarships, infrastructure construction, purchasing equipment, faculty costs, and curriculum development, just to name a few. 

Like I said, these bills and the rest of the legislation in the Middle Class Jobs Now package are a good first step at getting Wisconsinites back to work, but there is even more work to do. Wisconsin currently ranks 42nd in job creation.  Forbes magazine projects our state will experience the second-worst job growth through 2016.  We need to do something now.  The fact the State of Wisconsin only contributes 8 percent towards our overall workforce development budget is atrocious.  With all of the rhetoric on both sides about investing in our economy and our local workers, I sincerely hope we start to put our money where our mouth is.  We should pass a state budget that dramatically increases funding for our workforce development programs.     

As always, please feel free to contact my office if you have additional questions on this or any other state legislative matter.  I can be reached toll-free at 1-888-534-0045 or by email at Rep.Ringhand@legis.wi.gov.   

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Brrrrrr...it's cold outside...let's talk politics!

I know it is cold out, I can tell because my nose has not thawed since approximately the middle of December, but we have started a new year and our government is now hot to trot to work.  We have Congress pushing off the Debt Ceiling issue for another couple of months, the Senate discussing what to do about the filibuster and our own State Assembly trying to figure out hot they can work as a cohesive group.

All that is going on and what can we, as average citizens do to help promote the Democratic and Progressive ideals?  Well, you can always join a Democratic/Progressive event to show your support and usually have fun doing it.  As the new Co-chair, I feel it is my duty to bring fun to everything that I am involved in...actually, I do that whether I am doing "committee" things or not.  We are lucky to live in a state where there is a lot going on both near and far from our happy little Green County.  Check out the activities below:


Saturday, January 26 Peaceful protest for those in support of the Bad River Tribe regarding proposed changes in WI mining regulations; 12-1:30 PM at the Wisconsin State Capitol. 

Tuesday, February 5 - County Line Progressives - 6-8 PM at Corner Cafe, Belleville; come early if you'd like to order something to eat and have some social time. This is an issues and action-oriented group for folks in the Belleville, New Glarus, and Monticello communities. For further information, contact Tim Sager at tsager@gmail.com or check their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/County-Line-Progressives/188548701193290?fref=ts

Saturday, February 16 - 5th Annual WI Progressive Grassroots Festival - 9 AM-4 PM at WI Heights High School, 10173 State Hwy 14, Mazomanie. Keynote speakers - Mike McCabe and Lisa Graves, 18 break-out sessions, and the Raging Grannies. Suggested donation - $12, includes lunch. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Grassroots Network which facilitates development and growth of community-based grassroots organizations throughout Wisconsin. Currently over 70 groups are involved to increase government accountability to its citizens. http://www.wisconsingrassroots.net/5th_annual_wisconsin_progressive_grassroots_festival

Tuesday, February 19 - Spring Primary Election

Tuesday, March 5 - Candidate Forum for State Superintendent of Public Instruction position - Tony Evers (incumbent; confirmed) and Don Pridemore (Republican member of State Assembly; not yet confirmed), at the Bridges Restaurant, Darlington. Sponsored by the DPW county parties in SW WI. More details to follow.

Tuesday, April 2 - Spring General Election - an important election for State Superintendent of Public Instruction (statewide), Supreme Court Justice (statewide), and Circuit Court justice (Dane County residents). 
WOW!!!  That is quite a bit, but don't forget that we also have our monthly meetings and we are working to ensure that we have speakers who are knowledgeable and timely for what is happening in Wisconsin.  If you have any suggestions for speakers for upcoming meetings, please let me know.  We always like to get feedback from our members and those who are Friends of Dems.  

Have a great week and thank you for checking us out!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Happy New Year Dems!

Happy New Year to all my fellow Dems and Progressives out there!  This is the first blog post we have had in "a while" thanks to a whole lot of activity in Wisconsin and Green County.  We did what we could to recall Walker and it was within our reach, but there is no use crying over spilled votes.  We, as a county and state, did what we personally felt was right on election day and we have to accept that the people of this state wanted to give Walker the benefit of the doubt.  Now, since the election, we can see that it was a mistake, with the jobs number coming in NO WHERE NEAR what Walker was promising nor are we going to have any state option for the health care option.  So what can we as Democrats and Progressives do now?  We can stick together and move FORWARD as we always do.  We need to gather our fellow Dems and Progressives and discuss what needs to be done in the upcoming months and years to get our state back to a place where progressive thinking is encouraged and where we move toward a goal that everyone can win from.  We have done this in the past and we can do it again.  I love this state and my county and I know that the people within it are good people who want to help others and are not above a little sacrifice to achieve it.  We have a strong history of doing what is best for all, let's get back to that.

And now for some Party business...we have a new executive board:

Phil Fransen - Co-Chair
Sandy Stauffacher - Co-Chair (yours truly)
Keith Steffen - Vice-Chair
Deb Pendray - Treasurer
Kris Wisnefske - Secretary

I would like to personally thank our "outgoing" board for all that they have done to bring the County Party to the place it is at now.  I wouldn't have even considered taking on the role of co-chair had it not been for the opportunity to continue on with the great works and deeds of those who have facilitated before.  I thank Carol Mixdorf, Barb Woodruff, Susan and Tom Porter, Keith Steffen for doing such an amazing job and for leaving the group to us in such an amazing shape.  I look forward to continue working with you all and to working with the rest of those who I have managed to accidentally leave out and who are just as valuable in their contributions to what we do.

I will do my utmost best to keep this blog/site updated and keeping everyone informed of what we are doing as a group and how people can join and interact.  We are a group for the people and we cannot accomplish much without the people.

Thank you and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Sandy Stauffacher